SAT or IELTS: Which of the Two Exams Is Harder?

When you plan to study abroad, you came across many studies abroad examinations that you need to pass.

These are SAT, IELTS, GMAT, TOEFL, and others, depending on the country you plan to study. With so many exams, you need to figure out which one is the best for you.

What are they, and what do they offer? You need to know the various requirements of different countries and universities.

In terms of examinations, there are two categories, Aptitude tests like the SAT and Language Proficiency Test, like IELTS.

Language Proficiency Tests – IELTS

Language Proficiency Tests are conducted to judge a person’s ability to understand and comprehend English as a foreign language.

Those students whose first language is not the same as the country in which they wish to study need to pass these exams.

International English Language Testing System or IELTS, is a widely accepted Language Proficiency Test for English.

Many universities generally accept IELTS scores in the UK, USA, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia.

Aptitude Tests – SAT

Aptitude tests are conducted to analyze the student’s performance in a particular program they wished to study.

Many undergraduate, post-graduate, legal programs, management course, requires a minimum score in these exams.

Scholastic Assessment Tests or SATs is conducted for admissions in undergraduate courses. From 2018 onwards, Australia and the UK have also started accepting SAT scores and Canada and the USA.

Exam Pattern and Course Content

IELTS comes in two different categories–IELTS Academic for study purposes and IELTS General Training for immigration and work purposes.

You can take an exam in either pen-paper format or computer-based according to your preference.

The Exam is divided into four structures–reading, listening, writing, and speaking. The band score varies from 1-9, where Band 1 User will be a non-speaker, and Band 9 User will be an expert user.

The minimum band score varies from university to university.

SAT judges the student’s aptitude in Critical thinking, Writing, and Mathematics. SAT also has two variants- SAT Subject and SAT General.

Only some top universities require SAT Subject Tests; otherwise, SAT General is accepted widely in almost every university. However, the minimum SAT Scores are specific to universities.

Which One Should I Take?

Language Proficiency Tests are mandatory, and a good band score can increase your chance of getting selected by the universities. IELTS is required if you are planning to migrate to another country for studies or employment purposes.

For that, you do not have to give the SAT exam.

SATs are essentially for studies and required programs. Even if you have given the SAT and want to migrate to another country, you have to show your Foreign Language Proficiency through IELTS.


Both SAT and IELTS exams can help you get admission to a foreign university.

However, both exams have different purposes and require altogether different preparation according to their exam structure. It is better to ask around in the institutions which examination you should give.

It is even better to scan the university websites for the exam requirements to prepare well accordingly. After doing all the research, you can choose which examination is required in the university of your interest.

Read: Is AP Capstone Worth It?

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