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GRE vs IELTS: What’s the difference and which test is right for you?

December 27, 2023BY Rufy Ashta ( 0 ) Comment

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Preparing to study abroad often means facing standardized tests, and for many students from different countries, deciding between GRE and IELTS is a big deal. These tests have different purposes: GRE helps you get into graduate programs in the United States, while the IELTS measures how well you can use English, essential for studying or working in English-speaking places.

Understanding the difference between GRE and IELTS is crucial for those aiming for top scores and getting into their dream colleges. Both tests, GRE and IELTS, are super important for the admission process, especially if you’re from a country where English isn’t the main language and you want to join graduate programs abroad.

GRE evaluates your analytical, verbal, and quantitative reasoning skills, while IELTS is a language proficiency test that focuses on how well you can talk and write in English. Figuring out the difference between GRE and IELTS might seem confusing, but this blog is here to help students in different situations.

Difference between GRE and IELTS | Overview

What is GRE?

The Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) serve as a widely acknowledged test for graduate programs in numerous study-abroad institutions. It meticulously assesses the verbal and quantitative skills of students. Conducted by the Educational Testing Agency (ETS), a non-profit organization based in the United States, the GRE is available in two formats: paper-based and online. The exam, with a previous duration of 3 hours and 45 minutes, assesses analytical writing, verbal reasoning, and quantitative reasoning. Since September 22, 2023, the duration has been shortened to 1 hour and 48 minutes without compromising effectiveness. Scores are meticulously reported separately for Analytical, Verbal Reasoning, and Quantitative Reasoning on scales of 0-6, 130-170, and 130-170, respectively. Notably, GRE scores remain valid for a duration of 5 years.

What is IELTS?

The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) stands as a pivotal language proficiency test for individuals aspiring to pursue studies abroad. This comprehensive evaluation encompasses reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills. Jointly administered by the British Council, IDP Education, and Cambridge Assessment English, IELTS offers two distinct formats: Academic and General Training. The examination, with a duration of 2 hours and 45 minutes, is accessible in both paper-based and computer-delivered modes. Candidates receive scores on a band scale of 0 to 9, with validity for 2 years from the announcement date. IELTS Academic is for educational purposes, while IELTS General Training is for migration or work in English-speaking countries.

Major Difference Between GRE and IELTS

Navigating through standardized tests like GRE and IELTS might seem daunting, especially given their distinct purposes. Let’s dive into the differences between GRE and IELTS to simplify your decision-making process.

  1. Exam Format:

GRE Exam Structure

The GRE Exam is divided into three key sections, each tailored to assess different skills and abilities.

  1. Analytical Writing: This section involves one essay task and lasts for 30 minutes. Test takers are required to demonstrate critical thinking and analytical writing skills.
  2. Verbal Reasoning: Also divided into two sections with a total of 27 questions, this part lasts for 41 minutes. It evaluates the ability to analyze written material.
  3. Quantitative Reasoning: Divided into two sections with a total of 27 questions, this part lasts for 47 minutes. It assesses the ability to handle quantitative information and solve problems.
  • Total Duration: The entire GRE exam takes approximately 1 hour and 58 minutes.
  • Scoring: Verbal and Quantitative sections are scored on a scale from 130 to 170, while Analytical Writing is scored from 0 to 6.
  • Computer-Adaptive Test: The difficulty level of questions adapts based on the test taker’s performance, ensuring a personalized and challenging experience.

IELTS Exam Structure

The IELTS Exam is structured into four essential sections, each designed to evaluate specific aspects of English proficiency.

  1. Listening: This section lasts for 30 minutes and includes four recordings with 40 questions. Test takers need to listen carefully to answer the provided questions.
  2. Reading: With a duration of 60 minutes, this section comprises 40 questions. The content of the questions varies for Academic and General Training, testing different reading skills.
  3. Writing: In 60 minutes, test takers complete two tasks. Task 1 involves writing 150 words, while Task 2 requires 250 words. This section assesses writing skills, including the ability to express ideas clearly.
  4. Speaking: Lasting 11-14 minutes, the Speaking section involves a face-to-face interview. It evaluates oral communication skills, including pronunciation and vocabulary.
  • Total Duration: The entire IELTS exam takes approximately 2 hours and 45 minutes.
  • Scoring: Each section is scored on a band from 1 to 9, with an overall average band score.
  1. Skills Tested:

GRE: Covers various skills in verbal and quantitative reasoning, critical thinking, and analytical writing. Verbal Reasoning checks your ability to analyze written material, while Quantitative Reasoning tests your knack for handling quantitative information and problem-solving.

IELTS: Targets your English language capabilities. Listening and Reading evaluate understanding, Writing assesses written expression, and Speaking looks at your oral communication skills, including pronunciation and vocabulary.

  1. Score Validity:

GRE: Scores range from 130-170 for Verbal and Quantitative Reasoning, with a 0-6 scale for Analytical Writing. Valid for five years, with percentile ranks offering insights into how you performed compared to others.

IELTS: Scores on a 0-9 band scale for each section, with an overall average. Valid for two years, and the band score indicates your English proficiency level.

  1. Exam Fee:

GRE: Fees vary, usually ₹22,550 or $220. Additional charges might apply for services like score reporting or rescheduling.

IELTS: Fees fluctuate, generally falling around ₹16,250. Additional charges may include late fees or changes to the exam center.

  1. Eligibility Criteria:

GRE: No strict eligibility criteria exist, though individual universities or programs may have specific educational requirements. Anyone interested in studying abroad can apply for the GRE, regardless of age or qualifications. Typically, students pursuing a master’s degree opt for this examination.

IELTS: Open to everyone, regardless of age or qualifications, IELTS serves as a demonstration of English language proficiency for academic or immigration purposes. Generally, individuals who have completed their 12th level of education, especially those from non-English speaking countries aspiring to further their education abroad, take this exam.

  1. Difficulty Level:

GRE: Known for its challenge, especially in Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning. Questions are crafted to test critical thinking, reasoning, and problem-solving skills.

IELTS: Difficulty varies based on your English proficiency. Listening and Reading sections might involve different accents and complex texts, while Writing and Speaking focus on effective communication.

  1. Number of Attempts:

GRE: You can take the GRE General test once every 21 days, up to a maximum of five times within a continuous rolling period of 12 months. This rule applies even if you have canceled your previous GRE scores.

IELTS: Unlike the GRE, IELTS imposes no limits on the number of attempts. You have the flexibility to appear for the IELTS test as frequently as four times per month or up to 48 times in a year.

  1. Acceptance:

GRE: Accepted globally by universities and institutions offering graduate and postgraduate programs. Recognized in popular study destinations such as the US, UK, and Canada for admission into various graduate fields.

IELTS: The IELTS, an English Proficiency Test, is a requirement for study abroad institutions worldwide. Widely accepted, it is recognized by over 9,000 institutions in approximately 150 countries. It is mandatory for those seeking admission and immigration purposes.

Understanding these differences between GRE and IELTS empowers you to align your choice with your educational and career goals. Whether GRE or IELTS, the key is to tailor your decision to what suits you best.

GRE vs IELTS: Which test is right for you?

Choosing between GRE and IELTS exams is a common dilemma for students aspiring to pursue higher education abroad. To simplify this decision-making process, let’s consider key factors:

  1. Academic Goals:

  • GRE: Ideal for those applying to graduate programs in the United States, evaluating academic potential in graduate-level studies.
  • IELTS: Suitable for applicants aiming to study abroad, widely accepted by universities globally, including the UK, Canada, USA, Australia, and New Zealand.
  1. Language Proficiency:

  • GRE: Assumes a high level of English proficiency.
  • IELTS: Specifically designed to assess English language skills, making it a better choice for non-native English speakers.
  1. Specific Program Requirements:

Review the admission requirements of the targeted universities or programs to determine the preferred exam.

How to Choose Between GRE and IELTS:

  • Take practice tests for both exams to assess comfort and proficiency.
  • Analyze your strengths and weaknesses to identify the test that aligns with your skills.
  • Consider the purpose: GRE for graduate admissions, IELTS for language proficiency.

In conclusion, whether you opt for the GRE or IELTS depends on your specific academic goals, language proficiency, and the requirements of the universities or programs you’re aiming for. The GRE is ideal for those pursuing graduate programs, especially in the United States, while the IELTS is crucial for demonstrating English proficiency, often required by universities worldwide.

At D-Vivid Consultant, we understand the significance of these exams in shaping your academic journey. As a leading coaching provider for both IELTS and GRE, we are dedicated to helping you succeed in these tests and achieve your study abroad aspirations. Our expert guidance ensures you make informed choices, providing you with the necessary skills and confidence to excel in either the GRE or IELTS. Start your journey with D-Vivid Consultant, where your success is our priority.

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05:55 21 Apr 21
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