Application Timeline for Fall 2014 – Make Sure You Are on Track | MS in US | Fall 2014

If you are applying for fall 2014 the clock has begun to tick. So, don’t delay. Review this Application Timeline for Fall 2014 immediately and get to work. Here it is:

 

June-August 2013 – Review you goals for MS education and choose some specific areas in which you would like to specialize.

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TOEFL and IELTS: Which Test is Easier?

Comparison and Overview

Overall, as tests of language IELTS or TOEFL are equally easy, since both test English language skills at a very basic level. Both also contain four sections – listening, reading, speaking and writing (the essay section). Grammar is not tested in a separate section in either test; rather, it is tested as part of the other sections. But there are some differences.

The main difference between the two is the format of the test. TOEFL is internet-based (iBT), IELTS is paper-based. Further, all sections of TOEFL are tested on the same day, while the speaking portion of IELTS, which needs a scheduled appointment for a one-on-one interview, may fall on another day. There are also a few other variations in terms of testing time and in the type and number of questions asked. For example, the TOEFL, unlike the IELTS, contains integrated questions in which you may be asked to listen to a conversation, read a passage and then speak or write out a response.

Below is a quick overview of the main features of the two tests.

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IELTS or TOEFL – Which Exam Should I Take?

Purpose and Importance of the Tests

If you want to study abroad in countries like the US, UK, Australia and Canada, and if your first language is NOT English, you will have to take a test to prove that you can speak, read, write in English and understand spoken English. Two major standardized assessment tests allow you to do this: TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) and IELTS (International English Language Testing System).

These tests allow foreign universities to see whether students have at least the basic language skills required to complete their courses. That is why it is mandatory to take one of these tests if you are applying to graduate or undergraduate study programs abroad. In fact the TOEFL and IELTS have become the gold standard of English proficiency for educational purposes and also for immigration and work. But which of these exams should you take?

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An Easy Way to Learn GRE Words (Through Roots) Part 2

Word RootsIf you found the last post on roots helpful, here are 2 more roots which cover 25 GRE words. For those of you who have come directly to this post, here’s a link that will help you understand why we are talking about roots so much: go to first roots post. (But basically, it helps to make learning the GRE words much easier).

genus generis (14 words)

The Latin word genus (cognate with Greek ‘genos’ and the Sanskrit root ‘jan’) has produced a number of English words. Genus has two basic forms: ‘genus’ and ‘generis’ (the second of which is more important because most derived words in English and other modern European languages have come from it whereas ‘genus’ exists as a single English word).

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Help for Essay Writing in the GRE AW and TOEFL: Hypergrammar from Ottawa University

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:

http://www.uottawa.ca/academic/arts/writcent/hypergrammar/bldsent.html

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!

GRE Prep for Oak’s Students – Vocabulary Learning and Revision

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.

 

At Home:

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.

GRE Prep for Oak’s Students: Reading Comprehension Practice in the Last 2 Months

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

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GRE Prep for Oak’s Students: Plan for Taking Practice Computer-Based Tests

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.

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Write Better Essays with OWL – A Simple Aid to Improving Grammar

Essays

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.

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TOEFL Prep – Nice Resources at toeflgoanywhere.com

For takers of the TOEFL examination, the www.toeflgoanywhere.org website offers a host of preparation materials and tips for cracking the exam. One easy-to-use resource is the Online Study Group that presents a creative and interactive way for students to pick up helpful hints.

The Study Group covers all the four sections – Reading, Listening, Speaking and Writing – in four separate videos, each showing a conversation among four friends. The casual style of the videos makes it much easier for students to grasp the strategies than reading study material about the exam.

The videos mainly focus on important support skills such as paraphrasing and summarizing, which come in handy for the Writing, Reading and Speaking sections. The suggestions for the Listening section include simple things that one can do as part of one’s daily routine – watching American sit-coms and listening to English songs to improve vocabulary, for example. Or, reading aloud articles from magazines to improve fluency in speech for students who find it difficult to come up with quick answers in the Speaking section.

The Study Group videos are an interesting and quick way to learn some basic strategies for the TOEFL exam, and are especially useful for students who are just starting out on their TOEFL preparation. So, if you haven’t yet begun on your TOEFL preparation, take fifteen minutes out of your study schedule to visit this link:

http://www.toeflgoanywhere.org/meet-study-group-tips-test-takers-you

Raj, Val, Min and Celia will share important tips with you based on their TOEFL experience!