A First Look at Travel, Accommodation, On-Campus Jobs and the Computer Science Course at State University of New York, Binghamton
Whenever anyone starts that new phase of academic life called getting a “Master’s from the USA,” they feel excitement, anxiety and enthusiasm. After going through the strenuous visa process and finally getting your visa stamped, you eagerly look forward to traveling to the USA to start your Master’s course. I know that because I went through exactly the same process of application. My destination was SUNY, Binghamton.
Location, Travel and Transport
Binghamton, which is almost 130 miles from New York City, is well connected to other places by Greyhound buses and other transport systems. After you arrive at the port of authority, the hosts who are assigned to you, generally give you guidance on how to reach their place. I got in touch with students already pursuing their Master’s degrees in Binghamton and got to know that the shortest (and best) way to travel to travel to Binghamton is via road from New York city.
Continue reading →
Prepare to be Sentenced!
One of the most important building-blocks of an essay is the sentence. Writing an essay for an Analytical Writing Task in the GRE or the GMAT – or even the TOEFL Independent Writing Task – means that you will be expressing your thoughts in an academic context. So, you need to use sentences that are acceptable in that kind of context, but also effectively to translate your ideas onto the screen
- Complex sentences show that you are able to use the language fluently
- Clear well-formed sentences make your essay easy to understand
- Variety in sentence construction will make your essay interesting
How can you write like that? Simple, click on the link below and find out:
The link will take you to some useful suggestions published by the University of Ottawa, Canada on ‘Hypergrammar,’ their online resource page for grammar and writing. Use this link to understand:
- the importance of sentence structure
- the purpose of different types of sentences,
- what kind of sentences work best in formal writing assignments such as essays.
Happy reading. Happy writing!
Vocabulary Learning and Revision (to be started preferably 3-5 months in advance)
The largest, most time-consuming component of your GRE preparation is vocabulary revision. Achieving a good level of basic preparation involves getting familiar with around 4,000 words commonly used on GRE test. To really understand a word you need to know its range of meanings, some of its important secondary meanings, its usage (illustrated by sample sentences using the word) and it is often useful to know the roots of the word. Dilip Oak’s Academy has provided two very useful aids for learning and revising these various aspects. Described below is how you can use them both at home and outside.
When at home use VaiVocabulary. VaiVocabulary is one of the best vocabulary learning softwares available in the market. It has a number of features which help to make vocabulary learning really effective. Here are some tips on how to get the most of it:
- Try out all the features in order to select which combination works best for you – some of the more important features are given below:
- Pictures – these are connected to the meaning and help to remind you of the meaning.
- Sample sentences or usage – remember you don’t understand the meaning when you learn the definition: real understanding comes when you see how the word is used in sample sentences.
- ‘Video’ – most of this is really audio, but the videos give really good explanations of word meaning and lots of additional sample sentences.
- Mnemonics – ways of linking the meaning of the word with the form of the word; many are given; select the ones you find most useful.
- Word origins – these are the roots of words which help you to understand the meanings of words rather than just learning them by heart.
- Synonyms – the easy synonyms help you to understand the meaning of a word better; the hard ones extend your vocabulary.
- Mark any word you cannot remember ‘very difficult’ by default so that you will be able to repeatedly revise it; lower the rating when you get better at remembering.
- most important: sincerely go through all quizzes, the rapid revision (it comes up at the beginning of a new session) and the difficulty-based revision sessions.
- The VaiVocabulary DVD has a tutorial that will take you through all the available features and explain how to use them
- If you run into any problems with installing or using the DVD contact the Academy – all the problems can be fixed one way or another, but don’t let problems prevent you from the enormous benefits of using this great vocabulary learning software.
Outside (i.e. when you are not at home): Use FlashCards and FlashCard Companion
- The FlashCards contain 4,000 GRE words and their meaning; 2-3 shades of meaning are given for every word.
- The FlashCard Companions are booklets which give you a sample phrase for every meaning of every word in the FlashCards.
- Every page in the FlashCard Companion booklet corresponds to a FlashCard. The number of the FlashCard is given at the top of the page. Word numbers are also given for ease of reference.
One of the most important aspects of preparing for reading comprehension in the GRE is preliminary reading – that is, reading to be done before you start tackling GRE RC passages in order to prepare you for the challenges that those passages will throw up.
One challenge that you will face on Reading Comprehension passages is that they tend to be about unfamiliar topics and concepts; and talk about unfamiliar terms and fields. They use difficult phrasing and vocabulary, and complicated sentence structure. The only way to get used to the level of complexity you will find in GRE passages is to read widely.
Another challenge is the fact that reading passages on screen means that you may not be able to see the whole passage at a time, and may have to scroll up and down to read the rest of the passage. This is very different from reading on paper, where you can usually see the whole passage on screen at a glance. The fact that, when reading longer passages onscreen, you will not be able to see the whole of the passage at once makes comprehending the passage much more difficult.
Reading widely both on paper and onscreen will help you build up the skills that you need to meet the challenges presented by reading comprehension passages in the GRE. The reading material suggested here is arranged, and should be read, in the following order:
Continue reading →
Practice for Reading Comprehension on the GRE
Once you have completed your preliminary reading, you should have gained several benefits:
- exposure to fields outside your normal reading
- knowledge of terms and concepts; personalities, processes, phenomena; and in general ideas and things in those unfamiliar fields
- an ability to handle complex sentence structure and phrasing
- an ability to understand the structure of passages and the modes of reasoning used and to understand the author’s main point.
Once you have attained some level of comfort on these fronts, you are ready to tackle the GRE reading comprehension passages in the practice material. The order in which you will do this final material is as follows.
- Medium-level GRE Reading Comprehension
- Hard GRE Reading Comprehension
- ETS Material
CBT – Practice on the Computer-Based Tests (1 month before GRE test)
The final stage of your GRE prep is taking practice GRE computer-based tests. If you are a student at Dilip Oak’s Academy, here is the plan – if you’re not, you are missing out!
- Start doing the Computer-based tests 3 weeks-1 month before the GRE.
- There are 10 Oaks tests (5 to be taken in the lab and 5 online) and two PowerPrep tests from the ETS, making a total of 12.
- Going through all of them, at the rate of one every 2-3 days will take about a month.
Continue reading →
For GRE and GMAT test-takers, the Analytical Writing Section may sometimes seem to be an uphill climb. With only a half an hour to brainstorm ideas, make an outline and finally type in the entire essay, it may not always be possible to transfer your thoughts to the word processor exactly as you want. The result is often essays that fall short of what the examiner expects in order to award a 4.
The links below are a part of the Online Writing Lab, a project started by Purdue University, which helps teachers and students in developing their English Language skills and rectifying the errors that they make in their essays. They provide valuable suggestions on how to structure sentences correctly and avoid minor errors in English that we as non-native speakers of the language tend to make. Visit them and start improving your Analytical Writing essays immediately.
Note: if you are taking the TOEFL exam, these links will be a big help to you too.
Continue reading →