GRE, toefl

The GRE (Graduate Record Examination) and TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) are two widely recognized English language tests.

Both of these tests are for different purposes, and I will explain the purpose of both exams in the upcoming blog. 

Many students who want to study abroad always get confused about GRE vs TOEFL, which exam they must take or which is better. 

In this blog, I will explain everything that will help you determine that out of GRE and TOEFL which exam you must take.

So let’s get started!

GRE Vs TOEFL: The Differences

Here, I will differentiate between GRE and TOEFL based on different criteria. This will help you understand which test you should choose. 

I will differentiate both the exam based on the following criteria:

  • Definition
  • Syllabus & Pattern
  • Type Of Questions
  • Result
  • Score Validity
  • Fees

At the end of the test, I will also give some recommendations that when you can choose which exam.

NOTE: For admission to some courses, students are required to prove English language proficiency test scores along with the GRE or GMAT score. So there are chances that students have to take both of these exams to study abroad in some courses.


Both exams are for testing the English language proficiency of students, but both exams are quite different. To understand that, you must understand the definition of both exams.

What is GRE?

The full form of the GRE is Graduate Record Examination. This exam is conducted by the ETS (Educational Testing Service). This standard exam measures a student’s general academic ability for graduate programs.

GRE is a part of the admission process for many graduate programs. It helps the administration to identify the ability of the students to think critically, solve problems, and communicate effectively.

As these are the basic and necessary skills that a student must have to complete their graduate program.

There are two types of the GRE:

  • GRE General test

The test takers’ reasoning, critical thinking, and analytical writing skills are tested. This helps the college authorities to understand the basic and required skills of the students to study abroad.

  • GRE Subject test

With this test, students’ knowledge in a particular area of study is tested by the authorities. This test is for those students who have a strong base of any subject that are listed below:

  • Chemistry
  • Mathematics
  • Physics
  • Psychology

What Is TOEFL?

This test is also conducted by the ETS. This test is for measuring the English language proficiency of the students. 

There is no requirement for graduation to take this test. Students can take this test even after high school. 

This test is widely accepted worldwide and is very popular among students to prove their English language proficiency for college or university admission. 

This test is good for both graduates and high school pass-outs. 

TOEFL is of mainly three types:

  • TOEFL iBT (internet-based test)
  • TOEFL at home (Home-based TOEFL test)
  • TOEFL paper-delivered test 

Syllabus & Pattern

GRE vs TOEFL; both exams are conducted by the ETS. There is a huge difference between the syllabus and the pattern of both exams. Below I will discuss the syllabus and pattern for both exams one by one.


The syllabus and the pattern for the exam are set by the ETS itself. The syllabus and the pattern of this exam are set in a way that can test the student’s accurate skills to study for graduate programs.

GRE Exam Syllabus

According to the ETS, the GRE syllabus 2023 covers these 3 sections of the exam.

  • Verbal Reasoning
  • Quantitative Reasoning
  • Analytical Writing

GRE Exam Pattern

The GRE exam pattern is shown in the table below:

GRE Section NameNumber of QuestionsDuration
GRE verbal reasoning40 (2 sections every section has 20 questions)60 minutes (30 minutes for 1 section)
GRE quantitative reasoning2 (First Analyze an Issue & 2nd Analyze an Argument task)70 minutes (35 minutes for 1 section)
GRE analytical writing assessment40 (2 sections every section has 20 questions)60 minutes (30 minutes for 1 task)
Total82 questions190 minutes


The Syllabus and the pattern of this exam are also set by the ETS, same authority that set the GRE syllabus and pattern. Let’s have a look at the syllabus and pattern of the GRE.

TOEFL Exam Syllabus

There are 4 parts in the TOEFL exam syllabus:

  • Reading 
  • Listening
  • Writing
  • Speaking

TOEFL Exam Pattern

SectionNumber of QuestionsTasksDuration
Reading30 to 40 questionsRead 3 or 4 passages and answer the given questions54–72 minutes
Listening28 to 38 QuestionsListen to the recording and answer the given questions.41-57 minutes
10 minutes break
SpeakingQuestions: 4 tasksRecord your answer for the given questions.17 minutes
WritingQuestions: 2 tasksRecord your answer to the given questions.50 minutes
DurationAround 3 hours

Type Of Questions

GRE vs TOEFL, the GRE is mainly for graduate students, so the type of questions in the GRE is quite different from TOEFL. Let’s have a look at the type of questions for both exams.


Section nameSub-areasTypes of questions
GRE quantitative reasoningRatio and proportion
Profit and loss
Simple and compound interest
Speed, distance, and timePermutation & combination
Linear equations
Quadratic equations
Sets Theory
Powers and roots
Pipes, cisterns, work, time
Lines and anglesTriangles
Coordinate geometry
Order of operations
Volume and surface area
Number properties
Quantitative Comparison Questions, Numeric Entry Questions
GRE verbal reasoning_Reading ComprehensionText CompletionSentence Equivalence
GRE analytical writing assessment_Analyzing an IssueAnalyzing an Argument


SectionTypes of Questions
ListeningGist – content
Gist – purpose
Understanding the speaker’s attitude
Understanding the function
Making inferences
Understanding organization
Connecting content
ReadingFactual Information
Negative Factual Information
Rhetorical PurposeReading Vocabulary
Sentence Simplification
Insert Text
Prose Summary
WritingIntegrated writing task – 20-minute task
Independent writing task – 30-minute task
SpeakingAgree or Disagree
PreferenceIf / Imaginary
Three Choices
Description or Explanation
Advantage and Disadvantage


GRE vs TOEFL, there is also a big difference between the declaration of the result for both exam. To know how many days each test takes to deliver results continue reading.


The GRE result will be available on your ETS account within 10 to 15 days of taking the test. You just need to log in to your official ETS account to see your test result. You can easily send your GRE result to different institutes to which you want to apply. Your result will be available for your choice of institutes when you send the result.


6 days after taking the test, the TOEFL score will be available on the ETS account. You can see your score by logging into the TOEFL exam’s official website. You can see the score in different sections of the exam separately.

Score Validity

GRE vs TOEFL, the score validity is quite different for both exams. Let’s have a look at the score validity for both exams.


The GRE test score is valid for 5 years from your test date. For example, if you take the test on 2 January 2023, your score will be valid until 1 January 2028.


The TOEFL test score is valid for 2 years from your test date. For example, If you take the exam on 2 March 2023, your score will be valid till 1 March 2025. 

After knowing GRE vs TOEFL, you must know some of the best books for both exams. This will help students to get a good score and fulfill their requirements.


GRE vs TOEFL; for both exams, the fee structure is different, let’s look at the fees for both exams.


To take the GRE, students must pay a minimum fee to register for the GRE. The fee to register for the GRE is $228 in India, $231.30 in China, and $220 for the rest of the world.

You can verify the fee for the exam here.


To take the TOEFL exam, there is a registration fee that students must pay, without paying this fee, it won’t be possible for them to take the exam. The fee to register for the TOEFL exam is ₹ 16,900. You can verify it here.

GRE Vs TOEFL Which Is Better?

If you really ask which exam is better in GRE vs TOEFL, then there is no clear answer to the question of which exam is better.

It totally depends upon the student’s circumstances and goals, as both exams are for different purposes. 

GRE is for admission to graduate programs in the USA or other countries, while TOEFL is an English language proficiency test like IELTS or PTE. 

Students may also need to take the English language proficiency (if asked by the institute) test even if they have taken the GRE exam.

It also depends on the university or course you are applying to that whether they ask for GRE test scores for graduate-level courses.

So if you only have to prove your English language proficiency, then TOEFL is better for you. If you want to take admitted to the Graduate-level courses and they have the requirement of GRE test score, then you must take the GRE exam to get admission to that institute.

GRE Vs TOEFL Which Exam To Select?

  • When you are applying to the graduate program in the USA then, you must take the GRE test. However, if you are a non-native English speaker, then you must also require to prove your language proficiency, and to do that, you have to take TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE exam.
  • If you want to study in an English-speaking nation and have to prove your language proficiency, then you must take the TOEFL exam instead of GRE.

So before selecting any exam, first, check the requirement of the college or institute you are applying that, which exam they want you to take for a specific course.

Best GRE Preparation Books 

Here, you will get to know the top 5 GRE preparation books; let’s look at the list of books to prepare for the GRE.

  • Magoosh GRE Prep
  • Kaplan GRE Prep Plus
  • Test Prep Books GRE Prep
  • The Princeton Review GRE Prep
  • Manhattan Prep 5 lb. Book of GRE Practice Problems

You can also visit our other blog, “GRE Practice Papers – Best 20+ Practice Paper,” to get free GRE practice papers.

Best Books For TOEFL Preparation

Best Books For TOEFL Preparation

To ace the TOEFL exam, you need to prepare from the best books. To help you get a good score, I have brought the list of the best books for the TOEFL exam.

  • The Official Guide to the TOEFL iBT Test (Latest Version)
  • Kaplan TOEFL iBT Premier
  • The Official TOEFL iBT Tests collection
  • “TOEFL iBT, 17th Edition” by Barron’s
  • Essential Words for the TOEFL, 7th Edition” by Barron’s
  • “TOEFL Preparation Book, 2020 and 2021” by Test Prep Books
  • “TOEFL iBT Prep, 2021” by The Princeton Review
  • TOEFL Integrated Study Guide by Manhattan Review


In this blog, I have discussed GRE vs TOEFL. I have differentiated both exams in a way so you can easily understand which test is best for you to take.

If you are planning to take admission to any business institute after graduation, then the GRE is best for you. This is because this exam is especially for graduate students who want to study business courses from top institutes.

If you are planning to take the English language test after the 12th, then the TOEFL exam is a good option for you. The reason behind this is that the difficulty level for the TOEFL exam is low compared to the GRE. 

So I hope now it is clear to you which exam you should take to prove your English language proficiency. If you have any questions, you can contact our experts.

I hope I have cleared all your queries about GRE vs TOEFL. For more content like this, keep visiting CourseMentor™.


Is GRE hard for international students?

For most international students, the GRE exams’ difficulty level is moderate. This is because this test is in English, and international students whose first language is English can easily perform well in this exam.

Can I prepare for Toefl in 2 weeks?

This depends upon person to person and how well you are preparing for the exam. Also, it depends upon your base English language. So if you have a strong base in the English language and prepare for the exam with full concentration, you can easily prepare for the TOEFL exam in 2 weeks.