The GRE vs. The GMAT
programs across the nation require prospective students to submit
either a GRE score or a GMAT score. Although the GMAT is always
used in the business school application process and the GRE is usually
used for other graduate majors, some programs give applicants the
option of submitting the results of either exam. If a university
gives you the opportunity to choose between the two exams, pick
the one you can master most easily. Since the two tests are both
given on computer and contain the same basic sections, you must
examine the contents of each test in order to make the best choice.
To begin, compare the sections on each test:
Analysis of an Argument
Each test has
Quantitative, Verbal, and Writing components, but as you can see
from the table, the types of questions within each section are not
always the same.
sections of each exam cover extremely similar concepts, and both
tests contain high school level arithmetic, algebra, and geometry.
Word problems are math problems where each question presents a problem
and offers five answer choices. Here is an example:
If 2x + 4
= 16, then x =
answer is (E). There is one major difference between the two quantitative
sections: the GMAT has an additional problem type called Data Sufficiency
and the GRE offers an extra format called Quantitative Comparison.
questions on the GMAT consist of a question followed by two different
statements, numbered (1) and (2). For example:
Is the integer
(1) x is the product of two different prime numbers.
(2) x is divisible by 7.
The answer choices
test you ability to evaluate whether the information in the two
statements is sufficient to lead to a solution to the problem:
(A) if (1)
alone is sufficient to solve the problem
(B) if (2) alone is sufficient to solve the problem
(C) if both statements together are sufficient to solve the problem
(D) if each statement alone is sufficient to solve the problem
(E) if the statements together are not sufficient to fully answer
The answer above
is (E). While this problem is considered to be at the easier end
of the spectrum, data sufficiency problems get progressively more
difficult throughout the test, incorporating algebra, arithmetic,
The GRE offers
its own unique math problem—the Quantitative Comparison. “Quant
Comp” questions are unique because you do not have to solve
them; you simply must compare two values to determine which is greater.
Each problem contains two columns, labeled Column A and Column B.
In each column is a number, a statement, a variable, or a problem:
If the quantity
in Column A is greater, select (A) as you answer. If the quantity
in Column B is greater, choose (B). Should the quantities in the
two columns be equal, pick (C). And finally, if the relationship
cannot be determined from the given information, select (D). The
answer to the problem above is (B). Quantitative Comparison questions
test arithmetic, algebra, and geometry.
find that both Data Sufficiency and Quantitative Comparison questions
are challenging at first, but with practice you should become more
comfortable with their formats. It is generally agreed, however,
that Data Sufficiency is more difficult to master.
The only similarity
between the verbal sections of the GMAT and GRE is the Reading Comprehension
question type. Reading Comprehension questions present a 100 to
400 word passage, followed by three or four multiple choice questions.
The GMAT has
two additional Verbal question types: Critical Reasoning and Sentence
Correction. Critical Reasoning questions present a short statement
or argument (two or three sentences), and then test your ability
to use logic to evaluate the statement. These questions have multiple
choice answers. Sentence Correction questions contain a sentence
in which a part of the sentence is underlined. The answer choices
will analyze your ability to identify and correct errors in grammar
and usage in the underlined portion.
The GRE contains
three additional Verbal question types: Analogies, Antonyms, and
Sentence Completions. All of these question types have multiple
choice answers and are vocabulary-dependent. Analogies test your
ability to recognize relationships among words (“A banana
is to yellow as a cucumber is to…”). For Antonyms, each
question provides a single word and you must pick a word from the
five answer choices that has a meaning most nearly opposite. Sentence
Completion questions contain a sentence with one or two words or
phrases missing. From the answer choices, you must pick the missing
words that best fit the meaning of the sentence.
The GRE and
GMAT essentially have the same writing sections. Both exams give
you two prompts: one prompt asks the student to analyze an issue
and the other asks the student to take a position on an issue and
present an argument for the issue. In the Issue prompt you are asked
to give your opinion on a statement; in the Argument prompt you
are asked to analyze the logical validity of a short argument.
Both the GRE
and the GMAT use a Computer Adaptive Testing (CAT) format. The CAT
format chooses which questions to ask test takers based on their
ability to answer questions with varying difficulty levels. Although
both are CAT exams, each provides scores differently. The GRE gives
three different scaled scores:
- Verbal Score
on a scale of 200 to 800
Score on a scale of 200 to 800
Writing Score on a scale of 0 to 6
The GMAT provides
four separate scores:
- A Quantitative
Score on a scale of 0 to 60
- A Verbal
Score on a scale of 0 to 60
- A Total
Score on a scale of 200 to 800
- An Analytical
Writing Assessment Score on a scale of 0 to 6
For the GMAT,
the Quantitative and Verbal scores are section scores, and these
two section scores are combined to create the Total Score. The Total
Score is the one most familiar to GMAT test takers, and it is given
on the famous 200 to 800 scale, with 200 being the lowest score
and 800 the highest score.
price to take the GMAT is $200, while the GRE costs $115.
You should now
a have a better understanding of the differences between the GMAT
and the GRE. If you are trying to decide between the two tests,
consider the following:
- If you have
an excellent vocabulary, consider taking the GRE.
- If you have
very strong math skills, consider taking the GMAT.
- If your
verbal and math skills are about equal, consider taking the GRE.
- If you are
applying to a program focusing specifically on your Quantitative
or Verbal scores (such as Engineering or English), consider taking
- If English
is your second language, consider taking the GMAT.
If you choose
to take the GRE or GMAT, PowerScore offers preparation and counseling
for the GRE, GMAT, and we offer nationwide graduate
school admissions assistance programs.
that accept both GRE and GMAT results
is a sampling of programs that accept both the GRE and GMAT. When
applying to a program, we recommend contacting the school for information
on the exams required for admission.
University of Mississippi:
of Arts - Economics
Doctor of Philosophy - Economics
Doctor of Philosophy - Business Administration- All areas
Master of Science - Pharmaceutical Sciences- Pharmacy Administration
Doctor of Philosophy - Pharmacy Administration
Institute of Technology (MIT)
Design and Management Program
Master of Engineering in Logistics
of Nevada – Las Vegas
Hotel Administration (M.S.)
Public Administration (M.P.A.)
– Krannert School of Management
Behavior and Human Resource Management (OBHR)
School of Government