GRE Score Reports: Things You Should Know

Score Card

The first thing you should know: take your GRE about 1 ½ to 2 months before your earliest important deadline. It is going to take approximately that much time for your score reports to reach the universities you have chosen as score recipients (i.e. the universities you chose to send your score reports to). Here’s what the ETS says:

Getting Your GRE ScoresAbout 15 days to a month after your test, you will be able to view online and print out, for your own records, your score report in the PDF format shown below:

Examinee GRE Score Report Image

Having seen the format, you probably have some questions: for example, why are the scores for the Verbal and Sections given under two different headings: prior format and current format? And what is the estimated current score under prior format for?

Well, before August 2011, the GRE used to score the Verbal and Quantitative sections on a scale of 200-800 instead of between 130-170 as they now do. According to the ETS, GRE scores are valid for 5 years. This means that GRE scores taken in September 2011 will continue to be valid according to the ETS till September 2016. Until then the ETS has to provide a way of comparing the old and new scores. They do this by providing:

  • an old score equivalent for tests taken under the Revised General GRE format (taken on or after 01 August 2011)
  • a new score equivalent for tests taken under the earlier GRE format (i.e. before 01 August 2011)

This is why the scores for the Verbal and Quantitative sections in the PDF shown above are given in two columns: ‘Prior Format’ and ‘Current Format’. This allows universities to easily compare the scores of students who have taken the older versions of test and those who have taken the newer one without too much difficulty. The ‘Estimated Current Score’ column (under ‘prior format’) was specially meant for candidates who had taken the old format of the test and for whom American universities needed an estimated equivalent score in the new format.

Somewhat pointlessly, the ‘estimated current score’ is also given for students who have taken the new version of the test (the Revised General GRE as it is called) – this is pointless since they already have an actual score in the new column. But we guess, since the ETS had the columns, they had to fill them up! Perhaps, reports after August 2016 will be simpler. Practically, however, this comparative data will not make much of a difference to you since most universities do not accept GRE scores that are older than 3 years. So, American universities probably stopped accepting September 2011 reports in September 2014.

Here are some other important links to check out:

Can I ask the ETS to show universities only the scores I want them to see?

Free GRE score reports

Ordering additional GRE score reports

And just in case, you are interested here’s the PDF format the score report that the universities you are applying will see if you have asked the ETS to send them a score:

Graduate Institution GRE Score Report Image

Have you Met our Roommate Finder!

Living in a foreign country can be both exhilarating and daunting. So can finding the ‘perfect’ roommate.

Anyone who plans to do an ‘MS in US’ has to stay away from family and venture out on their own; and most of you will have come a ton across of horror stories about staying with complete strangers. Differences over how to arrange the apartment, food preferences, keeping different hours or even a sharing a bathroom can turn your dream of studying in America pretty sour! What may not have been significant when you lived with your family may become huge issues when you start sharing living space with others. So, maybe this will sound like advice for someone who is looking for a life partner rather than just a room partner but remember you are going to be sharing cooking, washing up and even laundry duties with that person (or those people). You are going to have to make arrangements to pay the rent and other bills and to share the keys – if that’s not like being married then what is? So, you have to make up your mind about what you are looking for in someone you are probably going to see, be with and work with almost every single day of your stay in the United States.

Do you simply need someone to help pay the bills or are you looking for someone you could be comfortable just being with as well? Would you like to work together with your roommates on cooking and washing and laundry or would you prefer that everyone made their own independent arrangements. Are you the social, friendly, partying type who would like to invite friends over for get-togethers on weekends? Or are you more of a reclusive loner who would prefer others to respect his or her privacy? And so, for example, would you like your roommates to welcome social ‘invasions’ or strongly resist them.

Even if you are the more gregarious type, remember that your new-found roommates may not automatically become your new best friends; people come with their own social circles ‘pre-loaded’. So, if you expect to immediately integrate into the social life of your roomies, you may end up feeling shut out for a while. Conversely some lifelong friendships begin when people started sharing a room, and you too might discover that meeting your roommate was one of the best things that ever happened to you.

On another note, you also need to find good accommodation. You are going to a foreign land, but you can still use your common sense to sniff out and avoid bad options. Here’s a simple pointer: if something seems too good to be true it usually is. Be especially careful if:

  • An ad quotes rates that seem too low for the area and the standard shown in the photos.
  • The landlord tries to get you to pay before you have seen anything (they may sometimes claim that they can’t show you the place but you have to pay if you want to seal the deal – in such cases, just say, “No thanks!”).

But as they say, joys are doubled and sorrows halved when you share them with friends – or roommates! A fresh, completely free and, very importantly, safe way of finding a room or roommate is Dilip Oak Academy’s Roommate Finder. This feature will help you find other students who are already in your desired US University or who are headed there.

Here’s how it works: if you are a signed up member of Dilip Oak’s Academy Online, all it requires is that you update your application status. Once you’ve done that, the names of other students going to the same university as you are will automatically be updated on your Roommate Finder page. Then, just hit the contact button.

If you’re not a member then, joining up is free and easy – it just takes a minute or two – and then you will be able to find roommates.

Remember, Dilip Oaks Academy Online is free to join! So, tell all your friends who are applying for an ‘MS in US’ to join and update their admission updates. The more people join, the more everybody benefits! But, even now there are enough folks like you signed up with us to make this feature a big help to you!

Centre Shock: The Unexpected Challenges Your GRE Test Center May Throw at You!

Hi folks! Today’s post is a write up by Shraddha Barawkar, an engineering student (see brief bio below) about her GRE test experiences at the Prometric Center at Goregaon. We thought it might be interesting for all you GRE candidates out there to hear about how things worked out for her.

 


  • Name: Shraddha Barawkar
  • Branch: Mechanical Engineering
  • College: Pune Vidhyarthi Griha’s College of Engineering and Technology
  • GRE Date: 5 December 2014
  • GRE Center: Prometric Testing Pvt Ltd
  • Center Location: Techniplex I, Goregaon (West), Mumbai

 

Ideally, you should enter your GRE test center full of pep and leave it with a smile! But if you don’t prepare for conditions at the test center or think about travelling there, you may be in for an energy drain that can wipe the smile right off your face. And that can throw off your performance in the GRE!

One of the first things I realized is that it would have been better to be at the test location the day before. I live in Pune and my GRE test center in Goregaon West, Mumbai, was about 120 kms. away – that’s for non-Maharashtrian readers! (Google map and more details here) So, I had to wake up at 4 a.m. and eventually left my house at 6.30 for Mumbai. Not a good idea on the day of the exam!

However, it was early morning, there was only light traffic and so we reached the outskirts of Mumbai at 10 a.m. I heaved a sigh of relief: I had a 12.30 p.m. slot, there were still 2-½ hours for my test and we thought it would take only half an hour to cover the approximately 25 kms to the test center. But by then, the traffic had started up and so, it took us 1-½ hours. As a result, I didn’t even get to have breakfast in peace. Luckily though, my father was able to grab a couple of wadas for me from the vendors outside the center. Finally, at 12.25 p.m., I walked into the center.

My test room was on the 8th floor. As I entered the room, I saw 50 expressionless faces looking blankly at me: those of my fellow test-takers. Simultaneously, I was hit by a sharp temperature drop, from 300C outside, to around 180 inside. I felt as if I had entered a graveyard, and my hands started shivering. Nevertheless, I put a smile on my face and tried to converse with some of the folks there, but they were very reticent, adding to the nervousness I felt because of chill in the room. I could feel myself losing focus and giving in to the desire to just to get the exam over as soon as possible! The atmosphere at the test center, I realized, doesn’t help you to settle into the right frame of mind to take the test.

Shraddha's Overall Evaluation of the Test Center

Somehow, eventually, the formalities got over (passport, ID checking etc.) and, a painful half an hour later, we were asked to put our bags and accessories in the lockers. Then, one by one, we were sent to the main exam room. I relaxed a bit at that point, since I thought that the formalities were finally over. But I was wrong! Inside there was yet another room where I was asked to remove my blazer, unchain my back pockets, raise the collar of my formal shirt and unfold the lower portion of my jeans. This was all done by male authorities, which as a woman, I found quite embarrassing. Finally, I was sent to the test room.
During the exam itself, I encountered two important problems: firstly, typing with nearly numb fingers was a tough job in the analytical writing section. Secondly, during the 10 minute-break halfway through the test, I thought going to the waiting room would be a simple matter. But again I had to complete formalities involving signatures and time entry in order to check out. After the break the whole process of apparel checking was repeated which, took another 3-4 minutes. I was not aware that I had to include time for these things in the break as well and it was only by luck that I had come back early from my break. These circumstances made the GRE a tougher nut to crack!

You might wonder, why I am telling about you my frustrating experiences. It’s because I don’t want you to get demoralized by these things; I want you to be prepared for the worst. The first challenge lies in overcoming the unfavorable conditions at the test center. Only then can you attain the calm state of mind that you need to solve tricky GRE questions!

In conclusion, here’s my advice: if your test center is not located in your home town, you should be at the test location a day before. Find out about nearby places to eat and travel routes and times. Take into consideration traffic conditions too, and try to reach an hour early! You should also eat properly before the test and wear warm clothes. Sometimes the washrooms are far from the test rooms. So, be prepared for a long trek there and, if you are at the Goregaon center, all the formalities of signing in and signing out too!

Hope this helps folks.

This is Shraddha wishing you all the best to give your best!

ETS ScoreSelect for the GRE: a Boon …More or Less!

For students who have given the GRE more than once, the worry has always been that the universities will see their low scores along with their high ones. To deal with this problem the ETS launched the ScoreSelectTM feature some years ago. ScoreSelect allows you to decide which GRE scores will go to universities and colleges which means that you can omit poor scores from your graduate school applications. If you are retaking the GRE therefore, or have GRE scores that you are not keen to show the universities, it seems that ScoreSelect will allow you to breathe a little more easily. But you should be aware that this apparent boon does have its limitations.

Firstly, you won’t be able to mix and match your best maths and verbal performances from separate tests to create a super report. ScoreSelect only allows you to send score reports as a whole. Secondly, if you want the full flexibility that ScoreSelect offers then, it comes at a price.

As the ETS explains, after test day, you can send Additional Score Reports and select the ScoreSelect.

  • Most Recent option — using which, you can send your GRE scores from your most recent test
  • All option — using which, you can send your GRE scores from all tests in the last 5 years.
  • Any option — using which, you can send your GRE scores from one OR many tests in the last 5 years.

As you can see, it is the third option that gives you full scope to exclude the ‘bad’ scores you don’t want the universities to get. But, at this point, i.e. after test day, you will have to shell out $27/- per report. On test day, on the other hand, when you can choose 4 universities to send your score report to AT NO ADDITIONAL COST, this magical option is not available. All you have is the ScoreSelect Most Recent and All options. In short, if you want to get the full benefit of the ETS’s ScoreSelect option, you will have to pay for it at the rate of $27 per score report. As someone once said, there’s no such thing as a free lunch!

The third problem is that universities are all aware that you may be making use of this facility – and so, some may ask you to send score reports of all the GRE tests you have taken in the last 5 years anyway! If that’s the case with a university that you have selected, then you are stuck, and ScoreSelect is not going to help you.

So, the option exists. But it’s expensive, and it may not always be possible to use it. But, if the university you are applying to is willing to let you show them just the best side of yourself then, if you need it ScoreSelect is always there. Proceed thoughtfully!

The Academic Year in American Universities

The academic year in American universities is usually of a total length of 9 months (excluding a 3-month summer holiday). But the division of these 9 months into terms varies from university to university. Generally, the system will be one of these 3 types:

The Quarter System

In this system the academic year is divided into four quarters of approximately 10 weeks each.

 

The Trimester System

Here, the academic year is divided into three periods of 12 weeks each.

 

The Semester System

This is the most common system. In it the educational year is divided into 3 semesters:

  • the fall session which commences in August
  • the spring session which commences in January
  • the summer session which begins in June.

 

Free GMAT Score Reports

You may select up to five business school programs to which your Official GMAT Score Report will be sent free of cost. You have to make your choice of programs to which your free GMAT score reports will be sent at the test center on the day you take the GMAT® exam. This has to be done before you begin the test and once you have made your selections, you will not be able to change or delete them. (Click this link: GMAT program database to see a list of programs to which your GMAT scores can be sent.)

The Official GMAT Score Report will be sent to the five programs you have chosen within 20 calendar days of your test. This free GMAT test score reporting service is covered by your registration fee. If you wish to send more than 5 score reports, however, a fee of US $28 will be charged.(For more information click here)

Great Ways to Build Your LinkedIn Profile

  • Keep adding contacts. After you have added all the relevant contacts from your email list (the first step when you join LinkedIn) send requests to connect to:
    1. Teachers whose courses you are taking. Those with a good standing in the field are especially desirable as contacts.
    2. Project guides (internal and external)
    3. Teachers and professionals who you consult about seminars, research papers, curricular projects and those for competitions etc.
    4. Classmates in college who share your academic/professional interests (keep touch with the others on Facebook)

    These steps will help you build a large network in a short time. Start this process now while at your college here in India and continue when you join your American university. The contacts that you make at your American university during internships, while working on projects, research or papers are likely to be among the most useful and important ones you make.

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    Why You should Join the LinkedIn Student Portal

    According to LinkedIn about 200,000 college students join every month. As a result, companies are realizing that it makes sense to use the site to recruit interns and entry-level employees. Thus, when you join LinkedIn you become part of a network that Human Resource professionals in various organizations regularly scan for potential employees. The advantage is that companies search for recruits on LinkedIn even when recruits are not searching for them. (This is what is called ‘passively’ searching for a job.)

    But keep in mind that people are more likely to check you out as a prospective employee if your profile is complete. (Recommendations are a key part of a complete profile, so make sure that you ask your professors and others whom you have worked with to endorse you.) Having a complete LinkedIn profile may get you a much coveted internship. So, make it your goal to have an updated LinkedIn profile even during your master’s studies. It will help bring you to the notice of potential employers.

    But, the great news is that LinkedIn has a student portal which will help you in a number of other ways:

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    5 Reasons Why Students Going to America Should Join LinkedIn

    LinkedInIf you are reading this blog the chances are that you are a net savvy user, you have accounts on Facebook and Twitter and you are a student going to America for higher education. But have you ever thought of signing up for a LinkedIn account? Probably not: LinkedIn is supposed to be meant for professionals, and none or few of your friends are on it, so what good would it do a student to have a LinkedIn account?

    When you don’t know many people on LinkedIn, it is easy to think that it doesn’t matter. Actually however, there are 5 reasons why having a LinkedIn account is very useful if you are heading for higher education in the States.

     

    • LinkedIn offers several tools to help get information and ideas from experts in your field viz.:
        1. LinkedIn Groups
        2. LinkedIn Answers
        3. LinkedIn Today

        For college students these tools offer a great way of learning the professional language of your field, keeping up with the latest trends and topics in the field and becoming a well-informed ‘insider’. With more than 120 million users worldwide, LinkedIn offers a lot of potential avenues for learning.

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