Entrance Exams to Study in USA

Meridean Overseas
Meridean Overseas

Updated On 19 July 2022 & Read Time 7 minutes



The United States of America is known for its highly researched education. The country is also known for its high acceptance of cultural diversity and also for its booming economy. Being a highly developed country, the US offers great resources to universities for their research and development. The entrance exams in the US play an important role as they help us in shortlisting universities. They also add some weight to the students' resumes. The entrance exams vary according to the level of study. There are different entrance exams for undergraduate and graduate students. Some of the exams are described below:


At Undergraduate level

If you’re planning to Study in the US for your undergraduate studies you could appear for any one of the two exams on the basis of the course you wish to apply in. The selection of the exam also depends on the requirements laid down by your target university.

American College Test (ACT)

The American College Test is considered only in American colleges, but it is also accepted in over 200 universities worldwide. This test is given by students to secure their admission to the four-year degree programmes in the humanities, commerce, and science courses. The exam focuses on four sections, which include math, English, reading, and science sections.

If the concerned college requires an essay exam also, then it is optional for the students to give this exam too with the above 4 sections. The fee structure then varies according to the inclusion and non-inclusion of the optional exam. If the optional is included, then the fee for the exam is USD 150 and if it is not included, then it is USD 120.

The marking of the ACT exam ranges from 1 to 36, and a score of 34-35 is considered a good score that can get students admitted to US universities or colleges. A score of 21 out of 36 is considered an average score, and 15 out of 36 is the lowest score a student can score. The score is valid for 5 years and the usage of calculators in the exam is valid.

A student who has turned age 13 is eligible to appear in the examination. This exam is quite easier than the SAT and is also cheaper than the previous one.

Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT)

Scholastic Assessment Test is an exam conducted for students who want to pursue their undergraduate studies abroad. Students of any age can appear for this SAT test but should not exceed the age limit of 20 years. The SAT exam is organised by an agency called the College Board, which regulates the date of the exam and other exam-related stuff.

This test is applicable to the colleges and universities of countries like Canada and America and is also accepted by 180+ countries. It requires eligibility criteria, which say a student should have passed their 10th grade before they are eligible to appear for the test. The student can appear five times a year and can book his slot two months prior to the date of the exam.

The slots for March, May, August, October, and December can be booked by paying an application fee of USD 101 if the student appears without the essay examination and USD 117 if he appears with the essay examination. The exam has 2 categories, namely SAT-1 and SAT-2. The Sat-1 exam is a general one that includes reading, writing, and math skills, whereas the SAT-2 exam is related to a particular subject that a student wishes to pursue in his undergraduate.

The maximum mark for the exam is 1600, where a student needs to manage a score of 1400+. The score is valid for 5 years and the mode of examination can be offline only where students need to book their nearest centre while doing the online registration.

If the student wants to reschedule or cancel the exam, then he needs to pay an extra fee of USD 30. Also, if the student wants to send his score to the college or the university, then he needs to pay a fee of USD 12 for each college. The refundable amount for cancellation is USD 10 only as it has a non-refundable policy.

If you know more about US Student Visa you can visit our site and book a free video counselling session with our counsellors for expert advice.


At Postgraduate level

There are two entrance examinations for the USA which are accepted by the colleges and universities for admission to postgraduate courses. The student needs to appear in any one of the following exams as per the eligibility criteria laid out by the university they are targeting for admission.

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Graduate Record Examination (GRE)

The Graduate Record Examination is an examination preferred by students who want to study abroad, especially in countries like the US, the UK, Europe, Singapore, and Australia. The names of the countries mentioned earlier accept the GRE scores. This examination is conducted by an agency called Education Testing Services (ETS), which allows students to book the exam slots on its website.

Students belonging to 160 countries can appear in the test once every 21 days by paying the fee of USD 213, which is approximately INR 16,000. The maximum number of attempts a student can make for this is five. The test has two varieties: one is the GRE general test, and the other is the GRE subjective test.

The GRE test involves three sections of reasoning, namely: verbal, quantitative, and analytical. If the student gains 310+ marks on his test, then it is considered a good score. Students who wish to cancel their GRE test due to any reason can do so, but they should do so at least 4 days prior to the exam. Students can also reschedule their test date by paying USD 50 to the agency, and the agency then does the same as per demand.

The test has a lot of benefits that cannot be denied. Some of the benefits are described below:

  • The score of the test has a validity of five years.

  • There is no age bar for the exam.

  • The GRE test is accepted for general graduation, law, and business courses.

  • This adds an extra magnitude to your resume.

  • It has a score select option which allows the student to choose the score that he wants to display to the university.

  • It is considered easier than the GMAT exam.

Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT)

The Graduate Management Admission Test is given by students who want to pursue business-related courses abroad. The GMAT test is valid in 2300+ universities and colleges worldwide. It is a kind of standardised test organised by the GMAC to secure admission to the MBA, MIM, and Ph.D. courses.

The test allows the students to get scholarships and also get admission to the top business schools like Harvard University, Stanford University, etc. The exam focuses on four sections, including three reasoning sections (verbal, integrated, and qualitative) and one analytical writing assessment. Students of any age can appear for this test.

The GMAT fee structure is quite more expensive than the GRE test, as it is USD 275, which is approximately INR 20,000. The maximum limit given to a student to appear in the GMAT exam is five times in a year and eight times in a lifetime. This exam cannot provide a guarantee of admission to the college as it is one part of the entire admission process.

This exam can be rescheduled and cancelled when the student wishes, but has a different fee according to the time duration the student has applied for it. If the student is applying for rescheduling or cancellation before the 15th day of the exam date, he needs to pay USD 150 and USD 200, respectively (for cancellation, USD 50 will be refunded back from USD 200).

The maximum score for the GMAT test is 800, and the students need to score at least 700, which is considered a good GMAT score. If the student wants to secure his seat in any of the top business schools, then it is advisable to appear for this exam otherwise, he can apply for the GRE.


For further details about the US student admission process or US student visa application process, you can reach us at application02@meridean.org or call us at our toll-free number 1800-1230-00011. You can also visit our site to book a free video counselling session or visit our nearest branch to get counsel from our study abroad consultants.

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