Common Admission Exams & Prep Resources I Admitly

July 2, 2024
July 2, 2024
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Most universities in the US will require that students applying for admission take one or more standardized admission tests. They are intended to provide a common measure for comparing the abilities of students who come from a variety of educational backgrounds and institutions. Scores from these tests will be sent with your application packets, along with your college applications, essays, references, transcripts, work experience and other information you prepare for consideration. Here’s a few of the most common tests you have to pass that universities typically need. 

English Language Tests

English proficiency is essential for success in American universities. Whether you’re attending lectures, participating in discussions, or writing research papers, a strong command of the English language is necessary to excel academically and engage with peers and professors. There are quite a few tests that the US universities approve of. Some of their expected tests might differ, but here we are going to focus on the main two - TOEFL and IELTS. 


TOEFL stands for Test of English as a Foreign Language. As you can guess from the name, it is designed to measure English language proficiency for non-native speakers. It evaluates your ability to use and understand English in an academic setting, which is crucial for success in U.S. universities. The test is widely accepted by over 11,000 institutions in more than 150 countries.

Each of 4 sections (Reading, Writing, Speaking, Listening) is scored on a scale of 0-30 with a total score range of 0-120. The cost varies by country, generally around $180-$250, but there is also a $20 fee per score report sent to colleges, and fees for late registration or rescheduling range from $40-$60.

You will typically be required to score 71+ on the TOEFL exam, but it also depends on the subject and which university has been chosen by the student. But you have to score higher marks in order to be admitted into a PhD in a United States University.


Similar to TOEFL, International English Language Testing System (IELTS) assesses English language proficiency, consists of 4 sections and is commonly accepted among the US universities. Sections are scored 0-9 each and then the average of 4 is derived. The minimum IELTS score required to take admission in U.S. University ranges from 6 to 7. 

Just like with TOELF, the fee varies by country, generally around $215-$240 with additional score reports costing around $20 each and rescheduling fees varying by test center.

Entrance Exams 

You are required to take either the SAT or ACT exam for all undergraduate courses. These entrance tests show the capabilities of students in academics and the student’s ability is evaluated for high school and junior college. Based on your performance, strength, and the university's choice, it may prove better than the other to select one exam.

ACT (American College Test)

The ACT is a popular admission test, measuring your academic readiness for college. The test includes sections on English, Math, Reading, and Science, with an optional Writing section. Each section is scored on a scale of 1-36, with a composite score being the average of the four test scores.

It will cost you $63 (without Writing) or $88 (with Writing) to register for the test. Additionally, you will have to pay $16 per score report to send to colleges, and up to $35 for late registration or changes.

SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test)

The SAT is one of the most widely accepted college admission tests in the U.S. It evaluates your literacy, numeracy, and writing skills. The SAT consists of two main sections—Math, and Evidence-Based Reading and Writing—plus an optional Essay section. Each section is scored on a scale of 200-800, with a total score range of 400-1600.

SAT fee is $55 with additional fees that include $30 for the optional Essay, $12 per score report to send to colleges, and up to $53 for late registration or changes.

Tests for Post-Graduate Studies


The Graduate Record Examination is mostly required, especially for engineering, before taking admission to graduate U.S. programs. In addition to enrolling in the overall GRE test, there are required to have 7 subject-specific tests that need to be performed. The lowest GRE score for entrance in the United States studies is 170.

Test includes sections on Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, and Analytical Writing. Verbal and Quantitative sections are scored on a scale of 130-170, and the Analytical Writing section is scored on a scale of 0-6.

It costs $205 with reports to send to colleges $27 each, and fees for late registration, rescheduling, or changing test centers range from $50-$100.

Job-Specific Tests

Many jobs require special preparation and expertise. Just like that, the universities require specific tests for certain kinds of studies. Here is a list of a few specific tests you might need to take. 

GMAT – Graduate Management Admissions Test – An admissions test for graduate management and/or business programs (like an MBA). 

LSAT – Law School Admission Test 

MCAT – Medical College Admission Test

DAT – Dental Admission Test

PCAT – Pharmacy College Admission Test

OAT – Optometry Admission Test

Required Scores

Here is a quick overview of the most common tests and the average score requirements, although they might vary from college to college. 

S.NO         Exams        Average Score Requirements

1           IELTS            6 to 7 Bands

2           TOEFL           71-100

3           SAT              900-1300

4           ACT             23-30

5           PTE               54-58

6           Duolingo       100+

7           LSAT              130-160

8           GRE               290-310

9           GMAT           450+

10         MCAT            490+

Navigating the admission exams is a crucial part of applying to US universities. Make sure you do invest your time and effort in preparing for these tests. Most of their official websites provide free resources to get ready. However, if you need more structured preparation, consider investing in official guidebooks, online courses, or tutoring. These resources often provide comprehensive coverage of test content and strategies. 

Good luck on the test!