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GRE vs. GMAT

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.

Which test should you take? Use our new infographic to decide!


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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!

 

About the Author

Chris Lele has been helping students excel on the GRE, GMAT, and SAT for the last 10 years. He is the Lead Content Developer and Tutor for Magoosh. His favorite food is wasabi-flavored almonds. Follow him on Google+!

20 Responses to GRE vs. GMAT

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

    Hi,

    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).

  2. 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 :)

  3. 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
      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! :)

      • 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.

        http://www.gmathacks.com/business-school-admissions/gmat-or-gre.html

        • 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!

  4. 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.

  5. 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
      Margarette May 27, 2014 at 5:36 pm #

      Thanks, Sanyam! I’m glad you liked it! :)

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

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

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

      Hi, Beth! I’m glad we could help! :)

  7. 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 :)

      • 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) :) .
        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 :)

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

    Hey,

    Magoosh has been of great help. I hope to sign up soon. Keep up the great work. :)

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

      Thanks, Vishal :)

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

    Great Blog! Understood everything about GRE vs. GMAT in 10 mins :D

    • 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 :).


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