Standardised Tests

GMAT, GRE and the rest

What are standardised tests?

Standardised tests are tests that make a student or group of students answer the same questions or a selection of questions from a common bank in a consistent fashion that makes comparison of performances between students or groups of students possible.

Let us dive into a few of the standardised tests for studies abroad that you may encounter.


What is SAT?

SAT stands for Scholastic Aptitude Test.

Who is eligible to give the test?

SAT is to be given by students who wish to pursue undergraduate studies in the US. Most of the colleges in the US accept SAT scores. The test has a maximum score of 2400, 800 for each section. The three sections comprise of Critical Reasoning, Math and Writing. The SAT test has a negative marking which suggests that for every wrong answer, 0.25 marks will be subtracted from the total score.

When should the SAT be taken:

The examination dates for the SAT need to be booked atleast 3 to 4 months prior to the date of the test as the dates fill up quickly. The test can be taken more than once upto three times by a single student. Certain institutions accept an aggregate of all test attempts while some a super score i.e. the best scores of each section in all attempts given.

How to register

The SAT registration process can be made online as well as offline.

Check this link for more information on taking the SAT.

Certain universities require students to attempt the SAT2 or SAT subject tests. These are specific tests in a wide range of subjects and are required by a select set of colleges.

Moving on to the graduate level of entrance tests, GMAT, GRE are the common tests.


What is GMAT?

GMAT is the abbreviation for Graduate Management Aptitude Test.

Who is eligible to give the test?

It is a general entrance exam for students looking to study in a business schools in the US as well as selective institutions in other countries.

It is scored out of 800. There is no negative marking for the GMAT test. However, the GMAT is an adaptive based test which indicates that if you keep getting questions right, the upcoming questions would be tougher. On the other hand, if you get any question wrong, the following question would be easier. The GMAT is a computer based test and cannot be given offline.

The 4 sections included in the GMAT are:

  • Writing
  • Integrated Reasoning Skills
  • Quantitative Skills
  • Verbal Skills

The GMAT is timed for 3 hours and 30 minutes.

The maximum score for the GRE test is 340 — verbal and quantitative sections are each worth 170 points.

How to register

The GMAT registration process can be made online as well as offline.

Register for GMAT here


What is GRE?

GRE stands for Graduate Record Examination.

Who is eligible to give the test?

GRE is also a graduate level of entrance examination for students who wish to study in the US and selective institutions in other countries. Analytical Writing; Verbal Reasoning; Quantitative Reasoning are the three sections in the GRE. The computer-based GRE takes a total of 3 hours 45 minutes.

It is a general entrance exam for business schools offering Masters as well as MBA in the US and selective institutions in other countries. GRE can be taken on a computer as well as paper and can be taken year — round.

How to register

Students can register for the GRE by creating an account here.

How is the GMAT different from the GRE?

GMAT is designed for students who want to go to a business school while GRE is designed for students looking to pursue their Master’s and/or get into a business school.

The GRE test lays more emphasis on the vocabulary section while the GMAT lays more emphasis on grammar. Students with strong quantitative skills will find the GRE math section easier; GMAT math is definitely more tricky. If you struggle with the quantitative section, GMAT will seem more difficult. On the other hand, if you struggle with the nuances of vocabulary and style, the GRE verbal section won’t delight you.

The official test reports are to be sent directly to the institution in all the above cases from the testing agency itself.


There are plenty of study material available for each of the above exams. Additionally, a lot of students throng the coaching centres. Students can get tutored by private individuals as well as organizations like coaching centres depending on their learning requirement and ability. Some students might require tutoring for a specific section or sections in the test while others might need to just brush up on the basics of each subject.

My last tip? Take as many practise tests as possible on a regular basis. Taking anything between 50 to 80 practise tests is recommended. Timing the test recreates actual test conditions for the student. For the SAT, College Board offers online courses while for the GRE, there is The Princeton Review and ETS that have online practise tests. In the case of GMAT, practise tests are available at The Princeton Review website and the MBA website. A lot of students benefit through the practise tests.