Students entering graduate school may be required to take either the GRE or GMAT depending on what school they are applying to require. Many students may feel confused as to which test they should take to become accepted into the graduate school of their choice.

So, which one is best? GRE or GMAT?

The GRE is an admissions test that is required for admission to most graduate schools in the United States for Master’s and Doctoral programs. The GMAT is required for admissions to a graduate school when a Masters degree in business is considered.

Test Structure

The GRE exam consists of 3 sections with an experimental section and takes a total of 3 hours and 45 minutes to complete.

1. Verbal Section

The Verbal Section assesses critical reasoning, vocabulary usage and reading comprehension. Within this section, there are 6 text completion, 4 sentence equivalence, and 10 critical reading questions.  There are two sections of the verbal section that consists of 20 questions each and are to be completed within 30 minutes.

2. Quantitative Reasoning

The Quantitative Reasoning section assesses basic high school level mathematics skills such as arithmetic, problem –solving, algebra, geometry, and data analysis. This section contains two separate sections, each consisting of 20 questions that are timed for 35 minutes.

3. Analytical Writing

The Analytical Writing section requires the test-taker to complete two different essays; one essay to “analyze an issue”, the other to “analyze an argument” Experimental Section. The Experimental Section consists of new questions for future tests. These questions can be composed of verbal, quantitative questions or an analytical writing task. Each essay is timed for 30 minutes.

The GMAT exam consists of 4 sections and takes a total of 3 hours and 30 minutes to complete.

1. Analytical Writing

This section consists of one writing topic to “analyze an argument”. This essay is to be completed within 30 minutes.

2. Integrated Reasoning

The Integrated Reasoning section measures the ability to evaluate data and contains questions about multi-source reasoning, graphics interpretation, two-part analysis and table analysis. This section consists of 12 questions and is timed for 30 minutes.

3. Quantitative Reasoning

The Quantitative Reasoning section assesses the test-takers problem-solving skills and measures how the test-taker can analyze data within a problem.  Within this section, the test-taker will need to know algebra, arithmetic, and geometry and will not be allowed to use a calculator on the exam. The Quantitative Reasoning section contains 37 questions to be completed within 75 minutes.

4. Verbal

The Verbal section of the GMAT assesses the ability to read and to comprehend written material. The verbal section contains passages that can be as long as one paragraph to several paragraphs. These paragraphs contain materials from social studies, physical sciences, and even history.  This section consists of 41 questions that should be completed within 75 minutes.

Test Format

The GRE exam is offered in both paper-based exam as well as section-adaptive exam that will be administered on a computer. The test-takers performance on the first section during the computer-adaptive exam will determine the level of difficulty the test-taker will receive on the second section.

The GMAT is a computer-adaptive exam meaning that the questions become harder as the test-taker gets more questions correct or easier the more incorrect answers.


The GRE exam is scored on a scaled score. The scores range from 130 as being the lowest and to the highest of 170. The Verbal Reasoning Section and Quantitative Reasoning sections are scored from 130 to 170, in 1 point increments while the Analytical Writing section ranges in a score from 0-6 with half point increments.

The GMAT is scored within five parts; each section is scored on its own within a scaled score. The Verbal Section is scored on a scale from 0 to 60, as is the Quantitative Section. The Verbal and Quantitative scaled scores are then totaled for a combined score on a scale from 200 to 800. The Analytical Writing Section is scaled from 0 to 6, and the Integrated Reasoning Section is scored on a scale from 1 to 8. The Analytical Writing and Integrated Reasoning Sections are scored independently and do not affect the 200-800 scaled score.

Who Accepts It?

The GRE is accepted in thousands of graduate and business schools as well as departments and divisions within those schools. However, schools may differ in how they use your GRE score. Some schools consider the GRE to be very important, while others may view it as just a formality.

The GMAT is accepted by more than 6,000 business and management programs worldwide.


To take the GRE exam, the test-taker must pay the registration fee of $195. For students needing to take the GMAT, the registration fee is $250.



Published by

Jay Willis

Jay Willis joined Mometrix as Vice President of Sales in 2009, and has developed several key strategic relationships that have enhanced the distribution of Mometrix products. With nearly 20 years of sales experience in the publishing industry, his dedication to providing the highest quality experience for customers, coupled with his sales and marketing expertise, has resulted in significant growth of the Institutional Sales division.

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