How To Improve Your Scores In IELTS Speaking

Everyone knows about the basic criteria that help IELTS candidates to get better scores in Writing and Speaking. There are, however, other factors that may indirectly aid test takers during their speaking tests. So, let’s explore the ways that will help you boost your IELTS Speaking score.

5 Easy Ways to Ace your IELTS Speaking

Keep your Body Language Calm

In the Speaking test, the examiner asks you several questions and you have to answer them. It is understandable that when you have so much in your mind it is difficult to relax. But if you think of it as a light conversation with a friend, the whole process will become easier for you. Remember that the examiner is not there to find faults in your language, instead he is there to observe your strengths as a communicator. Therefore, you can talk in a cool and calm manner rather than becoming a bundle of nerves. 

Speak in an Engaging Manner

No one likes to get bored to death, hence, deal with the questions as if you are excited about them. Examiners take several speaking tests in a day and the last thing they want is a dull conversation. Therefore, once you tempt an examiner into listening to what you say, he will be more interested in finding your positives than negatives, which will ultimately help you improve your score. 

Use Intonations to Break the Monotony 

Adhering to the four basic criteria of speaking is crucial, but presentation is equally important. It is essential to reiterate here that the IELTS Speaking test is more of a conversation than Q & A. Therefore, natural rise and fall in your tone is expected. Voice modulation aids in understanding of the listener and keeps the conversation spry, which helps you grab the examiner’s attention. 

Sound Genuine while Speaking 

Little bit of theatrics may come handy here! How? Well, it may happen that for some questions you have to borrow experiences from others or make up a story; however, while doing so it is important to sound convincing; the way actors do. This confidence will keep you composed and eventually help you establish control over the conversation. 

Avoid Using Fillers

Fillers like umm.., uhh…, so…, actually…breaks the flow of the conversation and makes it difficult to understand the content. Therefore, it is utmost important to eliminate fillers from your speech. Interestingly, you can change this weakness into strength by embracing the pauses and using them to collect your thoughts before we speak.

5 Steps to Improve Your Scores in IELTS Essay Writing

IELTS candidates face a lot of problems while writing essays. Despite the ample amount of material available online, they find it difficult to score a good band in writing task 2. All the hacks and notes they have referred to fail when they confront the blank answer sheet. Has that ever happened to you? 

If yes, then you have come to the right place, as this blog will help you write essays by following 5 simple yet effective steps:

Step 1: Understand the Question

The answer lies in the question itself. This holds true for IELTS essays also. Read the task or question carefully, identify the keywords, and pay heed to all the points mentioned in the question. This will help you understand what is expected of you in the essay.

Step 2: Form an Opinion  

Your opinion matters! Once the task is crystal clear, the next step is to analyze the points mentioned in the prompt. To come up with more ideas, ask yourself several questions like who/when/what/why. This will help you generate more ideas for writing a power-packed essay. 

Step 3: Structure your Essay

Structure makes your essays easily readable. Using correct syntax and writing coherently improves clarity and comprehensibility. Therefore, ensure that you use correct grammar and arrange your points in a logical order. 

Step 4: Conclude Briefly

A well-rounded conclusion works like a charm. Reinforcing your points in a succinct manner gives a clear-cut idea to the reader by summing up everything you have elaborated in your essay. 

Step 5: Proofread Keenly

Proof reading can take you one band ahead. It is observed that students who score more than 7 bands on the IELTS essay proofread their essay and make changes where necessary. This is the master stroke that will separate you from the rest.

Step-by-step guide to obtain a Canadian Study Permit (Student visa)

QUICK GUIDE ON GETTING YOUR CANADIAN STUDY PERMIT (1)

In continuation with our blog published on 17/07/2020 where we briefly discussed the admission and visa requirements for Canada, we will now take you through the step-by-step process for obtaining the Canadian study permit for MS, the application timeline, and the required documents.

Before we proceed, let us first understand the difference between permit and visa. Often, students get confused between the two.

Study Permit Vs Visa

A Study Permit allows you to stay in the country until completion of your course at any of the Designated Learning Institutions (DLI) in Canada.

A Visa allows you to enter the country. You must therefore remember that the study permit is not a visa and it doesn’t let you enter Canada. For entry, you need a visitor visa or an electronic travel authorization (eTA) which is issued by the Canadian government once your application for the study permit is approved.

Timeline and documents required for Canadian Study Permit

Your application process should begin as soon as you receive acceptance letter from your desired university. The fee for a study permit is CAD 150, which is around Rs 8400.

If you are planning to go for fall intake (September), you should begin the process around June. The documents required include:

  1. Valid passport
  2. Acceptance letter from the university
  3. Proof of funds (CAD 10,000 per year without tuition for those outside Quebec. For those in Quebec, CAD 11,000 per year)
  4. Passport size photographs
  5. Immigration Medical Examination (ideally to take a week before starting the visa process)
  6. TOEFL/IELTS scores
  7. Statement of Purpose
  8. Credit card

Step-by-step application process for a study permit:

Your application process might take three to four weeks to complete hence you should start the process with some margin in your hand. Once you decide, you can either apply online or apply in-person.

To apply online, you require scanned documents and a valid credit card for payment. Before you start the application, read the instruction guide HERE. Fill out the application and pay the biometrics fee. Once you submit the application, you will receive a letter specifying the time and place to give your biometrics. From receiving the letter, you have up to 30 days to give your biometrics.

To apply in person, you can download the application kit and the instruction guide from the official website of the government of Canada,  fill the VFS consent form and attach it to the application, pay the processing fee (in addition to VFS Global services charges), and submit the documents at the nearest VFS office.

While you can go with either of the ways, we recommend students to apply online as the process is faster and easier.

Once your application is approved, you will receive a letter of introduction. This letter is not your study permit. You need to show it to an officer when you arrive in Canada. Along with the letter, you will also be issued an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) or a visitor visa (temporary resident visa) to enter Canada.

On arriving in Canada, you are required to present all these documents to the border services officer, who after validation, will issue you with the study permit.

MS in Canada: Work Permit process and PR opportunities (Part 3)

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In the last blog dated 17/08/2020, we learnt about the admission requirements and visa process for masters in Canada. In this final part, we will cover vital information on how to obtain a work permit and apply for a Permanent Residency in Canada.

Work Permit

A Work Permit, or a Work Visa, is issued to eligible international individuals to work in that country for a specific time period (3 years). Unlike the US, you don’t need a job offer in order to apply for a work permit. You can apply for it within 180 days of receiving the post graduate degree. In order to be eligible for a work permit, you need to meet the following criteria:

1) You must complete MS from a Designated Learning Institution (A designated learning institution is a school approved by a provincial or territorial government to host international students.)

2) Your course should be at least 8 months long

3) Your study permit should be valid at some point within the 180 days of receiving your MS mark sheet. If you stay in Canada with an expired study permit, you must apply to restore your status as a student before applying for a work permit.

4) You must maintain full-time status as a student. Part-time status does not qualify you for a work permit.

Permanent Residency (PR)

International students can apply for PR while studying in Canada or after completing their MS. Most students apply for the PR while studying. This is popularly called ‘dual intent’ application and is readily accepted by the Canadian immigration law. For PR, each applicant is scored out of 100 on the basis of his/her age, qualifications, English language proficiency and experience.  Generally, applicants who score above 67 get their PR faster than others. Broadly, there are three types of PR programs you can apply for as a student:

Canadian Experience Class (CEC)

To qualify for this, students must have at least 12 months of work experience in Canada. While the requisite work experience gained by applying for a work permit is considered, any part-time work experience earned during the program like internships and co-ops does not count as valid work experience for a PR.

Quebec Experience Class (QEC)

Students who have completed their program in Quebec and who have passed intermediate level of proficiency in French can apply for this. This type does not require prior work experience in Canada.

Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs)

To be eligible for this, a student must meet the minimum requirements of that province he/she intends to settle in, must have graduated from a Canadian post-secondary education program, and must have a relevant work experience. (This requirement varies for different provinces)

After receiving the PR, you should complete at least 4 years of stay in Canada before applying for the citizenship.

MS in Canada: Admission and student visa requirements (part 2)

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In the last blog dated 10/08/2020, we discussed the benefits of pursuing masters in Canada and saw how fast the country is becoming one of the most sought after destinations for higher education. In this blog, we will focus on the admission and visa requirements for MS in Canada and breeze through the top Ten Canadian Universities for STEM courses.

Admission requirements 

Academic credentials

Majority Canadian universities require you to have completed 16 years of education (12+4), i.e. – a four- year Bachelor’s degree before going for MS. This is applicable to all the technical background students like Engineering, Pharmacy, and Architecture etc. For non-technical fields like Arts and Management, a student is required to complete 17 years of education. (12+3+2)

Canadian universities have a very high cutoff percentage. Hence, you need to have a minimum of 65% to 70% in your degree course and an equivalent CGPA of a minimum of 7.0 to 7.5. Top universities especially give a lot of emphasis on the performance of the last two years of your degree course. (3rd & 4th year)

If you are planning to pursue MS in Business Management, Finance, and Business Analytics; you are required to have relevant work experience of minimum 1 to 3 years.

Qualifying examinations

TOEFL/IELTS: English Language Proficiency Test scores are a mandatory requirement of Canadian universities. A minimum of 6.5 to 7 band score in IELTS or 90+ score in TOEFL is required to get into the best Canadian universities. At Dilip Oaks Academy, we offer online TOEFL and online IELTS coaching along with rigorous practice sessions and mock tests.

GRE: Though a majority of universities in Canada do not require GRE scores, some of the top universities do ask for it. We recommend you to give the GRE and keep your scores ready if you aim to get into one of the top universities. Our Online GRE Coaching will enable you to prepare for the GRE in a hassle-free manner.

Crucial student visa requirements:

Once you receive admit from a Canadian university, you need to apply for a study permit that requires you to fulfil four crucial criteria:

1)      Admit should be from a recognized university

2)      Proof of funds to support yourself. At present this is equal to the tuition fee for one year and CA$10,000 as living expenses.

3)      Proof of no criminal record

4)      Fitness certificate from the doctor as recommended by the Canadian High Commission

Lastly, a quick glance at the Top 10 Canadian Universities:

  • University of Toronto
  • University of British Columbia
  • McGill University
  • McMaster University
  • University of Montreal
  • University of Alberta
  • University of Ottawa
  • University of Calgary
  • University of Waterloo
  • Western University

Kick-start your prep for MS in Canada NOW!

Enrol for our admission counselling services and start planning your Canadian endeavour the right way!

Top 6 benefits of pursuing masters in Canada (Part 1)

TOP 6 BENEFITS OF PURSUING MASTERS IN CANADA

With its international student population touching 6.4 lakhs this year, Canada has become the 3rd leading destination of foreign students, especially Indians, who constitute 34% of this number. Since 2014, the Indian student population in Canada has grown by a whopping 350%.  Premier affordable education, internationally recognized degrees, and opportunities for Permanent Residency have led to a large number of students to apply for Masters in Canada. Additionally, a small population of 37 million, and steady growth of the economy have opened multiple job avenues over the last decade, especially in the provinces of Ontario, British Columbia, and Quebec, and have made them the most sought after areas for settlement.

Given these facts, let us explore in detail what makes Canada one of the ideal destinations for higher education:

Quality education and internationally recognized degrees: To date, Canada houses around 30 high-ranked universities offering degrees that are recognized internationally as being equivalent to US degrees. These universities have highly qualified professors, mostly Doctorates with enormous experience in their fields. Secondly, the teacher-student ratio is as low as 1:20. This allows personal attention and interaction. As per the current rankings, the top three universities in Canada are the University of Toronto, McGill University, and University of British Columbia.

Affordable tuition fees and living costs: Compared to American universities, Canadian universities have a very affordable fee structure; in fact, the lowest among other English-speaking countries. This is because the Canadian dollar (1 Canadian dollar (CAD) = 56 INR) is much cheaper than the American dollar (1 USD= 74 INR) and the Euro (1 Euro= 88 INR). As for the living costs—the total housing, food, and other expenses usually do not exceed 1,000 CAD per month. Additionally, students can take on-campus jobs for 20 hours/week and make u to 800 to 900 CAD per month. They can also apply for full-time jobs during summer and winter breaks and earn a substantial sum to cover their tuition costs.

Easy immigration and PR laws: Unlike the US, there is no annual quota for immigrants in Canada. In fact, the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) recently published their Canada Immigration Levels Plan for 2020-2022 according to which, they plan to admit around 1,053,000 new permanent residents till 2022. Also, under the new system, international graduates from Canadian study programs can obtain up to 30 additional CRS points. Thus, pursuing MS in Canada increases the chances of securing Permanent Residency.

Job opportunities: Canadian curriculum is designed to meet the changing industry demands. By the time students finish their masters; they are well-versed with the latest trends and manage to land a good job within 6 months of course completion.

Research-based education:  Canada ranks 4th in the world for its quality scientific research. Canadian universities actively encourage students to conduct research. University of Toronto and University of British Columbia have been recognized as the best Canadian universities due to their high research impact. A student applying for Masters can choose either a professional master’s program (MEngg) or opt for a research-based master’s program (MaSc) emphasizing on original scientific research. The industries and government institutions in Canada also extend support by organizing learning programs and workshops.

Cultural diversity:  Canada has a rich cultural diversity of people from various ethnicities. Universities also conduct a lot of cultural programs that help students to develop a broader and global perspective.

In the next part, we will talk about admission requirements for MS in Canada.

Time to rejoice: Trump administration revokes the rule regarding online classes for fall semester

A huge relief for International students

Indian students can now heave a sigh of relief as the Trump administration has finally revoked the new visa rule that required International students taking fully online classes in the US for the fall semester, to return to their home countries.

In our last blog dated 08/07/2020, we wrote in detail about the new rule and its possible repercussions on existing and new students aspiring to go to the US.

Soon after the announcement of this rule on July 6, Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and many other institutes as well top American IT companies had filed lawsuits against the administration, seeking reversal of the rule. In response to these lawsuits, the Boston Federal Court revoked this rule on Tuesday, and asked the immigration authorities to pull the directive and return to the “status quo.”

Another factor that contributed to the reversal of the rule is the fact that a whooping number of international students join US universities every year and provide the required tuition revenue. International students contribute billions of dollars to the US economy every year. Sustenance of the new rule would have plummeted the enrollment and subsequently led to a deep financial crisis for the universities as well the country.

Now that rule has been revoked, international students, including Indian students, will be able to stay in the US even if they are pursuing online classes for the fall 2020 semester. New students who are in the process of joining the US universities for spring 2021 sessions will also be able to smoothly continue their visa process and education in the US.

Most Frequently Asked Questions About Deferrals And Student Visas

FAQs about deferrals and Student Visa

With the current pandemic situation and uncertainties about deferrals and Visa regulations, most of you who are in the process of joining US universities for MS or who are planning to join next year, have a lot of queries and doubts. To guide you better and help you make a decision, here are the answers to some of the most Frequently Asked Questions:

Q1) I am currently taking GRE classes, and I plan to apply next year. Is it safe to go next year?

Answer: Yes. You can safely apply for Fall 2021 since the situation will normalize by then. Things will begin to get under control right after the November presidential elections.

Q2) Should I defer my Fall 20 admission to Spring 21 or Fall 21?

Answer: At the moment, you can defer your admission to Spring 21 since it is likely that the situation will be under control by then and in-person classes will resume. Otherwise, you will have to extend the deferral to Fall 21.

Q3) I have received admits from eight universities. Will all of them accept deferral for Fall 21?

Answer: No. All the universities may not accept deferral for Fall 21. Some of them are asking students to reapply next year for the fall session.  In that case, your application will be evaluated along with the new applicants. Fortunately, the number of students applying next year will be comparatively less. Therefore, your chances of acceptance will not be hampered.

Q4) When should I book my visa dates if I want to go in Spring 21?

Answers: Visa booking dates for October are now available. Visit the official website of US Consulate for booking your date.

Q5) I am planning to defer to Spring 21, and hence I have booked my visa date for October 20. If I again extend my deferral to Fall 21, do I have to book the visa date and pay the visa fee again?

Answer: In case you book the date for October but instead of joining in Spring 21, you decide to defer to Fall 21, you have to cancel the booked date and reschedule another date, anytime within a year. You need not pay the Visa fee again.

Q6) Will the current situation in the US affect my internship?

Answer: According to the SEVP Advisory, all Indian students pursuing/looking to pursue practical training opportunities, including Curricular Practical Training (CPT), pre-completion Optional Practical Training (OPT), post-completion OPT, and/or the STEM Extension OPT are advised to remain in contact with their Designated School Official (DSO) regarding their situation.

Q7) Will the pandemic affect research and other funding opportunities offered by universities?

Answer: Since majority students are not joining universities for Fall 20, it is affecting their financial condition. On this backdrop, it is most likely that the funding opportunities will be difficult for at least the first two semesters.

Q8) Will the current situation and new rules affect the STEM category?

Answer: As of now, there is no official declaration about it, so it should not be a matter of concern.

Q9) Many universities are exempting GRE, SAT, and English Language Test scores for admissions for spring 21 and in some cases, even for fall 21. Should we not give these exams?

Answer: Very few students are applying right now hence the universities are offering exemptions. We still recommend you to appear for these exams because when the number of applicants increases next year, GRE and SAT scores will give an upper hand to your application.

For any other query about GRE, US admissions and jobs, visit our FAQ Section.

Click HERE to enroll for our online GRE batches.

Trump’s new executive order of H1B Visa suspension will not affect Indian students

H1B Visa

President Donald Trump, on Monday, June 22, issued an executive order temporarily suspending stamping for new H-1B and few other work visas till December 31, 2020.

While the news may come as a setback for IT professionals aspiring to go to the US this year, students completing graduation in the USA, need not panic.

Who will be affected by this executive order? 

IT companies 

This move will affect the IT companies in India that work for US clients and send their employees on H1B visas or L Visas to work at client sites. The suspension will prohibit the entry of IT professionals in the USA on work-related projects till December 2020. The freeze will apply to the following visas:

  1. H1-B Visas: Used by Tech workers
  2. H4 Visa: Dependents of H1B visa holders
  3. L visas – Transfer within the same company
  4. J Visa – Exchange Visitor (J) non-immigrant visa
  5. H2-B – Visas for low-skill jobs

H1B aspirants of 2020-21 fiscal 

The H1B lottery process for 2020-21 fiscal has completed. The sponsoring companies of those picked in the lottery had hoped to complete the application process by June end and have the employees onboard this year itself. However, with the new ban, the employees will not be able to join this October and will have to wait till December.

No effect on F1 visa and OPT

Students pursuing their education in the US are on an F1 student visa. You can still find an internship or co-op on CPT while studying. Also, on completion of your graduation, you can start working in the US on OPT. Students who are already on OPT and whose H1B visas have been picked in the lottery, will not be affected by the order. However, it is highly recommended that they do not travel outside the US under these circumstances.

 Better chance for employment to students with strong academics and US degrees  

Following this order, Trump has also directed his administration to reform the H-1B visa system and move in the direction of merit-based immigration. Additionally, the lottery system which picks up applications randomly will now be replaced by a merit-based system that will prioritize the highest salaries to “get the best and the brightest”.

Therefore, students who have demonstrated excellent academics and have advanced degrees in the US universities will increase their chances of securing a high paying job and benefit them greatly.

6 Easy Hacks to Get You Back in the Online Learning Game!

As convenient as they might seem, online classes do demand extra efforts when it comes to concentrating. It is quite easy to focus during classroom lectures as there is two-way communication and the right kind of environment with no reasons to get distracted. However, in online classes, it is a task to focus and soak everything in as it is comfortable and there is no fear of being noticed or called out by the teacher! This lack of concentration might leave you with no substantial learning at the end of the day.

To enable you to stay focused during your online lectures, and make the most out of them, here is our quick video blog of 6 easy hacks to get you back in the learning game!