Standardized Tests

Most colleges and universities in the U.S. require scores from one or more standardized admission tests. Standardized tests are one way in which U.S. universities will assess your academic potential, in tandem with your academic results reported on your transcript. These tests serve as a common denominator to help U.S. admission staff compare U.S. students and international students from different educational systems.


Admissions tests will be considered in determining both admissions and merit-based scholarships from the university. However, good scores are not sufficient to guarantee admission and are ideally paired with good marks. Students should visit individual college websites for information on admission requirements.

English Proficiency Exams

International students whose native language is not English may be required to take a test to establish their English language proficiency. Students should visit individual college websites for more information. Options include:

  • TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language)
  • IELTS (International English Language Testing System)
  • PTE Academic (Pearson Test of English Academic)


U.S. universities may require students to take either the SAT Reasoning Test OR ACT. The most competitive U.S. universities may require students to take the SAT Reasoning Test and 2-3 SAT Subject Exams OR the ACT with Writing. Some U.S. universities do not require any admissions tests.

If the U.S. universities to which you apply accept both the SAT and ACT, it is a personal choice as to which to take. Choose the test that you will do best on.

AP Exams

Advanced Placement Exams are college-level undergraduate exams that test an applicant's knowledge of a particular subject. Participating U.S. colleges and universities may grant college credit to Indian students who score well on these exams. USIEF administers the AP Exams in May.


The Preliminary SAT (PSAT) is a standardized test that provides an opportunity for international students to practice taking the SAT. The PSAT is administered by USIEF.

Please check the websites of individual universities to learn which tests are required for admission. It is important that you begin test preparation well in advance. An examination fee needs to be paid to take each of these tests. Check the websites of the admission tests for detailed information.

For any query on U.S. higher education, call us on our EdUSA toll-free hotline 1800-103-1231 between 2pm and 5pm (Monday-Friday)