Sometimes, people who finish their undergraduate degrees are hungry for more and choose to continue their education in grad school. In order to get in they have to pass tests like the GRE (Graduate Record Examination) and the GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test). Tests like the GRE and the GMAT exist to measure the aptitude of students looking to enter grad school. The qualifications for passing these tests are quite rigorous.


In its simplest terms, the GRE is a test that is standardized, which is a requirement for admission into most of the grad schools in America. The GRE is also required for grad school admission in many English-speaking countries. The origin of this test goes back all the way to 1949, when it was created by Educational Testing Services (ETS). A student may want to take a test like the GRE because of the value some graduate programs place on the scores, with some demanding it only as a formality for admission and others using it as a significant factor in determining admissions.

The first of four sections in the GRE is the verbal section. The verbal section is made up of analogies, reading comprehension portions, and completions; it commonly is made up of 30 questions that take about 30 minutes in total. The next section on the GRE is the quantitative section, which is also multiple-choice and tests a person’s grasp of high-school level math. The quantitative section usually consists of four data-interpretation questions, 10 discrete-quantitative questions, and 14 quantitative-comparison questions. The third section is the analytical writing section, which is made up of two essays referred to as the argument task and the issue task. The issue task essay lasts for 30 minutes, and the argument task essay also takes 30 minutes.

The final section of the GRE is called the experimental section. It is a tricky section since it may feature either an analytical, quantitative or verbal writing task, and the test taker has no way of knowing which section will be designated the experimental one. The multiple-choice sections of the GRE are subjected to computer-adaptive testing criteria that actually alter the questions’ difficulty as one progresses through the test. A test taker can get one or even more answers wrong, yet still get a perfect score of 800.


The GMAT is a standardized as well as a computer-adaptive test in English and math. Its purpose is to determine the aptitude of someone at succeeding academically in studies related to graduate business courses. Business schools are fond of relying on the GMAT in order to see who is admitted into their graduate business administrative programs such as MBAs. Students will take the GMAT, which is available mainly in the U.S., on a computer.

The scope of the GMAT is meant to determine and analyze analytical writing, math and verbal skills that the test taker should have developed over his or her life in both work as well as school. The test is meant to last for approximately four hours, and a test taker will be expected to answer questions related to the aforementioned areas. The scores that a test taker receives are held valid for five years after the test was taken. The highest score that a person can receive on the test is 800.

The GMAT is divided into three parts: the first part is the analytical writing assessment, next comes the quantitative section and the final part of the GMAT is the verbal section. The test begins with the analytical writing aspect which is made up of two essays. The quantitative portion of the GMAT consists of 37 questions (these questions are multiple choice) and feature questions on data sufficiency as well as problem solving. The next section of the test, the verbal section is made up of 41 questions of multiple choice that have a time limit of 75 minutes. The tree kinds of questions in the GMAT’s verbal section include critical reasoning, reading comprehension, and correction of sentence structure and sentence completion.

The total score of the GMAT is made up of the verbal and the quantitative sections, exclusive of the aforementioned analytical writing assessment. The total score of the GMAT ranges between 200 and 800, with something close to 66 percent of all test takers getting 400 to 600. The distribution of the score looks like a bell curve with a normal deviation of about 100 points. Business schools that are regarded as elite have a very high criteria with regards to the type of applicants they accept. For top business schools, a GMAT score of somewhere between the high 600s and the low 700s is insisted upon.

To learn more about the two tests, see these links.

GRE Explained

ETS Website

The GRE’s Focus

Difference Between GMAT and GRE

Registering for the GRE

GRE and GMAT: Differences

MBA Website

Links for GMAT Practice

Practice Questions for GMAT

Vocabulary List for the GRE

GRE Physics Exam Information

Information on the GRE Math Preparation