More than 66 percent of the population, of 1.3 billion, is made up of youths in the age group of 13-35. While this is a large number, it is set to keep growing. With the limited numbers of jobs in India, majority of the youth earn the bare minimum or are unemployed. To escape this reality, more than 11 million students and working professionals have moved to foreign countries such as Australia, UAE, Saudi Arabia, UK, New Zealand, Singapore, France, Germany, the U.S. and others to study further or gain better paying jobs. However, in order to be able to go abroad to most of the foreign countries, students and job-seekers have to write at least one foreign test to gain acceptance for a course and job of their choice respectively.
There are a variety of tests that candidates have to write in order to see a brighter future. While some may be language based, others may be based on a variety of subjects. Candidates interested in moving to countries such as the U.S., UK, Australia, New Zealand and others for the purpose of pursuing their studies or getting a job have to write one of the English Tests such as IELTS, TOEFL and PTE which evaluate their language skills. As English is a global language which is used as the medium of instruction apart from the countries' national languages, candidates whose primary language is not English must clear it. The importance on passing these tests has reached to such an extent that coaching centers for these exams have started cropping up around major cities. While those possessing decent language skills can manage with the course material provided, candidates who are poor in the language benefit from these coaching centers.
Although it is compulsory to write one of the English language tests, candidates hoping to pursue their higher studies in the fields of management, engineering, arts and other streams have to write exams such as Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT), Graduate Record Exam (GRE), and SAT. It is important to note that as these tests are based for specific subjects based on a foreign curriculum, candidates must practice thoroughly by working out test papers. While some of these tests are for various post graduate courses, there are also a variety of tests for candidates who are interested in pursuing their undergraduate studies abroad. In this anniversary issue, we have stated the top tests written by candidates in order to be able to go abroad.
GMAT – Graduate Management Admission Test
Every year, thousands of Indian students hope to pursue various Graduates Degrees in Business Administration such as Master in Business Administration, Master of Accountancy and others primarily in the U.S. and also in other English speaking countries. But in order to get accepted in to the various universities, they have to write the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) and ensure to get a really good score.
The GMAT test is a computer adaptive standardized test in mathematics and the English language for measuring aptitude to succeed academically in graduate business studies. The test which has been in existence over half a century is now accepted by more than 2200 schools and 6000 programs all over the globe. While the test was initially handwritten, it is now delivered via computers to more than 20 test centers in 17 cities in India. The GMAT exam consists of four sections in which are the Analytical Writing Assessment, Integrated Reasoning, Quantitative Section and Verbal Section and must be completed within three and a half hours. Candidates who take the GMAT test need to obtain a score above the average of 540 in the quantitative and verbal sections in order to get into a decent Business School across the globe.
Candidates interested in taking the GMAT test can register for it online at mba.com or by going to a studying abroad consultancies or GMAT coaching centers. The cost of the exam is $250 or Rs.15,000.
GRE – Graduate Record Exam
Unlike the GMAT test which specifically caters to candidates interested in pursuing business programs, the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) allows students to take admission to various masters and doctoral programs in various universities across the globe. Therefore students who are interested in pursuing courses in the engineering, business and other streams can take this test and gain admission into the university of their choice.
The GRE Test was created and administered by Educational Testing Service (ETS) in 1949 with the aim to measure verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, analytical writing, and critical thinking skills. Although the test has been in existence for over half a century like the GMAT test, it has been gone through major changes. In addition to the General Test, there are also seven GRE Subject Tests testing knowledge in the specific areas of Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology; Biology; Chemistry; Literature in English; Mathematics; Physics; and Psychology. The length of each exam is 170 minutes. Those candidates who are interested in taking the computerized GRE test can do so via computers at over 17 centers in 10 cities in India. However, it is advisable that candidates must obtain a score as per the requirement of the University they hope to get in.
The cost of the GRE is US $ 195 or approximately Rs. 12000. Candidates can register for it through the consultancies which help students go abroad or through the www.ets.org/gre website.
IELTS – International English Language Test System
There are more than 2100 languages in the world. However, as English is a global language all students hoping to study abroad must know it. In order to test the English language skills of students hoping to study various courses across the globe, the International English Language Testing System was introduced. The test is an international standardized test of English language proficiency for non-native English language speakers.
IELTS is accepted by Australian, British, Canadian, Irish, New Zealand and South African academic institutions, over 3,000 academic institutions in the United States, and various professional organizations across the world. It is also a requirement for immigration to Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Therefore for all the people hoping to study or work abroad must appear for the test.
The IELTS test is a paper based test where candidates must complete four Modules which are Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. Candidates will then receive their band score, which is shown on the IELTS Test Report Form (TRF). The test is divided into two parts. After completing the listening, reading and writing modules, candidates have to attend a one on one interview with IELTS Examiner for the speaking module. Depending on the test centre, the Speaking test may be taken up to 7 days either before or after the test date. Candidates have to pay Rs. 9900 to appear for the test.
TOEFL – Test of English as a Foreign Language
When America decided to open its Universities to students and working professionals from all over the globe, the primary criteria apart from the job requirements was the knowledge of the English Language. In 1964, the ETS (Education Testing Service) started the Test of English as a Foreign Language or TOEFL. The test is a standardized test of English language proficiency for non-native English language speakers wishing to enroll in any of the 9000 universities in 130 countries all over the globe.
While IELTS is a paper based test, the TOEFL test is primarily an internet based test. For those places which do not have the necessary infrastructure for an internet based test, TOEFL provides them with a paper based test. The four-hour test consists of four sections, each measuring one of the basic language skills in order to focus on language used in an academic and higher-education environment. In the test candidates will be asked to integrate multiple skills and answer the questions.
Interested candidates are now allowed to take the test within one to four weeks in most countries. However, the test cannot be taken more than once in every 12 days. TOEFL has more than 4500 test centers in 165 countries. Candidates clearing this test are able to attain their tag of proficiency and command over the English language.
SAT Reasoning Test
SAT is a standardized test and an entrance requirement for not just colleges and universities in the U.S., but also undergraduate focused educational institutions in other countries such as Singapore, Canada, and Australia. The test is intended to assess a student's readiness for college and assess the reading, mathematics, writing skills and the knowledge they acquire during high school.
It is important to note that the nature of questions asked on the SAT may differ from the curriculum taught in India and therefore, a prospective test taker should become familiar with the test structure and pattern. Candidates can also take up the SAT Subject Test which assesses a students' knowledge and skills across five subject areas — history and social studies, mathematics, sciences, English and languages. Students can use the SAT Subject Test scores to enhance their application by showing proficiency in subjects that interest them. The duration of SAT is three hours and 45 minutes while each SAT Subject Test has duration of one hour.
While the SAT and SAT Subject Tests are offered six times a year, in October, November, December, January, May and June; a student may opt to write the SAT or three SAT Subject Tests on any given test date. For those students who want to write the SAT, College Board provides free resources which will help them prepare for the test. Students can also prepare from SAT and SAT Subject Tests using official guides published by College Board or other established test prep publishing companies that are available in the market. However, due to the high price that coaching centers are asking for, the College Board has announced a new partnership with Khan Academy to offer free online practice problems and instructional videos which will help students prepare more easily.
PTE Academic (The Pearson Test of English Academic)
PTE Academic is a computer-based test which delivers real-life measures of test takers language ability. The test like IELTS and TOEFL is designed for non-native speakers who wish to study in an institution where English is the primary language of instruction. PTE Academic is delivered through the Pearson VUE centers which are also responsible for delivering the GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test) worldwide.
The entire test is computerized. Throughout the test, students listen to a variety of accents and academic language which they will encounter at English-speaking higher education institutions, thus enhancing their skills to understand various English accents.
Candidates can register to take PTE Academic at a time and date that is convenient for them. The test is available on a ""choose and book" basis in test centers around the world and therefore candidates can select the one closest to them. As PTE is a computerized test, candidates will receive their scores online typically within five business days. The scorecard gives a detailed report of how a candidate has performed in each of the four sections – Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking. After receiving the scores, candidates can send them to as many institutions as they want for no additional charge. Candidates can give the PTE test in numerous test centers located in 12 cities in India for a price of Rs.9,300 and see brighter avenues open up allowing them to have a happier future.