Posted on Monday, January 21, 2019
Standardised examination is one of the most crucial forms of testing for a study abroad programme. These academic assessments are adopted by many of the universities and colleges across the world and serve as a common ground when selecting applicants.
IELTS, TOEFL, PTE
For international students, proficiency in the English language is a vital prerequisite for studying abroad. Language testing such as the International English Language Testing System (IELTS Academic), Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE) has a score validity period of 2 years and assess academic skills in the areas of listening, reading, writing and speaking.
The IELTS is a paper based test which is held on specific dates in specific cities across India. The score range for IELTS is 0-9. The TOEFL and PTE Academic are computer based examinations and require a score of 0-120 points and 10- 90 points respectively.
Moreover, Cambridge University has a variant of the IELTS called UKVI for requirements specific to UK visa and immigration. This test is paper based as well as computer based and can be taken at authorised test centres accredited with the UK. The listening, reading and writing components are taken on a computer, while speaking remains face to face and is video recorded. This test too is reported on a band scale of 0-9. All 4 tests reflect the usage of the English language in an academically inclined environment.
For a bachelor's or a postgraduate programme, a candidate's score requirements will vary. In the case of a bachelor's degree, the minimum score required for the IELTS is an overall band of 6 as well as 6 in each individual sub module and a 6.5 for a postgraduate degree. A candidate applying to an undergraduate programme requires a minimum score of 70 in TOEFL and 50 in PTE Academic as a part of the admissions guidelines, while those opting for a master's degree will generally require a minimum of 80 in TOEFL and 65 in the PTE Academic.
GRE, GMAT, SAT
In addition to language assessments, universities, specifically from USA may also require other entrance level examinations in the form of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) and Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) in accordance to the degree a candidate chooses to pursue. The validity for all three test scores is 5 years.
The GMAT and GRE are popular forms of computer adaptive testing that measures a candidate's verbal and quantitative reasoning skills, and analytical skills. Schools in USA use GMAT test as a part of the selection criteria for a range of business programmes especially for an MBA and MSc in Finance. Most other graduate programmes require GRE for admission purposes. The scoring scale for the same is from 130 to 170 for the verbal and quantitative sections respectively, with 320 out of 340 considered to be an ideal test score for the universities.
The SAT, a paper based examination, evaluates a student's readiness for a bachelors programme by measuring the literacy, numeracy and written skills of a candidate. A composite score of 1400 and above qualifies for acceptance to reputed universities.
Standardised testing provides colleges and universities with a broader sense of merit in choosing candidates on the grounds of admission. These forms of testing help candidates with varying academic interests gain admission based on the university's specific requirements.
(The author is director, Edwise Consultants)
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