The Scholastic Aptitude Test, or SAT, and a General Equivalency Diploma, or GED, each represent tools used to evaluate a student’s grasp of high school subject matter. The GED test for a high school diploma measures a student’s readiness to graduate from high school, whether she has attended formally or has otherwise met the requirements for a regular diploma. The SAT is an exam used to measure a high school graduate’s readiness for college. Both tests can be an important tool for students wishing to join the workforce or continue their education.


The General Equivalency Diploma program began in 1942 with the first series of the test being released and available to high school students. Updated tests were released in 1978, 1988 and in 2002. Although the test has been revised and updated each time, the GED still tests in four areas: English language arts, mathematics, science and social studies. Changes made to the 2002 series test reflect content standards developed at the national and state levels. Students in both the United States and Canada can take advantage of GED testing to receive their GED diploma.


The SAT is a globally recognized test for students seeking admission to colleges and universities around the world. The SAT is the most widely used college aptitude test to determine a student’s readiness for post-secondary education. The test assesses a student’s knowledge in the areas of reading, writing and mathematics, and most students take the test during their junior year of high school. Scores from the SAT test are used as part of the college application decision-making process by school admissions departments.

GED Advantages

The value of the GED vs. the SAT is primarily seen in what a student’s plans are after high school. The GED is a necessary step for those wishing to join the workforce rather than continue their education. According to the GED Testing Service website, a high school diploma remains the primary requirement for entry-level jobs, as of publication. A GED can also open doors for employment advancement, occupational training and post-secondary education.

SAT Value

Because the SAT is the most widely accepted aptitude test for high school students planning to attend college, it opens many doors for post-secondary education that the GED does not. The SAT is available for students currently enrolled in a high school program, so taking the SAT means you have received or will receive a regular high school diploma. According to the SAT website, the test measures the skills you are learning in school in the areas of reading, writing and mathematics. Your scores are one indicator of how successful you will be in college, rather than just a document that supports your completion of a high school level education.