The Graduate Record Exam (GRE) is a standardized computer-adaptive test in Verbal, Mathematical, and Analytical Writing. The test is mainly aimed at candidates seeking admission to non-business schools. This test measures the ability and skill level needed for advanced studies. In areas where computer networking is not present, paper-based exam is also conducted. The exam scores are valid for 5 years. You will not be able to take the test more than 5 times in a year. The Analytical Writing Section is the first part of the test followed by Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, Unscored and Research sections.

Comparatively, The Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) is also a standardized computer-adaptive test in Verbal, Mathematical, and Analytical Writing. This test is considered as a means to obtain admission to business management programs in English-speaking countries. This test assesses your ability for advanced studies in business programs. The scores that you obtain hold good for 5 years. The test can be taken 5 times yearly. The sections of the test are taken in this order; first is the Analytical Writing, then Quantitative Reasoning, and then Verbal Reasoning.

Deciding between GRE and GMAT tests depends on your long-term aims and objectives, business school policies, fee structure and availability of tests. The GMAT is considered the tougher of the two. Also, your decision may depend on the schools that you want to apply to. Supposing they do not want a GRE score, then you would have to take up the GMAT test, though most business programs do accept GRE as well as GMAT scores. The GRE tests are conducted in more countries and cities throughout the world than the GMAT. Currently, the GRE registration fee is much lesser than that for the GMAT.


  • Both the exams include similar questions in Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, and Analytical Writing sections.
  • Similar question format and structure in both the tests.
  • Similar testing procedures.
  • Testing time of the GMAT would be approximately 3 hours and 30 minutes, while for the GRE it is 3 hours and 45 minutes.
  • Both are computer-adaptive tests.


  • One major difference of the GRE and GMAT is that in GRE, you have to effectively argue whereas in the GMAT, you analyze an argument.
  • In GRE, along with the 3 sections of Verbal, Analytical Writing, and Quantitative Reasoning you can take up the additional subject tests if you want. In GMAT, there are only the 3 main sectional tests.
  • Candidates for GMAT receive 4 scores for the 3 sections including a total score, whereas in GRE you receive scores for the 3 main sections only. A percentile score is obtained in both the exams so as to compare with the other test-takers over the past three years.
  • An onscreen calculator as well as an ETS calculator is provided for GRE test takers, whereas in GMAT you are not provided with a calculator.


The format for both GRE and GMAT tests is quite similar.

Given below is the test structure for the GRE exam -

Analytical Writing 1 issue task 30 minutes
Analytical Writing 1 argument task 30 minutes
Verbal Reasoning 2 sections of 20 questions 60 minutes
Quantitative Reasoning 2 sections of 20 questions 70 minutes
Unscored Section Unidentified Varies
Research Identified Varies

The GMAT test is structured in this format -

Analytical Writing 1 issue task 30 minutes
Analytical Writing 1 argument task 30 minutes
Quantitative Reasoning 37 questions 75 minutes
Verbal Reasoning 41 questions 75 minutes

Both the tests are globally popular. Currently, the GRE test has been revised with some new polices and changes in the test structure. The GRE test is more user friendly with new types of questions included in the test. The Verbal Section has excluded analogies and antonyms. It lays more emphasis on the Reading Comprehension, Sentence Equivalence, and Sentence Completion. Your reasoning skills would be tested. Questions with multiple choice answers, fill in the blank types of questions, a single choice for questions are also included in the test. The Analytical Writing section tests your critical thinking and writing skills, your ability to evaluate the given essays. The Quantitative Reasoning measures basic math skills, understanding the basic math concepts, ability to reason and evaluate math concepts in Arithmetic, Geometry, and Algebra. It also deals with data analysis topics such as graphs, charts, and Venn diagrams.

Conversely, in the GMAT test, the first section to be attempted is the Analytical Writing section. Here, you will be presented with 2 tasks – the first is the Analysis of Issue. You would have to analyze and present your view based on your observation, reading, knowledge, etc. The second task is the Analysis of Argument. You would have to analyze the reasoning behind the argument. Write the appropriate matter based on different perspectives, the advantages and disadvantages, and the hidden motives that could have led to it. The Verbal Section includes the Sentence Correction, Critical Reasoning, and Reading Comprehension presented in multiple choice questions. It measures your ability to analyze, recognize the correct and incorrect sentence structure, and check the grammatical content. The Quantitative Section includes questions in Arithmetic, Algebra, Geometry, and Data Sufficiency.


The GRE scores for the Verbal and Quantitative Reasoning sections range between 130 to 170 with 1-point increments. The Analytical Writing score is 0 to 6 in half-point increments. This makes it easier for comparative assessments between candidates and minor difference in scores will not be considered as an obstacle.

The GMAT scores include 4 scores. They are Quantitative, Verbal, Analytical Writing, and Total reported in the official score scale. Your contact and geographical information will also be included in the score report. For all the four scores, you will receive a percentile rank. Each rank reflects the number of examinees who have scored lesser than you in the past 3 years. Though your percentile rank changes yearly, your scaled score never changes. Total GMAT scores range from 200 to 800. The Verbal and Quantitative scores range from 0 to 60. The Analytical Writing section score is 0 to 6 in half-point increments.


Online study is available for GRE test on the official website – .Tips and strategies are available for the study with practice tests. The POWERPREP II software includes tips on studying, pacing yourself with mock tests, the new test features, editing test answers, and the new on-screen calculator. Also, practice book for the GRE test is the Official Guide to the Revised General Test. This book includes a copy of the POWERPREP II Software CD-ROM provides you with 2 software prep tests - one in the book and one in the CD with tips and test-taking strategies. Another module is the ScoreItNow Online Practice to practice for the Analytical Writing with immediate scoring provided as feedback. Preparation for the test should commence 2 to 3 months before the exam.

Practice material for GMAT, the GMATPrep includes

  • A 15-question practice session for each type of test question with answers and descriptions.
  • Two full length computer-adaptive tests with answers, but no explanations provided.
  • Determining your score for the Verbal and Quantitative sections of the test.
  • Math questions format.
  • Checking your estimated scores.
  • GMAT Write, an online tool that helps you practice for writing essays.
  • More prep practice includes the Official Guide for GMAT Review, 12th edition; the Official Guide for GMAT Verbal Review, 2nd edition; the Official Guide for GMAT Quantitative Review, 2nd edition. All this material includes questions, answers, and descriptions. These books can be purchased at the store.
  • Test preparation and study should start 4 weeks before the test.


Considering the above stated views for GRE and GMAT, both are quite similar to each other in view of the test structure, format, and assessment criteria. Recently, GRE test has undergone a revision and most MBA programs are considering GRE scores as admission basis. The revised new GMAT test from June 2012 will include an Integrated Reasoning section which deals and analyzes issues, outcomes and graphical data interpretation. It seems like both tests are strong contenders for the same premise.