Our graduate counseling team shares their take on the changes to the standardized testing requirements for graduate admissions, and offers some tips on how best to prepare.
The world of international university admissions, like so many facets of our personal and professional lives, has been impacted by the global pandemic. Tests like the GRE/GMAT – once common admission requirements – were made optional by top ranked universities across the globe. And they remain optional. Other changes to long-established requirements and processes include expanded avenues to demonstrate English language proficiency as well as alternate and arguably more flexible methods for delivering official academic documents.
Such changes certainly are appealing to students. Especially those who view these standardized tests with trepidation.
But will they last? Or will these new, more flexible approaches to international graduate student admission exist only as long as the pandemic does? Speculation abounds, and only time will tell.
As of now, it seems obvious that these changes were implemented to ease the hardships faced by students to secure test dates. However, for those students looking at future intakes, we recommend taking the prudent path and preparing for the tests.
The good news: there are plenty of websites which have clear and concise information about appearing for GRE/GMAT.
Here are a few tips to start preparing for the tests:
Schedule your exam – it will fuel your motivation! Scheduling your exam works to your advantage. With a firm date, you are more likely to structure your time and take the necessary steps to prepare for the exam. Once you schedule the exam, we recommend developing a preparation plan. The plan should run from the day you schedule up to your exam date.
Break up the study sessions/topics into easier achievable targets. Start by grasping the strategies and methods to answering the questions in verbal and quants sections. Math and English are the 2 subjects that need all your focus.
Practice every day or other day. Write as many practice tests as possible to improve your speed. Continue experimenting throughout your preparation period by using different approaches to solve math problems.
Analyze your performance and identify your areas of weakness. Doing this regularly will help you engage in deliberate and intentional practice to address gaps or deficiencies. This will also help you understand how you learn and if your efforts are paying off. Change or tweak the way you are preparing yourself based on your analysis.
Stay positive and calm. Feeling flustered or stressed is not going to take you anywhere. Start your preparation early, work in a steadfast manner, analyze and rework your strategies, and you can crack the GRE/GMAT.
Employ a similar approach for TOEFL tests. Generally, you do not need to stress yourself much for taking the TOEFL test. Your scores will only reflect your English proficiency skills, and not your skills or your level of preparedness to pursue a master’s degree.
You may find answers to common questions like ‘what is a good score?’, ‘how many days do I need to prepare for the GRE?’, etc. in the resources below.
On a final note, let us not forget that GRE/GMAT and TOEFL scores are important components of your application, but they are not the entirety of your application. GPA, your body of completed projects, interesting paper publications, and relevant internships – these also play an important part in your overall application file.
Gen Next provides free comprehensive counseling to students at the graduate and undergraduate levels. To get started with one of our seasoned professionals, register at iamfutureready.com.