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.
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says from next spring he will designate special local zones where the government promotes deregulation and supports regional economic revival. (NHK)
A researcher embroiled in a fabrication scandal that has rocked Japan's scientific establishment said Friday she would resign after failing to reproduce results of what was once billed as a ground-breaking study on stem cells. (Japan Today)
The first filling station in the Kanto area for fuel cell cars that run on compressed hydrogen gas opened in Tokyo's Nerima Ward on Thursday. (Japan Today)
Financial assets held by Japanese households rose to a record high at the end of September. (NHK)
The Japanese Bankers Association said Thursday the banking industry will launch a settlement system to allow instant fund transfers between banks 24 hours a day all year round in Japan from 2018. (Jiji Press)
The Tokyo Metropolitan Police plan to limit pedestrian access to Shibuya's famous scramble crossing to avoid trouble from rowdy revelers on New Year's Eve. (Japan Today)
The Osaka District Court has ruled that Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto's order to check whether municipal office workers had tattoos was illegal and constituted an invasion of privacy. (Japan Today)
The Chiba Public Safety Commission has banned a 29-year-old man from Matsudo, Chiba Prefecture, from riding a bicycle for 90 days, after he was found guilty of cycling under the influence of "kiken" quasi-legal drugs. (Japan Times)
Police in Nara said Wednesday they have arrested a public school teacher for intruding into the bedroom of a woman who lives in the same apartment building as he does. (Japan Today)
Police in Matsuyama, Ehime Prefecture, said Wednesday that a 37-year-old woman was found dead with knife wounds to her neck in her apartment on Tuesday night. (Japan Today)
A Dallas-bound American Airlines jet coming from South Korea made an emergency landing in Japan early Wednesday after encountering turbulence. At least 12 people on board the plane were injured. (NHK)
A couple in their 80s were stabbed by an intruder in their home in Maebashi, Gunma Prefecture, on Tuesday morning. (Japan Today)
Nineteen employees of Tokyo Metro Co are facing disciplinary action after they colluded to falsify mandatory alcohol tests. (Japan Today)
Heavy snow caused a power outage along parts of the Joetsu Shinkansen Line for about six hours on Sunday morning, leaving some 300 passengers trapped in a bullet train for 2½ hours near the mountainous southern border of Niigata Prefecture. (Japan Times)
From relative obscurity only two years ago, to doing various concerts around the world in 2014, the presence of BABYMETAL has been sudden, if not shocking. (Japan Today)