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Study Abroad Exam 2021: All one Need to Know


Study abroad exams 2021 is important for all those planning to study abroad. Study abroad is the dream of several students. Moreover, one must know about these significant international examinations (GMAT, GRE, TOEFL, IELTS, SAT, ACT, MCAT). These are primary examination for study abroad. Many international universities consider the score of GMAT, GRE, TOEFL and IELTS for enrollment. This post will talk about GMAT, GRE, TOEFL, IELTS, SAT, ACT, and MCAT, and how to study abroad.

Unlike previous years, studying abroad has become a very easy process. Now students are given a choice to give an exam at the comfort of their home or city. Thus, increasing your chances of appearing for any exam. With the ease of giving exams, AdCom’s holistic approach, and equal consideration of extra-curricular activities, studying abroad has become a trend amongst Indian students. 
However, most of us are confused about the exams that we should prepare for studying abroad. The primary reason behind this confusion is a lack of awareness about exams to study abroad.

Popular Exams to study abroad

To be very specific, there are several exams that one can take to study abroad. In contrast, some programs ask you only to submit scores of a specific exam, while others may ask for scores of other exams. 

Therefore, you must go through the program’s official website before preparing for the exam. Mostly there are two types of exams to study abroad. Namely, 

  1. The Standard Entrance exams
  2. The English proficiency tests 

In most cases, along with standardised entrance exams, schools ask for English proficiency test scores. However, depending upon the country, course, and schools, the scores of specific English proficiency tests are also asked.

Here is a YouTube video explaining top Four Exams to study abroad.

Are you confused about which school you should go to? Then here is a How to choose an Ideal School for you article for your reference. 

English Proficiency Test

Language exams such as IELTS, TOEFL, PTE etc., showcase your English language proficiency skills. Hence, they are called the English Proficiency tests. One may choose any one of these exams before applying for admission to any foreign university. 

Every school asks for a set score for the English Proficiency exam. If your scores are beyond the average cut off score, you will receive information from these schools. In addition, Universities ask for scores of English language proficiency exams to determine whether a candidate can understand the course or not. 

At times, certain universities also ask for the scores of specific exams. Thus, the candidates must refrain from submitting scores of any other language proficiency exams. Furthermore, except for the mentioned exams, the schools do not consider other exam’s scores. Therefore, always make sure to check the program’s website before deciding to prepare for any exam. 

Different countries prefer different exams. Two of the most English proficiency exams to study abroad are, 


Ielts exam

The British Council offers IELTS or International English Language Testing System. It is one of the most preferred language proficiency tests in countries like the UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand.

About the exam

To begin with, IELTS is used to analyse a candidate’s English language proficiency skills. Various bodies such as Institutions, professional bodies, government and Immigration authorities etc., accept these scores as a valid indication of a candidate’s language proficiency.
Moreover, the UK’s government lists IELTS as one of the two Secure English Language Tests (SELTs). Hence, increasing its overall credibility. Furthermore, with its worldwide recognition, one can take this test in 1000+ locations in 140+ countries. 

Score & its validity – 

To begin with, IELTS is marked on a scale of 0 to 9. Furthermore, the test’s scores are valid for two years. Additionally, IELTS scores are announced within 13 days after a candidate takes the test. 

Furthermore, after registering for the exam, candidates get exam-related details such as venue, etc., via email at least five days before the exam’s date. 

For Indian candidates

  • The British Council announces the exam’s dates throughout the year. 
  • In India, two bodies offer the exam, i.e., the British Council and IDP, at different locations. The British Council has approximately 55 test centres, whereas IDP offers 67 centres. 
  • The exam’s registration can be done online or by phone call in some cases. 
  • The cost of registering is INR 14,700 for computer delivery IELTS. 

Are you planning to appear for IELTS? Here is a comprehensive guide about How to Prepare for IELTS for your reference.

IELTS syllabus and exam pattern

IELTS syllabus also has another separate test called IELTS Life Skills.

Reading section

It has 40 questions. One has to answer 13-14 questions after reading passages. The candidate needs to read the passages and answer the questions based on the given passage.

Listening section

This section has four sub-sections. The number of questions is 40 in the listening part of the IELTS syllabus. In the first task of the listening section, there is a conversation. In the other part, one has to speak on a particular topic.

Writing section

In this section, there are two main tasks. The first task mainly involves evaluating information with the help of a graph, table, chart or diagram. In the second task, one has to write an essay on argument and issue statement.

Speaking section

The speaking section has three main parts. In the first part, one speaks on topics like family, education and interest. In the second part, one has to speak on a random topic. One minute is given to prepare for the topic. In the third part of the speaking section, the candidate has to answer the questions based on the previous topic.
There is a different syllabus for reading and writing section for academic and general module. Reading syllabus (academic module) consists of long texts and passages from newspaper, magazine and journals. Reading syllabus (general module) has passages from advertisement and templates.
The writing syllabus (academic module) has graphs, tables, and charts, and candidates have to evaluate information from them. The writing syllabus (general module) has essay writing and letter writing part.



The ETS conducts the TOEFL or Test of English as a Foreign Language test. With that being said, it is accepted by 9000+ schools and 130+ countries worldwide. However, the test’s scores are mostly preferred by US schools. 

About the exam

TOEFL is another test for judging a candidate’s English Language proficiency. The exam is mostly taken by non-native English speakers who wish to study or work abroad. 
That said, as an internet-based exam, note-taking is allowed in TOEFL. Additionally, its syllabus is almost similar to that of IELTS. Thus, it also consists of sections such as Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking sections. 

Score & its validity

TOEFL is scored between 0-120. Moreover, its score’s validity is for 2 years. 

For Indian candidates

  • TOEFL’s test dates are announced worldwide by ETS.
  • Registration for TOEFL costs around INR 13,514.25. 

Are you planning to appear for TOEFL? Here is a comprehensive guide about How to Prepare for TOEFL for your reference.

TOEFL syllabus and exam

TOEFL syllabus has four main sections (Reading, writing, listening and speaking).

Reading section

In this section, the candidate read passages and answer the questions based on them. This section comprises a total of 40 questions. Moreover, one has to answer the questions according to the passage.

Listening section

The candidate needs to listen to short and long conversations. Furthermore, he has to answer the questions. This section has a total of 40 questions. One needs to listen to the conversation carefully and then answer the questions.

Writing section

The writing section has two main tasks. One is an integrated task, and another is an independent task. Task one is writing an essay after reading the passage and listening. The second task is about presenting one’s opinions and views in writing.

Speaking section

Similar to the writing section, this section is also divided into two tasks—Independent and integrated task. Independent task requires the candidate to convey his views and opinions through speaking skill. At the same time, an integrated task tests all the skills together (reading, listening, speaking and writing)

Standardised Entrance Exams

Different courses abroad accept scores of different entrance exams. That said, depending upon the course, you can give any one of the entrance exams accepted by the program. For instance, if you wish to pursue any managerial course, you can give GMAT or GRE. Whereas for medical programs, you can give MCAT etc. 

Here is a list of exams to study abroad for your reference,


Gmat Exam

GMAT or Graduate Management Admission Test is the most preferred test by b-schools worldwide. Candidates interested in business management or MBA programs take this program.

About the exam – 

GMAT tests the candidate’s ability through its analytics-based program. Candidates are asked questions as per their performance in the previous answers. Therefore, making it one of the most dependable exams to gauge a candidate’s ability. 

The exam is divided into four parts. Moreover, it is accepted by more than 2,500 universities worldwide. Furthermore, the exam has hundreds of centres globally. That said, one can take this exam up to 5 times in one year. However, there must be a gap of 16 days between each attempt. 

Score & its validity – 

The GMAT exam is of a total of 800 marks. However, top schools are known to accept candidates with 700+ scores. In contrast, the average GMAT score is 530 to 550. Additionally, GMAT’s scores are valid for 5 years. 

For Indian candidates

  • GMAC conducts GMAT all year round. Therefore, you can apply for it at any time during an annual year. 
  • GMAT registration costs about INR 18,262.50. 
  • As per the latest updates, due to COVID-19 restrictions, only a few GMAT test centres in India are working fully. For instance, centres at Bangalore, Hyderabad, Gurugram, Punjab Surat etc., are working at 100% capacity. 
Are you planning to appear for GMAT? Here is a comprehensive guide about GMAT preparation for your reference.

GMAT syllabus and exam pattern

GMAT has four main sections, AWA or analytical writing assessment, integrated reasoning, verbal reasoning and quantitative reasoning. AWA section consists of 1 question on the essay writing part, Integrated reasoning has 12 questions, verbal reasoning has 36 questions, and the quantitative part also has 36 questions.

Here is the detailed discussion of each section of the GMAT syllabus.

AWA or analytical writing assessment

In this section, a candidate is asked to write an essay on a given argument and issue statement. AWA section has two main part argument essay and an issue essay. In an argument essay, an argument statement is given to the candidate. The candidate is required to justify the statement with relevant supporting ideas and examples. In the issue essay, an issue statement is given. The candidate has to analyze and justify the statement with appropriate supporting ideas and examples.

Verbal reasoning

Verbal reasoning has three main sub-sections, critical reasoning, reading comprehension and sentence correction. The candidate needs to read it and answer questions that are based on unseen passages. Sentence correction includes identifying the error and correcting them.

Quantitative reasoning

 This section is divided into two parts data sufficiency, problem-solving. Each section has 18 questions. Topics that are included in quantitative reasoning are Geometry, Arithmetic and algebra, word problems and many other mathematical operations related topics.

Integrated reasoning

This part has four sub-sections. These four main subsections are multi-sourcing reasoning, table analysis, graphics interpretation and two-part analysis. Furthermore, one has to analyze the data given in the form of a table, graphics.


gre exam

GRE or Graduate Record Examination has been taken by students who wish to pursue postgraduate, Masters, MBA, Doctoral degrees or specialised Masters programs. 

About the exam

To begin with, most North American schools accept GRE scores. Apart from admission, these scores are also used by recruiters during job placements. Furthermore, with more than 1000 test centres globally, students from 160+ countries can take this test. Additionally, students are also given an option to take computer-based GRE tests. 

Score and Validity

The highest one can score in GRE is 340. However, marks are reported section wise. One can take GRE up to 5 times a year. However, GRE’s one year starts from the day you have first appeared for the exam. 

For instance, if you have taken the test in April 2021. Then you can take the exam four more times within the year, i.e., from April 2021 to April 2022.

However, one can take the paper-based GRE revised General Test as many times as the exam committee offers it. 

Moreover, owing to the exam’s popularity, GRE registrations get filled quickly. Therefore, you must always opt for its advanced registration. That said, the GRE scores are valid for 5 years. Additionally, a score of 320+ will guarantee admission to top schools abroad. 

For Indian students

  • The test is conducted throughout the year. Therefore, there is no fixed date for pursuing this exam. 
  • GRE registration costs INR 15,564.44.
  • Candidates with valid passports are allowed to take the exam.

GRE Syllabus and Exam pattern

There are three key sections in the GRE syllabus.

AWA or analytical writing assessment

This section has two main parts: an argument essay and an issue essay. In an argument essay, an argument statement is given. The candidate has to analyze the argument and justify the argument with necessary supporting ideas and examples. In an issue-based essay, one must develop the argument and justify the argument supporting ideas and examples.

Verbal reasoning

This section contains three main sub-sections: critical reasoning, reading comprehension and sentence correction. Sentence correction has questions based on error and other grammatical concepts like pronouns, comparison, subject-verb agreement, adjective and other grammar concepts.  Reading comprehension has unseen passages.

Quantitative reasoning

This section is based on mathematical concepts. It tests the candidate’s ability to solve mathematical operations and other math concepts. This section is mainly divided into two parts, namely, data sufficiency and problem-solving. Topics of quantitative reasoning are exponents and power, ratio proportion, integers, profit and loss, compound and simple interest, geometry, arithmetic and linear equations.



Colleges use SAT or Scholastic Assessment Test to check the academic capabilities of candidates. The exam analyses the candidate’s writing, reading as well as Mathematics skills. 

About the exam

Another popular exam, SAT, is opted by universities and colleges in Canada, the US, and other countries. However, the exam is primarily used by undergraduate programs. 

Interested candidates can appear for the exam multiple times. However, certain schools consider the candidate’s number of attempts. Nevertheless, it is always best to refrain from giving the exam multiple times by preparing for it. 

Score and Validity – 

The exam is for 2400 marks. If a candidate wishes to enter into top US universities, then a score of 2100+ is a must. Furthermore, SAT scores are valid for 5 years. 

For Indian students 
  • Every year, more than 13,000 students appear for this exam
  • The exam’s fee is INR 7,595.76. 
  • SAT is conducted only a few times per year. Mostly during October and December. 

Do you wish to study in the United States of America? Here is a comprehensive Student guide to the United States of America for your reference. 


ACT exam

A Non-profit body of a similar name conducts ACT or the American College Test. By this exam, candidates can get admission into various undergraduate courses. 

About the exam

To begin with, the US and Canadian colleges primarily accept ACT’s scores. Furthermore, the exam judges candidates based on English, Mathematics, Science and Reading scores. 

Being a subject-based test, it is mandatory for candidates who want to pursue an undergraduate program in a US school. Additionally, ACT is a computer and paper-based exam with 215 questions. 

That said, the exam’s pattern may vary depending on the subject the candidate wants to study. 

Score and Validity

With 215 questions, the exam’s score ranges from 1 to 36. Furthermore, the candidate’s writing scores are not counted into their composite score. With that being said, ACT’s scores are valid for 5 years. 

For Indian students
  • ACT is conducted only a few times every year. Mostly between September to July. Additionally, the test takers announce fixed exam dates. Candidates are expected to choose from them.
  • International candidates should register only through ACT online.
  • The exam’s fee is INR 11,352.08 (without writing). In the same way, with writing, the fees increase to INR 14,417.73.
  • Results of the ACT’s test are given within eight weeks of the test. 



The Association of American Medical Colleges supervises MCAT or Medical College Admission Test. The exam is primarily for Indian students who intend to study medicine abroad. 

About the exam

MCAT is an online assessment test for students who wish to study in the USA, Caribbean Island, Canada and Australia. Being an MCQ based test, it tests candidates on various parameters of science.

The exam primarily gauges a candidate’s chances of success in medical programs. Therefore, the candidate’s considerable skills, such as verbal reasoning, basic science, writing ability, etc., are examined. 

That said, being an extensive test, the exam may extend to 7 hours and 33 minutes. Furthermore, candidates are asked to register themselves well before the exams’ last date to secure the date and location of their interests. 

Score and Validity

MCAT’s maximum score is 528. However, each section is scored differently. 

For Indian students
  • MCAT costs about INR 23,021.08. 
  • One can register them for the exam through the Association of American Medical Colleges website. 
  • Preparing for MCAT is necessary to enrol in a Canadian medical school because they heavily rely on these scores. 
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Q1. What are the primary international exams for study abroad?


Q2. What are the skills tested in TOEFL and IELTS?

These exams test the Reading, writing, speaking and listening skill of the candidate.

Q3. How many sections are present in the GMAT syllabus?

There are four sections in the GMAT syllabus.

Q4. How many sections are there in the GRE syllabus?

There are three sections in the GRE syllabus.

Q5. Which exam is necessary for admission to an MBA in abroad universities?

The GMAT exam is essential for admission to MBA.   


GMAT stands for Graduate Management Admission Test. GMAC (Graduate Management Admission Council) conducts the GMAT exam. It is one of the prominent international examinations for admission to an MBA in international universities. Several candidates appear for this examination every year. The syllabus of this examination includes four main sections (AWA or analytical writing assessment, integrated reasoning, quantitative reasoning and verbal reasoning).

GRE, also known as Graduate Record Exam, is conducted by Educational Testing Service (ETS) globally. This graduate admissions test’s syllabus comprises three sections. It mainly includes the AWA section, verbal reasoning syllabus and quantitative reasoning. The main difference between GRE and GMAT syllabus is that the GMAT syllabus has an integrated reasoning section.

ETS (Educational Testing Service) conducts the GRE. There are three sections from which questions are asked, AWA section, verbal reasoning syllabus and quantitative reasoning. The main difference between GRE and GMAT syllabus is that the GMAT syllabus has an integrated reasoning section. At the same time, the GRE syllabus does not have an integrated reasoning section.

TOEFL is a Test of the English language as foreign language. TOEFL tests the Reading, speaking, listening and writing skills of an individual. The syllabus of this exam has four main sections, Reading, writing, listening and speaking are the four main sections of TOEFL examination. Many international universities accept TOEFL score for admission in MBA and other programs.

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