Exams to study abroad

  • By Kanan Team
  • Thu Aug 12 2021

Exams to study abroad - all you need to know! 

The joy of moving abroad for your career or higher education sounds exciting. But there is a lot to be done when it comes to preparing how to study overseas. One of the most important steps you need to think of is which exams to take to study abroad?

There are several exams like IELTS, GRE, TOEFL, SAT, GMAT, Duolingo, PTE etc that one can think of, but each of those exams vary based on the country you choose and the course or programme you want to study. In this article, we tell you the most common competitive entrance exams to study abroad.

The following exams are mandatory for a degree overseas and also for scholarships, stay-back and everything else. Besides, the exams prove your ability and proficiency in a certain area, for instance IELTS is for validating your English skills, while GMAT is to prove that you have the acumen to take up business and management studies.

Since each of the exams have specific requirements, you must check what your goals are and where your goals are aligned with. It’s not a  wise idea to jump in with any exam you come across for the sake of taking an exam to study overseas.

15 entrance exams study abroad are as follows

There are several advantages to studying abroad. But,the first hurdle to overseas education is cracking the admission exams. The common exams you need to appear for to study abroad in 2021 are as follows:

common exams you need to appear for study abroad

1. Pearson Language Test (PTE)

 PTE is accepted by major universities and colleges in the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the United Kingdom. It assesses your ability to communicate effectively by testing your reading, writing, speaking, and listening ability.

The test score is valid for 2 years and is scored against the global scale of English. Check out what your PTE score stands for -

There is no age bar for taking up the PTE test. You must be at least 16 years of age. The exam fee is around 13,000, and the exam happens multiple times in a year. PTE doesn’t have eligibility criteria per se. The exam happens online, for a duration of 3 hours.  You can learn more about Kanan’s PTE prep here. 

2. Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT)

SAT is for admissions into undergraduate programmes in the United States and Canada. SAT is a written test; it tests students’ language skills and mathematical skills. 

SAT is administered by the College Board. The exam has 2 types of formats - with an essay and without an essay, each lasting for 3 hours and 3 hours 50 minutes. The exam is scored on a scale of 200 to 800 points. The exam fee is around 40 to 60$ based on whether you take up the essay section or not. 

Check out the SAT classes offered by professional trainers of Kanan International. 

3. Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)

Administered by ETS, TOEFL is one of the top English proficiency tests widely accepted by some of the best countries to study abroad. Over 11,000 universities and other institutions in over 150 countries, including Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United States and the United Kingdom accept TOEFL iBT scores from Indian students. 

TOEFL is a 4-hour long computerised test, assessing a candidate on 4 major English skills - reading, writing, listening and writing.

There is also a paper-based version of the test. The exam is scored on a scale of 0 to 120, and the exam fee in India is around Rs. 13,000 for PBT, and the iBT cost may range anywhere from 11,000 to 17,000 in India. The exam is available throughout the year, with 50 exam dates so far. 

Sign up for a TOEFL coaching class with Kanan International Now!

4. Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT)

GMAT is used to assess a candidate’s analytical, writing, quantitative, verbal, and reading skills. It is administered and managed by the Graduate Management Admission Council. The exam is mainly used for MBA admissions by leading business schools around the world. Countries like Canada, Germany, and the USA accept GMAT scores.

The exam fee is close to 20,000 in India, and the exam duration is close to 2 hours 45 minutes. The test score is assessed on a scale of 200 to 800, with the average score being 550. 

5. Graduate Record Examination (GRE)

Offered and managed by ETS, the GRE is for graduate school admission. The test is accepted by all English-speaking countries, particularly Canada, Australia, and the USA. Most of the European universities do not require GRE or have it optional in certain cases. Also, over 1200 business schools accept GRE all over the world. 

The exam is delivered online and tests a candidate’s ability of verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning and writing as well.

The exam fee is now 213 US$, and it’s offered throughout the year; there are no specific dates for GRE. GRE is valid for 5 years from the date you get your results. Due to the ongoing pandemic, ETS has launched GRE at home - an initiative to speed up the test-taking process at a time when people cannot travel to the test centres. You may also check GRE prep course at Kanan International. 

6. International English Language Testing System (IELTS):

The no. 1 English proficiency test widely accepted across various countries, IELTS is taken up by over 5 million people across 140 nations, every year.  Jointly owned by British Council and IDP, IELTS is for testing the communication skills of test takers across 4 major areas - writing, speaking, reading and listening. The test is measured on a scale of 0 to 9, with an average band of 6 being accepted worldwide. 

IELTS is accepted by major universities for undergraduate and postgraduate admissions in countries like Australia, Canada, and the USA. Trusted by over 11,000 organizations, IELTS is of 2 types - academic and general.

The test is available multiple times in a  year, with an exam fee of 14,000. The exam comes in both the computer-delivered format and paper-based format. The validity of the test score is for 2 years. 

Kanan International can help you prepare for your IELTS exam. Register today!

7. Medical College Admission Test (MCAT): 

Conducted by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) and administered by Pearson VUE, Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) is an entrance test for admissions into medical schools in the United States, Canada, Australia and Carribean Islands. The exam takes place 25 times across 21 countries every year.

The MCAT exam fee is around $315 – 360. It’s mainly used to assess a candidate’s analysis, reasoning, psychological skills and the knowledge of biological systems. The overall MCAT score lies between 472 and 528. 

8. Law School Admission Test (LSAT): 

Administered by the Law School Admission Council, LSAT is of two types: LSAT Indian and LSAT abroad. LSAT abroad is for admissions into leading law schools in the USA, Canada and Australia. The exam is conducted 6 times in a year. It happens online and lasts for 3 hours 30 minutes. The exam fee is US$180. 

Some of the top law schools that accept LSAT scores are -

  • Yale University-  Yale Law School
  • Harvard University - Harvard Law School 
  • Stanford University- Stanford Law School
  • Columbia University- Columbia Law School
  • University of Chicago- University of Chicago Law School
  • McGill University- Faculty of Law 
  • University of Toronto - Faculty of Law

9.  American College Testing (ACT):

A standardized exam to test high-school readiness, ACT is primarily for admissions into colleges in the USA, and considered to be one of the most trusted exams in the country. However, Canada is yet another country that accepts SAT scores.

ACT lasts for 3 hours [technically, it takes 2 hours 55 minutes], with 4 sections - Math, Reading, Science, and English; there is an optional writing section. The exam is scored on a scale of 1-36, with 21 being the average score. 

10. Canadian Academic English Language Assessment (CAEL): 

CAEL is Canada's trusted English Language test for study. It’s accepted by over 180 post-secondary institutions in Canada. The test is used by employers, schools, colleges, and universities as a proof of English language skills. 

The exam lasts for 3.5 hours and comprises Speaking, Integrated Reading and Listening, and academic Units A and B. There are only 2 CAEL test centres in India - at Chandigarh and Ahmedabad. The exam fee is close to 11K. Check out cael.ca

11. Cambridge English Advanced (CAE)

Offered by Cambridge ESOL, CAE is a proof of your English skills. CAE scores are accepted by major UK universities for admissions. Canada, the USA, and Spain also accept CAE scores for admissions in higher education institutions. The exam has 4 sections - reading, writing, listening, and speaking. Currently, in India the CAE exam fee is around Rs. 6000. 

12. Cambridge English Proficiency Exam (CPE)

Also known as Certificate of Proficiency in English, CPE is also offered by Cambridge ESOL. Over 2700 centres conduct CPE exams all over the world. The exam fee is around Rs. 6700. Over 2500 universities and organizations around the world accept Cambridge English exams, including CPE. 

13. Examination for the Certificate of Competency in English (ECCE):

The test of general English language competency, the ECCE is awarded by the University of Michigan. It shows your fluency in English and can be used to show your skills to employers.

The ECCE test stands at the B2 level of the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR). It is accepted by many institutions in Canada, New Zealand, Australia, France and the USA and UK. The exam fee varies based on the test center, but is usually around 150$. 

14. Advanced Placement (AP) Exams:

Managed by the College Board, AP is a college-level exam for high school students for placement in well-known universities. AP scores are accepted by over 700 universities in 60 countries, including the USA, UK, and Canada. The exam fee is around 125$. 

15. Duolingo Test:

Duolingo test is now accepted by over 1000 institutions in the USA, Australia, Canada, China, and Ireland. It’s a computerised, home-based test. And it costs about 49 USD. Available on demand @duolingo.com, the test lasts for 60 minutes. The test score usually ranges around 10-160, with 120 being the average score accepted by most universities and colleges abroad. 

Country wise & course wise entrance exam to study abroad

English Language Tests Standardized Tests  Program Countries
IELTS/TOEFL/CAE or CPE SAT/ACT Undergraduate New Zealand, the UK, Australia, Germany, and the USA
IELTS/TOEFL/CAE or CPE GRE Postgraduate/MS/PhD New Zealand, the UK, Australia, Germany, and the USA
IELTS/TOEFL/CAE or CPE   Certificate/diploma New Zealand, the UK, Australia, Germany, and the USA
IELTS/TOEFL/CAE or CPE MCAT Medical New Zealand, the UK, Australia, Germany, and the USA
IELTS/PTE LSAT Law New Zealand, the UK, Australia, Germany, and the USA
IELTS/PTE/TOEFL/CAE or CPE GMAT/GRE MBA New Zealand, the UK, Australia, Germany, and the USA

Language exams to study abroad 

As mentioned above, it’s mandatory that you take up English tests to prove your ability to communicate well in the language. Most universities and colleges abroad ask for proof of English. Language tests are a gateway to show your ability to comprehend and present complex ideas. Some of the popular English language proficiency tests are 

  1. IELTS
  2. TOEFL
  3. PTE
  4. Duolingo
  5. CPE
  6. CAE
Why English language entrance tests matter? 

A general assumption is that if you don’t know how to speak, write and read in English, then how are you supposed to study abroad? This thought arises because of the fact that the countries you choose to study are all English-speaking countries, where the preferred mode of communication is in English, inside and outside the campus.

Even if you are interested in another foreign language and want to study in that language, you’ll need English, day in and day out while you live in a foreign country. 

Having said that, don’t you think the onus is on you to make an effort to understand the lingua franca of the world? 

English is by far the most widely spoken language all over the world. English language tests validate your skills and level of understanding of complex subjects.

The tests are a direct way to assess your competence in the language. That’s why most language tests have dedicated score ranges, which indicate what type of a test-taker you are. For instance, in IELTS a band of 7 and above indicates that you are an above-average communicator in English.  

Standardized exams to study abroad 

  • Standardized tests for overseas education include SAT, ACT, GMAT, and GRE.
  • MCAT and LSAT are other well-known exams to study abroad, particularly for medical and law courses. 
  • SAT & ACT are taken by students willing to pursue undergraduate courses in the USA. The college admissions authorities always review the standardized test scores alongside your high school GPA. 
  • The Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) is specifically for those interested in MBA or business management graduate program overseas.
  • GRE Exam is for admissions to graduate schools in countries like the USA, the UK, and Australia. 
  • Law School Admission Test or LSAT is a graduate exam for admissions into law schools in countries like the USA and Canada.
  • Medical College Admission Test or MCAT is compulsory for admissions into medicine courses in the United States. 

Entrance exams to study abroad with Scholarship

Even Though there are many countries that provide affordable study abroad opportunities, generally foreign education tends to be costly. However the cost can be reduced if you score high marks in entrance exams. 

entrance exams to study abroad with scholarships

1. GMAT - GMAT exam gives you the opportunity to apply for several scholarships depending on the scores achieved. Take a look below-

GMAT Scholarship for the Amsterdam MBA Amsterdam Business School GMAT score above 630 is mandatory. A scholarship of € 10,000 (INR 8,50,000) is awarded to the candidate
Manchester Merit Scholarships Alliance Manchester Business School GMAT score of 600 and above
ESMT Diversity Scholarship ESMT Berlin A minimum score of 650 in the GMAT exam is needed
Young Potential Leader (MBA)  ESSEC Business School GMAT exam score and an interview

2. IELTS - The top scholarships awarded based on your IELTS score are 

  • Hornby Scholarships 2021
  • The British Council IELTS Award
  • The Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Programme
  • Charles Wallace India Trust Scholarships
  • Great Scholarship India

Each of these scholarships are awarded to candidates based on the average score achieved by them. Please check with the university where you wish to apply or the country where you want to move about scholarship information.

3. TOEFL - Countries like the USA and UK accept TOEFL scores. Some of the universities where TOEFL score is valid are -

TOEFL in the USA

Name of the University Score- PBT Score- iBT
Yale University 600 100
Harvard University 600 100
Duke University 600 100
University of California – Berkeley 570 68
University of Washington 540 76
University of Wisconsin – Madison 550 80
Johns Hopkins University 600 100

TOEFL in the UK

  • University of Cambridge
  • Imperial College London
  • London School of Economics (LSE)
  • Aston University
  • Durham University

TOEFL in Canada 

Name of the University Score- Paper-based Score- Internet-based
University of Toronto 600 100
McGill University 577 90
University of Alberta 580 86
The University of Western Ontario 550 83
University of Calgary 560 83

TOEFL in other parts of Europe

Name of the University Score- TOEFL PBT Score- TOEFL iBT
KU Leuven 550 79-80
Leiden University 570 88
Erasmus University Rotterdam 575 90
University of Helsinki 580 92
University of Luxembourg 600 100

TOEFL scholarships:

  1. ETS scholarships - These scholarships are for undergraduate and postgraduate courses across countries like the UK, USA, Australia and Singapore. 
  2. Grants and awards by ETS and TOEFL board  - In association with the TOEFL board, ETS offers 14 TOEFL grants and awards every year for study abroad aspirants. The TOEFL scholarships are declared under the following categories:
  • TOEFL Young Students Series (YSS) Research Grants
  • TOEFL Awards (by application)
  • TOEFL Awards (by nomination)

4. PTE - There are several scholarships awarded by Australian universities based on PTE scores. Other countries like New Zealand also have dedicated scholarship programmes for PTE test-takers.

Entrance exams to study abroad after 12th and 10th

Can I study abroad after 12th from India? Or can I study overseas after 10th?

We often hear these questions from the students who visit us. 

The majority of students who want to study overseas find themselves struggling with too many choices. They can’t figure out which course or exam to choose for their abroad education goal.

One of the most common mistakes that study abroad students often make is not planning well ahead of time. If you want to move abroad for your college admissions at an undergraduate level, then start during your grade 10th studies. And if you want to get admissions abroad after 12th, start a year earlier preferably in 11th grade. 

The major reason behind starting early is you need to prepare for exams that will help you get admissions abroad.

The prep time you give yourself is important since a lot can go wrong there. For instance, if you are appearing for IELTS, you must give yourself 6 months of your time before you start applying abroad. In case you don’t qualify in the first attempt, you can reattempt for the test within those 6 months. 

At Kanan International, many IELTS test-takers have achieved good scores in their very first attempt. Reach out  to our study abroad consultants to know how we can help you.  

The common entrance exams to appear for after your 12th are -

  1. IELTS
  2. PTE
  3. TOEFL
  4. GMAT
  5. GRE

As mentioned above, each of the exams have different requirements and those are taken for different purposes. If a student aspires to be in business and management, he or she must go with GRE or GMAT depending on the country and the business school they want to be enrolled with. 

On the other hand, if you are looking at Australia, PTE could be a good option for you to consider and apply for PTE-specific scholarships. IELTS and TOEFL are accepted the world over so it wouldn't be difficult to decide among those. However, some countries accept either of the two exams. 

Exams to prepare for after your 10th for your higher education abroad

SAT

ACT

Please note that neither of the two tests are easy. So if you think you can skip one and take up the other exam, it may not make any difference. 

what is good sat score

Take a look at the SAT and the equivalent ACT scores below-

SAT SCORE        ACT EQUIVALENT   

1600-1570               36

1560-1530               35

1520-1490               34

1480-1450               33

1440-1420               32

1410-1390               31

Prepare for SAT and ACT

At Kanan International, we have dedicated SAT and ACT trainers to help you prepare for the exams. We give you plenty of practice papers to solve and also guide you with suggestions that help you score better. Our class size is small, and we keep the classes flexible for everyone. 

Check out for the latest batch for SAT @kanan.co that you find right for you. 

Entrance exams to study MBA abroad

GRE and GMAT are the most widely accepted exams for MBA admissions abroad. Over 2 million people attempt both GRE and GMAT each year. Take a look at the common differences between GRE and GMAT

  GRE GMAT
Purpose Admissions to graduate schools. Admissions to most business schools.
Test Structure 60-minute Analytical Writing section - with two essays for 30 minutes each. There are two 30-minute Verbal Reasoning sections. There are two 35-minute Quantitative Reasoning sections. Also, a 30-35 minute experimental section that can be either math or verbal. 30-minute Analytical Writing section with one essay, a 30-minute Integrated Reasoning section, a 62-minute Quantitative section and a 65-minute Verbal section.
Test Format Computer delivered. Paper version is only offered where computer-delivered tests are not available. Computer-adaptive test.
Scoring Verbal and Quantitative scores from 130 to 170 in 1-point increments. GMAT score ranges from 200 to 800 in 10-point increments.
Cost $205 $250
Time 3.75 hours (Computer) - 3.5 hours (Paper) 3.5 hours
Validity 5 years 5 years

Here are some of the scholarships you can apply for with good GRE and GMAT scores -

Business School Scholarship Name
INSEAD INSEAD MBA Scholarships
Chicago Booth Chicago Booth MBA Scholarships
Wharton Wharton MBA Scholarships
Stanford GSB Stanford MBA Scholarships
Northwestern Kellogg Kellogg MBA Scholarships

Conclusion

Choose which exams suit you the best. Please remember that the exams you take should be based on the courses and country you choose. It’s ideal to research which courses you want to study abroad from India, and then decide the exams to take up. Typically, you must take an exam to study abroad at least 6 months before you apply.

The reason is in case you don’t qualify in the first attempt, you can reapply for the exam and fine-tune your strategy. More than attempting for an exam, what matters the most is how you plan for it. Having a strategy and working towards it always helps. 

Taking up an exam without a strategy will be a waste of time and money. Kanan International’s trainers for specific exams, such as IELTS, TOEFL, SAT, GRE, and GMAT, can help you align your goals with the test-taking strategy.

When you enroll with Kanan, we devise a plan for you. We will teach you step-by-step for all the language tests and standardised tests for overseas admissions. 

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