Six Big Differences Between The GMAT & The GRE

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Six Big Differences Between The GMAT & The GRE

Over 1200 business schools now accept the GRE worldwide, according to a Kaplan Test Prep.

For MBA applicants, what’s the difference between the two exams, and how do business schools view each?

Ilana Kowarski, a reporter at US News, recently spoke to experts on the six main differences between the GRE and GMAT.


Experts say the GMAT tends to focus more on quantitative questions when compared to the GRE.

“As a result, students with stronger math skills may want to take the GMAT in order to demonstrate those skills,” Dan Edmonds, a test prep tutor with the New York-based admissions consulting firm IvyWise, tells US News. “Further, if you plan to apply to a program that values math skills, that program may look more favorably on the GMAT than the GRE.”


On the flip side, the GRE’s verbal section tends to be more difficult than the GMAT, especially for non-native English speakers.

“The GRE verbal section is generally more difficult than the GMAT verbal section; that difficulty is in large part driven by the extent to which the GRE tests tough vocabulary,” Edmonds tells US News.


If you’re interested in pursuing a management consulting or investment banking career, it may be wiser to stick with the GMAT, experts say.

“The test does place a heavier focus on quantitative and analytical skills – interpreting data presented in text, charts, and tables to solve complex problems, for example,” according to Top MBA. “Tasks are therefore customized to evaluate skills seen as being specific to business managers.”


The GMAT and GRE both differ in how they’re proctored and taken.

For instance, the GRE allows you to skip and return to questions in each section – something experts say can help reduce testing anxiety.

“In practice, the time constraints are so tight on both exams that you don’t really have time to come back anyway, but just knowing that you could make a big difference for some people,” Stacey Koprince, content and curriculum lead with Manhattan Prep, tells US News. “It allows them to let go more easily, where, on the GMAT, they might get completely stuck and really mess up their timing, and therefore, their score.”


Experts say when comparing the two exams, the GMAT tends to have more readily-available practice testing materials.

While the GRE offers five official practice exams, GMAC (which administers the GMAT) offers six.

“One of the biggest challenges for those prepping for the GRE is the relative lack of official materials, relative to what one can get from GMAC, so these additional practice tests somewhat level the playing field for GRE test-takers,” Erfun Geula, the owner-operator of two test prep companies, GRE Compass and GMAT Compass, tells US News.


When it comes to reporting scores, the GRE tends to be more lenient.

Repeat GRE test takers can choose which of their GRE scores they want to report to schools.

Sources: US News, Kaplan Test Prep, Top MBA

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