Students who are looking to pursue higher education abroad would have to appear for language exams such as the IELTS, TOEFL and PTE and general exams such as SAT, GMAT, GRE and ACT to be eligible for the same. Over the years, statistics have shown a lot of Indians traveling to destinations abroad such as United States of America (USA), Canada, Australia, United Kingdom (UK), and Germany among many others for the purpose of education. It goes without mention that student looking to study abroad would be required to appear for language and general exams depending on the requisition of the course and the University of choice of the candidate.
The International English Language Testing System (IELTS), Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and Pearson Test of English (PTE) are all standardized language tests, which are required to be taken for the purpose of getting admission into colleges abroad. General exams include the Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT), the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT), American College Testing (ACT) and Graduate Record Examination (GRE) for admission to colleges abroad. Apart from this, those who want to go for subject-specific studies also need to give exams like PCAT, VCAT, MCAT, and DAT. These follow different formats, structure and result bands. These tests are all different in various ways and colleges require scores of candidates for admission into their institution.
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Why study abroad?
Reasonable tuition fees, low cost of living coupled with education loan and scholarships have allowed students to make their dream of studying overseas a reality. With state-of-the-art facilities, renowned faculty and a healthy student-teacher ratio have made studying abroad a major favorite among the youth of the country. Move over education, top study abroad destinations have introduced favorable post-study work options and job opportunities for international students to yield a high rate of investment. Studying abroad does not only guarantee a positive growth for the candidate but also an improved a standard of living.
When to apply for study abroad?
It is always advisable for students to apply well ahead of the deadline to avoid any last minute trouble. For example, students who are aiming for the September intake should ideally appear for these exams by February so that they can apply comfortably before the deadline. Students are advised to check with their college/ university and course, for the exam requirement. They should only apply for the exam that is accepted by their institution of choice. In case there is an option between two exams, the decision rests on the candidate to pick an exam of his choice. The time required for preparing for these examinations would depend on the existing English language proficiency. Candidates may require 2 to 4 months of preparation before the exam date.
How many times can you appear for exams?
All the exams mentioned exhibiting different rules for taking the exam. For example, IELTS can be taken for an unlimited number of times. TOEFL can be retaken as many times as desired, but cannot be taken more than once in a 12-day period. Same holds true for PTE; it can be taken as many times as one wishes to. You must wait to receive your scores before you can book your next test. You can appear for GMAT for an unlimited number of times, subject to five times a year and a gap of 30 days between two tests.
Knowing about the exams for studying abroad
As mentioned, candidates would have to appear for various language and general exams to be eligible for studying abroad. Read on to know more about these exams.
Language Exams include
TOEFL - Test of English as Foreign Language or more commonly referred to as TOEFL measures the ability of non-native speakers of English to use and understand North American English as it is spoken, written and heard in college and university settings. The TOEFL test has been developed and is administered by Educational Testing Service (ETS), which sets the questions, conducts the test, and sends each examinee the score report. TOEFL exam is required for admission at colleges and universities where the medium of instruction is English. Apart from academic purposes, many government agencies, scholarship programs, and certification agencies use TOEFL scores to evaluate English proficiency.
IELTS - International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is an English language proficiency exam that measures the language ability of candidates willing to study or work in a country where English is the language of communication. The exam mainly assesses the ability of test-takers to communicate in the four basic language skills – listening, reading, speaking, and writing. Apart from academic purposes, many government agencies, scholarship programs, and certification agencies use IELTS scores to evaluate English proficiency.
PTE (Pearson Test of English) - PTE Academic is a computer-based test which assesses the Listening, Reading, Speaking and Writing abilities of non-native speakers of English who need to demonstrate their academic English capability — often to obtain places at English-speaking universities, higher education institutions or as proof of their language ability for a visa application. The three-hour long computer-based test focusses on day to day English rather than high-level English language and tests a student on his/her ability to effectively understand the language as spoken daily. The multi-level grading system ensures a better understanding of the student’s proficiency in the English language.
CAEL (Canadian Academic English Language Assessment Test) - The Canadian Academic English Language Assessment (CAEL) is a standardized test of English in use for academic purposes. It is designed to describe the level of English language of test takers planning to study in English-medium colleges and universities. The CAEL Assessment tests ability to use English as it is used in Canadian universities and colleges. It allows test takers to experience what it is like to participate in a Canadian post-secondary classroom. The CAEL Assessment offers a unique alternative to other standardized tests of English because it is a topic-based performance test. It comprises an integrated set of language activities. Test takers read articles, listen to a lecture, answer questions and write a short essay – all on one subject.
General Exams include
SAT - The Scholastic Assessment Test evaluates the aspirants on the basis of literacy and writing skills that are needed for academic success in higher education. This test measures how well the aspirants can solve problems-skills they learned in school which they will be using further in college. The SAT exam is generally taken by students who completed their schooling or students in high school to get admission in UG courses.
GMAT - The Graduate Management Admission Test is given by those who want to pursue MBA or business or management related courses. The aspirants are measure on English, mathematical, and reasoning skills.
GRE - The Graduate Record Examination is also taken by students applying to graduate schools to pursue MA or MS. Also, many business schools also accept GRE scores for granting admission for pursuing MBA or business or management courses.
ACT – Also referred to as American College Testing is a standardized test that is required to be taken by students looking for admission in undergraduate schools based in the US and Canada. ACT exam has been developed to evaluate the written, mathematical, verbal and scientific skills of the candidates.
LSAT - The Law School Admission Test is a standardized test and is taken by students those who want to take admission in law schools. The students are evaluated on the basis of reading and verbal reasoning skills.
What are Admission Documents for Study Abroad?
Apart from the above-mentioned tests another important aspect of a candidate being eligible for admission to universities/ college abroad are required to successfully submit admission documents for the same. These documents include
Letter of recommendation (LOR) – Students also requires Letter of recommendation (LOR) while applying to different universities. The LOR should be from a faculty member from your previous education institute.
Statement of Purpose (SOP) – Apart from the LOR, students also need to submit a Statement of Purpose highlighting your achievements and learnings. Some of the universities demand Admission Essays in place of Statement of Purpose. Essays are generally required for pursuing a specific course like MBA.
Still confused about college admissions? Get advice from our Shiksha Team of Overseas Admission Counselors who are always ready to help you with all your queries. It is advisable for students to thoroughly check the entry requirements of the university/college they are applying to, and appear for the exam accordingly. Many educational institutes accept specific exams whereas some institutes allow students to give the exams of their choice. Therefore, before preparing for the exam students should check with the university they aspire to get into.
Best of luck