Standardized Tests

Most – but not all – U.S. graduate programs will require you take a standardized admissions exam.

These standardized tests provide U.S. universities with an objective standard by which they can assess your academic potential. No matter how well prepared you are, never underestimate the time that you need to prepare for standardized tests.

The most commonly required tests are the following

GRE General Test

If you are planning to apply to a Master's or PhD program in a field other than medicine or law, you will most likely be required to take the GRE General Test. The new format of the GRE test was rolled out on August 1, 2011. This three hour, 45 minute computer-based exam includes sections on Quantitative Analysis, Verbal Reasoning and Analytical Writing.

GRE Subject Tests

Some graduate programs may require GRE Subject Tests in addition to the General Test. Check with the academic department or graduate admission office of the university to which you're applying to confirm. Subject tests are offered in the following fields of study:

  • Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Computer Science
  • Literature in English
  • Mathematics
  • Physics
  • Psychology


Most students applying for an MBA program will be required to take the GMAT. However, some business programs are now accepting the GRE as well. The GMAT is a computer-based test with sections in Analytical Writing (30 minutes), Quantitative (75 minutes) and Verbal Section (75 minutes).


For the JD three-year doctorate degree in American law, you will likely be required to take the LSAT. The LSAT is not for LLM (Master's in Law) programs.


The MCAT is required for entrance into most MD graduate programs in medicine. The MCAT is not required for post-degree medical residency programs in the U.S.


The DAT is required test for most doctoral programs in dentistry.


Graduates of Indian medical schools who wish to conduct a post-degree medical residency in the U.S. are required to take the multi-part USMLE test.

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)

If you are unsure which test you need to take, consult official university websites for more information. Pay very close attention to the university's application deadline and plan your exam schedule accordingly.


For any query on U.S. higher education, call us on our EdUSA toll-free hotline 1800-103-1231 between 10:00 am and 5:00 pm (Monday-Friday)