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gre vs gmat

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GRE versus GMAT - All you need to know

Thinking of studying abroad? Not sure whether to appear for the GRE or GMAT? Knowing about the tests and what they are all about can make the decision much easier.

What is GRE?

Here, GRE stands for Graduate Record Examination, a standardized test conducted and administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS), an independent, nonprofit organization devoted to educational assessment and research.

It was in 1947 that the College Entrance Examination Board, the American Council on Education, and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching came together to form the ETS. 

How many types of GRE tests are available?

Two types of GRE tests are available - 

  • GRE General Test for graduate schools, including law and business
  • GRE Subject Tests that measure your knowledge in a particular field of study

The GRE test to appear for you will be as per your individual requirements and purpose for appearing for the test. 

Who takes the GRE Test?

1. GRE General Test 

Taken by those exploring study abroad options and interested in taking up either of the following overseas - 

  • Master’s, 
  • Specialized Master’s in Business, 
  • MBA, 
  • Doctoral Degrees, or 
  • Juris Doctor (JD), an American law degree.

Providing schools with a common yardstick of comparison, GRE General scores are used by admissions panels to supplement your undergraduate records for studying internationally at the graduate level.

GRE General scores are accepted by various graduate, law, and business schools worldwide. 

2. GRE Subject Tests 

Achievement tests measuring your knowledge in a specific field of study, the GRE Subject Tests are intended for students in particular disciplines - Psychology, Physics, Chemistry, and Mathematics

Graduate school applicants come from diverse backgrounds. GRE Subject Tests provide a common benchmark for comparing the qualifications of the candidates against one another and are accepted by many graduate schools. 

GRE Tests and Structure 


GRE General Test 

GRE Subject Tests 

Total duration

3 hours and 45 minutes 

2 hours and 50 minutes 


6 sections (10-minute break after the third section) 

No separately timed sections 


Analytical Writing 

  • 2 tasks 
  • 30 minutes per task 

Chemistry Test 

130 multiple choice questions 

Content Specifications 

  1. Analytical Chemistry - 15%
  2. Inorganic Chemistry - 25%
  3. Organic Chemistry - 30%
  4. Physical Chemistry - 30%

Verbal Reasoning

  • 2 sections
  • 20 questions per section
  • 30 minutes per section 


66 multiple choice questions 

Content Specifications 

Calculus - 50%

Algebra - 25%

Additional topics - 25%


Quantitative Reasoning

  •  2 sections
  • 20 questions per section
  • 35 minutes per section 

An on-screen calculator is provided. 

Physics Test 

100 five-choice questions 

Content Specifications 

  1. Classical Mechanics - 20%
  2. Electromagnetism - 18%
  3. Optics and Wave Phenomena - 9%
  4. Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics - 10%
  5. Quantum Mechanics - 12%
  6. Atomic Physics - 10%
  7. Special Relativity - 6%
  8. Laboratory methods - 6%
  9. Specialized topics - 9%

Test locations

Can take the test either - 

  • At home, or
  • At test centre 


205 multiple choice questions

Content Specifications 

  1. Biological (17-21%)
  2. Cognitive (17-24%)
  3. Social (12-14%)
  4. Developmental (12-14%)
  5. Clinical (15-19%)
  6. Measurement /Methodology/Other (15-19%)

Test dates 

Can appear once every 21 days, up to five times within 365 days. 

Can be taken as often as they are offered. Registration for the year generally opens in July. 

What is GMAT?

The GMAT stands for the Graduate Management Admission Test. The most popular exam for those planning to take up MBA programs, the GMAT helps you stand out from the other applicants during the admission process.

With a good GMAT score, you gain an edge over the rest. 

Introduced in 1953 by nine leading business schools, the GMAT exam is the only standardized test specifically built for business school admissions

Who administers the GMAT?

The GMAT is administered by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), a nonprofit association of leading graduate business schools. 

Who accepts GMAT score?

GMAT scores are accepted by 6,500+ graduate business programs at around 2,100 universities and organizations across the world.   

Why take the GMAT?

A proven predictor of your ability for succeeding in a program, the GMAT conveys to business schools that you have a graduate business degree as your aim. Reasoning skills and critical thinking are measured by the GMAT.

Skills, that is, holding the most relevance to graduate business programs globally. 

How many types of GMAT tests are available?

While there is only one GMAT Test, you can appear for the same at a Test Centre or online. 

GMAT at Test Centre versus GMAT Online 


At Test Centre 

GMAT Online 


Three hours and seven minutes, plus an additional 30 minutes for check in 


Four sections, to be completed as per the order of choice. 

Analytical Writing Assessment 

30 minutes, one question

Analysis of an argument. 

Integrated Reasoning 

30 minutes, 12 questions

  • Graphics interpretation 
  • Multi-source reasoning 
  • Table analysis
  • Two-part analysis

Quantitative Reasoning

62 minutes, 31 questions

  • Data sufficiency
  • Problem solving

Verbal Reasoning 

65 minutes, 36 questions 

  • Sentence correction
  • Critical reasoning
  • Reading comprehension

Appointment availability 

Available seven days a week, can be scheduled up to six months in advance. 

Available round the clock. 


  • Unofficial score will be displayed on screen upon completion of the exam. 
  • Official scores can generally be viewed online within seven calendar days 


Can make up to five attempts within a 12-month rolling period. A total of eight lifetime GMAT attempts are available.  

Score validity 

Scores are valid for five years. 

Is the GRE or GMAT easier?

The GRE is generally regarded to be objectively easier as compared to the GMAT. The exam that you should appear for must be one that does full justice to your personality, based on your individual strengths. 

While both GRE and GMAT test almost the same math content, GMAT tends to place more emphasis on logical thinking or Quantitative Reasoning. Using the old-school approach and focusing on textbook maths, the GRE might not be all that useful for business schools. 

The GRE exam allows you to switch between sections as you answer. The GMAT, on the other hand, requires you to answer each question in the order that they are given.

If you are appearing for the GMAT, you will not be able to come back to a question once it has been answered. The GRE, therefore, might be easier for individuals that might have performance anxiety

GRE vs GMAT: Which should I take?

Both are the widely-accepted tests for MBA and business master’s admissions.  The GMAT  is purpose-built for business schools. A general graduate school exam, the GRE is accepted by various non-business graduate programs as well.

Appearing for the GMAT is generally the preferred option for those looking at MBA as part of their study abroad plan. 

Simply put, take the GMAT to show that you mean business

GRE to GMAT conversion: Why you can't compare scores? 

As the GRE and the GMAT are different tests that measure different content, there is no established equivalency between the two. The GMAT is targeted at business schools. The GRE is a general test and not related to a particular field of study as such.

While there are some tools that can help predict GMAT scores based on GRE scores, they have often been found to provide an inaccurate comparison. 

What are the different types of business degrees?

The most popular business degrees include - 

  • Master of Business Administration (MBA) programs: available as Full-Time MBA, Part-Time MBA, Executive MBA, and Online MBA. 
  • Business master’s, for those who are recent bachelor graduates or have a few year’s work experience. Such as, Master of Marketing, Master of Business Analytics, Master of Management etc. 
  • Research-based business degrees, for early-to-mid career professionals. Such as, Business PhD, Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) etc. 

Is business school worth it?

As per an mba.com report Is Business School Worth It: The Transformative Power of a Graduate Business Degree “Most business school graduates see an immediate professional payoff for their degree, as well as sustained professional growth over time.”

Quick takeaways 

  • 87% of graduates agreed that their business degree increased their employability
  • 76% of graduates agreed that their business school experience prepared them for leadership positions
  • 83% programs offering merit-based scholarships
  • 87% of full-time MBA graduates had job offers three months after graduation
  • 70% graduates agreed their business school experience prepared them to work in culturally-diverse organizations
  • 70% of recruiters agreed that employees with a graduate business degree tend to earn more than others in their organization

A good GMAT score can get you closer to securing admission in the business school of your choice. Accepted at business schools worldwide, GRE scores can also be used for admission into various graduate and professional schools, including law. 

Princeton Review allows you to check where you stand in various tests - such as GRE and GMAT - through a Free Practice Test

Other FAQs

Do universities prefer GRE or GMAT?

Business schools require the prospective students to take either the GMAT or the GRE, based on the specific field of study they will be applying to. Generally, you can submit either a GRE or GMAT score, unless a specific test is asked for.

As per the Stanford Graduate School of Business, also referred to as Stanford GSB, “We have no preference for one test over the other”.

Is GRE acceptable for MBA?

Yes, GRE scores are accepted for study abroad MBA programs. Top US universities that accept GRE scores for business programs include - 

  • Harvard University (MBA)
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MBA STEM)
  • Stanford University (Master of Business Administration)
  • Arizona State University (Full Time MBA)
  • Pace University (MBA in Business Analytics)
  • Purdue University (Full-time MBA) 
  • Columbia University (MBA) 

Is GRE score useful in India?

GRE scores are accepted by many business schools - for admission to some or all of their MBA programs - throughout India.

Indian business schools that accept GRE scores are - 

  • Indian Institute of Management Lucknow IPMX (Noida Campus)
  • Xavier Labour Relations Inst XLRI
  • Bharati Vidyapeeth (Deemed to be University) 
  • Indian Institute of Management Udaipur
  • JECRC University
  • Indian Institute of Management Bangalore (ePGP)
  • Indian Institute of Management Raipur (FPM)
  • Institute of Management Technology
  • Indian School of Business
  • Woxsen School of Business
  • Universal Business School
  • Indian Institute of Management Kozhikode
  • Jagdish Sheth School of Management
  • Aryans Business School
  • BITS School of Management
  • Indian Institute of Management Kashipur
  • S.P. Jain Institute of Management and Research
  • Varanasi College of Management Science
  • Sharda University School of Business Studies
  • Amrita School of Business Bengaluru
  • International School of Management Excellence
  • Peoples Education Society
  • Lovely Professional University & MBA
  • Aegis School of Business
  • Myra School of Business
  • Global School of Management
  • Ahmedabad University
  • Alliance University, School of Business
  • Amrita School of Business Amritapuri
  • IIKM Business School
  • Galgotias University School of Business
  • Amrita School of Business Coimbatore
  • Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad (ePGP)
  • Amrita School of Business Kochi
  • Asia Graduate School of Business
  • Indian Institute of Management Visakhapatnam (PGP-DGM/PGPEx)

Is GRE accepted in Canada?

Yes, GRE scores are accepted in Canada. Business schools in Canada that accept GRE scores - 

  • Brock University
  • Cape Breton University (Community Economic Development)
  • Carleton University
  • Concordia University
  • Dalhousie University (MBA in Financial Services)
  • HEC Montreal
  • Ivey Business School Toronto
  • Lakehead University
  • McGill University
  • McMaster University
  • Queens University School of Business
  • St. Mary's University
  • Thompson Rivers University
  • University of Alberta
  • University of British Columbia
  • University of Calgary
  • University of New Brunswick – Fredericton
  • University of Quebec at Rimouski
  • University Canada West
  • University of Manitoba
  • University of New Brunswick — Saint John
  • University of Ontario Institute of Technology
  • University of Ottawa
  • University of Toronto
  • University of Victoria
  • University of Western Ontario
  • Wilfrid Laurier University
  • York University

Is GRE only for USA?

No. GRE is not only for the USA. GRE scores are accepted by business schools across the world.

GRE scores are accepted in the following countries, among others - United States and US territories, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Spain, Singapore, the UK, the UAE, Switzerland etc. 

How long is GRE valid for?

Your GRE scores will be valid, and reportable, for five years from your test date. 

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