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If you ever have thought about studying abroad, you would know how important standardised tests are. To study abroad, a student must appear for a series of standardised tests as a part of their college application. These tests are set by the educational governing bodies in different countries and assess the theoretical knowledge of the student.

However, you along with many other students may have questions such as – 

What are these standardised tests?

How do you approach them?

Can you get help? 

To answer these questions, and guide you about the application procedure to study abroad, we aim to break down these tests individually. More so, standardised tests require extensive preparation and that’s what we will prepare you for with this article.

In order to study abroad, every country’s education system requires a student to take one or more of these standardised tests. You need to know what course they are interested in, the country, and the college they aim to join. Only then, you can approach these tests, and eventually get admission to the college of your choice. 

To begin with, let’s take a look at the various standardised tests that are available for a student to study abroad – 

  • English Proficiency Standardised Tests
  • Undergraduate Standardised Tests
  • Graduate Standardised Tests

English Proficiency Standardised Tests

According to the Indian Constitution, there are 22 official languages. Despite that, English is widely spoken in India. However, not just in India, but around the world, English is considered the Lingua Franca. If you aim to study abroad, having adequate proficiency in English is a must. 

How do colleges analyse if your command over the language is good?

Through these English Proficiency Standardised Tests – 


IELTS or the International English Language Testing System is a 4-part English assessment. It was created and is maintained by the British Council, IDP: IELTS Australia and Cambridge Assessment English. 

In the 4 sections of the assessment, you can receive a score between 0 and 9. Once done, the scores of these sections will be added and given to you. 

What does IELTS analyse?

Reading Listening Speaking Writing
3 Passages and 10 Questions Per Passage 4 Recordings and 10 Questions Per Recording An Oral Interview with an Examiner Two Writing Tasks – One to Analyse and 

Another is to Write an Essay.



Apart from IELTS, there is the Test of English as a Foreign Language or TOEFL. This is a computer-based test that is designed by the Educational Test Service for you as a student.

Along with IELTS, TOEFL is a major test to excel in if you decide to study abroad. TOEFL is an extensive test with a duration of 4 hours, and 4 sections, and has a maximum score of 120.

TOEFL’s analysis of you as a student is slightly different compared to that of IELTS. 

Reading Listening Speaking Writing
Multiple-Choice Questions, Problem-Solving Questions, etc. Matching Questions, Multiple-Choice Questions, Event-Sequencing Questions Total of 6 Speaking Tasks and Responding to Questions Related to Different Topics Two Writing Tasks – One to Read and Listen, and Write. 

Another is to Write an Essay on a Given Topic.

Undergraduate Standardised Tests

If you aim to study abroad for your undergraduate course, there are mainly 2 undergraduate standardised tests available. This is to evaluate your overall academic knowledge and performance. Most universities in the United States of America use either of these tests for undergraduate student applications. 

However, even though most universities accept these test scores for a student aiming to study abroad, you should double-check. The requirement for taking these standardised tests often varies from one college to another. 

To know more about tests, you can always get in touch with our guidance counsellors to help you understand more!


Almost each and every one of us has heard this term at least once in school or even during college applications. To study abroad, the Scholastic Assessment Test or SAT is a must for students. The test focuses on analysing 3 major aspects of a student – 

  • Mathematics
  • Grammar
  • Analytical Writing

SAT is an assessment with 154 questions and has a duration of 3 hours. The total score for the SAT exam is 1,600 and students usually score between 400 and 1,600.  

How does the SAT exam work?

Reading Writing and Language Mathematics
Contextual Questions With Real-World Situations Contextual Questions With Real-World Situations Algebra, Geometry, Data Analytics

The SAT exam has a strong focus on numeric systems and evidence-based writing. This makes it an ideal choice for students who have strong mathematical and analytical skills. 


American College Testing or ACT is another standardised test that most colleges in the United States of America accept. The total score of this test is 36, and a total of 215 questions. It covers a variety of subjects such as English, Maths, Reading, and Science.

In order to study abroad, you would have to score between 1 and 36, with students maintaining an average ACT of 20. The major difference between ACT and SAT is that ACT has more questions, but is far more direct to answer. The test focuses on Maths, Reading, English, and Science. 

What are the elements of ACT?

Reading Maths English Science
Read passages to create a conclusion to it Algebra, Geometry, Trigonometry, Probability, Statistics Edit a passage to solve questions around it Biology, Physics, Chemistry

Graduate Standardised Tests

Being a graduate, and aiming to study abroad comes with its own set of standardised tests. Since this depends a lot on the specific field of study, graduate standardised tests are offered in many types across countries. 

The scope of graduate studies is more targeted in nature such as subjects, specialisations, etc. Students aiming to study abroad for their Masters’ may need to take additional international tests, however, it depends on their course.

The primary aim of Graduate Standardised Tests is to test your fundamental knowledge in the primary subjects of your chosen degree program. 


GRE or the Graduate Record Examinations is among the most common standardised tests abroad. However, they are conducted if you aim to study abroad for their Post-graduation. 

The Graduate Record Examinations must be taken for students who aim to apply for various programs, primarily Liberal Arts. A Liberal Arts degree offers many disciplines such as Literature, Maths, History, Psychology, etc. 

Analytical writing Verbal reasoning Quantitative reasoning
Writing an essay about an advanced topic with evidence, creating discussions Multiple choice questions in English Quantitative choice, Multiple choice and numeric entry questions based on
Arithmetic, Geometry, Algebra.



You may have heard of or know many people who aim to study abroad to pursue their Masters in Business Administration or MBA. To pursue a Business degree abroad, one must sit for the Graduate Management Admissions Test or GMAT. 

What does it evaluate?

Analytical Writing Verbal Reasoning Integrated Reasoning Quantitative Reasoning
Analysis of a topic and writing an essay  MCQs testing your English Language skills Interpret and analysis of data in graphs, charts or tables Algebra and Geometry based questions

Apart from GRE and GMAT, there are also other specific standardised tests such as LSAT and MCAT. 

LSAT is a test that needs to be given to get admission to a law school, and it evaluates your skills in Reading, Writing, Logical Reasoning, and Analytical Reasoning. 

MCAT or the Medical College Admission Test is a test that you take to get admission to a medical school. If you are an aspiring doctor or aim to be an official in the medical field, MCAT comes into play. This test assesses you based on your knowledge and skill in mainly 4 categories – 

  • Chemical and physical foundations of biological systems
  • Biological and biochemical foundations of living systems
  • Critical analysis and reasoning skills
  • Psychological, biological, and social foundations of behaviour

To study abroad, you may have to appear for one or more of these standardised tests. Once you receive a good score, your application will be taken into consideration for the college you aim for. 

Studying for these tests is often difficult since evaluation and assessment abroad are different compared to India. But what can help you do better? It starts with career guidance.


Aditya is a Marketing Manager at Univariety. He loves writing about anything and everything. With a passion for writing and his vision to help students with their education, he wishes to see a better future for them. Aditya loves sports, reading, and photography.

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