Tag Archives: GRE

The GRE Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) section comprises two essay tasks: the Issue essay and the Argument essay. Test takers are allotted 30 minutes for each essay. The Issue essay asks you to respond to a statement or a claim that relates to politics, education, technology, or culture. Essentially, you have to take stance on the given claim and defend your stance. The Argument essay asks you to find the flaw in the logic behind an author’s position. The position is provided in a paragraph or “the argument” and thus requires a thorough reading of the given argument.

How are the essays scored?

Each essay receives a score by a human grader and an e-rater score on a scale of 0 to 6. If these scores differ by less than 0.5, the human score stands. If they differ by more than 0.5, a second human scores the essay, and the two human scores are averaged to get a final score. The e-rater score won’t supplant the human score(s).

What do the graders look for?

Your essay needs to be clear, coherent, and cogent.

You must express your stance and ideas in a clear manner. If you jumble your words or simply throw in unnecessary words or your ideas are ambiguous, you will get a low score. Your essay should have a set of ideas [ideally 3 arguments that will make up the 3 main body paragraphs] that logically connect to one another. That is when your essay is coherent.

Secondly, you should provide convincing evidence to back up your thesis/claim. You can throw in some vague, hypothetical example, but doing so won’t make your essay cogent. Give an example that is a verifiable fact or a relevant personal anecdote.

The other factors that the human grader assesses are:

Style – an essay, albeit with good arguments and examples, with broken or run-on sentences and unsophisticated vocabulary will be scored lower than an essay with proper syntax and GRE-level vocabulary. However, make sure you do not make ill-use of the diction. Use a word only if you are sure of its actual and/or contextual meaning.

Grammar & Spelling – Even though the graders won’t nit-pick at grammar, grave grammatical errors will cost you points. Incorrect subject-verb agreement, improper use of pronouns, and misspelled common words can negatively impact your score. However, one or two minor grammatical mistakes won’t stop an essay from getting a perfect score, as long as everything else about the essay is perfect.

Note that the graders take around 30 seconds to grade an essay. They scan to make sure that you have clearly organized your information and that your paragraphs begin with a topic sentence, explain your argument, and flow into examples that support your argument. The graders make sure you have written a conclusion that summarises and re-iterates what you’ve already stated.

How long do my essays have to be?

Believe it or not, of two essays that are identical, except for the length, the longer one will receive the higher score. That doesn’t mean you should scribble away, giving unnecessary, irrelevant information, hoping that a 1000 word essay will automatically give you a 6. Substance matters. Ideally, you should write a five-paragraph essay with an introduction para, three main body paragraphs, and a conclusion. The ideal word limit for Issue essays in between 550 and 650 words and for Argument essays is between 500 and 600 words.

Note that six short paragraphs of 4 sentences each do not mean a long essay. The length of the paragraph matters. Each paragraph should be of approximately 100 words, and each of those paragraphs has to flow logically and defend your thesis.

The E-rater

The e-rater evaluates how you write, not what you think. It will, primarily, asses and score you on the following criteria:

  1. Grammar (subject–verb agreement, etc.)
  2. Usage (then vs. than, etc.)
  3. Mechanics (spelling and capitalization, etc.)
  4. Style (redundancy and passive voice)
  5. Organization (thesis statement, main points, supporting details, examples, conclusions)
  6. Development (main points precede details and examples)
  7. The use of vocabulary

However, the e-rater doesn’t understand the meaning of your essay nor does it make a reasonable judgment about the essay’s overall quality. Hence, to get a higher score from an e-rater, make sure your grammar and diction are proper. For instance, in the Argument essay, instead of writing “The manager says that…”, write “The author of the argument concludes that…”. Use words such as author, conclusion, premise, reasoning, justification, assumption, insufficient evidence, etc. to boost your scores.

No matter how your name is printed on your certificates or mark sheets, how your name appears in your passport matters the most when you want to register for the GRE.

Let’s consider the following:

Your name is Priti Maneklal Shah.

Your name is Priti.

Your father’s name is Maneklal.

Your last name or surname is Shah.

But, in many Indian passports, people have their father’s name in their first/given name.

So, if your passport says:

Surname: Shah.

Given Name: Priti Maneklal

then, in your GRE account, you will enter Priti Maneklal as the first/given name and NOT

First name – Priti

Middle name – M

Last name – Shah

To summarise:

  • The first/given and last name/surname you use when you register — and the spelling of that name — must EXACTLY match (excluding accents) the name printed on the identification (ID) documents [ONLY a valid passport to be carried in original for Indians] that you will present on the day of the test. If it does not, you may be prohibited from taking the test or your test scores may be cancelled after you take the test.
  • Do not register under a nickname and do not register with only an initial as your first name.
  • You have the option to include your middle initial, but it is not a requirement.

If you have already created an account and have made an error while entering your name, don’t fret. Just write an email to GRESupport4India@ets.org. Please have the following information available when sending the email:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Date of birth
  • Test date
  • Registration number

You can also call ETS on 91-1244517127 or 000-800-100-4072 between Monday and Friday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. IST (except for local holidays)

For detailed information on the same, refer to the following page:

http://www.ets.org/gre/revised_general/register/your_ets_account/name_you_use

Admission to the Master’s program in US universities depends on several criteria. Apart from focusing on academics, universities give importance to GRE scores. Doing well in your GRE increases the weightage of your application. The best definition of a good GRE score is that it should get you into your school of choice.

Most colleges have a cut off GRE score, or a minimum score that you must meet for your application to be considered. Sometimes meeting this cut off score is enough for the school to feel confident about your quantitative, verbal and analytical skills, but it is recommended that you score higher than the cut-off score to improve your chances of being admitted. Some schools are more accommodating and flexible. They assess your overall profile if you fail to meet their GRE cut-off score. Hence, before you begin studying for the GRE, it’s a good idea to know the score that you need to achieve. Here is a list of the minimum score required by some universities in the USA.

Here is the list of average GRE scores for each university for Engineering Master’s program for the year 2016-17. 

UNIVERSITY Avg Quants Avg Verbal Avg AWA
1 Massachusetts Institute of Technology 165 160 4.3
2 Stanford University 167 159 4.2
3 Georgia Institute of Technology 164 155 3.9
4 University of California Berkeley 165 157 4.2
5 California Institute of Technology 169 161 4
6 Carnegie Mellon University 166 155 3.6
7 University of Michigan— Ann Arbor  167 154 3.4
8 Purdue University— West Lafayette  164 154 3.7
9 University of Illinois— Urbana- Champaign  165 155
10 University of Texas— Austin (Cockrell)  163 156 3.9
11 Texas A&M University— College Station  164 153 3.5
12 University of Southern California (Viterbi)  166 151 3.4
13 Columbia University (Fu Foundation)  167 155 4
14 Cornell University  165 155 3.6
15 University of California— San Diego (Jacobs)  166 155 3.6
16 University of California— Los Angeles (Samueli)  166 154 3.7
17 Princeton University  166 162 4.5
18 University of Wisconsin— Madison  164 155 3.8
19 Johns Hopkins University (Whiting)  167 154 3.5
20 Northwestern University (McCormick)  166 152 4
21 University of California— Santa Barbara 163 155 3.7
22 University of Pennsylvania  165 156 3.7
23 Harvard University  166 160 4.1
24 University of Maryland— College Park (Clark)  163 152 3.5
25 North Carolina State University  164 154 4
26 University of Washington  163 156 3.8
27 University of Minnesota— Twin Cities 163 153 3.6
28 Virginia Tech  162 154
29 Duke University (Pratt)  164 156 3.8
30 Rice University (Brown)  167 154 3.3
31 Ohio State University  164 153 3.6
32 Pennsylvania State University— University Park  162 152 3.5
33 University of Colorado— Boulder  161 154 3.7
34 Boston University 164 154 3.6
35 University of California— Davis  163 154 3.7
36 Vanderbilt University  165 151 3.2
37 University of California— Irvine (Samueli)  164 151 3.3
38 Northeastern University  162 150 3
39 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute  163 156 3.9
40 University of Virginia  165 154 4
41 Arizona State University (Fulton)  162 150 3.4
42 University of Florida  163 152 3.6
43 University of Pittsburgh (Swanson)  162 149 3.3
44 Iowa State University  168 156 3.5
45 New York University (Tandon)  164 150
46 University of Rochester  166 152 3.3
47 University of Delaware  168 155 3.2

Average GRE Scores for each University

You are working your fingers to the bone to get a perfect score and your mock test results are reflecting the dedicated efforts you are putting in. But this is not the only groundwork you need to do before taking standardized tests like GRE and TOEFL — it’s equally important to select the right test centre. While the GRE and TOEFL test are administered all year-round at various test centres across the country, it is crucial that you select your test centres prudently. To save you from the pain of physically visiting the centres across Mumbai, Collegepond has put in extensive effort in researching GRE and TOEFL centres for you by conducting surveys based on several parameters for each test centre- Goregaon, Andheri, Mulund, Nerul and Vile Parle. Staff cooperation, seating comfort, punctuality, ease of registration, absence of technical difficulties, proper stationery, quality of headphones and appropriate space with regards to seating arrangements are parameters we’ve measured for you.

Student feedbacks on GRE and TOEFL Exam Centres in Mumbai 1

Got a sudden doubt regarding your test and don’t know what the solution is? A question seems a bit foggy? The graph above shows the attitude of the staff towards test-takers in each center.
Student feedbacks on GRE and TOEFL Exam Centres in Mumbai 2

 Your mental faculties might be fully focused on your test but your physical comfort could affect your test taking abilities. The graph above tells you which of the five centers had comfortable seating while taking the test.

Student feedbacks on GRE and TOEFL Exam Centres in Mumbai 3

You are frantically racing against time and due to mismanagement of something logistical your nerves can’t cope. The graph above displays which centers take punctuality seriously.

Student feedbacks on GRE and TOEFL Exam Centres in Mumbai 4

Pre-test jitters are no joke. The ratings above show if there was any difficulty while providing your passport and other details during the registration process.

Student feedbacks on GRE and TOEFL Exam Centres in Mumbai 5

Silence is golden, especially so while taking an exam. We asked our test takers if they were able to complete the test without any interruptions or technical difficulties, and here’s what they said.

Student feedbacks on GRE and TOEFL Exam Centres in Mumbai 6

You don’t want something like a broken pencil to mess with you in the middle of an important question. Our test takers gave us reports on whether they got proper stationery, which we have displayed above.

Student feedbacks on GRE and TOEFL Exam Centres in Mumbai 7

Imagine going wrong because of faulty equipment. We asked our test takers if their headphones and other equipment were of usable quality, which the ratings above clearly indicate.

Student feedbacks on GRE and TOEFL Exam Centres in Mumbai 8

You’ve put in hours of sweat and blood into your test prep and you end up sitting in a space that makes you so claustrophobic you can’t focus. We evaluated parameters such as the test room being cramped with computers and students being too close to each other, the results of which can be seen above.

Student feedbacks on GRE and TOEFL Exam Centres in Mumbai 9

Your test needs to go smoothly from start to finish. Our test takers gave us feedback on whether they were able to resume their test after the break without any issue, results of which are visible above.

Top Entrance exams for overseas study

Top Entrance exams for overseas study | Education Abroad

Overseas education is gaining a lot of prominence and it caters to students of varied academic backgrounds and interests. However, there are certain prerequisites that need to be met in order to gain admission into an overseas university. Top Entrance exams for overseas study

Top entrance exams:

Some of the most popular and important international entrance exams include the GRE, GMAT, SAT, TOEFL, IELTS and PTE.  Students may be required to give a combination of one or more exams which may be unique to that country and its education system.

Given below is a brief introduction to the various entrance exams and respective paper formats:

  1. GRE: 

The Graduate Record Examination, a standardized test, is a prerequisite for gaining admission into a majority of graduate schools in the United States.  It was created as well as administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS) in 1949. GRE aims to test verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, analytical writing, and critical thinking skills of students that have been developed over a period of time. Students who wish to pursue a master’s degree or want to study a specialized master’s course; MBA, MEM, MS or a doctoral degree can give the GRE Test. The computer-based GRE revised General Test consists of five sections. The first section of the test is the analytical writing section which consists of Issue and Argument tasks. The other five sections have two verbal reasoning sections, two quantitative reasoning sections, and either an experimental or a research section.

  1. GMAT: 

The Graduate Management Admission Test, commonly known as the GMAT, is a computer-based examination used to measure skills that are necessary for the study of management. Its duration is 3½-hours, and it is designed to predict how students will perform academically in MBA programs. Based on the GMAT scores, graduate business schools make admission decisions. Several schools require GMAT scores from applicants, therefore preparing well for the test is important. The GMAT score is vital as it can be the deciding factor regarding acceptance or rejection to a program. The GMAT tests four major skills: analytical writing, quantitative reasoning, verbal reasoning, and integrated reasoning.  These skills are analyzed through four sections namely:

  1. Analytical Writing Assessment (one writing task, duration-30 minutes)
  2. Integrated Reasoning section (12 multiple-choice questions, duration-30 minutes)
  3. Quantitative section (37 multiple-choice questions, duration- 75 minutes)
  4. Verbal section (41 multiple-choice questions, duration-75 minutes)

A separate score and percentile rank are provided for all the exam sections mentioned above.

  1. SAT: 

The SAT is a standardized and general test of verbal and quantitative reasoning which is required by many US colleges and universities as part of their admission process. Originally, it was called the Scholastic Aptitude Test, and now it is known as SAT. The duration of the test is three hours, and it measures the verbal and mathematical reasoning skills that students have developed over time. Many colleges and universities use the SAT as one of the admission criteria among others such as class rank, GPA, participation in extracurricular activities, personal essay and letters of recommendation.

SAT consists of two different examinations:

  • The SAT Reasoning Test (Earlier known as SAT I)
  • The SAT Subject Test (Earlier known as SAT II)

The SAT Reasoning Test is a three-hour and forty-five-minute test which comprises of three sections: Critical Reading, Math, and Writing. This test is designed to measure critical thinking and analytical skills. The SAT Subject Tests are a series of one-hour multiple-choice tests in subjects such as Literature, US and World History, Mathematics, Biology, Chemistry, and Physics.

  1. TOEFL:

Students who wish to study abroad in an English-speaking country are required to take a TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language). It assesses your ability to speak and understand English by analyzing your English skills in terms of reading, speaking, listening and writing. It evaluates how well you combine these skills to perform academic tasks. TOEFL is accepted as proof of English proficiency in 9,000 colleges, and it is conducted more than 50 times in a year by Educational Testing Service (ETS) – a US-based non-profit organization. TOEFL has two versions: TOEFL iBT (Internet-based Test) and TOEFL PBT (paper-based test). Both the versions of TOEFL test has four sections- Reading, Speaking, Listening and Writing and takes about 4-hours to complete. Students can retake the TOEFL test as many times as they wish. It uses both human raters and automated scoring methods for evaluating a student’s performance.

  1. IELTS:

The International English language testing system (IELTS) is a popular English language proficiency test for higher education and global migration. Its objective is to assess the ability and preparedness of students who wish to study or train in a foreign country. IELTS assesses the test takers English skills with respect to reading, writing, listening and speaking. It is accepted by over 9,000 organizations worldwide, including schools, universities, immigration authorities and professional bodies.

The two versions of IELTS are- the Academic IELTS and the General Training IELTS. The Academic IELTS is usually for people who wish to study abroad, and the General Training IELTS is usually for people want to follow a non-academic course or for immigration. The duration of IELTS exam is 2 hours and 45 minutes, and it consists of four sections which test the candidates listening, reading, writing and speaking skills.

  1. PTE:

PTE Academic (The Pearson Test of English) is a computer- based English language test designed to assess the readiness and ability of non-native English speakers to participate in a university-level program which is taught in English. PTE focuses on real-life English used in academic surroundings. PTE Academic assesses listening, reading, speaking and writing skills. PTE is accepted by thousands of universities worldwide, including prestigious institutions such as Harvard Business School, INSEAD and Yale. In the three-hour test, there are three main sections- Writing coupled with speaking, listening skills and reading. There are twenty different types of question formats, ranging from multiple choice questions to essay writing and information interpretation.

TOEFL vs. IELTS vs. PTE

TOEFL scores are accepted by a majority of universities in the US, Canada, UK, Australia and New Zealand. The IELTS is mandatory for Indian and other non-native English speakers, especially in the Commonwealth countries. The PTE is accepted by several institutions in the UK, Australia, USA, Canada, New Zealand and Ireland including Harvard, Yale and INSEAD.

While TOEFL and IELTS are more well-known, there are other tests like PTE, which is relatively new. All the three tests have a few characteristics that make them unique, but they also share a few similarities. The three tests have similar sections such as- Reading, Listening, Speaking, and Writing, but they differ when it comes to assessing the speaking skills, scoring and evaluation criterion and format of the writing section. Unlike IELTS and TOEFL, PTE has several innovative question formats.

GRE vs. GMAT

The GRE is another examination which Indian students must give if they wish to study in the USA or Canada. It measures the verbal, mathematical and analytical skills of the student. It is a prerequisite for gaining admission into many graduate courses, particularly for engineering and the science field in USA. Students who wish to specialize in management courses (like MBA) must take the GMAT, which is an admission requirement for business schools in US and UK.

To sum it up, these top international entrance exams are a standard as well as reliable mode for assessing a large number of applicants who aspire to study abroad. Therefore, students must plan in advance and prepare well in order to get high scores in these exams and gain admission into the university of their choice.

Introduction to GRE sections

Patterns and Introduction to GRE sections

What is GRE?

The Graduate Record Examination is a standardized test that is a prerequisite for gaining admission at majority of graduate schools in the United States.  It is created as well as administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS). GRE aims to assess verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, analytical writing, and critical thinking skills of students. Students who wish to pursue a master’s degree or want to study a specialized master’s course; MBA, MEM, MS or a doctoral degree can give the GRE Test.

Eligibility Criteria:

There is no specific eligibility criterion for taking the GRE Test. Students can apply for the test irrespective of age and qualification. However, the candidate has to fulfil the admission criteria for individual institutes where he/she is applying.

GRE Structure and Pattern:

The computer-based GRE revised General Test consists of five sections. The first section is the analytical writing section which consists of Issue and Argument tasks. The other five sections have two verbal reasoning sections, two quantitative reasoning sections, and either an experimental or research section.  However, these five sections can occur in any order.

The GRE revised General Test is a multistage test. This format allows the student to move back and forth between questions that are a part of the same section, and the testing software allows the student to “mark” questions within each section so that they can be reviewed later, if time permits. It takes 3 hours and 45 minutes to complete the test but one-minute breaks are offered after each section, and a 10-minute break is also given after the third section. The paper-based GRE General Test consists of six sections, but it is only available in areas where computer-based testing is unavailable.

Analytical writing section:

This section consists of two different essays- “Issue” and “Argument”. Grades are given on a scale of 0–6, in half-point increments. Students are required to write the essays on a computer using a word processing program which is specifically designed by ETS. Using this program, students can perform only certain basic computer functions. It does not contain a spell-checker or any other advanced features. Both the essays are graded by at least two readers on a six-point scale.

  • Issue Essay

The students are given 30 minutes to write an essay based on a debatable topic. In an issue essay, a student is required to pick a side and give their point of view. It tests the student’s ability of convincing the examiner to agree to his/her point of view.  Issue topics are usually selected from a pool of questions, which the GRE Program has published in its entirety.

  • Argument Essay

The students are given an argument (i.e. a series of facts and considerations leading to a conclusion), and they are asked to write an essay that criticizes the given argument. Students are required to carefully understand the argument’s logic and then make suggestions about how the logic of the argument can be improved.  Basically, students are required to focus on the logical flaws of the argument and not give any their viewpoints on the subject. The students must complete this essay in 30 minutes.

Quantitative section:

It assesses a student’s basic high school level mathematical knowledge and reasoning skills. It is scored on a scale of 130–170, in 1-point increments. Each section consists of 20 questions which need to be completed in 35 minutes. Every section has around nine problem-solving items, eight quantitative comparisons, and three data interpretation questions. It also includes numeric entry items which require the students to fill in the blanks and answer multiple-choice questions.

Verbal Section: 

The verbal sections assess a student’s reading comprehension, critical reasoning and vocabulary usage. The verbal test is scored on a scale of 130-170, in 1-point increments. Each section consists of 20 questions which need to be completed in 30 minutes. Every section consists of around six text completion, four sentence equivalence, and ten critical reading questions. However, text completion has replaced sentence completion and new reading question types with multiple answer choices have been added.

Experimental section:

The experimental section (verbal or quantitative), consists of new questions that ETS is considering for future use, however, the experimental section does not form a part of the main score. Since students have no definite way of knowing which section is experimental, it is advisable for students to give their best in every section. Sometimes an identified research section at the end of the test is also provided instead of the experimental section.

Test Dates:

The GRE Test (computer-based) is offered year-round at Prometric test centres. Students can take the GRE Test once every 21 days, up to five times within a 12-month period. This applies even if a student has cancelled his scores of a previously taken test. However, to register and take the test on a specific date, students are required to first create a ‘My GRE Account.’

Registration:

To register for GRE, students have to create a ‘My GRE Account’. There are four ways to register for the GRE general test- Online, Phone, Mail and Fax registration.

Scores:

In the GRE test, three scores are reported:

  1. Verbal Reasoning wherein the scores are given on a scale of 130–170, in 1-point increments
  2. Quantitative Reasoning also on a 130–170 score scale with 1-point increments and
  3. Analytical Writing which is given on a 0–6 score level, in half-point increments.

The official scores are mailed in 10–15 days after the student’s actual test date.

Validity of GRE scores:

The scores are valid for five years.  However, students can request for a re-score up to 3 months after the actual test date.

Introduction to GRE sections

HOW TO CRACK AWA SECTION OF GRE

|How to crack AWA section of GRE – This article provides useful tips to crack the AWA section of gre|
Though AWA is often viewed by students as the much-dreaded section of GRE, it is not rocket science. This section is specifically designed to measure one’s critical thinking abilities and analytical writing skills to effectively convey complex viewpoints in a consistent line of thought. This section is in no way a test of one’s knowledge and therefore does not need one to have detailed knowledge of the content in question. It does however require you to push your frontiers and put the best foot forward.

Read More

Retaking GRE – A Baffling Predicament

You kept your nose to the grindstone for nearly three months, slogged hard for your GRE preparation but a disappointing 297 broke your heart. You are anxious that your low GRE score could become a recipe for disaster and may wear away all the chances of making it to halls of ivy. Evidently unhappy with your scores you have started toying with the idea of retaking GRE. Read More

Day before GRE exam

Day before GRE exam

You have done your utmost to prepare yourself for the big day. The race has been long and you have come very close to the finishing line. You have poured all your energies in meticulously planning for your exam, studied exhaustively and done countless revisions.  The last thing that you want now is to ruin your exam performance by any careless slip-up. Now that you are fully equipped to take the much awaited GRE/SAT/GMAT exam, make sure to follow the right strategy.  Read More

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