Standardized Tests and How to Prepare for Them – Karan Gupta

Written by Overseas Education Consultant and Study Abroad Career Counsellor in Mumbai, Karan Gupta

 

 

There are thousands of students appearing for the SAT, GRE, GMAT, TOEFL and IELTS tests yearly in Mumbai. Only a small proportion of these students actually takeclasses and tutorials for these exams. Most of the students study on their own and still manage to do well in these exams. Keep in mind that student who are disciplined and firm on their concepts can manage a self study programme. Students who are not self- disciplined should seriously consider taking extra help. Many students find structured coaching programmes helpful and learn better in a class interacting with other students.

 

 

The following is a sample study format you can adopt if you plan to do a self-study program:

 

 

  GRE 
 

 

Week 1

Go through the ETS “big book” and make a list of the words you do not know. Look up a dictionary and start making your own word list. Do not reply on wordlists from other books.

Week 2

The ETS “big book” has over 26 tests and you need to try and remember as many words as you can. Don’t just memorize the words – try and create sentences which will help you remember the words.

Week 3

Use “the review of the quantitative section” in the ‘Practicing to Take the General Test’ book by ETS, to brush up your math concepts.

Week 4

Start practicing math problems topic by topic and identify the areas where you need more practice.

 Week 5

Now that your vocabulary is a little better, start with the analogies section of the verbal portion of the test. Use the tests from the ETS “big book”

 Week 6

Progress to the sentence completions and antonyms questions.

Again, use the questions from the big book.

 Week 7

Dedicate this entire week to the reading comprehension and the essay writing component of the test. You can use the essay topics from the ‘Practicing to Take the General Test’

 Week 8

Practice mixed math problems from all topics. Use the Big Book and the ‘Practicing to Take the General Test’ book for this.

 Week 9

Now you are ready to practice an entire GRE test at one stretch. Make sure that there are no distractions around you and time yourself. Try and finish one test per day. You can use the paper tests from the ETS book, but avoid repeating the tests.

 Week 10

You can practice the Computer Adaptive Tests CDs – Powerprep and other online software. You would now have the confidence to take the GRE exam at the testing center.

 

 



  GMAT
   
Week 1

Go through the ETS Official Guide for GMAT, specifically a description of the GMAT test. If you like, take a mock test to see where you stand.

Week 2

Find school grammar books and brush up your grammar. The GMAT English focuses on grammar and not vocabulary.

Week 3

Use the “Math Review” section in the Official Guide for GMAT to brush up your math concepts.

Week 4

Start practicing math problems topic by topic and identify the areas where you need more practice. The official guide has more than 400 solved math problems.

Week 5

Now that your grammar is revised, start with the sentence correction section of the verbal portion of the test. Practice from the official guide.

Week 6 Progress to the critical reasoning section from the official guide.
Week 7

Dedicate this entire week to the reading comprehension and the essay writing component of the test. You can use the essay topics from the official guide.

Week 8

Practice mixed math problems from all topics. If you need more help, consider getting school text books and practice from there as well.

Week 9

Now you are ready to practice an entire GMAT test at one stretch. Make sure that there are no distractions around you and time yourself. Try and finish one test per day. You can use the paper tests from the ETS official guide, but avoid repeating the tests.

Week 10

You can practice the Computer Adaptive Tests CDs – Powerprep and online software. You would now have the confidence to take the GMAT exam at the testing center.

 

 

 

 

  SAT
   
Week 1

Go through the Gruber’s Vocabulary book and start increasing your vocabulary. Don’t just memorize words; instead make associations with words, in order to help you remember.

Week 2

Revise your math concepts. Dig out your 10 th and 11 th books to brush up your basics.

Week 3

Start practicing math problems topic by topic and identify the areas where you need more practice. You can consider using a book such as the Barron’s SAT.

Week 4

Now that your vocabulary is stronger, start with the sentence completion section of the verbal portion of the test. Practice from the official guide to SAT.

Week 5

Progress to the reading comprehension section. Again, you can practice from the official guide to SAT.

Week 6

Dedicate this entire week to grammar concepts and writing essays. Grammar clarity is important in the SAT, and you can use the Barron’s SAT and the Official Guide to SAT for this week.

Week 7

Practice mixed math problems from all topics. Identify your weak areas and focus more on these areas.

Week 8

Now you are ready to practice an entire SAT test at one stretch. Make sure that there are no distractions around you and time yourself. Try and finish one test per day. You can use the tests from the official guide to SAT.

Week 9 Dedicate this entire week to taking full length SAT tests.
Week 10

Even though the SAT is a paper based exam, you can practice the exam online on various websites such as www.takesat.com.

 

 

 

  TOEFL IBT
   
Week 1

Go through the ETS ‘TOEFL Practice Tests’, specifically what the format of the TOEFL is.

Week 2

Most students who have studied in an English medium school or college, do not have any problems with the TOEFL. In case, you would like to prepare anyway, go through the ‘TOEFL Cliffs’.

Week 3

The TOEFL has a listening section where you have to listen to people talk and then answer questions. You can use the ‘TOEFL Cliffs’ and the ‘TOEFL sampler’ (ETS) to practice this section.

Week 4

The next section of the TOEFL is structure. This is a basic grammar section and you can again practice from the Cliffs.

Week 5

The reading comprehension section of the TOEFL can be practiced from the Barron’s TOEFL. Even the TOEFL sampler CD has practice questions.

Week 6

The TOEFL has a basic writing requirement where you would have to write an essay. You can look at sample essay topics in the Cliffs.

Week 7

Dedicate this entire week to writing essays. Also start practicing passages that will make you familiar with the speaking section.

Week 8 Now, you can finish all the questions from the TOEFL sampler CD.
Week 9

You can now take a full length computer TOEFL test. Powerprep software has 2 full length tests. You can take one test this week.

Week 10

You can now take the second Powerprep test and complete your TOEFL preparation.

 

 

 

  IELTS
   
Week 1

Go through the IELTS tests provided by the British Council and ascertain the format of the exam.

Week 2

Most students who have studied at an English medium school or college will not have problems with the IELTS. But if you want to prepare, go through the Macmillan IELTS Testbuilder.

Week 3

For the listening section, prepare with CDs from the Macmillan Testbuilder.

Week 4 Practice the reading and comprehension section this week
Week 5

For the essay and an analysis of a chart/ graph preparation, look at sample essay topics from the Macmillan Testbuilder.

Week 6 Dedicate this entire week to writing essays.
Week 7

The IELTS has a special speaking module for 11 to 14 minutes consisting of a personal interview and a two-way discussion on a general topic. Check out the samples in the Macmillan Testbuilder.

Week 8

Now you can practice full-length tests this week and you are ready to take the exam.

 

 

 

Advanced GRE

The A-GRE is offered in fields such as Computer Science, Psychology, Mathematics, Biology, Physics and so on. The A-GRE or Subject GRE is required by many top schools and most PhD programmes. The syllabus for the subject GRE is vast and tests your knowledge of the particular subject. Most students cannot study for the subject GRE from scratch, but instead focus on brushing up the concepts they have already learnt.


Karan Gupta is the leading international education and career consultant in Mumbai, India. Since 1999, he has given career counselling and has helped thousands of students with study abroad and get admission and visas to universities and colleges in the USUKCanadaAustraliaSingapore and EU and also helps them get scholarships, loans and financial aid. In addition to aptitude tests and career counselling, his firm also provides training and coaching for the GMAT, GRE, SAT, ACT, TOEFL, IELTS, and PTE exams. Karan Gupta is the best study abroad career counsellor, consultant and career guidance expert in Mumbai.

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