Written by Krushitha Reddy
We see a lot of students who aim to do masters abroad, joining coaching centers for GRE and IELTS/TOEFL preparation. GRE and IELTS/TOEFL are something which tests your language proficiency and math level. So, do you really need someone to teach you math and english?
Well, GRE and IELTS/TOEFL do need some preparation but definitely not coaching. Students can prepare for these tests by making use of the free online resources.
Students are generally advised to take their tests at least a month prior to applying for admissions. A full 3 months preparation is enough of someone who aims to crack these tests with a decent score. Let’s now discuss the tests in detail.
It has 3 parts namely Quantitative section, Verbal section, Analytical Writing Assessment. Use the ETS OFFICIAL GUIDE which is available online (pdf link attached below). One can get familiar with the different parts of the test and the type of questions asked within 15days. Start with a diagnostic test where you get a complete picture of the actual test, can assess your level and find parts where you need to focus. The Quant section has high school mathematics. Verbal section is what you have to concentrate on. AWA has 2 essays- 30minutes each, where you need to analyze the given situation and present your ideas clearly using good linkers/ transition words.
Give yourself a target of 1month for complete preparation. Focus on vocabulary because GRE is all about it. Download a free app ‘MAGOOSH’ which has around 1000 words. Try to finish 300 words a week. You can find sample full length tests on different websites. There are a plethora of youtube videos by students who scored 330+. Do watch them for tips, techniques and suggestions. Take 2 full length tests every week and keep monitoring your scores. Links for a few practice tests are attached below. Once you start getting a consistent decent score, then you are good to go. Book your GRE slot and ace your test.
IELTS/TOEFL is basically an english language proficiency test where your listening, reading, writing and speaking skills are assessed. Time is a crucial factor here. This test is pretty simple but time is the only constraint which depicts your band score. Make use of the Official Cambridge IELTS Guide or the ETS TOEFL guide for working out different types of questions of the test.
There are many youtube channels which have plenty of listening practice tests with audio recordings of different native speakers of US, UK, Spain etc.
Reading section is where you have to skim and scan (quick read) the long passages and answer different types of questions. Practice is all you need to answer the questions accurately.
Writing section is where you need to write essays and your score depends on the extent to which you fulfill the following criteria:
Task achievement, Coherence and cohesion, Lexical Resource, Grammatical Accuracy.
Speaking section is a separate 15-minutes interview with a Cambridge certified interviewer in IELTS. It is where your pronunciation, fluency, voice modulation and most importantly vocabulary are assessed. Speaking to yourself in the mirror, recording your speech and listening back to it helps to know your mistakes and improve.
In the first 15days, try to get familiar with all the types of questions in different sections. Further, take 1 month for complete preparation. The official guide has 8 full practice tests and website links for few other practice tests are attached below. Take 2 full length practice tests per week. Book your slot when you achieve a consistent decent score in your practice tests and when you are confident.
Best GRE and IELTS/TOEFL test scores + STRONG PROFILE = Dream college
This is how you can crack your GRE and IELTS/TOEFL in 3 months with self preparation. Few may take an extra month for more practice.
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