Major Differences Between GRE and SAT Exams

Many students don’t know that there’s difference between GRE and SAT. While the GRE and the SAT both measure reading, writing and mathematical skills, there are a lot of differences between the two tests. The most major 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 GRE tests the progression, over the course of your undergraduate studies, of the college-level skills that the SAT initially evaluated. Both the GRE and SAT scores are valid for a period of five years.

Test Sections or components

The GRE Revised General Test has three main sections: Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning and Analytical Writing. Similarly, the redesigned SAT has four tests, with the essay being optional. The 3 tests that everyone takes are the Reading, Writing and Language and Math. The SAT begins with the Reading, followed by the Writing and Language, Essay and Math. The GRE also begins with the Analytical Writing section, but it includes two essays that involve analyzing an issue and analyzing an argument. The following sections include two on Verbal Reasoning and two on Quantitative Reasoning


The redesigned SAT includes two section scores; Evidence based Reading and Writing which combines the results on the Reading test and the Writing and Language Test and the second is Math which combines the results on the calculator and no calculator math sections. Each of the two sections score between 200 to 800. Essay scores are reported separately and will not be included in the section scores. Your total score will range from 400 to 1600. In addition to the total score and section scores, the redesigned SAT will report three test scores that will range from 10 to 40. If you opt for the optional Essay, you will receive three separate essay scores: Reading, Analysis and Writing.

Unlike the paper-based SAT, the GRE is a computer-adaptive test, meaning that your performance affects the questions you see on the test. There are two scored sections each of critical reading and math, and the difficulty of the second section in each depends on your performance in the first. To get the highest possible scores, you must perform well on the first section to access the highest-difficulty questions. The GRE reports three scores, one for each of its sections: math and verbal on a scale of 130 to 170, and the essay-based analytic score between 0 and 6. The math and verbal scores are based on the number of questions correctly answered and converted to the scaled score based on the difficulty of the questions.