Difference between SAT and GRE

Key difference: The difference between the two exams is that SAT is generally given by high school students to get admission in graduate schools whereas GRE is given by graduate students to get admission in the post graduate schools.

While the GRE and the SAT both measure reading, writing and mathematical skills, there are a number of key differences between the two tests. The most significant difference is how the tests are used. The GRE is required for admission to most graduate schools, while the SAT is used when applying to undergraduate schools.

The term GRE stands for ‘Graduate Record Examination’. It is a test given to potential students, prior to their admission in many post graduate programs. Also, it helps in administering tests for institutions around the globe. This exam was designed by the Educational Testing Service. It is generally taken through a computer or paper based version of the exam. The emphasis of this exam is based on testing the abstract thinking of the students.

GRE is mainly conducted to test a student’s reasoning abilities. It does so by measuring the skill through three main subjects:

  • Analytical writing
  • Verbal reasoning and
  • Quantitative reasoning

The student’s receive scores based on the given sections, and the admittance is completely based on the score and the school they apply to. The perfect score for GRE would be 2400.

On the other hand, the term SAT stands for ‘Scholastic Assessment Tests’. It is a standard test that is conducted for all students to take admission in different under-graduate programs in different colleges and universities. It was started in the year 1926 by a private and non-profiting college board. 

It is a paper based test that only tests a student’s analyzing and problem solving skills that he or she learned in the school. It tests them on their ability to use that learned knowledge and apply it on the paper. In other words, it is an aptitude test, which measures a student’s critical thinking skills that he or she may need for the academic success in the college. The knowledge or skills tested are:

  • Writing skills
  • Critical reading and
  • Mathematics skills

Thus, based on the above explanation, one can agree that GRE scores are directly correlated to your SAT scores. They are extremely similar to each other. Another similarity in both tests is that they are, further, designed or allow the students to focus on their specific or major subjects too; they can take the test based on their choice of subjects. Also, the subjects included in both the tests are pretty much the same, such as: Chemistry, Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology, Biology, Physics, Computer Science, Mathematics, Psychology and Literature in English.

Further comparison between SAT and GRE:





It is termed as ‘Scholastic Assessment Tests’

It is termed as ‘Graduate Record Examination’.



It is given by high school students to get admission into their choice of colleges.

It is given by graduates to get into their choice of post graduate colleges. 


It is for a graduation degree through different colleges.

It is for a post graduation degree through the different colleges.


It is avaible only in computer based format.

It is avaible in both, computer based and paper based format.

Test time

It is 3 hours 45 minutes.

It is 3 hours or more depending on the format. 

Test schedule

  • It is administered only 7-8 times a year.
  • It can also be administered according to student’s needs.
  • The computer based format is offered all round the year.
  • The paper based format is offered up to three times a year.

Focus on

It focuses more on the test taking skills of the student.

It focuses more on vocabulary and definitions.

Based on

It is based on the analyzing and problem solving skills related to school subjects.

It is based on data interpretation and real-life scenarios.

Test structure

It consists of:

  • A 25 minute Essay section.
  • One 25 minute section and one 10 minute section for writing and multiple choice questions.
  • Two 25 minutes and one 20 minute section for critical reasoning.
  • Two 25 min sections one 20 min section for mathematics.

It consists of:

  • A 75-minute Analytic Section with two essays.
  • Two 30- minute Verbal Section
  • Two 30- minute Quantitative Section.
  • A 30-minute Experimental Section that is either math or verbal.

Math section

There is no quantitative comparison in questions. 

There is quantitative comparison in questions. 

Reading section

There are no sentence equivalence questions.

There are sentence equivalence questions.

Writing section

It consists of:

  • One essay section
  • One grammar section

It consists of:

  • One essay section
  • One argumentative section

Score basis

  • It is scored on 200 to 800 with 10 point increments.
  • The scores are based on all the three sections of the tests. 
  • It is based on verbal and quantitative scores.
  • It is scored on 130-170 to 1-point increment.


5 years.

5 years.


Depending on the country, it is $ 51 to $ 91 (3072 rupees to 5481 rupees)

$ 150 (9, 269 rupees)

Image Courtesy: theatlantic.com, 1mobile.com

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