GRE vs GMAT is a crucial decision to take when you are applying for higher studies. Most students have little idea about the nitty gritties of both the exams. Thus, they often struggle in deciding which one to go for. While earlier GRE vs GMAT had very different purposes, the evolution of education and curriculum has led to significant changes. The objective of our blog today is to help you understand the difference between GRE vs GMAT. Secondly, we will focus on helping you decide between which of the two exams you should choose to secure admission in a good college.
GRE vs GMAT: The Objective
The first difference between GRE vs GMAT lies in the type of programs they can help you get admission to. GRE is more expansive in its scope. This means that a variety of colleges accept GRE score for different graduate programs. On the other hand, the utility of GMAT is restricted to Business schools and majorly for MBA programs. Therefore, if you are looking for one test that can open several doors for you, GRE would be a better choice. However, if you are sure of going in for an MBA degree then GMAT would make sense.
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Structure of the Exam & Scoring
The next difference GRE vs GMAT comes in the form of the structure of the exam and the scoring pattern. GRE has three major sections. The analytical writing requires the candidate to write two essays with 30 minutes for each one of them. The second section on quantitative and analytical reasoning has 2 sets of 20 questions bringing the total of these MCQs to 80. Finally, GRE has one 20 question research section. GRE is taken on the computer and is adaptive. GRE provides separate score for different sections and not a single composite score.
GMAT, on the other hand, has four major sections. The AWA or analytical writing assessment consists of one 30 minute essay. This is followed by integrated reasoning with 12 questions. The quantitative section has a total of 37 questions and finally the verbal section houses 41 questions. GMAT is a computer based adaptive test. This means that your first question will become the base of difficulty for the questions to follow. Once you answer a question in your GMAT exam, there is no going back. At the end of the exam, you will receive a composite score from 200-800.
GRE vs GMAT: Verbal Difficulty
In our next leg on GRE vs GMAT let’s discuss the verbal difficulty for each of the exams. GRE focuses on measuring how well can you understand the reading material and draw conclusions from the excerpts to put together summaries and understand meaning and context of words. In the verbal section, GRE has three main types of questions. Reading comprehension to judge how well you understand the excerpt with questions around it. Text completion with a block of text and a blank with suitable options of words. Sentence equivalence where you will be given a sentence and suitable choices to complete the sentence and choose another option which gives the same meaning.
GMAT measures your ability to understand the given material and answer questions accordingly. In addition, it requires you to correct the wrong sentences and evaluate arguments. Similar to GRE, it also has three major focus areas. Reading comprehension which is followed by questions to draw conclusions or analyze the piece. Critical reading which are smaller paragraphs and require deep analysis for answering. Finally, there is sentence correction where you have to make edits to a sentence to ensure that it is grammatically correct to judge your communication skills.
While the verbal section of GRE vs GMAT are different, there are some overlaps between the two. At times, the verbal section of GRE can be slightly more difficult than GMAT as it might have more challenging and difficult vocabulary and reading passages. At the same time, it has more focus on grammar.
GRE vs GMAT: Quantitative Difficulty
When it comes to the quantitative difficulty in GRE vs GMAT, there are a few differences you must be mindful of. GRE tests your math skills with a quantitative section. The focus is on four major segments of math, Algebra, Arithmetic, Data Analysis and Geometry. The questions are a mix of multiple choice and numeric entry. While the focus is on the former, the latter requires you to fill in the numeric answer instead of just choosing one from the options.
GMAT goes a step further to test your math skills. In addition to measuring your quantitative capabilities, it also focuses on integrated reasoning. The section on quantitative ability focuses on problem solving which requires interpretation of graphs and data. It also focuses on data sufficiency which basically gives you a question followed by two statements and you have to answer whether one, two or neither of the statements can answer the question. The section on integrated reasoning focuses on four types of questions, graphics interpretation, two-part analysis, table analysis, and multi-source reasoning.
In the debate of GRE vs GMAT, the quantitative section of GMAT is believed to be more difficult that GRE. It is true that both the exams test similar topics and none of them focus on very high level math including calculus and other concepts. However, the focus on data sufficiency and integrated reasoning expand the scope of GMAT. These questions generally require more critical thinking and thus, come to be perceived as more difficult than GRE.
GRE vs GMAT: How to Make a Choice
Now that a big chunk of the discussion on GRE vs GMAT is over, we can move onto the next big question. To reiterate, we discussed, what these two exams focus on. Next, there was a comprehensive discussion on the structure and scoring pattern for the exams. Finally, we talked about the differing levels of difficulty between GRE vs GMAT on the basis of verbal and quantitative ability. Now let’s quickly glance through the tips to choose between GRE vs GMAT:
Tip #1: Understand what you want
To begin your decision on GRE vs GMAT, do a reality check. You need to ask yourself whether you are sure of the course and college you wish to apply to. In case, you are certain that you wish to apply to a Business school to get an MBA degree, then going for GMAT is ideal. However, if you are unsure and wish to keep more options open, then GRE would be a better choice, it also offers MBA. Invariably, your decision will depend on how certain you are about what you wish to pursue.
Tip #2: How Good is your Language?
As mentioned, while there is an overlap, GRE vs GMAT differ in the level of the verbal ability section. If you are a native English speaker, you shouldn’t be in much of a fix. However, if English is your second language, then maybe GMAT would come in slightly better for you than GRE. Undoubtedly, they test similar skills. However, the vocabulary and difficulty for GRE is slightly on the higher side than GMAT.
Tip #3: Check your Mathematical Skills
In addition to your verbal skills, you also need to check your mathematical skills. If you are a Math wiz, you are in luck because either of the exams will be a breeze for you. However, if you struggle with numbers then maybe GRE would be a safer bet. It is slightly at an easier level than GMAT. In addition to what is covered in GRE, GMAT also tests you on data sufficiency and integrated reasoning. If you are not a Math fan, you may not want to invest efforts into getting these right too.
Tip #4: Are you Exam Anxious?
Next in line, you also need to answer whether tests make you anxious or not. If you have test anxiety, you may answer the first few questions anxiously and might be unsure if they are right or not. In such a case, GRE would be a better option. It allows you to go back and check your answers and change them if you wish to. On the other hand, in GMAT, once you answer and move to the next question, there is no looking back. While this cannot be the whole sole criteria, but it does have merit when you just cannot make a decision.
Tip #5: What are your Career Goals?
Finally, your decision on which exam to take in GRE vs GMAT will decide which college options you have. Subsequently, the college you pick and the course you choose will decide what career options you will have. Therefore, choosing between GRE vs GMAT requires you to think about your career goals. If you are sure about going into the field of management, then GMAT would be a good choice as you will have a myopic focus. However, if you have other options in mind with management, then GRE will give you broad choices.
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