Exams to Study in USA: GMAT, GRE, TOEFL, SAT

Those planning to study in USA must consider certain things alongside their visa before applying for admissions. To be eligible for admission in US universities, the applicants are required to appear in the standardized test for academic assessments and as part of English language proficiency requirements. The tests required for PG and UG programs are different except for some common ELP tests like IELTS, TOEFL, Duolingo, etc.

Apart from English language tests, the most popular exams accepted in USA include SAT/ACT, GRE, GMAT, MCAT and LSAT. SAT and ACT scores are required for undergraduate admissions while GMAT/GRE and MCAT are required for graduate-level courses. International students may find it difficult while deciding which exams to study in USA. Hence, we have mentioned the top exams in USA including how international students can pick the most suitable choice.

Exams to Study in USA: Application Fees for Indian Students

The below table shows the fee structure of various exams in the USA for international students.

Test Fee in INR
IELTS INR 14,700
TOEFL INR 14,500
SAT INR 7,900-INR 9,000
LSAT INR 3,800
GRE INR 17,700 (general test)
GMAT INR 19,000
MCAT INR 23,600
DAT INR 17,200

English Language Proficiency Requirements to Study in USA

It is mandatory for applicants from non-English native countries to demonstrate their English language proficiency skills to study higher education in USA. The common English language proficiency scores accepted in USA include IELTS, TOEFL, PTE etc.


TOEFL or TEST of English as a Foreign Language is the most popular test in USA and is widely preferred by the majority of international students. The required score range of TOEFL ranges between 65 to 85 for internet-based tests. However, some programs such as Ph.D. may require a higher score with a required range between 90 - 110. A minimum score of 20 is recommended in each section of TOEFL-iBT for Ph.D applicants.
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IELTS is a commonly accepted English test all over the world. Nearly 3,400 US colleges and universities accept IELTS scores in order to assess an applicant’s proficiency in English. The average IELTS score required in USA is generally between 6.5 to 9. The IELTS fees are quite lower, thus it is preferred by many international students over TOEFL. Though many top universities are not accepting IELTS scores for now, international students are advised to check the English language proficiency requirements for the university they wish to apply to.

Read in detail, Universities in USA without IELTS requirement


Many universities in USA have now started to accept PTE scores due to its higher demand among international students. Around 785 universities in USA accepting Pearson Test for English. The minimum PTE score required in USA is 70 and it may go beyond 80 depending on the course level.


Duolingo is basically a test that generally acts as a tool to help international students improve their English language skills with help of listening exercises, multiple-choice questions, sentences, phrases, and flashcards.

Check: Duolingo Accepted Universities in USA

Exams to Study in USA for UG Programs

Those who wish to study undergraduate courses in USA, are required to either provide SAT or ACT results. These tests help to assess an applicant’s skills in aptitude, analytics, and academic skills in junior and high school. The students may choose to appear in any one of the test as per their choice and strength.


The SAT test holds very high significance in a candidate’s application while he/she is applying for an undergraduate program in USA. The SAT scores are accepted by every university is USA with a minimum required score of 1300. However, in some prestigious institutes like Harvard university, a minimum SAT score of 1520 is required. While top US universities may consider SAT as a mandatory requirement for undergraduate admission, there are some universities that offer SAT waiver or consider it as an optional requirement.

SAT Duration 3 hours 50 minutes (with essay)
No. of Sections 3 (Reading, writing, maths)
SAT Fees 101 USD without essay, 178 USD with essay
Opt for SAT if have a strong vocabulary, can work well with complex and hard worded sections

Exams to Study in USA for PG Courses

Unlike undergraduate admissions, the exams required for graduate courses in USA differs as per subject chosen. For instance, GMAT is majorly accepted for MBA or other business courses at the graduate level, LSAT for law, and MCAT is accepted for medical courses. On the other hand, GRE scores are accepted for all MS courses in USA regardless of major including finance, engineering and medicine.


The GRE exam is required for a range of MS courses including business administration, engineering etc. The exam is also accepted for P.hD level courses. The applicant can choose from 7 subject-specific GRE tests along with the General GRE exam. The test consists of three sections named Quantitative Reasoning, Verbal Reasoning, and Analytical Writing. On average, a minimum overall GRE score of 320 is required in top US universities. GRE can also be accepted as an alternative to the GMAT test for admission to an MBA in USA.

GRE Fees General test 205 USD Subject test 150 USD
No. of Sections 3 Verbal, Quantitative, Analytical Writing
Competitive university requirements Subject tests


LSAT or Law School Admission Test is a general exam required for admission to Law schools in USA. Thorough the average accepted LSAT score is 150, the top 25 law schools ask for a score above 160. A 70% weightage is given to LSAT scores in majority of US Law schools.


Those who wish to get into medical schools in USA are required to appear in the MCAT exam or Medical College Admission Test. A minimum average MCAT score of 510 is required in USA. However, the top medical colleges may ask for higher scores.


As earlier discussed, the GMAT is a common test required for admission to business schools in the USA. US universities accept an average GMAT score of 700, while some top business schools may require a score above 740. Many universities may also offer GMAT waiver options with requirements of higher undergraduate GPA or work experience. However, MBA graduates may require to present their GMAT score looking for a job in USA.

GMAT Fees 250 USD
No. of Sections 4 Writing, integrated reasoning, verbal, quantitative
Test Centers in India 39 in 34 cities

Wondering whether you want to take GRE or GMAT before applying for MBA?

Nowadays, applicants are confused about whether to go for GMAT or GRE test while applying for graduate courses in USA. The GRE is accepted in an extensive range of courses while the GMAT is mainly accepted for admission in business schools. Though many business schools are now accepting GRE scores for business school as an alternative GMAT.
Read more


DAT or Dental Admission Test is required from those who wish to apply in Dental schools in USA. Nearly 66 dental schools accept DAT scores in the USA. The average acceptable score for DAT in USA ranges between 12-28.


An individual seeking admission in an Optometry School in USA is required to provide OAT exam scores. There are 21 certified Optometry schools in the USA and all of them accept OAT or Optometry Admission Test. The minimum OAT score acceptable in the USA is around 310.

Exams to Study in USA: Important Dates

Some important application dates for various exams to study in USA:

Test name Application Deadline Exam Date/ Month
IELTS 1 month before the exam date Applicants book the suitable test dates
TOEFL 1 week before the exam date Throughout the year on Sundays and Saturdays
SAT (multiple deadlines) November 5, 2022 December 3, 2022
February 11, 2023 March 11, 2023
April 8, 2023 May 6, 2023
May 6, 2023 June 3, 2023
GRE March 3, 2023 April 8, 2023
GMAT Multiple dates are available for 2023 Multiple dates are available for 2023
LSAT December 1, 2022 February 1, 2023
December 27, 2022 March 1, 2023
March 2, 2023 May 3, 2023
April 25, 2023 June 28, 2023

Scoring well in one of these tests surely strengthens a candidate's profile while applying for admission in US Universities. Apart from this, appearing in an exam specific to their course will help international students enhance their skills and improve their chances of admission. International students are advised to thoroughly check the course and university's official website to find out what exams they accept including test scores and deadlines to submit those scores.


Ques. Which exam is required for study in USA?

Ans.If applying for an undergraduate degree in the USA then the majority of the universities will ask for ACT or SAT scores. In case of admission to graduate programs, the required exams vary depending on the program major or subject. For instance, business schools asks for GMAT scores while law schools require LSAT scores.

Ques.Which course is best to study in USA?

Ans.Among the top courses to study in USA include engineering, computer science and information technology, business analytics, data science, pharmacy and business

Ques.Is IELTS compulsory for USA?

Ans.It is not mandatory for international students to provide an IELTS score as many universities offer an IELTS waiver option. There are several other options available apart from IELTS scores such as TOEFL-IBT, PTE, Duolingo, etc.

Ques.Is SAT compulsory for USA?

Ans.Almost every university in USA requires SAT scores for undergraduate admissions and very few of them may ask for SAT subject test results.

Ques.How much IELTS score is required for USA?

Ans.a minimum IELTS score of 6.5 is required for admission in most of the US universities except prestigious institutions like Harvard and Stanford where IELTS score of 7.0 or above required.


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