Exams to Study in USA: A 2023 Guide

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The USA is one of the most preferred study destinations for international students. Those who wish to study in the USA must take some tests to fulfil the admission requirements of the respective universities. Further, international students must take standardized exams as proof of their English language proficiency and academic eligibility. This helps the university to measure and compare students from various educational backgrounds. Here are the different exams to Study in USA, as suggested by the universities in the USA that you wish to apply for.

Exams Required to Study in USA

In order to study in the USA, you would have to fulfil the eligibility criteria. Hence, you must take the following exams and get good scores to get admission into the best universities in the USA.

English Proficiency Test Exams to Study in USA

Like every other study destination, it is mandatory for international students to submit English proficiency test scores.  Be it an undergraduate degree, postgraduate degree, or a PhD. you are required to show proof that you are proficient in English.

These are the English language proficiency tests accepted by US Universities. Moreover, the most widely accepted tests among them are TOEFL and IELTS. The table below mentions the minimum score requirements for each test:

English Eligibility Tests Minimum Marks Required Out of
IELTS 6.5 10
TOEFL 90 120
DUOLINGO 115 160
PTE 58 90


IELTS full form is the International English Language Testing System. The IELTS exam is one of the most accepted language exams around the world. Further, the test duration is 2 hours and 45 minutes and contains 4 sections- Reading, writing, listening, and speaking. You can take the IELTS exam if you wish to enrol in the best universities in the USA for Indian students. The IELTS exam fees in India- are 14,700 INR.

Exam duration 2 hours, 45 minutes
Exam fees INR 14,700
Number of Sections Speaking
Writing, &
Qualifying score 6.0 to 8.0
Who should apply for IELTS Students aiming to enrol in best universities in the USA


TOEFL full form is the Test of English as a foreign language. It is based more on U.S. English and the test is in an MCQ format. Moreover, the test duration is 2 hours and 30 minutes. It contains speaking, reading, writing, and listening sections. TOEFL fees are INR 13,832.

Exam duration 2 hours, 30 minutes
Exam fees INR 13,832
Number of Sections Speaking
Writing, &
Qualifying score 600 to 900
Who should apply for TOEFL Students aiming to enrol in the best universities in the USA


PTE full form is Pearson Test for English. What makes PTE different from IELTS and TOEFL is that PTE results are quick. You will get it within 5 working days. In addition, the exam is conducted online and the candidate is tested on their listening writing, speaking, and reading skills. The PTE exam fee for 2023 is INR 13,300.

Exam duration 3 hours
Exam fees INR 13,300
Number of Sections Speaking
Writing, &
Qualifying score 600 to 900
Who should apply for PTE Students aiming to enrol in the best universities in the USA


Duolingo test is an online exam that a student can take from their personal computers. The test duration is about 1 hour. In addition, the exam tests the candidate on their reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills. You can take this test anytime, and anywhere. Duolingo test fees in India are INR 4852.

Exam Duration 1 hour
Exam Fees INR 4852
Number of Sections Speaking, Reading, Writing, Listening
Qualifying Score 120
Who should apply for Duolingo  Students who want to prove their English proficiency 
Official Website www.duolingo.com/

Must Read: Duolingo Preparation Tips and Common Mistakes

Undergraduate Exams to Study in USA 

As an International student, you are required to take an ACT or SAT exam to confirm your eligibility for an undergraduate course. Moreover, the scores of the ACT or SAT exam can provide a common measure for the universities to compare the abilities of the students.

Criteria SAT ACT
Sections Reading, Writing, and Mathematics Analytical writing, verbal reasoning, and quantitative reasoning
Exam duration 3 hours and 35 minutes 3 hours and 50 minutes 
Exam fees INR 7,892 with writing, and
INR 6,997 without writing
For general INR 12, 358
For Subject- INR 11, 167
Qualifying score 400- 1600 160


ACT exam in full form is an American college test. It is an MCQ test that evaluates the critical thinking, and analytical skills of students. Moreover, the official test scores can vary from university to university. The minimum acceptable score is 22. There are four sections that you are evaluated on. That is Math, English, Reading, Writing, and Science. High school graduates with good mathematics abilities can ace this exam.

Exam duration 3 hours, 35 minutes (writing included)
Exam fees INR 12,358 (with writing)
INR 11,167 (without writing)
Number of Sections Math
Writing (option)
Qualifying score 22
Who should apply for the ACT High school graduates applying for UG courses, stronghold on science, trigonometry and English

Must Read: ACT vs SAT: How to Choose the Right Test?


SAT full form is the Scholastic Assessment Test. It is an MCQ that evaluates a student’s writing, reading, and mathematics skills. This exam also helps a student to receive a grant from the government. Popular universities such as Harvard University in the United States accept SAT scores. The exam duration is 3 hours and 35 minutes and the SAT exam fees are INR 12, 358.

Exam duration 3 hours, 50 minutes (writing included)
Exam fees INR 7,892 (with writing)
INR 6,997 (without writing)
Number of Sections Reading
Qualifying score 400-1600
Who should apply for the SAT High school graduates applying for UG courses, strong problem-solving capability 

Postgraduate Exams to Study in USA

Similar to undergraduate degree requirements, postgraduate studies also require you to take an entrance test i.e. GRE and GMAT. These tests also are mandatory for those who want to pursue an MA or an MSc program in the USA.

Criteria GRE GMAT
Sections Analytical writing, verbal reasoning, and quantitative reasoning Integrated Reasoning, Verbal reasoning quantitative reasoning, writing
Exam duration General- 3 hours, 45 minutes Subject- 2 hours, 50 minutes 3 hours, 07 minutes 
Exam fees General- INR 15,165
Subject- INR 10,989
INR 18,620
Qualifying score 160 650-700


GRE’s full form is the Graduate Record Examination. It is an entrance test for those who want to pursue engineering and a master’s in America. You can also take subject-specific tests along with the GRE. Business schools also accept GRE scores. Further, the GRE test has 3 main sections in it that test your Analytical writing, verbal reasoning, and quantitative reasoning skills. The test is available online and offline and is accepted by more than 1400 universities worldwide.

Type of test General test and Subject test
Sections Analytical writing,
Verbal reasoning, and
Quantitative reasoning
Score  160
Test Duration General- 3 hours, 45 minutes
Subject- 2 hours, 50 minutes
Who can take the test Students aiming to take admission in MBA, MS, and law etc.
Exam fees General- INR 15,165
Subject- INR 10,989

Must Read: GRE Exam 2023: New Guideline, Date, Eligibility, Syllabus


GMAT full form is a Graduate management admission test. This exam is mostly taken by students who want to pursue an MBA (Master’s in Business Administration). To get into top B-schools in the USA  you need to have at least a 700 score. However, GMAT exams are not mandatory for all universities. Although companies ask for the score during interviews. In addition, the exam is held for 3 hours and 7 minutes and GMAT exam fees are INR 18,620. You will be judged for your integrated reasoning, verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, and writing skills. 

Exam duration 3 hours, 07 minutes (excluding two 8-minute breaks)
Exam fees INR 18,620
Number of Sections Integrated Reasoning
Verbal reasoning
Quantitative reasoning
Qualifying score 650-700
Who should apply for GMAT Students enrolling for MBA

Other Exams to Study in USA

Apart from the ones mentioned above, there are some exams that you need to take if you’re opting to take a certain course in the USA. In addition, read to find these specific exams below:


To get into medical colleges you need to take a medical entrance exam or the MCAT. The full form of the MCAT is a medical college admission test. Providing an MCAT score is mandatory in the USA. In addition, this is a computer-based examination that tests your knowledge of critical analysis and reasoning, biology, physical science, psychology, biology, and behavioural foundations. The exam is conducted for 7 hours and 30 minutes and the MCAT exam fee in India is INR 25,750.

Exam duration 7 hours, 30 minutes
Exam fees INR 25,750
Number of Sections CARS, Biology, Physical Science, Psychology, Biological and social behavioural foundations
Qualifying score 500-650
Who should apply for MCAT Students aiming to enrol in medical schools

Must Read: MCAT VS NEET – Which One is More Difficult?


The Law School Admission Council conducts a standardized examination to test the students seeking admission into law schools in the USA. This examination is called LSAT. The full form of LSAT is the Law school admission test. The examination is conducted for 3 and a half hours and is in MCQ format. The LSAT syllabus includes topics like Reading Comprehension, Analytical Reasoning, and Reasoning, and helps you to demonstrate your readiness for law school. The LSAT application form 2023 is INR 3,800

Exam duration 2 hours, 20 minutes
Exam fees INR 3,800
Number of Sections Analytical reasoning
Logical reasoning 1, and 2
Reading comprehension
Qualifying score 150-160
Who should apply for LSAT Students aiming to enroll in law schools


The Optometry Admission Test (OAT) is required for admission to optometry programs in the United States, and it assesses applicants’ academic knowledge and critical thinking skills. Natural Sciences, Reading Comprehension, Physics, and Quantitative Reasoning are the four modules. In addition, in the United States, approximately 23 optometry schools accept OAT (Optometry Admission Test) scores for admission to their programs. Each section’s OAT score ranges from 200 to 400, with a maximum achievable score of 1000. Applicants may take the OAT up to three times in a 12-month period, however, individual school policies may differ.

Duration 4 – 1/2 hour
Fees INR 38,251
Sections of OAT Survey of the Natural Sciences,
Reading Comprehension,
Physics, and
Quantitative Reasoning.
Required OAT score range 200 to 400
Official website https://oat.ada.org/


The DAT (Dental Admission Test) is a dental school admissions exam that assesses academic and scientific abilities. Further, it includes Natural Sciences, Perceptual Ability, and Reading Comprehension modules. The exam lasts about 4.5 hours and contains 280 multiple-choice questions. Moreover, the DAT is normally graded on a scale of 1 to 30, with an average score of 18 for each section. Applicants may take the DAT up to three times in a single testing year, with a one-year waiting period in between.

Duration 4.5 hours approx. (including breaks)
Fees INR 17,200
Sections of DAT Survey of the natural sciences (90 minutes),
Perceptual ability (60 minutes),
Reading Comprehension (60 minutes), and
Quantitative Reasoning (45 minutes)
Required DAT score 18
Official website https://www.ada.org/en/education/testing/exams/dental-admission-test-dat


These are some of the admission examinations required to study in the United States for various programs. However, the most important influence in determining the exam is the course or program, institution, and university you choose. Moreover, if you get the highest results on your tests to study in the United States, the institution will help you get a financial break. Scholarships are available in US institutions for international students based on their entry scores.

Must Read: 5 Not So Popular Scholarships To Study in USA


Q1. Is SAT compulsory in the USA?

Ans. The best universities in the USA have waived the SAT/ACT requirements for 2023. This includes the Ivy League colleges as well. This has been done to reduce the burden on International students of appearing in an exam for further studies in the USA.

Q2. Can I go to the USA without an interview?

Ans. Your Visa will not be given if you do not appear for an interview. Hence, you cannot to the USA without an interview.

Q3. How much is the US visa interview fee?

Ans. The US visa fee for an immigrant Visa is INR 18,208. While it is INR 13,242 for a non-immigrant visa.

We hope this blog provides you with all the information on the exams to study in USA. Lastly, the USA is a prominent destination for international students as it provides top-notch education and ample career opportunities. Hence, it is a great decision to pursue your studies in the USA. Need help with study abroad admissions? Call us at 1800 572 000.

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