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International Applicants: What You Need to Know About Standardized Tests

Previous posts in this series have provided information on the American higher education system, helped you conduct research on colleges and universities you are interested in, provided general insights into how the application process works and detailed information on academic transcripts.  This post will discuss another important aspect of the application process, the standardized test.

Most colleges and universities in the U.S. will require international applicants to submit two different types of standardized test.  The first is a test that shows your proficiency in English, which is often the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or the IELTS (International English Language Testing System).  Many schools will require a minimum score on one of these exams for admission.

The second standardized test that is often required of all applicant is the SAT or ACT.   These standardized tests focus on commonly taught subjects, such as reading, writing, mathematics, and science.  Both exams are not offered in every country, however if you do have a choice in which exam to take, be sure to read our information on the difference between the two exams.

When evaluating your application, some colleges and universities will often use your TOEFL score or your IELTS score instead of the score you receive on the Critical Reading section of the SAT or the English and/or Reading sections of the ACT.  It is important to discuss the standardized test reviewing policies with an admission representative from the institutions to which you will apply.

It is also important to research which exams are required at the schools that interest you and sign up for the appropriate exam as soon as possible.  In several countries, these exams are offered infrequently, so exam dates often fill up quickly.  You also need to take either the TOEFL or IELTS early in case you need to retake the exam to improve your score.

Educational consultants can help you analyze your standardized testing scores and provide information on how your scores will affect your overall application.  We can also assist you with finding resources to help you improve your standardized testing scores.

Katherine Price

Educational Consultant

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