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Top 5 Exams To Take For Pursing Master’s Program – From India to Abroad!

  • Difficulty Level : Basic
  • Last Updated : 26 Feb, 2021

Do you wish to pursue your master’s or post-graduate studies abroad? Are you aiming for education in the worlds’ top universities? Then the exams that are about to be mentioned will serve your purpose. In order to pursue a master’s abroad, you are required to have fluent English as a primary requirement. To test your level of English commonly any one of the Educational Testing Service (ETS) set of exams is preferred. Some exams include Graduate Record Examinations (GRE), Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), and International English Language Testing System (IELTS).


There are other exams that are not a part of ETS but are still accepted by a lot of universities around the world. Some of them are Pearson’s Test for English (PTE), Cambridge Assessment English Set of Exams (Grade C1 or higher), and Duolingo English Test.

Let’s go through a few exams which are commonly taken by a lot of students:

1. Graduate Record Examinations (GRE)

GRE is one of the commonly taken tests to get into the best universities in the world. GRE is accepted by a lot of countries however, some countries may not. So it’s better to check whether the universities you wish to apply for accept GRE. The whole test tests your Analytical Writing, Quantitative Aptitude, and Verbal Reasoning abilities. The duration of the test is close to 4 hours. There are 2 sections for Quantitative Aptitude and 2 for Verbal Reasoning and each section has 20 questions and is computer adaptive. Analytical Writing has 1 section which comprises 2 questions. Overall you will be given a score between 280-340 and there are no negative markings. The test score is valid for 5 years and the test can be taken up to 5 times a year. The recommended score for the test is between 300-340. You can check the ETS website for more details.

2. Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)

TOEFL is one of the many tests conducted by the ETS council. The TOEFL test tests you on the 4 parts of English: listening, speaking, reading, and writing and is purely Internet Based. Each section carries 30 marks and you will get an overall score out of 120. The recommended score for this test is between 100-120. The test score is valid for 2 years. Each university may need a different range of TOEFL scores. Most of the prestigious universities ask for a score of 110 or more. So, kindly check the minimum score you need for admission into your dream university. As an additional bonus, this test can also be taken at home with the TOEFL home edition. You can check the official website of TOEFL for detailed information.

3. International English Language Testing System (IELTS)

The IELTS test is conducted by the British Council and can be taken multiple times. The IELTS test tests you on the same sections as in TOEFL except it is conducted for a total of 9 points instead of a score of 120 as in TOEFL and lasts for a lesser duration compared to TOEFL which is for 2 hrs and 45 minutes. It can be taken in Paper-Based mode or Computer-Based. 

Many test takers have also opined that IELTS is a bit easier than TOEFL. The recommended score for IELTS is between 7-9 and even this test score is valid for 2 years. Each university may need a different range of IELTS scores. Most of the prestigious universities generally ask for a band between 7.5 to 9. Even this test can be taken from the home. Here is the official website for IELTS (India). While some countries accept TOEFL, some countries may not. Such is the case for IELTS and all other similar test scores as well. So it is advisable to pre-check whether your preferred universities or countries accept a certain score or not and most importantly the minimum score they accept.

4. Pearson’s Test for English (PTE)

Pearson’s public limited company conducts PTE in different levels starting from level 1. To be eligible for admission into universities accepting PTE you will need to give a level 4 test or higher. Let us get to know the pattern of the test. The duration of the test is close to 3 hours. There are three parts to the test: Speaking & Writing, Reading and Listening. The skills Listening, Speaking, Reading, and Writing carries 25 marks each, and the overall score for 100 is calculated. The recommended score for this test is a minimum of 70. 

However, the number of universities accepting PTE is less compared to the universities accepting the other tests discussed so far. So, check out whether your dream university accepts PTE or not. The home edition for this test is also available. Check out the official website for further details. 

Masters in India: Now we finally know the set of exams we may choose from to pursue our masters in our dream universities abroad. However, many of us would want to pursue our masters in India from the most prestigious IITs or NITs, don’t we? Now let us find out the best exam to take the first step towards that goal.

5. Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE):

Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering(GATE) is the most preferred exam by almost every technical graduate to date because of the numerous benefits that it has. Qualifying the test with a good score not only increases your chance of admission into any one of the IITs, one of the most reputed institutes in India but also makes you eligible for various Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs). In addition to this, you will also be eligible to get stipends throughout the course of your Masters’s program. GATE is also used as a recruitment criterion for research fellowships in various research institutes.

In order to pass the test with a satisfying score, domain knowledge in your field of study along with Engineering Mathematics, Aptitude, and English is required. Starting from 2021 students pursuing 3-year programs or students in the third year of their program are also eligible to take this test, a worthwhile opportunity, isn’t it?

Now let’s get to know a few details about the exam. It is a national-level exam that over 7-10 lakh students take a year on average. It is conducted for 100 marks by one of the 7 IITs every year usually in the month of February which is why the official website varies every year depending on the Institute conducting the exam.

The duration of the exam is 3 hours. The questions are a combination of Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs) in which one choice out of the 4 choices is correct, Multiple Select Questions (MCQs) in which more than one option may be correct, and Numerical Answer Type (NATs) in which an answer is a number. The exam comprises 65 questions in which 30 questions carry 1 mark each and the other 35 questions carry 2 marks each. For incorrect choices in MCQs, you will be deducted a score of one-third of the score allotted for the question. For MSQs or NATs, you won’t be deducted any marks for incorrect choices. Once obtained, the GATE score card is valid for 3 years. Past reports indicate that you will need to score between 65-100 to be eligible for the top-notch IITs or PSUs. 

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