Destination USA: The ‘Test’ mirage – II


This week we continue our discussion regarding standardised test scores for graduate applicants from the previous column.

As we already know, achieving high scores on standardised tests is important for both admission process and financial support consideration by US universities. Some graduate schools state that they do not require a minimum score for the test, and the average score for the tests varies from school to school. But, in general, some of the more competitive schools may have a higher average test score requirement. For specific requirements, a student should consult department websites and admission offices of selected universities.

The GRE General Test is required by prospective applicants of graduate programmes, including doctoral degree applicants. The applicants of graduate programmes in management or business studies take the GMAT. Some business schools may also accept the GRE as an alternative to the GMAT. In addition to the GRE General Test, some programmes require a GRE Subject Test. Subject tests are available in the areas of biology, chemistry, literature in English, mathematics, physics, and psychology. Check the application requirements for the programme to which you are applying to and accordingly register for the standardised tests.

The GRE General Test consists of Quantitative, Verbal, and Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) sections. The exam duration is 3 hours 45 minutes, and the total maximum score possible is 340 (170 each for Quantitative and Verbal) and a score of 6 for AWA. Official scores for the test are generally made available within 10-15 days of the exam date. The GRE Subject Tests measure student’s knowledge of a particular field of study. These tests are 2 hours and 50 minutes in duration, and the maximum score is 170. The official scores for GRE Subject Tests are made available in around six weeks. For further information on test content, please visit and

The GMAT exam measures basic verbal, mathematical, and analytical writing skills. It does not measure your knowledge of business or your job skills. The GMAT exam consists of four main parts: Analytical Writing Assessment, Integrated Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, and Verbal Reasoning. You have three and a half hours to complete the GMAT exam. Total GMAT scores range from 200 to 800, and official scores are made available within 20 days of the test date. For further information on GMAT’s structure and overview, please visit:

Both GRE and GMAT scores are valid for five years. After five years, the student will need to re-take the test. For further information on additional fees, payment policies and forms of payment, test centres, and other related questions, please visit the official websites for these standardised tests: and

Next week, we will talk about the standardised tests required for undergraduate applicants!

– Monika Setia (Regional Officer and EducationUSA Adviser at US – India Educational Foundation, based at the U.S. Consulate General Hyderabad)


I have received admission to MS programme in the US for Spring 2019. What type of visa do I need to become a student in the US? How can I know about the visa procedure and find the application forms?

— Satyanth VV, Kavuri Hills

Most non-US citizens who wish to study in the US will seek an F-1 (non-immigrant) student visa, but there are other visa types that are sometimes authorised for those who study in the US. Here is a short description of the different visa types that involve study:

• F-1, or Student Visa: This visa is the most common for those who wish to engage in academic studies in the US. It is for people who want to study at an accredited US college or university or to study English at a university or intensive English language institute.

• J-1, or Exchange Visitor: This visa is for people who will be participating in an exchange visitor programme in the US. The “J” visa is for educational and cultural exchange programmes.

• M-1, or Student Visa: This visa is for those who will be engaged in non-academic or vocational study or training at an institution in the US.

Since you are seeking an MS degree which is an academic programme, you will be applying for F-1 student visa.

You can find more information about the F1 visa, including the application procedure, at

What are the standardised tests that US universities accept?

— Indulekha, Sangareddy

The columns since last week (starting October 28) are dedicated to standardised tests required for US university applications. Please go through these articles to understand these tests.

I am in the second year of bachelor’s programme and interested in pursuing master’s degree in the US. Are there deadlines for US university applications?

— Faiyaz, Golconda

Each institution sets its own deadline, and it is usually firm about not accepting applications after that time, particularly if a college is very popular. There are two common application cycles for the US – Fall semester starting August/September and Spring semester starting January/February. For Fall semester, deadlines for applications are generally between October and March and for Spring semester, between July to September. If, however, a college indicates that it operates “rolling admissions,” late applicants may still have a fair chance of acceptance. It is nonetheless a good idea to submit your application as soon as possible. It is your responsibility to ensure that all your documents, application forms, references, and official score reports reach the universities safely and on time.