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GRE v.s. SAT difficulty?

Ashraf EassaAshraf Eassa 1338 replies94 threads Senior Member
edited June 2007 in Graduate School
So, which test is harder, the GRE or SAT? I'm guessing the verbal is extremely difficult on the GRE but what about the math? Is it easier since it doesn't have algebra 2 or what?
edited June 2007
22 replies
Post edited by Ashraf Eassa on
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Replies to: GRE v.s. SAT difficulty?

  • mudgemudge 41 replies3 threads Junior Member
    I don't think the verbal was harder

    I think the math was easier

    I got 690 math, 660 verbal on the SATs (in 1998, I dunno what scoring changes have happened) and I got 800Q 650V on the GRE
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  • larationalistlarationalist 892 replies24 threads Member
    Verbal was harder, math was easier. SAT score was 670V, 660Q; GRE score was 590V, 750Q. No studying either time beyond a glance at question types, so that's a reflection of natural aptitudes and the way the scoring balance shifted, not of how much I studied.
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  • live-live- 774 replies36 threads Member
    Wow really? I hadn't looked at any of the grad school admissions tests at all but I didn't think that the GRE would have easier math than the SAT.

    If the GRE is actually easier than (or even just comparable to) the SAT, what's the point in even having another standardized test for grad school admissions? To make sure people didn't drink themselves stupid in college or to give people who didn't do so well on the SAT another chance?
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  • 14_of_spades14_of_spades 199 replies23 threads Junior Member
    i think the GRE verbal is more "study-able".

    about one-fourth of GRE verbal is direct antonym questions. u can just memorize word lists.

    the SAT doesn't have antonyms, and hence its "reading" questions make up a greater percentage of the total questions. as such, i think ur SAT score is a better reflection of ur functional english (reading) ability. that's not something u can "cram".
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  • molliebatmitmolliebatmit 12245 replies129 threads Senior Member
    If the GRE is actually easier than (or even just comparable to) the SAT, what's the point in even having another standardized test for grad school admissions? To make sure people didn't drink themselves stupid in college or to give people who didn't do so well on the SAT another chance?
    To make ETS more money?
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  • larationalistlarationalist 892 replies24 threads Member
    The SAT measures knowledge more (at least in terms of the math), while the GRE measures logic/thought more. The GRE math questions are mostly made up of what your seventh grade math teacher would have called "word problems."

    As far as the relevance goes, you'll notice that the GRE is taken a lot less seriously by adcoms than the SAT was.
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  • mudgemudge 41 replies3 threads Junior Member
    To make ETS more money?

    Bingo!

    Now I see why they let you into grad school
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  • huskem55huskem55 4230 replies54 threadsUser Awaiting Email Confirmation Senior Member
    Just looking at percentiles on the GRE, the verbal definitely trips more people up:

    I scored a 750V which was the 99th percentile, but my 750M was only good enough for 88th percentile- In fact even if you get the 800, it will only put you somewhere in the 96th percentile because many people are able to achieve that score.
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  • larationalistlarationalist 892 replies24 threads Member
    yeah, I remember noticing that my 590V, 750Q were good for the same percentile score, in the 88 percentile range! a 6 in writing is also only good for about 96 percentile as well. It's wierd, but also a remarkably accurate depiction of my abilities.
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  • plot93plot93 116 replies22 threads Junior Member
    It seems like a long time since I took the SAT's. I'm currently working on a master's degree, but I didn't go to grad school immediately after undergrad, so maybe that's why the SAT's seems so long ago.
    What I do know is that my combined score was surprisingly similar on both tests, but on the GRE, my verbal score was a bit higher than on my SAT's, and my math score was a bit lower (probably because I hadn't done much math since high school).
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  • Ashraf EassaAshraf Eassa 1338 replies94 threads Senior Member
    For the GRE math percentiles, though, aren't they just worse because the average grad-school bound senior is a lot smarter than the average college-bound senior (not everyone goes to grad school...)?
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  • molliebatmitmolliebatmit 12245 replies129 threads Senior Member
    Yes, the pool's stronger, but in addition, the math topics are less advanced than the SAT.
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  • Ashraf EassaAshraf Eassa 1338 replies94 threads Senior Member
    The math topics are less advanced? On a graduate school exam?!
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  • WilliamCWilliamC 783 replies2 threads Member
    Indeed they are. In fact, the "new" test that ETS cancelled was said to have eliminated most of the trig so it was due to get even easier.

    CC is a bit biased toward engineering and finance, with a few physical science types thrown in - in the "real world" of grad school many (maybe even most) specialities do not require much, if any math.

    ETS provides subject tests to filter those who are not adequately tested by the general. (And to make more money!)
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  • Ashraf EassaAshraf Eassa 1338 replies94 threads Senior Member
    But surely the questions are still harder even if the material isn't as advanced, ne?
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  • WilliamCWilliamC 783 replies2 threads Member
    Nope.

    Download ETS's PowerPrep and see for yourself. The sample tests are virtually identical to the real thing.
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  • larationalistlarationalist 892 replies24 threads Member
    "CC is a bit biased toward engineering and finance, with a few physical science types thrown in - in the "real world" of grad school many (maybe even most) specialities do not require much, if any math. "

    good point, for instance I have not taken math since high school. A few science courses (physics, structures) that required certain math skills, but there has been no new learning of math since pre-cal in my senior year of high school. And I still found the GRE math easier than SAT math, despite my lack of instruction during college. Although I found out after taking it that I didn't really need the GRE, keep in mind that the test is also being taken by english majors, art majors, all sorts.
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  • plot93plot93 116 replies22 threads Junior Member
    It sort of does make sense for the math on the GRE's to not be overly difficult, since many people just don't take many math courses after high school. Grad students and potential grad students also vary greatly in age - some might be in their early twenties, others in their fifties. A fifty year old who completed a bachelor's degree in a non-math major almost thirty years ago could hardly be expected to know or have kept up with more advanced math.

    But the easiness of the math on the GRE is also why people who were math majors are expected to get scores above 700 on the math section if they're applying to grad schools for a math-related major...
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  • WilliamCWilliamC 783 replies2 threads Member
    Hey! I'm 53! And I'm a Classics major.

    I got a 700 on the Quant, 710 V and 5.5 AW - so watch it youngster ;-)
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  • plot93plot93 116 replies22 threads Junior Member
    No harm was intended. Your GRE scores seem really good, by the way.

    I'm an example of someone who did well in math in high school but after high school, I just did not pursue the subject much. After undergrad, I worked for a few years before even deciding on a subject to study in grad school. When preparing for the GRE's, I found that I was a bit rusty on the math section and needed to review some things, though I took AP calculus in high school.
    I've heard of others who didn't pursue math much after high school and felt that put them at a disadvantage when it came to the GRE's - at least compared to people who had math-related majors in college.
    That's where my post was coming from.
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