Inquiry: Higher studies in the US
Current time: 08-15-2018, 03:04 AM
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Author: deadlord
Last Post: Gkatzogias
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Inquiry: Higher studies in the US
#1
Dear Civileans,

It has always been a dream of mine to go out to the US and have a masters degree in structural engineering, now after I've Gained some experience I'd like to prepare myself to fulfill this dream.

What I've known till now is that I have to have high grades in both TOEFL-IBT and the GRE exam so I can apply.

I'd really appreciate it guys if everyone who has experience in this subject will share me everything he/she knows because I'd Really like to work on this project.

P.S. I need to have a TOEFL certificate because English isn't my mother tongue.

Regards,
Husam
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#2
Dear deadlord,

If you still have inquiries regarding your TOEFL and GRE exams please don't hesitate to ask. I may have some useful advices for you.

Regards,
Gk.
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#3
Dear Gkatzogias,

Thank you for replying to my thread "Inquiry: higher studies in the US".
Yes, if you please, I'd like to ask you some questions about both the TOEFL-IBT and the GRE tests.

I was told by my professors when I was still a student that If I get a high marks in both TOEFL and GRE I'll have a very good chance of Earning a research assistant scholarship for a masters degree in structural engineering, do you know if that's possible?

About TOEFL, what's the best way or best courses to study so that I'll get a full mark or near that in the test? as you can see my English is very good,maybe I'm a little weak in vocabulary since the vocabulary part in TOEFL isn't an easy one, but I'm a hard worker, Even if it takes me a whole year to prepare for the exam I have no problem as long as I'm heading the the right direction.

About GRE, the previous questions about TOEFL are also asked here, and I'd like to know how Important GRE is for higher studies.

Thank you very much sir, I hope you can answer all of my questions, thank you very much for your willingness to answer my questions.

yours sincerely,
Husam.
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#4
Dear Husam,

I participated in the TOEFL and GRE exams last year but for a different reason: to proceed to the degree of PhD. Hence, I can't answer you about the research assistantship inquiry. However, you should know that good grades in the above exams will certainly ascend the possibility of entering an M.Sc. program in the US.

Regarding TOEFL:

There are 4 sections as you may know: Reading, Listening, Speaking and Writing. The level of difficulty is close to, let say First Certificate of English or maybe lower than that. Your English is good indeed but you should remember that you will not 'learn' English with these exams. What I mean is that the main difficulty in both of them (GRE and TOEFL) is time. You have to demonstrate you ability of reading, listening, speaking and writing in a rather limited time table. By this point of view, you don't have to 'learn' English but mainly to practice on tests.

There are many tests, and books that you can find regarding these exams. My advice is to work on pc-tests (instead of book-tests). After all you are going to participate in the ibt mode. ETS will provide you with 2 official tests after your registration but you can also download them from their website. Their level of difficulty will be that of the real exams, hence I would advice you to run one test in the start of your preparation and the other in the end. Remember that you can run these tests several times. New questions will appear in the first two or three times (after that it will be pointless to take notice of your scores but you should do that in order to see different themes and questions). Other sources for tests are Longman's, Barron's, Kaplan Tests etc. I'm sure that you will find additional sources of tests too and maybe for free, (the afore-mentioned tests are not for free). You can read on your own but it would be useful to have someone to help regarding the writing and speaking sections (just to correct your mistakes and provide you with some useful advices).

Regarding GRE:

There are 3 sections: Verbal, Quantitative and Analytical writing. The latter is a little bit more difficult (let say a more formal writing is required) than the writing section of TOEFL. Quantitative (or Math) is where you should focus on. Level of difficulty is not high. I'm sure that you have already practiced in this level of Math in your B.Sc. or even high school. The major difficulty is again time. You have to demonstrate your ability to work on and solve relevantly simple problems in a very 'tight' time table (and of course without a calculator!!). Hence, you should practice on many tests. An additional remark here is the ascending level of difficulty regarding the question that will follow after a true answer in the preceding one. You will probably attain a high score if you will answer correctly the first 5-6 questions. That is rather impossible if you make a mistake in these questions. Now as far as the Verbal section is concerned, my opinion is that is the most difficult one. You will have to answer questions regarding vocabulary that even native Americans do not use or know. Just think that a score of 400/800 is considered a very good score for non-natives. Good news are that usually Engineering Schools do not account very much this section (as far as non-natives are concerned), although a minimum score of the sum of Math+Verbal maybe a prerequisite. You should check the eligibility criteria of the School you wish to enter. My advice is that: Do not invest too many time and effort in the Verbal section. Even with a year of preparation you can always encounter vocabulary that it will be totally unknown. In addition, excellent score in Math will be the ticket for your entrance irrespective of you verbal score. There are also official tests from ETS and from other organizations too. You should search in the net.

I believe that a 2-3 month preparation for each test is adequate in order to obtain high scores. This is something you will decide in conjunction with your test scores during your preparation. However you should remember that:

- Tests during your preparation will usually be far more difficult than the real exams. Hence, you should never be disappointed from the scores in your prep-tests. These will be just a guideline for your preparation.
- The way ETS is evaluating the exams is not really known in other organizations. Though you should not insist very much on the score of tests coming from others. A good indicator will be always the official tests of ETS (unfortunately there are only 2 or 3 of them).
- Minimum scores of 90-95/120 in Toefl exams will usually be adequate for your entrance. Regarding GRE: Math 730-750/800, An. Writing 4/6, Verbal as I said 400/800 is very good for non natives. You should always check minimum scores of the School you are interested in.
- You should check the official site of ETS. Some sections may have changed since last year.
- Both tests are very important for your entrance. But good grades in your B.Sc. are needed too. I believe it finally depends on each year competition so luck is an important factor too sometimes..
- PRACTICE is the KEY my friend!!

Do not hesitate to correspond in case you need additional information.

Regards,
Gk.
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