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GRE and GMAT || Which Is Best For You?

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For most university applications, international students are required to take standardized tests, such as the GRE and GMAT, as a part of the entry requirements. One common challenge for students applying to graduate school is choosing the right standardised test for their application. During this stage, students have the option of submitting either their GRE scores or GMAT scores. While both tests evaluate the student’s academic abilities, they have different purposes and may be preferred by specific graduate programs.

In this article, we focus primarily on the key differences between the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) and the Graduate Record Examination (GRE).


The Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) is specially designed for business school applicants. The test examines the candidate’s reasoning abilities and critical thinking skills. The duration of the test is 3 hours and 23 minutes with specific time allocated for various sections. Generally, the GMAT is considered more difficult than the GRE. This is because it focuses more on reasoning, data analysis and complex quantitative questions.


The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is a standardised exam that evaluates a candidate’s general academic abilities rather than focusing on a specific discipline. The GRE is accepted by a wider range of graduate programs including courses in humanities, social sciences and STEM departments. It is designed to evaluate the candidate’s Verbal Reasoning, Analytical Writing skills as well as Quantitative reasoning. The duration of this test is 3hours and 45 minutes with time allocated to each section.

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Differences between GRE and GMAT

Though the GRE and GMAT examine similar skills in candidates, here are six ways they differ:

1. Purpose: As earlier stated, the GMAT is mostly accepted for business and management programs while the GRE is accepted by a wider range of graduate programs. the GMAT’s quantitative reasoning and analytical writing sections are tailored for business contexts. However, because the GRE is not specific to only business programs, it covers broader topics in its sections.

2. Test structure: The structure of GMAT includes sections for Verbal, Quantitative and Integrated Reasoning as well as one section for Analytical Writing tests. This is why the GMAT is considered a great choice for those with stronger math skills. The GRE on the other hand, has a similar test structure to the GMAT. It also has a section for Verbal and Quantitative Reasoning and another for Analytical Writing. It is assumed to be a better choice for candidates with stronger English skills.


3. Scoring system: Though the GRE and GMAT results are both valid for 5 years, their scoring systems differ. The GMAT’s overall assessment score is on a scale of 200-800. This is totalled from scores obtained in all 4 sections of the test. The GRE, on the other hand, is scored on a scale of 260-340 which is also based on the 3 scored sections of the test.

4. Test format: The GRE offers two test format options for test takers. There’s the option of a computer-based online test available throughout the year and also a paper-based option set at specific dates during the year. Unlike the GRE, the GMAT exam is only available for test takers as a computer-based test and can either be taken online or at a testing centre.

5. Cost: The cost of registration for the GRE ranges from $220 to $232 depending on the location of the test taker. The GMAT on the other hand costs $275 for registration for the test.

6. Focus: The GMAT is known for its focus on data analysis, reasoning and complex quantitative questions. The test also assesses the test-taker’s problem-solving skills. However, the GRE sections are structured to test a broader range of graduate-level skills. The GRE is more generalized and focuses on a wider range of subjects. In this test, your critical thinking ability is also examined. This structure of the GRE makes the quantitative section of the test a lot easier than the GMAT.

The best option for you between the GRE and GMAT will depend on various factors especially the specific requirements of your desired program. You also have to consider your skills and your career goals to figure out which test will showcase your strengths more. Since the GRE is less quantitative-centred than the GMAT, it is an ideal option for test-takers with weaker math skills while the GMAT is ideal for test-takers with excellent math skills. If you’re still undecided, you can consider taking GRE and GMAT practice tests to gauge your performance from the results.



If you need guidance with registering or preparing for your GRE or GMAT exam or you’re looking to apply for a degree abroad, please click here to chat with our counsellors. 


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