SAT vs IGCSE: Which of the Two Exams Is Harder?

The SAT and IGSCE are the most widely accepted examinations in the American and British Education systems.

It is crucial to classify them based on the two different education systems as both systems boast of providing high-class education and training to international students.

What Do They Mean?

IGCSE or International General Certificate of Secondary Examination is a widely accepted assessment exam based on the British Educational curriculum. It is a 2-year program designed to prepare students for international studies.

It is examination-based, and students normally start preparing for this exam in Class 10 and sit for Class 11. The IGCSE is conducted by Edexcel and Cambridge Assessment International Education exam board.

SATs or Scholastic Assessment Tests is a pre-requisite for international students who wished to study in the college and universities of the US, UK, and others.

The American Education system uses the SAT for the admission process in their colleges.

Comparison Between SAT and IGCSE

Both exams follow different educational systems to meet different purposes and education levels.

Educational Level

Children between the age of 14-16 usually take IGCSE. It is a 2-year course certification to complete the secondary education level in the British education system. You can give the SAT at any time.

Some require the SAT score of the US and other international universities.


IGSCE is a mandatory examination in the UK, and many international schools also follow the British curriculum. It gives exposure to students by providing enough knowledge required to prepare for High school.

Additionally, it forms a base for those students who want to take Edexcel/ Cambridge GCE A-Level examinations.

SAT scores are essentially the deciding factor for American universities.

Students can start preparing for the SAT after the completion of their secondary education or IGCSE. If not, they may take the exam right away after filling the college applications.

Exam Format

IGCSE is assessed through a different exam for each subject at the end of the 2-year program.

The Cambridge exam offers more than 70 subjects, including 30 languages that aim to involve as many students from different linguistic backgrounds. Each exam is awarded a grade in the end.

SAT assesses the students in English critical writing and Thinking and Mathematics.

The exam is in the multiple-choice format as compared to IGSCE, which is more subjective. In the end, you are provided with a total score.

Final Words

Many universities require proof of secondary level education, where IGCSE plays a crucial role. If you are studying in the UK, these exams are mandatory and will provide you with global recognition.

The SAT is only required by the US and certain other international universities. If the university does not require an SAT score, you don’t have to take the exam.

Since both, the exams require completely different qualifications, and they also serve different purposes.

You cannot substitute SAT for IGCSE or vice-versa. The students have to take these exams at appropriate times for the different criteria and certifications.

Read: Is AP Capstone Worth It?

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