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What are the exams needed to be cleared to study abroad?
Universities in the US need the GRE and TOEFL for admission to non-business programmes at the Master's level. At the Bachelor's level students need to appear for the SAT and SAT subject tests. UK universities require the IELTS / TOEFL for admissions. All leading business schools across the world need the GMAT for admissions (some of them will now accept the GRE as well).
Do I need a 16th year of education to study abroad?
US and Canadian universities need students to have 16 years of undergraduate education for admission, although a few universities have waived this requirement now. It is better to pursue at least one year of a Master's degree course and fulfil this requirement before you apply (some schools may even need the 2nd year of the Master's degree). UK and European universities, on the other hand, follow the 15 years of undergraduate study pattern which is similar to the Indian system of education and hence don't need a 16th year.
What is the new GRE?
The new GRE promises to reduce the focus on vocabulary, eliminating antonyms and analogies completely. In the Verbal section, the focus will shift from vocabulary to reading comprehension, and quantitative reasoning will focus on data interpretation and real life scenarios. All in all, the new GRE will be like the GMAT in many ways. Give yourself minimum three months of preparation time for the GRE. I highly recommend that you refer to books such as 'The Official Guide to GRE' as well as 'Barons Guide to the new GRE'. Nonetheless, with effective preparation you should be fine taking the new GRE. More information on the new GRE is available at www.gre.org. Each section in the new GRE will be scored on a scale of 130-170, making 340 the high score and 260 the low score.
What is OPT?
The US system offers Optional Practical Training (or OPT) which allows students to work for 12 to 29 months (depending on the course) in their field of study on completion of the course. The OPT is part of the student visa (F1) itself. During the OPT period if a company would like to retain a student for full-time work, they would sponsor his/her work (H1) visa which is generally for three years. The company can then extend the work visa for an additional three years. Thus, the chance of securing a job after graduation is better in the US as compared to other countries.
What does it cost to study abroad?
An average tuition fee of a US university is about US$ 30,000 per-year and average living expenses are about US$ 10,000 per-year. Average fees at UK universities is around 15,000 pounds per-year and average fees at Canadian universities is around CA$ 20,000 per year. Fees will vary from university to university and country to country, hence you must check with each university individually for their fee structure. Fees for MBA courses may be higher.
Do universities abroad offer scholarships?
Scholarships are competitive and awarded to the most deserving students. At the graduate level you can get funding in the form of graduate assistantships where you work or research with professors. In exchange you will get your entire tuition fees waived, and get a monthly stipend to cover your living expenses. Naturally, such awards are very competitive. Universities abroad consider various factors such as previous academics, entrance test scores, work experience, application documents and so on while assessing an application for admission and scholarships; hence, it is imperative to have a well-rounded outstanding profile before you apply. Such awards are available generally at the Master's level only.
Can I do an MBA without work experience?
MBA is a broader, practical-oriented degree covering all aspects of a business (marketing, finance, human resources, operations) and then, allowing you to specialise in your desired major. Leading business schools worldwide need the GMAT and TOEFL / IELTS for admission in addition to full-time work experience of at least three years. Hence, if you are keen on pursuing your MBA, try to gain good work-experience after your Bachelor's and strengthen your profile, which will boost your chances of admission in a good B-school. You should not attempt an MBA without having full-time work experience.
What are the SAT subject tests? How are they different from SAT?
Most top ranked US schools will require the SAT subject tests along with the SAT. The SAT has three sections – Math, Writing and Critical Reading; the total test score is 2400 points. The SAT II has various subject tests, the most common ones being Math IC, Math IIC, Physics, Chemistry and Biology (each one is out of 800 points). Students generally choose 2 or 3 SAT II subject tests. A score of 2000 and above is considered as a good score in SAT. You can get more information on the SAT I and SAT II on www.collegeboard.com
You can refer to the Official Study Guide for SAT Subject Tests and Real SAT II: Subject Tests to help you prepare for the exams.
What is the GRE Computer Science subject test?
Some top US universities will need students to appear for the GRE Subject test in Computer Science. This is a test which will test your Computer Science knowledge. For details on GRE Computer Science Test, please refer to the following link www.ets.org
What books can I buy to study for the GRE, GMAT, SAT, TOEFL, IELTS?
For the GRE you can refer to the ETS GRE Revised Test, Barrons and Kaplan GRE books. For GMAT, you can refer to books such GMAT Official Guide and the Manhattan Study Guides. For SAT, you can refer to the Collegeboard Official Study Guide. For the TOEFL, you can refer to the Barrons and Kaplan books as well as www.toefl.org. For IELTS, you can collect your study material from the British Council.
Is the IELTS and the TOEFL the same?
Both TOEFL and IELTS are English proficiency tests required to be taken by all international students. Both the exams have speaking, reading, writing and listening sections. However, US universities prefer the TOEFL whereas UK universities prefer IELTS.
What does the admission committee look for while granting admissions?
Universities abroad consider various factors such as previous academics, entrance test scores, work experience, application documents and so on while assessing an application for admission and scholarships; hence, it is imperative to have a well rounded profile.
How difficult is to get a visa to study abroad?
For the student visa, as long as you have an admission offer from an accredited university and are able to show sufficient funds to cover your education and living, it should not be a problem. Just be honest when you apply for your visa.