Which is Easier: GMAT or GRE?

Instructor: Carrie Soucy
Some test takers find the GRE to be easier, while the GMAT is the easier exam for others. Read on to discover the factors that will determine which will be the less difficult exam for you.

Will the GMAT or GRE Be Easier for You?

Neither the GMAT nor the GRE is a definitively easier exam; instead, the difficulty of each depends largely on the strengths and qualities of each test taker. To figure out which will be easier for you, consider these three important questions:

What Are Your Academic Strengths?

The content of the exams is somewhat similar, but with a few key differences:

  • The GMAT's quantitative section requires stronger math skills than the GRE's. Also, the GRE allows test-takers to use calculators, while you may not use a calculator on the GMAT.
  • While the math section may be easier on the GRE, the exam's verbal and writing sections are more demanding than the GMAT's. On the GRE, you will have to write two analytical essays and face a verbal section that heavily emphasizes vocabulary. On the GMAT, you will write only one analytical essay and the verbal section emphasizes grammar, rather than vocabulary.

Bottom line: The GMAT will be easier if you excel at math and have weaker verbal skills; the GRE will be the easier exam if your verbal and writing skills are stronger than your mathematical abilities.

What Type of Test Taker Are You?

Both the GMAT and GRE use computer-adaptive testing systems, but with an important difference: within each section of the exam, the GRE's system allows test takers to skip questions and return to them later; with the GMAT's computer adaptive system, you may not revisit a question once you submit your answer for it.

Bottom line: If you typically perform better on exams where you answer the easiest questions first, and then return to the more difficult ones, the GRE may be easier than the GMAT for you.

On Which Practice Exam Did You Achieve Better Results?

If you have not already taken practice GMAT and GRE exams, do so. This will allow you to learn about the specific content of the exams and see how well you perform on each.

Bottom line: While taking a practice exam without any preparation won't afford you a glimpse at what your actual score would be, the experience may provide perhaps the best indication of which exam truly will be the easier one for you.

Proper Preparation = An Easier Exam

Whichever exam you determine to be the least difficult for you, you can make your selected exam even easier by properly preparing for it.

Utilize an Online Prep Course

A prep course allows you to fully prepare for all sections of the exam you plan to take without having to utilize and compile various study materials. Study.com's online GMAT Prep: Help and Review and GRE Test: Practice and Study Guide prep courses are self-paced, so you may study when and where you have time, and are taught via short, engaging video lessons. Both courses feature self-assessment quizzes and exams to help you gauge your progress and understanding of the content you'll find on your test.

Take Advantage of Tools Offered by Exam Administrators

Administrators of both exams offer free prep software, which is available for download on the official websites for the GMAT (mba.com) and the GRE (ets.org). Depending on which exam you plan to take, you'll also find resources such as sample questions, prep tips, handbooks, and suggested study timelines on these sites.

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