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21 May 2024

9 minutes read


Key Takeaways

  • GMAT, GRE, IELTS, and TOEFL are crucial for students aiming to study abroad, assessing necessary academic and language skills.
  • GMAT is for business programs; GRE is versatile for various fields. IELTS and TOEFL assess English proficiency with different focuses.
  • Extensive prep resources and flexible testing options help improve scores and admission chances to top universities.
  • These exams are recognized and accepted by thousands of institutions worldwide, opening doors to prestigious programs.

The GMAT, GRE, IELTS, and TOEFL are very helpful for students who want to study abroad because they are standardized tests that check how well people can do in school and with language.

These tests give colleges a way to compare candidates from a range of educational backgrounds and make sure they meet the requirements for tough academic programs.

The GMAT and GRE test the verbal, quantitative, and critical skills needed for graduate and business school. The IELTS and TOEFL test English language skills, which are very important for people who don’t speak English as their first language but live in a country where English is the official language.

By doing well on these tests, students can show potential colleges that they are ready and committed, which greatly increases their chances of getting in and being successful in their chosen fields.

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Full form of GRE

GRE is an acronym that is short for Graduate Record Examinations. The GRE test is a durable universal admission test used by graduate schools and business programs worldwide. It plays a crucial role for students aiming to pursue advanced degrees abroad due to several key reasons:


The GRE examination is considered accepted by thousands of graduate programs throughout the world including business schools for MBA programs. This way it becomes a suitable option for the students who are exploring their options in various subjects.

Assessment of Key Skills

The GRE evaluates critical skills necessary for academic success at the graduate level, including:

Analytical Writing

Assesses the ability to articulate complex ideas clearly and effectively.

Verbal Reasoning

Measures reading comprehension, critical reasoning, and vocabulary.

Quantitative Reasoning

Tests basic mathematical skills and the ability to interpret and analyze quantitative information.

Score Flexibility

The GRE allows candidates to take the test multiple times and choose which scores to send to schools through the ScoreSelect option.

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GRE (Graduate Record Examination) Exam Eligibility

The Educational Testing Service, which runs the tests, doesn’t set any specific requirements for taking the Graduate Record Examinations.

SectionNumber of QuestionsAllotted Time
Analytical Writing– Analyze an Issue task30 minutes per task
– Analyze an Argument task
Verbal Reasoning20 questions per section (2 sections)30 minutes per section
Quantitative Reasoning20 questions per section (2 sections)35 minutes per section


  • Document Required: Valid passport (original) showing full name, photograph, and signature.
  • Other Requirements: No specific age, qualification, or timing prerequisites set by ETS, but universities may have their own criteria.

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Full form of GMAT

GMAT is the short form that stands for Graduate Management Admission Test. The GMAT is one of the tests that are required for entry into various global business schools with graduate degrees and graduate level business degrees such as an MBA. It is aimed at evaluating the competences which are essential for managing and achieving success in business.

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The GMAT test is used by over 7,000 graduate business institution with more than 2,300 in 93 countries across the globe as an admission requirement. It can be repeated if necessary and it may improve results if taken more than once; it is also available at any time. Tutorials and practice tests are also available and even more for students to study from.

A high GMAT score given to the applicant  before applying for business school can enhance the strength of the application by showing the student is prepared for the challenges of the business school and help ensure admission to top universities.


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GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test) Paper Pattern 2024

SectionNumber of QuestionsAllotted Time
Analytical Writing Assessment1 Essay30 minutes
Integrated Reasoning12 Questions30 minutes
Quantitative Reasoning31 Questions62 minutes
Verbal Reasoning36 Questions65 minutes

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The GRE (Graduate Record Examinations) and GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test) are crucial for graduate program admissions, with each serving distinct purposes. The GRE General Test, also known as the GRE Revised General Test, evaluates a broad range of verbal and quantitative skills, making it suitable for various graduate programs, including arts, sciences, and business.

In contrast, the GMAT is tailored specifically for business and management programs. Both exams offer paper-based tests, though computer-based formats are more common. The GRE includes both a general test and GRE Subject Tests, which assess knowledge in specific fields, adding to its versatility. Difficulty levels vary, but both tests are designed to challenge candidates.

The GRE scores verbal and quantitative sections in 1-point increments, while the GMAT provides a total score ranging from 200-800. Understanding the differences between the GRE and GMAT is essential for choosing the right admission test based on one’s academic goals and the requirements of the desired graduate programs.

AspectGRE (Graduate Record Examinations)GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test)
PurposeWide range of graduate programs (arts, sciences, business)Specifically for business and management programs, particularly MBAs
SectionsAnalytical Writing, Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, Unscored/Research sectionAnalytical Writing Assessment, Integrated Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, Verbal Reasoning
ScoringVerbal & Quantitative: 130-170 each Analytical Writing: 0-6Total Score: 200-800< Individual section scores
Test FormatComputer-based and paper-based Adaptive by sectionPrimarily computer-based Adaptive by question
Global AcceptanceAccepted by thousands of graduate and business schools worldwideAccepted by over 7,000 programs at more than 2,300 business schools globally
Preparation ResourcesPractice tests, study guides, prep coursesExtensive preparatory materials including official practice tests, study guides, courses
FlexibilityScoreSelect option to choose which scores to sendAllows canceling and retaking the test, choosing which scores to send
Content FocusBroad range of verbal and quantitative skillsAnalytical and critical thinking skills relevant to business and management

Full form of IELTS (test of English)

image 1 18

The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is a highly regarded English language proficiency test that is essential for international students seeking to study, work, or migrate to English-speaking countries.

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Recognized globally as a test of English, the IELTS test assesses English as a foreign language through its four key sections: Listening and Speaking, Reading, and Writing. This language proficiency test is crucial for college admission as it evaluates a candidate’s English skills comprehensively. 

The IELTS score, which ranges from 1 to 9, reflects proficiency in English and is widely accepted by educational institutions, employers, and immigration authorities. Unlike the Graduate Record Exam, IELTS focuses solely on English language proficiency. 

The test offers both computer-based and paper-based formats, with the speaking test conducted face-to-face to assess real-time communication skills. Extensive preparatory resources are available, including practice tests and study guides, to help students excel in the writing section and other parts of the exam.

Achieving a high IELTS score demonstrates a strong command of English speaking and writing, enhancing opportunities for academic and professional advancement in English-speaking environments.

IELTS Eligibility Criteria and Syllabus

Now that you have a clear idea of what IELTS is, let us take a look at the eligibility criteria and the syllabus of the same:

Eligibility Criteria

AgeRecommended for individuals 16 years of age or older
Educational BackgroundNo specific requirements
NationalityOpen to all nationalities
PurposeSuitable for those seeking to study, work, or migrate to English-speaking countries


Listening30 minutes (plus 10 minutes transfer time)Four recorded monologues and conversationsUnderstanding main ideas and specific factual information from a variety of recordings.
Reading60 minutesThree reading passages with tasksAcademic: Complex texts from books, journals, magazines, and newspapers. General Training: Texts relevant to everyday life and work settings.
Writing60 minutesTwo tasksTask 1 (Academic): Describe visual information. Task 1 (General Training): Write a letter in response to a situation. Task 2: Write an essay on a given topic.
Speaking11-14 minutesFace-to-face interview with an examinerPart 1: Introduction and interview (4-5 minutes). Part 2: Long turn (2-3 minutes) on a given topic. Part 3: Two-way discussion (4-5 minutes) related to Part 2.

IELTS Academic

The IELTS Academic test is designed for individuals applying for higher education or professional registration in an English-speaking environment. This computer-based test, also available as an internet-based test, assesses the candidate’s ability to understand and use complex academic language.

The Academic version includes sections on Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking. The Reading section features passages from books, journals, magazines, and newspapers, while the Writing section requires describing visual information and writing essays. This format ensures that candidates are well-prepared for the rigorous language demands of academic study.

IELTS General Training

The IELTS General Training test is intended for those migrating to English-speaking countries for work, training programs, or secondary education. Available as both a computer-based test and an internet-based test, this version evaluates practical, everyday English skills. It includes Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking sections.

The Reading section features texts relevant to daily life and work settings, and the Writing section involves writing letters and essays. This test format helps ensure candidates can effectively communicate in a variety of real-life situations in an English-speaking environment.

Full form of TOEFL (English Language Test)

TOEFL stands for Test of English as a Foreign Language. The TOEFL iBT (Internet-Based Test) is a widely recognized English language proficiency exam designed to assess the ability of non-native speakers to use and understand English in academic settings.

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The test evaluates four key skills: Reading, Listening, Speaking, and Writing. It is primarily used for university admissions and is accepted by many institutions worldwide. The TOEFL iBT measures how well test-takers can combine these skills to perform academic tasks, making it an essential requirement for those seeking to study in English-speaking countries.

The test is administered online, providing a comprehensive assessment of English language proficiency needed for success in higher education.

Four Sections of TOEFL Exam 

The TOEFL exam generally has four sections, namely reading, writing, listening, and speaking. Let us take a look at each of them:


Duration: 54-72 minutes
Content: 3-4 academic passages with 10 questions each, assessing reading comprehension.


Duration: 41-57 minutes
Content: 3-4 lectures and 2-3 conversations, with 5-6 questions per lecture/conversation, testing understanding of spoken English.


Duration: 17 minutes
Content: 4 tasks requiring test-takers to express opinions and respond to reading and listening materials, evaluating spoken English skills.


Duration: 50 minutes
Content: 2 tasks: one integrated task (involving reading and listening) and one independent task (essay writing), measuring written English proficiency.

IELTS vs TOEFL Admission Test

image 1 20

When deciding between TOEFL or IELTS exams, it’s important to consider various factors such as the test content, format, and the requirements of the institutions you’re applying to. Both tests assess English proficiency and are widely accepted for graduate school admissions in English-speaking countries.

The IELTS exam offers two versions: IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training. The IELTS Academic is designed for those who need to use English at study in academic settings, while the IELTS General Training is for those migrating to or working in English-speaking countries. The test structure includes Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking sections.

Scores for the IELTS (test required in English speaking countries) are given as band scores ranging from 1 to 9, and a minimum score requirement varies by institution. The test is offered in both computer-based and paper-based formats, and test takers receive score reports that include raw scores and scaled scores.

The TOEFL test, particularly the TOEFL iBT, is another popular option. It focuses on academic English and is often required for university admissions. The test content includes Reading, Listening, Speaking, and Writing sections.

The TOEFL PBT (paper-based test) includes an additional Test of Written English. TOEFL scores are reported on a scale of 0 to 120, with each section scored from 0 to 30. A minimum score requirement also varies by institution, and TOEFL scores are accepted by many universities worldwide.

While both the TOEFL and IELTS test are accepted English language proficiency exams, the choice between them may depend on the specific requirements of the graduate school admissions you are targeting. The test dates and the availability of test centers can also influence your decision.

Both tests evaluate English conversation and comprehension skills, but the format and scoring system differ. It’s important to submit scores that meet the minimum requirements set by your chosen institutions. 

Both tests cannot guarantee a score of 800, as their scoring scales are different. Ensure you check which test is required and accepted by your preferred universities before making a decision.


Standardized graduate admission tests such as the GMAT, GRE, IELTS, and TOEFL play a critical role in helping students gain admission to universities worldwide. These exams evaluate various skills essential for academic success, providing an overall score that universities use to compare candidates.

Although the GMAT cannot be used for all graduate programs, it is vital for business schools, whereas students from various disciplines often take the GRE. Understanding the difference between GRE and GMAT exams and choosing the right test based on your target program’s requirements can significantly influence your admission prospects.

Therefore, whether you decide to take the GRE or GMAT, achieving a high score can open doors to prestigious university programs and enhance your academic and professional opportunities. The same goes for IELTS and TOEFL as well. 

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What is the full form of GMAT, GRE, IELTS, and TOEFL?

GMAT: Graduate Management Admission Test
GRE: Graduate Record Examinations
IELTS: International English Language Testing System
TOEFL: Test of English as a Foreign Language

How do GMAT and GRE differ in terms of purpose and structure?

The GMAT is specifically for business and management programs, whereas the GRE is versatile and accepted by various graduate programs. The GMAT focuses on analytical and critical thinking relevant to business, while the GRE assesses a broader range of verbal and quantitative skills.

What are the key sections of the IELTS and TOEFL exams?

Both IELTS and TOEFL test English language proficiency. IELTS includes Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking sections. TOEFL also includes Reading, Listening, Speaking, and Writing, with a focus on academic English.

Can I take the GRE or GMAT multiple times?

Yes, both the GRE and GMAT allow candidates to retake the exams. The GRE offers the ScoreSelect option to choose which scores to send to schools, while the GMAT also allows score cancellation and selection.

What are the eligibility criteria for taking the IELTS and TOEFL exams?

There are no specific eligibility requirements for IELTS or TOEFL. They are open to individuals of any age and educational background, suitable for those seeking to study, work, or migrate to English-speaking countries.

How are IELTS and TOEFL scores reported and used by institutions?

IELTS scores range from 1 to 9 and are reported as band scores. TOEFL scores range from 0 to 120, with each section scored from 0 to 30. Institutions use these scores to assess English language proficiency for admissions and other purposes.

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