One of the most common questions that gets posted on the study abroad forums are by students who have taken a GRE or GMAT and are curious on which institution would be the perfect fit for their test-scores. This article aims to help students with similar queries and help them make a relevant choice while selecting an institution to which they can then apply. This article offers students’ tips on how to short-list an institution based on one’s scores in qualifying tests and how to match other preferences and requirements before finally finding a dream institution.
Firstly students should focus and have a clear idea on the following:
- Course choice
- Study abroad destination
- Budget available and scholarship eligibility
This is the key question that you will have to ask yourself! ‘Should I study an MBA or an MS?’ or ‘Will the MSc help me or the M.Tech?’ If you are able to decide what stream of study and course you want to study then things will become much easier for you. Think well before you finalize on a subject choice. If you plan to do an undergraduate course abroad then you have to be all the more careful. Do not end up regretting the course that you have chosen.
List of qualifying tests and exams:
Students aspiring to study postgraduate courses in the USA should write the Graduate Record Examinations or GRE. Other countries like Australia, New Zealand and Singapore also accept the GRE. The GRE has a verbal section, a quantitative section and an analytical writing section. In addition to the general test there are seven subject-specific GRE subject-tests in - Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology; Biology; Chemistry; Literature in English; Mathematics; Physics; and Psychology.
Your GRE score can determine if you will gain entry into a premier university or if you would have to settle with a tier-1 or tier-2 university. Scoring parameters and cut-offs keep changing with every year and it is very difficult to categorically state that a specific score will help grant admission in a specific university. Numerous factors come into play like actual score in the undergraduate qualifying exam, list of projects completed, work experience, English language score and financial capacity, which all play a key role in the granting of admissions.
So what is the perfect GRE score?
Every university publishes the required GRE scores for its programmes on its website. Students are advised to have a clear idea of which institutions they plan to apply and note down the prescribed scores. It then requires intensive preparation and studies to write the exam and secure a good score. As always, students are advised to have a back-up plan and also aim for a realistic score.
With MBA becoming the buzzword and the sure-shot way to a successful career, with every passing year the number of students applying for a postgraduate business management course keeps increasing. The Graduate Management Admission Test or GMAT is accepted by more than 2100 business schools all over the world. The test has sections on analytical writing, integrated reasoning, quantitative and verbal abilities. In recent years some institutions are also accepting GRE score for entry to business programmes but the popularity and acceptance of the GMAT continues to remain as strong as ever.
All institutions mandate that non-native speakers of the English language should demonstrate their English language abilities. Students are advised to take the IELTS or the TOEFL and secure a score of 6.0 and more based on the course of their choice. International English Language Testing System or IELTS is managed by Cambridge English Language Assessment, the British Council and IDP Education Pvt Ltd. Test of English as a Foreign Language or TOEFL is offered by Educational Testing Service – ETS. Some institutions are also accepting the Pearson Test of English scores.
In the USA students are required to take the Scholastic Aptitude Test or SAT. In recent years there has been increasing clamour in media and education lobbies for scrapping SAT or making it non-mandatory and a number of institutions now accept students without SAT scores.
Study Abroad Destination
The UK, USA and Australia continue to be the top study abroad destinations for students from India and neighbouring countries. The recent years have also seen the growth of Singapore, New Zealand and Malaysia as popular destinations. Germany and the Netherlands are also extremely popular for top-notch technical and scientific education courses. Plan where you wish to study and make your plans accordingly.
The all important aspect of ‘How much it will cost?’ There have been many instances when students have had to let go of their original choice of institution and settle for a lesser known institution because of the difference in tuition fee costs and the availability of scholarships and study-aid. Be sure that the course that you want to study at the institution which you short-list is a course, which you will be able to afford. If you plan to opt for a bank loan to fund your studies, plan properly so that you will be able to repay the loan in time.
Mapping Scores to Institutions
The course descriptions will have information on eligibility requirements. Students are also advised to visit the websites of the institutions for clarity on English language requirements and at the academic cut-off scores needed for admission onto a course of their choice.
In case you are forced to make a compromise in going for an alternative course instead of your original choice; think twice before accepting the admission-offer. Do not just limit your search to tier-1 institutions, check for smaller institutions, which offer excellent training resources as well. Remember to check on the career-placement opportunities and the research facilities as well.
A good academic score in a qualifying test is a great thing but the challenge is to sustain academic excellence by studying well and maintaining a good score while studying. So get ready to write the GRE or the GMAT and all the very best with your preparations for the tests!