One of the more important requirements of the top MBA/MIM/MS programs is your test score. This can either be GMAT or GRE for most top schools across the globe.

The aspirants frequently face the dilemma of which exam is most suited to their profile, level of expertise, the acceptance by the school, etc.

Here’s a breakdown of the distinctions between the GMAT and the GRE.

Key differences

Test Fee
Test Validity
5 years
5 years
Test dates
Year Round
Year Round
Test Format
Computer adaptive test
Computer adaptive test
Test Score Range
200 – 800 (in 10-point increment)
260 – 340 (in 1-point increment)
Test Duration
3 hours 7 minutes
3 hours 45 minutes
Test Structure
Verbal Reasoning
Quantitative Reasoning
Analytical Writing
Integrated Reasoning
Verbal Reasoning
Quantitative Reasoning
Analytical Writing
Verbal Section
1 section- 36 questions – 65 mins
2 sections – 20 questions each – 60 mins
Quant Section
1 section – 31 questions – 62 minutes
2 sections – 20 questions each – 70 mins 
AWA Section  
1 essay – 30 minutes 
2 essays – 60 minutes
IR Section
12 questions – 30 minutes

Topics Tested

Verbal Section:

GMAT Verbal – There are three types of questions:

  • Reading Comprehension – Questions elicit particular information, draw conclusions, and analyse arguments after reading a passage.
  • Critical Reasoning – Questions generally begin with a brief paragraph of 2-3 sentences. Following the passage is a question that asks you to assess and apply facts from the passage.
  • Sentence Correction – These questions will have a sentence that is highlighted in part or all. There will be five options under the sentence. You will select the one you believe is right in terms of grammar and structure. Concepts such as subject verb agreement, modifiers, tenses, parallelism are tested.

GRE Verbal – There are three different categories of questions:

  • Reading Comprehension: You will be given a passage and will be required to answer big picture and particular detail questions about it.
  • Text Completion: For these questions, there will be a brief section with one or more blanks. You’ll be given a list of words to fill in each blank, and you’ll have to select the most suitable one.
  • Sentence Equivalence: You will be given one sentence with one blank and six response options. You must select the two alternatives that fit in the sentence and construct sentences with the same or comparable meanings.

Quant Section:

 GMAT Quant– There are two types of questions: 

  • Problem Solving – Consists of word problems that test fundamental concepts of Arithmetic, Algebra, Geometry, and statistics
  • Data Sufficiency – These questions consist of a problem statement followed by two factual statements. The candidate determines if the statements provided are enough to solve the problem statement.

GRE Quant– Tests your skills in the following areas: 

Algebra, Arithmetic, Data Analysis, and Geometry. There will be MCQs, numeric entry questions and a few questions called quantitative comparison. You are asked to compare mathematical expressions and determine the relationship between the two. 

Integrated Reasoning Section:

   IR is only tested in the GMAT. In this part, you have to evaluate the information provided in visuals/text/numbers, combine information from numerous sources to answer problems, and analyse correlations in information to solve questions. 

Experimental Section:

This is an additional unscored Verbal Reasoning or Quantitative Reasoning section in the GRE. While taking the test, instead of two Verbal sections, you might get three, which means one of them is an experimental section that won’t count toward your overall score.

~ This section is left blank so that the testing agency can more accurately predict how test takers will perform on new questions; it also ensures that the difficulty level of new questions is comparable to that of current GRE questions.

This is what the questions look like  

GMAT – Critical Reasoning Question (Source: Manhattan Review)

Question – Amid the present wave of job redundancies for skilled but unemployed youth, the publication of an encouraging report on the viability of garage start-up enterprises has led the Federal government to set up an investment fund, under its Federal light-industry program, to provide capital for such enterprises. This plan has drawn opposition from various quarters; the critics claim that similar funds, also set up under the Federal light-industry program, that aim to stimulate small enterprises frequently end up harming other American social groups unconnected to these enterprises.

Which of the following best provides support for the claim made by the critics above?

A) Garage enterprises in Washington State now produce almost 12% of the vehicle components previously imported from South East Asia.

B) The funding of the Federal light-industry program depends on the reallocation of resources earmarked for disadvantaged groups.

C) The debate concerning the Federal light-industry program created a backlog in the Federal legislative schedule.

D) The union for Federal light-Industry workers was the prime source of the claim.

E) Programs like Federal light-industry programs have yielded great results in past.

GMAT – Data Sufficiency Question (Source: Manhattan Review)

Question. A teacher distributed pens, pencils, and erasers among the students of his class, such that all students got an equal number of pens, an equal number of pencils, and an equal number of erasers. If no pens, pencils, or erasers remained with the teacher, how many students were in the class?

·         (1) Each student got pens, pencils, and erasers in the ratio 3:4:5, respectively.

·         (2) The teacher distributed a total of 27 pens, 36 pencils, and 45 erasers.

A) Statement (1) ALONE is sufficient, but statement (2) ALONE is not sufficient to answer the question asked.

B) Statement (2) ALONE is sufficient, but statement (1) ALONE is not sufficient to answer the question asked.

C)  BOTH statements (1) and (2) TOGETHER are sufficient to answer the question asked, but NEITHER statement ALONE is sufficient to answer the question asked.

D) EACH statement ALONE is sufficient to answer the question asked.

E)  Statements (1) and (2) TOGETHER are NOT sufficient to answer the question asked, and additional data specific to the problem are needed.

GRE – Quantitative Comparison Question (Source: Manhattan Review)

Question – Car A and Car B are at the opposite ends of a straight road. Car A moves towards Car B for 1212 hours at a speed of 40 miles per hour, and then Car B starts moving towards Car A at a speed of 80 miles per hour. Both the cars keep moving towards each other maintaining their respective speeds till they meet.

Quantity A
Quantity B
Total distance travelled by Car A
Total distance travelled by Car B

A) Quantity A is greater

B) Quantity B is greater

C)  The two quantities are equal

D) The relationship cannot be determined from the information given

GRE – Text Completion Question (Source: Manhattan Review)

Question. Many surgeons continue to advocate (i) __________ analgesic treatment despite the fact that clinical studies and meta-analyses have failed to demonstrate (ii) __________ that such treatment reduces postoperative pain more effectively than one started after surgery.

Blank (i)                                                                  Blank (ii)    

ameliorative                                                           dispassionately

incipient                                                                  unequivocally

pre-emptive                                                            intractably

Which test is easier: 

Verbal Section:

–         Although similar skills are tested, GMAT verbal emphasizes reasoning and grammar whereas GRE verbal tests vocabulary. 

–         GMAT verbal examines your ability to comprehend written content, assess arguments on various themes, and recognize and correct errors.

–         GRE, on the other hand, assesses your ability to analyse and make conclusions from written passages, identify important points, summarise passages, and comprehend the meaning of words/phrases/entire passages.

Quant Section:

–         GRE quant section is straightforward and includes a calculator.

–         GMAT quant becomes challenging because of the data sufficiency and Integrated Reasoning questions. GMAT is suited for people with excellent quantitative and analytical skills, as well as those who are good at data interpretation. 

To summarise, quant is easier on GRE and verbal is easier on GMAT for most applicants.

How to decide between GMAT and GRE?

There are a number factors that go in to decide which test you should take

–         Understand the admission policy on scores of your target B-schools

–         Find out which exam is widely accepted for the master’s program that you want to opt for. You can go for an MBA or MIM or MS program. 

–         Take GMAT if you plan on getting into business schools/MBA programs. If you are not sure about the type of graduate program you wish to attend, take GRE.

–         The best way to determine whether the GMAT or GRE is suited to your abilities is by taking a mock test for each exam.

–         A lot of business schools have started accepting both GMAT and GRE scores. Business schools claim that they do not have any preference regarding GMAT or GRE scores, but most of them don’t report the average GRE score or range they accept. 

Parting advice

–         Many factors influence admission, including profile, essays, interviews, test scores, and so on. A high-test score does not guarantee admission. Test scores account for 20-30% of the total admissions criteria.

–         Profile, essays, test scores, and interviews are all weighted differently by different business schools.

–         To be on the safe side, try to score higher than the B-school average.