Should I take the GMAT or the GRE? Which test is harder? (Part 2)

In the first part of this series, we compared the GMAT and GRE math sections.  Now, let’s take a look at the verbal sections.

When comparing the verbal sections, students have historically found the GRE section to be more challenging, particularly for non-native English speakers or those without strong English language skills.  Even though it has eliminated analogies and antonyms, the GRE still tests vocabulary with question types like sentence completion.  The GRE places a much greater emphasis on high-level vocabulary you may not encounter anywhere except the GRE, requiring test-takers to memorize and apply a great deal of vocabulary to test questions.  The GMAT, on the other hand, does not test vocabulary.  Instead, it places an emphasis on grammar and improving sentences, much like on the SAT.

So which test will give you the higher score? This ultimately depends on the test-taker.  Students already strong in quantitative and weak in verbal, especially vocabulary, will likely do better on the GMAT, which places a greater emphasis overall on quantitative reasoning.  Students with weaker quantitative skills but stronger verbal skills, on the other hand, will probably get a higher score on the GRE.

Every student is different, though, so before you start studying, we recommend taking two practice tests, one GRE and one GMAT.  If you do significantly better initially on the GRE, then continue to prepare for the GRE.  If you do about the same on both tests, or if you score significantly higher on the GMAT, study for and take the GMAT.  The GMAT is still more commonly submitted than the GRE.  (N.B.: This is changing; more students are submitting GRE scores to business school each year.)  Need help finding a GMAT or GRE course? Test Masters offers an array of test-preparation options both in-person and online to fit with your busy schedule.

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