Students planning to study abroad are often required to take international standardized tests such as IELTS, SAT, TOEFL, CAEL, GRE, and LSAT depending on the subject they want to study or the school’s requirement.  

Standardized exams play a big role in student admissions by providing higher education institutions (HEIs) with a baseline on which applicants can be judged fairly. In general, these tests measure a student’s academic knowledge and/or language proficiency. 

In addition, countries also require students applying for a student visa, or individuals applying for a work permit, to take international standardized examinations as proof they can live and study or work there without much difficulty. 

Benefits for International Students

Aside from the advantage of getting into a university or the opportunity to work abroad, what are the other benefits of taking international standardized tests? 

Helps Identify Your Strengths and Weaknesses

Standardized tests are an effective way of determining an individual’s strengths and weaknesses. Most standardized language tests, like IELTS, have various components that test a student’s proficiency in listening, reading, writing, and speaking. 

Another international standardized exam, the GMAT, is used by students to get into business schools. This test measures a student’s command of basic mathematical topics like arithmetic and geometry, and the student’s analytical and critical skills. 

Since standardized tests are divided into various components, students will have a way of knowing what topics or subjects they perform the best or the worst in, and thus will be able to focus on their weaker areas. 

Basis for Scholarship Programs

Aside from helping applicants get into the school of their choice, standardized exams can also help them qualify for scholarships. Various colleges and universities require applicants to have specific scores so they can be eligible for scholarships. 

For example, Alexander College in Canada requires students to get a score of 70 or higher in the CAEL to apply for a scholarship. Various colleges in the United States have also been using applicants’ SAT or ACT scores as a criterion for financial assistance.  

Shows Your Progress

Many standardized tests can be taken more than once. However, the frequency of taking them within weeks, months, or years varies depending on the conducting body’s policy. In that way, students who want to check on their progress can compare their scores from their past exams to the more recent ones, and know which subject areas they need to study more. 

Some tests, like the Cambridge English Exams, offer exams that encourage students’ continuous progression in developing and improving their English skills. These exams are designed to build on an individual’s skills and help them improve from their previous level. As students earn another level, they also see how they progress in learning the language. 

It Levels the Playing Field 

Standardized exams are also democratic in that they level the playing field. Since these exams offer the same tests, applicants can be assessed objectively according to their performance. 

Standardized test-conducting bodies ensure that the assessment and scoring of the tests are done in a fair way by incorporating policies to strengthen their exam’s fairness, or by incorporating new technology to ensure scores given are objective. 

Most standardized testing bodies also ensure their tests are accessible to everyone, so they make them inclusive by offering test accommodations. Test accommodations are designed to suit applicants’ conditions for them to achieve valid scores. 

Standardized tests are a huge part of student applications abroad. Check out our articles in MSM Unify to know more about them.

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