International Entrance Exams for Indian Students: Your Key to Studying Abroad


When it comes to higher education, many students aspire to study abroad and earn a degree that provides a global edge to them. If you wish to study abroad, then it is highly recommended that you begin with the preparations and the process at least a year in advance. This is because the entire process of applying to a foreign industry involves a number of steps and is quite tedious. Thus, to ensure that you do not miss out on any deadlines, you must start early.

As mentioned earlier, applying to an overseas university is a tedious task. Each step entails a number of tasks that must be completed in time to ensure there is no delay in the application process. To give you an overview, these are the steps involved when you decide to apply to a university abroad.


Key to Studying Abroad


1. Deciding on the course and university:

The most important thing is to decide which course of degree you want to study and which university. It is highly likely that you may have more than one preferred course and university you want to apply to. To finalise, it is important to explore, research and find out which course is best suited to you according to your profile and which university meets your academic aspirations in the best manner.

2. Finding out the eligibility criteria and other requirements:

This is where the international entrance exams come into picture. Other than the usual requirement of a set GPA or CGPA, different entrance tests like IELTS, GRE, SAT etc are needed to be cleared to obtain admission in a foreign university. Moreover, if you score well in these exams, you stand a high chance of winning a scholarship or some financial aid. The different types of entrance tests will be dealt with in detail in the latter part of this blog.

3. Preparing and gathering documents:

While applying to a foreign university, you will need to submit a number of documents like result transcripts, letters of recommendation, resume etc. you should start working on these documents well before time to avoid any delay.

4. Applying to a university:

Once you have gathered all the required documents, you can start applying to a university. Different universities have different application processes. For instance, some universities will ask you to submit your SOP and letters of recommendation first, while others may ask for these at a later stage.

5. Waiting for the result:

Once you have completed the application process, it is now time to wait. Depending on the internal process of a university, you will get to hear from them in between six to eight weeks.

Let us now look at different types of entrance exams in detail


Different types of entrance exams


1. IELTS and TOEFL: 

The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) and the Test of English as a foreign Language (TOEFL) are the two topmost tests which students applying to foreign universities need to take. The result of these tests demonstrates how proficient a candidate is in the English language.

TOEFL and IELTS are accepted by a majority of universities worldwide including the top 100 in the UK, US, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. For Indian students and other non-native speakers of English language, especially in the Commonwealth countries, IELTS is a mandatory exam to gain admission into most reputed universities and colleges overseas.

While the TOEFL exam is held throughout the year, and usually on weekends; the IELTS is held in 71 centres in India, over four times a month. It is conducted by the British Council.
Some universities also accept CAE (Cambridge English Advanced), Pearson PTE, and Duolingo.

2. GRE:

GRE stands for Graduate Record Examination and is another very popular examination among Indian students who aspire to study in the US, Canada, and a few other countries. This test is a standardized test, owned and administered by Educational Training Service or ETS. It measures the verbal, mathematical and general analytical skills of candidates. However, over the last few years, some changes have been made in the format of the exam.

The duration of the GRE exam is about 3 hours and 45 minutes. Whether you are planning to obtain admission to a graduate, business or law school, this test can help you prove your candidature to universities.

Please note that for admission into graduate courses, especially in engineering and the sciences in the US, GRE is required.

3. GMAT:

GMAT stands for Graduate Management Admission Test. This test is a requirement for admission into business schools. 570-580 is considered to be an average GMAT score. However, for admission into top business schools, a score of at least 700 is mandatory. Like the GRE, GMAT exam format has also undergone some changes. Some new sections have been added recently, like Integrated Reasoning. This has made the test more competitive. GMAT test is held throughout the world and in more than 500 locations. You need to book your slot in advance.

4. SAT:

If you are looking to pursue your undergraduate degree in a foreign university, then you need to take the Scholastic Aptitude Test or SAT. It has two parts. The Reasoning Test checks the general writing skills and grammar; and the Subjective Test checks subject knowledge in a chosen subject. The College Board of the United States of America owns, develops and conducts this test. In the United States, one can appear for the SAT seven times a year, and generally on the first Saturdays of October, November, December, January, March, May and June. The dates are usually the same in most other countries.

5. ACT:

American College Testing or ACT is another standardized test that is required to obtain college admissions in the United States or Canada. This test comprises English, mathematics, science, and reading sections. The writing section is optional. The test is available in paper-based as well as computer-based formats.

This exam is offered 7 times a year in the US and Canada and in other countries 5 times a year. Currently, this exam is administered by a non-profit organization of the same name, that is, ACT.


6. MCAT and LSAT:

If you are looking to pursue a medical degree from an American, Canadian, Australian or Caribbean Islands university, then you need to appear for the Medical College Admission Test or MCAT. It is a computer-based multiple-choice test and evaluates a candidate’s aptitude and knowledge of relevant subjects. The duration of the exam is 6 hours and 15 minutes.

MCAT is administered by the Association of American Medical Colleges or AAMC. It is conducted in January, and from March to September, 2-4 times a month.

To pursue a degree in law from an American, Canadian or Australian university, you need to appear for the Law School Admission Test or LSAT. This exam is administered by the Law School Admission council and is conducted 9 times a year. This test assesses reading comprehension, analytical reasoning, and logical reasoning. The total duration of this test is 2 hours and 20 minutes.



All the competitive exams mentioned above are standardized tests and help study abroad aspirants get one step closer to gain admission to their dream universities. It is crucial to score well in these entrance exams to ensure that you gain admission to a university and/or a course of your choice.

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