How to Prepare for Standardised Tests to Study Abroad?

To prepare for standardised tests for studying abroad, it's essential to begin by familiarising yourself with the format and content of the exam, whether it's the IELTS, TOEFL, SAT, or others. Allocate dedicated study time each day, focusing on areas where you need improvement. Utilise practice materials and past papers to build confidence and improve your test-taking strategies. Additionally, consider enrolling in preparatory courses or hiring a tutor for personalised guidance. Lastly, ensure you have a solid grasp of English language skills, which are crucial for success in most standardised tests.

Understanding the Importance of Standardised Tests

Standardised tests play a pivotal role in the admission process for foreign universities, serving as a common measure of academic capability across diverse educational systems. These tests provide an objective assessment of student's skills and knowledge, allowing universities to evaluate applicants fairly and accurately. They offer a benchmark for comparing candidates from different backgrounds and ensure that admissions decisions are based on merit. Additionally, standardised tests can help universities gauge applicants' readiness for rigorous academic programmes and predict their potential for success in higher education. Thus, performance in these tests significantly influences the outcome of the application process, often serving as a crucial factor in determining admission decisions.

Researching Test Requirements by Destination

When preparing for exams, it's crucial to understand the unique test requirements set by various countries and universities. Tailoring your preparation accordingly can significantly enhance your chances of success. Whether it's the specific formats favoured by British universities or the language proficiency tests demanded by institutions abroad, knowing these requirements enables you to focus your efforts effectively and maximise your performance on exams.

Choosing the Right Standardised Test

Standardised tests play a crucial role in the academic journey of individuals, helping to assess their skills and knowledge in various subjects. The most widely known standardised tests are the SAT, ACT, GRE, GMAT, TOEFL, and IELTS. Each test serves a specific purpose and targets different academic levels and goals.

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SAT (Scholastic Assessment Test)

The SAT is primarily used for college admissions in the United States. It assesses a student's readiness for college by testing their skills in reading, writing, and mathematics.
It is often taken by high school students during their junior or senior years.

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ACT (American College Testing)

Similar to the SAT, the ACT is also used for college admissions in the United States. It evaluates a student's knowledge in English, mathematics, reading, and science reasoning. Some colleges accept either the SAT or ACT scores, while others may have a preference for one over the other.
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TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language)

The TOEFL evaluates the English proficiency of non-native English speakers. It is often required for admission to universities and colleges in English-speaking countries. The test assesses reading, listening, speaking, and writing skills in an academic context.
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IELTS (International English Language Testing System)

Like the TOEFL, the IELTS also measures the English proficiency of non-native English speakers. It is widely accepted by universities and colleges in English-speaking countries, as well as for immigration and professional purposes. The IELTS assesses listening, reading, writing, and speaking skills.
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GRE (Graduate Record Examination)

The GRE is commonly required for admission to graduate programs, particularly in fields such as humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences. It assesses analytical writing, quantitative reasoning, and verbal reasoning skills. It is taken by individuals who are planning to pursue a master's or doctoral degree.
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GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test)

Specifically designed for admission to business schools, the GMAT measures analytical writing, integrated reasoning and quantitative, and verbal skills. It is widely accepted by MBA programs worldwide. The GMAT is taken by individuals aiming for a career in business or management.


When selecting the most appropriate standardised test, it is essential to consider your academic goals and destination. For example, if you are aiming for undergraduate studies in the United States, you might choose between the SAT and ACT, depending on your strengths and preferences. If you are planning to pursue a graduate degree, you may need to take the GRE or GMAT, depending on your field of study. For non-native English speakers seeking admission to English-speaking universities, the choice between TOEFL and IELTS depends on the requirements of the institutions they are applying to.

In conclusion, the selection of the right standardised test should be based on careful consideration of your academic goals, the requirements of the institutions you are applying to, and your strengths and preferences.

Choosing the Right Standardised Test

Setting clear goals and deadlines is crucial for effective time management and staying on track during your test preparation journey. Realistic study goals ensure that you make steady progress while avoiding being overwhelmed. Here's how to create them:


Assess Your Current Level: Begin by evaluating your current knowledge and skills related to the test material. Identify areas of strength and weakness to determine where you need to focus your efforts.


Set Specific Goals: Instead of vague aspirations like "do well on the test," set specific, measurable goals. For example, aim to achieve a certain score or master specific topics within a given timeframe.


Break Down Goals: Divide your study goal into smaller, manageable tasks. For instance, if you need to cover multiple chapters or sections, break them down into daily or weekly targets.


Consider Time Constraints: Account the available time before your test date. Be realistic about how much you can accomplish within that timeframe without overburdening yourself.


Prioritise Tasks: Once you've broken down your goals, prioritise them based on urgency and importance. Focus on high-priority tasks first to ensure you cover essential material adequately.


Allocate Time Wisely: Create a study schedule that allocates sufficient time to each task or subject area. Consider your peak productivity hours and allocate more challenging tasks during these times.


Set Deadlines: Be accountable by creating deadlines for each task. Ensure that these deadlines are achievable yet challenging enough to keep you motivated.


Monitor Progress: Regularly track your progress against your goals and deadlines. Adjust your study plan as needed based on your performance and any unforeseen circumstances.


Stay Flexible: While it's essential to have a structured plan, be flexible enough to adapt to changes or setbacks. Life can be unpredictable, so allow room for adjustments without losing sight of your overall objectives.


Celebrate Milestones: Acknowledge and celebrate your achievements as you reach milestones along the way. This will help maintain motivation and momentum throughout your preparation journey.

Utilising Official Study Materials

Utilising official study materials provided by test administrators is paramount for anyone seeking to familiarise themselves with the format and content of a particular test. These materials are designed with meticulous attention to detail and accuracy, ensuring they provide an authentic representation of what to expect on the actual exam day.


One key advantage of relying on official study materials is their credibility and reliability. As they are produced by the very entities responsible for administering the test, such as examination boards or testing organisations, they offer an authoritative source of information. This means you can trust that the content accurately reflects the structure, style, and difficulty level of the exam you'll be sitting.


Moreover, official study materials often offer a comprehensive overview of the test content. They typically cover all the relevant topics and concepts that may appear in the exam, allowing you to systematically review and reinforce your understanding of the subject matter. By engaging with these materials, you can identify areas of strength and weakness, enabling you to tailor your study efforts more effectively.


Furthermore, official study materials frequently include practice questions or sample tests. These resources are invaluable for simulating the test-taking experience and assessing your readiness. By practising with questions that closely resemble those found on the actual exam, you can familiarise yourself with the format, pacing, and types of questions you're likely to encounter. This not only builds your confidence but also helps refine your test-taking strategies.


In addition, official study materials often come with supplementary resources, such as answer keys, explanations, and tips for effective studying. These resources can provide valuable insights into how to approach different question types, interpret instructions accurately, and avoid common pitfalls.


Overall, utilising official study materials is an essential component of any study strategy aimed at exam success. By leveraging these reliable resources, you can gain the knowledge, skills, and confidence needed to perform at your best on test day.

Enrolling in Test Prep Courses or Coaching

Enrolling in test prep courses or coaching programmes offers individuals the opportunity to receive expert guidance and access to tailored practice resources designed to enhance their performance in examinations. These courses are specifically structured to assist candidates in preparing for various tests, such as standardised academic assessments, professional certifications, or admissions examinations for universities.


Test prep courses typically encompass a range of study materials, including textbooks, practice exams, online resources, and interactive tutorials. These materials are curated by experienced educators and subject matter experts to address the specific requirements and content areas of the targeted examination. Moreover, coaching programmes provide personalised guidance and support to help learners identify their strengths and weaknesses, develop effective study strategies, and refine their test-taking skills.


One of the key advantages of enrolling in test prep courses or coaching programmes is the access to expert instructors who offer insights, tips, and techniques to optimise performance. These instructors possess a deep understanding of the examination format, content, and scoring criteria, enabling them to provide invaluable guidance on how to approach different types of questions and manage time effectively during the test.


Furthermore, test prep courses and coaching programmes often utilise diagnostic assessments to evaluate the individual's current level of proficiency and determine areas requiring improvement. Based on these assessments, customised study plans are developed to address specific learning needs, ensuring that candidates focus their efforts on areas where they can make the most significant gains.


In addition to academic support, test prep courses and coaching programmes also offer psychological and emotional support to alleviate test anxiety and build confidence. Through motivational coaching and stress management techniques, learners can develop a positive mindset and approach the examination with greater composure and self-assurance.


Overall, enrolling in test prep courses or coaching programmes provides individuals with a structured and comprehensive approach to exam preparation, equipping them with the knowledge, skills, and confidence needed to succeed. Whether aiming for academic excellence, professional advancement, or admission to prestigious institutions, these programmes offer invaluable support tailored to the individual's unique needs and aspirations.

Practicing Regularly with Mock Tests

Regular practice sessions involving mock tests are invaluable for honing one's test-taking skills and familiarising oneself with exam conditions. By simulating the pressure and time constraints of the actual exam, individuals can cultivate a sense of composure and efficiency, crucial for optimal performance. These mock tests offer a platform to identify strengths and weaknesses, allowing for targeted revision and improvement. Furthermore, consistent practice instils confidence and reduces anxiety, ensuring candidates are better equipped to tackle challenges on the day of the examination. Overall, integrating regular mock tests into study routines is a proven strategy to enhance exam readiness and maximize success.

Seeking Support from Peers and Mentors

Engaging with peers, mentors, and study groups is a crucial aspect of successful preparation, offering invaluable opportunities to exchange study tips, share resources, and maintain motivation. By connecting with like-minded individuals, whether through online forums, university societies, or professional networks, one can benefit from diverse perspectives and collective wisdom. Collaborating with peers fosters a sense of camaraderie and accountability, helping individuals stay focused and driven towards their academic goals. Likewise, seeking guidance from mentors provides invaluable insights and encouragement, offering support and direction throughout the learning journey. Together, this network of support facilitates a dynamic and enriching study experience, enabling individuals to navigate challenges and achieve success.

Monitoring Progress and Adapting Strategies

Regularly monitoring progress and adapting study strategies is crucial for optimizing performance. By consistently tracking advancements, one can pinpoint areas needing improvement and tailor strategies accordingly. This iterative process ensures that time and effort are invested efficiently, maximizing learning outcomes. Whether it involves adjusting study techniques, revising schedules, or seeking additional resources, this adaptive approach fosters continual growth and success in academic pursuits.

Managing Test Anxiety and Stress

Managing test anxiety and stress is essential for performing at your best on exam day. Here are some effective strategies:


Relaxation Techniques:

  • Deep breathing - Engage in deep breathing exercises to soothe your nerves. Inhale gently through your nostrils, hold briefly, and then exhale through your mouth. Repeat this process multiple times to ease tension.
  • Progressive muscle relaxation - Practice progressive muscle relaxation by starting with your toes and systematically tensing and then relaxing each muscle group as you move up your body. This method is effective for releasing physical tension.
  • Mindfulness Meditation: Engage in mindfulness meditation to focus your attention on the present moment and let go of worries about the future.


Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle:

  • Regular Exercise: Incorporate regular physical activity into your routine to reduce stress levels and promote overall well-being.
  • Balanced Diet: Eat nutritious meals and stay hydrated. Avoid excessive caffeine and sugar, which can exacerbate anxiety.
  • Adequate Sleep: Ensure you get enough restful sleep each night to recharge your body and mind. Insufficient sleep can diminish cognitive function and elevate stress levels.


Positive Thinking Strategies:

  • Challenge Negative Thoughts: Take on the challenge of identifying and disputing negative self-talk. Replace pessimistic thoughts with realistic and positive affirmations.
  • Visualization: Visualise yourself succeeding in the exam. Imagine yourself feeling confident, focused, and capable of answering questions with ease.
  • Focus on Effort, Not Outcome: Instead of fixating on the outcome of the exam, focus on the effort you've put into studying and preparing. Trust in your abilities and preparation.


Time Management:

  • Create a Study Schedule: Break down your study material into manageable chunks and allocate specific time slots for revision. This will aid in fostering a sense of organization and empowerment.
  • Prioritise Self-Care: Schedule regular breaks during study sessions to relax and recharge. Avoid cramming the night before the exam, as it can increase stress levels and hinder performance.


By incorporating these relaxation techniques, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, adopting positive thinking strategies, and managing your time effectively, you can overcome test anxiety and perform at your best on exam day. Remember to be kind to yourself and celebrate your efforts, regardless of the outcome.

Reviewing and Refining Your Test-taking Strategies

Test-taking is an integral aspect of academic life, requiring a blend of preparation, technique, and focus. 



  • Preparation: Dedicate sufficient time to review the material, including revising notes, completing practice questions, and seeking clarification on any unclear concepts.

  • Time Management: Effectively managed time during the test, ensuring that enough time was allocated enough time to each section and question, preventing rushing or leaving questions unanswered.

  • Understanding Instructions: Carefully read and understood all instructions, ensuring that all were followed precisely to avoid any unnecessary errors.



  • Overthinking: Avoid overthinking questions, leading to indecision and wasted time. This hinders the ability to trust instincts and answer confidently.

  • Lack of Confidence: Avoid doubting answers, even when reasonably confident in understanding the material. This resulted in second-guessing and potentially changing correct answers.

  • Neglecting Breaks: During the test, avoid neglecting to take short breaks to rest and refresh the mind, leading to mental fatigue and reduced focus towards the end of the exam.


Refined Strategies:

  • Trust Instincts: Work on trusting initial instincts when answering questions, avoiding unnecessary overthinking and indecision. This involves maintaining confidence in preparation and knowledge.

  • Build Confidence: To address a lack of confidence, focus on reinforcing positive affirmations and reminding oneself of preparation efforts. Building confidence is crucial for making assertive decisions during the test.

  • Take Breaks: Incorporate short breaks into the test-taking strategy, allowing rest and recharge periodically. This will help maintain mental clarity and focus throughout the exam duration.


Continuous improvement in test-taking techniques is essential for academic success.

Staying Informed About Test Updates and Changes

Staying abreast of test updates and changes is crucial for students navigating the university admissions process. Recently, there have been modifications to test formats and additional requirements imposed by universities and testing agencies. These alterations encompass adjustments in exam structures, such as revised question types or scoring criteria, as well as supplementary prerequisites like personal statements or interviews. Keeping a vigilant eye on official announcements from both educational institutions and examination boards ensures students can adequately prepare and meet the evolving demands of the admissions landscape.


Staying abreast of the latest developments in test updates and changes is crucial for prospective university applicants. As of the latest information available, there have been revisions in test formats and additional requirements introduced by universities and testing agencies. It's imperative for students to regularly check official communication channels such as university websites, testing agency portals, and relevant newsletters to stay informed about any alterations to testing procedures, new formats, or additional prerequisites that may impact their application process. Keeping a keen eye on these updates ensures that applicants are well-prepared and can meet the requirements for their desired educational pathways.

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To study in the US,you will have to give the TOEFL for your language requirement but depending on your course you will also have to appear for SAT/ACT(undergraduates), GRE(most postgraduates), GMAT(MBA), etc. 

To prepare for any standardized test, you need at least 3-4 months of preparation.

The minimum requirement differs for all universities. For an average university, you should aim for a band 7 with no section below 6.5 individually. 

You should give the IELTS if you want to apply to several universities in different countries. If you are focused on the USA and Canada only, you should give TOEFL. You should give the respective exam before you start your applications.

We highly recommend that you give the GRE or GMAT as per the specific course and university requirements.

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