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Popular Competitive Entrance Exams to Study Abroad

The statistics shows that a staggering number of students venture abroad to seek higher education in countries like the United States,Australia,Canada,United Kingdom,NewZealand and Singapore. It has in fact been confirmed by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) , that more Indians students are seeking admissions abroad than ever before .The expenditure on the tuition and hostel fees by Indian Students has in fact shown an uprise $1.9 billion in 2013-14 to $2.8 billion in 2017-18.Though the United States remains the favourite destination for Indians,in spite of the introduction of stringent immigration policy of the US government on H1B visas,yet the preference for other countries like Canada and Australia remains high on the students list.The Deputy High Commissioner of Australia Rod Hilton affirmed that the country is country is country is housing approximately 68000 students

A large number of reasons are behind this phenomenon, including job prospects, ease of admission etc.The reasons that students choose to seek admission abroad vary,although most common reasons cited are better quality of life,better employability prospects after graduation and comparative ease of admission in the foreign university as compared to the Indian Counterpart.The decision of seeking an overseas education to some extent is also based on whether a candidate chooses to study abroad for his graduate or post graduate studies.From our experience,most of the students who chose to study abroad cite the extreme competition and unrealistic criteria to seek admission to their desired trade,while most of the post graduate students decision to seek admission abroad is based on experiencing new interest and culture and the desire to have an international exposure of living and working abroad.

Most students who want to pursue undergraduate courses abroad are influenced by the extremely competitive and unrealistic admission criteria in Indian universities. On the other hand, most students who want to pursue postgraduate courses abroad are influenced by their desire to live and work abroad.

4 Reasons of seeking admissions abroad

Relative Ease of Admission

With the competition increasing at a mammoth pace,most of the students are deprived of their dream goal of being a doctor,engineer,lawyer or a fashion designer.The loss of opportunities in the Indian universities makes the candidates look for avenues abroad.It was extremely disheartening scenario of seeing intelligent candidates being turned away in spite of having scored a high 90% in their board exams.The top universities in abroad would welcome such students with open arms some of them with scholarships also.Thus with a limited access to the leading institutions such as AIIMS,IIT’S,DU and NLU’s and the not up to the mark standard of education of medium and low institutions ,the student tend to seek admissions at overseas universities where not only there is ease of acceptance but high quality of education is guaranteed.

Unavailability of Courses

There have been many an incident where the candidate has given up the prestigious seat for admission to an elite college overseas institution .Aakansha Sarda and Chitraang Murdia both gave up their IIT seat to take admission in the prestigious MIT college in USA.The reason for their choice is owing to the limited research facilities available in India as compared to abroad.Besides in addition,it provides the candidate the flexibility to study the courses or combination of courses available abroad which is not a possibility in a rigid Indian curriculum.

Working and Living Abroad

Another main reasons behind students choosing to study abroad is an opportunity of employment after graduation.According to the latest CMIE(Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy) data, the current unemployment rate in India is 7.2% ,the highest ever recorded since the year 2016.The same result taken at the same time was at 5.9%. With hopes of better employable opportunities overseas ,more and more students are choosing to study abroad.Most of the universities provide the students with an option of Optional Practical Training to stay on for a certain period of time and gain experience or get an option for Permanent Residency.All of these factors are triggers to build interest in the candidates.

Adequate Funds

In spite of all the advantages of an overseas education,there is no denying the fact that the overseas education costs way higher than the education in India.Thus having adequate funds is an absolute mandatory for all the candidates seeking admission abroad.Although it varies from institution and course, an average undergraduate course for 4 years in an US institution costs equivalent to Rs I crores. The course is extremely expensive a compared to the Indian universities.The financial aid opportunities in the undergraduate courses are limited and almost all the students who end up in applying for undergraduate courses abroad are financially sound.Only a few students with outstanding academic records are considered for scholarships.The admission and Scholarships are awarded on the basis of the the competitive examinations depending on the courses you intend to pursue.Unlike the competitive examinations which have the usual cut-off scores on the basis of which the candidates are admitted,the overseas exams don’t have any such scores and the admission criteria varies as per the institute.However, we advise the students to aim for higher scores, for the Ivy League colleges consider high scores(although there are host of other factors),which are considered by the authorities

Popular exams to study abroad

Popular Competitive Entrance Exams to Study Abroad

SAT (Scholastic Assessment Test)

The SAT or Scholastic Assessment Test is standardized examination that is used by most of the colleges in the United States or Canada to make decisions for the admission to the Undergraduate courses.The format of the test MCQ is multiple-choice, pencil-and-paper test created and administered by the College Board. The main objective of the exam is to measure the ability of the candidate to handle the university curriculum.The SAT scores are one of the many criterion of admission considered by the authorities the others being high school GPA, the classes you took in high school, letters of recommendation from teachers or mentors, extracurricular activities, admissions interviews, and personal essays. How important SAT scores are in the college application process varies from school to school.The duration of SAT exam is 3 hours (plus 50 minutes if taking optional Essay) and includes sections of Math,Evidence-Based Reading and Writing and Essay (optional).The test can be taken multiple times in a year and the maximum score attained is 1600.


The ACT is an entrance exam used by most colleges and universities to make admissions decisions. It is a multiple-choice, pencil-and-paper test administered by ACT, Inc.The ACT enables a college to judge a candidate’s ability based on a scores attained in the exam.The admissions authority would use these scores in combination of other factors such as officers will review the candidate’s high school GPA,letters of recommendation from teachers or mentors, extracurricular activities, admissions interviews, and personal essays.Though every school has a different criteria of evaluation of scores ,it is generally seen that higher ACT scores helps you to get to the best schools.The exam is held many a times a year and the student is advised to visit the site for more information.The examination has four sections mainly English,Reading,Math and
Science.Besides the ACT also includes an optional 40-minute Writing Test. Some colleges may require that you complete the ACT Writing Test.
The duration of the ACT is 2 hours and 55 minutes long and in case the candidate choses to take the ACT with Essay, the test will be 3 hours and 35 minutes long.Each section of the ACT is scored on a 1 to 36 point scale. Your composite ACT score is the average of your four section scores, also on a scale from 1 to 36. If you take the ACT with Writing Test, you will receive a separate score on the Writing Test.

Should I take the ACT or the SAT?

Most of the universities don’t prefer one exam over the other.Most colleges and universities accept either of the scores .Though most of the candidates have rated SAT as comparatively easier than the ACT owing to the recent changes, but it is better to appear for sample online tests to have an idea for the exams and then deciding which one is better Since the content and style of the SAT and ACT are very similar, factors like how you handle time pressure and what types of questions you find most challenging can help you determine which test is a better fit.

MCAT(Medical College Admission Test)

The MCAT (Medical College Admission Test) is a prerequisite to the undergraduate courses of the majority of medical schools in the United States or Canada.The computer based examination tests the candidate’s ability on physical and biological sciences, verbal reasoning, and writing skills. Another section named Psychological, Social and Biological Foundations of Behaviour ,targeted at evaluation of a candidates ability to understand the effect of sociocultural, biological and psychological influences on behaviour and social interactions as well as how people process emotion and stress was added by the AAMC in the year 2015. The exam involves a thorough preparation and is a test of an individual’s grit and stamina for it is a seven-and-a-half hour test once and is conducted around 15 times a year.The maximum score attainable is 528.The scores of MCAT exams are considered as a predictor of your performance in the medical school and are thus weighed very heavily.The exam is a computer adaptive test and the candidate receives a section score and an overall score.MCAT registration is done online through the Association of American Medical Colleges. We recommend that you register early to secure your MCAT test date and location.


Any prospective candidate seeking admission to a reputed law school has to appear for the LSAT as a mandatory criteria.The LSAT or the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) is a standardized test to assess legal aptitude of a candidate.The process of admission to the undergraduate law programs in USA,Canada and other countries rate is as integral element of law admission.With the exam initially administered four times a year,starting from 2018 the exam shall be conducted over six times a year.The exam tests a candidate;s ability on topics of Critical Reading and Analytical Thinking Skills, which are considered important for success in a law school.The exam is managed by the Law School Admission Council (LSAC), which is the official body to conduct the LSAT exam and doesn’t specify any conditions to write the exam. All the law schools have their fixed criteria of admission and the students is advised to check with them.


The Educational Testing Services or (ETS) is responsible for The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) and is mainly used by schools as a admission criteria for most of the Engineering and Science programs although some of the business schools also accept the GRE scores.Most of the programs in US and Canada use GRE General Testing for application while others have mandatory option of GRE Subject Tests .The duration of the exam is 3 hours, 45 minutes and has sections including Verbal, Quantitative, and Analytical Writing.The exam has a maximum of 170. Though a great GRE score can turn out to be one of the major factors there are other criteria such as a candidate’s undergraduate GPA, work and research experience, personal statement , letters of recommendation, and interviews that are considered by the admission officers for making their decision.


The Graduate Management Aptitude Test or The GMAT exam, is used by over 2000 institutes worldwide is a ‘Computer Adaptive Test’ developed to test a candidate’s reasoning skills.The four sections of the GMAT exam are Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA); Integrated Reasoning (IR); Quantitative Reasoning and Verbal Reasoning respectively .


The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is the world’s most popular English language proficiency test taken by candidates for seeking overseas admission or immigration.It has been estimated that more than 3 million individuals took the tests last year.The exam is considered to be the benchmark for English proficiency and is accepted by most of the recognised global educational institutions, employers, governments and professional bodies.With the examination developed by the leading language experts,the exam tests a range of English skills that determines the chances for new job or placement abroad.The exam tests the candidate on the following four skills Listening
Reading,Writing and Speaking.The examination expects the candidate to be familiar with a series of accents such as British English, American and Australian English. The exam has two versions namely IELTS Academic and General Training.The difference between the format of the two versions is that the Reading and Writing section in case of a General Training Test is on social topics,but the Academic version is based on the content from Newspapers or any research based article.The examination time is 2 hours and 45 minutes and the candidate is rated on a 9 Band Score .The range of scores vary from 0-9 (0 refers to the non user or the person who hasn’t appeared for the exam while the score of 9 is given to an expert user)


The Educational Testing Service (ETS) is responsible for administration Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) Test .The main objective of the test is to evaluate a candidate’s proficiency in English and is generally required as a criteria to determine the english proficiency of non-native speakers seeking admission.The exam can be taken as both computer based or Paper based Testing.While the former requires a candidate to answer the number of questions
in Reading, Listening, Speaking and Writing to be answered in 200-250minutes,the paper based test requires the candidates to answer the questions in Listening, Structure and Written Expression, Reading Comprehension and Writing. 140 to 150 minutes in overall length.The TOEFL is one the major three proficiency examinations taken by the students seeking admission abroad.The scores range on scale of 0 to 120 points for iBT version of test and ranges between 310 and 677 for PBT. Also the range of the individual section scores are Listening (31–68), Structure (31–68), and Reading (31–67). Unlike the CBT, the score of the Writing component (referred to as the Test of Written English, TWE) is not part of the final score; instead, it is reported separately on a scale of 0–6.

PTE Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE Academic)

One of the world’s leading computer based Test aimed for immigration or study abroad is the Pearson Test of English (PTE).There is hardly any test that offers the candidate with the kind of flexibility that PTE offers,whereby the candidate can schedule the exam in as less as one day in advance and have the option of receiving the results within 5 days.The exam is offered worldwide with centres located in more than 50 countries.Some of the reputed institutes which accept PTE scores are Harvard Business School, INSEAD and Yale University.The Academic Version scores are considered for visa also.The duration of the test is three hours and the consists of 3 main sections speaking and writing (together), listening and reading. There is also an optional 10-minute break between the reading and listening parts. The type of questions asked in the test range from MCQ’s to essay writing and interpretation questions.