GRE vs SAT: Know About Difference Between GRE and SAT to Study Abroad Image
Exams Know-how

GRE vs SAT: Know About Difference Between GRE and SAT to Study Abroad

Yocket Editorial Team
7 mins read

The Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) or Standardised Aptitude Test (SAT) both are two most popular entrance exams to pursue graduate and undergraduate courses at universities abroad. The SAT scores are mainly used for undergraduate admissions whereas the GRE is for admission to graduate courses. 

So if you are confused about the difference between GRE and SAT, this blog will guide you to get insights on GRE vs SAT based on different aspects.

Table of Contents:

  1. Overview of GRE and SAT Exams
  2. SAT vs GRE: A Comparison
  3. What is the Difference Between SAT and GRE?
  4. How to Pick UP The Right Test Between GRE vs SAT? 
  5. Frequently Asked Questions About SAT vs GRE

Overview of GRE and SAT Exams

Before we head towards the difference between SAT and GRE let us have a quick overview of the two tests:

What is SAT?

Scholastic Aptitude Test or SAT is a global level standardised test that can measure students’ reading and writing ability. This test evaluates students' skills in three aspects: writing, reading and mathematics.

The exam is scored out of 1600 marks which is 3 hours. The question papers are based on multiple-choice questions (MCQs) except in the Maths section with no negative marking in any question. 

What is GRE?

The Graduate Record Examinations or GRE is a graduate-level general test accepted by most universities for admission to graduate courses. The examination is structured in a way that can effectively assess the student's quantitative and verbal skills.

This entrance test was first developed and administered by Educational Testing Agency (ETS), a US private non-profit organisation. The exam has two modes: paper-based and online mode.

Now that you know about the two exams, let's have a quick glance over GRE compared to SAT:

SAT vs GRE : A Comparison 

The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is a graduate-level standardised test whereas SAT is a standardised aptitude test. Most colleges look for your GRE score to make sure that you are able for the graduate coursework. On the other hand, SAT is a global exam that is taken for admission to undergraduate courses abroad.

The following GRE and SAT difference chart will give you a quick look at some crucial aspects related to both the exam along with highlighting the key differences between GRE and SAT:




Total Students Appeared in 2021

Around 2 lakhs

Around 30 Lakhs


5 times

5 times

Scoring Range






Total Time

3 hours & 45 minutes

3 hours and

Total no. of questions

  • MCQs: 80; 
  • Unscored research section: 20

154 questions

Exam Fee

213 USD

104 USD


GRE scores valid upto 5 years

5 years

Suggested: When to Start Preparing for GRE?

What is the Difference between SAT and GRE?

Although the GRE vs SAT are two different types of exams, their differences are never-ending. It is hard to find out between SAT or GRE which is better, as it differs in different aspects. Here we have given a list of various aspects for comparing the two exams:

  • Eligibility Criteria
  • Exam Pattern
  • Exam Duration
  • Exam Fees
  • Marking Scheme
  • Difficulty Level
  • Number of Attempts
  • Acceptance

Let's elaborate on each of them in detail

Eligibility Criteria

  • For SAT, there are no specific eligibility criteria for the test. Generally, if you have completed your higher secondary education you can apply for the exam. This exam is mostly taken by students who are 17 years or above in age and want to study undergraduate courses abroad. 
  • Whereas for GRE, you don't need to meet some specific eligibility criteria. Candidates who have completed their bachelor's degree and want to seek admission to graduate programs can apply for the exam.

Suggested: What is GRE Registration Process?

Exam Pattern

If you are finding the answer to a question, which is better GRE or SAT? you get an answer by looking at the exam pattern of both tests. Here we have discussed the exam pattern of GRE and SAT.

SAT exam paper contains three main sections i.e mathematics, evidence-based reading, and writing. It also includes an optional 50-word essay paper. Each of these sections has two sub-sections in which the number of questions is categorised as follows:


Sub Sections

Total Questions

Total Marks

Evidence-Based Reading and Writing

Reading Test

52 (65 minutes)


Writing and Language Test

44 (35 minutes)


Math with Calculator

20 (25 minutes)


Math without Calculator

38 (55 minutes)

Essay (Optional)


1 (50 minutes)


Suggested: What is GRE Exam Fees?

On the other hand, the GRE paper is divided into three sections which are Analytical Writing, Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning. Since the exam is conducted on two different modes i.e Computer Based and Paper based. Let's look at their exam pattern:


Computer Based

Paper Based

Analytical Writing

1 section: two questions (60 minutes)

2 section: two tasks (60 minutes)

Verbal Reasoning

2 section: 40 questions (60 minutes)

2 section: 50 questions (70 minutes)

Quantitative Reasoning

2 section: 40 questions (70 minutes)

2 section: 50 questions (80 minutes)







Suggested: GRE to GMAT Score Conversion

Exam Duration

The total time duration for solving the GRE general test is about 3 hours and 45 minutes. And the duration of GRE subject test is of 2 hours and 50 minutes.

Whereas to solve the SAT test, you get a total time of 3 hours. In addition to this if you have opted for the Optional Essay paper, you will get an extra 50 minutes for solving.

Exam Fees

The application fees for GRE General test is 213 USD ~ 16,520 INR and the cost to apply for GRE Subject test is 150 USD ~ 11,637 INR for Indian applicants.

On the other hand, the SAT application fees also vary based on region. The total costs you have to spend to apply for the SAT test is around 104 USD ~ 8,086 INR 

Aside from that, if you want to reschedule or change the centre, you are required to pay extra costs for the exam.

Suggested: GRE Score Validity

Marking Scheme

The GRE vs SAT difficulty can be calculated based on their marking scheme. Here we have discussed the scoring range of both GRE and SAT tests.

The GRE exam scores are divided into three different sections which are Analytical Writing, Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning. The Quantitative and Verbal Reasoning section of the exam is calculated on a scale of 130 to 170. The mean score for Verbal Reasoning is 151 whereas for Quantitative it is 153. The last Analytical Writing ranges between 0 to 6 in half-point increments with a mean score of 4.0.

Whereas, the SAT test syllabus contains three sections. The first writing section has an essay questions along with some multiple-choice whereas the reading section has a reading comprehension, paragraph length and sentence completion questions. The scoring range of reading and writing is between 200 to 800. And the SAT mathematics section has three types of questions i.e. Algebra and Functions, Geometry Statistics, Probability and Data Analysis whose scores range between 200 to 800.

Suggested: GRE Test Day Checklist

Difficulty Level

Based on GRE vs SAT difficulty level, the GRE is considered as harder compared to SAT. This is because of some challenging reading passages and vocabulary. The vocabulary of the test has ambiguous words that are not used in everyday language.

The Mathematics section too has a higher level of reasoning in GRE compared to SAT which gives you only formulas. You need to have a solid understanding of mathematical skills to solve GRE math questions.

Number of Attempts

In GRE exam, you will get an option to appear in the GRE General test once in every 21 days, which is up to five times within a continuous rolling of 12 months duration. This criteria is also applicable if you have cancelled your previously attempted GRE scores.

Whereas in SAT, there are no limits on the number of attempts in the exam. You can apply for the SAT test only five times in a year.


Nowadays, around half a million of students appear in the exams to get admission to the graduate programs. The GRE test scores are accepted by a number of institutions worldwide for admission to graduate courses. Over 1,200 Business Schools also accepts GRE scores for their masters courses like MBA.

SAT is mostly for students who want to take admission to undergraduate courses. It is mostly used by universities to evaluate your admission profile. Generally, a score between 1,375 to 1525 is considered as better for taking admission to top study abroad universities.

Suggested: What are GRE Scholarships?

Now that we know about the difference between SAT and GRE in every aspect. Let's take a quick look at how you can pick up the right test.

How to Pick UP The Right Test Between GRE vs SAT? 

Another big question that comes to our mind is which one to pick, whether GRE is better or SAT? The answer to the above question is that both tests have different purposes and goals. The SAT test is mostly chosen by students who are looking to get into an undergraduate degree whereas the GRE is for graduate students. 

The GRE exam expects you to have a fair knowledge of vocabulary and some basic mathematics concepts. Whereas in SAT the questions are comparatively easier to attempt. Hence, if you are good on the test papers and have scored highly on the SAT, you might have a lesser chance to do the same in GRE as it is comparatively difficult for undergraduate students. The best way is to attempt a mock test of both the exam and select the one in which you are more comfortable.

Suggested: GRE Scores and Results

The difference between GRE and SAT is more than their similarities. Most importantly the end goals of the two are also different. As the SAT is taken for undergraduate courses, while GRE test scores are an entrance test for masters degree. Additionally, the other parameters such as sections, scoring range, frequency, mode etc also vary for both tests. However, if you are confused and want to choose the best exam among the two, avail our Yocket Premium services to get an extra hand in your admission to the best universities abroad.

Frequently Asked Questions About SAT vs GRE

Ques. Is GRE harder than SAT?

Ans. The GRE test is typically considered more difficult than the SAT because, even the mathematics asked in GRE exam is low level than the maths tested in SAT, the GRE exam has some more challenging mathematical questions that are tricker and requires higher level of knowledge.

Ques. Does GRE correlate with SAT?

Ans. Since there might be a correlation between SAT and GRE, but you cannot directly convert the SAT scores to GRE scores. If you got a higher score in SAT, you are not guaranteed to get higher GRE score and vice versa.

Ques. What is the difference between GRE and SAT?

Ans. The GRE is a global level standardised test required for masters level admission whereas SAT is a standardized apptitude test for admission to undergraduate courses worldwide.

Ques. How many times can I apply for GRE and SAT in a year?

Ans. The number of attempts of both tests GRE and SAT is five times in a year.

Ques. Is GRE difficult to crack?

Ans. The GRE verbal reasoning have two sections i.e. reading comprehension and vocabulary. It is advisable for you to learn some new words regularly as without a practice it is almost difficult for you to qualify the verbal reasoning section.

Ques. What is the validity of GRE and SAT scores?

Ans. The GMAT test scores are valid for 5 years and SAT test scores is also five years.

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