Definitions of Admission Tests



In some countries – especially the US – standardized academic admission tests and study aptitude tests are widespread. Applicants must complete these tests in advance and submit the respective results with the other application documents. The university then uses the test results as one of several criteria for deciding on admission to study.

Academic admission tests for the Bachelor area

Academic admission tests play an important role, especially when applying for a bachelor’s degree at US universities and colleges. One of the reasons for this is that the study system in the USA is very heterogeneous.

There are strong fluctuations in quality between the individual high schools and school districts and at the same time there is no centrally prescribed national final examination in the USA.

As the school qualifications obtained are difficult to compare for this reason, standardized academic admission tests such as the SAT and ACT should take on this function. They are therefore an important selection criterion for US universities.

Academic admission tests for the Masters area

The US universities often require aptitude or admission tests for applications to advanced courses such as the Masters. In addition to the interdisciplinary GRE defined on whicheverhealth, there are some other subject-specific academic admission tests that regulate access to a master’s degree in certain subject areas:

  • GMAT for subjects in the field of economics
  • LSAT for law
  • MCAT for medicine

These academic admission tests are also about being able to better assess and compare the skills of the applicants and their suitability for the respective course of study. Courses such as the MBA, the LLM or studying at the Medical School are open to applicants with very different professional backgrounds. The academic admission tests set the standards by which the universities can assess applicants.

Most of these tests are almost exclusively required by US universities. Only the GMAT has established itself as the central academic admission test for MBA courses at business schools and universities around the world. You will find detailed information on the individual important study aptitude and admission tests on the following pages.



Successful completion of a language test is a prerequisite for an application at most foreign universities. Most language tests and language certificates for studying abroad are standardized and the assessment is based on points or levels. The minimum number of points required is different at each university, although the requirements generally increase with the level of study.

For master’s courses and doctoral programs, a higher language level must therefore often be proven than for bachelor’s courses.

At some universities, the language tests and language certificates for studying abroad also differ depending on the subject area: After all, there are courses in which dealing with language plays an important role. This is the case, for example, with the linguistic and social sciences, but also with law. In the engineering and natural sciences, on the other hand, universities often only require basic knowledge.

For the English language, the TOEFL and the IELTS are the most common tests. Many universities also accept the CAE and CPE language certificates from the Cambridge English Language Assessment as proof of language proficiency.

For semester stays, the DAAD language certificate is often sufficient as proof. Most German universities and technical colleges issue this. Some universities also accept alternative certificates that show the language level using the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages.

For a full study at Spanish-speaking universities, international applicants usually have to take the DELE exam.

Due to the different requirements, it is always advisable to find out more before applying:

  • Which language test do I have to take?
  • Are there any possible alternatives?
  • What is the minimum number of points / level I have to achieve?
  • How is the test actually structured and how can I optimally prepare for it?

On the following pages you will find detailed information on the most important language tests and language certificates for studying abroad.