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Aiming for Foreign Universities? Time to start is NOW!


A lot of us dream about completing our Masters from a well reputed Foreign university. While the current Corona situation has put temporary breaks on the aspirations, sway and motivation of getting into one of the top universities in the world still remains. So how do you prepare? Read on to find out!


Yuti Kadakia

MS in Electrical Engineering, University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC)

A lot of us dream about completing our Masters from a well reputed Foreign university. While the current Corona situation has put temporary breaks on the aspirations, sway and motivation of getting into one of the top universities in the world still remains. Though the Ivy League colleges holds their own unique sway, there are prestigious colleges all over the world that can give you an amazing start to your career. Here are tips on preparing for two of the most used exams in these foreign universities, GRE & TOEFL, from someone who has nailed them both.

So, starting with the GRE Preparation. Please keep in mind that if you want to do well, the time to give for preparations is totally on you! I would suggest at least 6-8 months assuming you study about 2-3 hours a day.

When you research online, you will get mixed reactions from Reddit or Quora on whether you should take classes or not. I would suggest just one thing. If you are a person who can make time for your studies, you DO NOT need GRE coaching classes. Trust me, Youtube has amazing coaching videos for Verbal and Quant. But, if you feel you need some sort of a timetable as such, then coaching classes should be something to think about. But it can be costly. However, most of the material you would need can be found online! 

Coming to quick tips on how to study:

First, get the LATEST version of the ETS book. It is super helpful. 

Second, prepare for both Quant and Verbal side by side. Quant (the math section) is usually easier as compared to Verbal for most students. When it comes to Verbal, please do NOT sit and learn thousands and thousands of words because you WILL NOT BE able to finish the entire Oxford Dictionary! You may learn 15000 words, but GRE or even TOEFL/IELTS might just throw completely different words in the exam.

There are many vocabulary building apps available on Playstore and are completely free. Explore them and use them! There is GRE Vocabulary Flashcards (Magoosh, Barron’s, XPlatform), Ready4 GRE(Prep 4 GRE), etc. There are high chances that you might find Quant Section confusing primarily because of the English used in framing the questions. Hence, getting a basic understanding of Verbal Section is a must.

Third, every GRE website will offer you one free exam that you can take. So, you need not pay for all these sites! 2 exams from ETS (please take them once you are halfway done) and about one or two exams from 9/10 sites. In total, you can easily get about 14/15 practice tests.

Coming to TOEFL (that is what I gave for my MS since I wanted to go to US), I would suggest giving TOEFL after your GRE. GRE scores are valid for 5 years, but TOEFL is not! Only once you feel your GRE score can take you somewhere, is when you should give TOEFL. While it is of course, easier than GRE, it has a Speaking section. Make sure you practice for it. TOEFL does not care about big words when you speak or write, it is more focused on sentence formation, punctuations where necessary and your fluency in English.

This goes for all exams, please DO NOT use big words in your essays or when you try to speak if you do not know what they mean! Cause if you pronounce or spell it wrong, it could cost you marks!

These are some of the tips I used when preparing and they actually helped me prepare well without wasting any unnecessary money. Up in the next article, I will give you some insights and tips on how you can prepare for the actual college admission process in the easiest way. Till then, Stay Tuned!!

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