Taking College Entrance Exams When Traveling Outside of the US

Just registered for the GMAT! Wish me luck! I’ll officially be taking the exam on February 7, 2017 at 8:30am in Henan, China. 

Yep, that’s right. Most standardized American college entrance exams are offered in international locations. In fact, many international schools also utilize these exams for admissions and scholarship criteria. For example, I’m looking at schools in Asia, and most of the accredited big ones ask for either the GMAT or the GRE. 

 So if you want to study abroad in fall of Senior Year or last year of Undergrad, you can still take the all-important exams you need for your future.  Or if you’re an international student looking to study in the states, you can find one in your area hopefully. 

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American College Testing (ACT)

The ACT is one of the two main undergraduate school entrance exams. Most universities accept either the ACT, SAT, both, (or on the very rare occasion) neither. It is up to you to research your potential universities and verify which exam they require. They are not major specific-all majors need to take it.

Format (as of 2016-2017) -the ACT has four primary parts (Math, Reading, Science, and English) as well as an optional written portion. The English portion covers grammar, punctuation, and structure. The Math portion covers basic algebra, trig, and calculus questions. The Reading portion asks you to analyze essays or paragraphs you read for meaning, complete thoughts, etc. The Science portion is less science and more logic. It asks you to take data and analyze it to answer their questions.  The Writing asks you to write an essay response to a question they give you.

Notes: Unlike the GMAT or computer-based GRE in the US, the GRE internationally is usually the “paper format.” Meaning you have to sign up for a specific date (often only a few times a year) to go take the test in hand-written form. Then, because scores are not calculated online, you will have to wait for your scores (as much as 4-6 weeks later).  SO READING INSTRUCTIONS IS IMPORTANT!

Cost: $51 (for International locations)

Next Date: April 8, 2017 (Register by March 3, 2017) or June 10, 2017 (Register by May 5, 2017).

List of International Locations  **To Register for International Locations, you must make an account on the ACT website and register through that. 

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Scholastic Achievement Test (SAT)

The SAT is one of the two main undergraduate school entrance exams. Most universities accept either the ACT, SAT, both, (or on the very rare occasion) neither. It is up to you to research your potential universities and verify which exam they require. They are not major specific-all majors need to take it.

Format (as of 2016-2017) -the general SAT has four primary parts (Math, Reading, Writing & Language, and Essay). The Writing & Language portion asks you to analyze things you read–correcting logic issues, strengthening or weakening the argument, finding errors, etc.. The Math portion covers basic algebra and elementary calculus/trigonometry questions. The Reading portion asks you to analyze essays or paragraphs you read for meaning, complete thoughts, etc.  The Writing asks you to write an essay response to a question they give you.

WARNING – I’ve heard a lot of bad things about the College Board exam centers in China. I have absolutely no background in other countries – but I do NOT recommend taking the SAT in Mainland China or Hong Kong.  Friends or students taking the exam here or in Hong Kong report never receiving their grades, being told to wait as much as 6 months for scores (and then still not getting them), scores being thrown out because “someone cheated,” not being given the full time to take the exam, not being provided with all the materials needed for the exam, questions not being answered, and more.  When students (some US citizens included) attempted to call the College Board in Hong Kong and ask for information, the first question they were asked is where they were from. When they said China, the office immediately hung up on them. Several reported similar issues. One of my friends was actually late applying to schools, despite taking the exam early, because her first scores never came and they just told her to re-take the exam again.  

Cost: $45 * without essay | $57 *with essay  (there is an addition “fee” for international students changing by region. Africa and the Americas pay an extra $35.  East Asia / Pacific pay an extra $53.  Europe and Eurasia pay an extra $38.  Middle East is $47. South and Central Asia is $49).

Next Date: January 21, 2017 (Register by December 7, 2017) or May 6, 2017 (Register by March 22, 2017).

List of International Locations  **It is not offered in March outside of the United States. You may have to obey special national rules for the SAT which vary country-by-country. The SAT does provide international examinees the option of having an “international representative.” However if you do this, you must register by paper and by the early deadline. They also cost money 🙂  Here is their “Tips for International Registration.”

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General Record Exam (GRE)

The GRE is a basic graduate school entrance exam used largely for all majors not including Medicine, Business, and Law. So basically all arts and sciences. It’s definitely the most popular and the most commonly taken exam of the lot. Schools accepting the GRE internationally

Format (as of 2016-2017) – the GRE has three separate parts (Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, and Analytical Writing). The Verbal Reasoning portion is split into Reading Comprehension (read the essay and answer questions about it), Text Completion (fill in the blank), and “Sentence Equivalence (word definitions –  can you put in the correct word).  The Quantitative Reasoning portion is mostly math and logic questions.  The Analytical Writing asks you to write an essay response to a question they give you.

Notes: Unlike the GMAT or computer-based GRE in the US, the GRE internationally is usually the “paper format.” Meaning you have to sign up for a specific date (often only a few times a year) to go take the test in hand-written form. Then, because scores are not calculated online, you will have to wait for your scores (as much as 4-6 weeks later).  SO TIMING IS IMPORTANT!

Cost: $205 (or $220 in China – why, I don’t know.)

Next Date: February 4, 2017 (Register by December 23, 2016 or pay a late fee).

List of International Locations where the Paper-based General GRE is offered. **To Register for International Locations, you probably need to look for testing centers and dates under the “paper version.”

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Law School Admissions Test (LSAT)

The LSAT is the graduate school entrance exam used students entering Law Schools. 

Format (as of 2016-2017) – the LSAT has five separate parts (Reading Comprehension, Analytical Reasoning, two Logical Reasoning sections, and a Writing portion). Reading Comprehension asks you to analyze essays or paragraphs you read for meaning, complete thoughts, etc. Tests your ability to analyze, understand, and apply what you read to other information. The Analytical Reasoning portion is what many of us call the “logic” portion. It’s like those old games you used to play (M is married to S. S is not married to T or J. X married on Tuesday but is not married to T. Who married who and when). The Logical Reasoning parts provide you with information and asks you to analyze what you read and draw conclusions, explain, or provide the logical theory underlying what you read. The Writing asks you to write an essay response to a question they give you.

Notes: Most schools want you to take the exam before December, in order to get your scores on time.

Cost: $180. (If you are applying to a US school, you’ll probably also buy the CAS paperwork compilation system which is $175).  

Next Date: Varies significantly by country and region. 

List of International Locations where the LSAT is offered. **Some countries only offer the exam on certain days, not all of them. 

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Medical College Admission Test (MCAT)

The MCAT is the graduate school entrance exam used for Medicine programs. 

Format (as of 2016-2017) – the MCAT has four separate parts. The Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems portion tests biology, organic chemistry, and inorganic chemistry. The Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems tests biology, inorganic and organic chemistry, and physics. Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior Systems  will test psychology, sociology, and biology as it relates to sociological threats to heath. Critical Analysis and Reasoning portion is basically a Reading Comprehension section.  Mixed within the first three parts will be questions testing you on specific Scientific Inquiry and Reasoning Skills 

Notes: 

Cost: $310 (goes up to $365 about 1-2 weeks before the exam). Applicants at international locations must pay an extra $100 no matter what.

Next Date: January 19, 2017 (Often vary by country).

List of International Locations where the Paper-based General GRE is offered. **To Register for International Locations,follow the same instructions as domestic registrations. Make an account on the AAMC website first.

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General Management Achievement Test (GMAT)

The GMAT is a graduate school entrance exam used largely Business Schools. Some MBA programs accept the GRE in lieu of the GMAT, but not all. 

Format (as of 2016-2017) – The GMAT has four parts (Integrated Reasoning, Quantitative, Verbal, and Analytical Writing). The Analytical Writing asks you to write an essay analytical response to a question they give you.The Integrated Reasoning will provide with a set of information and data. Then you will be asked a serious of questions based on that info analyzing your ability to evaluate, comprehend, and utilize it.  The Quantitative is similar but focuses on math and logic. You might be given a set of facts and then you are asked to find the truth that fits all those facts. The Verbal Reasoning tests you ability to correct sentences, answer reading comprehension questions, analyze and answer questions using what you read. 

Cost: $250  (+VAT – depending on Country)

Next Date: You Choose.  Each testing location and country will have different exams. Rather than the ACT, SAT, etc where a bunch of people take it together in a testing scenario, the GMAT and computer-based GRE are more individual. You must first choose your testing location. Then look at the dates and times available at that center.

List of International Locations where the GMAT is offered. **Each country has specific requirements and taxes they will apply. You need to read the “country-specific instructions” before applying.

Couldn’t Study Abroad? Some Companies Offer Work Abroad Options

“Couldn’t Study Abroad? Some Companies Offer Work Abroad Options”

By Terri Williams via “GoodCall”

Couldn’t Study Abroad? Some Companies Offer Work Abroad Options

Studying abroad may sound like the thrill of a lifetime, but it can be an unattainable goal for many college students faced with rising higher education costs and already facing massive student loan debt. However, some college grads may still be able to pursue their dream of traveling the world without incurring more debt thanks to employers that embrace working abroad.

Some companies have offices in various locations around the world, and they pay employees to work on temporary projects or longer-term assignments in some pretty cool locations.

Pricewaterhouse Coopers

While PricewaterhouseCoopers, or PwC, may be best known for audits and taxes, the company provides a range of other services, including consulting and advising. Employees can take advantage of the Early PwC International Challenge known as EPIC. After working at PwC for about three years, employees who want to work abroad can choose a global destination where they will live during their two-year EPIC assignment. They have more than 30 options, including France, Germany, Italy, Ireland, Switzerland, South Africa, Singapore, and Norway.

General Electric

General Electric’s businesses range from lighting to renewable energy to transportation. Other GE branches include healthcare, digital, oil and gas, and power. Given that portfolio, employees have opportunities to work abroad in Argentina, Bulgaria, Denmark, Egypt, Kuwait, Malaysia, Sweden, Turkey and many of the other 170 countries in which GE has a presence.

IBM

Hardware, software, ATMs, bar codes, magnetic stripe cards, and IBM Watson are just some of IBM’s inventions. The company’s Global Business Services offers a Consulting by Degrees entry-level program. Students typically are assigned to globally integrated teams and deployed to locations in their home country. However, the potential exists for them to be assigned to short-term projects in the more than 170 countries in which the company has employees.

Deloitte

Spanning 150 countries, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited is a global network of firms providing services covering such areas as taxes, audits, consulting and advising, and mergers and acquisitions. International Mobility Programs are available for employees across the board, and Deloitte offers many types of options to work abroad, ranging from short-term work to international transfers.

Nestle

Covering brands such as Nestle Crunch, Butterfinger, Baby Ruth, Coffeemate, Haagen-Dazs, Stouffer’s, and Hot Pockets, Nestle is the largest food company in the world when measured by revenue. The Switzerland-based company has offices in hundreds of countries – including the U.S. – and offers two international programs. International auditors on the Group Audit team travel the world completing auditing projects. International Engineers are trained in Switzerland for four to six months and work their first two-to-three year assignment in another country before deciding if they want to continue this lifestyle or work locally. . . . .

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Opinion: Study abroad is not about being on vacation

“Study abroad is not about being on vacation”

by Molly McSweyn via “UPBeacon”

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I tossed over in bed, uncomfortable and although exhausted, unable to fully fall asleep. My phone sat beside me, vibrating from texts. I heard movement outside of my door, quick steps, and feet hitting the staircase. My frustration grew, knowing I had to be up in a few hours to drive to Slovenia for the weekend. I finally sat up, trying to see if my roommate was having trouble sleeping as well. She wasn’t in her bed. I quickly slipped on a sweatshirt and made my way downstairs.

Turning the corner into our living space I saw almost half of the people in my program huddled together around our TV. No one spoke, no one even saw me enter the room. They watched the shaky cameras, the nervous newscasters, the pictures of horrified people. They watched as Paris officials reported the numbers: 130 dead, hundreds wounded.

On Sept. 11, 2001, I was too young to understand the gravity of the situation when thousands of Americans were killed in the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. But at 20 years old, sitting among my peers and witnessing destruction in a city I had left just a week before, I understood. We sat for hours. Other than texting loved ones back home to reassure them that we weren’t in France anymore, we hardly spoke, but we sat together in solitude and shock.

As the night crept towards morning I asked the group I was supposed to travel with about Slovenia. If we were going to go we had to sleep, to get rest to wake up early. A few outright said they wouldn’t travel. A couple more said their parents didn’t want them to go. And the others just seemed confused about a course of action. We ultimately decided to cancel and all retreated to our beds.

But again, I tossed and turned. I thought of sitting beneath the Eiffel Tower, swaying in a hammock and eating lavender macaroons. I thought of sipping a Moscow Mule and dancing until 2 a.m. in a nightclub off of the Champs Elysees. I thought of the Louvre, the crepes and the winding streets. And I thought of the horrendous loss of 130 people.

But I also thought of fear. I thought of terrorism, a term that had always brought to mind images of dark rooms, closed doors, and hatred. And I thought of the goal of the people who had just torn through Paris. A terrorist’s goal is to terrorize and by not traveling we were allowing them, in some ways, to win.

I spent over five more months in Europe traveling to countless countries with my friends and experiencing some of the most incredible moments of my life. Study abroad is so much more than country hopping, pub-crawls and voluntourism. Study abroad is not just about being on vacation.

The terrorism did not end in Paris. It spread to the tourism hotspots of Belgium and Istanbul and continues daily throughout the Middle East. At times, I wondered about our safety as students abroad. We live in a world where I cannot make my way through a full day without hearing about another death or attack or bombing, stretching around the entire world. I am not saying we have to abandon caution or rational action, but we must find a balance. We must find a middle line to walk, between safety and living life to the fullest without letting fear inhibit us. . . . . .

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International crises heighten study-abroad awareness

“International crises heighten study-abroad awareness”

by Vanessa Miller via “The Gazette

Today, it’s Belgium. Before, it was France.

There also is Brazil, where the Zika virus is rampant. And tomorrow could bring an earthquake, tsunami or hurricane somewhere else.

The drumbeat of terror attacks, health risks and natural disaster crises around the world has directors of growing university study-abroad programs continually monitoring international security updates and advisories. Program heads on Iowa’s campuses were paying attention Tuesday, for example, when news broke of more terror attacks — this time in Brussels.

None of Iowa’s three public universities have students studying abroad in Belgium right now, but Iowa State University — for one — has an exchange program planned there in spring 2017. ISU’s study abroad director, Trevor Nelson, said he doesn’t foresee Tuesday’s attacks derailing that program.

“But we have to monitor the situation and make the best determination about whether you are putting students in harm’s way,” he said. “At this point, I don’t believe we are in a position to put that program on hold.”

Nelson said study abroad programs these days have to be “more diligent in terms of monitoring what is happening in other parts of the world.” But, he said, that’s not necessarily indicative of a more dangerous international study environment.

Rather, he credited it — among other things — to a rise in students taking advantage of the opportunity.

“It’s partly a facet of the number of students who are now studying abroad,” he said. “And they are going to every continent.”

When Nelson started as the ISU study abroad director 25 years ago, about 200 students were involved. In the 2015 budget year, ISU sent 1,633 students oversees through a variety of study programs to every continent including Antarctica.

“And the type of students who are studying abroad has changed as well,” he said. “Twenty-five years ago, those who went on semester long programs tended to be self-starters and more independent and resilient than today.” . . . .

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Colleges With the Most Students Who Study Abroad

“Colleges With the Most Students Who Study Abroad”

by Delece Smith-Barrow via “US News

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The U.S. News Short List, separate from our overall rankings, is a regular series that magnifies individual data points in hopes of providing students and parents a way to find which undergraduate or graduate programs excel or have room to grow in specific areas. Be sure to explore The Short List: College, The Short List: Grad School and The Short List: Online Programs to find data that matter to you in your college or graduate school search.

More U.S. college students are packing their bags and heading abroad to complete some of their undergrad degree requirements.

The number of students studying abroad for credit during the 2013-2014 academic year grew 5.2 percent from the previous year, topping 300,000, according to NAFSA: Association of International Educators.

Studying overseas can be a great way to complete college coursework while also learning a new language and experiencing a different culture. At some schools, almost every undergrad studies abroad.

[See the 10 top destinations for U.S. students studying abroad.]

Goucher College in Maryland and Soka University of America in California, for example, require students to spend time overseas. At both of these schools, 100 percent of 2014 graduates studied abroad – the highest percentage among the 321 colleges and universities that submitted data to U.S. News in an annual survey.

Among the 12 schools where the highest percentage of students studied abroad, 10 are National Liberal Arts Colleges. These institutions emphasize undergraduate education and award at least half of their degrees in the liberal arts fields.

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Rich students ‘five times more likely to study abroad’

“Rich students ‘five times more likely to study abroad’”

by Chris Havergal via “TIME’s Higher Education

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Undergraduates from the most affluent families are up to five times more likely to go abroad as part of their degree than less privileged students, a new study says.

Around one in 13 undergraduates (7.9 per cent) who graduated in 2013-14 and were from higher managerial and professional backgrounds went overseas to study, work or volunteer during their course, according to analysis of the Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education survey, compared with just 1.6 per cent of those whose parents were long-term unemployed.

The UK Higher Education International Unit, which conducted the research, found that the aggregated mobility rate for students from more disadvantaged backgrounds was 3.4 per cent, compared with the overall mean of 5.4 per cent.

There were also significant differences in participation by gender and by ethnicity. Female students were two and a half times more likely to go abroad than their male counterparts, and white undergraduates were around twice as likely to go abroad as their black and Asian peers.

These differences largely disappeared when language students, who account for 38 per cent of all international trips, were discounted.

However, the under-representation of students from less privileged backgrounds, and of black men, was unaffected.

The International Unit said the findings were concerning because, according to its analysis, students from disadvantaged backgrounds were among those who stood to gain the most from going abroad.

Five per cent of students from disadvantaged families who had an international experience were unemployed six months after graduation, compared with 6.2 per cent of less privileged students who did not go overseas, DLHE returns show.

 

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What is it like to study abroad for a semester at Sotheby’s Institute in London?

” What is it like to study abroad for a semester at Sotheby’s Institute in London?”

by Robin Klaus via “Sotheby’s Institute of Art

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When I first considered studying abroad, the options were endless. My university offered countless programs in countries all over the world, and each one promised an exciting and life-changing experience. As an art history major pursuing a curatorial career, however, nothing fit quite right — until I found Sotheby’s Institute of Art.

The Institute offers many courses for the art-attuned, but I found the Art Museums, Galleries, and Curating 15-week program unique in the scope of its content and the intensity of its experiential approach. As the title suggests we explored the history of collecting, traditions of museum practice, the myriad roles of a curator, and the functions of modern art museums and galleries within these contexts. The ways in which the course exceeded my expectations made for a world-class educational experience. During the more than sixty visits to London art museums and galleries, we went behind-the-scenes and discovered every conceivable profession therein; from conservation scientists to intellectual property lawyers and everything in between. No art museum-related stone was left unturned.

Robin getting to grips with a teddy bear during a special handling session at the V&A Museum in London

“During the more than sixty visits to London art museums and galleries… no art museum-related stone was left unturned”

With a new field-visit almost every day (and sometimes more than one!), the ‘Art Museums, Galleries, and Curating’ course was also an in-depth introduction to the London art scene — a sizable task, considering London remains a booming center of the international art world. We experienced blockbuster exhibitions at national institutions, enjoyed private tours at pint-sized galleries, and even walked the streets of trendier neighborhoods to soak up the street art. Each visit and viewing experience was enhanced by our learned lens of museum methodology, theory, and historical tradition — a facet of the course that left us acutely aware of our own role in the trajectory of art museum practice. . . . .

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