Admission Tests for International Students

Admission test for international students varies mainly with their course of study in the US. The US educational system has a set of standard tests to be taken by residents as well as international students to gain admission into the US universities.

Test of English as a Foreign Language

TOEFL is a mandatory admission test for international students from countries where English is not a native language. Not just in the US, this test is accepted in about 130 nations across the world. This is a basic English language test that evaluates the test taker’s expressive and receptive skills. Fifty percent of the points are awarded for listening and reading skills and the remaining for the writing and speaking skills. It is a 3-4 hour long computerized test, which does not expire for 2 years. Educational Testing Service offers this test.


Undergraduate admissions in the US universities call for SAT. Math, writing, vocabulary and reading comprehension are the sections covered in this test. It is not web-based and is valid up to five years. The total test time is 3:45 hours.

SAT Subject Tests

These are subject specific tests, which help to demonstrate the subject knowledge and expertise of a student to prospective educational institutions. While it is optional with some colleges, others make it mandatory for the students to take a SAT subject test. In some cases, the students can pick a subject of their choice, while in other cases the college determines the subject for testing. SAT subject tests are multiple-choice ones that span for an hour.

Medical College Aptitude Test

The medical school admission committees in the US use the computer based MCAT to evaluate the potential of an applicant. This admission test for international students and US nationals evaluates four aspects,

  • Problem solving
  • Critical thinking
  • Writing
  • Basic Science knowledge

The multiple-choice test, written test and the breaks all put together spans 5 hours. The validity of the test varies with the institution, but in general, it has three years validity.

Law School Admissions Test

Most law schools in the US require LSAT as the admission test for international students. This multiple-choice exam of about 125 questions spans three and half hours. This tests has questions on the following,

  • data management
  • analytical thinking
  • critical reading

Graduate Record Exam

Most US graduate programs (excluding medicine, law and business) require GRE. This computerized test evaluates the analytical, quantitative, and verbal skills of the candidate. This test is a great determinant of a student’s eligibility for graduate assistantships and other financial aid.

Graduate Management Admissions Test

Business schools in the US require GMAT as the admission test for international students. This computerized test evaluates the verbal, analytical and quantitative abilities of the test taker. The multiple-choice test that spans for three and half hours has 78 questions as well as 2 essays. The validity of the GMAT score is five years.

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