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.
A Japanese maglev train has set a new world record speed of 603 kilometers per hour. (NHK)
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe sent a ritual offering on Tuesday to Tokyo's war-linked Yasukuni Shrine, which has been a source of diplomatic friction between Japan and several of its Asian neighbors. (Kyodo)
Wrong and inappropriate names had temporarily appeared on Google Maps for the Imperial Palace, Tokyo's Metropolitan Police Department and many other places in Japan, it was learned Monday. (Jiji Press)
Looking chipper, Paul McCartney arrived at Kansai International Airport here in a chartered plane on the morning of April 20 for the first time since the ex-Beatle canceled his entire Japan tour in May 2014 because of illness. (Asahi)
The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) is planning to attempt Japan's first lunar landing in fiscal 2018, sources close to the project said Sunday. (Japan Times)
A teacher who buried five newborn kittens, four of which were still alive, on school grounds in Funabashi, Chiba Prefecture, has been charged with violating the law on welfare and management of animals. (Japan Today)
Tokyo metropolitan government officials use nets to catch mosquitoes Monday at Yoyogi Park in Shibuya Ward, Tokyo, to check whether they have dengue fever virus. (The Japan News)
Police in Kawasaki, Kanagawa Prefecture, have arrested a 32-year-old man on suspicion of strangling to death his 32-year-old girlfriend. (Japan Today)
A man broke into an unattended "koban" (police box) at JR Odawara Station in Kanagawa Prefecture on Sunday night and smashed windows before mutilating both his cheeks with a knife, police said Monday. (Japan Today)
A lesbian couple held a symbolic wedding ceremony Sunday as calls grow to legalize same-sex marriage. (Japan Times)
Tokyo Metropolitan Police arrested a boss of the Yamaguchi-gumi organized crime group for the repeated extortion of a 49-year-old IT executive, reports the Sankei Shimbun. (Tokyo Reporter)
Police in Tokyo's Shinjuku Ward said Saturday they have arrested a 21-year-old university student on suspicion of molesting a 9-year-old girl. (Japan Today)
Police in Tatebayashi, Gunma Prefecture, are investigating the murder of an 84-year-old woman whose body was found in the Tatara River on April 15. She had a plastic bag over her head and a scarf pulled tightly around her neck when she was found. (Japan Today)
Investigators have found 7.85 million passwords, credit card numbers and other pieces of stolen personal information on an Internet server seized last year from a Tokyo-based firm that provided proxy servers for Chinese users, Tokyo police said Friday. (Japan Times)
Time magazine has named two Japanese among its list of the world's 100 most influential people of 2015: novelist Haruki Murakami and Marie Kondo, an organizing consultant whose book introducing her art of tidying up became a best-seller. (NHK)