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GMAT or GRE: Which Exam Is Right for Engineers? [2022 Updated]


Last Updated on April 18, 2023 by Admin

The Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) is a standardized test used for admissions at many graduate schools in the United States (USA) and Canada, including business and law schools. The Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) is used exclusively for business school admissions. We have discussed here the GRE or GMAT for engineers.


More than 7,000 programs at approximately 2,300 graduate business schools worldwide accept the GMAT exam.

It is your comprehensive guide to standardized tests for business school. We’ll look at each exam and why you might choose to take one test over the other to upgrade your application.

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Differences between the GRE and GMAT

The most noticeable difference between the GRE and GMAT is the test scope for admissions—the GRE is accepted for most graduate programs (including business and law schools). At the same time, the GMAT is more oriented toward business schools. Beyond that, each test has a different format with different types of questions, testing policies, and options for sending your scores to schools.

What is the GRE?

The GRE, administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS), is used as an admissions consideration at thousands of graduate schools, including business and law schools. The exam is designed to evaluate your verbal and quantitative reasoning, critical thinking, and analytical writing skills.

Length: 3 hours and 45 minutes (one optional 10-minute break)

Cost (US): $205 (includes free score delivery to up to four schools)

Location: Online or at a testing center


Scores good for Five years

You can retake the GRE up to five times in any 12-month rolling period. If you take the test more than once, you can choose which scores to get sent to the schools you’re applying to.

Test format: The GRE comprises three scored portions and a possible unscored or experimental section. The Analytical Writing section will always come first, but you won’t know the order of the remaining sections or which area is unscored.

  • Analytical Writing: This section has two separately timed, 30-minute writing tasks. You’ll be asked to construct your argument on an issue and evaluate someone else’s argument on a topic. This section is scored from zero to six in half-point increments.
  • Verbal Reasoning: The Verbal Reasoning test comprises two 30-minute sections with 20 questions each. You’ll encounter three questions in this section: reading comprehension, text completion, and sentence equivalence. You can get a score of 130 to 170 in one-point increments.
  • Quantitative Reasoning: This portion of the exam, designed to test your basic math skills, features two 35-minute sections with 20 questions each.

Questions might be multiple-choice with one or several answers, numeric entry questions, or quantitative comparison questions.

Topics include arithmetic, algebra, geometry, and data analysis. You can get a score of 130 to 170 in one-point increments.

Test features: You can use an on-screen calculator during the Quantitative Reasoning section during the test. You can move backward and forward through each area, change your answers, and mark questions for “Review” if you’d like to return to them later.

If you’re currently unemployed or can demonstrate financial need, you may qualify for a fee reduction on the GRE. This program also includes free access to select test prep materials from ETS.


What is the GMAT?

The GMAT online exam, administered by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), is an entrance exam widely used for admission to business schools and MBA programs. The exam measures reasoning and critical thinking skills to demonstrate an ability to succeed in top graduate business programs.

Length: 3 hours and 30 minutes (two optional 8-minute breaks) in person; 3 hours (optional 5-minute break) online

Cost (US): $275 in person (includes free score delivery to up to five schools); $250 online (includes unlimited score delivery)

Location: Online or at a testing center

Scores good for Five years

You can retake the GMAT at a testing center up to five times in a rolling 12-month period (no more than eight times total). For the GMAT online exam, you can retest once.

Test format: The GMAT format depends on whether you’re taking the test at a testing center or online. The in-person version comprises four sections, and you can choose to order the sections in one of three ways to fit your strengths and testing style best. The online version has three areas in a fixed order.

  • Analytical Writing (in-person only): This section of the exam asks you to analyze and write a critique of a given argument in one 30-minute writing task. It is scored from zero to six points in half-point increments.
  • Integrated Reasoning: The Integrated Reasoning section (not found on the GRE) measures your ability to use data to solve complex problems. You’ll be asked to examine and analyze data from numerous sources, including tables and graphs, and solve both quantitative and verbal problems. This portion includes one 30-minute section with 12 questions (mostly multiple choice). The score ranges from one to eight in one-point increments.
  • Quantitative Reasoning: This 62-minute section has 31 multiple-choice questions. Questions include quantitative problems and “Data Sufficiency” problems, which ask you to determine whether you have enough data to answer a given query. You can earn six to 51 points in one-point increments.
  • Verbal Reasoning: The Verbal Reasoning section lasts 65 minutes and contains 36 questions designed to test your ability to read, understand, and evaluate written materials. The three types of questions you’ll encounter include reading comprehension, critical reasoning, and sentence correction. This is scored from six to 51 points in one-point increments.

Test features: You can only use a basic online calculator during the Integrated Reasoning section. You’re permitted to use a whiteboard, and dry erase marker for the Quantitative Reasoning segment to work through problems. During the GMAT, you cannot skip and return to questions or change your answers.

Since the GRE allows you to change your answers, the exam adapts the difficulty of each section based on the one before. Learn more about the GMAT for working professionals.

Which is easier: GMAT or GRE?

Determining which test will be more straightforward will depend on your academic strengths and testing style.

The quantitative section on the GRE tends to be a bit easier than its GMAT counterpart (and you get to use a calculator). The GRE section typically has more geometry, while the GMAT has more logical reasoning questions.

On the other hand, the GRE verbal section features a more challenging vocabulary than the GMAT. Many test-takers consider the GMAT verbal section to be slightly easier.


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Should I take the GMAT or GRE?

It’s becoming more common for business schools to accept GRE scores as part of their admissions requirements.

This means you can take the test that will best highlight your academic strengths. Here are some things to consider as you decide what’s right for you and learn about the GRE for engineering.

Academic goals: If you’re considering different graduate programs or want to keep your options open, the GRE is accepted in various degree programs. If you’re particular about business school, taking the GMAT is a way to demonstrate your commitment.

School requirements: Many schools accept either score, but it’s a good idea to verify admissions requirements ahead of time. If possible, speak to an admissions representative to ask whether they prefer the two tests.

Academic strengths: If your math skills tend to be stronger than your verbal skills, the GMAT might offer a better opportunity to show off those strengths. If you’re a strong writer, consider the GRE. Due to the vocabulary involved, the GRE can sometimes be more challenging for non-native English speakers.

Testing style: It’s normal to feel some nervousness before a test. If you like to skip around and go back over your answers, the GRE format allows you to do so. This might give some test takers a greater sense of confidence.

Practice exam performance: One excellent way to determine which test you’re best suited for is to take a practice test for each. Take them separately under the circumstances as close to the real thing as possible. Once you accept and score your exams, you’ll have a better idea of which you feel more comfortable with.

Score reporting: If you take the GRE more than once, you can choose which scores you send to prospective schools. Many programs only consider the highest score. For the GMAT, schools receive all your scores.

Career goals: Some companies, particularly investment and business consulting firms, ask for GMAT scores for the job application process. If you have certain target employers in mind, research these requirements ahead of time. You are taking the GMAT before the business school could spare you from having to take it during your job search.

Executive Assessment: An alternative for working professionals

If you’re already a working professional, applying to business school can open up new job opportunities and earning potential. GMAC designed the Executive Assessment exam as an alternative to the GMAT for those with career experience.  Many business schools accept this exam, particularly for executive MBA applicants.

The exam is designed to be shorter and requires less preparation. This makes it an attractive alternative if you’re already balancing the demands of a career and family.

Length: 90 minutes

Cost (US): $350 (includes unlimited score delivery)

Location: Online or at a testing center

Scores good for Five years

You can take the exam up to two times, choosing which scores to send.

Test format: The Executive Assessment has three sections: Integrated Reasoning (12 questions), Verbal Reasoning (14 questions), and Quantitative Reasoning (14 questions). Question types are similar to what you’d find on the GMAT.

Test-optional colleges: The new norm?

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic forced changes in the college admissions process, some colleges and universities started dropping standardized tests as a requirement. This trend has accelerated throughout 2020.

According to a Kaplan Test Prep survey of more than 100 business schools, 36 percent suspended the requirement for GMAT or GRE scores in the 2020-2022 admission cycle. Some 17 percent of surveyed schools consider permanently removing these tests as an admission requirement.

You may need to have a certain number of years of professional experience or meet a minimum GPA threshold to qualify for a test waiver. Each school has its requirements.

Even if you’re applying to a test-optional school, you may want to consider taking an entrance exam. High scores might help enhance your application. Should you choose to omit your GRE or GMAT scores, be sure to take extra care of the other elements of your application to make them shine.

How to Get started?

If your career goals include business school, consider a test-optional business degree from one of these top universities:

1. Master of Business Administration from the University of Illinois

2. Master of Science in Management from the University of Illinois

3. Global Master of Business Administration from Macquarie University

3. Master of Science in Innovation and Entrepreneurship from HEC Paris

4. Online Master’s of Accounting from the University of Illinois

Recommended Courses for GRE and GMAT Preparation

The Post Graduate Exam Prep Bundle: LSAT, GRE, GMAT

Premium GRE® Prep Course: Improve Your GRE Score

Top Rated Course for GMAT Preparation


If you wish to pursue a management program (MBA if you have 2+ work ex or Masters in Management for lesser work-ex), people prefer the GMAT.

If you wish to pursue niche programs like Masters in Engineering Management (a techno-management program), GRE is the preferred test.

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