By India Today Web Desk: Every year, millions of students aspire to study at top universities around the globe, and for admission to these institutes, they need to attain competitive scores in the TOEFL iBT and GRE tests.
According to data from the Ministry of External Affairs about 1.34 million Indian students are studying overseas as of 2022 of which 4.65 lacs are in the US alone (source: MEA data). The growth trend is expected to continue given India’s young demographic and strong overseas education aspiration in learners.
Since the TOEFL tests and GRE General Test are entry points to top universities around the world, it is important to first comprehend what they offer respectively.
Students applying to a college or university where the programme is delivered in English are usually required to submit scores from an accepted English language test.
The TOEFL iBT test assesses a candidate’s ability to listen, speak, read and write in the English language, as they would in an academic classroom, and is the premier choice for applicants seeking admission to university.
It’s accepted by more than 11,500 institutions in more than 160 countries worldwide, including popular study destinations including the United States, Canada, UK, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand.
The GRE test, on the other hand, evaluates a candidates’ reasoning, critical thinking and analytical writing skills at the graduate level and is taken by students interested in pursuing graduate degrees in business, law, and other master’s and doctoral programmes.
1. Understanding the TOEFL iBT test structure will help you get a better grasp of what you can expect on test day so you can prepare confidently. We recommend checking out the ‘TOEFL Test Preparation: The Insider’s Guide’ course on edx.org for tips on managing time, how to register, navigating the test, and more.
2. On test day, it’s a good idea to take notes from the audio clips you'll be listening to so that you can recall the main ideas and themes. Try practicing taking notes using several audio samples to gauge how accurate your notes are in comparison to what you’ve heard.
3. The ‘Official Guide to the TOEFL iBT Test’ can accompany you through all the test sections while preparing, providing you with useful guidance, hints, practice questions and sample responses. You can purchase this as well as other test prep or check out the variety of free test prep options on ETS.
4. Become engrained in the English language! The more you are speaking, listening, reading and writing in English, the more comfortable you’ll feel when you’re tasked with these items on test day. Try doing something different each day – for example, find a friend to converse with in English, read an article authored in English, listen to a podcast with English speakers, etc.
5. Writing the TOEFL iBT test can seem like a daunting task. If you’re comfortable typing responses with a keyboard, we recommend taking the TOEFL iBT test in a test centre or from home. However, if you prefer to hand write your essay, opting for the TOEFL iBT Paper Edition option might be best.
1. The GRE programme offers free and low-cost resources to test takers to support them in being better prepared for test day. Some of these resources include GRE Mentor, a new self-paced, comprehensive GRE course as well as POWERPREP Practice tests, videos and books.
2. Preparation and overview videos for each section of the test (Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning and Analytical Writing), available on the GRE website, take you through sample tasks, tips and strategies to help you tackle each section of the test.
3. For the Quantitative Reasoning section, spend time using instructional videos from Khan Academy to dive into explanations of concepts and how to approach them.
4. Take a POWERPREP Online Practice Test which simulates the actual GRE test to get a sense of the difficulty of the exam and your performance.
5. As you start your preparation make sure you begin by taking a diagnostic test to know your strengths and areas for improvement, so that you can focus your preparation in the areas where you have the most room to grow, and ideally, improve your score.
– Article by Lejo Sam Oommen, Managing Director, ETS India
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