IELTS or TOEFL – Which Exam Should I Take?

Purpose and Importance of the Tests

If you want to study abroad in countries like the US, UK, Australia and Canada, and if your first language is NOT English, you will have to take a test to prove that you can speak, read, write in English and understand spoken English. Two major standardized assessment tests allow you to do this: TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) and IELTS (International English Language Testing System).

These tests allow foreign universities to see whether students have at least the basic language skills required to complete their courses. That is why it is mandatory to take one of these tests if you are applying to graduate or undergraduate study programs abroad. In fact the TOEFL and IELTS have become the gold standard of English proficiency for educational purposes and also for immigration and work. But which of these exams should you take?

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Higher Education in the US: How to Make it Happen!

US is the #1 choice for Indians going abroad for higher education

Today, the dream of getting a US degree is no longer something that only the “rich” can dream of. Now many students from middle class backgrounds can also get higher education in the US, without putting a huge financial burden on their parents. This is evident from the recent trends:

  • Overall, the number of Indian students going abroad for education increased 256% in 2000-2009
  • An estimated 21 million students will be admitted into American universities in Fall 2013

The facts also show that America is the most popular educational destination especially for engineering and business:

  • The top three destinations for Indian students going abroad are: #1 America, #2 Europe, #3 Australia
  • America dominates, with a lion’s share of over 50% of the students
  • The top two streams at American grad schools are Engineering & Business

There is great demand for higher education in the US.

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An Easy Way to Learn GRE Test Words – Learn Them through Roots

Word RootsStarting this week, we are introducing a new feature that will help all you students who are struggling to prepare for the GRE test – posts that will help you learn the GRE test words using roots. Though the technical meaning of ‘roots’ is a little different, here it is useful to think of them as the original Latin and Greek words that the English words came from.

Learning words through their roots is useful in two ways – firstly, knowing the root and meaning of a word can help you understand why the word means what it means. Secondly, since there are often many words which come from the same Greek or Latin root, this helps you to learn several words at one time. It becomes easier because, as you will seen in today’s post, words from the same root look similar and also share a common set of meanings. The two lists below, which cover 32 words totally, will illustrate how this is so.

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Applications: What Graduate Admissions’ Officers Have to Say

Speaking Head 2Admissions Office FAQs

Here’s what some grad school admission officers have to say about these common questions relating to applications.


Q: What do you feel about receiving emails from “prospects”?

Ans: I’d rather only hear from you if you have something to tell me that will increase your file quality.

Q: Do you look at applicant’s Facebook / MySpace accounts?

Ans: No, I don’t care

Q: What do you look for in an applicant?

Ans: The main things in order of priority are:

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Our Three Top Tips for a Great Application

Application TipsSo, you’re in the thick of things. You have written out your SOP, you have got the transcripts and letters of recommendation, and you have filled up the University application. But, you still have a question: “Is this enough? Or, is there something else I can do to make my application really stand out from the rest?”

Before you submit your application, consider this: what makes a “good” application a “great” one is the extra effort you put in. So, here are our three top tips for fine-tuning your application and making it one that is really great:

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Web Development Skills: Engineers Read This!

In March 2012, we had put up a post advising ECE students, about job opportunities in the US. Today, let’s talk about something related but slightly different: while you are waiting for an admit or preparing for an MS, you can use the time to build useful skill sets. If you are an engineer who would like to explore options in software development, you could think about the area of web-development and related technologies.

Web development specialization: Making an educated choice in operating system technologies and related skills

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How to Apply for an ‘MS in US': Find the Key Steps Here

Application Process ImageOnce your final list of universities is ready, you can start applying to universities for your much dreamed of ‘MS in US’. Here are the key steps:

  • Complete the online application forms
  • Request ETS to send your GRE and TOEFL scores to the university/department
  • Prepare document packets, consisting of:
  • It is really important that you carefully follow all instructions regarding the sending of documents. Please also adhere to prescribed deadlines since the application can be rejected if you are late.

    Remember you can always call up the Academy if you feel you can’t carry out this demanding process all alone. We have services that are designed to take care of every difficulty you face – we are always there to help.

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University Application Deadlines for the Fall 2013 Semester – Revised and Updated

(to be updated again in December)

Here is the revised list of US university application deadlines for Fall 2013 semester (with the revised deadlines in blue). It covers 118 universities with application deadlines from December to July for the Fall 2013 semester.

  • Note that these are the general (or graduate school) deadlines. Be sure to check the departmental deadlines for the specific department you are applying to since these may differ from the general deadlines.
  • Remember also that some universities have separate deadlines for sending documents by mail and for online submission.
  • Finally, keep in mind that if you are applying for financial aid the deadlines are earlier. Wherever information is available on these aspects we have included it.

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Arriving at SUNY: Prospects Bright

A First Look at Travel, Accommodation, On-Campus Jobs and the Computer Science Course at State University of New York, Binghamton

SUNY, Binghampton

Whenever anyone starts that new phase of academic life called getting a “Master’s from the USA,” they feel excitement, anxiety and enthusiasm. After going through the strenuous visa process and finally getting your visa stamped, you eagerly look forward to traveling to the USA to start your Master’s course. I know that because I went through exactly the same process of application. My destination was SUNY, Binghampton.

Location, Travel and Transport

Binghamton, which is almost 130 miles from New York City, is well connected to other places by Greyhound buses and other transport systems. After you arrive at the port of authority, the hosts who are assigned to you, generally give you guidance on how to reach their place. I got in touch with students already pursuing their Master’s degrees in Binghamton and got to know that the shortest (and best) way to travel to travel to Binghamton is via road from New York city.

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GRE Prep for Oak’s Students – Vocabulary Learning and Revision

Vocabulary Learning and Revision (to be started preferably 3-5 months in advance)

The largest, most time-consuming component of your GRE preparation is vocabulary revision. Achieving a good level of basic preparation involves getting familiar with around 4,000 words commonly used on GRE test. To really understand a word you need to know its range of meanings, some of its important secondary meanings, its usage (illustrated by sample sentences using the word) and it is often useful to know the roots of the word. Dilip Oak’s Academy has provided two very useful aids for learning and revising these various aspects. Described below is how you can use them both at home and outside.

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