There are many exams that you have to take when you want to study abroad with scholarships. In this article, I will give you a brief summary of what exams that you would have to take in order to be a successful applicant. Since there are different requirements for undergraduate and graduate programs, I will cover exams needed for undergraduate programs first and then graduate programs.

1. Exams for Undergraduate Programs

If you want to apply for scholarships, there are certain exams that you would have to take. It is true that the requirements are different for each university, but these are exams to take if you want to receive scholarships in most universities. It is best to check individual universities’ scholarships pages to see what they require. This is just to give you an idea of which exams are needed for almost all universities.

Check Also: Available Programs for International Students


You will definitely need one of these two tests: TOEFL or IELTS. These are English proficiency exams, which test your ability to read, write, speak, and listen in the English language. Although these are not required in admissions in some universities, they are required to receive scholarships in almost all universities. You can learn more about these exams on TOEFL and IELTS Page.

These are required or recommended even in universities whose primary language of instruction is not English, such as China, Korea, and Japan. So, definitely get a high score on one of these two exams, and you will have a good chance of studying abroad with scholarships.


B. Country-Specific Language Proficiency Exams

Since undergraduate programs in most universities are taught in the primary language of that country, universities require that you have a certain level of proficiency in the language of instructions. For universities whose language of instruction is English, that would be TOEFL and IELTS. For countries whose primary language of instruction is not English, they require other proficiency exams as well as TOEFL or IELTS for scholarships in almost all universities. Here are some examples:

  • Germany- DSH, TestDaF
  • South Korea- TOPIK
  • China- HSK
  • Turkey- YDS

If you do have these exams, you will have an advantage in the admissions and scholarship selection process. Some universities have an alternative, which is enrolling at a language school for a year or a summer.


C. College entrance exams in your country

Universities will recognize college entrance exams that are accepted by universities in your country. Examples include Gaokao in China and CSAT in Korea. If you don’t have these entrance exams, universities will accept SAT, ACT, A-Level, or IB instead.


D. SAT, ACT, A-Level, IB, AP

These are required in some universities and not required in other universities. If you have a good score in these exams, you will have a great advantage when applying for scholarships. Here are the descriptions of these tests.


  • SAT and ACT- These are two college entrance exams that are the most common in the US. Some universities in other countries require these for admissions, and some highly recommend them. If you want a description of these exams, visit SAT and ACT Page.
  • A-Level- This is a college entrance standardized exam that is common in the United Kingdom. As with SAT and ACT, universities in other universities recommend it. Learn more about A-Level here.
  • International Baccalaureate (IB)- International Baccalaureate is a college-prep program that is only offered at a designated high school. If a school nearby where you live offers it, it is great to have an IB Diploma. Go to IB Page to learn more about it.
  • Advanced Placement (AP)- This is an American version of A-Level where students can receive college credits by taking an AP Test. Universities will highly award good scores on the AP tests. To learn more about it, visit AP Page.


2. Exams for Graduate Programs

The following are the exams that are required by most universities in order to be eligible for scholarships.


As with undergraduate students, these English proficiency exams are required for most graduate schools. If you want to receive scholarships while studying abroad, you definitely need to take these exams. I have explained these tests in the “Exams for Undergraduate Programs” section, so if you do not know what these are, please read that section.


B. Graduate Record Examination (GRE)

GRE is required by almost all universities in English-speaking countries and prestigious universities in non-English-speaking countries. It is not required by most universities in countries whose primary language is not English. However, if you have an excellent score in GRE, you have a huge advantage over those who did not take GRE. So, taking GRE will increase your chances of studying abroad with scholarships considerably. For information about GRE, visit this page.


C. Country-Specific Language Proficiency Exams (Not Needed)

Unlike undergraduate programs, most graduate programs that are in English-speaking and non-English-speaking countries are offered in English. So, you do not need to take country-specific language proficiency exams in most universities. However, check with the individual universities that you are applying to see what that specific university requires.


3. Exams for Professional Schools

Professional schools such as medical school or business school, require other types of exams. Here are the following:


These are required by most professional schools.

B. Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT)

If you want to study in medical school, you need to take the MCAT. Although scholarships in medical schools are very rare, it is achievable if you have a good MCAT score. For more information about the MCAT, visit this page.

C. Law School Admissions Test (LSAT)

This is for law school. You can find more information on this page.

D. Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT)

This is for business school. You can find more information here.


I hope that this guide on the different exams you need for studying abroad has helped a lot. Make sure to check out also the Available Programs for International Students!