GRE vs GMAT 2024: What are the key differences? - Gateway International
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GRE vs GMAT 2024: What are the key differences?


After graduation, most students wish to get advanced degrees as it creates many opportunities for higher earnings. Studying business is one of the most popular choices among students as an MBA degree can fetch lucrative jobs in various sectors like investment, finance, etc. When you start looking at applying for MBA in various universities, you would notice that most colleges seek GRE VS GMAT test scores as a requirement for admissions.

GMAT and GRE are two tests accepted widely for admissions into business programs across the world. Where GMAT scores are strictly applicable to business schools or MBA programs, GRE can be used for a wide variety of courses including business. The two tests have different formats having different types of questions, policies, and options for sending scores to universities.

This article will give you all the details on these two tests to make it easier for you in deciding which test is apt for you.

What is GRE

The GRE or Graduate Record Examination is a vital step in the business or other graduate school admission process. The GRE is a standardized exam that is computer-based and has multiple-choice questions.

  • The GRE was developed by ETS (Educational Testing Service) which is an American assessment organization.
  • The GRE test can be taken by prospective applicants who wish to pursue a master’s in business, MBA, doctoral degree, MS, law, etc.
  • The test provides business and graduate schools a common data point to measure an applicant’s preparedness and qualification for graduate-level academic work.
  • The GRE test measures your command in the fields of college-level vocabulary, basic arithmetic’s, geometry, algebra, and data analysis.
  • The test is designed to measure your critical thinking abilities, your skills at analyzing and evaluating written material, and your problem-solving techniques.

What is GMAT

GMAT’s full form is Graduate Management Admission Test and this exam is taken by those candidates who wish to attend business school or pursue MBA programs.

  • It is a computer-based, multiple-choice, and computer-adaptive test that assesses the analytical, quantitative, writing, reading, and verbal skills of the candidates.
  • The test is developed and administered by GMAC (Graduate Management Association Council) and provides business schools with a common measure of applicants’ readiness for graduate-level courses.
  • The GMAT exam measures an applicant’s command of various skills including basic arithmetic, multi-source data analysis, geometry, algebra, and grammar.
  • The GMAT is primarily an evaluation of your critical thinking skills. To obtain a great GMAT score you must be able to analyze information and reason through it.

Application Fees for GRE

GRE test fees are different for different regions of the world:

  • India – USD 213 (around INR 16,000)
  • China – USD 231
  • Rest of the world – USD 205

You are liable to incur a few other additional costs in case of the following:

  • Late registration fee – USD 25
  • Changing the test center – USD 50
  • Rescheduling fee (China) – USD 53
  • Rescheduling fee (Rest of the World) – USD 50
  • Change of subject – USD 50

Application Fees of GMAT

The registration fee for GMAT in most countries is USD 250 (INR 20,000) though there are many other costs associated with the test apart from registration fees. In the UK one has to pay USD 300 while the fee is around USD 285 in a few European countries. The other fees you might have to incur are as follows:

Cancellation fee

  • More than sixty days before the appointment– USD 100 is refunded
  • Fifteen to sixty days beware of the appointment – USD 75 is refunded
  • Fourteen days or less before the appointment – USD 50 is refunded
  • Within 24 hours of the appointment– No refund is issued.

Rescheduling fee

  • More than sixty days before the appointment – Extra USD 50 is charged
  • Fifteen to sixty days beware of the appointment– Extra USD 100 is charged
  • Fourteen days or less before the appointment – Extra USD 150 is charged

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GRE Format

There are mainly three sections in the GRE; Analytical writing, Verbal reasoning, and Quantitative reasoning. In addition, you have two more sections; unscored(could be either Quantitative reasoning or verbal reasoning) and Research(used for purpose of research by ETS)

Section# of QuestionsTime alloted
Analytical writing assessmentTwo tasks – Analyze an Issue and Analyze an argument30 minutes per task
Verbal reasoning – 2 sections20 questions per section30 minutes per task
Quantitative reasoning – 2 sections20 questions per section30 minutes per task


Note: The unscored and research sections do not count towards your score but are there for a variety of reasons. For instance, the unscored test may be tried out to find possible use in the future or to ensure scores from new and previous editions of the test are comparable. The research sections are used for ETS research purposes.

GMAT Format

The GMAT content is broken down into four sections (Analytical writing assessment, Integrated reasoning, Quantitative, and Verbal) and you can choose the order in which you wish to take different sections.

Section# of QuestionsTime alloted
AWA – Analytical Writing AssessmentOne task – Analysis of argument30 minutes
IR – Integrated reasoning12 questions – table analysis, two-part analysis, multi- source reasoning, graphical representation30 minutes
Quantitative31 questions – 14 to 15 data sufficiency, 16 to 19 problem solving62 minutes
Verbal reasoning36 questions – reading unseen passages, sentence correction, critical reasoning65 minutes

GRE Vs GMAT Content

The most significant difference between GRE Vs GMAT is that GMAT can be used for admissions into only business schools or MBA programs while GRE can be used for a wide variety of graduate courses. Let us understand some of the fundamental differences between the content of various sections of these two tests:

  • GMAT content is designed to assess those specific skills that are crucial for business schools whereas GRE is a more general program that can be used in a range of graduate programs ranging from Ph.D. in astrophysics to MFA in poetry.
  • Verbal section – The GMAT verbal section focuses on grammar and reasoning as opposed to the GRE verbal section which mostly tests your vocabulary.
  • Quantitative – GMAT quant is slightly tougher than GRE and it tests your problem-solving skills. The most difficult section of the GMAT is the data sufficiency section. Also, GRE allows the use of calculators whereas GMAT does not. The GRE quant section usually has more questions on geometry and the GMAT has more logical reasoning questions.

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GRE Vs GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment Section

Candidates are given two tasks:

  • Analyze an issue – A general interest issue or opinion is presented with instructions on how to respond to the issue. You need to consider the complexities of the issue, evaluate it, and develop an argument supported by examples and reasons.
  • Analyze an argument – An argument is given that you need to evaluate based on the instructions provided.
Candidates are presented with a brief of an argument and you need to analyze the reasoning behind the argument. You then have to write a critique of the argument which tests your critical thinking and communication of thoughts in the form of an essay.


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GRE Vs GMAT Quantitative Section

The quant section tests your basic arithmetic skills, knowledge of fundamental mathematical concepts, and quantitative reasoning abilities to solve problems using quantitative methods. The problems range from common arithmetic like prime numbers, factorization, roots, exponents, etc. to algebra(relations, functions, linear and quadratic equations, etc.), geometry (circles, triangles, parallel and perpendicular lines), and data analysis (mean, median, mode, etc.)

It has four types of questions:

  • Quantitative comparison questions
  • MCQ with one right answer
  • MCQ with one or more right answers
  • Numeric entry questions
This section tests your ability to reason mathematically, interpret graphic data, and solve quantitative problems. There are two different types of questions here which require you to know basic arithmetic, common geometrical concepts, and elementary algebra.

  • Problem-solving – You need to solve a problem using analytical reasoning and logic and select the best answer from the given five choices.
  • Data sufficiency – Identify relevant data in a given problem and determine at what point you have enough data to solve the given problem. You are presented with two statements and you need to choose the right one based on your knowledge of math and facts from daily life.


GRE Vs GMAT Verbal Reasoning Section

This has three types of questions:

  • Reading comprehension – There is one long passage, 5 to 6 short passages, 2 to 3 medium passages, and 3 to 4 critical reasoning questions. You are expected to understand the following from the passages; its main idea, inference, meaning in context, and highlight sentences.
  • Sentence equivalence – You need to fill in the blank in a sentence with two appropriate choices from the given options.
  • Text completions – Short passages are given where certain words are omitted and you need to use the information given in the rest of the passage to choose the right words or short phrases for filling the blanks.
There are three types of questions in this section:

  • Reading comprehension – A passage is given and you need to answer questions based on that. It tests your ability to summarize the main idea, infer information, analyze structure, and identify the author’s attitude and tone of the writing.
  • Critical reasoning – An argument is given and you need to answer MCQs on that.
  • Sentence correction – This section tests how good your written standard English grammar is. Sentences are presented here which have either some or all of their portion underlined. You need to select the most suitable version of the underlined sentence from the choices provided.

GRE Vs GMAT Integrated Reasoning Section

This does not have an IR section.There are four parts to this section:

  • Graphical interpretation – You are given a graph with two MCQ questions on the graph. You need to select the right interpretation of the graph from the drop-down menus in both the questions.
  • Two-part analysis – The type of question asked here varies greatly. They could be from mathematical equations or reasoning problems like reading comprehension. Each problem has two questions to answer.
  • Table analysis – Here, a table is presented with a short synopsis and three questions. The questions are in the form of 50-50 choices like yes/no or true/false.
  • Multi-source reasoning – Usually students have to read three tabs of information and answer MCQ questions. The answer is derived by piecing the data from different tabs and combining them.

GRE Unscored And Research Section

There is a GRE unscored section called the “Experimental Section” which could either be verbal or quantitative. Candidates do not know which is the experimental section as it can appear randomly in any order after the first section (Analytical Writing.) The experimental section is meant to test the difficulty level of new questions which ETS can later utilize for scored sections.

The research section is similar to the unscored section and it also has verbal or quant questions which ETS uses to find potential questions in the real testing scenario. The only difference is the research section is marked and always appears at the end of the test and is completely optional.

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Who Accepts GRE Score?

GRE scores are accepted in various graduate programs like MBA, law, MS, etc. Some of the prominent countries that accept GRE scores are the USA, UK, and India. Some of the top colleges that accept GRE for MBA are Harvard University, Stanford Graduate School of Business, CalTech, IIM-Ahmedabad, and IIM-Bangalore.

Who Accepts GMAT Score?

GMAT scores are used widely for admissions to business schools in major countries like the USA, UK, Canada, Australia, India, and European countries. Some of the top universities that accept GMAT scores are MIT, Stanford University, HEC Paris, Harvard University, and London Business School.

Benefits of GRE

  • With your GRE scores, institutions can gauge how academically prepared you are for specific graduate-level studies.
  • Applicants can get admissions into top-ranking universities and also have a chance at scholarships with their scores.
  • GRE scores help you get admission into a diverse variety of graduate programs including business schools.

Benefits of GMAT

  • If business school is your main aim for taking any standardized test, then GMAT wins over other tests. The exam is designed specifically for B Schools admissions.
  • GMAT gives a comprehensive total score which helps schools measure their capabilities by looking at a singular number (though it also allows the flexibility of considering individual scores.)
  • GMAT exam offers personalized recommendations that connect you with the most suited school for you.

Both GMAT and GRE are accepted for admission to top business schools. GRE can also be used for other graduate programs such as law, MS, etc. If you have strong analytical and quantitative skills then you are more suited for the GMAT format as it has many questions where you need to interpret data presented as charts, graphs, tables, and text. If you have a strong vocabulary then GRE is for you.