There are five basic tests that international students will need to research before applying to an American university or to schools in other English-speaking countries. Although it is not necessary to take all of these tests, most master's programs will want to see scores from at least one English proficiency test in addition to scores from a GRE or GMAT test. Here is a list of tests commonly accepted by educational institutions:
TOEFL - The TOEFL (Test of English as Foreign Language) is accepted by more institutions than any other English-language test. Nearly every university in the U.S., Canada, UK, Australia, and New Zealand uses scores from this test to determine whether or not foreign applicants are able to understand English in an academic setting. TOEFL scores are also used frequently by government organizations and scholarship programs. The TOEFL tests your ability to read, write, listen to, and speak English. Students are allowed to take this test online. Paper-based tests can also be taken at testing centers around the world. TOEFL scores are valid for two years.
TOEIC - The TOEIC (Test of English for International Communication) is an English proficiency test which is considered to be the global standard for measuring business English skills. Scores are used by corporations, educational institutions, and governments in more than 90 countries. The TOEIC tests your ability to listen to, speak, read, and write English. Listening and Reading tests are multiple choice and must be taken with paper-and-pencil at certified testing centers. Speaking and writing tests are delivered over the Internet. TOEIC scores are valid for two years.
IELTS - The IELTS (International English Language Testing System) is an English proficiency test recognized by universities, multinational companies, and government agencies in more than 120 countries. There are two versions of the test that can be taken: Academic or General Training. The Academic test is designed for students who want to study or train at an English-speaking university. The General Training test is for individuals who will be completing secondary education, work experience, or training programs in English-speaking countries. Both tests measure reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills. IELTS scores are valid for two years.
GRE - The GRE (Graduate Record Examinations) is administered to prospective graduate students. Most schools within the U.S. and several schools outside the U.S. require master program applicants to submit GRE scores. There are two versions of the test that can be taken: the General test and the Subject test. The General test measures verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, critical thinking, and analytical writing skills. Subject tests measure undergraduate achievement in one of eight disciplines: biochemistry, cell, and molecular biology; biology; chemistry; computer science; literature in English; mathematics; physics; or psychology. The General test is administered at computer-based test centers and paper-based test centers around the world. The Subject tests are administered three times per year (October, November, and April) at paper-based test centers worldwide. GRE scores are valid for five years.
GMAT - The GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test) is used by MBA programs and other graduate management programs to assess the qualifications of business applicants. Although some business schools have begun to accept GRE scores, many schools require or prefer GMAT scores. The GMAT includes an Analytical Writing Assessment, a Quantitative section, and a Verbal section. The Quantitative and Verbal sections are multiple choice; the Analytical Writing portion is not. The GMAT can be taken at computer-based testing centers around the world. A Mobile Test Center has also been established so that students can take the test at universities that are not near a testing center. GMAT scores are valid for five years.
Guest post from education writer Karen Schweitzer. Karen is the About.com Guide to Business School. She also writes about top online colleges for OnlineColleges.net.
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