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Difference Between the GRE & GMAT

by Fitzalan Gorman, studioD

The GRE, or Graduate Record Examination, is used as part of the application process to most graduate school programs. The GMAT, or Graduate Management Admission Test, is specifically required for admission to most business schools' Masters in Business Administration programs. According to the Princeton Review, more and more business schools are accepting both the GRE and GMAT for admission. Taking the GRE typically costs more than the GMAT and both scores are valid for five years. If you are applying to business school, check that all your schools accept the GRE or plan to take both tests.

GRE Test Structure

The GRE takes about three hours and 45 minutes to complete. It measures three main subjects: analytical writing, verbal reasoning and quantitative reasoning. Analytical writing features two essays and there are two sections each of verbal and quantitative reasoning.

GMAT Test Structure

The GMAT takes approximately three hours and 30 minutes to complete. It consists of four timed sections: analysis of an argument, integrated reasoning, quantitative and verbal. The analytical writing section features only one essay. A substantial difference between the GRE and GMAT structure is the integrated reasoning section. This GMAT section gauges your ability to analyze, evaluate and interpret texts and graphs in a business-related format.

Content Differences

In general, the material on the GMAT and GRE is similar, yet there are still some differences. According to Dan Gonzales, managing director of Manhattan GRE, the GRE focuses on vocabulary and definitions more than the GMAT. The GMAT pays more attention to logic, reasoning skills and grammar. The GRE math section focuses on data interpretation and real-life scenarios, while the GMAT is more traditional, with an emphasis on word problems. There is greater emphasis on geometry in the GRE.

Question Differences

The GMAT features questions in the math section in which the test-taker must determine if there is sufficient information to solve the problem; this type of question is not on the GRE. In the verbal section, the GMAT features sentence correction problems in which you must correct grammatical errors, while the GRE does not feature this style of question.

About the Author

Fitzalan Gorman has more than 10 years of academic and commercial experience in research and writing. She has written speeches and text for CEOs, company presidents and leaders of major nonprofit organizations. Gorman has published for professional cycling teams and various health and fitness websites. She has a Master of Arts from Virginia Tech in political science and is a NASM certified personal trainer.

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