Every year, thousands of students go to various regions of the world to continue their higher education. While the worldwide study abroad scene has expanded dramatically to accommodate students of diverse academic backgrounds and interests, some academic requirements must still be completed to obtain admission to a university or institution abroad. These are obtained by passing highly demanding international admission tests. Competitive ‘study abroad’ tests can also help you earn scholarships and other financial aid. Exams like the GRE, GMAT, SAT and the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) are used for university admissions in various nations. Because English is the medium of teaching at most colleges globally, students must take either the IELTS or TOEFL to demonstrate their language proficiency.
Depending on the course, the university, and the country picked for studying abroad; students may be required to take one or more admission tests. These proficiency tests can be cleared easily if students keep a few essential pointers in mind. Let’s understand the nitty-gritty of SAT, GMAT, GRE, IELTS and TOEFL to get a clear picture of these exams.
These tests evaluate a candidate’s proficiency in the English language. The candidate is tested in all four sections of the language – reading, writing, listening and speaking.
- International English Language Testing System (IELTS)
It is the most preferred English Proficiency test and is widely used by students who wish to study abroad. IELTS was introduced in 1989, and more than 30 million tests have been taken. This is the most commonly accepted test for academics by over 10,000 institutions across more than 140 nations.
IELTS can be classified into IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training. Both tests evaluate the candidate’s English proficiency across four parameters – Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking. The IELTS General Training Test is suitable for people who wish to pursue a below-degree-level education or those who want to undertake work-related training in English-speaking countries.
IELTS can be taken from anywhere, and the candidate can choose between paper-based (offline) or online exams. The scoring of this examination is done out of 9; a score of 7 and above is considered ideal for admission to top universities worldwide. The validity of IELTS is two years.
- Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)
Another widely used and recognized English proficiency exam is TOEFL. This test assesses a candidate’s ability to read, write, speak, and listen to English, just like IELTS. It is broadly accepted in educational institutes in the US and several other countries, such as the UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, and France. This test is administered by Educational Testing Service (ETS), the US-based world’s largest private educational assessment organization. The scoring for TOEFL is done out of 120, and the score validity is two years.
These examinations assess a candidate’s ability to perform in a specific program: undergraduate, graduate, management, or legal courses, etc.
- Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT)
Students who wish to pursue undergraduate courses in the US or Canadian universities can take the SAT examination. It is a multiple-choice assessment administered by the College Board. SAT is not a prerequisite for university admission in the UK, but many top universities globally appreciate a good score on SAT. The scoring is done out of 1,600, and the expected average score is 1,100. A score of 1450 and above is considered suitable for admission to top universities. The SAT scores are valid for five years.
- Graduate Record Examination (GRE)
This standardized test is administered by Educational Testing Service (ETS). Students interested in pursuing a master’s course such as the Masters in Business Administration program (MBA), JD, or doctoral program can appear for the GRE General Test. Like SAT, GRE assesses both language and math skills, but its difficulty level is higher than that of SAT and has a specific question format.
GRE is the first step for students who want to do MS or PhD programs and some MBA programs across the globe. The GRE scores supplement the undergraduate records of the candidate and provide a standard yardstick for comparison in the admission process. Study destinations such as the UK, US, Canada and Australia accept GRE scores of students from all over the globe. A minimum GRE score of 320+ with a 4.0 score in the Analytical Writing section is required for admission to the top universities. The GRE scores are valid for five years.
- Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT)
GMAT is a computer-adaptive business school entrance exam widely recognized in several countries. GMAT is administered by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC). GMAT evaluates candidates based on their analytical writing assessment, quantitative reasoning, integrated reasoning, and verbal reasoning. GMAT emphasizes analytical ability, which is critical for management programs abroad. The assessment scoring is done out of 800, and a minimum score of 650 is required for good B-schools. Top universities abroad generally accept a score above 720. The score validity is five years.
Students need one Language Test and one Entrance Exam for a study abroad program. It is essential to check the specific requirements of the agenda of interest before preparing for any exam.
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