Boost your GRE Prep with Dilip Oak’s customized study plans

One of the most important steps in preparing for the GRE is planning your study schedule.  A structured prep plan is very important to systematically cover all the topics, manage time, and stay focused and motivated until your test day. At Dilip Oak’s Academy, along with GRE Coaching, we guide our enrolled students to study in a methodical manner through our exclusive GRE Study Plans.

Depending upon your GRE date (ETS registered/tentative), we provide you with a customized study plan for either 1 month, 1.5 months, 2 months, 2.5 months, 3 months, 3.5 months or 4 months.

Each study plan includes a step-by-step preparatory guide with day-wise and week-wise guidelines for Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, and Analytical Writing Sections of the GRE.

While each study plan varies according to the duration, it broadly includes:

  • Vocabulary Learning and Practice
  • Verbal Reasoning strategies and practice
  • Quantitative Reasoning strategies and practice
  • AWM essays brainstorming
  • ETS Material Practice

All the study plans comprise rigorous learning and practice modules for each of the above sections. To help you keep a track of your preparation, we also send you daily and weekly goal-setting reminders.

The study plans also include access to our exclusive online learning tools: Focused Practice, Mixed Practice and CBTs that help you study in a more organized manner and allow you to track your progress.

Focused Practice

  1. Reinforcement of the classroom coaching by helping you keep in sync with the concepts, tricks, and tips taught in the class
  2. 400+ questions for Verbal and Quantitative Reasoning
  3. Topic-wise questions for Quantitative and Verbal Reasoning

Mixed Practice 

  1. Personalized Dashboard to track your progress
  2. Customized according to the question types and difficulty level
  3. Convenient timed and untimed modes for practice
  4. Instant Review and question summary
  5. In-depth explanatory answers to gauge where you stand

CBTs

  1. Actual GRE® test experience with full-length timed tests according to the ETS® pattern
  2. AW essay scores and personalized feedback by our experienced evaluators
  3. Detailed Analysis of your performance to help you gauge your strengths and weaknesses
  4. Explanatory Review to help  you understand what went wrong and how to get it right the next time

Who can avail of these study plans?

Only those students who have enrolled for GRE Coaching at Dilip Oak’s Academy can avail of these study plans. To jumpstart your GRE prep and unlock our comprehensive study plans, register for our GRE coaching (hyperlink to GRE pg)

You can then request for the suitable study plan by submitting us the details of your enrolled batch, Roll Number/student ID and GRE Test date on gre@dilipoakacademy.com or fill the study plan request form here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdr35RKOlZXbFCsEI0SqzrdvnKKOpq-L_jHzEktzPhuoXRhGw/viewform

The plan will be sent directly to your inbox on your registered email ID.

What are you waiting for? Register for our upcoming GRE batches starting from 25th April and 8th May. Enroll here: https://www.dilipoakacademy.com/gre-online.html and avail your tailor-made study plans 

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

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!

Cracking the GRE: Getting Hit by the Analytical Writing Bomb – Why You Must Prepare for Analytical Writing

The AW BombFirst Things First

Here’s a fundamental reason why you should prepare for this section: it is the first section that you will face in the GRE exam – this is always the case. The Verbal and Quantitative Reasoning sections come in random order, and they only come in afterwards. Only Analytical Writing (AW) has a fixed place in the order of sections in the exam, and that place is right at the beginning of this arduous test. It’s a fact you can’t change, it’s a fact you can’t avoid; and it’s a fact that is fundamental to cracking the GRE.

How It is Supposed to Go

Ideally, you should be well prepared for AW. If you are, it should work out like this: you crack the essays. This gives you a surge of positive energy that sets you up to do well in the following sections. The end result? The confidence you gain in AW helps you get through the other sections with flying colors. You walk out of the test center with your head held high, lifted up with the expectation that now you will get some good admits. It’s a happy thought.

The One Thing You Forgot…

On the other hand, imagine this scenario. You know that your GRE score is of paramount importance and you have put in three or more months of grueling effort to make sure that you do well in the Verbal and Quantitative Reasoning sections. You haven’t really done much about Analytical Writing (after all, the only thing you have to do there is write a few essays, and how difficult is that going to be?). But apart from that you are fairly confident that at this stage nothing is likely to mess up your chances of a great GRE score.

…Turns Out to Be the One You Shouldn’t Have

Image credit: Stencil Revolution
Hugging a bomb?

However, the GRE test begins with AW. As you get into the two essay tasks, each with its specific demands and requirements, you realize that there are important things that you don’t understand about the essay tasks, about analyzing the topics and about how to tackle the specific requirements of the question types. It begins to dawn on you that doing a bit of reading would have given you handy examples to use in your essays. You also realize belatedly that that you should have worked on your language skills; and there’s a sinking feeling in your stomach that tells you that you should have practiced so that thinking and typing would be a smoothly flowing process that would fit into the given time.

The Bomb Explodes

Now, however, it’s too late. You are not prepared for AW; and getting hit by all the challenges posed by the AW tasks right in the beginning of your GRE is a big shock. You somehow manage to get through the AW section, but you have lost confidence, and that hits your ability to perform optimally on the subsequent portions of the test – and your performance on the following sections suffers. Not a very good ending after several months of effort.

The Moral

What’s the moral of the story? Don’t take this section lightly – it sets the tone for your performance in the other sections. Start preparing well in advance and set yourself up for success in AW. For those of you who are feeling a little lost, don’t worry, we have some tips for you that will help you to get a grip on this section in a forthcoming blog. Keep your eyes open for it.

Note: If you are a student at Dillip Oak’s Academy you can take a free Analytical Writing Counseling Appointment (scroll to the end of the page on this link for further details).

Cracking the GRE: Why You Can’t Ignore Your AW Score

Why You Can't Ignore Your AW Score

What Albert Einstein had to Say

A simple survey of most GRE students will show you that Analytical Writing (also known as AW) tends to be one of the most underrated sections of the GRE.

  • Firstly, the general perception is that getting an admit for an ‘MS in US’ depends mostly on your Quantitative and Verbal scores.
  • Further, the AW section is scored on a scale of 0 to 6 which, hardly seems worth bothering about compared to the 260-340 score scale of the other sections of the GRE. So, most students don’t give much importance either to this section or to being adequately prepared for it.

But, as Einstein once pointed out, “Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.” This is certainly true for the AW section of the GRE exam. Especially if you are an ambitious student, you can’t afford to do badly in Analytical Writing. In fact, there are 2 compelling reasons why you should give this section of the exam careful attention. As you will see, good preparation for the GRE will not only help you cracking the GRE, but will help you during your ‘MS in US’ even afterwards.

1. AW Scores Count

Think of it this way: getting a 5 or 6 in AW might not ensure a great admit but an AW score of less than 3 is very likely to deny you one (more about that below). On the other hand, getting a good AW score can give you an edge over the competition. Suppose you and another applicant have a the same GRE score (say, 320/340), a similar academic record and similar work experience. However, there is difference between you: in AW, the other applicant has a 2.5 whereas you have a score of 3.5. The difference in the AW scores is likely to help the admissions committee decide in your favor.

So, if you are very confident about the excellence of your academic record, and that your GRE scores for the Verbal and Quantitative Reasoning sections are going to be great, then maybe you can afford to ignore this section. Otherwise, especially if you are aiming for a top-ranking university, you should think of the competitive advantage that a good AW score can give you.

2. It is Good to Aim High on the AW Section

This is especially true, if you are looking at PhD. programs, or aiming for top-ranking universities and departments. In fact, for some high-ranking programs, an AW score of 4.0 or above is a basic requirement. The reasons for this are quite simple.

  • The professors in most top American universities and departments are looking for students who have good English writing skills. You might be a bright student brimming with great ideas, but what good are those ideas if you cannot convincingly communicate them in your reports, research papers or thesis?
  • Having the requisite language skills also ensures smooth completion of graduate school assignments such as thesis writing or publishing articles in peer-reviewed journals. This is important, since good writing skills on your part gives professors confidence that they don’t need to invest any additional effort in correcting badly written manuscripts or training you in writing.
  • Furthermore, professors often require students to help them in writing manuscripts of research papers or with writing grant proposals. Such activities are an important part of being a good graduate research assistant and it really irks professors if they cannot rely on you for assistance in these matters.

For these reasons, if you are a GRE test taker who is serious about getting into a top ranking graduate program, it is important that you be adequately prepared for the AW section. Your scores will tell your prospective professors whether you are someone who they should choose or someone they should avoid; whether you are someone whose work they will be able to read and enjoy or will have to spend long hours on, painfully correcting every line; whether you are going to be someone who helps them or someone who can’t be counted on to contribute. Guess who they are going to prefer?

Free GRE Score Reports

On the day of the test, after you have completed the test and have viewed your unofficial Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning scores, you will be asked to specify the names of 4 universities or colleges to which ETS will send your GRE General Test scores free of charge. This will be at the test center itself.

If the institution that you want to send your free GRE score to is not listed, you can ask the test center administrator for a form in which you can specify unlisted institutions. If you want the score to be sent to those institutions free, you will have to fill and hand in the form before you leave the test center. It will not be accepted after you leave the test center.

Note that even with free score reports, if you have given the test previously, you will have the option of choosing the ‘ScoreSelect Most Recent‘ option or the ‘ScoreSelect All‘ option for all four institutions.

Remember that if you choose not to send any scores at that time (i.e. the day of the test), you will have to order Additional Score Reports for a fee of US$25 per recipient. Again, if you have given the GRE test previously, you can make use of ETS’s score select feature to send scores from your Most Recent, All or Any test.

Free Score Reports for the GRE, GMAT, TOEFL and IELTS Tests

Each of the major tests that students generally take to get higher education in the United States – i.e. the GRE, GMAT, TOEFL tests – allows you to send you scores to a certain number of universities or colleges free of charge.

  • GRE – 4 free score reports
    • names of universities to be specified on the day of the test, immediately after your exam
    • current fee per score report thereafter $ 18
  • GMAT – 5 free score reports
    • names of universities to be specified on the day of the test, immediately after your exam
    • current fee per score report thereafter $ 28.00
  • TOEFL – 4 free score reports
    • names of universities to be specified one day before the test
    • current fee per score report thereafter $ 25
  • IELTS – 5 free score reports (to universities accepting an IELTS score) + 1 given to the candidate
    • names of universities to specified in the IELTS application form
    • additional score reports may be requested directly from the testing center – the fee for additional reports will be specified by the test center
Read our subsequent blogs for more details on free score reporting.

 

Great FREE Application Tools on DOA Online: Part 3 – Question & Answer Forum

Question & Answer Forum

Question & Answer Forum

– What are transcripts?
– When should I register for the GRE test?
– Where can I find university deadlines?
– From whom do I need to take recommendation letters?

The list of questions that come up when you are applying to American universities is endless. Most probably you won’t know where to look for solutions or, whom to ask for the answers. That’s where the next of our great free application tools comes in – the DOA ONLINE Q&A FORUM.

 

On the Q&A Forum (click screenshot below for enlarged view) you can:

  • ask any questions you have regarding the application process for American universities
  • get answers and expert advice from the academy (look for answers by the admin!)
  • get valuable tips and insights from other registered users – since they have gone through the same situations and problems, their advice is often the best: no one understands your situation better than those traveling on the same path!
  • consult the vast database of questions and answers already on the Q&A forum.

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How to Crack the GRE

Here’s a compilation of terrific tips on how to crack that all important exam – the GRE. The first set is from Dilip Oak’s Academy’s top scorers. The second set is from the academy itself.

Tips from Our Top Scorers

Did You Know these Facts about GRE Math?

 

~ By our Quantitative Reasoning Faculty

 

April is almost over and the countdown to the exam has already begun. You want a good overall score and if you’re an engineer, you are most probably thinking that getting 165 on Quant shouldn’t be too much of a problem (the typical engineer approaches maths questions with a raw “Just bring ‘em on” kind of arrogance and usually gets most questions right). But here’s the problem: sometimes even those with a strong background in maths may not cross the 160 mark – and when that happens, dreams of a score in the 325+ range come crashing down. To prevent that unhappy outcome, here are some basic insights about the way the math works on GRE.

One fundamental reason why some students don’t get the scores they should, is that they simply don’t understand the way the exam ‘TALKS’ maths. What this means is that the GRE test has its own way of defining mathematical terms. If you don’t understand the definitions used in the GRE exam, then time and time again you are going to end up making errors on questions you should have got right – and you are likely to end up feeling frustrated and demoralized. So, let’s have a look at a few basic differences between Indian maths and American math.

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