GRE vs TOEFL: Know About the Difference Between GRE and TOEFL

GRE vs TOEFL: Know About the Difference Between GRE and TOEFL

GRE vs TOEFL: Know About the Difference Between GRE and TOEFL
Bijay Poudel

Embarking on pursuing graduate studies in esteemed destinations such as the US or Canada is an exhilarating endeavor. The GRE (Graduate Record Examination) and TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language), among other factors, stand out as crucial options.

Do Not Miss: What is TOEFL?

These two standardized tests stand as gatekeepers to the portals of international universities, demanding a meticulous understanding of their distinctions. In this detailed exploration, we navigate the intricacies of GRE and TOEFL, shedding light on their key differences, scoring intricacies, and financial implications.

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GRE, a graduate-level examination, delves deep into assessing a student's proficiency in graduation coursework. Its multifaceted approach encompasses quantitative, verbal, and analytical reasoning, comprehensively evaluating a candidate's academic capabilities. Conversely, TOEFL zeroes in on the English language, scrutinizing listening, writing, reading, and speaking skills. The perplexity arises as both exams are imperative, demanding successful qualification for eligibility in university admissions.

Given their global recognition, understanding the landscape of GRE and TOEFL is vital. These test scores serve as a yardstick for evaluating an applicant's academic profile, playing a decisive role in securing financial aid or merit-based scholarships across top universities worldwide.

Similar Topic: GRE vs SAT

Going Through Differences

Eligibility Criteria

The first crossroads between the GRE and TOEFL lies in eligibility criteria. GRE transcends specific prerequisites, making it accessible to anyone interested in studying abroad, irrespective of age or qualifications. Conversely, TOEFL accommodates those who have completed their 12th level of education, a choice often made by students from non-English speaking nations aspiring to further their education abroad.

Exam Pattern

Diving into the exam patterns illuminates further distinctions. GRE spans three sections - Analytical Writing, Verbal Reasoning, and Quantitative Reasoning, with variations in computer-based and paper-based formats. On the contrary, TOEFL assesses English proficiency through listening, writing, reading, and speaking tests.

Exam Duration

Time becomes a critical factor. The GRE general test stretches for 3 hours and 45 minutes, while the subject test may take up to 2 hours and 50 minutes. Comparatively, the TOEFL test demands 3 hours and 30 minutes, including a 10-minute break halfway through.

Exam Fees

Financial considerations add a layer of complexity. GRE's international aspirants face an examination fee of 228 USD, subject to variations across countries. On the other hand, TOEFL demands a registration fee of 190 USD, with additional charges for late fees, exam center changes, and cancellations.

Marking Scheme

The scoring intricacies distinguish the two further. For Verbal and Quantitative Reasoning, GRE scores range from 130 to 170, with Analytical Writing scores falling between 0 and 6. In contrast, TOEFL assigns scores from 0 to 30 in each section, with a competitive score typically ranging between 90 to 100 or above.

Difficulty Level

Deciphering the difficulty levels is subjective. GRE is often deemed more challenging and emphasizes vocabulary and complex reading passages. TOEFL, leaning towards assessing English skills, is perceived as generally easier for those with strong language proficiency.

Number of Attempts

The opportunity for redemption diverges. GRE allows up to five attempts within a continuous rolling 12-month duration. On the contrary, TOEFL imposes no limits on the number of attempts but restricts consecutive attempts to once every 12 days.


Global acceptance becomes a decisive factor. GRE is an internationally recognized graduate and postgraduate course exam, embraced by study destinations like the US, UK, and Canada. TOEFL, a mandatory English Proficiency Test, boasts acceptance in over 11,000 universities across more than 150 countries.

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Choosing the Right Test

Strategic planning is necessary to make an informed choice in the maze of GRE vs. TOEFL. The secret is to find compatibility by doing practice tests.

Typically, the GRE attracts those pursuing graduate courses, while TOEFL finds favor among students excelling in English language skills. The analysis of practice test performances becomes the compass guiding towards the right choice.


Is there a specific eligibility criterion for appearing in the GRE?

No, the GRE does not have specific eligibility criteria. It is open to anyone interested in pursuing graduate studies abroad.

How many times can I attempt the TOEFL exam?

There are no limits to the number of attempts for the TOEFL exam. However, you cannot take it more than once every 12 days.

Which exam is more challenging, GRE or TOEFL?

The difficulty level varies. GRE is considered more challenging, particularly in vocabulary and reading passages, while TOEFL is generally easier, focusing on English language skills.

How long are the GRE and TOEFL scores valid?

GRE scores are valid for up to 5 years, whereas TOEFL scores are valid for two years.

Can I apply for financial aid or scholarships with GRE and TOEFL scores?

Both GRE and TOEFL scores are often considered for financial aid and merit-based scholarships in top universities worldwide.

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