The most common question that quiz the minds of the study abroad aspirants planning for the management program, is whether to choose to take the GMAT or the GRE test (i.e., GRE vs GMAT). There are many management-related programs, remarkably in the top MBA schools in the world that accepts both GMAT and GRE scores. The primary reason why students stumble upon this question is to know which test is much easier to crack and holds wider acceptance in B-Schools. So, let us look at the level of depth involved in these tests for various sections and also the type of questions that are usually asked:

Structural Difference in Test Format:

 GMAT is a Computer Adaptive Test and GRE is a Sectional Adaptive test. The difficulty level of the questions rises/falls based upon the previous question performance, whether it’s right/wrong whereas GRE is a sectional adaptive which means the subsequent sub-section goes to higher/lower difficulty level based on previous section performance



·       Computer Adaptive Test: Each question varies its difficulty level based on previous question performance

·       Sectional Adaptive Test: Each sub-section of Math and Verbal varies upon the performance on the previous section

·       Four sections: AWA with one Essay, IR(12Q’s), Math(31Q’s) & Verbal(36 Q’s)

·       AWA: 2 essays(Issue & Argument), two weighted sections of Math and two weighted sections of Verbal

·       Composite Score Range: 200 to 800; AWA: (0-6) points,

Math & Verbal Raw Score: (0-60) points

·       Composite Score Range: 260 -340; Math: 130-170; Verbal: 130-170

AWA: 0-6

·       Math: Two Question Types; Problem Solving and Data Sufficiency

·       Verbal: Three Question Types; Sentence Correction, Critical Reasoning, Reading Comprehension

·       Math: Four Question Types; Single right answer & Multiple right answer Question, Quant Comp, Numerical Entry, Data Interpretation

·       Verbal: RC, Sentence completion & Text Equivalence

·       Skipping question not possible

·       Focused on logic and Reasoning

·       Test Fee: $250

·       Can Navigate through questions in the Section

·       Focused on concepts and application

·       Test Fee: $205

·       Scores accepted for 2-year Full-time MBA, Ph.D. in Management and MIM programs

·       Scores accepted for Masters in Management and STEM programs including Ph.D.

·       GMAT will test your grammar and comprehension skills to the hilt and would not care too much about your vocabulary.

·       GRE, you will be tested with complex and uncommon words with less focus on the reasoning of sentence formation

·       GMAT was designed for one purpose – to test whether undergraduates and professionals from different fields had the basic prerequisites for building a successful business career.

·       GRE has near-universal validity across graduate degrees in every domain abroad – its power extends even into non-traditional fields like Business Management


It is important to also note that these two tests are similar in quite many ways. Following are a few points which are worth taking note of.

  • Both test scores are valid for five years. They assume English proficiency and basic Numerical skills. Both tests require you to Master Basic Algebra, Arithmetic, Geometry, Data Analysis, Reading, and Critical reasoning skills.
  • Both tests are lengthy and are beyond 3hours of duration which is undoubtedly going to be a test of patience, energy, and concentration level. GMAT in total takes just under 3 1/2 hours to complete, including two optional breaks whereas GRE is almost about three hours forty-five minutes.
  • According to the ETS, GRE scores are now accepted by thousands of MBA programs around the world and this number is growing each day. Check out a comprehensive list of B-schools that accept GRE scores.
  • GMAT and GRE tests can be taken any time in the year when you feel ready for the test and these tests also allow you to reschedule on demand

Verbal vs. Mathematics: Due to its Business focus, GMAT is heavily weighted towards Math-related questions. GRE is less Quantitative and more Verbal, which makes it difficult for non-native English speakers.

In general, most Indian applicants to MBA programs would be happy taking the GMAT. Here is why:

  1. The GMAT is more widely accepted
  2. GMAT is better for demonstrating your Math skills
  3. GMAT does not involve building a large vocabulary

Bottom Line: Even though now the GRE score is accepted by most business schools, still it hasn’t gained much wider acceptance like that of GMAT, so you need to check with business schools you applying to whether accepts GRE – GRE acceptance cannot be taken for granted. Moreover, it is unclear whether every business school that accepts GRE gives the same weightage as GMAT (maybe they do give GRE the same weight – but there isn’t a way to be sure). If you are still far from deciding which business schools you are going to apply to, the GMAT is a safer bet than the GRE, since acceptance is guaranteed.