Over the past few years, many business schools have started gladly accepting GRE scores in place of GMAT scores for programs, such as MBA and MiM. This additional option has become a major source of confusion for many applicants, and we receive multiple queries from students asking for clarifications about the same. Their situation becomes worse when aspirants don’t know much about the tests, and/or don’t have enough time.

In order to clear up the confusion, we have compared both tests in detail below. The major differences between the GRE and the GMAT are: 


Format and Question Types

Test owner ETSGMAC 

Analytical Writing Assessment

Analyze an issue 1 task Not tested 
Analyze an argument 1 task1 task

Verbal Reasoning

Reading Comprehension ~ 40% of the verbal section  ~ 30 – 35% of the verbal section 
Critical Reasoning ~ 10% of the verbal section  ~ 30 – 35% of the verbal section
Text Completion and Sentence Equivalence ~ 50% of the verbal section  Not tested
Sentence Correction Not tested~ 30 – 35% of the verbal section
Total Questions 40 – 60 (2 3 sections, 20 questions per section)  36 (1 section) 
Total Time 60 – 90 (30 minutes for each section) 65 minutes
Experimental Questions One section – either VR or QRA few questions in VR (not disclosed by GMAC)

Quantitative Reasoning

Word Problems Problem Solving (MCQs)

Numeric Entry 

Quantitative Comparisons 

Problem Solving (MCQs)

Data Sufficiency 

Data Interpretation 
Total Questions 40 – 60 (2- 3 sections, 20 questions per section)  31 (1 section)
Total Time 70 – 105 (35 min for each section)62 min
Experimental Questions One section – either VR or QRA few questions in QR (not disclosed by GMAC)

Integrated Reasoning

Total QuestionsNot tested 12 questions 
Total Time NA30 min


Test Design Features 

Section-level adaptive Question adaptive 
Preview and review within a sectionCannot go back
Can move forward and backward freely in a sectionCannot go back
Can skip a question and attempt later  Cannot go further without answering a question 
Answers can be edited/changed in a sectionCannot go further without answering a question 
Section order, except AWA, is not fixed Section order can be selected from 3 options 
On-screen calculator is available On-screen calculator is not available
Can be taken at homeCan be taken at home


Total Duration and Breaks 

3 hours and 45 minutes (QR section is experimental)

excluding breaks

3 hours and 7 minutes 

excluding breaks

Break – one ten minute optional break Breaks – two optional eight-minute breaks


Before finalizing the test, you should read the following two steps and implement them:  

1. Make a list of B-schools and your future goals:

While most B-schools accept either test now, you should still verify the test requirements of your target B-schools before you finalize on any tests. To know the application requirements, you should check the website of these schools or consult admissions experts. These tests, GMAT and GRE, are promoted by two competing organizations that want to get the maximum market share. Always remember, a B-school evaluates the profile of an applicant holistically and considers these tests a part of the overall profile. You can refer to the ETS list of MBA programs that accept GRE scores


A word of caution here is that some firms consider applicants favorably when they apply with their GMAT scores. In addition to that, GMAT is sometimes a requirement in Internal Job Postings in some organizations. 

2. Get acquainted with the tests and know your strengths and weaknesses: 

You should take one or two mocks of these exams – GRE and GMAT. The scores from one mock can be an anomaly, so it is advised to take 2-3 mock tests before making any conclusion. A student must take the official tests of GMAT and GRE. A word of advice here is – you may spend more time reading the instructions and questions types of tests when you take these tests for the first time. So it is highly recommended that you go through some sample questions of GMAT and sample questions of GRE before you take these mock tests. The tests must be taken into simulated conditions to know your real strengths and weaknesses. The above tables will help you understand the tests, but you will know more about the tests after going through a few sample questions and taking a few mocks.  


Our conclusion:

Once you know your goals and you know you are good at the XYZ test, go ahead and exploit your strengths. Don’t deliberate much and waste your valuable time thinking which test is good for you. Instead of deliberating and wasting time, work on the rest of your application package. There are minor differences, such as scores, fee, free score reporting fee, exam policies, etc. but they should not be given so much weightage in such a crucial decision. GMAT or GRE test scores are just a means to an end but not the other way. 


Most teachers and test-takers consider GMAT QR more difficult than GRE QR, but GMAT VR easier than GRE VR. The test design features of GMAT makes it a challenging test. 


Other minor differences between GRE and GMAT are listed below: 



Analytical Writing Assessment0 to 6 points 

(average of both tasks)

0 to 6 points
Verbal Reasoning130-170 points200 – 800 points

(combined score of VR and QR)

Quantitative Reasoning130-170 points
Integrated ReasoningNot tested1 to 8 points
Validity of Scores 5 years 5 years 

If you have taken GRE and wish to see your corresponding GMAT score, refer to ETS GRE Comparison Tool. 


Test FeeUSD 205USD 250
Additional Score ReportingUSD 27 per recipientUSD 35 per recipient

Free Score Reporting

4 Recipients5 Recipients
Recipients are to be added AFTER the test endsRecipients are to be added BEFORE the test begins


Test Cancellation, Rescheduling, and Retaking; Scores Cancellation, Reporting, and Reinstatement 

Test Registration CancellationNo later than 4 days prior to appointment. 

50% of the test fee is refunded. 

Test Registration Cancellation Refund Tiers:

1 to 14 days prior to appointment: USD 50 refund

15 to 60 days prior to appointment: USD 75 refund

More than 60 days prior to appointment: USD 100 refund

Test Rescheduling No later than 4 days prior to your test date

USD 50 is to be paid to reschedule the test 

Test Rescheduling Fee Tiers:

1 to 14 days prior to appointment: USD 150

15 to 60 days prior to appointment: USD 100

More than 60 days prior to appointment: USD 50

Test RetakingOnce every 21 days, 5 times a yearAfter 16 calendar days, 5 times a year
Scores Cancellation Scores can be canceled for FREE at the test center BEFORE viewing them.Scores can be canceled for FREE at the center AFTER viewing them.

Scores can also be canceled WITHIN 72 hours of the scheduled start time by paying USD 25. 

Score Reporting ScoreSelect option to report the scores of your choice in case of multiple attempts.All accepted scores will be reported to schools in case of multiple attempts.

Canceled scores are not reported.

Scores reinstatement Can reinstate scores in 60 days by paying USD 50Can reinstate scores up to 4 years and 11 months by paying USD 50


Therefore, guys don’t ponder much on the test part of your application. Look at the bigger picture i.e. your goal of pursuing an MBA or MiM.