GRE or the Graduate Record Exam is a standardized eligibility test for graduate level programs in the United States. GRE is not specific to any particular field of study and general test of GRE measures verbal reasoning, critical thinking, quantitative reasoning and analytical skills of the candidate.

GMAT, or Graduate Management Admission Test, is a measure of aptitude that conforms to eligibility specifically for graduate level business study programs. It is a Computer-Adaptive standardized test that evaluates mathematical ability and English language of the candidate.

Comparison chart

GMAT versus GRE comparison chart
Edit this comparison chartGMATGRE
Acronym for Graduate Management Admission Test Graduate Record Examination
Administering body Created by GMAC (Graduate Management Admission Council) and administered by ACT Inc. and Pearson Vue. Created and administered by Educational Testing Service (ETS).
Cost of test $250 $160 as of March 2010
Subject of emphasis High School Mathematics, English - (Reading Comprehension, Critical Reasoning, Sentence Correction, grammar), writing skills. Vocabulary, Comprehension of Advanced English, Math and Analytical reasoning.
Time allocated Approximately 3 hours and 30 minutes. Approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes.
Test Sections 1.) Analytical Writing - Analysis of Argument - 30 mins 2.) Integrated Reasoning - 30 mins. 2.) Quantitative - 75 mins 3.) Verbal - 75 mins. Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, Analytical Writing.
Official websites
Test developers Pearson VUE ETS

The Test Structure

The GRE logo
The GRE logo

GRE evaluates the candidate in:

Apart from the general test, one can test one's subject proficiency with subject GRE tests available for eight subjects, namely Biochemistry, Biology, Chemistry, Cell and Molecular biology, Computer Science, Literature in English, Physics, Mathematics and Psychology.

GMAT evaluates the candidate in verbal, mathematical and analytical writing skills. The first section is AWA or Analytical Writing Assessment followed by Quantitative and Verbal Reasoning sections. The sections are similar to GRE but the focus of questions is different.


Graduate Record Examination, or GRE, is a test used by graduate school programs for assessing applicants. Law schools and business schools do not generally accept the GRE score. There are basically two forms to the GRE: subject tests (computer science or psychology) and GRE general exam.

Graduate Management Admission Test or GMAT serves as an admission test specifically business schools. These business schools usually mention their requirements on their website. Also, some economics and finance programs make use of the GMAT score.

Sections Covered

Although, the basic sections in GRE and GMAT are the same: Quantitative, Verbal and Analytical Writing, the sub categories and the basic structure differ in the two exams. Quantitative Comparison in the first section in GRE can be equated to Data Sufficiency of the same section in GMAT. The first section is for 45 minutes in GRE and 75 minutes in GMAT. Reading Comprehension is the only common thread in the Verbal section of both the tests.

Focus of Tests

It has been understood that GMAT lays more emphasis on logic while GRE tests the vocabulary of the candidate. In spite of having Analytical Writing section in both GRE and GMAT exams the difference in focus of testing is evident with GRE having more of sentence completions, reading comprehensions, antonyms and analogies while the same section in GMAT focuses on sentence correction and critical reasoning. Moreover it is generally seen that higher GMAT score is directly proportional to higher mathematical ability.


The cost of taking the GRE test is $160 (subject to reduction) as of March 2010. PowerPrep is preparation software offered by ETS which comprises of sample questions and the structure that is normally used in a GRE test. Test preparation companies like Princeton Review and Kaplan help in familiarizing applicants with the dynamic nature of GRE.

The cost of taking the GMAT test is $250. Preparation aids like self-study GMAT books, online or live classroom GMAT preparation courses or private tuitions help applicants in completing the test successfully.


Both GRE and GMAT tests are taken online, timed and comprises of 3 major sections. Both GRE and GMAT were initially administered by Educational Testing Service but today, only GRE is administered by this body and GMAT is administered by a company called ACT Inc. which prepares the test questions and CAT software and the exam is delivered at testing centers all over the world through Pearson Vue.

Scoring Pattern

The format of CAT (Computer Adaptive Testing) is used in both GRE and GMAT where harder questions are worth lot more than easier ones. To reach a higher score, answering many harder questions correctly is the key. GRE provides three different scaled scores. Quantitative and Verbal are marked on a scale of 130 to 170 and Writing is marked on a scale of 0 to 6. Total Score is marked from range 230 to 340.

GMAT provides four separate scaled scores. Quantitative and Verbal are marked on a scale of 0 to 60 and Writing is marked on a scale of 200 to 800. The overall score is a scale of 0 to 6.

Today, many business schools accept either the GRE or GMAT score for the purpose of admissions.

Video providing information on GRE and GMAT

This video provides some guidelines on which test to take for your MBA:

GRE or GMAT: Which test to take for your MBA?


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