What is the difference between SAT and EmSAT?

What is the difference between SAT and EmSAT

EmSAT and SAT both are computer-based standardized tests and scores of these exams are used for admissions in most of universities and colleges. SAT is designed with American educational standards whereas EmSAT is designed with UAE’s educational standards.   

This article provides with differences and similarities between both the EmSAT and the SAT Test

About the SAT

SAT is organized by the College Board, USA-based non-profit organization. The SAT test is designed to assess students’ readiness for the college program and it mainly focuses on reasoning, critical thinking, and analytical skills. The purpose of the SAT is to measure a high school students readiness for the universities and colleges.

SAT Test assesses students’ subject knowledge in English and math and It provide colleges with one common data point that can be used to compare all applicants based on the subject they choose for higher education. The SAT test will be conducted approximately 4 to 6 times in year in United States of America and internationally.

The SAT scores are used to get admissions in USA and other countries including UAE (some colleges in the UAE accept SAT Scores for admission), Indian, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Canada, China etc., along with scholarship opportunities.  

Some time students just need SAT math or SAT English score, but you cannot register only for Math or English as both Math and English exams are conducted together and you have to register for both. It is up to you whether you would like to focus on either Math or English.

About the EmSAT

The EmSAT (Emirates Standardized Test) is organized by the Ministry of Education UAE. EmSAT is a subjective test which assesses students’ knowledge in Arabic, English, Math, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, and Computer science. EmSAT tests are conducted multiple times (approximately 30 – 35 times in a year) on an average of 2 – 3 times in a month. EmSAT is for those students who would like to peruse their higher education in UAE. Most of the universities asks a score of 900+ for under graduate program and 1250+ for post graduate programs (Score requirements might vary based on the college and type of major subjects taken).

It is not necessary to take exam for all the subjects mentioned by Ministry of Education, UAE. In-fact, which subjects has to be taken depends on the university and type of major subjects’ select at university.

It is better to contact university and collect necessary information about the type of subject/s test to be taken and required score on each subject.


The table below provides similarities and differences between the SAT and the EmSAT

  Purpose  SAT test scores are used for admission to the colleges in USA and other countriesEmSAT Test scores are mainly used for admissions to only UAE’s universities and colleges
  Subject  Math and EnglishArabic, English, Math, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, and Computer science
Score Range400 – 1600500 – 2000
OrganizerCollege Board, USAMinistry of Education, UAE
  Who can take  High school students who are looking for admissions to under graduate programs in USA and other countries colleges.Students of grade 12 and higher who are looking for higher studies only in the UAE’s universities
Score ReleaseWithin 2 weeks from test dateWithin 2 weeks from the test date
Exam typeComputer based adaptive testComputer based adaptive test
  Number of QuestionsTotal Questions – 98 (SAT English – 64 SAT Math – 54)Math, Physics, Chemistry, Biology – 50 Questions per subject. EmSAT English – 110 Questions approximately including one Essay of 200 – 250 words Computer Science – 100 Questions
    Question TypeSAT English – Multiple Choice SAT Math – Multiple Choice and Student produced Response (Fill in the blank)       Multiple Choice and fill in the blank, Drag and drop  
  Test typeSAT is an Internal based Test conducted in most of the countries including USA, UAE, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, China and others.  EmSAT is a Local test Conducted only in the UAE
        Test Duration        2 hours and 14 MinutesTest duration varies based on subject EmSAT English – 135 Minutes EmSAT Arabic – 120 Minutes EmSAT Math – 120 Minutes EmSAT Physics – 120 Minutes EmSAT Chemistry – 120 Minutes EmSAT Biology – 120 Minutes EmSAT Computer Science – 150 Minutes
Exam feeApprox. AED 378 ($ 103) Between AED 100 to AED 250 per Subject

How is EmSAT different from other standardized tests

The SAT and The EmSAT both are College entrance tests but scores of SAT Tests are used for college admissions anywhere in the world where as scores of EmSAT Tests are used for college admissions only in the UAE.

SAT test includes only Math and English where as EmSAT includes Arabic, English, Math, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, and Computer science.


Both the SAT and the EmSAT have their own advantage and limitations. You can take either EmSAT or SAT exams based on where you would like to peruse your higher studies as EmSAT is mainly for UAE based universities and SAT is for US and other countries-based universities including UAE.

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