GRE vs IELTS: Know About the Difference Between GRE and IELTS

GRE vs IELTS: Know About the Difference Between GRE and IELTS

GRE vs IELTS: Know About the Difference Between GRE and IELTS
Prashant Thapa

Entering the realm of standardized tests often feels like stepping into a labyrinth, and the choice between the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) and the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) adds another layer of complexity. Let's embark on a thorough exploration to unravel the intricacies of these examinations.

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Essence and Sections

IELTS: Designed for non-native English speakers aspiring to engage with English-speaking environments, IELTS meticulously evaluates language proficiency through four sections: Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking. The outcome is expressed on a band scale ranging from 0 to 9.

GRE: Positioned as the gateway to U.S. graduate programs, the GRE assesses readiness through Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, and Analytical Writing. Scores are more nuanced, from 130 to 170 for Verbal and Quantitative and 0 to 6 for Analytical Writing.

Format and Scoring

IELTS: The journey lasts approximately 2 hours and 45 minutes, encompassing diverse tasks without breaks. Your proficiency is quantified on a band scale.

GRE: A more extended odyssey, around 3 hours and 45 minutes, offers breaks between sections. Scores unfold with granularity, providing a detailed insight into your performance in each section.

Validity and Versions

IELTS: Scores maintain relevance for two years, offering Academic and General Training versions to align with specific goals.

GRE: A more extended shelf life with scores valid for five years, providing flexibility through General and Subject Tests catering to diverse academic needs.

Exam Duration and Availability

IELTS: The Academic module typically takes around 2 hours and 45 minutes, while the General Training module lasts approximately 2 hours and 45 minutes. IELTS is available throughout the year, with multiple test dates offered by the British Council, IDP, and Cambridge Assessment English.

GRE: The GRE consists of multiple sections, including Analytical Writing, Verbal Reasoning, and Quantitative Reasoning. The total test duration is around 3 hours and 45 minutes. GRE is available year-round, and test-takers can choose a suitable date for their examination. The Educational Testing Service (ETS) oversees the scheduling and administration of the GRE test, providing flexibility for candidates to plan their exams according to their preferences.

Fees and Conducting Body

IELTS: Priced between $185 to $325, orchestrated by a collaborative trio—British Council, IDP, and Cambridge Assessment English.

GRE: Costs range from $205 to $255 under the Educational Testing Service's (ETS) guidance.

Delving into the Depths

Skills Tested

IELTS: A comprehensive evaluation encompassing listening, reading, writing, and speaking, painting a detailed picture of language proficiency.

GRE: A more multifaceted approach, examining verbal and quantitative reasoning, critical thinking, and analytical writing to provide a broader spectrum of readiness for graduate-level studies.

Score Validity and Acceptance

IELTS: Scores retain significance for two years, universally recognized and accepted by academic institutions worldwide.

GRE: A more extended validity period of 5 years, with acceptance extending across a diverse range of global graduate programs.

Eligibility and Difficulty

There are no specific eligibility criteria for the exams, embracing a democratic approach.

GRE: Acknowledged for its challenging nature, particularly in verbal and quantitative sections, demanding a robust grasp of critical thinking and reasoning.

Number of Attempts

Flexibility prevails, with no specific limits on the number of attempts for both GRE and IELTS.

Deciphering the Decision Conundrum: GRE or IELTS?

Academic Goals

GRE: Tailored for those eyeing U.S. graduate programs, offering a comprehensive evaluation aligned with the expectations of American academic landscapes.

IELTS: Positioned as the ideal companion for international university applications, transcending boundaries and opening doors globally.

Language Proficiency

IELTS: A perfect choice if English is not your first language, offering a bespoke assessment of your language proficiency.

GRE: Assumes a high level of English proficiency, focusing more on your readiness for intricate academic discourse.

Specific Program Requirements

A pivotal consideration is aligning your choice with the specific requirements of the universities or programs you aspire to join.

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As the layers of GRE and IELTS unfold before you, the decision-making process transcends mere examination choices. It becomes a narrative of self-discovery, aligning aspirations with academic goals. GRE, delving into academic potential, and IELTS, scrutinizing language proficiency, offer distinct paths.

This choice is about more than just scores; it's a strategic decision shaping your academic trajectory. So, as you stand at this crossroads, let the nuances of your aspirations guide you. Choose the path that resonates with your unique journey, paving the way for an educational odyssey defined by growth, discovery, and academic excellence.


What is the primary purpose of the GRE and IELTS exams?

The GRE is designed as a standardized test for admission to graduate-level programs, particularly in the United States. On the other hand, IELTS serves as an English language proficiency test for non-native speakers aspiring to study or work in English-speaking countries.

Who administers the GRE and IELTS exams?

The Educational Testing Service (ETS), a globally recognized non-profit organization, administers the GRE. On the other hand, IELTS is jointly owned and conducted by three organizations: the British Council, IDP: IELTS Australia, and Cambridge Assessment English.

How are the GRE and IELTS exams scored?

The GRE scores include Verbal and Quantitative Reasoning sections (130-170), and Analytical Writing (0-6). IELTS scores are presented on a band scale from 0 to 9, covering Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking.

What is the validity period of GRE and IELTS scores?

GRE scores are valid five years from the test date, while IELTS scores remain valid for two years.

Are there specific eligibility criteria for taking the GRE and IELTS exams?

There are no specific eligibility criteria for either the GRE or IELTS exams. However, individual universities or programs may have their requirements regarding minimum educational qualifications and prerequisites.

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