On the Day of TOEFL

TOEFL is one of the essential tests for pursuing higher education abroad especially in the USA. A test that assesses a student’s proficiency of academic English, TOEFL is one of the deciding factors for the university to admit a student as well as for the VISA procedure. Here is the brief overview of how to go about on the day when you take TOEFL.

Like GRE or GMAT your passport is your hall-ticket for TOEFL. Make sure that your passport is in order before you even register for the TOEFL test. You will NOT be permitted to give TOEFL without your passport. Be sure to reach the test centre well in advanced so you can well complete all the formalities beforehand. You will be asked to fill a form and then your seat will be allotted to you. This process takes a better part of 15-20 minutes therefore make sure well before time.

Unlike GRE you are allowed to carry your watch and water bottle with you so it is alright if you carry these items. TOEFL lasts for roughly four hours so it is important that you are refreshed and alert. Don’t stress your self. Keep a cool head and concentrate on your test. It may happen that while you are still on the listening section some students have already reached the speaking section so make sure that you don’t get distracted. Also many students around you may start speaking on the same time. This is the time where you have to really concentrate on your task and do not lose your focus.

TOEFL is a fairly easy test. Do not be nervous but on the other hand do not get overconfident as well. You may see some simple but tricky questions so it is very important that you are well aware of the test pattern and the types of questions asked. Do well and increase your chances of getting into a good University. All the very Best.

Getting into a Good University…

Whenever we talk about giving TOEFL or GRE or for that matter any other competitive exam, it is typical to feel tensed or nervous. But what is more important is just how we handle this stress. It is true that we have to score if not high, at least a decent score on these tests so as to increase our chances in getting admitted to a good university. But even after studying diligently we may still not score well. At such a time it is imperative to not get depressed or disheartened and instead try again with all the confidence and sincerity.

Moreover it is significant to understand that our test scores are not the only ones that decide our chances in getting into good universities. It is the entire package that the admission officers see and that in turn decides the ultimate outcome. For example if you are active in extra curricular activities throughout your academic career then that is an appealing facet of your personality as it shows that you have an insatiable interest of learning new things and are not just a bookworm. Thus it is this quality that helps you stand apart from the rest.

So even if you do get low test scores do not get depressed. Concentrate on how you can otherwise present yourself in an appealing light. But do remember that some universities do require a minimum score as their eligibility criteria, especially in TOEFL so do check out every university’s terms and conditions and also carefully scrutinize their course content. You may come across some variations which may ultimately decide your interest in that particular University. So be vigilant while deciding on the University in which you wish to pursue your education and also develop your personality as much as you can so as to befit your interest.

It is important to know that it is your uniqueness that ultimately increases your chances to get in the University of your choice. Overcome your weaknesses; acquire skills that truly draw out your personality. Show passion for what you want to learn for in the end it is your fervor and zeal to really gain knowledge that truly matters.

On the Day of the GRE

GRE is probably the first step towards your goal in getting into a good university. So it is understandable that you wish to score really high on your GRE. Memorizing the wordlists and practicing various types of sums indeed give you the kind of self-confidence and assurance that you need for cracking GRE successfully. So in the hope of giving you a peek in the actual GRE day, in this article I’ll talk about what you should do on the day of your GRE.

As you know it is in your hand to decide when to take your GRE. You are also given the choice of time when you would like to take the test. (Choose this time wisely as you may be more comfortable in the afternoon slot than in the morning or evening and so on.) It is advisable to reach the test centre at least 30 minutes in advance of the actual test time. This is so because as you enter the test centre you have to fill out the forms that will be given to you and this seriously consumes a lot of time. Once you are through with it be patient until your name is called and you are admitted into the adjoining examination hall.

Remember that you are not allowed to carry anything with you in the examination hall, not even water bottle or handkerchiefs which you have to leave in the locker you are provided with. Your passport is the only personal item that stays with you throughout the test. Remember that you are NOT allowed to give GRE without your passport. Make sure that your passport is in order before you register for your GRE.

While all these procedures are underway, remain calm and composed. Do not panic and moreover do not study at the last minute, it will only confuse you more. It is normal to feel nervous but don’t let your nervousness get the better of you. Remember that all the other candidates are also sailing in the same boat and are as stressed as you are. Just keep a cool head and if you have studied diligently then you will surely do well on the test.

So work hard ahead of time. Last minute preparations won’t help you. Practice from as many materials as you can but two days prior to the test only go through important stuff and revise your vocabulary. Score high and increase your chances of getting into the University of your choice. All the Best.


There recently has been a virtual stampede of foreign Universities offering various courses, which country or course would be advisable? Any specific courses which do or may command a great demand?

The answer is very simple, though slightly clichéd. It is always suggested that students utilize their years of education in India, not just to earn a degree but also to identify the field his/her interest lies in. It is far better to develop a clear focus about career goals (be it speech therapy or film technology) and work towards it, instead of trying to follow the market trend, because market trends never last forever. And there is nothing worse than being stuck with a non- lucrative career he or she has no aptitude or interest in.

As far as the selection of the country is concerned, any prospective student usually aims at working as a professional, even if for a limited period, in the country he/she plans to study in. One has to understand that each country has its own distinct advantage and disadvantage, so just as in life – the selection of the destination should be based upon the fact whether ones goals and expectations from a career perspective are in line with what the country has to offer.

For example an automobile engineer just looking an affluent lifestyle, without being too particular about his/her job profile may find Australia or New Zealand, with the promise of Permanent resident status an attractive destination. But not so for a career focused professional who is not willing to compromise on his/her job profile, and such a person may end up frustrated, because the primary requirements of these countries happen to be automobile mechanics and not automobile Engineers.

Thus proper enquiries should be made pertaining to work permit/visa/ immigration rules. Relevant exception clauses and possible scenarios must be analyzed to avoid future disappointments. A specifically important factor that should be taken into consideration is the consistency of the country pertaining to immigration and VISA rules (that is how often have they been changed/modified in the past few years) and whether it promises a long-term ability to absorb the number of international professionals landing on its shores.

A simple but effective way of choosing a destination and university is asking oneself as to how much weightage the university places on you as a student, that is whether the key factor in admission process happens to be the strength of your financial documents or your credentials as a student.

Understanding the TOEFL

TOEFL (Test of English as a foreign language) is a test that measures the English Speaking skills of the students whose native language is not English. The test is actually very easy and students can score high provided they have had enough practice beforehand. One of the most significant point that one has to remember in order to acquire a high TOEFL score is to understand the pattern of the test and that is only possible if the student has practiced and acquainted himself with the type of questions asked.

Although an easy test, it is important that one does not take TOEFL lightly. It is only through practice that one can give TOEFL confidently. TOEFL tests the student’s academic English i.e. it determines how well a student is likely to perform in the academic setup entirely different than that of his own. To assess the student, the TOEFL tests the student in its four sections- reading, listening, speaking and writing, so as to get a picture of the student’s command on English. It is important to know that unlike GRE, TOEFL is not a computer adaptive test and as such questions are same for all the candidates.

The duration of the test is roughly 4 hrs where the students have to first attempt the reading and listening sections followed by a ten minute break and then proceed to attempt the speaking and the writing sections. Many students face problems in the writing and speaking sections but again with ample practice beforehand one can definitely overcome one’s weaknesses.

Therefore it is most important to understand your weakness and working on it. For this purpose do plan your time and stick to the schedule. Remember it is only with hard work that you can crack the TOEFL successfully.

Basic principles to keep in mind while preparing for GRE.

Anyone wanting to study abroad is aware of what GRE is, it consists Verbal (Analogy, Antonyms, Sentence completion & Reading comprehension) Quantitative (Problem Solving & Quantitative Comparison) Essay – One Issue & One Argument.

Wordlist is what he will start with mugging up all the time, and then will start solving analogies or antonyms. The Basic rule for any thing is to read and understand what you are doing. Do a detail analysis of, study the subject well. How many of you have actually read the preface of the book? It is a very important part you must not miss reading before you go any further.

Get your diagnostic test done, so that you understand which your weak area is and work hard on that section. Because a diagnostic test will reveal on what section you should concentrate harder.
How many of you read the Direction of the specified section? No one!! Direction, my dear students are very important, because it tell you what is expected from you. So, try to understand it well. As mentioned in my earlier article too; do things in an organized manner go step by step. Make it a habit of always reading the direction first so that you become familiar with it, and during actual exam you don’t waste your valuable time in reading directions. Because by this time I am sure, you must have understood its importance.

Remember in GRE there is no RIGHT OR WRONG answer, it is the BEST ANSWER or SIMILAR TO or ANSWER CLOSEST to the Pair of words in capital letters. As Direction states, “pair of words with a relationship most similar to the relationship between the pair of words in capital letters.” Choose your best answer.

Learn your words starting with Roots Suffix & Prefix first. Buy a Thesaurus which has synonyms & antonyms listed after each word, and how the word is used in different contexts. Those who some foreign languages like Latin or Greek will benefit heavily because most GRE words come from these languages. If ever you don’t come to a proper answer choice then do an intelligent guess. As at times you can use the root or stem to dig up the meaning of an alien word.

All the Best.

A few more basic strategies to prepare for GRE

As mentioned in my earlier article one must keep in mind is your “TIME”; Keep a tab on your time, as how much time you are devoting per question. Don’t push yourself too hard on solving a particular question. You must have an approximate calculation of time devoted to per question. Don’t focus only on one question as you might lose your valuable time in solving other questions which you could solve quickly with ease.

The GRE is not just solving answers correctly but also how well you can perform under pressure. It is important to get the first few questions correct as it would increase your score considerable and affect your overall score, for the first few (13-15 Questions) you could give importance of time. As getting those correct will have striking affect on your score.

Coming down to choosing from the given answer choices you have to choose the BEST answer. Remember in GRE there is NO CORRECT answer, it is always the Best OR the Closest Best answer. Use the elimination method, eliminate your answer wisely, read each choice carefully before eliminating it. Read all answer choices before you start eliminating. Don’t leave any question without answering; you don’t have negative marking in GRE.

I have students scoring 1350-1450 in mock exams but screwing in main exam all because they were stressed, studying round the clock, without a break ( including performance pressure from parents & friends as well) . It is important to RELAX before exam. Stop giving any sort of test at least 2 days prior to GRE Exam. If you are giving any test, and you are getting good score at start but as the exam nears due to peer pressure to perform it starts affecting your score and your scores start diminishing resulting in low moral and thinking what if my score goes down in main exam? Why not look at the positive side if relaxing would increase my performance potential. Why not relax? Go have fun, go watch movie, hang out with friends. Take enough sleep, because if you are not relaxed it will affect your score. Trust me! It certainly does affect your score dramatically.

On the day of exam have a light breakfast, leave early to be on time , wear clothes in which you are comfortable the most, remember you are going for exam & not for an interview or a fashion show; so, relax. Do not panic or get stressed; keep your head cool all through the exam.

GRE MOCK TESTS: The practice matches before the final match.

‘Practice tests’ or ‘Mock tests’ as we may call it, are one of the most important part of a GRE exam preparation, in fact it’s the most important part of most of the other examinations too, but it highly depends on the quality of the tests available. Being an engineer, I’ll give only engineering examples; of course they might be applicable for others. The ‘term-tests’ which we have are not in par with the final exams and hence, unanimously neglected. The fact of the matter is you’ve got excellent CD-tests for GRE, so in the words of Dumbledore “Use it well”.

As the greats say “Play every Practice match as if it were a Final, and play every Final as if it were a Practice match”.

On the same lines “Attempt every mock test as if it is your final exam, and attempt every final exam as if it is your mock test”.{Note: In the above sentence the term ‘every final exam’ is used to maintain the rhythm, only one final GRE exam is what everybody wants}

Hence, complete concentration is expected during mock tests. Don’t take them lightly; switch off your mobile phones & No music.Now, planning mock tests should be done while taking the GRE date. Ideally you should start your tests 20 days before the exam. How many tests? 8 is a good number, but it depends on you, your preparation and the number of days you have in hand. Finish all your mock tests, at-least 3-4 days before your exam. Keep a day or two between every test. Work on your weaknesses. For that a detailed review should be done after every test. Note the kind of mistakes you make, clear all your doubts before giving the next test. Remember how disappointed you are in Sehwag when he gets out in the same fashion in consecutive matches. Don’t repeat your mistakes. Eventually, you’ll run out of mistakes, and you’ll improve your scores.

Also, see to it that one low score never discourages you and one high score doesn’t lift your feet off the ground. You never know everything. ‘Over/Under’ confidence doesn’t help. In the end, fighting spirit is what counts. Giving up is for losers. Let me end this before it gets too filmy. Topic is open for discussion.



Scoring well in GRE is not a difficult task, if you study in a systematic way.
You need to have complete understanding about the exam, in order to get good score; generally many students get low scores on tests because they don’t take time to read the directions before answering the questions. Make sure you got the complete understanding of the question before answering it.

Spend more time on the starting questions, because these questions have bigger effect on your score than the questions at the end.You do not have negative marking for wrong answers in GRE, so never leave answers blank, In the middle of the GRE Test if you get stuck on any one question or if you are not sure about the answer of a question then go on eliminating the answers using educated guess,it narrows down your guess to two options sometimes one.

The test takers will be providing you scratch paper ,so use it for those problems in which you are getting stuck . sketch those problems in which you are having problem to get an clear view of the question.Don’t stick to one question for too long. If you fail to answer that particular question after giving maximum time it will have a negative effect on the remaining questions from test and it can reduce your chances of good score. Always keep your eye on the clock, so see that you complete the test in time to avoid penalties.

Make sure that you reach the test center at least 30 minutes before the exam schedule with your passport and other required things. Some GRE centers are known to be very cold so don’t forget to bring jacket or something so that you will be able to concentrate on your test only.

Just one day before GRE exam relax ,go for a novel or listen some songs so that u don’t feel tensed because in any exam last day preparation never helps, take complete rest in the night before the exam.A week before the exam try to solve all the tests given in the CD’s of GRE-power prep or Kaplan, Princeton, for getting used to this computer adaptive examination, and also for getting an idea of your score.
In this week just go for the CD-tests and revision of the word lists and maths strategies. Don’t try to learn new words just two or three days before the exam .
Preparing for the GRE is a time consuming job, so just keep on practicing. However, after all your hard-work, you can be proud of your good score.

All the best…!!!

GRE Preparation- General study plan/ tips to crack GRE

GRE (Graduate Record Examination) is the test required for higher education especially studying abroad in the USA and Canada. The test comprises of three sections – Analytical writing, Verbal section (30 questions) and Quantitative section (28 questions). The total score is out of 1600. GRE scores are crucial as they are one of the deciding factors for getting into a good university abroad, for scholarship considerations and also for granting visa.

It is advisable that you start your GRE preparations at least three months in advance of the test date. GRE requires tremendous practice and it is imperative that a student has had enough time to solve various CATs (Computer adaptive tests) in order to build one’s confidence and get a general idea of the actual test.

Detailed below are some of the tips to crack GRE ::

1. Practice writing essays

Your analytical writing section consists of two sections. The first one is a 45 minute essay writing section where you are asked to give your perspective on a given topic. This section evaluates how you articulate your ideas and checks whether you have understood the topic given to you. The second section is a 30 minute argument task where a statement is given and you have to evaluate it. Find the underlying flaws of the argument and put them forth in a lucid way. Remember you are NOT to give your opinion in this section.

The argument task is actually the easiest of the two and therefore more scoring. Just place your argument in a clear and mellifluous fashion and that is the job half done. However it goes without saying that to accomplish this, a lot of practice is mandatory and therefore students are advised to practice at least one essay each of both the sections every single day.

2. Master your vocabulary

To do well in the verbal section of the GRE it is most important that you master your vocabulary. It is strongly advisable to postpone your GRE if you are not thorough with your vocabulary. Students who are weak in verbal Do Not Panic, start building your vocabulary well in advance.

3. Review your Basic Math

Go through your school math books and brush your formulae. GRE requires more of logic than lengthy calculations and is therefore trickier. Make sure that you understand the nuances and eliminate your weaknesses. Practice is the only way to achieve this to perfection.

It is strongly advisable that students who are weak in either verbal or quant should get professional coaching so as to get complete guidance and training in order to get a high GRE score.