As you are aware, most classes have been temporarily suspended and tests like GRE, TOEFL, and IELTS have been postponed due to Coronavirus outbreak and subsequent lockdown. Also, there is no clarity on when the classes will resume and situations will normalize.
To help you make optimum use of this lockdown time, we discussed in our last blog, a few tips that can help you to prepare for the GRE while at home. When it comes to TOEFL and IELTS, most of you are used to classroom practice and find it difficult to manage it at home. In this blog, we shall discuss a few easy strategies that will help you to overcome this hurdle and boost your prep even when at home:
Tired of studying all the time? Instead of binge-watching the latest sitcom online, why not try some reading for fun?
Starting this week, we present to you GREat Five-Minute Reads, curated and compiled by faculty members to ensure that you augment your critical reasoning skills by understanding complex sentence structures and recognizing tricky context clues.
Need more incentive? Well, these articles will also boost your comprehension of tough vocabulary: since the ETS opts for words that can be broadly used in many contexts across many academic disciplines, these words are almost non-existent in everyday conversations or TV scripts. This makes grasping the vocabulary in Reading Comprehension passages or Sentence Completion texts like tackling a behemoth. A simple solution? Read a lot to find out how these words behave in their “natural habitat”, so you can tame the leviathans easily!
The looming uncertainties about visa processes and admissions to US universities due to ongoing lockdown have put the long term plans on hold for many students who have already secured university admits. Meanwhile, many of you, who are currently preparing for the GRE and have joined GRE coaching, are also finding it difficult to plan and manage their studies due to suspension of classes and postponement of tests.
As of now, there is no clarity by when these situations will improve and classes will resume. Therefore, to help you make the best use of this lockdown time without being affected by the mounting pressure, we have come up with a few tips that will help you continue your studies at home, in a smart way!
Taking the GRE® General Test at Home: Equipment and Environment Checks
With the current lockdown, the ETS has made it possible from April 2, 2020, in India for students to take the GRE General Test online at home! This opportunity is will not be available for long and the number of test-at-home sessions is limited. To register for the test, visit ets.org/gre/at-home today!
There are a few criteria that you must keep in mind while applying to take the test at home. Firstly, your computer must meet the equipment requirements for the test. This will mean you have to install the ETS Test Browser and the ProctorU Systems Check on your machine (desktop/laptop). During the test, a human proctor, via video camera, will monitor you and your computer screen to ensure you follow procedures: the entire test will be recorded and your photo will be taken, which will be made available as part of your score record to the institutions you designated. Additionally, there are certain environmental parameters you must follow.
With the rising number of patients in the United States and the lockdown declared in India, there is no clarity on when the consulates will start processing the visas again. Considering this, it is anticipated that there will be a backlog of visa interviews and many prospective fall 2020 students are panicking whether they will get their visas in time.
Though the consulates are positive of issuing visas on time, many universities in the US have begun offering deferrals in case situations do not improve until August 2020 and students need to postpone their travel and join the course later in Spring.
In the last blog, we saw the fall 2020 course commencement decisions that the universities are likely to make.
As per the recent updates we received from the office of graduate and undergraduate admissions of a few universities, the fall 2020 admission process is going on and students who are still sending applications can connect with the admission office staff via video chat and email. Those who haven’t received any admits yet, have nothing to worry as the admission process will not be canceled and they will receive admits, though the decision may be released later than the usual time taken by the universities.
To update our students on the changing situations in the US due Coronavirus outbreak, we are publishing this blog that will be carried in three parts. In this first part, we shall provide you with firsthand information about student safety, fall 2020 admissions, and course commencement decision.
International student safety scenario
All the international students in the US are safe and have been asked to stay in their respective housing facilities within the US. For those who are on campus, many universities are providing temporary accommodations with fixed supplies until any other arrangements are made by the student. All the universities are offering only online classes for the spring 2020 semester. Universities have offered webinars to enable students to continue their studies and chat in real-time with the faculty members. Most universities have also shifted their administrative offices online. Students have also been provided with essential contacts and links to US Health Departments.
There is a lot of confusion overtaking the GRE® General Test if your test date is during the lockdown which has been put in effect till April 14, 2020. Due to the health and safety concerns for students and staff from the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, the ETS has postponed tests in many affected countries, including India. According to the latest update on the ETS website, the GRE® General Test and TOEFL iBT® Test have been postponed in India till April 11, 2020.
While both the GRE® General Test and the TOEFL iBT® Test are now being offered as Special Home Edition test, this is only available in the United States, Canada, Colombia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Hong Kong (China) and Macau (China) from Thursday, March 26. India is not one of those countries: there is no Special Home Edition test for Indian test-takers.
If you are concerned about the rescheduling of your GRE® General Test or TOEFL iBT® Test, the ETS is regularly releasing updates taking into account the WHO directives and the local government orders. If the ETS postpones your GRE® General Test or TOEFL iBT® Test, you will be notified by email and your test will be rescheduled in your account. Check your account and your email regularly to confirm your testing status. If the ETS reschedules your test, the applicable fees will be waived (no rescheduling fees will be applied).
If your GRE® General Test or TOEFL iBT® Test is not postponed but you would like to reschedule, you must contact the respected services directly by sending a mail to the addresses provided below. This rescheduling will incur a fee.
To reschedule the GRE test:
To reschedule the TOEFL test:
To register for tests:
Test dates scheduled within the next 5–6 months are still open for registration for both GRE® General Test and TOEFL iBT® Test. Students can register for available dates on the GRE Tests registration website.
Important Links:GRE & TOEFL Tests
In the last blog, we covered the following points:
Abundant employment opportunities
The strongest economy in the world
Worldwide acceptability of US degrees
Wide range of universities to choose from
In this blog, we will cover the remaining six points:
Access to the latest technology and research
It is a well-established fact that US education offers an updated syllabus in accordance with the industry requirements. It provides easy access to the latest developments in various fields and enables you to stay abreast of the changing technology which adds to employability. Almost all US universities focus on research-based education which again opens multiple career avenues for those of you who wish to work on research-based projects or go for a Ph.D. subsequently.
We have been getting several inquiries from the concerned family members and media regarding the impact of Coronavirus on the lives of foreign students and especially students from the academy currently studying in the USA. We wanted to clarify some of the questions regarding the same.
90% of the students from the academy live away from the campus, in private apartments which are less expensive and more convenient for our students. They usually live with a group of fellow Indian students, so they do have a support system. These students have not been impacted and continue to live in their own rented space.
For students who do live on the campus itself, some universities have asked students to look for housing out of the campus to encourage social distancing, however it is important to note that in many such universities – students can file applications to request an exception to the campus closure. Additionally, several U.S. universities are willing to work one-on-one with international students and assist them with accommodation during hardships.
In the majority of the universities, food service, campus health, libraries, and computer labs are open to supporting international students.
Additionally, university medical phone lines and medical services are open for diagnosis and potential testing of students who may show any symptoms or need medical attention.
Grocery stores are open all across the U.S.A and online food delivery services are open as well. Universities have been in constant communication with students regarding the COVID-19 outbreak and as a result, students were already alerted early on that they need to stock up on groceries and essential supplies. Medical pharmacies too, are open across the USA in all states. These pharmacies also carry basic food supplies which the students can purchase in case of emergency.
The majority of the US universities have canceled in-classroom instruction and have moved the classes online, and this will most likely continue for the entire spring semester.
For future students: coming from a country where coronavirus is present has no effect on whether students are admitted or not in the universities. The admissions process will continue as per the usual guidelines of each university.
We urge everyone to stay safe and take the utmost care during these times. We also want to ensure that there is no anxiety or incorrect information that can cause additional worry to friends and family in India.