GMAT vs GRE:the Difference?

Students must meet very strict criteria if they want to be considered for a competitive university. In addition to fulfilling numerous recommendations, writing essays, and maintaining grades, students must take an additional test such as the GRE and GMAT that determine whether or not they are accepted into their dream programs.

For many universities around the world, the GRE (Graduate Record Examination) and the GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test) are the two most popular admission tests. Students take one or the other when applying to their desired university, depending on the requirements of the specific university or the student’s skills.

Some reputable universities accept one of the two, while others are strict on a particular one. So, for the students who are asking, “What test should I take to apply for universities?”, continue reading this article.

What is the difference?

Most students are generally clueless when it comes to the difference between the two tests. Both have sections for English and Math, so what’s the difference?

Well, as the names suggest, the big difference is in the purpose of the test. The GMAT is mainly for MBA and business school admissions while GRE is accepted for all other types of programs and universities.

Thus, the GRE is the more popular of the two, with students from a wide spectrum of subject areas. While many business schools have relaxed the criteria and are now accepting the GRE, it’s best to inquire ahead of time about the requirements of your specific university and programs so you can register for the appropriate test in time.

There are other differences between the two tests. Here’s a breakdown of the comparative analysis of the two.


The GRE is an exam that lasts a total of 3 hours and 45 minutes. The exam is sufficient for almost all graduate programs, except for business schools, unless otherwise stated.

The GRE costs $195 and is taken by nearly 655,000 students annually. This test can be taken either in computer form or on paper a few times a year. The structure and format of the test are as follows.

  • 1 analytical part with 2 essays
  • 2 verbal sections
  • 2 quantitative sections

The GRE is considered the easier of the two when it comes to math problems, perhaps because it allows the use of a calculator, while the GMAT does not. You will receive separate scores for all three parts of the test, with scores ranging from 130-170.

Is the GRE easier?

Compared to other graduate exams such as the MCAT or LSAT, the GRE is often considered less difficult because it requires less specialized knowledge, has an easier curve, and generally has less challenging math questions.


The Graduate Management Admission test, on the other hand, takes 3 hours and 30 minutes. The test is specifically designed for prospective business school applicants and is only taken by about 250,000 students each year. However, it costs a significant amount more than the GRE and costs $250. The GMAT can only be taken in computer form and consists of:

  • 1 analytical section with one essay
  • 1 section Integrated reasoning
  • 1 Quantitative section
  • 1 Verbal part

The GMAT is considered more difficult than the GRE because of its focus on reasoning and more complex quantitative questions, which must be done without a calculator. The candidate will receive 5 separate test scores; one for each section and one cumulative. The score ranges from 200-800 points.

Why is the GMAT difficult?

Because the GMAT is a Computer Adaptive Test (CAT), the difficulty of the question is adjusted according to your performance. The first question is of medium difficulty. If you give the correct answer, the questions become more difficult.

Talk to our IDP education advisors to see which test is accepted by the university you are looking for. You will also get detailed information about the university requirements before registering for your GREs or GMATs.