Here are the popular exams required to Study Abroad after 12th

Conquer the Entrance Tests to Study Abroad

The most crucial step in a student’s journey towards realizing their study abroad dreams is facing the entrance examinations specified for different courses. The problem over here is that there is not a single standardized test or language proficiency test that is valid everywhere in the world. The cut-off required for a specific examination is also not the same for all universities in a particular country. So, it is of paramount importance for students to be aware of the different exams to study abroad after 12th if they are planning to enroll in UG courses in top foreign universities. So, let’s look at the list of international exams that students need to prepare well in advance to enroll in the in-demand courses at the best universities in the world. 

What exams are required to study abroad?

There are numerous exams, like SAT, IELTS, TOEFL, GRE, GMAT, etc, to study abroad. But students need not prepare for all of those exams at a time as there is only a specific set of exams a student needs to clear to enroll in a particular program in a particular country. For example, if an Indian student wants to study BTech in the USA, he/she needs to obtain impressive scores in SAT, as this exam is widely accepted for engineering admissions in the US. Secondly, Indian students need to get good scores in the TOEFL exam as this is a widely accepted language proficiency test in the US for students from non-English speaking countries. So, understand the different exams that are required to study abroad and prepare for those that are relevant to the course and the country in which you want to pursue it. 

Language Proficiency Tests: 

Students from non-English speaking countries have to prove their English language proficiency to study at some of the most popular study abroad destinations like the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, etc. TOEFL and IELTS are the two most popular language proficiency tests that are accepted by various universities across the world. But there are some other tests as well that students may have to prepare for based on the country in which they are planning to study. Let’s look at some of the important English language tests to study abroad.

TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language):

The internet-based test of TOEFL(Test of English as a Foreign Language) is accepted widely in the United States and Canada for testing English language proficiency. Students who want to pursue UG courses in the United States should give special attention to TOEFL, as it’s considered extremely important for clearing the admission criteria for most of the universities in the United States along with Canada. The duration of the test will be around three hours, and it’s advised to make time for at least three and a half hours exclusively for giving TOEFL internet-based test.

Pattern For TOEFL
SectionNo. of QuestionsDuration
Reading30–4054–72 minutes
Speaking28–3941–57 minutes
Writing4 tasks17 minutes
Listening2 tasks50 minutes

IELTS (International English Language Testing System):

IELTS(International English Language Testing System) is one of the most popular language proficiency exams along with TOEFL. This test is widely accepted in the universities of the United Kingdom and Australia. Students can attempt IELTS either for general purposes or for academic purposes. The reading and writing sections for academic purpose are comparatively difficult to general-purpose IELTS test. IELTS tests the student’s listening, reading, writing, and speaking skills to assess his/her proficiency in the English language.

Pattern for IELTS
SectionNo. of QuestionsDuration
Listening4030 minutes
Reading4060 minutes
Writing2 Tasks60 minutes
SpeakingVariable11 to 14 minutes

PTE (Pearson Test of English):

Pearson Test of English(PTE) is another English language proficiency test that is accepted by thousands of universities in famous study-abroad destinations like the US, UK, Australia, Canada, etc. Students can expect the results of this test typically in 48 hours. PTE helps in understanding the applicant’s reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills, just like the other tests. 

Pattern for PTE
SectionNo. of QuestionsDuration
& Writing
54-6754 to 67 min
Reading29-3029-30 min
Listening30-4330-43 min

Duolingo Test: 

Duolingo Test was introduced in 2016 and is gaining popularity in the recent past. Students who take up this test will be awarded scores on a scale of 10 to 160. Duolingo test assesses the literacy, production, comprehension, and conversational skills of the applicants. This test is also now being widely accepted by various universities across the world, and we can also compare the test with other popular tests like IELTS and TOEFL. A maximum score of 160 on the Duolingo test can be compared to 120 on TOEFL and 8.5-9 on IELTS. A score of 10-60 on the Duolingo test can be compared to 0-23 in TOEFL and 0-4 in IELTS, according to Duolingo. 

CELPIP (Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program): 

CELPIP stands for Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program, which is another English language proficiency test helpful for students planning to study in Canada. There are two types of CELPIP tests. One is a general test, and another one is a CELPIP general LS test. However, CELPIP general LS test is available only in Canada. So, let’s ignore that and focus on CELPIP general test. 

Pattern For CELPIP
SectionNo. of QuestionsDuration
Listening3947-55 min
Reading3955-60 min
Writing2 tasks53-60 min
Speaking9 tasks15-20 min

CAE (Cambridge Advanced English):

CAE stands for Cambridge Advanced English, and this test is conducted by the Cambridge English Qualifications, which is administered by Cambridge University. There are various tests conducted by the Cambridge English Qualifications organization. C1 Advanced English, which is also known as Cambridge Advanced English, is the most popular of all and is widely accepted by a wide range of universities. As per the official sources of Cambridge, more than 9,000 educational institutions, government, and business organizations accept this test, and it is definitely worth investing your valuable time if you want to study abroad. 

Section No.of Question Duration
Reading & Use of english 56 1hr 30min
Writing 2 parts 1hr 30min
Listening 30 about 40 min
Speaking 4 parts 23min for a group of 3 & 15min for a pair of candidates

Standardised Tests:

To enroll in a specific course at a particular university of a student’s choice, it is important for them to fulfill the entry criteria. When there are thousands of applications in front of the admission panel, it gets difficult to filter them out. To stand out from the crowd and to successfully get admission into a particular university, students have to score well on standardized tests like SAT, GRE, GMAT, etc., to showcase their knowledge in the courses they are applying for.  SAT and ACT are important exams to study engineering abroad, along with language proficiency tests like TOEFL and IELTS. GRE and GMAT are helpful in getting admissions into business schools. Let’s check each of these standardized tests in detail.

SAT (Scholastic Assessment Test):

Scholastic Assessment Test is one of the most popular standardized tests in the world, as more than three million students around the world appear for this exam each year. This test is used mostly by US universities for accepting admissions and is one of the most important exams to study engineering abroad. The purpose of SAT exam is to assess the candidates based on their skills in reading, writing, and mathematics. So, it’s almost mandatory to prepare for SAT exam to study abroad, especially for those who are looking to enroll in STEM programs. In SAT, for reading and writing sections, there will be multiple choice questions, and for the mathematics section, along with multiple choice questions, there will be a grid-in section, in which students need to solve and enter the answer in the grids provided. 

Pattern For SAT
SectionNo. of QuestionsDuration
Reading5265 min
Writing4435 min
(With Calculator)
(With 8 Grid-in)
55 min
(Without Calculator)
(With 5 Grid-in)
25 min

ACT(American College Test):

American College Test(ACT) is a standardized test similar to SAT and is widely accepted in the US and Canadian universities. After SAT, this is another important exam to study abroad after the 12th. Over 1.6 million students appear for this exam every year, which is recognized by ACT Inc., an American nonprofit organization. There is no passing score for ACT; the more students score, the better their chances of getting their application granted for admission into their favorite universities. Both SAT and ACT are important exams to study engineering abroad. Let’s check out the pattern for the ACT exam.

Pattern For ACT
SectionNo. of QuestionsDuration
English7545 min
Mathematics6060 min
Reading4030 min
Science4035 min
WritingOne Essay40 min

Advanced Placement Exam:

Advanced Placement Exams are a wonderful opportunity for students who want to pursue university-level courses while studying their high school. The examination time will be around 90-200 minutes, and it’s going to be in offline mode. The scores obtained in Advanced Placement Examination will be considered by many universities in the United States and Canada. Students who attain good scores in AP exams will be given good preference in undergraduate admissions as these scores act as proof of their knowledge in academics. 

We can’t rely on a specific exam pattern as there are different advanced placement exams subjects like World Language and culture, arts, history and social sciences, English, Mathematics, and Science. The exam pattern changes based on the subject the student chooses. 

GRE (Graduate Record Examination):

Graduate Record Examination is a crucial exam to study abroad for students who are planning to take up postgraduate and Ph.D. programs in countries like the United States and Canada. This exam majorly assesses the academic potential of the students and thus helps the admissions boards of different universities to get an idea about the applicant’s readiness for the programs they are applying for. There are two types of GRE tests. The first one is GRE general test, and the other type is the GRE subject test, in which there are different tests for subjects like mathematics, physics, chemistry, and psychology. The research and unscored sections are a little tricky. The unscored section won’t be considered for the final score, nor can the examinees skip those questions as they are not exactly aware which part is intended to be experimental.

Pattern For GRE
SectionNo. of QuestionsDuration
2030 min
Quantitative Reasoning2035 min
260 min

GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test):

GMAT stands for graduate management admission test, and this test is relevant for students seeking admission into B schools for various programs like MBA. GMAT checks the analytical, verbal, reading, and quantitative skills of the applicants so that the admission boards of universities understand if the applicant is eligible for the course he/she is applying for. This test is not relevant for students who want to enroll in undergraduate programs and can ignore this test if they are not interested in pursuing a master’s in universities abroad. 

Pattern For GMAT
SectionNo. of QuestionsDuration
Analytical Writing
One Topic30 min
Integrated Reasoning1230 min
Quantitative3162 min
Verbal3665 min

To conclude, there are numerous exams to study abroad, and students need not consider all of them. Students must choose and prepare for these standardized tests and language proficiency exams based on two basic things. The first one is the country in which they want to study, and the second one is the course which they want to take up. Studying abroad is a little complex process, and students can increase their chances of winning admission into their dream university if they are provided with proper guidance. At Texas International Academy, we encourage students to prepare for entrance exams to study abroad from their first year of intermediate itself. We also encourage the same to any study abroad aspirant. Feel free to reach out to us if you need expert guidance about preparing for the entrance exams to study abroad.


1. Between IELTS and TOEFL, which is more important to study in the USA? 

TOEFL is more widely accepted in the United States and Canada compared to IELTS. For studying in the United Kingdom and Australia, IELTS will be given more importance than TOEFL.

2. Can we go to Canada without IELTS? 

International students from a non-English speaking country should prove their language proficiency to study in Canada. So, if not IELTS, it’s mandatory to qualify for other tests like TOEFL, CELPIP (Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program)

3. How can I give SAT exam in India?

There are 50+ partnering institutions in India across 30 cities for Indian students to attend the Scholastic Assessment Test. This exam is conducted seven times a year, and students can take it at their time convenience. 

4. How many exams are required to study abroad? 

There is no definitive number of exams to study abroad. For admission into foreign universities, students should maintain impressive scores till their 12th standard, along with standardized tests that are required for a specific course in a particular country. 

5. In which countries SAT is valid? 

SAT is majorly accepted by universities in the United States and Canada, along with many universities in the UK, Australia, New Zealand, etc. 

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