For students who dream to study overseas have to appear for one of these exams: GRE, SCT, GMAT, IELTS, SAT, and TOFEL. A good score in any of these exams can help a student get admission in reputed colleges abroad. These exams give a standardized comparison of the students for the colleges and universities abroad. Following is an overview of each of these exams.

Full Form of GRE

Graduate Record Exam (GRE) is conducted by the Education Testing Services (ETS) to standardize admissions into the best colleges for a Master’s degree.

There are two types of GRE: General GRE and GRE Subject. The exam paper for General GRE is based on subjects like analytical writing, verbal reasoning, and quantitative reasoning.  GRE Subject consists of papers for specific subjects such as Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics, English Literature, Psychology, and Biology. It is a computer based exam.  The registration fee for GRE is about 205 USD to 230 USD.

The eligibility of GRE specifies that an identification proof is mandatory. In India, the ETS considers only passports as valid identification documents of the candidates. No replacements, such as birth certificates or driving license can be submitted. The passport should be a current one with the name, signature, and photograph of the candidate clearly visible. ETS does not specify any other eligibility constraints with respect to age, qualification, and others.

A GRE paper has the following sections:

  • Verbal Reasoning: 2 parts consisting of 20 questions each with a duration of 60 minutes.
  • Analytical Writing: 2 questions; analyze the issue and analyze argument with a duration of 60 minutes.
  • Quantitative Reasoning: 2 parts consisting of 20 questions each with a duration of 70 minutes.
  • Unscored: Varies
  • Research: Varies

Full Form of ACT

America College Testing or ACT is one of the top most tests conducted to shortlist students for admission in leading American colleges. It is a multiple choice question pattern based exam. The main objective of ACT is to evaluate a student’s aptitude and preparation for the college and degree.

The question paper of ACT consists of 5 sections:

  • English
  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • Reading
  • Writing Optional

The exam duration is 2 hours 55 minutes with an extra 40 minutes for the writing part. There are a total of 215 questions excluding 1 question for the writing part of ACT. The exam fee for ACT is 150 USD without writing and 167 USD with writing.

Full Form of GMAT

Graduate Management Admission Test or GMAT is a multiple choice, computer based and computer adaptive test to standardize the exam for admissions to business schools all over the world. Computer adaptive implies that depending on the accuracy of an answer the level of difficulty for the next question is determined by the computer. GMAT provides a standardized measure to the colleges to determine the students’ readiness for their academic program. A good GMAT score along with academic reports and work experience can make a student eligible for the top most colleges abroad.

The GMAT question paper is divided into 4 sections:

  • Analytical Writing Assessment: 1 topic for Analysis of an Argument to be answered in 30 minutes
  • Integrated Reasoning: 12 questions to be solved in 30 minutes
  • Quantitative Aptitude: 37 questions to be solved in 75 minutes
  • Verbal Aptitude: 41 questions to be solved in 75 minutes

The application fee for GMAT is 250 USD with rescheduling charges as 50 USD extra. A Mini GMAT for Executive MBA programs has been recently introduced by GMAC.

Full Form of IELTS

International English Language Testing System or IELTS is one of the most commonly undertaken tests. It is an English Language Test whose scores are considered by top most colleges in the USE, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, and many other countries. A count of more than 10,000 schools, colleges, universities, and employers consider IELTS scores. IELTS is basically conducted to test the English speaking, writing, and reading skills of a person.

The test is divided into 4 sections for assessment:

  • Listening: 30 minutes for 4 sections, 40 items
  • Reading: 60 minutes for 3 sections, 40 items
  • Writing: 60 minutes for 2 tasks
  • Speaking: 11-15 minutes

The candidate is scored on the basis of his/her proficiency in the above sections with respect to English.

IELTS is conducted in two formats:

  • IELTS Academic
  • IELTS General

These two tests are similar to one difference in the subject under the Reading and Writing sections of the test. The candidates need to choose the desired format so as to appear for the relevant test.

Full form of SAT

Scholastic Assessment Test or SAT is conducted for admissions into colleges and universities in countries such as Canada, the USA, Australia, New Zealand, and many more. It is paper based test with multiple choice questions. The main objective of conducting the SAT is to assess and shortlist the students who are ready to join and start the college’s academic program. Along with the SAT scores, many colleges consider the high school GPA of the student, list of subjects in high school, letters of recommendation from teachers, extracurricular activities, interviews for admission, and a personal essay are also considered.

The test pattern of the SAT consists of 4 sections:

  • Math: 57 questions to be solved in 80 minutes
  • Reading: 52 questions to be solved in 65 minutes
  • Writing: 44 questions to be solved in 35 minutes
  • Essay (Optional): to be written in 50 minutes

Full form of TOEFL 

Test of English As A Foreign Language or TOEFL is one of the most commonly undertaken exams for the purpose of admission in English speaking professional institutions. Similar to IELTS, good TOEFL scores ensures admissions into several colleges and universities in the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and many other countries. The test assesses and determines the skills of the students on the basis of their ability to comprehend speech and write English.

The test consists of 4 sections:

  • Reading: Reading 3-5 comprehensions based on academic topics. Questions based on main idea, inferences, important information, and the overall idea of comprehension.
  • Listening: Listening to 6 comprehensions based on academic topics. Questions based on main ideas, important information, details, and inferences.
  • Speaking: 6 tasks based on questions on known topics.
  • Writing: 2 tasks based on academic topics.


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