GMAT or GRE Easier? (2018)

GMAT or GRE Easier? 

As the competition heats up between GMAT and GRE as the leading test for business school admission many potential MBAs are weighing the question: is the GMAT or GRE easier? Here’s a chart to help you decide whether the GMAT or GRE will be easier for you and below that is further analysis to help you pick which test to tackle. For a granular comparison of the tests you can also check out our GMAT vs GRE article.

Is the GMAT or GRE Easier?

GMAT Easier GRE Easier
Great at verbal reasoning You have an outstanding vocabulary
Solid Grammar skills Not afraid of numbers but don’t like puzzles
Like puzzles Preferred the ACT to the SAT
Not intimidated by standardized tests Standardized tests have never been your strong suit


GRE is easier than GMAT if:

-You have an impeccable vocabulary

-You are good at quant but not great with test pressure or puzzles

Why? A majority of the GRE verbal section is based on vocabulary. If you are passionate about words then you’ll love the GRE verbal. On the quant side the GRE and GMAT cover very similar content though the GRE tests that content in a more straightforward way. So you do need quant skills for the GRE but the application is slightly easier. In addition, the format of the GRE is easier than that of the GMAT. Although it is delivered on a computer it still resembles a paper test in that you can skip questions and return to them. It also doesn’t change the difficulty of questions based on your responses. The GMAT computer adaptive test structure challenges most test takers. You can’t return to questions. Once you confirm an answer it’s done! Also, as you answer questions correctly the difficulty of subsequent questions increases. With practice and strategy you can overcome the GMAT CAT. No problemo. But, ultimately, it does present a thornier format.

GMAT is easier than GRE if you:

-Have fantastic verbal reasoning skills

-Have solid grammar skills

-Like puzzles

Although GMAT quant produces great anxiety amongst future MBAs it is the verbal section that’s more important for most people aiming for 700+ GMAT scores. Yes, you do need to do well on the quant as well but unless you score in the 90th%+ on verbal your shot at a stratospheric GMAT score is severely limited. Here's a detailed look at GMAT Percentiles. And, unfortunately, verbal skills are usually tougher to improve. Of course you can go from a verbal zero to hero but it just tends to take longer to develop those core reasoning and reading skills. So if you’re starting off stupendously on verbal the GMAT could well be easier for you than the GRE.

Verbal Reasoning translates to GMAT Quant

Also, even if you’re rusty at math you may find that once you get in a GMAT quant mindset those reasoning skills translate to quant success. After-all, although the GMAT Quant is a math section the actual math part is very basic. Whether on a quant or verbal question the GMAT is always testing reasoning skills. Are you judging other people’s poorly written emails? You may find GMAT sentence correction very easy and even, yep I’m going to say it, fun. So again, most people think GMAT and math but the verbal is a key factor.

The GMAT is easier to study for

Quick note on study materials for both tests. Even if you fall into the profile indicating a GRE preference note that there are far fewer official GRE questions to practice on. So although you may start off with a GRE advantage it could be that you have a tougher time improving your GRE score due to a lack of official practice questions and practice tests.

The GRE is easier but at what cost?!

Maybe no cost. It could even provide an advantage. But that depends. Whether the GMAT or GRE is easier isn’t the only question one should consider in selecting one or the other for MBA admission. As of 2018, for most people the GMAT is a better bet but there are outliers who could improve their chances for admission to top schools by taking the GRE. An important GRE note: the equivalent GRE score averages at top schools, at least the ones who've released the statistics, are lower than what you would need on the GMAT. For a rundown on comparing scores here's an article on GRE to GMAT conversion.

Is the GMAT or GRE Easier?

Hopefully we've shed some light on what skills might make you better suited for the GMAT or GRE. Keep in mind that it is really at the extremes that one test would be significantly more difficult than the other. For most, the tests will be very similar with the GMAT, at least at the beginning of your preparation, slightly tougher.

GRE to GMAT Conversion in 2019

As the GRE becomes more settled as an MBA admissions exam we're going to be doing more GRE articles. Here we're looking at GRE to GMAT conversion. For a no holds barred, in depth look at how the GMAT and GRE compare check out our GMAT vs GRE post.

GRE to GMAT Conversion

How do schools compare a GRE score to GMAT score? Good question. The two business school test behemoths have starkly different scoring systems making comparison a tricky business. In its quest for a piece of the MBA admissions pie, ETS has created a clever tool that admissions officers can use to convert GRE scores to GMAT scores. There is some evidence to suggest that MBA programs do use the ETS GRE to GMAT conversion tool to equate the two tests rather than relying on the GRE score alone. Here’s a video from Duke on how they evaluate GRE scores.

Why convert GRE to GMAT?

The GRE hasn’t been around for very long as an MBA admissions test so admissions committees haven’t 100% figured out how to evaluate GRE scores on their own. In time it’s likely that you won’t need GRE to GMAT conversion but for now it seems most programs are more comfortable converting GRE scores and pegging results to GMAT standard.

How is a GRE score converted to a GMAT score?

ETS has the scores from a sample of people who have taken both tests. Data scientists made some assumptions, massaged the numbers, and voila: the GRE conversion tool!  

Is GRE to GMAT conversion accurate?

GMAC, the owner of the GMAT says no. ETS, the owner of the GRE says yes-ish. ETS provides this little disclaimer: "The predicted score range is approximately +/- 50 points for the total GMAT score and +/- 6 points on the Verbal and Quantitative scores.” The swing on the total and on the individual sections seems massive considering that people stress about a 690 vs a 700. Do MBA programs consider this 50 point margin of error in the score conversion? My guess: no. At this point if a school is using the conversion tool it's probably taking the results at face value and not bothering with the disclaimers. And, just to add some balance here, GMAC also states that the GMAT should be viewed in 30 point score bands. Do MBA programs consider a 690 the same as a 720? In terms of you being able to do the work at the program, probably. But in terms of admissions I don't think so. The 690 is going to bring a top ten MBA program's GMAT average down hurting MBA rankings. 

Things actually get worse on the sub-section score conversion. The quant and verbal scores potentially swing 6 points. That means on the quant you could be at a 45 (55th percentile) or a 51 (96th percentile). That is some wild GMAT to GRE score conversion!

OK, cough it up. What's the GRE conversion formula???!

(drum roll please)

GRE to GMAT Total score = -2080.75 + 6.38*GRE Verbal Reasoning score + 10.62*GRE Quantitative Reasoning score

GRE to GMAT Verbal score = -109.49 + 0.912*GRE Verbal Reasoning score

GRE to GMAT Quantitative score = -158.42 + 1.243*GRE Quantitative Reasoning score




Atlantic GMAT

405 East 51st St.

NY, NY 10022

(347) 669-3545