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Exams to Study in USA: GMAT, GRE, TOEFL, SAT

Shahid Baig Shahid Baig
Content Curator

Admission to most of the courses and universities in the U.S.A requires one to take a few standardized tests like TOEFL, SAT, ACT etc. These tests not only give the proof of the academic excellence of an applicant but are also necessary to be able to take advantage of various scholarships.

Many of these tests are used to judge one’s merit in different areas like English proficiency and also at different levels like undergraduate and graduate level.

English Proficiency Tests Required to Study in the U.S.A

International students whose native language is not English are supposed to take an English proficiency test to show that they are capable of learning the curriculum in the English language during their course of study in the U.S.A. 

There are 2 tests that are of relevance to international students studying in the USA:


TOEFL exam is one of many requirements while applying to a university in the US. The minimum TOEFL score in the US is 80 iBT. The importance of TOEFL exam depends upon the course that one is applying to. While TOEFL score doesn’t play a big role in the admission process for universities in the U.S.A, graduate programs, one needs to score maximum for being selected to a Ph.D. program in the USA.

Princeton University along with many other universities offer alternate English programs to students who do not clear TOEFL exam.


Around 3400 universities and colleges in the USA use IELTS score of an applicant to judge his/her English language proficiency. The minimum IELTS score requirement in the US varies between 6.5 and 9 depending upon which course and university one is applying to.

There are many top schools and colleges in USA that do not accept IELTS score even now, so it is better for an applicant to individually check each university’s requirements before applying for a visa to study in the U.S.A. 


Pearson Test of English has recently started gaining acceptance in the USA. It is accepted by around 785 universities and colleges in the USA. The minimum PTE score in the USA is 70. But it can vary with the courses and university one is applying to.

Study in the U.S.A: Undergraduate Admission Tests

Admissions in USA colleges and universities at Undergraduate level require SAT and ACT scores. These test scores demonstrate academic and aptitude skills of students in high school and junior schools.

Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT)

SAT is one of the most important exams while applying to undergraduate programs in the USA. Almost all universities in the USA accept SAT scores. The minimum SAT score in the USA is 1300 but that can easily vary with the courses and universities. For instance, Harvard doesn’t call students with an SAT score less than 1520 out of 1600. 

American College Test (ACT)

ACT Exam evaluates the aptitude and critical thinking abilities of an applicant and is an important exam while applying for undergraduate programs in the USA. The minimum ACT score in the USA is 22 but it can vary with the courses and universities that one chooses.

Study in the U.S.A: Graduate Admission Tests

While seeking admission in USA universities at the graduate level requires an applicant to take a few entrance test. These tests are specifically taken for a particular field of interests.

Graduate Record Examination (GRE)

GRE exam is taken before admission to USA graduate programs, specifically Business Management programs. Along with the general GRE test, there are 7 subject specific tests that one can take. The minimum GRE score in the USA is 160. Since GRE exam is taken for many graduate programs, different scores can be requested for different USA graduate programs. In some cases, these scores come of use while looking out for post-degree options in the U.S.A. 

Law School Admission Test (LSAT)

LSAT Exam is necessary to apply for admission in Law schools in the USA. The average LSAT score required to get into a US Law school is 150, but the top 25 law schools demand more than 160. Many US Law schools give 70% weight to LSAT scores in the selection process.

Medical College Admission Test (MCAT)

Students seeking admission in Medical schools in the USA must take the MCAT exam. The average MCAT score in the USA is 510. But the Best medical schools in the US might demand more. The more the score, the better one’s chances.

Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT)

Admission to a B-School in the USA requires the applicant to take the GMAT exam. The average GMAT score for admissions in USA B- Schools is 700. Good GMAT score along with high GPA play a very important role in the selection process in US B-schools.

Dental Admission Test (DAT)

Students seeking admission to a Dental School in the USA require to take the DAT exam. It is accepted by 66 Dental schools in the USA. The DAT academic score ranges from 12-28 in the US.

Optometry Admission Test (OAT)

The OAT exam is the primary exam for admission in an Optometry School in the USA. The exam is accepted by all the 21 certified Optometry schools in the USA. The minimum OAT score accepted for admission in US Optometry is 310.

Exams to Study in the U.S.A: Important Dates 

Test nameApplication DeadlineExam Date/ Month
IELTS1 month before exam dateApplicants book the suitable test dates
TOEFL1 week before the exam dateThroughout the year on Sundays and Saturdays
SATAugust 22, 2018- September 7, 2018October 6, 2018
October 17, 2018- November 2, 2018December 1, 2018
January 23, 2019- February 8, 2019March 9, 2019
March 20, 2019- April 5, 2019May 4, 2019
ACTAugust 10, 2018September 7-8, 2018
September 28, 2018October 26-27, 2018
November 2, 2018December 7-8, 2018
January 11, 2019February 8-9, 2019
March 8, 2019April 12-13, 2019
May 3, 2019June 7-8, 2019
GREAnytime depending on seat availabilityOnce every 21 days, 5 times a year
GMATRegister according to the application deadline for the applied MBA programAnytime during a year
LSATSeptember 4, 2018October 14, 2018

Exams to Study in the U.S.A: Application Fees 

IELTS$215 – $245

With all these test requirements and several scholarships to study in the U.S.A the life of an international student seems a little less complex. 

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