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Statement of Purpose Guidelines

Statement of Purpose Guidelines

The SOP must focus on forthcoming career plans, reasons for picking a particular course and past study of the applicant. It should give an overview about the applicant&his/her mindset usingqualified English.

This statement forms a vital part of the application and helps the University assess it. It must include:

  • The reason why one wishes to study the chosen subject
  • Any experience one has related to the chosen field.
  • Any employment experience
  • The reasons one wishes to study in the UK
  • Applicant’s ambitions / goals / expectations
  • Personal and other areas of interest (Hobbies, sports, social or leisure)
  • Any other information which can support the application

The SOP should comprise of 350 words approximately & thewriting should be clear and natural. One must do a thorough check over spelling and grammaticalerrors before submitting the application.

In brief, steps are mentioned below that one can use to draft a good statement of purpose. Though it must be noted that these are only guidelines and not intended to throttleone’s creativity. The intention is to provide a sense of direction to the applicant regarding the content required.

Brief Introduction
The first paragraph should consist of the name, personal philosophy/motto, personality description, area of strength &personal interests (hobbies/sports) of the applicant. Acknowledging family as a source of motivation&vital support would add beauty in the SOP.

In addition justifications must be given for taking the spouse or children along or leaving them behind.

Education Background
Academic achievements must be mentioned in chronological order with respective dates. Also the language used in the respective institution (College, University, etc.) must be stated&the projects, researches, internships and training undertaken during the period of study connected to proposed area of education must be included in the application. One must also mention the academic strengths, highlighting achievements and receipt of any awards, rank and scholarships in the relevant field if applicable.
One must justify shifts in education interests, weak academic performance, repeated failures, and consistent low score and breaks in education, if any. If there is a similar course being offered in another country, for instance: India, then onemust elaborate the reasons for not wanting to enroll in India. Concrete and considerable links must be established, between the previous academic background and proposed course of study.

Employment History
In case of pertinent work experience, a connection must be established with the proposed course of study. In the incidents of break/s in employment, one must mention and provide justification for the same. If one is working with the family business, then the scope and application of the proposed course of study in relation to the family’s business interests must be highlighted.

Highlight Purpose for Proposed Course of Study
It is essential to provide the actual reasons for taking the proposed course, appropriately indicating wish to specialize in the particular field as applicable. Also the reasons for choosing UK as well as the particular institution of study must be highlighted.

Career Goals
It is to be explicitly explained why one wants to followthe chosen course of study (including an outline of the course) in the Institution in UK and how its accomplishment can help the applicant in the desired career pathways. This point is absolutely essential and therefore must be presented very clearly.

Remarks must be made on one’s career aspirations, both short-term and long-term and how the UK qualification can help one achieve them. Also the plans upon return to the homeland must be stated, i.e. whether one has a family business to return to or if they wish to join a firm or set up in their business concern. One must remember that their goals should be concrete and genuine, based on sound interpretations.

In Conclusion
Finally one can write how they came to know about the programme at the university they are applying for and any special reasons in choosing the same .The applicant can conclude the application by requesting the Institution to admit him/her into their desired program.

Name of Student:
Statement of Purpose-DO’s & Dont’s

Strategies for success -the personal statement:
The personal statement provides one with the opportunity to distinguish oneself from all the other highly qualified people and is of major significance.

Aneffective Statement of Purpose is a very vital part of the application since it gives the School Admissions Committee the best opportunity to evaluate the full range of the Experience and knowledge one brings in his/her pursuit of a professional degree and the pertinence of their school to one’s objectives. The Statement of Purpose should be concise, well-written essay covering three diverse areas relating to the person:

One must begin with a summary statement of their preparation, then describe their background, education, and community and mention reasons they were attracted to that particular profession. Next comes the brief discussion on the academic preparation (including lab or Research), relevant work, and other experiences, i.e., volunteer work. It must be assured that the reader gets the idea what one has attained from these experiences – what qualities they have developed.

Applicants must further discuss how the school will help them meet their educational and career goals. They must state their skills, strengths, and uniqueness. Though this must be made sure that they adopt a positive tone & not seem contrite. Howeverany majorlapse in the academic record must be justified. The copy must be given to family, friends & career center for proofreading in order to avoid errors.

SOP Do’s & Dont’s


  • Don’t underestimate the importance of the essay (A very common mistake).
  • Don’t undervalue the length of time it will take to write the statement of Purpose.
  • Don’t have someone else write the SOP! There are ethical issues involved though, but one is the best spokesperson for own self.
  • Don’t list everything that hasbeen done. There is usually a place on the application to list the activities. Avoid giving unnecessary details. The statement should read smoothly.
  • Don’t mention interest for one particular school in a general application that is being sent to many schools and vice a versa.


  • Keep a journal of work and volunteer experience.
  • Get an early start. This cannot be stressed enough.
  • Be honest, consistent and straightforward.
  • Be specific, not general.
  • Be comfortable with the self-image that you’re presenting.
  • Pay attention to detail – absolutely no spelling or grammatical errors.
  • Statement must be neat and error free. No excuses . . . you must make a good impression.
  • A summary of accomplishments first
  • Background information – people and events that influenced your decision.
  • Learning experience(s) serving as a choice for foundation career
  • The source of getting first-hand knowledge of the field
  • Leadership role activities
  • Career objectives and goals
  • Let your personality and individuality come through. Give personal insight on hopes, goals, motivations and dedication. Be interesting and unique. Do not be afraid to let your passion and commitment to a career come through.
  • Take the opportunity to elucidateanything you feel might raise questions (e.g., a weak academic quarter . . . Explain what was going on in your life, if a personal or academic issue posed an effect on you).
  • Be responsible for own background. Don’t discuss or compare yourself to the application standards or other students.
  • Have someone else read your statement but be careful of advice. Get two or three different opinions. Remember, it is your personal statement but other opinions and professional advice can make the difference in gaining acceptance.
  • Write a draft, edit, and re-writes many times as needed.
  • Make the essay look reading-worthy. Follow the guidelines for length, margins, and do not use too small a font. You can squeeze more on a page that way, but readers see hundreds of statements and don’t have time to deal with small font.
  • Keep a photocopy of each essay written. You need to keep a copy of every single piece of your application. It is imperative to have copies of everything, both for own reference before going to an interview and as documentation in case someone else loses or misplaces your application. This has happened to students so it’s better to be cautious. Keep paper copies in addition to disc copies.
  • Read the essay before an interview. Make sure you know what you wrote.
  • Be prepared to discuss and defend essay points during the interview.
  • Schools prefer unique essays so avoid copying any others

Sample Resume

Sample Resume

Junaid Siddiqui
FL-4.14, 2nd Floor, Block-5, Gulshan-e-Iqbal

Karachi, Pakistan
Tel: (021) 3481 6010

Accounts student seeking a position as a Trainee Accountant. Reliable, trustworthy, conscientious. Worked for a firm of chartered accountants last summer and gained a good understanding of what is required of an accountant. Able to work on own initiative or as part of a team and can deal with administrative duties competently.


  • Bachelor of Commerce, The University of Karachi, Year- 2007,  Second Division.
  • Subjects studied: Business Studies, Computer Studies, Calculus, Financial Mathematics, Auditing.


Administrative Assistant, Akbar & Sons, 2006

  • Assisted the Senior Partner who was conducting audits on major companies in the area.
  • Handled incoming telephone calls to the Senior Partner from other companies and members of the public.
  • Organized and maintained the Senior Partner’s filing system.
  • Typed reports on an IBM Compatible PC using the WordPerfect word-processor.
  • Devised a new filing system to maintain the files held by the department.
  • Solved users PC problems including sorting out spreadsheets, explaining how to use complex features in word-processing packages.

Coordinator, Memon Community Center, 2005

  • Organized a local advertising drive that increased the number of elderly people coming to the center by 20%.
  • Organized games for people attending in the afternoons.
  • Escorted some of the elderly people to and from the center.


  • Microsoft Windows XP, Microsoft Office XP (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access).

Awards and accomplishment: (if any)
Professional memberships: (if any)

• Interests at university included organizing a charity quiz, which raised RS 15000. Movies and theater.

Academic Recommendation Letter

Academic Recommendation Letter

General Recommendation Letter:
Guidelines for Writing Recommendations for Academic Graduate School
The recommendation letter should clearly state the time period for which the person has known the applicant and in what way.

A recommendation that comes from professors who know the applicant and his/her academic work is of special interest and priority for Graduate schools, closely followed by recommendations from employers. Graduate schools are give more importance to faculty members’ summary estimates of the candidate’s general promise as a graduate student.

Higher number of recommendations reflects factual knowledge of the applicant and his/her performance. Hence, the more positive the letter is to the graduate school admissions committees the better advantage for the applicant.

Key Features of a Recommendation Letter:

  • Intellectual characteristics: How is the applicant being rated in overall intellect? What is the grasping power of the applicant, in terms of acquiring and retaining information? What are the applicant’s skill in analysis and logic? How does the applicant approach conceptually to deal with a complex problem? Is the applicant creative? Does the candidate show evidence of creativity? Have factors such as work, unusual circumstances, social or academic background affected the applicant’s academic record?
  • Knowledge of field of study: What is the level of applicant’s knowledge in his chosen field of study? Is he/she aware of methods in the field of study? Do they have any prior experience in research? Does the applicant have the mandatory laboratory techniques?
  • Ability to communicate: Is the candidate good in effective writing skills? Does the written work submitted reflect a mastery of the convention of English? Is the written material clear, well-organized and persuasive? Is there fluidity of expression in Oral communication?
  • Industry and self-discipline: Is the applicant consistent, efficient and motivated? Does the applicant possess the ability to work independently? Are there any reasons to question the integrity of the student towards his/her commitment to education?
  • Personal effectiveness: Is the applicant mature enough? What about the ability to adjust to surroundings? Would the recommender choose the applicant for graduate study under his/her auspices? Is the contender reliable enough to enjoy the trust and respect of fellow students?
  • Potential for graduate study: What is the projected forecast of the recommends concerning the applicant’s possible performance in graduate school?

English Language Proficiency

English Language Proficiency

This test is for people who intend to study or work where English is the language of communication. It measures ability to communicate in English across all four language skills – listening, reading, writing and speaking. IELTS is jointly managed by British Council, IDP: IELTS Australia and the University of Cambridge ESOL Examinations (Cambridge ESOL) through more than 350 locations in 120 countries.

It opens doors for you to more than 2000 educational institutions, government agencies and professional organizations across 120 countries where IELTS scores are recognized as a trusted and valid explaination of ability to communicate in English. IELTS is an English Language skill test that is required to be taken by non-native students for study in countries where the medium of instruction is English. Among the popular study destinations IELTS is accepted by universities in UK, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and USA.

Types of IELTS Tests
IELTS is offered as 2 types of tests. One, General Test, that is required to be taken by applicants who wish to seek permanent residence or employment in countries like Australia. Two, the Academic Test, to be taken by students who wish to Study Abroad.

Test Fees
Fees for IELTS Academic Test is Rs. 15,000/- for The Australian Education Council Test or Rs. 14,000/- for British Council Test. For additional score reporting, students have to pay Rs. 1,000/- per university, if the report has been sent by courier.

IELTS Test Structure

Duration and format
The Listening Module takes around 30 – 35 minutes. There are40 questions. There are four sections. The Listening Module is recorded on a CD and is played ONCE only. During the test, time is given for candidates to read the questions and write down and check their answers. Answers are written on the Question Paper as candidates listen. When the recording ends ten minutes are allowed for candidates to transfer their answers to an Answer Sheet.

Marking and Assessment
One mark is awarded for each correct answer in the 40 item test. A private band score conversion table is produced for each version of the Listening Module, which translates scores out of 40 into the IELTS 9-band scale. Scores are reported as a whole band or a half band. Care should be taken when writing answers on the Answer Sheet as poor spelling and grammar are penalized.

Duration and format
The Reading Module takes 60 minutes. There are 40 questions, based on three reading passages with a total of 2,000 to 2,750 words. Texts and questions appear on a Question Paper which candidates can write on but not remove from the test room. All answers must be entered on an Answer Sheet during the 60-minute test. No extra time is allowed to transfer answers.

Marking and Assessment
One mark is awarded for each correct answer in the 40 item test. A Band Score conversion table is produced for each version of the Reading Module which translates scores out of 40 into the IELTS 9-band scale. Scores are reported as a whole band or a half band. Care should be taken when writing answers on the Answer Sheet as poor spelling and grammar are penalized.

Duration and format
The Writing Module takes 60 minutes. There are two tasks to complete. It is suggested that about 20 minutes is spent on Task 1 which requires candidates to write at least 150 words. Task 2 requires at least 250 words and should take about 40 minutes. Candidates may write on the Question Paper but this cannot be taken from the test room and will not be seen by the examiner. Answers must be given on the Answer Sheet and must be written in full. Notes are not acceptable as answers.

Marking and Assessment
Each task is assessed independently. The assessment of Task 2 carries more weight in marking than Task 1.
Writing scripts are marked by trained and certificated IELTS examiners. IELTS examiners all hold relevant teaching qualifications and are recruited as examiners by the test centres and approved by British Council or IDP: IELTS Australia. Scores are currently reported as whole bands. Detailed performance descriptors have been developed which describe written performance at the 9 IELTS bands. These descriptors are confidential and apply to both the Academic and General Training Modules.

  • Task 1 scripts are assessed on the following criteria:
  • Task Achievement
  • Coherence and Cohesion
  • Lexical Resource
  • Grammatical Range and Accuracy
  • Task 2 scripts are assessed on the following criteria:
  • Task Response
  • Coherence and cohesion
  • Lexical Resource
  • Grammatical Range and Accuracy
  • Scripts under the required minimum word limit will be penalized.

Duration and Format
The Speaking Module takes between 11 and 14 minutes and consists of an oral interview between the candidate and an examiner. All interviews are recorded. The overall structure of the test is summarized below.
There are three main parts. Each part fulfils a specific function in terms of interaction pattern, task input and candidate output.
In Part 1 candidate answers general questions about themselves, their homes/families, their jobs/studies, their interests, and a range of familiar topic areas. This part lasts between four and five minutes.
In Part 2 the candidate is given a verbal prompt on a card and is asked to talk on a particular topic. The candidate has one minute to prepare before speaking at length, for between one and two minutes. The examiner then asks one or two rounding-off questions.
In Part 3 the examiner and candidate engage in a discussion of more abstract issues and concepts which are thematically linked to the topic prompt in Part 2. The discussion lasts between four and five minutes.
The Speaking Module assesses how effectively candidates can communicate in English.

Part Nature of interaction Timing
Part 1: Introduction: Examiner introduces himself/herself and confirms candidate’s identity. Examiner interviews candidate using verbal questions selected from familiar topic frames.
Part 2:Individual Long Turn: Examiner asks candidate to speak for 1–2 minutes on a particular topic. Preparation time of 1 minute is given to make notes. Examiner asks one or two questions to round off the long turn.
Part 3:Two-way Discussion: Examiner invites candidate to participate in discussion of a more abstract nature, based on verbal questions thematically linked to Part 2 topic.

Tips & Strategies
IELTS exam involves technicalities, you must prepare for IELTS exam like any other exam even you have mastery over usage of English. On one hand, the fee for IELTS test is high. A person who achieves a low band score in IELTS has to wait for a month before he or she can appear for the test again. Thus, even you have a good level of English, you must prepare for at least 2-3 weeks for IELTS exam.


Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is a compulsory English test conducted for every student from non-English speaking country looking for overseas education in English speaking countries like, USA, UK, etc. It is a test conducted for assessing the fundamental abilities in English and is accepted by over 6000 colleges and universities in 110 countries. This is over 3 times the number of any other English-language skill test. The test is administered in 180 countries at more than 1275 test sites. A TOEFL score is valid for two years and then is deleted from the official database. The maximum score for Internet based TOEFL (Computer Based TOEFL) is 120.

Why TOEFL test?
Performing TOEFL test provides several benefits that help you to assists for your abroad education. Some of them are:

  • Regardless to the place where you want to study, TOEFL test enables you to reach your desired goal. Depending on the test score will be eligible for getting admission in college or university in the world.
  • There is much flexibility in performing a TOEFL test whenever you want to take. You will be offered practice tools and feedback, and more alternatives to study abroad than any other English-language test in the world
  • TOEFL enables you various services such as, listening to lectures, view films, attend seminars, read textbooks, perform online research, speak with professors and other students, write academic papers, reports, e-mails and more

Test Modules
TOEFL test consists of four distinct modules, each determining the essential language skill that is used in the atmosphere of the academic.

This module determines the ability of understanding intellectual reading issues. The Reading module consists of 3-5 comprehensive passages (long passages and questions asked about them). They are chosen from the academic topics, which are found in student university textbooks.

This module determines the ability of understanding the English since it is used in the colleges and universities. Listening module consists of 6 comprehensive passages, two passages will be the conversations of the students and the other four will be academic lectures or discussions. Students have to understand the conversations and answer for the passage questions.

This module determines the ability of speaking in English. Speaking module consists of 6 tasks, two independent tasks and four integrated tasks. In the independent tasks, students have to answer opinion questions concerning to the academic life. In two of the included tasks, students have to read a passage, listen to a passage and speak about how the ideas in the two passages are related. In the other two integrated tasks, students have to listen to long passages, review them and speak about the information in the passages.

This module determines the ability of writing that is relevant for colleges and universities assignments. This module consists of two tasks, one independent task where students have to read an academic passage, listen to an academic passage and write their reviews about the two passages. Another is the included task where students have to write an own essay.

Structure of the TOEFL iBT Test

Section Description Testing Time Questions Score Scale
Reading 3-5 passages from academic texts; approximately 700 words long; 12-14 questions per passage. 60-100 minutes 36-70 questions 0-30
Listening 4-6 lectures, some with classroom discussion; each
3-5 minutes long; 6 questions each. 2-3 conversations; each 3 minutes long; 5 questions each.
60-90 minutes 34-51 questions 0-30
Break 10 minutes
Speaking 2 tasks to express an opinion on a familiar topic;
4 tasks to speak based on what is read and listened to.
20 minutes 6 tasks 0-4 points converted to 0-30 score scale
Writing 1 task to write based on what is read and listened to; 1 task to support an opinion on a topic. 50 minutes 2 tasks 0-5 points converted to 0-30 score scale
Total Score 0-120

Variations in Different TOEFL Tests iBT / CBT / PBT

Post Secondary Level TOEFL @ iBT
Maximum Score 120
Graduate Programs 100
Maximum Undergraduate 92
Minimum Undergraduate 86
College 80
Community College 61
Fee $ 165
Additional Score Reporting Fee $ 17
Time Length 4:30 hrs


The Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE Academic) is an English Language test designed to assess the willingness of non-native English speakers to participate in a university-level English language instruction program. PTE Academic is accepted by universities in USA, UK, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, amongst others.

It was created by Pearson Language Tests part of the Pearson PLC group and endorsed by GMAC® (Graduate Management Admission Council), owners of GMAT® (Graduate Management Admission Test).

It is a computer-based exam which focuses on real-life English used in academic surroundings. Throughout the test, students will listen to a variety of accents and academic language encountered at higher education institutions in English speaking countries.

Test Fees
In Pakistan the registration fees for PTE Academic Test is Rs. 14,800./-. The test scores can be sent to any number of institutions for free.


SPEAKING and WRITING – These modules assess all communications skills of a test taker.

Module includes:

  • Reading a Text Aloud
  • Repeating a sentence
  • Describing an Image
  • Re-telling a Lecture
  • Answering short questions
  • Summarizing a text
  • Writing an essay

READING – This module assesses reading skills of the test taker.

Module includes:

  • Reading Comprehension
  • Re-ordering Paragraphs
  • Filling Blanks in a text

LISTENING– This module assesses listening of the test taker.

Module includes:

  • Summarizing spoken text
  • Multiple Choice Questions based on recording
  • Fill blanks in a transcript based on recording
  • Writing a dictation.

The test is administered in a single 3 hours test session. The test is divided into 3 timed sections, 1 short un-timed introduction and an optional 10 minute break.


Time Allowed

Introduction Un-timed
Speaking and Writing 77-93 minutes
Reading 32-41 minutes
Optional Break 10 minutes
Listening 45-57 minutes

Test Scores
Test Scores are available online usually within 5 business days from taking the test. Test taker can report scores to any number of institutions for free. Selected institutions can retrieve scores online usually within 48 hours.

Aptitude Tests

Aptitude Tests


It is a computer based standardized test that assesses the aptitude abilities in a person for accomplishing the academic of business curriculum. Students from different backgrounds belonging to different countries in the world can take the GMAT test. This test is a decisive part for admissions in more than 4000 graduate programs in 1800 schools around the world. Presently, several leading Business Schools in India also require GMAT scores for admission.

Test Modules
The GMAT test consists of following three modules that determines fundamental verbal, mathematical and analytical writing skills in the test taker. The maximum score for GMAT is 800 and the mean score is 533 in 2005-06. The test score is valid for 5 years.

  • Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA)
    In this module test taker has to prevail two writing tasks, Analysis of an Issue and Analysis of an Argument. The maximum time limit will be 30 minutes for writing each essay. The range of test score in AWA range from 0-60 points, representing the average ratings of two essays.
  • Quantitative section
    This module consists of 37 multiple choice questions, which has to be completed within 75 minutes. The test evaluates the competence of arithmetic, elementary algebra, and common geometry which are categorized into two types of tasks: Data Sufficiency and Problem Solving. The range of test score in Quantitative section range from 0-60 points
  • Verbal section
    This module consists of 41 multiple choice questions, which are categorized into three tasks – reading comprehension, critical reasoning, and sentence correction. The maximum time limit for completing this module is of 75 minutes. The range of test score in verbal section range from 0-60 points. Moreover, there will be few pretest questions (they are not scored) assorted in verbal and quantitative sections, which cannot be identified. Therefore you have to answer all the questions in the test.
  • Maximum Time Limit : 3 hours and 45 mts
  • Maximum Test Score : 800
  • Mean Score (2005-06) : 533
  • Test Fee : U.S. $ 250 Worldwide
  • Additional Test score Reporting

Structure of the GMAT Test


Number of Questions

Time Limit

Analytical Writing

Analysis of an Argument (30 minutes)
Analysis of an Issue (30 minutes)

2 Essays

60 Minutes

Optional 5 Minutes Break

Quantitative Section

Problem Solving (23 to 24 questions)
Data Sufficiency (13 to 14 questions)


45 Minutes

Optional 5 Minutes Break

Verbal Section

Critical Reasoning (14-15 questions)
Sentence Correction (14-15 questions)
Reading Comprehension
(4passages with 12-14 questions)


75 Minutes

GMAT Changes
With an addition of 300 new questions (within the question bank) in two of the three sections of GMAT, the test has become tougher for students to crack. Altogether about 33% questions have been added, which brings in a change of more than one third to the test. These changes have been announced in May 2009.

Following are the changes made:
Verbal Section:
Sentence Correction type – More questions emphasizing on pronoun and modifier rules. Lesser focus on comparisons and idioms-related questions. A total of 57 new questions have been added to the question bank.
Reading Comprehension type – Two Biology related passages have been replaced with one on Social Science and the other on Business.43 questions have been introduced.
Critical Reading type – 50 old questions have been replaced with 50 new questions.

Quantitative Section:
Problem Solving type – 19 questions have been removed in this section and 56 questions have been added.
Data Sufficiency type – Reduction of questions related to fractions, decimals and percentages. Questions related to Algebra have also been reduced. Also, 75 old problems have been replaced with 94 new problems in the question bank.
Data Sufficiency question type within this test has got more new questions introduced than other sections.

No changes have been made to the Analytical Written Assessment (AWA) Section.


The GRE General Test measures verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, critical thinking, and analytical writing skills that have been acquired over a long period of time and that are not related to any specific field of study. The GRE General Test is required by many graduate and professional schools in the U.S and is an important criterion for admission to their graduate programmes. Applicants must submit their GRE scores together with certain other records/requirements as part of the process of admission to graduate schools. The GRE is administered by Educational Testing Services (ETS). ETS is responsible for conducting the GRE test under the guidance of the college education board of the U.S. GRE is a multiple-choice Computer Adaptive test and it is a mandatory for students seeking Masters Degree or PhD degrees in the USA for most of the Universities.

Test pattern

  • Verbal section
    The skills measured include the test taker’s ability to analyze and evaluate written material and synthesize information obtained from it analyze relationships among component parts of sentences recognize relationships between words and concepts.
  • 30 questions in 30 mins
  • Score range: 200 – 800 Analogies, Antonyms, Sentence Completion, Reading Comprehension
  • Quantitative Section
    The skills measured include the test taker’s ability to understand basic concepts of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, and data analysis reason quantitatively solve problems in a quantitative setting
  • 28 questions in 45 mins
  • Score range: 200 – 800
  • Quantitative Comparison, Discrete Math, Data Interpretation
  • Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA)
    The skills measured include the test taker’s ability to articulate complex ideas clearly and effectively examine claims and accompanying evidence support ideas with relevant reasons and examples sustain a well-focused, coherent discussion control the elements of standard written English
  • 2 essays
  • Analysis of an Issue (45 mins.)
  • Analysis of an Argument (30 mins.)

Total score range for the test: 400 – 1600 (Verbal + Quantitative); 0 – 6 (AWA)

The GRE scores are technically valid for five years However, most of the top universities do not consider scores more than two years old .Being a Computer Adaptive Test, it is conducted throughout the year, on all weekdays you can register for the test online at OR by post/ telephone/ fax.

Test fees is US$180 This includes reporting your scores to 4 universities of your choice, on the day of the test If you want to report your scores to additional universities (or if you do not report your scores to any university on your test day, and would like to do so later), the fee is US$20 per university.

The GRE is a computer-adaptive test, which means your performance on previous questions determines which question you’ll be asked next. The change to GRE has been cancelled.

Computer Adaptive Test
The GRE Test is a CAT (Computer Adaptive Test). This means that the computer adapts the level of the questions to the test-taker’s ability. Initially questions of medium difficulty level are administered to test – taker. If he / she answers these questions correctly, a more difficult question is given. Otherwise, an easier question is administered. So, at every stage, the computer tailors the test to the examinee’s level. In this examination, the score depends both on the number of questions attempted and the number of correct responses.

Some points which you must know about the Computer Adaptive Test

  • In verbal section each question has five answer choices and you must select one choice as your answer
  • In the quantitative ability section each problem solving and data interpretation question has five answer choices. However, quantitative comparison questions have only 4 answer choices.
  • Only one question appears at a time. To move to the next question, you have to mark an answer to the question that is currently on your screen
  • Once you have confirmed your answer to a question you can’t go back to a question and change your answer
  • The questions are graded into 5 categories ranging from the easy to the hard category
  • More points are awarded for getting the harder questions right
  • You are penalized for not completing the test. Hence, your score depends on your accuracy, the difficulty level of the questions and the number of questions you attempted. At the beginning of the test, every candidate gets a question of average difficulty level (level 2 or 3)
  • Questions in the verbal and the quantitative sections need not always be administered in groups. For example, if the first question that appears in the verbal section is an antonym, then you need not necessarily get a series of questions on antonyms alone. Two questions on antonyms may be followed by one question on analogies, followed by one on sentence completion. In other words, questions can appear in any particular order. Similarly, in the quantitative section, one question on problem solving may be followed by one question on quantitative comparison. This may be followed by one question on problem solving. Hence, the type of question that will come next cannot be predicted


Scholastic Aptitude Test
SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test/ SAT-I) is a precondition Reasoning Test conducted for the admissions of undergraduate programs in United States. It is a 3 hour test that determines the skill of the students in verbal, mathematical and reasoning skills that are required to evaluate the skills needed to complete the academic successfully. The test is administered several times a year. Many universities also require SAT-II test score along with the SAT-I score for admission. Every year around 2 million students take SAT. Many colleges and universities finds SAT as a more credible test for predicting the student’s skill. The test scores are valid up to 5 years of the test date.

Test Modules in SAT
Typically, SAT logic test are categorized into three major sections, Critical Reading, Writing and Mathematics, with a total of 10 sub-sections including a dummy section. These sections are discussed below:

Critical Reading
SAT exam begins with Critical reading questions that determine various reading comprehension skills. It includes two 25-minute sections and one 20-minute section with 48 reading comprehension questions and 19 sentence completion questions. The scores are scaled on a 200-800 point scale with the total time limit of 70 minutes. This module consists of the following subsections:

  • Sentence Completion: It measures the vocabulary of the applicants and understanding the sentence structure i.e., how the different parts of a sentence fit logically together. Here each sentence has one or two blank space which has to be filled correctly with the given multiple choices
  • Passage-based Reading: This section comprises of two types of passage reading, Vocabulary in Context and Literal Comprehension. It measures the reading abilities of the students and thinking carefully about different passages ranging from 100 to 850 words approximately. These passages will be extracted from a variety of fields like, humanities, social studies, natural sciences, and literary fiction

Writing Section
The writing section of SAT is based on the old SAT-II subject test in writing. The total time limit of writing section is 60 minutes. It includes multiple choice questions and a brief essay. The essay score accounts to be around 30% of the writing score and the multiple choice component accounts to be around 70%.
The multiple choice questions include, Error Identification, Sentence Improvement questions that tests for grammar knowledge and Paragraph Improvement questions that test for student’s understanding of logical organization of ideas.
The essay section is administered as the first part of the test, which has 25 minutes of time limit. They have to be written in response to the specified prompt, which are typically thoughtful and are designed to be accessible to students despite of their educational and social backgrounds.

Mathematics Section
This section is also known as Quantitative Section determines important skills like, estimation and number sense using multiple choice questions and student response questions. Mathematics section includes topics like, exponential growth, absolute value, and functional notation. It consisting of three scored sections:

  • A 25 minutes section – It contains 20 multiple choice (problem solving) questions to be completed in 25 minutes
  • Another 25-minute section – It contains 8 multiple choice (problem solving) questions and 10 grid-in questions, within the time limit of 25 minutes
  • A shorter section of 16 multiple choice (problem solving) questions to be completed in 20 minutes of time

In addition there will be a dummy section formally called as Variable or Equation section with the time limitation of 20 minutes. However this section does not count towards the individual score and they cannot be recognized in the test so as to not skipping those questions. They are only used for the future edition of SAT

Structure of SAT Test
Sections Mathematics Section Critical Reading Section Writing Section
Time 70 Minutes 70 Minutes 60 minutes
Sections 25-min. sections (2) &
20-min. section (1)
25-min. sections (2) &
20-min. section (1)
Multiple Choices – 35 min. &
Essays section – 25 min
Content – Number & operations;
– Algebra & Functions;
– Geometry;
– Statistics,
– Probability, &
– Data Analysis
– Critical Reading
– Reading comprehension,
– Sentence completions, & paragraph-length
Grammar, usage, and word choice
Marks 800 800 800

The three parts of SAT are scored separately as reading score, a writing score, and a math score that range from 200 to 800 each. The average score of each section will be about 500. This average score is acceptable by almost all the colleges and universities. Yet few top colleges/universities expect for above average SAT scores of above 2100, which would puts in the 90 percentile.

A good SAT score will certainly increase your chances of secure admission in better colleges/universities. Your SAT subject score is measured on a scale of 200 to 800. Usually a SAT score of about 500 in every section (Mathematics, Writing and Critical Reading) is considered as a good score to get admission in good colleges/universities.

Below table gives the requirements of SAT score for some popular colleges

College SAT Math SAT Critical Reading SAT Writing
Auburn (Main Campus)

520 – 630

500 – 610

510 – 620


660 – 740

670 – 750

640 – 740


690 – 790

690 – 770

680 – 780


700 – 790

690 – 800

690 – 780


640 – 740

630 – 740

630 – 740


680 – 760

690 – 760

680 – 760


680 – 780

660 – 760

670 – 770


610 – 720

570 – 680

580 – 690

MIT, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

720 – 800

660 – 760

660 – 750

With this Information, you will be able to analyze the requirement of SAT score in your preferred colleges. Good SAT score even helps in seeking scholarships and financial aids for the entire study program