A student seeking to study at a graduate school in the United States must take two sets of test - the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and the Graduate Record Examination (GRE).
The GRE consists of three sections: analytical writing, verbal (assessing comprehension, critical reasoning and vocabulary usage in English) and quantitative (assessing basic-level math knowledge and reasoning skills).
The GRE is required of both American and foreign students, and those from outside the U.S. will need to achieve high scores in the analytical writing and quantitative sections because they cannot expect to do equally as well as Americans in the English-language verbal section.
Students from India, where English is almost a mother tongue, naturally do well in TOEFL and score high grades in the English verbal section of the GRE, compared with Americans. Those from countries like China and South Korea study so hard that they, too, get high marks in both TOEFL and the GRE.
Many Japanese university students do quite poorly in both TOEFL and the GRE, perhaps because the English language is taught in Japan primarily to pass university entrance examinations - a way that is not beneficial when it comes to taking TOEFL. The average TOEFL scores of students from 30 Asian countries show that Japan ranked 27th, with only Laos, Tajikistan and Cambodia trailing behind.
Lately the Japanese government appears to have sensed a crisis over the decline in the number of both foreign students coming to this country and Japanese students going abroad for study.
The death toll from Japan's volcanic eruption rose to 48 on Wednesday, the worst in 88 years, after more victims were discovered on the ash-covered summit. (Reuters)
A Japanese man who allegedly kicked a fellow diner to death in a fight over seats in a ramen eatery calmly returned to his food as the other man lay dying, media reported Tuesday. (Japan Today)
Japanese swimmer Naoya Tomita was given the green light Tuesday to leave South Korea after paying a one million won ($950) fine for stealing a journalist's camera during the Asian Games. (Japan Today)
Of a total of 110 active volcanoes in the nation, the Japan Meteorological Agency's Coordinating Committee for Predictions of Volcanic Eruption identified 47 volcanoes in June 2009 that have the possibility of eruption within about a century and therefore need stronger surveillance and supervision. (The Japan News)
Police in Ichihara, Chiba Prefecture, said Tuesday they have arrested a 37-year-old man for kidnapping and assaulting a 12-year-old boy. (Japan Today)
Tokai Mayor Osamu Yamada joined others in prayer Tuesday for the victims of a criticality accident at a nuclear fuel processing facility in Tokai village 15 years ago. (The Japan News)
Lava bombs that rained down in the immediate aftermath of the eruption on Mount Ontakesan likely killed many of the climbers who were trapped in the disaster, according to experts. (Asahi)
Tokyo Metropolitan Police last week raided a cabaret in the Roppongi entertainment district for licensing violations, reports TV Asahi (Tokyo Reporter)
Saitama prefectural police said Monday that a 54-year-old police officer has been arrested after he assaulted two train station attendants. (Japan Today)
Japan's entertainment industry has become so filled with idol groups that some call this the age of the "idol war." (Japan Times)
Miranda Kerr was a Victoria's Secret model, and she teased us with just a hint of her bra while out in Paris earlier today. (mirror.co.uk)
A Japanese climber attempting to scale the world's eighth-highest peak slipped and was killed, becoming the first casualty of Nepal's autumn climbing season, an official said on Sept. 27. (Asahi)
Police in Tokyo said Saturday they have arrested a 24-year-old clerk at the Tokyo District Court and a 39-year-old employee of the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ on suspicion of molesting a woman in her 20s on the subway. (Japan Today)
Police in Kobe said Friday they have found a rucksack belonging to Mirei Ikuta, 6, in the apartment of the man being held on suspicion of abandoning her dismembered body. (Japan Today)
The summit of Mount Fuji for the first time has been successfully photographed in far-away Kyoto Prefecture, one of 20 prefectures where, given the right conditions, the mountaintop can be viewed. (Japan Times)