Published: 11th December 2021
Planning a B-school education? Here is how you can get started on your journey
36.5% of Indian students still have plans to study abroad despite the pandemic
Indian students are the second largest group of immigrants who are leaving their home country in growing numbers to pursue study abroad opportunities. Aside from a slight dip due to the pandemic, the number of Indian students enrolled for international studies has dramatically grown over the last 20 years. According to a recent survey by iSchoolConnect, 36.5% of Indian students still have plans to study abroad despite the pandemic.
The decision to leave your home country for an advanced degree can be daunting. Yet, aspiring students often dream of becoming part of an international campus community buzzing with other young students from around the world exchanging ideas and perspectives and forming lifelong relationships — but they often don’t know where to start.
The first thing that students interested in studying overseas need to prioritize is choosing a standardized test that can help to make their application stand out in the graduate admissions process. The most widely accepted of these tests is the GRE General Test, administered by ETS, that is accepted for admission to graduate, business and law programs. Another standardized test, GMAT, administered by GMAC, is also accepted for business programs.
In order for prospective students to decide which of these tests is their best choice when applying for an MBA, specialized business master’s or joint-degree program, they need key information on how both exams could potentially benefit them.
Versatile Score acceptance
The wide acceptance of the GRE General Test provides test takers with the option to choose from a variety of fields of study and allows them to explore many higher education paths. GRE scores are valid for a period of five years and the test is offered in 160+ countries, which provides test takers with flexibility and options for their future studies beyond what other standardized tests offer.
Since many MBA admission officers suggest that institutes these days look for students from a variety of academic backgrounds, not just business, but also science and humanities, the GRE General Test provides students with backgrounds across different fields of study with an option to pursue an MBA by showcasing their graduate-level skills.
Accessible test formats
During the lockdown phase, the entire education community realized the necessity of students having access to different testing formats. In fact, ETS was the first in market to introduce the GRE General Test at Home that allowed prospective MBA students to pursue their educational goals without disruption amid the pandemic. Now the remote testing solution is a permanent offering that is available around the clock to support test takers’ needs. Aspiring students can feel confident about taking the at home test because the content, structure and scoring of the GRE at Home test is identical to the GRE test taken at test centers. To meet the needs of students, the GRE General Test at Home can be taken once every 21 days, up to five times within any rolling 12 months and does not have a lifetime limit.
While the GMAT also offers an at home option for online testing, students are limited to only taking the test twice during their lifetime. Additionally, the GRE General Test is the only assessment that offers the ScoreSelect service, which provides test takers with the ability to send schools only their best scores. This service allows students to decide which scores a school will see — it could be the recent scores or out of the scores received for GREs taken in the last five years. The GRE test, at home or taken at a test center, provides students with the flexibility they need to gain admissions to their dream graduate programmes.
Convenient test-taking formats
When facing a high-stakes exam, it is paramount for test takers to have an easy-to-navigate test format that allows them to apply their own personal test-taking strategies. Unlike the GMAT, the GRE test has test-taker friendly features that allow students to skip questions and return to them later, and also the ability to go back and change answers before moving on to the next timed section. This allows students to respond confidently to the questions they know and allot more time for the questions that they find more challenging to enable them to perform their best.
Study materials provided by the test makers
Practice tests and credible study materials are an intrinsic part of any test preparation. Both the GRE General Test and the GMAT have official practice tests available for test takers, ranging from free of cost to materials that can be purchased.
GRE offers applicants POWERPREP Online, two free-of-cost practice tests that simulate the actual test and include test-taker friendly design features. The free POWERPREP Test Preview Tool contains information to help familiarize students with the question types, test features and help tools that are available during the actual GRE General Test. In addition to free practice tests, the GRE test also offers free study resources such as POWERPREP PLUS Online. POWERPREP PLUS is a resource that students can buy at affordable prices and comprises a set of never-before-published real test questions to simulate the test experience and provide scores, explanations for correct answers, a score report that summarizes your performance, and much more. To help students further, ETS offers applicants basic instructional videos by Khan Academy, free of any additional costs. Not only that, test takers can also register for free, virtual GRE webinars that are offered every month to get an overview of services that the GRE program offers, including tools that can make it easier to connect with graduate program recruiters and learn how to send scores and what to expect on test day. The participants also get the opportunity to ask questions of the GRE team.
Before registering for any test, prospective test takers should research the exam requirements of the schools they are interested in to be sure they are met on time. In recent months, a growing number of Indian students are refocusing their efforts on achieving their academic dreams in popular destinations like the United States, Canada, UK, and Australia. Hence a rising number of applicants are registering for assessments such as the GRE General Test to gain admissions at top universities at home in India and around the world. Therefore, applicants are advised that before scheduling a test date, they should take a practice test to determine their areas of strength and weaknesses and prepare accordingly and utilize the credible study material offered by the test administrators to understand the test format even better.
In the end, it’s important to understand that success is the culmination of consistent hard work, faith and belief in one's ability to overcome obstacles. Best wishes are with all the students!
This article has been written by Alberto Acereda, who is the Associate Vice President of Global Higher Education at ETS. The opinions and viewpoints expressed here are his own and not of Edex Live.