GMAT or GRE, which is a better choice for MBA colleges abroad?

GMAT or GRE, which is a better choice for MBA colleges abroad?

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Updated on Apr 11, 2020 18:11 IST

A large number of Indian students are opting to pursue their Masters in Business Administration degrees from universities abroad, and rightly so. With excellent infrastructure, research facilities as well as enhancement of career and job opportunities, a global MBA is the way ahead for many mid-level managers. And with an increase in the number of colleges accepting both GMAT and GRE scores, the confusion mounts…which exam to take? Each has a similar format, is standardized and adaptive, is accepted widely across the world and offers the applicant flexibility. So…which exam to choose? GMAT or GRE?

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Before we get to decide on which exam is better suited for you, let’s have a quick look at the two exams.




Conducted by

Graduate Management Aptitude Test conducted by GMAC is a standardized & computerized adaptive test which is generally accepted for entrance to B-schools across the world

Graduates Record Examination, conducted by ETS is a standardized aptitude test for admissions to post-graduate degree courses around the world

Accepted by/ for

All reputed business schools for admission to its post-graduate programs in management

All reputed universities for a variety of postgraduate degree programs including management

Test Structure

Analytical Writing Section with one essay (30 minutes)
Quantitative Section (75 minutes)
Verbal Section (75 minutes)
Integrated Reasoning (30 minutes)

Analytical Writing Section with 2 essays (75 minutes)
2 Verbal Sections (30 minutes each)
2 Quantitative Sections (35 minutes each)
Experimental Section (either Verbal or Quantitative) (30 minutes)

Test Format

Computerized adaptive test

Both paper and computerized adaptive formats are available

Score Range

200 - 800 in 10 point increment

130 - 170 in 1 point increment

Score Validity

5 years

5 years





After every 31 days to a maximum of 5 attempts in a calendar year

After every 21 days to a maximum of 5 attempts in a year (continuous rolling 12 month period from the beginning of the first test)

In other words, there is no marked difference in the two. How then should one decide?

Like any other problem, the solution cannot be a generic one. Each person is different and the wisest thing to do is understand which exam would suit you better. Here are the two things that you ought to consider while making the decision.

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  1. The acceptability of GRE/ GMAT across all colleges you intend to apply to

While most of the colleges do accept both the scores, the obvious question you must answer is the acceptability of the exam across all the programs you wish to apply to. For instance, you shortlist 7 colleges you wish to apply to. Out of these, if 2 colleges do not accept GRE, you must further analyse whether they are important colleges for you or should you stick with GMAT or vice versa. Simply put, it makes no sense to write both the exams…choose the exam which would give you the maximum choice.

Also, in case you wish to apply to a few MS programs that require only GRE and not accept GMAT, the choice would have to be then accordingly made.

  1. Your strengths and weaknesses

While both the exams are essentially the same in character and structure, the two have subtle difference which must be kept in mind. What is wise is to understand what your key strength areas are and understand which test would be better suited to you. Needless to say, if you play with your strengths, chances of you getting a better score are higher.

Here’s a look at its various sections divided and what to choose basis your strengths and problem solving abilities.





If grammar is your strong suit

If you are an ace in vocabulary


If reasoning and logical interpretation is your strong suit

If you are fair in quantitative analysis and data interpretation

Simply put, GMAT is bound to be tougher for you is highly sophisticated reasoning eludes you. Similarly, if remembering complex words troubles you, GRE would not be an apt choice.

At the end of the day, it all comes to how easily you can train yourself for the exam. We recommend you to take a practice paper each, understand how you score in the different sections and also the overall score, ascertain the kind of cut off required and then make your choice. In the end, we strongly believe that if you put your mind to it, you can achieve everything. But also, working hard and working smart is your choice…know who you are and accordingly make the choice that helps you reach your goal.

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