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GMAT GRE – Which one is better?

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GMAT or GRE: Which is better? For a second, you could answer without giving it a second thought. “Take the GRE if you want to enter a graduate school and take the GMAT if you aspire to do a business administration course”. Is that all? Nope. Not now! It takes much more than this. Things have changed over the recent years. ETS has been pushing its product (GRE) to be accepted in Business schools and now more than 500 programs in Business schools including Harvard Business School, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the like consider GRE for joining the program. It is no longer an easy task to decide which test to take out of GMAT and GRE. You should consider a lot of factors before deciding on the single test you want to take.

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Check this first!

Before we continue to compare both the tests, you should first check with the universities of your choice as to what score they would consider. If you are planning to get yourself a position in a graduate school, it is fairly easy to immediately decide on the test you should be taking. One could suggest hands down that you should choose to write GRE. There need not be any confusion about it. If you are a student who is looking to join a business school or you are looking for both graduate schools and business schools, you have to really analyze a great deal before taking up the test.


Let us discuss what GRE and GMAT are and then let us see how they differ in any way. Beginning in a fairly easier way, we will see what sections GMAT and GRE test.

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GRE measures the individual for verbal, analytical and mathematical skills. Is GMAT any different here? Nope! GMAT too measures the individual for verbal, analytical and mathematical skills. So now, how do we really compare the two tests? Well, we will probe more to find it out in the next few minutes.

Did you know? The revised version of GRE has no more antonyms or analogies to bother you! Even though the revised version of the test has removed analogies and antonyms to add more relevance to the GMAT exam, GMAT has an additional sentence correction question type in the verbal section, which is not available in GRE. For this reason, if you are a student of a country where English is not a native speaking language, GRE might be a better option to choose.

GMAT proves to be tougher to attempt in the quantitative ability section in the sense that it has an additional data sufficiency question which presents you with specific information initially and challenges you to not only find the irrelevant information but also what minimum information is required to solve a problem. This may take time to set in for those international students, where English is not a native speaking language. As this question type is not available in GRE, it makes the international students comfortable taking GRE instead of GMAT.

Adaptability concerns?

GMAT is a computer adaptive test. The first question presented to you will be a moderately difficult question. If you answer it right, you will be presented with a more difficult question. This goes on with increased difficulty as you progress. If you answer your first few questions wrong, the possibilities are that your score may be very low. If you make a random guess or make a few mistakes, your score will lower substantially. Also, there is no “Go Back to the previous question” option to make changes to the answer you provided. Every question must be answered very carefully, making it more challenging.

The revised version of GRE is a section-level adaptive test. What does this mean to you? It means that you can freely move between questions and if you are not comfortable answering a question, you could choose to “mark” the question and continue with the next ones and come back to the marked questions later and answer them. The only catch is that the answers that you give in the first section of a specific measure (be it Verbal or Quantitative reasoning) will decide the level of difficulty for the next section of the same measure. You could work out your method of answering the question without any rigidity in the answering pattern. You only have to answer questions correctly by the end of the section.

The rigidness may restrict some students to opt for the revised version of GRE to GMAT exam.

Which has better presence for taking up the test?

GRE has its testing centres in 165 countries whereas GMAT has testing centres in 110 countries. There might be chances that a GMAT testing centre may not be available in your location. GRE conducts paper based tests in countries where the computer based test is not available. GMAT has no options of paper based tests.

Which cuts a deep hole in your pocket?

GRE’s fee is a $195 worldwide.

GMAT charges a standard fee of $250 worldwide. There might taxes in some countries while scheduling the test.

If your budget is a big concern, GRE may be the right option.

Are GMAT and GRE common in any other sense?

Both GMAT and GRE allow for students to take up the test once in 31 calendar days and up to a maximum of 5 tests in a 12-month period. Both their scores are valid for a maximum of 5 years to enter the school of your choice. When you send your score report to the school of your choice, all the scores that you have obtained in the last 5 years will be sent.

What’s the verdict?

If you have taken a lot of tests in GMAT and your scores have not improved at all, you could put your effort on GRE instead, as GRE will have a cleaner account to begin with. The reverse is also possible, provided you are interested in going to a business school.

If you were only looking for a graduate school, taking the GRE test would increase your scope in trying business schools as well, without any extra efforts! So why miss the chance?

Since June 2012, GMAT test structure has changed to exclude one Analytical writing assessment question and include a new section – Integrated reasoning, a section dedicated for interpretation on graphical data. This question type is also incorporated in GRE’s quantitative reasoning section. This shows that both the programs are making their tests more competitive, changing it every now and then. We will have to wait and see how competitive these tests will get in the future.

For now, GRE seems to weigh more in many aspects (in terms of price, difficulty of the test and geographical presence) comparable to GMAT exam. The decision of course is always yours to take.

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