Important Examinations To Know About For Pursuing Further Studies Abroad

As students, we are often bombarded with a lot of questions about our courses, universities and future plans. An undergraduate student, especially a one inching closer to his/her final year is asked about what they have in mind after finishing college and if you answer that you desire to go for higher studies, it is best that you be prepared at least you with the names of the tests that you are willing to give. The following is a list of tests that you should consider if you dream of pursuing your higher education abroad.


The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is the world’s most popular English language proficiency test for higher education and global migration. It has been developed by some of the world’s leading language assessment experts and will test the full range of English skills needed for success in your new job or study placement abroad and is jointly owned by British Council, IDP: IELTS Australia and Cambridge Assessment English.

There are two IELTS tests available that include IELTS Academic or IELTS General Training. The choice of the test should be determined by the purpose for which one decides to take the test.

IELTS Academic measures whether your level of English language proficiency is suitable for an academic environment. It reflects aspects of academic language and evaluates whether you’re ready to begin training or studying. 

IELTS General Training measures English language proficiency in a practical, everyday context. The tasks and tests reflect both workplace and social situations.

The basic framework of the test consists of four sections that deal with reading, writing, listening and speaking and aim to evaluate the proficiency of a non-native speaker in English. IELTS can be booked easily considering the choice of the medium of the exam. It could be a paper-based exam or a computer-delivered one. Once taken an IELTS score is valid for two years.


TOEFL stands for Test of English as a foreign language. True to its abbreviation TOEFL test the proficiency in English of non-native speakers. A multitude of individuals appears for TOEFL for a host of diverse reasons. Students planning to study at a higher educational institution, English-language learning program admissions and exit, scholarship and certification candidates,

 English-language learners who want to track their progress and students and workers applying for visas all attempt the TOEFL. More than 35 million people from all over the world have taken the TOEFL test to demonstrate their English-language proficiency.

TOEFL scores are accepted by more than 10,000 universities and other institutions worldwide, including universities in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United. Kingdom., the United States, and across Europe and Asia. It is the most preferred English-language test by universities in the United States, France and Germany, and by graduate programs in Canada. 

The TOEFL test has over 50 test dates per year at authorized test centres around the world. You can retake the test as many times as you wish, but you cannot take it more than once in a 12-day period and a TOEFL score is valid for two years.

The test is comprehensive in nature and combines all communications skills. The test covers the four aspects of reading, listening, speaking and writing similar to that of IELTS. The test is conducted via an internet connection and the 4 sections (reading, listening, speaking, and writing)are tested which take a total of about 4 ½ hours to complete, including check-in.


The Graduate Record Examinations or the GRE as we know it, is a standardized test, for fulfilling admission requirements for most graduate schools across the globe. Universities in Canada, The United Kingdom and the United States accept GRE scores This international level exam is usually given by students who wish to commence their higher education. 

Aspirants interested in pursuing higher education, especially a Master's degree, a specialised Master's course, an MBA or a PhD degree can appear for the GRE. It is conducted by the Educational Testing Service (ETS), a US-based organisation.

As of 2019, the GRE exam can be attempted at over 1000 test centres in more than 160 countries. Unlike an IELTS or TOEFL, the GRE is not simply a language proficiency-based test. There are two types of GRE, namely the GRE general test and the GRE subject test which an individual could appear for depending on their course and university selection. 

The general exam comprises of three major sections- Analytical Writing, Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning. Verbal and Quantitative Reasoning are scored on a scale of 130 – 170, analytical writing is scored on a scale of 0-6. The GRE Subject Test evaluates the candidates’ ability on a particular subject. The subject tests are conducted for the following areas: Mathematics, Literature (English), Physics and Psychology, Biology, Chemistry, and Biochemistry (Cell and Molecular Biology). Generally, this test is required for getting admission in specialized courses.

A GRE score is valid for five years. Like other international standardized exams, there are no fixed official GRE dates and you can choose any date according to your convenience and availability. The exam date that you choose should be at least two months before your first application deadline.

It is a common misconception that most universities teaching MBA only accept GMAT scores. GRE scores can also be used for applying Universities teaching MBA in Canada don’t ask for only GMAT scores, GRE scores are also widely accepted in Canada. So, if you are aiming to pursue MBA from Canada, make sure you have appeared for either of the two exams. Apart from GMAT, many American B-schools also accept the scores of GRE as well for admission to MBA courses.

The above are just a few tests that one could give to fulfil their aspirations of studying abroad. However, one should be fully aware of the right test to appear for in order to pursue their desired course to avoid putting extra or too little effort towards chasing their professional dreams.

- Maitreyi Mehndiratta

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