Exams to Consider for Studying Abroad

Studying abroad is now open to all students regardless of their background.

However, students are required to meet some academic criteria before they are given admission. There are various criteria, but passing an international entrance examination is at the top of the list for most universities. In most cases, people who display an excellent performance in these examinations receive scholarships or financial aid.

SAT, IELTS, GRE, LSAT, TOEFL, among others are the most popular tests. Universities or colleges make these tests a requirement for admission. Each university has a minimum score that they can accept from people who take any of these tests. You should find out and ace which of the tests are required if an international university is what you aim for.


IELTS (International English Language Testing Systems)

This test is the most used English Language test in the world. IELTS can take you to Australia, Canada, New Zealand, United Kingdom and the United States. IELTS helps you work or study in a country with English as its native language. This test assesses your ability to listen, read, write and speak. Acing this test will prove to the university you intend to go to that you have a good command in English Language. IELTS is recognised by over 11,000 organisations including professional bodies.

There are two types of IELTS: Academic and General IELTS. For studying in an English-speaking university, it is advisable to take the academic IELTS. However, for work or immigration, the general IELTS is recommended. The test is in four sections: Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking test.

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The total test time for IELTS is 2 hours and 45 minutes and it is graded on a scale of 1 – 9 in each area. You should find out the format and minimum score that your intended university requires.


GRE (Graduate Record Examination)

This is a multiple-choice test. If you want to study in an ivy league school, taking a GRE should be on your list of considerations. The admissions assessment of GRE is in two types: GRE general test and GRE subject tests. The GRE general test assesses your verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, critical thinking and analytical writing skills. This test focuses on the skills you have developed overtime and are not related to any specified field of study.

The GRE subject tests measure your knowledge and skill in a particular field of study. The disciplines in question are: chemistry, physics, mathematics and psychology. These test scores supplement your other qualifications for graduate-level study. The tests are done three rimes in a year in the month of September, October and April. The total testing time is 2 hours and 50 minutes.


TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language)

This test has four sections: Reading, Listening, Writing and Speaking. It tests an individual’s ability to understand and use English. Universities trust TOEFL scores so if you ace the test, you will prove to them that you understand English and you can excel in your studies. TOEFL is held throughout the year. The test scores last up to 2 years. However, most universities prefer the latest scores. So, until you are ready to apply for admission, do not take the test unless you want to use it to practice.

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SAT (Scholastic Assessment Test)

This test evaluates a student’s skills in mathematics, writing and verbal aptitude. SAT test is over 1600 and 400 is the minimum score a student can get. The sections are reading, writing, math and essay writing (which is optional). All questions are multiple choice apart from some math problems. The test scores are usually available after 2 weeks of taking the test. Each section is an hour long, making the test a h-hour test. The optional section (essay) is about 50 minutes long.

To register for SAT;
  • Go to the College Board website and create a profile by signing up.
  • Fill out a SAT application form.
  • Book a suitable exam date and centre.
  • Pay the SAT registration fees.


Opeyemi Kareem

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