Are you planning on studying abroad? Perhaps you’ve been following our other stories related to study abroad. In our previous articles, we’ve covered the structures and details of sections for GMAT and GRE. In this article, we compare GMAT vs GRE - a comparative analysis of the two highly popular exams for pursuing Master's programs abroad. Which exam is more suited for your career path? What are the differences in the sections, patterns, syllabi? Where can you apply based on the exam you take? Here's everything you need to know about GMAT vs GRE.
GMAT vs GRE - Eligibility
For both exams, you have to be at least 18 years of age. While GMAT specifies this requirement, there is no clear indication that you need an undergraduate degree to take GRE. Since most students planning on studying abroad go for their Master’s, it’s a given that you need to hold a bachelor’s degree.
GMAT vs GRE - What are GMAT and GRE scores valid for?
Your GMAT score is accepted by a lot of different countries. In fact, many B-Schools in India are beginning to accept GMAT scores as well. Keep in mind, GMAT is primarily accepted by B-Schools.
GRE, on the other hand, is much more widely accepted than GMAT. This is probably because your GRE score allows you to take admission into universities/colleges for your Masters courses across a range of subjects.
GMAT vs GRE - How long are GMAT and GRE scores valid for?
Both GMAT and GRE scores are valid for 5 years. It is because in 5 years, you will have grown and gained a lot of experience. The 5 year old scores won’t be the best reflection of your current skill set. However, it is worthy to note that some companies do consider your GMAT scores during the interview process.
GMAT vs GRE - What is the duration of GMAT and GRE?
GMAT: 210 minutes (3 hours, 30 minutes)
GRE: 225 minutes (3 hours, 45 minutes)
GMAT vs GRE - Method of taking the Exam
GMAT is a computer adaptive test, meaning that the computer registers your responses, and prompts questions based on your accuracy and efficiency. For eg. If you have answered a question correctly, then the next question presented will be of a slightly higher difficulty level. This ensures that your abilities are tested more effectively.
GRE can be taken in two methods: Paper-delivered test, or computer-delivered test. While the computer-delivered test is the most popular one, there are centers where such facilities are unavailable, and so the paper-delivered test is provided to students.
GMAT vs GRE - Exam Structure
GMAT is divided into 4 sections. You are allowed 2 breaks of 8 minutes each, and can choose the order in which you want to attempt the sections. For more details regarding the GMAT structure, click here.
GRE is divided into 3. You get a 10 minutes break after you finish 2 sections. However, you cannot select the order in which you attempt the sections. For more details regarding the GRE structure, click here.
GMAT vs GRE - Sections
The sections in GMAT and GRE are more or less similar. However, the difference lies in the distribution of these sections, and the number of questions.
Both exams consist of writing tests, both consist of a Verbal and Quant section.
GMAT has only 1 writing assignment, while GRE has 2.
In GMAT the sections aren’t further divided into sub-sections, like in GRE. Because of this, the total number of questions in GRE is more than that of GMAT.
For a more detailed evaluation of the sections, you would be interested in reading our articles on the GMAT sections and GRE sections. In it, we’ve covered the different types of questions that comprise of these sections, along with sample questions for each.
GMAT vs GRE - Scoring System
GMAT scores are out of 800. Scores are calculated based on the number of questions attempted, with negative scores for unanswered questions.
GRE scores are out of 340. Similar to GRE, scores are calculated based on the attempted questions. Unattempted questions are marked as NS (No Score).
Note: there is no negative marking for incorrect answers.
GMAT vs GRE - Which is more difficult?
The GMAT and GRE, though similar in section types, vary significantly in terms of difficulty level.
The Verbal Ability section in the GRE tests candidates’ usage of vocabulary, which requires candidates to not just memorise the meanings of words but also understand their usage in different sentence types. The difficulty level of this section increases with the usage of convoluted sentence structure and double negatives. Additionally, similar to GMAT, the GRE tests candidates’ reading comprehension ability. Given that the exam is a section-adaptive test, RC passages can range from being sitters to being highly complex and verbose, paired with difficult questions and close options.
The Verbal Ability section in the GMAT tests candidates’ usage and understanding of English grammar, and includes many sentence correction type questions. Given the vast scope of learning English grammar, the GMAT is sometimes far more daunting for test-takers than the GRE.
The syllabus for the Quantitative Ability section in both the GMAT and GRE is nearly identical, but this is where the similarity ends. The GMAT is known to have mathematics questions which are more difficult than what is seen on the GRE. Additionally, unlike the GRE, GMAT does not have the option of using a calculator which somewhat increases the level of difficulty for candidates not good with mental maths.
Additionally, the two exams differ in difficulty levels in terms of the time available per question. The GRE is truly a speed test, which adds to the overall level of difficulty, even if the question types may be easier than what is seen on the GMAT.
In 3.5 hours, GMAT gives you four sections, which consist of a total of 80 questions. Of these, one is a writing test which you have 30 minutes for. That leaves you with 3 hours for 79 questions. You have 30+ questions each for Quant and Verbal, which test your analytical and reasoning abilities. That’s 30+ questions in approximately one hour, which makes it an average of less than 2 minute per question. Integrated reasoning poses 12 questions in 30 minutes, making it a little over 2 minutes per question.
In 3h 45m of the GRE, you have 82 questions. Of these, you have 2 writing tests of 30 minutes each. For the remaining sections, there are 20 questions per sub-section, with 30 minutes to answer them. That makes it about 1.5 minute per question - a whole 30 seconds less per question as compared to the GRE.
To summarize, while the GMAT may have tougher Quantitative Ability questions and candidates may find it tougher to solve questions based on English grammar (as opposed to vocabulary based questions on the GRE), the GRE compensates for the lower difficulty level with lesser amount of time available per question.
If the Quantitative Ability section is not your forte, and you prefer to learn complex vocabulary words and their usage, the GRE is for you. If you’re comfortable with tougher mathematics questions and learning English grammar in order to answer sentence correction questions, you may want to consider the GMAT. It is recommended that you take the free GMAT and GRE official mock tests offered by GMAC and ETS respectively, to test which exam is more suitable for you.
Have you taken either or both of these exams? Have we missed anything? Write to us in the comments. If you have any suggestions, write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.