Important Guidelines for Foreign Exams: TOEFL, IELTS, GRE & GMAT

Guidelines for Foreign Exams

This article has been penned by Pratyasha Ghosh to give important guidelines for foreign exams.

Foreign exams like TOEFL (Test of English as Foreign Language), IELTS (International English Language Testing System), GRE (Graduate Record Examination), GMAT (Graduate Management Aptitude Test) are very important tests for any student/person wishing to study in Foreign countries like UK,USA, Australia, New Zealand, Canada or any other developed countries.

The advantages of globalization are fairly well known to the contemporary generation thanks to media and technology.

Thus, the student today is well versed in the kind of opportunities that are available. An international degree is much valued in India, herein come exams like the TOEFL, IELTS, GRE and GMAT including others.

Now these are the more popular exams that everyone is aware of, what most students don’t know is how to go about it. Hoping the following information and guidelines will help we dive straight to the point.

Universities abroad require two basic tests, one the language test (like TOEFL Test and IELTS Test ), the other the knowledge test (like GRE and GMAT).

TOEFL(Test of English as a Foreign Language): Basically a language test for non native English speakers, the TOEFL is an examination required for admission to Universities in the U.S.A. testing areas include listening reading, speaking and writing in English.

Held in over 165 countries the test is conducted both online (iBT) and off line (PBT) scores ranging from a maximum of 120 in iBT to 310-677 in PBT. The test costs 170 USD


IELTS (International English Language testing System): Like TOEFL, this is also an English language eligibility test. Clearing this test will bring you one step closer to admissions in universities of Britain, Ireland, Canada, Australia and South Africa.

It will test your ability to understand, analyze and reproduce information in English for effective communication.

One point of difference from TOEFL is that the IELTS has two kinds of examinations- one held for students aspiring for higher education abroad known as the academic version while the other needs to be taken by people who want to immigrate to foreign countries for jobs.

Our point of focus however is the former. The test scores are of the form 0-9 band (non-user to expert-user) and the fee is 135 USD. Held in over 130 countries the test is taken by over 2 million people worldwide.


GRE (Graduate Record Examination): Conducted by the same non-profit organization that holds TOEFL (Educational testing service or ETS) the GRE Examination is an online one that tests your reasoning skills in the verbal qualitative and analytical section as well as an experimental section that does not affect scores but is hidden so that the test taker will never know.

This test is accepted in most graduate schools in the U.S. as well as a few other countries. Students aspiring to do their post graduation in business and any other subject can take this test. The test costs 195 USD and can be taken all round the year in any test centre near you.


GMAT: The Graduate Management Admission Test is majorly an MBA entrance test unlike GRE focusing not on intelligence or knowledge but on problem solving, logical reasoning, analytical thinking and data processing. Scores here range from 200-800. More than 2100 graduate schools in the U.S. hold this test valid for admission. It costs 250 USD.


Coming to the guidelines on how to get a decent score on the tests the following should help:

In India, developing English language skills from an early age is not a very difficult thing to do. In fact, if you have grown up in one of those convent schools where they would punish you for speaking in any language other than English, chances are you already have a firm grip over the speaking portion at least.

My point is, the earlier you start the better and if you are a parent conscious about your kid’s future keep helping your child build English language skills regardless of whether he’d require it later or not.

Time management is of essence as solving the questions will not be as big a task as finishing it on time. For this download resource kits and test papers available in the website.

For example, sign up for the IELTS Masterclass, download the Essentials pack for IELTS and the TOEFL Practice Online practice test series. In fact all the tests have online resources.

The best part about these tests is that the website itself will give you all the information and material you need. Utilize this.

When aiming for a degree from a foreign university it is better to have a well defined plan on how to get there. This requires at least a year of research for finalizing the university, finding out their criteria, the test scores they accept, the stay there, etc. thus planning is of essence.

If possible, keep the tests Institute based and not the other way around. This can be done by short listing universities in the process of your research.

Keep the number of university applications in single digits for in addition to your test that will take about Rs. 30,000, sending the applications will cost a lot of money as well.

When you plan your entire journey, your focus will be clearer and outlook more confident. This will win half the battle for you.

It is very important to remember that the tests aren’t evaluating your knowledge and thus mere studying will not help. Awareness is key and the earlier you realize that the test is merely a game of qualitative reaction in very limited time, the better chances you will have of scoring high.

To end with, a little bit of guidance always helps.

The most effective would be those given by the foreign countries themselves. For example, the USIEF (United States India-Education Foundation) provides a one year membership for Rs. 6000 to guide you through all the entire process, from taking tests to finance to application to visa and everything related. The U.K. also has a similar organization. Such organizations are usually the most authentic source of information and guidance.

Pratyasha Ghosh, a freelance writer with

Read details at:

SAT Preparation & the complete guide to SAT Exam

Computer based TOEFL Test & FAQs

Pearson Test of English: Understanding the system

IELTS Exam Proficiency Test

9 thoughts to “Important Guidelines for Foreign Exams: TOEFL, IELTS, GRE & GMAT”

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