List of Exams to Study in USA: What Are The Alternatives?

Students from across the world dream of going to the US and studying further. It is one of the most famous and popular study-abroad destinations in the world. There are thousands of higher education institutions in the US, and more than a million students from different parts of the country go to the US for higher studies. 

Going to study abroad is not a cakewalk. It indeed is a surreal experience, but it involves a lot of hard work and choosing the right course. Knowing which exam is required for study in USA is the tricky part where most people struggle. Before applying for a college, you must research and consider the list of entrance exams you should take to go and study in the US.

All the esteemed higher education institutes in the US seek candidates who have successfully accomplished and attained the required set of grades on their undergrads or postgrads. Our detailed list of which exam is required for study in USA might guide you to land your dream college!


TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) is the most popular English proficiency test that you have to take if you are not a US resident. This is an international exam that is widely accepted in all US universities. Whether you want to complete your higher education in English or any other language or discipline, for that matter, the TOEFL examination is a must.

The TOEFL examination is conducted so that you can prove your proficiency in the English language. Being an Indian citizen, if you want to study in the US, your TOEFL scores are a must-have in your candidature. However, if you have an IELTS score as proof of language proficiency, you might not have to take TOEFL. 

Examination duration: The exam duration is 3 hours, and the TOEFL scores are valid for two years. After that, you can not use your TOEFL scores to apply for any US University. 

Examination cost: On average, the cost of taking this examination is 18,205 INR (220 USD) which may vary from time to time.


The Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) is the entrance examination that you should take only if you want to pursue an undergraduate course in the US. 

SAT tests your overall skills, and this test consists only of multiple-choice questions. It tests your skills based on four parameters: Reading, Writing, Mathematics (involves calculation) and Logical reasoning.

Examination duration: The total examination time that is given to a student is 3 hours and 45 minutes.

Examination cost: 4,303 INR (52 USD) is the cost of appearing for the examination. If opting for essay submission, extra fees will follow. 


The American College Test (ACT) is similar to the SAT Test. It is also an examination exclusively for students who want to study in the US. Most colleges accept SAT scores, whereas some universities accept ACT scores only. 

ACT is a lesser-known entrance test when compared to SAT, but it is widely accepted, and most universities are looking for a good ACT score to accept applications to their institutions.

Like SAT, ACT is also a multiple choice questions-based examination that tests your overall skills. It includes the following sections; Reading Comprehension, Writing, Data analysis and Editing.

Examination duration: The maximum time for examination is three and a half hours.

Examination cost: The cost of the examination is approximately 12,412 INR (150 USD). Optional essay submission involves extra fees.


Pearson Test of English (PTE) is another English proficiency test that some universities accept. Although TOEFL is the most widely accepted English test, some universities do not acknowledge TOEFL and want the PTE scores as a requirement. 

So, before applying to any university, it is advisable to always check which university wants to see the scores of which English language test. 

Examination duration: The maximum time you have to complete your PTE entrance test is 2 hours and 15 minutes.

Examination cost: The PTE examination cost is approximately 14,646 INR (177 USD).


The GMAT (Graduation Management Admissions Test) is one of the most common standardised entrance exam for MS in USA. The GMAT examination is only for postgraduate students; therefore, you should take the GMAT entrance test if you want to obtain a professional master’s degree program. 

If you are planning to take up postgraduate programs such as MS with a specialisation, then taking the GMAT exam for MS in USA is an essential requirement. The GMAT examination is widely accepted for MS and MBA programs, which tests the skills of the student based on the following parameters; Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Aptitude, Analytical Reasoning and Integrated Reasoning.

Examination duration: GMAT is a 3-hour examination.

Examination cost: 20,687 INR(250 USD) is the approximate cost of taking this entrance test.


The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is another commonly required entrance test for post-graduation in the US. If you are looking for answers to the question of what exams are required to study in USA, then you cannot miss out on the GRE. This is one of the most widely accepted examinations when applying to any of the prestigious US universities for postgraduate studies.

The GRE examination is equivalent to the GMAT entrance test. Some universities accept GMAT scores, whereas others accept GRE scores. However, GRE is a more dynamic and versatile test when compared to GMAT. The GRE test includes a wide range of postgraduate programs you can apply to at multiple universities. The GRE test scores can be used for applying to postgraduate programs in subjects like mathematics, English literature, psychology, physics etc.

Examination duration: 3 hours and 45 minutes is the maximum time you will get to complete your GRE entrance test.

Examination cost: The approximate cost of taking the GRE entrance test is 16,963 INR (205 USD).


The Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) is an entrance test exclusively for students interested in studying medicine in the US. All the prestigious medical schools in the USA require the MCAT scores with the application of the students. 

The MCAT entrance test is conducted by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC). It is a multiple choice questions-based test that evaluates the problem-solving abilities and skills of the student. The key parameters that the MCAT exam for Indian students tests are biochemical and biological knowledge about living beings, psychological and social understanding of behaviour, physical and chemical knowledge of biological systems, and critical thinking and reasoning skills. 

Examination duration: The MCAT entrance test is a long one that takes 7 hours and 30 minutes to complete.

Examination cost: MCAT exam for Indian students costs around 26,480 INR (320 USD), approximately. An extra 4,551 INR (55 USD) for late applications is also charged to the candidates.


The Law School Admission Test (LSAT) is the entrance test that is an essential requirement for Indian students if they want to study law in the US. The Law School Admission Council conducts the LSAT examination, and it demands a good LSAT score if you want to get into a prestigious Law School in America. 

LSAT is a standardised entrance test designed in a multiple-choice question manner. This test involves the following parameters; Reading Comprehension, Analytical Abilities and Writing Skills. You can complete the writing test 8 days before the entrance test.

Examination duration: The duration of the LSAT examination is three and a half hours.

Examination cost: The cost of taking the LSAT entrance test is approximately 16,550 INR (200 USD).

Thus, these are all the major entrance tests you should take if you want to fulfil your dream of going to the US to pursue your higher education. 

Bottom Line:

Studying in the US is a dream come true for many students, and it has many postgraduate options you can explore. Business analytics is one such field that has been booming in recent times. The Masters of Science in Business Analytics Program by upGrad can be your stepping stone towards exploring the business field. Register for the course to get all the insights about business analytics offered by one of the top American institutes, Golden Gate University.

Which examination is better, the GMAT or GRE?

Both GMAT and GRE entrance tests are for postgraduate students and are widely accepted in the United States. However, GRE scores are accepted in a wide range of postgraduate programs, whereas GMAT scores are mainly accepted for business and Management studies.

Is it compulsory to sit for the TOEFL entrance test?

If you are aspiring to study in the US, you should have a good TOEFL score or PTE score. These examinations test your English language proficiency, which is a requirement in US institutions.

Is logical reasoning a part of the SAT examination?

Logical reasoning is an integral part of the SAT examination and any other entrance test, for that matter. Logical reasoning tests your ability to solve complex situations with simple logic and critical thinking ability.

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