GRE and GMAT-A Comparison

The GRE and GMAT are both standardized tests that are conducted for those individuals who are aiming for higher education mostly in the English speaking countries of the world. The comparison between the two exams is a topic that often comes up when candidates want to choose between the two tests so that they can take the test that best suits their requirements. Nonetheless, their comparison is good to know even for general interest. The following is a tabulated comparison of a few aspects of both the tests:

Point of Comparison




Graduate Record Examination

Graduate Management Admission Test


To assess the ability and aptitude of individuals for graduate programs mainly in the US and Canada.

To assess the ability and aptitude of individuals for management programs mainly in the US and Canada.

Difficulty Level

The GRE tests the individual's ability through questions that are equally or similarly difficult. The questions may seem difficult or easy for different individuals but, they have not been designed in an irregular way. The questions are common for all individuals taking the test. They are not altered according to the capabilities of the individuals, taking the test. Due to this parity in the level of difficulty, while taking the test, candidates can go back and answer questions or reconsider their answers and go back to change them. There is no restriction for reviewing in the test.

The GMAT questions are designed in a way that their levels of difficulty increases or decreases as candidates answer them. The questions follow a pattern where moderately difficult questions are asked first. This is done to determine the level of proficiency of candidates. After the assessment of the candidate is over, the test progresses further based on the determined difficulty level. Due to this reason, candidates cannot repeat a question in the GMAT or keep questions for reconsideration.

Areas of Focus

English, Mathematics and Data Analysis are the main subjects of the GRE test with a clear focus given to English and Verbal skills.

It is focussed on those subjects that are commonly required for any graduate program that uses the test scores for admissions.GRE scores are generally not used for admissions in management or business schools.

English, Mathematics and Data Analysis are the main subjects but there is a clear focus on Mathematics and Data analysis.

It is focussed on specific business and management oriented topics.

Test Sections

  1. Verbal Reasoning

  2. Quantitative Reasoning

  3. Analytical Writing

  1. Analytical Writing Assessment

  2. Quantitative Section

  3. Verbal Ability Section

Unique aspect

In the Quantitative Reasoning section of the GRE, a lot of questions require candidates to compare between two given arguments before answering them. These kinds of quantitative comparisons are a unique feature of the GRE test.

In the Quantitative Section of the test, there is a unique format of test questions which can be seen mostly or rather only in the GMAT. These questions require candidates to assess two sets of data and then answer whether the data stands true, singularly, together, in part or if there isn't enough data to answer the question.

Candidates sometimes find these GMAT questions very intimidating.

As it is evident by the above-mentioned respective sections of the two tests, in certain respects they can be called the two sides of the same coin. Both the tests try to ascertain how academically proficient an individual is in the basics of the English language, Mathematics and skills pertaining to Data Interpretation. Through their Writing sections also test an individual's capacity for creativity and the ability to think out-of-the-box. Mathematical understanding and speed in numerical calculations is also the key to excel in both these tests. Both the tests do not consider the actual total scores of the candidates taking the test but statistically derive their scores from the actual total scores. These derived scored are expressed in different ways like averages and percentiles but, depict the same thing and that is; a comparative analysis of an individual with respect to all the other test-takers.

Their scores may be considered together during admissions in certain colleges and institutes. However, candidates need to remember that prior to taking these tests, they should check with their prospective colleges and institutes to know which test scores they would consider on priority. Candidates also need to understand that there is no such thing as an easy or difficult test. Tests are subjective to the individuals taking the tests and therefore, they both can be called equally difficult or equally simple tests.