List of Exams for Study Abroad Programs


When one has plans to study abroad, other than myriad queries related to the admissions process and eligibility criteria, one of the top queries is – which exam does one need to take for studying abroad? Many applicants, especially those aspiring to pursue an undergraduate programme abroad, are quite clueless about how to go abroad for studies after 12th from India. The confusion is only natural given the fact that there are different test requirements for different programmes. This confusion/dilemma can all be quite overwhelming. Please read further to gain clarity regarding the different types of entrance/standardised exams to get into the desired foreign universities.

To begin with, there are two types of exams/tests that applicants need to take to bag admission to foreign universities; the first and foremost exam is an English language proficiency exam and the other one is the standardised test. Now the type of exams will depend on the target study abroad destination (country), college/university and programme. In certain cases, the standardised test is exempted; some universities ask for the score of any one standardised test. However, one English language proficiency exam is still required to showcase your reading, writing, listening and speaking skills.

Let us explore the types of exams to study abroad.


English Language Proficiency Exams

To bag admission to a foreign university, English language proficiency is a must. Therefore, an applicant must appear for one of the language exams as part of the basic eligibility criteria of universities in an English-speaking country. The exam is required for almost all the programmes, that is, undergraduate, postgraduate, diploma, and certificate courses.

The type of exam requirement differs from country to country. Here are the most common English language tests that are accepted by most study abroad destinations.



The Test of English as a Foreign Language or TOEFL exam is preferred by universities in the US and Canada. Once an applicant appears and clears this exam, the test score is valid until two years post the result declaration.



International English Language Testing System (IELTS exam) is required to get admission in the UK, New Zealand and Australia. The IELTS score is valid for two years.



Pearson English Language Test or PTE is a computer-based English language test that is accepted by a few institutions in the US and most institutions in the UK. This test score is valid for up to two years from the date of the exam.

Next, let us look at the standardised entrance exams for foreign universities.

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Standardised Entrance Exams

When it comes to entrance exams to get admission to a foreign university, the entrance exams vary. Different programmes have different types of standardised test requirements. An applicant needs to appear for only one standardised exam. For instance, the standardised test to apply for an MBA course is GMAT and for engineering programmes, there is a different standardised entrance test.

Here are the details of different standardised tests required according to different courses or programmes:


This is required if a student is applying for an undergraduate programme. The Scholastic Assessment Test (earlier known as Scholastic Aptitude Test) or SAT test is a standardised test administered by the College Board and is required to be taken by students seeking admission to undergraduate programmes. It evaluates the written, verbal, and mathematical abilities of the candidates.

The ACT is a standardised test used for college admissions in the United States. It is currently administered by ACT, a non-profit organisation of the same name. It evaluates English, mathematics, reading and scientific reasoning skills.



The Graduate Record Examinations is a standardised test; it is a part of the admissions requirements of graduate schools in the United States, Canada, and a few other countries. It evaluates analytical writing, quantitative reasoning and verbal reasoning. In case you plan to take the GRE test, you must schedule your GRE a few months before the graduate school application deadlines. This will ensure that you have sufficient time to retake the test if your score on the first attempt is lower than expected. You may take this exam at home or a test centre.



The Graduate Management Admission Test is a computer adaptive test to ascertain analytical writing, quantitative, verbal, and integrated reasoning skills for admission to a graduate management program such as MBA. It is owned by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC). Business schools trust the GMAT exam to make informed admission decisions. The GMAT is being used for more than 60 years for MBA admissions. Having a GMAT score also helps you realise your true earning potential.



The Medical College Admission Test is a computer-based standardised examination for prospective medical students in the United States, Australia, Canada, and Caribbean Islands. It evaluates skills in Physical and Biological Sciences, verbal reasoning, and writing skills. In the year 2015, a new section called Psychological, Social and Biological Foundations of Behaviour was added. It tests an applicant’s ability to understand socio-cultural, biological and psychological influences on behaviour and social interactions as well as how people process emotion and stress.



The Law School Admission Test is a standardised test administered by the Law School Admission Council for prospective law school candidates. It assesses reading comprehension as well as logical and verbal reasoning proficiency. This test is required to seek admission to law schools in the United States, Canada (common law programmes only), the University of Melbourne, Australia, and several other countries.

Moreover, performing excellently in the above-mentioned entrance exams means a student stands eligible for a scholarship as well. It makes one eligible for certain financial aids in the form of scholarships. Several foreign universities take into consideration the performance of students in these exams for granting scholarships.

Also, the choice of the exam depends on the type of program and course and the target country. Therefore, it is imperative to analyse your choices and options and plan well accordingly. Taking these exams requires one to be well organised in terms of applying and following up for further requirements.

Availing services from reliable study abroad consultants proves to be immensely beneficial in terms of information, expert advice and timely completion of your application. It ensures that the entire application process is carried out in a planned manner, at the same time, keeping abreast of the latest developments related to the application process and varied requirements.

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What is one major difference between SAT and ACT?

One of the main differences between the SAT and the ACT is that the ACT includes a science section but the SAT does not. Though the SAT does test scientific skills through some of the other sections, it does not have a dedicated science portion as the ACT does.

How much does the GRE cost in India? How can one pay the fees?

It costs roughly INR 22550 for GRE general test and INR 14500 for GRE Subject Test in India. The fees can be paid through credit or debit card (American Express, Discover, JCB, MasterCard, or Visa), PayPal, money order, certified check or voucher.

When should one take the GRE test?

One should take the GRE at least three weeks before the earliest application deadline so that there is enough time for universities to receive your scores.

What is the fee for the IELTS exam?

For the computer-delivered IELTS, the fee is INR 15,500.

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