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Top Entrance exams for overseas study

Top Entrance exams for overseas study | Education Abroad

Overseas education is gaining a lot of prominence and it caters to students of varied academic backgrounds and interests. However, there are certain prerequisites that need to be met in order to gain admission into an overseas university. Top Entrance exams for overseas study

Top entrance exams: Top Entrance exams for overseas study

Some of the most popular and important international entrance exams include the GRE, GMAT, SAT, TOEFL, IELTS and PTE.  Students may be required to give a combination of one or more exams which may be unique to that country and its education system.

Given below is a brief introduction to the various entrance exams and respective paper formats:

  1. GRE: Top Entrance exams for overseas study

The Graduate Record Examination, a standardized test, is a prerequisite for gaining admission into a majority of graduate schools in the United States.  It was created as well as administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS) in 1949. GRE aims to test verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, analytical writing, and critical thinking skills of students that have been developed over a period of time. Students who wish to pursue a master’s degree or want to study a specialized master’s course; MBA, MEM, MS or a doctoral degree can give the GRE Test. The computer-based GRE revised General Test consists of five sections. The first section of the test is the analytical writing section which consists of Issue and Argument tasks. The other five sections have two verbal reasoning sections, two quantitative reasoning sections, and either an experimental or a research section.

  1. GMAT: Top Entrance exams for overseas study

The Graduate Management Admission Test, commonly known as the GMAT, is a computer-based examination used to measure skills that are necessary for the study of management. Its duration is 3½-hours, and it is designed to predict how students will perform academically in MBA programs. Based on the GMAT scores, graduate business schools make admission decisions. Several schools require GMAT scores from applicants, therefore preparing well for the test is important. The GMAT score is vital as it can be the deciding factor regarding acceptance or rejection to a program. The GMAT tests four major skills: analytical writing, quantitative reasoning, verbal reasoning, and integrated reasoning.  These skills are analyzed through four sections namely:

  1. Analytical Writing Assessment (one writing task, duration-30 minutes)
  2. Integrated Reasoning section (12 multiple-choice questions, duration-30 minutes)
  3. Quantitative section (37 multiple-choice questions, duration- 75 minutes)
  4. Verbal section (41 multiple-choice questions, duration-75 minutes)

A separate score and percentile rank are provided for all the exam sections mentioned above.

  1. SAT: Top Entrance exams for overseas study

The SAT is a standardized and general test of verbal and quantitative reasoning which is required by many US colleges and universities as part of their admission process. Originally, it was called the Scholastic Aptitude Test, and now it is known as SAT. The duration of the test is three hours, and it measures the verbal and mathematical reasoning skills that students have developed over time. Many colleges and universities use the SAT as one of the admission criteria among others such as class rank, GPA, participation in extracurricular activities, personal essay and letters of recommendation.

SAT consists of two different examinations:

  • The SAT Reasoning Test (Earlier known as SAT I)
  • The SAT Subject Test (Earlier known as SAT II)

The SAT Reasoning Test is a three-hour and forty-five-minute test which comprises of three sections: Critical Reading, Math, and Writing. This test is designed to measure critical thinking and analytical skills. The SAT Subject Tests are a series of one-hour multiple-choice tests in subjects such as Literature, US and World History, Mathematics, Biology, Chemistry, and Physics.

  1. TOEFL: Top Entrance exams for overseas study

Students who wish to study abroad in an English-speaking country are required to take a TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language). It assesses your ability to speak and understand English by analyzing your English skills in terms of reading, speaking, listening and writing. It evaluates how well you combine these skills to perform academic tasks. TOEFL is accepted as proof of English proficiency in 9,000 colleges, and it is conducted more than 50 times in a year by Educational Testing Service (ETS) – a US-based non-profit organization. TOEFL has two versions: TOEFL iBT (Internet-based Test) and TOEFL PBT (paper-based test). Both the versions of TOEFL test has four sections- Reading, Speaking, Listening and Writing and takes about 4-hours to complete. Students can retake the TOEFL test as many times as they wish. It uses both human raters and automated scoring methods for evaluating a student’s performance.

  1. IELTS:

The International English language testing system (IELTS) is a popular English language proficiency test for higher education and global migration. Its objective is to assess the ability and preparedness of students who wish to study or train in a foreign country. IELTS assesses the test takers English skills with respect to reading, writing, listening and speaking. It is accepted by over 9,000 organizations worldwide, including schools, universities, immigration authorities and professional bodies.

The two versions of IELTS are- the Academic IELTS and the General Training IELTS. The Academic IELTS is usually for people who wish to study abroad, and the General Training IELTS is usually for people want to follow a non-academic course or for immigration. The duration of IELTS exam is 2 hours and 45 minutes, and it consists of four sections which test the candidates listening, reading, writing and speaking skills.

  1. PTE:

PTE Academic (The Pearson Test of English) is a computer- based English language test designed to assess the readiness and ability of non-native English speakers to participate in a university-level program which is taught in English. PTE focuses on real-life English used in academic surroundings. PTE Academic assesses listening, reading, speaking and writing skills. PTE is accepted by thousands of universities worldwide, including prestigious institutions such as Harvard Business School, INSEAD and Yale. In the three-hour test, there are three main sections- Writing coupled with speaking, listening skills and reading. There are twenty different types of question formats, ranging from multiple choice questions to essay writing and information interpretation.

TOEFL vs. IELTS vs. PTE

TOEFL scores are accepted by a majority of universities in the US, Canada, UK, Australia and New Zealand. The IELTS is mandatory for Indian and other non-native English speakers, especially in the Commonwealth countries. The PTE is accepted by several institutions in the UK, Australia, USA, Canada, New Zealand and Ireland including Harvard, Yale and INSEAD.

While TOEFL and IELTS are more well-known, there are other tests like PTE, which is relatively new. All the three tests have a few characteristics that make them unique, but they also share a few similarities. The three tests have similar sections such as- Reading, Listening, Speaking, and Writing, but they differ when it comes to assessing the speaking skills, scoring and evaluation criterion and format of the writing section. Unlike IELTS and TOEFL, PTE has several innovative question formats.

GRE vs. GMAT

The GRE is another examination which Indian students must give if they wish to study in the USA or Canada. It measures the verbal, mathematical and analytical skills of the student. It is a prerequisite for gaining admission into many graduate courses, particularly for engineering and the science field in USA. Students who wish to specialize in management courses (like MBA) must take the GMAT, which is an admission requirement for business schools in US and UK.

To sum it up, these top international entrance exams are a standard as well as reliable mode for assessing a large number of applicants who aspire to study abroad. Therefore, students must plan in advance and prepare well in order to get high scores in these exams and gain admission into the university of their choice.

PTE Test Format and Scoring

PTE Test Format and Scoring

What is PTE? PTE Test Format and Scoring

PTE Academic (The Pearson Test of English) is a computer-based English language test designed to assess the readiness and ability of non-native English speakers to participate in a university-level program taught in English. PTE focuses on real-life English used in academic surroundings. PTE Academic English test assesses listening, reading, speaking and writing skills of the test taker. It is accepted by thousands of universities worldwide, including prestigious institutions such as Harvard Business School, INSEAD and Yale.

Test Format: PTE Test Format and Scoring

It is a three-hour test session with three main sections: speaking and writing (together), listening and reading. There are twenty different question formats, ranging from multiple choice questions to essay writing and interpreting information.

PART 1: SPEAKING AND WRITING (75 – 90 minutes)

Speaking: PTE Test Format and Scoring

A student’s writing skills is tested during Part 1 of the test.  Speaking skills is also tested by asking the student to repeat sentences, respond to questions and summarize passages. Students should not start speaking before the microphone opens or else their voice will not be recorded. Students should speak clearly and remember that they will be able to record their answer only once.  They must finish speaking before the progress bar reaches the end and then the word “Recording” changes to “Completed”.

  • Personal introduction PTE Test Format and Scoring

This is an opportunity for the students to give the selected institutions some information about themselves. Students will be given 25 seconds to prepare and their response will be sent together with their score report to the institutions selected by them.

  • Read aloud PTE Test Format and Scoring

Students are required to read a written text aloud. They will have 30-40 seconds to prepare, depending on the length of the passage. However, students will be able to record their response only once.

  • Repeat sentence PTE Test Format and Scoring

Students are required to repeat the sentence that they hear. The audio will begin to play automatically. When the audio finishes the students have to speak into the microphone immediately and repeat exactly what they heard.  They will not be able to replay the audio.

  • Describe image PTE Test Format and Scoring

Students are required to describe an image, and they are given 25 seconds to study the image and prepare for it. Students must keep in mind that they will be able to record their response only once.

  • Re-tell lecture PTE Test Format and Scoring

In this test, students are required to repeat what they hear in the audio. The students may also see an image related to the audio. After the audio is over, students will be able to record their answer only once.  However, students can take notes while the audio is playing.

  • Answer short questions PTE Test Format and Scoring

Here students are required to reply to the question in a few words. The audio may be accompanied by an image. Once the audio is over, students have to answer the questions. Students will not able to replay the audio, and can record their response only once.

Writing:

The Word Count will be given at the bottom of the screen.  Cut, copy and paste buttons are also available which can be used by students during the writing test.

  • Summarize written text

Students are required to write a summary of the text in one sentence within 10 minutes.  Students must include the main points of the passage in a full, single sentence of no more than 75 words.

  • Write Essay

Students are required to write a 200-300 word argumentative essay in response to a prompt in 20 minutes.

 

PART 2: READING (30 – 40 minutes)

In this section, students are mainly tested on their reading skills.

  • Multiple-choice (choose single answer)

Students are required to read the passage and answer the multiple-choice questions. Several answer options will be given but only one is correct. The option selected by the student will be highlighted in yellow.

  • Multiple-choice (choose multiple answers)

Students are required to read the passage and answer the multiple-choice question, but more than one correct response is possible. Students need to select all the response options that they think are correct from the list of possible options given.

  • Re-order paragraphs

Students are required to restore the original order of the text by selecting text boxes and dragging them across the screen. To deselect a box, students have to left-click elsewhere on the screen.

  • Fill in the blanks

Students are required to drag and drop words across the screen to correctly fill in the gaps in the text.  They will be given a list of words in a blue box that they can use to fill the gaps in the text.

  • Fill in the blanks

Students are required to select the most appropriate words from a drop-down list to restore the text. A passage is given with some missing words and beside each gap there is a button with a drop-down list. Students are required to Left-click on this button and select the option that best fills the gap.

PART 3: LISTENING (45 – 60 minutes)

Students are tested on their listening skills. It consists of questions that are based on audio or video clips which students can listen to only once however; they are allowed to take notes.

  • Summarize spoken text PTE Test Format and Scoring

Students are required to listen to an audio recording and write a 50-70 word summary within 10 minutes. The Word Count is given at the bottom of the screen which counts the number of words written.

  • Multiple-choice (choose multiple answers) PTE Test Format and Scoring

Students are required to listen to the recording and answer the multiple-choice question wherein more than one correct response is possible. Students need to select all the response options that they think are correct from the list of possible options.  The options selected are highlighted in yellow.

  • Fill in the blanks

Students are given a transcript of the audio recording, however some words are missing. They have to restore the transcript by typing in the missing words.

  • Highlight correct summary

Students are required to select the summary that best matches the recording. After listening to the audio students have to select the answer from the given options.

  • Multiple-choice, choose single answer

Students are required to listen to the recording and answer the multiple-choice questions. Several possible options will be provided but only one is correct. The option selected will be highlighted in yellow.

  • Select missing word

Here the last word or group of words in the recording will be replaced by a beep and students are required to select the most appropriate option to complete the recording. Out of the various options the students have to select one option.

  • Highlight incorrect words

Students will be presented with a transcript of the audio recording, which contains some errors. While listening and reading, students are required to select the words in the text that differ from what the speaker says. The selected words will be highlighted in yellow.

  • Write from dictation

Students have to hear a short sentence and type the sentence into the response box given at the bottom of the screen. Students can take notes while the video is being played but remember to check their spellings.

Registration and payment:

Students can register for the test either online or by phone. Payment can be made through- MasterCard and Visa debit cards or American Express, JCB, MasterCard and Visa credit cards. However, PayPal is not accepted

On the Test day:

The students have to provide to the test administrator copies of their ID. The administrator will ask for a digital photograph and signature and scan the student’s palm. Students will be assigned a locker to check-in their belongings. If a student fails to provide an ID, he will not be allowed to take the test and will lose his test fee. If a student is unable to appear for the test, he may receive a partial refund if he cancels his test before the appointment date.

PTE Scores:

Students will receive their results within 5 working days.  The test scores are reported on the Global Scale of English, a standardized, numeric scale from 10 to 90. The scores can be accessed via an online account. Students will receive an email notifying them once the scores are available. Students can see their scores once they have signed into their Pearson Vue account at www.pearsonvue.com/pte. Students can also send their scores to unlimited number of institutions free of charge once they have signed into their account. It generally takes 48 hours for the scores to be sent to institutions.

If a student is disappointed with his score, he can take the test again. He can retake the PTE as many times as he wants to but he must wait until he has received his scores from the test before booking another. One can send his/her scores to unlimited number of institutions, but  can select only seven recipients at any one time. However, the test scores are valid for two years from the date of the test.

Rescoring: PTE Test Format and Scoring

If a student is unhappy with his PTE score, he can request for a rescore. However, a student can request for a rescore only for his most recent PTE Academic test. He cannot request a rescore if he has already either scheduled another test or sent his score to an institution.

For rescoring, the student must contact Pearson Customer Service within 14 calendar days of his report being made available.  If the scores change then the rescore fee will be fully refunded to the student.

TOEFL vs IELTS vs PTE

TOEFL vs IELTS vs PTE

One of the most important criteria for students who wish to pursue their further studies at an English-speaking university abroad is proficiency in English Language. Taking English Language Proficiency tests is essential for students from countries like India, where English is not the first language. The Proficiency of international students in English Language is assessed through certain popular standardized tests such as TOEFL, IELTS and the relatively new PTE. Due to the availability of so many options, students often get confused as to which test they should choose. Hence a comparative analysis of TOEFL, IELTS and PTE will enable students to understand all the aspects of these tests and make the right decision. TOEFL vs IELTS vs PTE

About the tests: TOEFL vs IELTS vs PTE

TOEFL– The Test of English Language as a Foreign Language, popularly known as TOEFL, measures a student’s ability to use and understand English. It tests how well a student can combine the listening, reading, speaking and writing skills while performing academic tasks. TOEFL is the trademark of ETS and it is older than IELTS and PTE.

IELTS– The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is a standardized English Language Proficiency Test, which is one of the most popular tests taken by students who wish to study abroad. It is owned by British Council, IDP, IELTS Australia and Cambridge English Language Assessment.

 PTE– The PTE (Pearson Test of English) was launched in 2009. It assesses the English language skills of non-native English speakers. PTE is accredited by the QCA and is managed by Edexcel, which is UK’s largest examining body.

Test Versions: TOEFL vs IELTS vs PTE

TOEFL consists of TOEFL PBT (TOEFL Paper-based Test) and TOEFL iBT (TOEFL Internet-based Test).  IELTS has two versions: Academic and General Training and PTE has three versions: Academic, General and Young Learner Test.  The Academic version is for students who wish to secure an admission into a university whereas the General version is for non-academic purposes. The PTE Young Learner Test aims to assess how well children can use language structures and communicate.

Basic information about tests: TOEFL vs IELTS vs PTE

  • TOEFL has both paper-based and Internet-based tests, but the internet based test is more popular. Although a student can retake the test unlimited number of times, he cannot take it more than once in a 12-day period. TOEFL scores are accepted by around 8,500 colleges and other institutions in approximately 130 countries. Students can register for the test either online or by mail, phone or in person. While registering online, by phone or in person, registration closes seven days before the test date and while registering by mail, registration closes four weeks before the test date.
  • Around 8,000 organizations accept IELTS scores as evidence of English language proficiency. IELTS is conducted on 48 fixed dates, the IELTS Academic Version being available on all 48 dates and the IELTS General Training Version being available on only 24 dates. Students can register for the test either online or via mail.
  • Since PTE is a relatively new test, the number of students giving this test and the number of universities accepting it might be lower than that of TOEFL and IELTS however, PTE Academic scores are accepted by top US and UK universities as well as certain government organizations. The PTE Academic test is conducted in a number of test centres across 46 countries. Students can register for the test either online or via phone.

 Test Sections: TOEFL vs IELTS vs PTE

All the three tests have similar sections- Reading, Listening, Speaking and Writing, however, there are certain features which differentiate them from one another.

In IELTS, during the speaking test, students are required to conduct a conversation with a certified IELTS Examiner, which is then recorded into a digital recorder. Whereas in TOEFL and PTE Academic, students are required to speak into a microphone and the computer records the audio. In TOEFL, the Speaking test is evaluated by a human rater, while in PTE, the Speaking test is evaluated through a computer program. In TOEFL, during the writing section, students are required to write an essay based on reading and listening tasks. They are also required to support an opinion in writing. In IELTS Academic, questions are asked based on an argument or on a diagram, graph or chart. PTE includes a lot of innovative question formats, and it has an automated speech and writing scoring as well.

 Scoring: TOEFL vs IELTS vs PTE

All the three tests have different scoring patterns. In TOEFL, scores are given to students on a scale of 0 to 120. In IELTS, students are given scores from 1 to 9 based on their performance and in PTE, students are assessed on a scale of 10 to 90.

Results:

Students receive the TOEFL score reports within two weeks, and IELTS score reports after 13 calendar days. In the case of PTE, students receive their results online in five days. If students have taken TOEFL and IELTS, then their scores are forwarded to 4-5 universities respectively for free. If students take PTE, their score reports as well as recorded speech samples are sent to the university’s admission committee. However, the TOEFL, IELTS and PTE Academic scores are valid for two years.