Most of you know that preparing for the GRE test involves things like hours of practice and learning lots of words and formulae by heart. For the TOEFL, as you are aware, you have to brush up on your grammar. But you most probably never thought that preparing for these tests would involve thinking through which universities or colleges you would like to apply to. But it does, and here’s why: saving the 180 dollars referred to in the title is as simple as selecting the 4 names of universities from a drop-down list. Here’s how it works.
Here’s our challenge for you: a cursory glance at this blog (and even this introduction!) will radically improve your vocabulary. Read it and see if it doesn’t! If you find the words challenging, take a look at the explanations below the article below. They are all from the high-frequency GRE list.
Any journey gives you a chance to take an exciting break from the soporific routine of everyday life. In fact, travelling to places and cultures very different from your own can be a visionary experience. In some cases the sights and sounds of an exotic locale can seem surreal. But going solo takes travel to a different level altogether.
The passage below has 20 high-frequency vocabulary words in it. See if you can understand their meaning from the context. If not read the meanings and sample sentences given below the passage.
When was the last time you played a game or pursued a hobby?
One can choose a hobby from a plethora of options, and explore them more or less deeply. Some try to develop their culinary skills, or attempt writing a book, or indulge in more erudite hobbies like numismatics or philately. Some set their heart on playing a musical instrument, like the guitar.
When you are thinking of getting a Master’s or doctoral degree in America, some of the top questions on your mind would be:
• What are the academic requirements in order to be able to apply?
• What are the costs of getting a degree in the US?
• What are the job prospects?
Here’s a quick look at the answers to those questions.
What is the eligibility for applying for a Master’s course in America?
The basic eligibility requirement is 16 years of formal education (12 + 4), the last 4 from an accredited university. So, students who have bachelor’s degrees in engineering (whether they joined engineering courses directly after the 12th Std. or after a diploma course) can directly apply for American Master’s courses. However, students who have completed a three-year degree (e.g. B.Sc.) should ideally complete their Master’s degrees (e.g. M.Sc.) in India and then apply.
If you are considering higher education in America, either an MBA or MS you will need to take the following tests:
Graduate Record Examination® (GRE®): Those seeking admission for a Master’s degree in any field apart from management are required to take the GRE test. The GRE® is a computer-based test and consists of verbal, quantitative and essay sections. The GRE test is scored as follows. The Verbal and Quantitative sections are scored on a scale of 130-170 each and the essay section is scored on a separate scale of 0-6. The score is valid for 5 years. The test can be taken throughout the year at certified test centers.
(Note: debility means weakness or disability; verbal debility here means a weakness or disability relating to the verbal section. Also, check out the other difficult words in this post. To get the meaning, just hover your mouse over them.)
How to Improve Vocabulary
1. Get those Vocab Lists, Look up those Dictionaries
As we said in our previous post, a good grasp of vocabulary is instrumental to achieving success in the Verbal Section. To improve your vocabulary, start by learning word meanings, synonyms, and antonyms. In order to do this you will need to find a good GRE list on the net – there are several available – and look up the synonyms and antonyms on a good online dictionary e.g.
- Analytical Writing (the essay writing section which is scored on a scale of 0-6 with half point increments)
- Quantitative Reasoning (which tests Maths skills)
- Verbal Reasoning (which tests English skills – both Verbal and Quantitative Reasoning are scored on a scale of 130-170 in 1-point increments)
Typically, cracking the GRE requires 4-12 weeks of preparation. A major chunk of this time will inevitably be invested in preparing for the Verbal section. Why is this so? Firstly, a lot of Indian students taking the GRE are engineers or others for whom the Quantitative Reasoning section is not a major problem. But Verbal reasoning includes questions on Reading Comprehension, Text Completion, and Sentence Equivalence which require good reading skills and an extensive vocabulary. However, most Indian students don’t tend to read much and, as a result, these are precisely the skills and knowledge that they lack. So, the Verbal Reasoning section is a tough nut to crack. What difficulties does it throw up?
AW Challenging… Really?
If you ask students to name the most difficult section in the GRE, most engineers would say: “Verbal Reasoning” and most non-engineers would say “Quant”. Hardly anyone would suggest that Analytical Writing plays much of a role either in cracking the GRE or getting an admit for an MS in US. For most students taking the GRE exam, therefore, the Analytical Writing section (also called AW) is a surprisingly challenging part. There are several reasons for this.
The Problems of the Engineer
- First, if you are like most students who come to Dilip Oak’s Academy, you have lost touch with essay writing long ago – your last encounter with this lost ‘art form’ was probably 3-5 years ago in the 10th standard, and whatever you did learn about it has long been buried under the load of highly technical data that you had to stuff your head with during your bachelor’s course.
- Second, as an engineer (or even a non-engineer) you don’t even understand why AW should be included in the GRE at all (check out this article if you are still not clear).
- And third, you probably think that since you did essay writing in school, you should be able to manage this section without too much trouble.
However, the AW section is important and it demands that you meet a very specialized (and exhausting) set of requirements.
First 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.
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.