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GMAT vs GRE: Which Exam to Take for Business School



In the past, business school aspirants only had the option of taking the GMAT to earn a high score and increase their chances of getting into the graduate program that they wanted. However, recently, more and more business schools are starting to accept the GRE as well as the GMAT. Many people considering business schools are unsure of which exam to take to give them the best chance of admission. 

To answer the question of which exam to take for business school, you must first have a clear idea of GMAT and GRE and how they differ.

What is GMAT?

GMAT stands for Graduate Management Admission Test. It is the exam widely used by graduate school admission boards to evaluate the applicant's aptitude in analytic writing, verbal skills, and mathematics. Those who score above 710 on the GMAT boost their chances of getting into the graduate program that they desire because they have demonstrated outstanding performance. 

Exam Coverage

The GMAT is a multiple-choice test with four primary sections. These are the four primary sections on the exam: 

  • Analytical Writing Assessment

Of all the sections of the GMAT exam, this is the only non-multiple-choice test. For this section, exam takers will be given 30 minutes to make an essay out of a given topic. The essay will be an analysis of a particular argument of a business-related topic. 

  • Integrated Reasoning

The integrated reasoning section will be composed of 12 multiple-choice questions. It has to be answered within 30 minutes. This section will test your ability to analyze data based on tables, graphs, and charts. 

  • Verbal

The verbal section of GMAT will last for 65 minutes. It will consist of 36 multiple-choice questions that will evaluate your grammar knowledge and assess your comprehension and logical thinking skills. 

  • Quantitative

62 minutes will be allocated to finish the quantitative section of the GMAT exam. Exam takers will answer 31 multiple-choice questions about basic geometry, algebra, and arithmetic. 


The scores for GMAT will be a range between 200 and 800. The analytical writing assessment will be scored separately from the Quantitative, Verbal, and Integral Reasoning sections by a human scorer. 

Your GMAT score will add value to your business school application if you achieve a score of 710 or higher. This score will put you in the top 10% of exam takers. Getting a score of 650 and above is also acceptable in many cases. You can take the help of prep courses or personalized tutors to achieve your target score.

What is the GRE?

GRE stands for Graduate Record Examination. Similar to the GMAT, it is a standardized test essential for business school applications. It assesses applicants' aptitude in areas such as analytical writing, verbal reasoning, and quantitative reasoning. 

Exam Coverage

There are three primary sections for the GRE.

  • Quantitative

The quantitative section of the GRE will cover data analysis, geometry, basic algebra, and arithmetic. It will be divided into two parts, and each part will be allocated a 30-minute time limit. 

  • Verbal

The GRE verbal section will be divided into two sections with 20 questions each. It will evaluate the exam taker's comprehension and verbal reasoning. Each section will have a 30-minute time limit. 

  • Analytical Writing

The analytical writing of the GRE test will evaluate your ability to dissect complex ideas and examine claims using the essential elements of written English. Exam takers will be given 45 minutes to finish the issue task and another 30 minutes to finish the argument task.


You will get a range of 130-170 for the verbal and quantitative sections. The writing section will be scored differently.

For the verbal part, getting between 163 to 170 is considered to be outstanding, while 165 to 170 is the range to aim for in the quantitative section. For the writing section, getting a rating of 5.0 to 6.0 is considered to be outstanding. 

The Difference between the GMAT and the GRE

Here are the significant difference between the GMAT and the GRE:

  • Exam Length

The GMAT will take 3 hours and 30 minutes, while the GRE will be around 3 hours and 45 minutes. 

  • Essays

There will only be one essay for the GMAT, while the GRE will have two essays. 

  • Multiple-choice items

The GMAT has a total of 90 multiple-choice items, while the GRE only has 80 items and an additional 20 research questions which will be unscored. 

  • Cost

The GRE is more affordable than the GMAT because its exam fee is only $205, while the GMAT exam fee is $250.

  • Validity

Both GMAT and GRE results are valid for up to 5 years. 

Which to Choose? 

Now that you know all the necessary details let us answer the question: which exam should you take for business school? 


The GMAT exam is primarily designed to test aspiring applicants' aptitude, specifically for business school, while the GRE is a more holistic exam that covers multiple disciplines. Business school programs across the globe generally accept both, so the short answer to the question is either or both. 

However, what's important is that you have an outstanding score on one exam. Admission boards are more likely going to look at scores rather than what type of review you took. Consider taking a practice test for each exam to see if one gives you an advantage. Also, confirm with the specific schools you are looking at to see if they will accept either or have a preference for one. 


Final Word

Both the GMAT and the GRE are excellent exams that will test your knowledge in multiple areas. Both are designed to challenge graduate school applicants and filter out those that are unworthy of admission. If you are aiming for business school admission, you can take either of the exams because they are both largely accepted. The important thing will be so see if you have the chance at a higher score in one test or the other.