ISB has announced that it will begin to accept GRE scores for all variants of its flagship PGP program viz:

  • The ISB EEO
  • The ISB YLP
  • The ISB PGP

Before you decide which test to take – let’s compare the two tests


Test Algorithm AWA


Integrated Reasoning Section Quantitative Reasoning Section Verbal Reasoning Section
Details Timings Details Timings Details Timings Details Timings
GMAT Computer Adaptive Test – the algorithm is question level adaptive 1 essay – Analysis of an Argument 30 mins 12 questions – Multi-Source Reasoning
Graphics Interpretation
Two-Part Analysis
Table Analysis
30 mis 37 Questions – Problem Solving
Data Sufficiency
75 minutes 41 questions – Reading Comprehension
Critical Reasoning
Sentence Correction
 75 mins
GRE Computer Based test – the algorithm is section level adaptive 2 essays – Analysis of an Issue and Analysis of an Argument 60 mins NA


There are 2 Quantitative sections on the GRE appearing in any order. 20 Questions in each of the two sections  – Multiple-Choice: Select One
Multiple-Choice: Select One or More
Numeric Entry
Quantitative Comparison
35 minutes/section There are 2 Verbal sections on the GRE appearing in any order. Text Completion
Sentence Equivalence
Reading Comprehension
30 mins/section

Each test has Quantitative, Verbal, and Writing components, but as you can see from the table, the types of questions within each section are not always the same.

  • Conceptually the Quantitative sections of each exam are quite similar, as both tests are based on high school level arithmetic, algebra, and geometry. The most common question type on each test is multiple-choice, which are math problems where you are presented with a question and several answer choice options. The major differences between the two quantitative sections are in the remaining question types: the GMAT has an additional problem type called Data Sufficiency and the GRE offers two additional types called Quantitative Comparison and Numeric Entry.
  • The only similarity between the verbal sections of the GMAT and GRE is the Reading Comprehension question type. Reading Comprehension questions present a 100 to 400 word passage, followed by one to six multiple choice questions.
  • The GMAT has two additional Verbal question types: Critical Reasoning and Sentence Correction. Critical Reasoning questions present a short statement or argument (typically two or three sentences), and then test your ability to use logic to evaluate the statement. These questions have multiple choice answers. Sentence Correction questions contain a sentence in which a part of the sentence is underlined, and analyze your ability to identify and correct errors in grammar and usage in the underlined portion.
  • The GRE contains two additional Verbal question types as well: Text Completion and Sentence Equivalence. Text Completion questions contain a sentence or short passage with one, two, or three words or phrases missing. From the answer choices, you must pick the missing word(s) that best fit(s) the overall meaning of the sentence. Sentence Equivalence question present a single sentence with one word missing. You must select the two answer choices that both logically complete the sentence AND produce sentences with equivalent meanings. These question types are a test of your ability to understand sentence context, as well as your vocabulary.
  • The GRE and GMAT both have a 30-minute essay on the analysis of an argument, where the prompt asks you to analyze an argument for its questionable assumptions and overall validity. The GRE also has a second 30-minute essay where the prompt asks you to take a position on an issue and present an argument for your positon using specific examples.
  • The GMAT has a wholly unique section titled “Integrated Reasoning” where, according to the test makers, the four question types (and 12 total questions) “measure how well you integrate data to solve complex problems and test the following skills:
    • Synthesizing information presented in graphics, text, and numbers
    • Evaluating relevant information from different sources
    • Organizing information to see relationships and to solve multiple, interrelated problems
    • Combining and manipulating information from multiple sources to solve complex problems”

You are given charts, graphs, tables, or other sets of data and asked to interpret and manipulate them to provide meaningful answers to the questions asked. The real challenge here, aside from the large amounts of information presented, is that the figures are responsive and must often be rearranged—adjusting rows, columns, inputs, etc—before questions can be answered.

Scoring on the GMAT versus scoring on the GRE

  • Both the GRE and the GMAT use an adaptive exam format, although in slightly different ways. The computer adaptive format on the GMAT chooses each question based on your performance on the previous question(s), meaning you must answer each question in order, and you cannot skip questions or go back to prior questions.
  • The GRE is a section-adaptive exam: your second sections of Verbal and Math adapt (become harder or easier) depending on your overall performance in your first section of Verbal and Math, respectively. That means that you can skip questions and move around within a section, much as you can on more traditional, paper-based exams.
  • The GRE gives three different scaled scores:
    • A Quantitative score reported on a 130-170 score scale, in 1-point increments
    • A Verbal score reported on a 130-170 score scale, in 1-point increments
    • An Analytical Writing score reported on a 0-6 score scale, in half-point increments
  • The GMAT provides four separate scores:
    • A Quantitative Score on a scale of 0 to 60, in 1-point increments
    • A Verbal Score on a scale of 0 to 60, in 1-point increments
    • A Total Score on a scale of 200 to 800, in 10-point increments
    • An Analytical Writing score reported on a 0-6 score scale, in half-point increments

For the GMAT, the Quantitative and Verbal scores are section scores, and these two section scores are combined to create the Total Score. The Total Score is the one most familiar to GMAT test takers, and it is given on a 200 to 800 scale, with 200 being the lowest score and 800 the highest score


  • The current price to take the GMAT is $250, while the GRE costs $205.

What should you choose – the GMAT or the GRE?

  • One advantage of taking the GRE is that it provides greater flexibility. While, the GMAT is designed exclusively for business school – GRE scores are accepted across most graduate programs. Hence, if you are applying to other programs such as Engineering Management Programs, Technical Masters Programs or interdisciplinary dual degree programs that accept the GRE – then you should look at taking the GRE
  • One immediate difference between the GMAT and the GRE is that the GRE provides an on-screen calculator for use during the Quantitative sections, while the GMAT does not allow for the use of a calculator.
  • If you are not good at synthesizing data from charts, tables, graphics, text, and numerical reports – you will find the Integrated Reasoning section of the GMAT challenging. In this case the GRE might be an easier test to take. Bear in mind though that certain management consulting firms consider the score on the Integrated Reasoning section as a recruitment parameter
  • The GRE puts a big emphasis on vocabulary. The GMAT places a greater emphasis on logic and grammar, which can help or hurt depending on your abilities.
  • Finally, the GRE can be more tedious than the GMAT. The GMAT does not have unscored sections, but the GRE can have one or two unscored sections. However, the GMAT does have unidentified trial questions which are not counted while scoring

In conclusion if you are applying to dual degrees/technical Master’s/Engineering Management Programs along with ISB – take the GRE. If you are applying only to business school and ISB is one of the options, and your Quantitative ability is better than your Verbal ability – take the GRE. If you are applying to Business school and ISB is one of the options, and  I you have a great vocabulary but struggle with grammar, then go for the GRE.

IMS Recommendation

We believe that you need to get your feet wet before you decide to take a specific test. Connect with us on +91-8097055667 to schedule a GMAT/GRE diagnostic test either online or at your nearest IMS center. On taking the diagnostic test you will be provided with a feedback session that covers:

  • An understanding of your strengths and weaknesses on each section of the test
  • Deciding what test is more suitable for you – the GMAT or the GRE
  • Fixing up an application timeline and an average test score
  • Understanding how IMS can help you create a stellar application packet for ISB

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