GRE and GMAT- A Brief Overview

If you are aspiring to join a graduate or business program abroad, you sure have heard of GRE and GMAT competitive tests. But, which one should you take and why? What are GRE and GMAT? Read on to find more about these popular tests that are accepted worldwide.

What is GRE?

The Graduate Record Exam (GRE) is an admission test for graduate schools in the United States and across many other countries around the world. Today, this standardized test is accepted by many business schools worldwide as well, for admissions into their business programs. Developed and conducted by Educational Testing Service (ETS), the test measures your skills in critical thinking, verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning and analytical writing; the core areas that might be required for working with graduate-level programs. Here is a list of a few of the important GRE facts:

  • The test is administered worldwide in about 700 test centers, every year.

  • It is mostly conducted as a computer-based test throughout the year; however, in locations with limited accessibility, the test is administered in the traditional paper-based format and less frequently.

  • For both CBT and paper-based versions of the GRE revised General Test, you may apply online using your My GRE account.

  • To better reflect the kind of skills required of you at graduate-level or business programs, the test was revised in 2011. The GRE General Test is now called the GRE revised General Test.

  • There are three sections in this test: Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, and Analytical Writing.

  • There is no pass or fail in GRE. Your performance at every level is measured and scored on standard scales. All parts of the revised General Test are given due importance, while scoring.

  • The GRE revised General Test is accepted by many graduate and business programs worldwide. A list of accepting institutions is available online at:

  • If required, you may retest after 60 days of taking the test and only five times within a continuous 12-month period.

For more information, refer to the official website (

What is GMAT?

Just like GRE, the GMAT is also an admission requirement for many schools worldwide, but only for business programs. Started in 1954 by group of business institutes, the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) is required and recognized by over 5000 business programs around the world today.

  • GMAT is conducted in English and is delivered around the world, all over the year.

  • The Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), an organization of business schools conducts the test with support from Pearson VUE (for test administering) and ACT Inc. (for content development, scoring, and research).

  • There are three different parts in the test to measure your abilities and skills in verbal, quantitative, analytical and writing areas.

  • It is a computer adaptive test, which adapts to your ability levels.

  • You may take the test after 31 calendar days of a previous test, but not more than five times in a year (starting from the date of the previous test).                               

  • For more information, refer to the official website (

Difference between GRE GMAT

So, how are these tests different? And why should you prefer one over the other? Here are some of the important differences between them.

  • GMAT is designed to predict how successful a candidate would be in a business program like MBA and is accepted by many leading business schools around the globe. On the contrary, GRE is used for admission into several graduate programs, and for some business programs, as well.

  • GMAT is a computer-adaptive test. That is, the test adjusts to your individual performance and ability as it progresses. At the beginning of the test, you might be presented with a question of medium difficulty, and based on your answer to the question (whether correct or incorrect), the difficulty levels of the following questions are set. GRE, on the other hand, is administered mainly as a computer-based test, where the questions are predetermined.

  • While GRE is conducted as a CBT and as a paper-based test, GMAT is conducted only as a computer-adaptive test.

  • GRE, having sets of predetermined questions takes a fixed amount of time to complete the test. On the other hand, GMAT, because it adapts to your individual ability might shorten time required to finish the test.

  • In GRE General Test, you receive three scores for each of the different sections; in GMAT, you receive four scores, three for each of three tests and one total.

  • In addition to the GRE revised General Test, there are Subject Tests, as well, which might help you enhance your chances to graduate school admission for particular subjects. However, GMAT catering to business school admission only, it does not conduct any specific subject test.

Both tests are standardized admission tests upon which many institutions around the globe rely. However, GMAT is intended for admission into business programs only. Also, depending on the institution you are seeking admission into; you might need to take either of the tests. It is therefore important that you check with the specific institution for its requirements, before you decide between the tests.