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Difference Between GRE and IELTS


Stepping into the world of higher education abroad is not just a dream but a journey filled with pivotal choices. Among these, selecting the right standardised test - GRE (Graduate Record Examination) or IELTS (International English Language Testing System) - stands as a crucial crossroads. This guide, specifically designed for high school students in India, delves into the GRE vs IELTS debate, unravelling their differences, patterns, and fees. It's not just about choosing a test; it's about aligning your academic ambitions with the right stepping stone towards your global educational aspirations.

If you read the blog further, you will Know the Difference Between the GRE and IELTS. Which test is right for you? And everything about the GRE and IELTS will ensure you make the right decision.

Anita, a recent commerce graduate from Mumbai, faced a common dilemma: GRE or IELTS for her dream of an MBA in the UK. With a penchant for numbers but a fear of English proficiency tests, Anita was at a crossroads. After meticulous research and self-evaluation, she chose IELTS, aligning with her goal of proving English proficiency for her chosen course. Her dedicated preparation led to a score of 8.0, opening doors to top universities in the UK. Anita's journey highlights the importance of aligning one's strengths and course requirements with the right standardised test, a crucial step in the study abroad journey. 

Major Difference Between GRE and IELTS

To assist students in the important decision of GRE Vs IELTS, we present a detailed comparison table. This table is essential for those seeking to Know the Difference Between GRE and IELTS, particularly for students contemplating which test is right for you. It highlights the major difference between the GRE and IELTS, emphasising aspects like GRE Analytical Writing, IELTS Writing, IELTS Speaking, IELTS Listening, and IELTS Reading. Furthermore, it includes practical details like the IELTS Exam date, GRE Exam fee, and IELTS Exam fee.

Differential Aspect


GRE (GRE Exam)

Primary Purpose

Tests English language proficiency.

Assesses verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, and GRE Analytical Writing skills.

Test Format

Includes IELTS Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking sections.

Comprises Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, and Analytical Writing sections.


About 2 hours and 45 minutes.

Approximately 3 hours and 45 minutes.

Scoring System

Band scale from 1 to 9.

130 to 170 per section, with a separate score for Analytical Writing.

Exam Fee

IELTS Exam fee varies by country, approximately USD 185 - 240.

The GRE Exam fee is around USD 205 globally.

Frequency and Dates

IELTS Exam dates are frequent, and available throughout the year.

Offers numerous testing dates year-round.

Validity of Scores

Valid for 2 years.

Valid for 5 years.

Popularity and Acceptance

Accepted for study, migration, and work in English-speaking countries.

Primarily required for graduate and business school applications, especially in the USA.

Skills Emphasised

Focuses on IELTS Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking.

Emphasises GRE Analytical Writing, along with verbal and quantitative reasoning.

IELTS vs GRE: Eligibility Criteria

When exploring GRE Vs IELTS, understanding their eligibility criteria is key to knowing the major Difference Between GRE and IELTS and identifying which test is right for you. Here's a detailed breakdown to aid your decision-making process:

IELTS Eligibility Criteria

  1. Age Requirement: Minimum age is 16 years, making the IELTS Exam accessible to high school students and upwards.
  2. Open for All: No specific academic qualification is required to take the IELTS Exam.
  3. Global Acceptance: Ideal for students aiming for higher education, employment, or migration in English-speaking countries.
  4. Flexibility: Multiple IELTS Exam dates are available throughout the year.
  5. Variants Available: Academic (for students) and General Training (for migration or work).

GRE Eligibility Criteria

  1. Broad Accessibility: No age limit or specific qualification is required for the GRE Exam.
  2. Target Audience: Primarily aimed at students aspiring for graduate programs.
  3. Global Recognition: Especially favoured by universities in the USA for a variety of postgraduate courses.
  4. Frequency of Exam: Offers flexibility with numerous GRE Exam dates available year-round.
  5. Skill Assessment: Focuses on evaluating analytical writing, quantitative, and verbal skills, essential for success in graduate programs.

By understanding these criteria, you can better assess the major difference between GRE and IELTS and make an informed decision. Whether considering the GRE

Exam for its comprehensive assessment of various skills including GRE Analytical Writing, or the IELTS Exam for its focus on IELTS Listening, IELTS Reading, IELTS Writing, and Speaking, it's important to align your choice with your academic and professional goals. Remember, the IELTS Exam fee and GRE Exam fee should also be considered as part of your planning process.

IELTS vs GRE: Exam Pattern

Delving into the exam patterns of GRE Vs IELTS is vital for you as students to understand what each test entails and to decide which test is right for you. Let's explore the specific details of both exams, focusing on their structure, components, and timing.

IELTS Exam Pattern

  1. Test Components: The IELTS Exam consists of four sections: IELTS Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking.
  2. Listening: 30 minutes, 4 recordings, and 40 questions.
  3. Reading: 60 minutes, 40 questions (different for Academic and General Training).
  4. Writing: 60 minutes, 2 tasks (Task 1: 150 words; Task 2: 250 words).
  5. Speaking: 11-14 minutes, face-to-face interview.
  6. Total Duration: Approximately 2 hours and 45 minutes.
  7. Scoring: Each section is scored on a band from 1 to 9. Overall, the band score is average.
  8. Frequency: Available on 48 fixed dates per year; up to four times a month.

GRE Exam Pattern

  1. Test Components: The GRE Exam is divided into three sections: Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, and GRE Analytical Writing.
  2. Verbal Reasoning: Two sections, 30 minutes each, 20 questions per section.
  3. Quantitative Reasoning: Two sections, 35 minutes each, 20 questions per section.
  4. Analytical Writing: Two tasks, 30 minutes for each task.
  5. Total Duration: About 3 hours and 45 minutes, including breaks.
  6. Scoring: Verbal and Quantitative sections are scored from 130 to 170 each. Analytical Writing is scored from 0 to 6.
  7. Computer-Adaptive Test: The difficulty level of questions adapts based on the test taker's performance.

IELTS vs GRE: Exam Fee

When comparing the GRE Vs IELTS, understanding the exam fees is crucial for budget planning. Both the GRE Exam fee and the IELTS Exam fee can influence your decision on which test is right for you. Let's delve into the costs associated with each exam, including additional expenses that might arise.

IELTS Exam Fee

  • Standard Fee: Typically ranges between INR 13,800 to 18,000.
  • Additional Costs: May apply for late registration, rescheduling, or test centre changes.
  • Speaking Test Appointment: Included in the overall fee.
  • Result Copies: The first five copies are free, additional copies may incur fees.
  • Cancellation Policy: Partial refund if cancelled five weeks before the exam date.

GRE Exam Fee

  • Standard Fee: Approximately INR 15,300.
  • Rescheduling and Cancellation: INR 3,700 for rescheduling, late registration incurs an extra INR 1,900.
  • Additional Score Reports: Each additional report costs INR 2,000.
  • Special Handling Requests: Fees apply for changes in the test centre or exam type.

In conclusion, the choice and evaluation of the major difference between GRE and IELTS boils down to your individual goals and requirements for higher education. While the GRE Exam is tailored for those seeking a comprehensive assessment for graduate programs, the IELTS Exam is essential for proving English language proficiency. By understanding the key differences, eligibility criteria, exam patterns, and fees, you can make an informed decision. Remember, AECC is here to guide you through each step of your study abroad journey. From choosing the right exam to preparing for it, our expert team ensures you have all the resources and support needed for success. So, why wait? Begin your adventure with AECC today and transform your academic dreams into reality!


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