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GMAT vs. GRE: Which Should You Take?


Our focus today will be on GMAT vs GRE. Many applicant do not know the differences between these two exams bodies. So read on and learn alot about them…

Straight to the point, students going for MBA will have to take GMAT exam, however in recent years most of the business schools now make use of GMAT exam as their main form of admission entry.

In a rare moment of grandeur, let’s briefly cover the following, what’s the difference between the GRE and GMAT exam?  Who accepts the GMAT exam, and which of the two exams is most preferred by business school.

This guide is a comprehensive guide which shall cover the breakdown of these two exams, analyze the two exams in terms of their usefulness and purpose; in addition, we shall dive into the full details of each of the two exams.

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GMAT vs GRE Exam Overview

Before we go into full details of what these exams are, let’s have a deep understanding of how the exam is being scored and structured.

GMAT General Info

GMAT exam is meant to be taken by those who want to go for a master program, or those who are planning to attend business school.

There are four different sections under GMAT

  • The first assessment consist of analytical writing, which is a 30 minutes essay
  • The second part contains integrated reasoning, which contains 37 questions.
  • The third part consists of a quantitative section, and it contains 37 questions.
  • The fourth part consists of 41 questions.


If you participate in the GMAT exam, your composite score will be the most important score you will receive, which will range on a score of 200 to 800. Your verbal and quantitative sections will determine your composite score.  Your integrated reasoning and analytical writing won’t be a deciding factor of your composite score.

Aside from the composite score, you will also be given, specific score, which will be determined from your quantitative and verbal sections, and the score ranges on a scale of 0-60.

You will also receive a score on the analytical writing, which shall be on a scale of 0-6, and for the integrated reasoning, you will also receive a score on a scale of 1-8.

The GMAT exam is computer based, and also, the difficulty of the question shall be in ascending order, this simply means, the first question you will have to attempt, will be medium difficult. The exam will commence with verbal and quantitative sections, if the first questions presented to you, are answered correctly, you will be moved to the next question. The next question will be slightly difficult to the first one, this process will continue, till you are done with the exam. Also bear in mind, that once you have answered a question, you won’t be able to review the question and go back to it.

GRE General Info

There is only a slight difference between GRE and GMAT exam, the difference is that GRE can be used for multiple admission purposes, but GMAT exam can only be used as a form of admission processes into business school only.

Furthermore, the GRE exam consists of three different sections, which are: quantitative reasoning, analytical writing, and verbal reasoning.

  • There are two essays in the analytical writing and you have 30 minutes to answer the question.
  • There are 20 questions each in the analytical reasoning and quantitative reasoning, and you will be given enough time to answer these questions
  • Also, the GRE exam consists of 20 questions which shall be based on research, however, this won’t be included as part of your score. However you won’t be made known, on where the section that will contain the research.
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Just the way the GMAT exam is being done, the GRE exam ranges on a scale of 0-6, the quantitative and reasoning are both scored the same way, and the score is on a scale of 130-170.

The three results of this exam will be handled separately, and will be combined into a single composite form.

Also, the exam is an online based exam, and the exam is as well section adaptive just like the GMAT exam. This implies that the score you have in the first section has an important role to play, in the second section, for this purpose, you are expected to put much effort into all the sections of the exam.

The GRE exam is quite different from the GMAT exam, where the section does not affect each other, or where the difficulty of the question is in ascending order. And also, on the GRE, you can also, to previous questions that you’ve answered.

What Does The GMAT And GRE EXAM Cover?

Both of these two exams cover three sections, which includes,

  • Quantitative reasoning
  • Verbal reasoning
  • Integrated reasoning


This guide will cover an in-depth of the exam, and also, we shall explain which of the exam is more challenging.

Verbal Sections: GRE vs. GMAT

As a start, let’s start by discussing which of the exams is more challenging, and let’s compare their verbal sections. However, the exam may not have many similarities, but the GMAT exam is more focused on English grammar, while the GRE exam is mainly focused on vocabulary.

GMAT Verbal

The GMAT verbal test candidate ability on candidate ability to understand English language, your ability to understand topics and written materials, different topics, identify errors and correct errors.

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There are three types of questions that will come out, in the GMAT exams 

Critical reading:  in this aspect, you will be presented with a passage which may be 2-3 sentences long, you will have to read and understand the passage. You will be asked to analyze the errors in the passage, also you will be asked to provide answers to questions that will be asked from the passage. This section is quite very easy, because, all you have to do is to read and understand, followed by you providing answers to the asked questions.

Reading comprehensions:  for this aspect, you will be given a passage to read, after this, you will be asked to draw conclusions from the given passage; you may also be asked to analyze the type of argument that was made.

Sentence correction:  in this aspect you will be presented with sentences, and the part which is not correct will be underlined. You will be presented with available answers and you will have to choose from the available options, on which of the answers is correct.

GRE Verbal

This aspect measures the ability of the candidate to draw conclusions. Your skills in drawing conclusions from written tests are what the exam is meant to test. You will also be asked to summarize the written test in full details, and also how to maintain words and sentences.

In this exam, there are three different categories,

Text completion:  this section will contain sentences with blank spaces, you will be given options, which you will have to fix into the space, and you are to choose the option that best fits into the space.

Reading comprehension: in this aspect, you will be given a passage to read, and you will be given questions to answer.

Sentence equivalence: you will be given a sentence to, and you will as well provided 6 options, you will have to choose from the six answers, which of the answer sounds similar.

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Which Exam Section is Harder? GRE or GMAT exam?

As obvious as you can see, both of the exams have a lot of similarities in the verbal section, and also, in the critical thinking, reading comprehension, and grammar.

The difference between the two exams isn’t huge, however, the GRE exam is assumed to be a bit harder than the GMAT exam, because there are many vocabulary and reading questions in the exam, which might be a bit hard for you to answer if you are not from an English speaking country. In addition to this, the GRE exam focuses more on the verbal aspect, than the GMAT exam.

But regardless of this, both have similarities in the verbal sections.

Quantitative: GMAT VS GRE

In the quantitative aspect, both cover questions similarly, however, they both have different approaches to the way they set questions.

GMAT Quant

In the GMAT exam, there are two sections of the exam that covers mathematics, you will be asked mathematical questions in this aspect, the two sections are the integrated reasoning sections, and the quantitative reasoning.

Quantitative section

Under this aspect, there are two questions which you shall find there, the two questions are

  • Data sufficiency
  • Problem solving

Data sufficiency:  in this aspect, you will be given two questions, the questions will be quite an unusual one, and the questions will come after two statements.  For this type of questions, you may not solve them; just make sure you have enough information to answer the questions.

Problem solving:  for this aspect, you will be asked to interpret questions which may come informed of graph, data, equations or you may have the three being presented to you.

Integrated reasoning section

This aspect is intended to test quantitative reasoning, there are four sections under the integrated reasoning section, they include.

  • Two part analysis
  • Graphics interpretation
  • Multi-source reasoning
  • Table analysis

This aspect is to test your skills of interpretation. You will have to interpret the questions presented to you. However, bear in mind that many of these questions are always complex, the better time to start preparation is now. You have to provide accurate answers to the questions, in order to have good points.

GRE Quants

In the GRE exam under quantitative reasoning, your skills will be tested based on the following.

  • Arithmetic
  • Algebra
  • Geometry
  • Data analysis

Most of the questions you will come across will come with multiple choices as answers, and you will have to choose the correct answer among them.

In addition to this, you will also be presented with quantitative comparison questions, known as multiple choices questions, in this aspect; you will be given two quantities, what this means is that, you will be asked to determine which quantity is larger than the other.

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Analytical Writing

One major difference, between the GRE exam and the GMAT exam, is that you will only have to write one essay for the GMAT exam, while you will have to write two essays for the GRE exam.

GMAT Writing

On the GMAT exam, you will have to write an essay, which you will have 30 minutes to answer.

In the essay, you will have to evaluate the weakness and strength of the article. Be ready to give your opinion of the article, the shortcoming, and how the essay can be improved.

GRE Writing

You have two essays to write two essays in the GRE exam, you will have identified the type of essay it is. You have a maximum of 30 minutes to answer the essay.

You will have to analyse the type argumentative essay it is.

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Which of the exams does business school prefer?

Almost 90% of people applying for an admission into business school make use of GMAT , however, in recent years, many candidates are now submitting GRE exam results. To be on safer ground, it’s better to take the two exams, as many schools are now accepting both exams. But which of the two exams gives more advantage?

Roughly, 90% of schools in the United States of America, will accept, either GMAT or GRE. But, the fact that a school accepts both exams, doesn’t mean they weigh equally, they do not, and something goes beyond that.

There are some reasons why many business schools prefer the GMAT exam, above the GRE exam, in this article; we shall provide three reasons why many business schools prefer the GMAT exam.

  • Most business schools believe the GMAT exam questions are more standard than the GRE exam.
  • Another reason is that many business schools hold the belief that you are basically coming for a business career, with the GMAT exam. Taking a GMAT exam shows that you are seriously concerned about attending a business school. On a clearer note, GMAT is basically meant for business school.
  • Also, many students are well acquainted with the GMAT exam than the GRE exam.

For this purpose, many schools are now more acquainted with the GMAT exam than the GRE exam. If a candidate submits a GRE result, the school may be unable to interpret the scores well, because they aren’t familiar with the exam marking scheme.

However, according to a survey, it was discovered that 73 % of business schools do not prioritize any exam other than the GRE and GMAT exam.

In addition to this, most of the well-known institutions, such as Harvard, Yale, Oxford, etc., have made it known that they view the two exams equally, and none of the exams gives a candidate an added advantage. You are advised to sit any of the exams, which you think will be convenient for you.

Which of the exam should you take, GMAT vs GRE

Go through each of the questions under each exam, we’ve analyzed in this article, and choose the one, which you think will be convenient for you. However, before deciding on which of the exams to take, these two questions will help you decide the one that best fits you.

  • Learn school exam policies:  before deciding on which of the exam to take, first make a deep research about the school you want to apply for, and learn their policy. Understand the type of questions they mostly asked, and ask about the type of exam they mostly accept.  You can start by checking your prospective school, admission page, before choosing the exam, which you should take.

As discussed earlier, some schools will accept the GMAT exam, while some will accept both exams. You should do research about your school, before choosing the exam to take.

  • Take a practice exam: before going for the exam, it’s expected, you take a practice exam, so to know how prepared you are, you will as well get to know your weakness, and know your chances of passing the exam, you are advised, to take practice for the two exams.

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Compare your GMAT vs GRE scores

After taking the test, of the two exams, compare your result, and check the one you have a better result, which will you go for? The one with poor results? Obviously no! Go for the one you have a better result.


We hope you enjoyed reading our article on GMAT vs GRE  exams, and now you can tell which one you should go for. If yes, kindly go for it. If this article has been useful to you, kindly share with others.

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