Are GRE and SAT Similar?

If you have taken entrance exams such as GRE or SAT, then you will know that these  standard tests have a few things in common — they are timed, they have a maths and an English language section and they need a lot of practice to get good grades. However, different tests gauge different aspects of an individual’s intellect. Although GRE and SAT are both standard tests, they’re used by different institutions to test different aspects of an individual’s academic capabilities. So, if you are wondering  whether GRE and SAT are similar, then read this article to find out. 

GRE vs SAT: Key Differences and Similarities

Let us now understand the key differences between the GRE and SAT. We’ve curated a few points that help you understand the  differences between the two tests.

  • Nature and Purpose of the Tests

While the GRE is a computer-delivered test accepted by universities and business schools globally, the SAT is a paper-based test used to apply to undergrad schools and colleges. The GRE is an essential requirement to postgraduate programmes, whereas the SAT is an essential admission prerequisite to undergraduate programmes.

  • Difficulty Level

Since the GRE is a computer-delivered test, it has section-level adaptability, which means the difficulty of the second part of the verbal and quant section increases or decreases based on how the test-taker performs in the first part of these sections. Whereas SAT being a paper-delivered test has a standard difficulty for all test takers taking the test at a given time.

  • Structure

The GRE is divided into three sections and is timed at 3 hours and 47 minutes, the SAT, on the other hand, is divided into five sections and is about four hours long. The different sections of the GRE are analytical writing, quantitative and verbal reasoning. You can get more information on the GRE sections by checking out numerous GRE syllabus PDF available online. However, make sure to check credible sources like the official website. The sections of the SAT include reading, writing and language, mathematics using no calculator, mathematics using a calculator and an optional essay writing section. 

  • Score Range

While the overall GRE is scored on a scale of 260-340, the overall SAT score is presented on a scale of 400-1600. If we take into account each section, then the quant and verbal sections of the GRE  are scored on a scale of 130-170 and all the sections of the SAT are scored on a scale of 200-800.

  • Eligibility

Both exams do not have any strict criteria or restrictions to take the test, except on age criteria where they differ. The SAT requires the test-taker to be 12 years or younger; however, there are no criteria of eligibility for GRE, the test taker only needs an ID proof and register for the GRE to take the test.

While these are the larger differences between the GRE and SAT, there are a few notable similarities as well. Here are a few similarities between the GRE and SAT that you must take into account:

  • Score Validity: Both the GRE and SAT scores are valid for a period of 5 years
  • Calculators: Both exams allow the use of calculators; however, the SAT allows the use of physical calculators, whereas the GRE has a virtual calculator.

All in all, the SAT and GRE serve different purposes and are structured to serve their unique purpose. Using your SAT score to determine whether you will perform well on the GRE is not a wise step, since the GRE is a section-adaptive test, and the SAT is not. However, if you have prepared for the SAT, then you may be aware of certain concepts of Maths and English that may be relevant to the GRE.

Now that you know the difference and similarities between GRE and SAT, you can start preparing for the test that suits your needs.


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