Exams to Study in Singapore: IELTS, TOEFL, PTE, Aptitude Test and Pathway Programs

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    Recognized as a top-tier educational hub in Asia, Singapore promises an exciting student life to international citizens. Those who want to study here must do proper research in order to decide which university and program to choose and then appear for exams required to study in Singapore. Although most international students prefer to do MBA in Singapore, there are good options available for undergraduate students too. It is imperative that prospective students check the entry requirements to various courses, most of which is discussed in this article, before they apply to singapore universities.

    English Language Tests to Study in Singapore

    Singapore offers higher education programs that meet international standards, so most university programs have English as the medium of instruction. Therefore, you must provide proof of being proficient in English, through tests or certificates. You will be exempted from English language exams to study in Singapore if you have done 12 years of school education in India in English medium. If you have completed your education in any other language, you may write an exam like IELTS, TOEFL, etc. The English test requirements at the top universities in Singapore are tabulated below.

    University IELTS Score TOEFL iBT Score PTE Academic Score
    National University of Singapore 6.5 92 62
    Nanyang Technological University 6.0 - 6.5 90-100 55
    Singapore Management University 6.5 - 7.0 90-93 N/A
    Singapore Institute of Management 6.0 79-92 46-57
    Singapore University of Social Sciences 6.5 85 58

    IELTS (International English Language Testing System)

    IELTS Academic is the most widely accepted exam to study Singapore. The exam contains the sections Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking, and the candidate will be scored in each section as well as on an overall average. This IELTS score is valid for two years, beyond which period Singapore universities do not accept it. The exam fee is INR 14,000, and you are expected to get a score of 6.5 in order to get admission to the top Singapore universities.

    TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language)

    Taken to be the near equal of IELTS, TOEFL is also accepted by higher education institutions in Singapore. It tests students in Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking for a cost of INR 13,617. TOEFL iBT is the most popular type of TOEFL, the others being PBT and CBT. CBT has been discontinued while PBT (now PDT) is available at centres where there is limited internet access. Singapore universities ask for a TOEFL iBT score of 85-100 on 120.

    PTE (Pearson Test of English)

    PTE is a very convenient English proficiency test, as it is entirely computer-based and there are nearly 350 PTE test centres all around the world. You can get the results without much delay, in around 48 hours, and send the scores directly to any number of universities of choice. PTE Academic is usually written for admission to universities, and it costs INR 13,300. Singapore institutions set PTE score cutoffs as 56-66.

    MUET (Malaysian University English Test)

    Although primarily an English test taken to study in Malaysia, MUET is accepted as proof of language proficiency even in Singapore. Instead of marks, students are awarded bands, from 1 to 6. On an average, Singapore universities ask for a Band 3. This test is much cheaper than the others, the exam fee being only INR 1,812, and the score has a validity of 5 years. However, there are not many accessible test centres for Indian students to take this exam, so it is advisable to go for any of the other tests mentioned above.

    Aptitude Tests to Study in Singapore

    Some courses have entry requirements specific to the main area of study, whether it be mathematics, science, or reasoning. There are different exams to study in Singapre for undergraduate and postgraduate programs.

    SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test)

    SAT is a standardized test conducted to study in the USA, but its scores are accepted by universities in Singapore. SAT has four sections in Reading, Writing, and Math, but the scores are divided into two sections. The Evidence-based Reading and Writing score is often used as proof of language proficiency while the Math score is used as proof of subject aptitude. Although SAT scores are optional, Singapore universities sometimes favour students who are found to have high aptitude in the exam. It costs INR 3,618 to write the exam

    ACT (American College Testing)

    ACT is an American test as well, and can be optionally submitted to Singapore universities. Four sections - English, Maths, Reading and Science - can be taken for a fee of INR 7,700. Different programs ask for different section cutoffs depending on the area of study. ACT scores may make your application attractive to institutions in Singapore.

    GRE (Graduate Record Examinations) (h3)

    GRE has two types of exams - the GRE General Test and the GRE Subject Tests. The former is quite important for admission to programs in management and law, while the latter is available for programs like science and literature. The verbal and quantitative sections of the GRE General Test are taken into consideration at top business schools in Singapore, who set an average cutoff score of 300. The exam fee is INR 15,678.

    GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test)

    Similar to GRE, GMAT is an admission test required for entry into graduate programs. However, GMAT is specifically meant for management courses and not any other subjects. A three-hour exam consisting of four sections, GMAT costs INR 18,300 to take. This exam is necessary if you plan to do an MBA in Singapore, with universities in Singapore asking for a GMAT score of around 650.

    Entrance Exams to Study in Singapore

    In addition to the following exams, a number of universities in Singapore take their own entrance exams for admission. For example, NUS has a University Entrance Examination (UEE) to select candidates for its undergraduate programs. First, candidates will be shortlisted based on their minimum qualifications, and then they will be required to take the UEE. Similarly, many other universities have their own exams to study in Singapore in addition to the main selection criteria.

    UEE (University Entrance Examinations)

    UEE is an aptitude exam conducted by individual universities for students joining UG programs. Not all students are required to take UEE. The syllabus and structure of the exam vary between institutions, as does the examination date, hence candidates are requested to consult the specific university website for more information. UEE for the year 2021 has been suspended at many universities due to Covid-19 restrictions.

    Foundation Programs

    These are pre-university programmes designed by universities to give an entry point for university aspirants who desire to study a certain program but lack the necessary qualifications to do so. In other words, it fills the gap or, to put it another way, it is a road to bridge the gap between the required qualification for that course and your current qualification. A range of fundamental subjects will be taught in this foundation course to enhance their general understanding and expertise, as well as elective courses to specialise in the field of study that the student will pursue.

    • A few universities also provide English courses for students whose English skills aren't up to the mark.  
    •  James Cook University, for example, demands an IELTS score of 5.5. If you don't have that, you'll need to enrol in the JCU Singapore English Language Preparatory Program (ELPP) level 2 instead.
    • Similarly, before enrolling in a program, Singapore University of Social Sciences needs applicants to have taken a Language Proficiency Exam such as the IELTS, TOEFL, CAP, and others.
    • If students do not pass the University's English exam, they will be required to attend four Language Enhancement Courses (LECs) per term of the course they are enrolled in.

    If you do not meet the entry requirements to Singapore universities, you have the option of doing Foundation or Preparatory programs, including English Language Preparatory Programs. These are usually available at the Singapore university where you are seeking admission, so you can join a Foundation course as per their recommendation. It also helps to keep track of the admission deadlines to Singapore universities, so that you fulfill entry requirements much before submitting the application.


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