GRE vs. TOEFL: Which Is Easier?


Students who intend to study abroad must take an English proficiency test and get the required band score set by their chosen university. This is to show that you are capable of studying and living in an English-speaking country.

The most popular English proficiency test is TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) and GRE (Graduate record exam). While both have the same results, their roles in test modules completely differ from one another.

So, GRE VS. TOEFL, which is easier?

Many students applying to universities must take the GRE (Graduate Record Exam) and TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language), but their roles in the admissions process differ.

In this blog, we will break down the difference between GRE vs. TOEFL to help you make an informed decision about your study abroad.

To help you make score high on your English proficiency test, you can take coaching classes with guidance from certified tutors at Chhundu Training Institute.

GRE vs. TOEFL: The Primary Purpose


Let’s first talk about the primary difference between GRE vs. TOEFL before getting further in-depth with the two tests.

While both GRE and TOEFL are tests that students must take if they want to purpose higher education, they serve different purposes.

The GRE is a graduate school admissions exam, whereas the TOEFL is an English language proficiency examination.

Universities want to see your GRE results to confirm that you can manage graduate-level courses and TOEFL scores to ensure you have good English proficiency to succeed at an English-speaking university.  

What is GRE?

Graduate Record Exam (GRE)

GRE is a standardized test that determines how well a test-taker is prepared for graduate school.

GRE is divided into Analytical Writing, Quantitative Reasoning, and Verbal Reasoning.

SubjectNumber of QuestionsTime Given
Analytical Writing2 essays60 minutes
Verbal Reasoning (two sections)20 questions per section30 minutes per section
Quantitative Reasoning (two sections)20 questions per section35 minutes per section

What is TOEFL?

Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOFEL)

TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) is an English language proficiency exam created by ETS, the same company that created the GRE.

SectionNumber of QuestionsTime Given
Reading36-5660-80 minutes
Listening34-5160-90 minutes
Speaking6 tasks20 minutes
Writing2 tasks50 minutes

Does TOEFL sound like a better option for you? CTI can help you with customized TOEFL coaching classes to help you ace your test.

GRE vs. TOEFL: Comparing GRE and TOEFL

GRE vs. TOEFL: which is better??

This chart allows you to clearly see how GRE vs. TOEFL compare with each other in various categories such as length, format, scoring, and cost.

Length3 hours and 45 minutes3 hours and 30 minutes
Number of Sections64
Number of Essays22
Number of Speaking Tasks06
Number of Multiple-Choice Questions100 (including 20 unscored research questions)87 to 90 (including about 15-20 unscored research questions)
How Is It Usually Taken?ComputerComputer
Composite ScoringVerbal and Quantitative Reasoning each has score ranges of 130-170, for a total score of 260-340Each section is scored from 0-30, for a total score of 0-120
Cost$205Varies by country
How Long Are Scores Valid?5 years2 years
Number of Free Score Reports Included44

GRE vs. TOEFL: The Difference

Know the difference GRE vs. TOEFL

These tests evaluate two unique skill sets so students must comprehend certain key differences in their content to know the differences between GRE vs. TOEFL.

So here are a few pointers to help you understand the basic differences between GRE vs. TOEFL .

1. The TOEFL contains simpler Reading and Writing questions than the GRE.

Both the GRE and the TOEFL require you to write two essays for each test’s writing section and read the passage section.

TOEFL tests these skills to a certain level, but its primary focus is on testing your English comprehension skills for reading and writing.

2. Only TOEFL includes questions on speaking and listening.

TOEFL is created to evaluate your English language skills. It includes Speaking and Listening sections to assess how well you answer questions.

GRE, on the other hand, does not include any questions about speaking or listening. 

3. Math Questions Are Only on GRE

You must be proficient in math to do well on the GRE because the mathematical reasoning section of the test evaluates your math abilities and is responsible for half of your overall score.

Your ability in the following areas is tested on the GRE’s Quantitative Reasoning section:

  • Algebra
  • Arithmetic
  • Analysis of Data
  • Geometry

Most of the questions in this part are multiple-choice. However, there can be some questions that need you to type the proper response instead of simply selecting an answer from the multiple choices provided. 

Which is the best option for you? GRE vs. TOEFL

Which one is the better option for you? GRE vs. TOEFL

Now that we’ve discussed the distinctions between the GRE vs. TOEFL, let’s see which one is the better option for you.

Knowing which exam to take can help you avoid missing an essential step of your application and prevent wasting time on an unnecessary test.

Here are some general recommendations to help you choose the right test for you. Check the minimum test scores required by the colleges you’re applying to for GRE vs. TOEFL.

  • If you’re applying to graduate school, take the GRE. Most graduate schools, especially those prioritizing research, require GRE scores.
  • The GRE is not necessary for many specialized graduate programs, including law and business schools.
  • If English isn’t your first language then taking it is a better decision because most academic institutions need the TOEFL test.

Important Note: Make sure you check the universities you are interested in to see what the required band score is.?

GRE vs. TOEFL: Which is required?

As you read above the distinctions between the GRE vs. TOEFL, each exam serves a different purpose, so there are some cases where you’ll need to take both the GRE and TOEFL.

If you’re applying to colleges requiring GRE scores and are not a native English speaker, you’ll almost likely need to take both tests. 

Before registering for either test, do your research to figure out which exam each of the universities you’re applying to requires.

Since each university sets its standards for admission, some may ask for results from either, neither, or both exams.


GRE vs. TOEFL both have advantages and disadvantages, but which one to take completely depends on the students and the university to which they are applying.

GRE scores are only valid for five years, so taking the test during your first year would be a mistake if you want to gain practical experience before attending graduate school.

The best time to take the TOEFL is immediately following the GRE, and the results are valid for two years after the test date.

You may be required to take both examinations. That is why it is important to research the scoring criteria for the university you are applying to so you can submit all of the necessary materials and test scores.

So which is easier when it comes to Gre vs. TOEFL? The answer depends on how prepared you are. With proper preparation, there are no tests you can’t ace!

If you can ace the GRE Analytical Writing and Verbal Reasoning exams, the TOEFL Reading and Writing sections should be an easy task.
Leaning towards TOEFL tests? Read Which TOEFL countries are the best for you to make the first step towards achieving your goal of studying abroad!

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