Which is easier- the GMAT or the New GRE?


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Which is easier- the GMAT or the New GRE?

Title banner for GMAT vs GRE : which exam is easier?

Is the GMAT or the GRE easier?

To obtain just an average score (around a 310), the GRE is easier. It's true that it was easier before to get a top score on the GRE. At the time of this update though (June 2020), a good score on the GMAT is actually easier for many students to obtain. This is because the exam is more "studyable". See below for details.


GMAT vs GRE overall and quant section comparison


Many students have the choice between the GMAT or the GRE when preparing for a masters or MBA program. They often start by asking the question: “Which exam is easier?” The GRE was first accepted by business schools in 2009. At that time, it was clearly easier than the GMAT. The GRE underwent changes in August 2011. The two tests became similar, but the math section of the GMAT remained generally harder. As the years have passed, the GRE math section has increased in difficulty. This is especially true at the higher levels. Today, it is just as hard to get a top score on the math section of the GRE. (This would be 165+ on the GRE. This is the equivalent to a 47 on the GMAT, according to the GMAT GRE conversion tool.)  The GRE verbal section is considered to be more difficult. This is due to the list of vocabulary words many people must learn. 

The quant section for both tests includes essentially high school-level math. They do not include trigonometry, calculus or other higher-level mathematics. The GRE does allow calculators. Many people find this reassuring. However, most of the time the calculator will slow you down more than help you. We teach our students faster ways to find an answer without one! On the GMAT, you’re not allowed a calculator. For both tests you must be comfortable calculating in your head. One difference is that the GMAT quant section favors logic-based math questions, with less geometry than the GRE. 


GMAT vs GRE verbal section


The Verbal sections of the GMAT and GRE do have many things in common. Yet one difference is the GRE's emphasis on vocabulary and word choice. The GMAT doesn’t directly test your vocab. It emphasizes logic and critical-thinking. The emphasis on obscure vocab words is a negative point for the GRE verbal section. Most students (even native English speakers) must learn 1500-2000 words to be comfortable. For this reason alone, the GRE can be harder than the GMAT. 

The GMAT tests your ability to memorize and use 200 grammar rules. The Sentence Correction section is all about the science of grammar. Most test takers find the vocab on the GMAT easier. Both tests have reading comprehension questions. This is where you read 1-2 paragraphs and then answer questions about the text. Both have critical reasoning questions that analyze the logic of an argument. The GMAT definitely has more. The GRE prefers to replace them with vocab questions. In all, the GMAT verbal section tests reading comprehension, mastery of grammar, and how well you express ideas. The GRE tests the same things, but has the added difficulty of obscure vocabulary. 

If you feel that you have a rich vocabulary, the GRE may be a better option. The easiest way to know is to look at some GRE word lists online. If there are too many difficult words, it may be easier to take the GMAT. Mastering a few grammar concepts could be simpler than memorizing 1000+ new vocab words. 




Now that we’ve answered which is easier, let’s compare the tests in more detail. If you’re reading this, you're preparing for graduate or business school.  You have seen the names GRE and GMAT countless times. It's true that the two exams are sometimes accepted by the same school. Be careful. This does not mean that they are interchangeable. It's important to know the differences between them before registering.

The GRE (the Graduate Record Examinations) is a 3 hour and 45 minute multiple-choice test. It's required by many graduate schools in North America. Created by ETS (Educational Testing Service), the test has existed since 1936. Like the GMAT, the GRE is computer based. It tests your skills in arithmetic, algebra, geometry, and data analysis.  It also tests your vocabulary and reading ability. You must be able to evaluate written material, think critically, and solve problems.  The GRE gives schools the ability to judge applicants’ readiness for graduate-level education. The admissions board looks at your GRE score, your grades, and supporting materials to see if you're right for their program.  

The GMAT is a 3 hour and 7 minute multiple-choice test from the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC). It specifically judges how prepared you are for an MBA. Questions test skills in mathematics, data analysis, writing, and problem solving. Admissions boards look at your GMAT score along with your work experience, grades, CV, interviews, and letters of recommendation. The total package will show if you are a good fit for an MBA, EMBA, Masters in Finance, or Business program.

Image breaking down the differences between the GMAT and GRE.

A breakdown of the price for the GMAT and GRE


What is the difference?

The key difference between the GRE and GMAT is their intended use. The GRE is used as part of admissions for a variety of graduate school programs. Meaning that its purpose is rather general. The GMAT is only used to apply to business schools. 

Should I Take the GRE or the GMAT?


To answer this question, you must consider your strengths and your future goals. 

The GMAT is a better choice if your heart is set on studying business. 

It is true that the GRE is accepted by more and more MBA programs. Top business schools like Stanford and Harvard now accept the GRE. Still, many business schools will accept only the GMAT. To give you some numbers, only 1300 universities with a business program accept the GRE. Over 7000 business programs at over 2300 universities accept the GMAT. Simply put, the GMAT will meet the test requirement for any business school. The GRE is less accepted. 


Statistics for universities accepting the GMAT and the GRE


The GRE is accepted by many diverse graduate programs and is therefore less specific. This leaves your options open. In the event that you are not exactly sure what you want to do after graduation, the GRE is a better option for you. 

If you’re determined to work in management, having a GMAT score sends a clear message to universities. It shows that you are a candidate focused on gaining an MBA or masters related to business. It is also worth considering that jobs do sometimes ask applicants for their GMAT scores. For management and consulting positions, this is becoming common practice. 

You should always make sure that your schools and programs accept whatever test you decide to take. After this consideration, you must decide what score you need and what your strengths are. If you are not sure, take diagnostic tests online for the GRE and GMAT to get a better idea. You can also compare the average GMAT scores of MBA programs with your score. For the GRE, use these average GRE test scores.


Ready to get started? 


Once you’ve made up your mind, it’s time to start studying! 

You have maybe already noticed that there are plenty of resources online. There are also countless test prep books and applications that you can buy.

But have you considered a more personalized option? 

For the GMAT and the GRE, Contact us today for a full free practice test, individual analysis, and your own personalized study plan developed by our exam experts. 

If you need help studying for the GMAT, contact Dan now.  In order to provide the maximum amount of attention to everyone, only 10 students a month can be accepted.



If you need help studying for the GMAT, contact Dan now.  In order to provide the maximum amount of attention to everyone, only 10 students a month can be accepted.

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