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Choosing between the GRE and GMAT: Which is more difficult?

You might have heard that many who take the GRE are also taking the GMAT, or vice versa. You may be wondering which test is easier, or which is better if you plan to get your MBA. If you are wondering exactly what the GMAT is and how it differs from the GRE, then this post should answer all your questions.

GRE vs. GMAT – Which test should you take?

Use our new infographic to decide!

GRE vs GMAT Infographic_750x5801

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What is the GMAT?

The GMAT is the standardized test for Business school. Like the GRE, it consists of a Verbal and Quantitative section. Unlike the GRE, the two sections are combined to give a composite score of 800.

The GMAT cannot be used in place of the GRE, so unless you are going to business school, do not take the GMAT.

What does business school have to do with the GRE?

Unlike the GMAT, which only those applying to business school sit for, the GRE is accepted by many accredited business schools (ever hear of Stanford or Harvard?). That is not to say all the top business programs accept a GRE score. Always check with the business program to see which ones accept GRE scores.

Is the GMAT more difficult than the GRE?

It depends. That is, it depends on who is taking the test. For those with strong Quant skills the GRE math will seem easy. The GMAT math is definitely more daunting. So if you struggle with Quant the GMAT will seem very difficult.

On the other hand if you struggle with the nuances of vocabulary and style, the GRE verbal section may be very difficult. That is not to say that the GMAT verbal is easier. But the Sentence Corrections section is more of the science of grammar, and those with logical minds tend to be more adept at quickly sifting through a morass of words to find grammatical errors. The GRE Text Completions and Sentence Equivalence questions, by contrast, are testing the art of word usage, a skill most humanities majors have been honing for years.

So which should I take?

For those applying to business school, first make sure that your program accepts the GRE. If so, then ask yourself which test better shows off your strengths. If you are unsure, you can always take an official GRE practice test and an official GMAT test (both are free). If you score significantly better on one, then the answer is clear. If there isn’t much difference, spend a week getting a feel for each test to see which one suits your skill set better.

For more information about the GMAT, check out our Magoosh GMAT Blog!


By the way, students who use Magoosh GRE improve their scores by an average of 8 points on the new scale (150 points on the old scale.) Click here to learn more.

93 Responses to GRE vs. GMAT

  1. Magaret May 29, 2016 at 4:40 am #

    I want to get a masters in hotel administration / management but the program offered in some universities vary from MSc to MBA. does this mean I would have to take both the GRE and GMAT or I can take just one of the exams… and which one would be most suitable?

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert May 29, 2016 at 6:30 am #

      Hi Magaret!

      Great question! The answer to your question will vary based on the preferences of the individual schools/programs to which you apply. In general, MBA programs only accept the GMAT, while MSc prefer the GRE. That said, like I mentioned, the exact requirements will depend on the schools you apply to. So, I recommend directly contacting the universities you’re considering to ask them which exam is required and/or if there is a preference. ๐Ÿ™‚

      I hope this helps, at least a little!

  2. Eldho ittan George May 18, 2016 at 10:40 am #

    I want to apply for Master’s Degree in computer science.So which exam should i take GRE or GMAT.

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert May 18, 2016 at 10:23 pm #

      Hi Eldho,

      Typically, this type of program will require a GRE score, though it is starting to be possible to do either exam for increasingly more programs. Have you looked at the entry requirements for programs you like best? That is the most foolproof way to figure out which exam will serve you best! ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Sourin April 28, 2016 at 4:44 am #

    Dear Team,
    I am preparing for my masters in germany and I saw that most of the universities accept GMAT and GRE. And this is my first experience. So please guide me which will be easier to score

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert April 28, 2016 at 8:48 am #

      Hi Sourin,

      There are a couple of things you should consider when deciding whether to take the GRE or the GMAT. First, you should research the programs you’re interested in to see if they prefer that applicants take the GRE or the GMAT. If they don’t have any preferences, here’s what I’d recommend:

      If you are curious as to whether you are more suited for the GMAT exam, the most accurate practice test is the one offered by GMAC called GMATPrep. It’s the equivalent of PowerPrep for the GRE. Take both of those exams, and see which one you find easier or more suited to your skill set.

      In general, there are a couple of differences between the GRE and the GMAT. To determine the similarities between the GMAT and GRE materials, you can take a look at the lists of lessons available for each exam here:

      * GRE Lessons
      * GMAT Lessons

      You’ll notice that a large part of the material overlaps, with some differences:

      1. GMAT has a specific lesson section geared towards Data Sufficiency.
      2. For the topics that overlap, the GMAT lessons go into further detail, with lessons that explain more advanced strategies.
      3. GMAT verbal focuses more on grammar, while GRE verbal focuses more on vocabulary.
      4. The biggest difference is that GMAT math is generally a bit more difficult than GRE math.

      I hope that helps ๐Ÿ˜€

  4. Niloofar April 12, 2016 at 1:46 pm #


    There is a situation going on here. I applied for the Ph.D. program in Business administration and took GRE for a couple of times. I know that my Verbal score is so important as well as the Quantitative and Writing scores. Since my first Language is not English, I have some issues with the Verbal section. I got so many rejections because of my GRE scores, but one of the Universities asked me to apply for the winter 2017 and retake the GRE.

    My last three GRE scores are as follows:

    November 30th 2015 – Verbal: 147 Quantitative: 158 Writing: 3.0
    January 5th 2016- Verbal: 142 Quantitative: 161 writing: 3.0
    March 28th 2016- Verbal: 143 Quantitative: 161 Writing: 4.0

    Meanwhile, I should get 70th percentile on every section to be admitted and I am planning to take GRE or GMAT. For my last two GRE, I used Magoosh and I am so pleased that I did so. If I take GMAT next time, It will be my first experience of it. So, my question is that Would you recommend me to take GMAT because I tried GRE many times and I did not received a good Verbal score? or would you recommend me to take GRE because I am familiar with it?

    I appreciate your help and time.


    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert April 14, 2016 at 12:59 am #

      Hi Niloofar,

      I’m happy to help. ๐Ÿ™‚

      So there is a lot similar between the two exams, but there are also parts of the GMAT not found on the GRE.

      Quantitative Section

      Let’s start with the quantitative section. The good news is that all the math concepts tested on the GRE are the same on the GMAT. The word problems on the GRE are similar to the word problems on the GMAT. Also, the GMAT is all multiple choice questions, so you won’t see any numeric entry questions or choose all answers that apply.

      But, the math on the GMAT tends to be a little more difficult. Also, some of the question types on the GRE, Quantitative Comparison and Data Interpretation, are not on the GMAT, but there are questions that are comparable. For example, an entire 30 minute section of the GMAT is dedicate to Data Interpretation, but is harder and formatted differently. It is called Integrated Reasoning. Quantitative Comparison is replaced with Data Sufficiency, which takes some practice to do well on.

      Verbal Section

      As for the verbal section, you will find the Reading Comprehension on the GMAT very similar to the GRE. Both tests ask similar questions and are testing similar skills. On the GRE, you encounter a few questions that involve arguments. On the GMAT, you will encounter many more. These Critical Reasoning questions are similar to what you see on the GRE, but perhaps a little more difficult and involved. The last main difference between the two tests is related to vocabulary and grammar. The GRE places more emphasis on vocabulary with the Text Completion and Sentence Equivalence questions. The GMAT, on other hand, places more emphasis on grammar with the Sentence Correction questions.

      What to do?

      Have you had the chance to take a mock GMAT exam? If you do that, you could compare your percentile ranking for that exam to what you already know about your GRE abilities and use this to make the final call. It is possible to be successful with either one, so the decision should really be made based on which one showcases your abilities the best.

      I hope this helps! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Wes April 16, 2016 at 5:11 pm #

      Hi there,

      Am looking at going to business school and test requirements and pretty much all of the schools on my list accept either the GRE or the GMAT.

      My question is, even if some programs say they accept both tests, is it possible that these programs may secretly prefer applicants that take one over the other? In other words, even if my program accepts both tests, could taking one possibly give me a leg up in admissions versus taking the other?

      Thanks so much for your time,

      • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
        Magoosh Test Prep Expert April 18, 2016 at 9:22 am #

        Hi Wes,

        It is not my experience that there is a secret preference. If a school truly prefers one test over the other, it will be clearly stated. Universities aren’t trying to make admissions any more difficult! (Thankfully! :))

        You want to pick the test that showcases your skills the best. If you can get the 90th percentile in GMAT quant but only the 75th percentile in GRE quant, then they’ll not-so-secretly prefer your GMAT score because it shows greater quant strength.

        I hope that helps!

  5. Ahmad February 13, 2016 at 2:31 am #


    I’m stuck with GMAT for couple of months but it was so hard to understand. It seems that GRE looks easy so final decision is to take GRE but will it strengthen my application if i’m applying for master in finance/accounting at any university in USA. Need Serious Advice.


    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert February 15, 2016 at 10:34 am #

      Hi Ahmad,

      The answer really depends on your programs of choice. Some do not accept the GRE and others do, so you want to make sure you know where you want to go before switching to the GRE! Have you done that research? It’s a very important part of this decision.

      Let us know! ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Bashayer February 7, 2016 at 3:37 pm #

    Thanks for the comparison but GMAT, GRE only required for business school ??
    I want to study chemistry it’ll required to take one of them

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert February 10, 2016 at 1:46 am #

      Are you saying that you can take the GMAT for your chemistry program? If so, that’s really interesting! Usually the GMAT is for business and management programs and the GRE is for graduate programs in general. Thanks for sharing your experience! If you have any other info that might help other students, please feel free to add it. ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. harsh January 10, 2016 at 3:49 pm #

    I want to ask you that which option is the best way to prepare for the GMAT or GRE preparing online or offline.

    If online then by which company…….
    If offlinenene then by which coaching institute or by which set of books….

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert February 1, 2016 at 6:27 am #

      Hi Harsh,

      Sorry for the late reply! Of course we want students to go for online/computer-based studying (like Magoosh!) but the truth is that it isn’t for everyone. If you have some insight into what works best for you and your study habits, you should do that. Many students are quite successful with a mixture of physical books and online resources. Try to make the decision based on you, your needs, your timeline, and your budget. There is no reason any of those factors should lead you to be anything less than successful. ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Greeshma G Pillai October 13, 2015 at 9:11 am #


    I have a total experience of 4 years in IT(Accenture). I want to apply for an MBA program in supply chain domain but I am not sure whether me taking up the GRE would help. Can you please help me to identify few of the good universities which accepts GRE scores.

  9. Ahsan October 13, 2015 at 6:53 am #

    Hi Chris,

    You’ve been doing some amazing work here helping out a lot of people understand the basic difference between GRE and GMAT.
    I’ve done my bachelors in marketing and finance and I’m looking forward to pursue a Masters degree in SCM. The business schools I’ve shortlisted are indifferent about GRE or GMAT.
    I don’t have a strong grip on my English (the vocab part especially) but my maths is quite strong. Moreoever, I want to keep my options open for an MBA program.
    So what would you suggest in this scenario? Should I go for GMAT or GRE?


  10. Rohit September 20, 2015 at 8:25 am #


    I worked as Software Developer in one of the top Investment Bank and top Hedge Fund for three years. I want to pursue PhD in Finance and would like to come back to same Industry but in different profile.

    What is the right path for this? I am in mid way of my GMAT preparation and in a few weeks I will write the exam (expected score 690-710).

    What is the right path for this? Shall I do MBA and then go for PhD or there are other/better paths as well?

    • Pooja April 28, 2016 at 10:43 am #

      Best to have a master’s then pursue a PhD. As this reflects research skills. Not always necessary, but have a master’s will put you above the rest. I have two MSc both distinction and now will be taking on a PhD, but like everyone else I need to do the GMAT. Hope this helps.

  11. Marcel Kazadi September 12, 2015 at 12:34 pm #

    I Have a question concerning Magoosh GMAT or GRE test. Does Magoosh offer online GMAT or GRE test?
    Best regards
    Marcel Kazadi

    • Jessica Wan
      Jessica Wan September 14, 2015 at 2:31 pm #

      Hi Marcel,

      Our premium GRE product offers 3 practice tests, and our GMAT product offers 2. You can read more about these products here:

      All best,

  12. Akshat Jha August 9, 2015 at 1:49 pm #


    I wish to pursue MS in Applied Math from a US uni starting Fall 2016. The thing is,I am an Electrical Engineer with 2 and a half years in Supply Chain sector. I have always been inclined towards Math,have scored pretty well in Math in all 4 semesters of college. How difficult is it for me to make it to a good MS program at a good college? I have no publications.

    My GRE score:

    Math: 170
    Verbal: 169

    Please reply soon.

    • Akshat Jha August 9, 2015 at 1:50 pm #

      Oops,I have a 159 in Verbal,not 169.

      • Akshat Jha August 9, 2015 at 1:51 pm #

        And a 5 out of 6 in AWA section.

      • Sauraj Jha February 4, 2016 at 1:22 pm #

        Pretty good scores, man! How did you prepare? Any updates on your admission to US universities?

  13. Forrest Gump July 9, 2015 at 10:14 am #

    Hello Chris and fellow readers,

    I am currently working in a bank and previously worked as a day trader. I wish to pursue MS in Economics or MBA in Finance through a reputed university.I have a graduate degree in Electronics but I have around 4 yrs experience in finance sector overall.

    I am not sure what should I prefer- MS in Economics or MBA in finance. What would be the job scenario(money wise) in case of both(in USA or otherwise in any other country)

    I have heard that GRE admission requires recommendations as well- so who should recommend and would it be having greater importance than the GRE scores itself?

    Kindly guide me.

    Strength- Maths, Quantitative, Data Interpretation, Sentence Correction
    Weakness- Vocabulary(but overall my English is OK)

    Thanks and Waiting for your response,

    Forrest Gump

    • Oluwaseyitan February 20, 2016 at 2:11 am #

      Hello… Did you get an answer to this… I’m trying to make a decision on this.. Kindly assist. You could mail me

      • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
        Magoosh Test Prep Expert February 20, 2016 at 3:06 am #

        Hi there ๐Ÿ™‚

        Unfortunately, we don’t have nearly as much expertise and experience in graduate school admissions as we do with GRE and GMAT prep, so I’m afraid we can’t be of much help. While we don’t offer any admissions consulting services ourselves (we focus mainly on test prep!), but here are some other companies whose services we recommend:

        Stacy Blackman Consulting

        We have worked with them for several years and recommend them highly. We also have an admissions section on our blog where our partner companies often address common student admissions questions:

        GRE Admissions
        GMAT Admissions

        Additionally, I’d recommend directly contacting the schools/programs you’re interested in to see if they can offer any insight, or check out the programs’ websites to see if they have any info! I hope that helps at least a little!

  14. Siddharth July 6, 2015 at 12:24 am #

    Hi Magoosh,

    I have been following this page and I must tell you many of the answers have actually cleared my doubts. I have one pending query though.

    I am planning to pursue a Phd in Operations Management from a reputed university in the USA. I know many of the universities are now accepting GRE or GMAT scores for applications but my basic online searches tell me that if it is a management related Phd then GMAt shows more seriousness on the part of the applicant and that GRE comes across as an easy route for admission. I would like some clarity on this point.

    What should i attempt in order to make a strong candidature to the universities? GMAT or GRE?

  15. Anirudh June 26, 2015 at 3:25 am #


    My MBA will be over by April 2015. And I have been thinking of doing some degree from USA and then settle for a job there itself. But I am confused whether I should go for GMAT or GRE. Is doing another MBA from GMAT worth it or doing masters would be better.
    Strong point- math, decision making, critical reasoning.
    Week point- vacab. ( I have trouble using what we say heavy words otherwise my English is fine I guess).

    Please help me decide.

  16. Hafiz Muhammad Ali June 19, 2015 at 1:52 pm #

    H Chrish,

    I was looking for MS in Digital Marketing and didn’t know which test should i take, GRE or GMAT. In my case NYU School of Professional Studies has option for both GRE & GMAT which is optional.

    However if they require i think i will go for GRE.

    Thanks for making in depth Infographic.


  17. sukriti June 17, 2015 at 7:23 am #


    I am in my third year pursuing and management from a college in India which is an affiliate center of University of London.I have a final year left which I will be doing externally.I am looking for a liberal arts course abroad or a masters programme which is business related which will give me more options to further my career in management.I was wondering if GRE/GMAT is the way to go.I do not want to pursue MBA at this stage.Will taking them improve my profile considering I do not have a very strong profile.

    Thank you

  18. Ekta June 10, 2015 at 3:05 am #


    I want to opt for MSF or MS finance course from US but i am confused which exam needs to be taken up. GMAT or GRE. please guide on the same.

    And also suggest some good GMAT/GRE books for preparations.


  19. Aditya June 8, 2015 at 8:56 pm #

    Hi Chris,

    I’m planing for international affairs masters in US.
    I’m confused between GRE and GMAT.
    Please guide.
    The schools I’m targeting accepts both score.

    • Rita Kreig
      Rita Kreig June 9, 2015 at 3:16 pm #

      Hi Aditya,

      I’m happy to answer this question for you, because I got my Masters degree in International Affairs. ๐Ÿ™‚

      When I applied to international affairs programs (back in late 2009), all the programs I looked at (Johns Hopkins SAIS, George Washington University, American University, and UCSD’s IRPS – now GPS program) accepted the GRE, so that’s what I took. I ended up attending a program that had an international business component, but they still didn’t require us to take the GMAT for admission.

      Since the schools you are targeting all accept both exams, I’d recommend taking whichever one you find easier. For me, and for a lot of students, that’s the GRE.

      Good luck! I hope you enjoy your program as much as I did. ๐Ÿ™‚


  20. Pedro Garcia May 29, 2015 at 10:40 am #

    Hello Chris!

    Great post helped a lot, so apparently I’m taking the GRE. My only problem is there’s no way to get prepared for the exam here in my city, one of my brothers is in the states right know so I’m ordering a book to help me prepare for the exams by myself. As I espected there is like a hundred different books for this porpuse so my question is which one would you recommend, have you heard of a book that’s better than the others? Thanks a lot for your help.

    • Rita Kreig
      Rita Kreig June 2, 2015 at 2:14 pm #

      Hi Pedro!

      You’ve come to the right place, because Chris wrote a post answering just this question: The Best GRE Books of 2015. You can also see our full list of GRE book reviews here. I hope you find this helpful!

      Happy studying. ๐Ÿ™‚

  21. manisha May 16, 2015 at 7:38 am #

    hi iam planning for ms finance. should i take gmat or gre? is gre enough for state universities? plz leave reply. thankyou

    • Rita Kreig
      Rita Kreig May 18, 2015 at 3:35 pm #

      Hi Manisha!

      The answer is that it really depends on the requirements of the programs you’d like to apply to. Each program is different, so I can’t give you a definitive answer one way or the other (although, I wish I could!) ๐Ÿ™‚

      My recommendation for you is to look at the websites of a range of programs that you’re interested in attending, including some state universities. Some of them may say that they only accept the GRE or GMAT. Others will likely accept both. Once you have that information, you’ll be able to make an informed decision. Then you can start to prep! ๐Ÿ™‚

      I hope that helps. Have a great day!

  22. Sofia March 10, 2015 at 2:40 am #

    Hi, could anyone please explain how to answer Sample Question No. 4 (the one with the percentages)? Thanks!

  23. Sasa January 4, 2015 at 10:39 am #

    I worked in US for 4 years for the client

  24. Tim December 30, 2014 at 3:11 pm #

    Hi Chris,

    I got a Quant 41 / Verbal 39 on the GMAT for a 650 overall and recently took the GRE and got a 161 Verbal / 162 Quant. Do you have an opinion on which of these I should submit to business school programs? Bonus fact: my GMAT score report will also show a cancelled score since I got that 41/39 because I tried again and didn’t do well and I also took it in 2010 and got a 640 (42/35) so my GMAT report looks pretty shady.


    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele December 31, 2014 at 10:53 am #

      Hi Tim,

      I haven’t ever heard anyone describe their GMAT report as “shady” :). I like that!

      I don’t think it is that shady–though it’s not as “innocent” as your GRE score report. According to the conversion table your GMAT and GRE scores match up perfectly. That would tilt things in favor of your GRE scores, but some programs–whether they say it or not–favor the GMAT more than the GRE. This is esp. true for programs that favor quant.

      I’d do a little more research into the schools/programs you are looking at (maybe see what the average GMAT and GRE scores are).

      Hope that helps!

  25. Bianca December 6, 2014 at 3:11 pm #

    Hi Chris,

    thanks for the succinct and insightful article!

    My question is as following:

    I’ve already taken the GRE in 2010 for my Master’s, and my scores were: Quant 800 (94%) Verbal 570 (80%) Analytical Writing 4.0 (45%).

    I’m now planning to apply for MBA programs (Round 2, Fall 2015 entry), and am targeting the top 10 programs (particularly Stanford, Berkeley and Columbia). From what I know, my GRE converts to a 690 on GMAT.

    Therefore I’m wondering whether it makes sense for me to take the GMAT as well, given that there are all these nuances involved in the question “GRE or GMAT”?

    Thank you so much in advance!
    Best wishes!

    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele December 9, 2014 at 12:04 pm #

      Hi Bianca,

      Given your strong quant ability, you should definitely take the GMAT. That may allow you to truly shine, esp. because the verbal section is more logic based than vocabulary based.

      Take a practice GRE and a practice GMAT test (both official questions), and compare your percents.

      Hope that helps!

      • Bianca December 9, 2014 at 12:42 pm #

        Hi Chris,

        thanks for that insight! Yes, I’ve noticed how the verbal part on GMAT seems so much more reasonable than that on the GRE. Just need to brush up on my Quant skills though. Let’s see how the GMAT results will be like in the end.

        Thanks for your helpful and prompt reply,
        wish you a great holiday season!

  26. Raj December 5, 2014 at 4:14 am #

    Hi Chris

    I took the GMAT in Dec 2012 and scored a 700 (Q46, V40) – clearly based on the percentiles (quant ~ 70%, verbal ~ 91%), my quant is shaky. I am targeting a top 10 business school in the US for 2016 applications. Given my stronger orientation towards verbal, I am inclined to take the GRE in order to improve my score to submit a more competitive application. Would you think this is sensible decision? I will take a few diagnostic tests to get an actual feel of the GRE quant. One of my major issues with the GMAT quant has been timing….

    Thanks in advance!

  27. James November 24, 2014 at 8:58 pm #

    Hi Chris,

    I’m submitting testing for an MBA.

    My GRE Score converts to the same score as my GMAT. However, the percentiles of my GRE are significantly better than those of my GMAT.

    Do you have any advice for this situation?

    Thank you for your time.


    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele December 4, 2014 at 1:07 pm #

      Hi James,

      That’s a good question, and the answer may depend on who is looking at your scores. Some programs weigh GMAT higher than the GRE–though they’ll never say so. In that case, you’d want to submit your GMAT scores, even if the percentile is not as impressive.

      Conversely, some schools may weigh the two equally, in which case the GRE would, perhaps, be the better test to submit. The only reason I say “perhaps” is some schools may be aware of the discrepancy and not accord greater status to the higher GRE percentiles.

      When in doubt, submit the GMAT scores. They tend to–even when the percentiles are taken into account–look stronger from a b-school point of view.

      Hope that helps (somewhat!) ๐Ÿ™‚

  28. Gaurav November 24, 2014 at 7:28 am #

    Hi Chris,

    I am planning for MBA from US or UK next year and i am confused between both the exams. Can you help me in finding my best fit.
    Strong Areas: Reasoning,Quant,DI
    Weak Area : Grammar and Vocab

    Which one should i take ?

    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele November 24, 2014 at 10:37 am #

      Hi Gaurav,

      Based on your strengths, I think GMAT would be a better fit, since a strong score on GMAT quant impresses b-schools a lot more than a strong score on GRE.

      Based on your weaknesses, you might want to stay away from the GRE. That said, vocabulary is very learnable, but you will have to put in a lot of time and effort. Finally, the Sentence Correction accounts for about a third of the GMAT verbal, where vocabulary is really a constant across the GRE verbal, except for a couple of logic-based questions.

      Hope that helps!

  29. zang November 2, 2014 at 1:53 am #

    Hi Chris,

    Great Blog! Thanks. Would you please help me in deciding whether I should report my GMAT or my GRE score. My GMAT is 680 (Q49, V32) and GRE is Q170, V150. I know none of them is good enough but which one would you report to schools which accept both? Do you know how they would compare GRE scores with GMAT scores? Do they use ETS comparison table? Thank you.

  30. Yazan October 22, 2014 at 2:43 am #


    Thank you for this article; it’s very helpful.

    I am planning to purse an MBA mainly in Canada or Spain, English is not my Mother tongue. I started 2 weeks ago studying for the GMAT but a friend recently recommended the GRE as he did both (twice GMAT) and got higher score in the GRE (once).

    After reading this article, looks like the GRE needs a great deal of vocabulary but the GMAT math side is harder. so what do you recommend ?

    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele October 27, 2014 at 8:35 am #

      Hi Yazan,

      Presently, it seems that many international b-school programs only accept GMAT. You’d want to look into that before seriously considering the GRE :).

      If the programs you are interested in do accept the GRE, then you should try taking a mock GRE test (Powerprep test) and a mock GMAT. If the percentile rankings differ significantly, the choice is clear.

      As for prepping, the GMAT will require more rigorous quant studies; the GRE will be more vocab intensive.

      Hope that helps!

  31. Natasha October 4, 2014 at 4:57 am #

    Hi! I found your article of much help in understanding but I’m still confused wether to take a GRE or GMAT. I’m currently doing mathematics honours and want to go abroad for further studies.. I’m good at verbal English and also math but I think GRE offers wide choice to choose between whereas GMAT offers only MBA. And I cannot make up my mind wether to pursue a master’s degree or management. Please help. What would be more apt for me? Keeping in mind my bachelor’s degree in math.

    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele October 6, 2014 at 11:07 am #

      Hi Natasha,

      Taking the GRE may be the best for you, since, as you mentioned, it keeps many doors open. My only reservation is that some quant-heavy programs will still probably favor the GMAT over the GRE (even if they accept both). In other words, a 51Q on the GMAT is more impressive than a GRE 170 (at least that’s my guess).

      Hope that helps shed some light ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Natasha October 6, 2014 at 11:50 am #

        Thanks for your reply Chris! Much help!

  32. priyanka September 4, 2014 at 9:36 am #

    Hi Chris,
    I went through this page. It was of great help.
    ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚

  33. Paolo August 28, 2014 at 3:36 am #

    Hi all,

    Iยดm not agree with the article. Iยดm preparing for a MPA or an International Relations Master Program and in most of them accept GMAT too.

    Both GMAT and GRE are accepted in most of the Master degree of US, Harvard included.


    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele August 28, 2014 at 1:43 pm #

      Hi Paolo,

      It seems that international institutes have been a bit slower to adopt the GRE–so you’re right: both the GRE and the GMAT are accepted in most US b-schools, but not in most international schools.

      Thanks for confirming this ๐Ÿ™‚

  34. Bowen August 27, 2014 at 11:20 am #

    Thanks for sharing. Just finished my first year and started looking for requirements for a master degrees. This blog surely helped.

  35. Ankita August 20, 2014 at 12:15 am #

    I just loved your write up. One of the best I’ve read from my searchings from past 6 months and seeing your replies i am hopeful I shall get a reply too.
    See I am very sure I want to do an MBA but am just off from college and wish to do so now.So I want to know whether getting a two years experience will be necessary/important or I should apply directly. As they are expensive exams I have to be very sure.
    Secondly, I am poor at complicated maths so I guess GRE will be easier but I don’t understand in multiple answers of a GRE question do I have to select all the three like in the question given above or choosing 1 or 2 of the rights will also be considered as the right answer?

  36. New member August 19, 2014 at 3:29 am #

    I still struggling with my issue.
    I am interested in applying to US, so that means GRE and GMAT are the only choices. So, far so good. But, I am indifferent between a few courses, like I want to apply to both MBA and Finance and select one when the admission is granted. I am not a native English speaker, so I think GRE would be a bit difficult. In case, I go for GMAT, would I still be able to apply for courses like Finance and Economics? Also, a quick questions, two students with same percentage score in GRE and GMAT with one seat available, who will be preferred?
    Thanks in advance.

    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele August 19, 2014 at 11:46 am #

      Hi New Member,

      Good questions! Though I’m not sure I’m really equipped to answer all of them :).

      So, the GMAT is ONLY good for b-school. If you want to do an MBA with a emphasis in finance, you are fine. If you want to get a masters in economics or finance (or a Ph.D. for that matter), then you can ONLY take the GRE. The GRE, however, is fine for b-school. As to who that final seat would go to? If it is a quant-heavy program, GMAT, probably. If it is a school that has long accepted the GRE (Harvard, Stanford), then the answer isn’t really clear.

      Hope that helps (at least somewhat :)).

      • new member August 20, 2014 at 2:54 am #

        Thanks a lot for your reply. It was significantly helpful. You are a genius.
        So, if I go for GMAT, MBA will be the only option for me. Right?
        On the other hand, GRE can take me to Masters in Finance and possibly MBA too. Correct?
        Thanks again for your help.

  37. Amanda August 18, 2014 at 10:22 am #

    I’ve heard that the scores for the GRE last for 5 years. I am not planning to start my MBA for a couple years still, but I would like to focus on preparing to take the test in the next 6 months or so. Do the scores for the GMAT last as long as the GRE? From what I have read on this page, I think I would do better with the GMAT. I would prefer to take that if my scores will still be valid in 2 years when I am applying for grad school. Let me know if you have any suggestions for me!

    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele August 18, 2014 at 1:15 pm #

      Hi Amanda,

      Yes, GMAT scores also last 5 years. Since many MBA programs just started accepting GRE scores, the assumption is that they are accepting scores for the revised GRE (which debuted in Aug. 2011). If your GRE scores are from before that time, I would recommend definitely taking the GMAT. Since you sound stronger at the GMAT this shouldn’t hopefully be a bad thing :).

  38. Omair August 5, 2014 at 10:39 pm #

    Hi there!
    It was really helpful but I am still confused with GRE and GMAT because I am preparing the GMAT for the last two months and now I realize that if I had gone for GRE I can apply to any program locally and international so can someone help me with this?
    As I am good in english grammer then vocabulary and not good in math. But GMAT has few parts in verbal and quantitative section.

    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele August 6, 2014 at 11:30 am #

      Hi Omair,

      If you are already prepping for GMAT, taking a GRE practice test shouldn’t be too bad. Get a sense of what you percent rankings are. With the GRE, doing better might largely come down to vocabulary and reading more advanced texts (The Atlantic and The New Yorker). Ending up taking both tests will give you a lot more options. And you might do significantly better on one test, something you can only know by having a go at both.

      Hope that helps ๐Ÿ™‚

  39. Sufyan August 4, 2014 at 3:24 am #

    I want to apply in Business courses,and don’t have much grip over my Maths abilities. Which test should I take? And please tell me that whether Business Schools will accept GRE?

    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele August 4, 2014 at 12:08 pm #


      Most business schools will accept the GRE. Some say that certain schools may weigh the GMAT more than the GRE, but that is hard to substantiate. So if your math is shaky and you have strong vocabulary/reading skills, I’d recommend the GRE.

      Good luck ๐Ÿ™‚

  40. John July 17, 2014 at 3:02 pm #


    Where did you get that a 326 combined GRE score is 90th percentile? I haven’t found any published information about percentiles for combined scores, but 326 seems too high (based on the published information about percentiles for math and verbal and reasonable estimates of correlation between the two sections).

  41. Animish June 23, 2014 at 4:42 am #

    The cost for GRE is now $195; not $185.

    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele June 23, 2014 at 10:54 am #

      Thanks for that helpful update ๐Ÿ™‚

  42. Non native speaker May 27, 2014 at 6:49 am #

    apologies and little correction here:

    So if asked for non native speaker students, GMAT is easier coz, this test puts us in relatively equal position with native speakers as higher standard of language and vocabulary is not required.

    • Margarette Jung
      Margarette May 27, 2014 at 5:29 pm #

      Thank you for both of your comments :). We have a lot of non-native students for bot the GRE and the GMAT, and we haven’t really found that either one is universally easier for them! It really depends on your strength: some non-native English speakers are better at learning and applying grammar rules (GMAT), and others are better at learning and using vocabulary words (GRE). Additionally, the students who are stronger in Math tend to favor the GMAT, since the GMAT has more difficult math content and they can really let their talents shine. So I would say you should evaluate your individual strengths, since there really isn’t a test that’s easier for non-native speakers. I hope that helps! ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Non native speaker May 28, 2014 at 1:40 am #

        Thank you Margarette. Personally, I agree with your comment. But seeing from different perspective the admission process is competitive. In my view it is like giving same exam paper to 10th grade and 8th grade students in case of GRE. But in case of GMAT, Math is universal and basically it is a matter of understanding the question correctly.

        Also I must admit that the discussion here is giving me lots of color on what i should do however, can i ask you and other guys one more question. While going through different information in the internet, I am getting sense that the B-schools prefer to receive GMAT score rather than GRE score even though they do not openly state it. Does this information have any merit? My intention is just to make sure I do not miss any chance. Below is one of the couple of examples i found.

        • Chris Lele
          Chris Lele May 28, 2014 at 3:51 pm #

          Hi, I just thought I’d chime in here :).

          I think that post had some merit at the time (I remember reading it on GMAT Hacks a few years back). Since then, the GRE has become more popular amongst b-schools and is now an inevitable piece of any b-school decision: which test should I take?

          I’d say your main focus should be determine via a mock test which test you perform better at in terms of percentile. If you score about the same, then take the test you feel you will be able to improve out more readily. Do you like studying vocabulary? Are you stronger at quant? That sort of thing.

          Good luck!

  43. Non native speaker May 27, 2014 at 6:46 am #

    Hi guys,

    Looks like you guys having good forum here. I have been googling about it and spent whole week for deciding which test to take. So, reading through all the stuffs, my first impression is:

    The both exams are designed for native speakers as i understand and English is not my mother tongue. So if asked for non native speaker students, GMAT is easier coz, this test puts us in relatively equal position with native speakers as higher standard of language and vocabulary is required.

    Please kindly comment if i am wrong or anything to be added.

  44. Sanyam Kaushik May 25, 2014 at 9:22 am #

    Very helpful info. And the best thing is that, a lot of information about the two has been covered very briefly and effectively…..

    • Margarette Jung
      Margarette May 27, 2014 at 5:36 pm #

      Thanks, Sanyam! I’m glad you liked it! ๐Ÿ™‚

  45. beth May 21, 2014 at 1:31 pm #

    couldn’t decide on which one to take this helped a lot!!

    • Margarette Jung
      Margarette May 22, 2014 at 1:15 pm #

      Hi, Beth! I’m glad we could help! ๐Ÿ™‚

  46. Flynn May 11, 2014 at 4:10 am #

    Thanks a lot Chris.. The details and visual explanations did make things very simple and cleared all possible doubt !

    A question tough : As I am planning to pursue my MSc in Hospitality & Operations Management GRE is the best option right? I have checked with the University, they have left the option to me either GRE or GMAT ? Please advice.

    Once again a BIG thank you and god bless !!

    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele May 12, 2014 at 11:28 am #

      Hi Flynn,

      Glad the infographic was helpful!

      Regarding your question: take whichever test you feel more comfortable at. If you are very strong at math, then that may be the GMAT. If you like vocabulary and reading passages, then the GRE is the test for you.

      Good luck, and hope that helps ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Sreejeta June 26, 2014 at 12:08 pm #

        Hi Chris:

        I am contemplating business school for myself and was collecting all kinds of useful study resources for GMAT. I have never been great in standardized tests, esp. the GRE and during graduate school I didn’t really get a good score(although a respectable one to get through school….thankfully) ๐Ÿ™‚ .
        Now with GMAT I definitely want to devote my time productively to get through a reputable business management evening school.
        Based on your tutoring experience, do you think a bad GRE past score has ever showed any correlation or relativity with a GMAT performance .

        My maths is not that great, can you suggest some good study resources to survive the GMAT. Also what does Magoosh has to offer in Integrated reasoning?

        Thanks a lot in advance.

        • Chris Lele
          Chris Lele June 26, 2014 at 2:58 pm #

          Hi Sreejata,

          I would say there is a little bit of correlation. But people do change. And knowing that you can do significantly better on this test can actually make a big difference :).

          That said, the GMAT does have a more difficult math section. As long as you work hard, and prep with more vigor than when you took the GRE, I’m sure you can make significant improvements.

          Magoosh does offer Integrated Reasoning. We’ve got quite a few questions, so you’ll have plenty of practice.

          I hope that helps, and let me know if you have any more GMAT-related questions ๐Ÿ™‚

  47. Vishal April 18, 2014 at 8:10 am #


    Magoosh has been of great help. I hope to sign up soon. Keep up the great work. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele April 18, 2014 at 10:31 am #

      Thanks, Vishal ๐Ÿ™‚

  48. Kamal March 25, 2014 at 9:58 pm #

    Great Blog! Understood everything about GRE vs. GMAT in 10 mins ๐Ÿ˜€

    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele March 26, 2014 at 11:54 am #

      Awesome! I’m happy this infographic is resonating with others. It really simplifies things :).

      • Lily December 26, 2014 at 10:47 am #

        Hi Chris, I took GRE for my current master program at Stanford. I did only Okay (160/162) and am thinking about a dual MBA/JD program in the future (will go to work for a couple years after I graduate from Stanford). I know that I should finish all tests while I’m still at school. So I’m just wondering should I retake my GRE or consider taking GMAT if my targets are Stanford, Harvard, etc.. I would say that I’m equally good (or bad:) at quant and verbal. Thank you so much!!!

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