Should I apply for the Fall intake or the Spring one?

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This is one of the most pressing questions that every student studying abroad aspiring to pursue their graduate level education considers. For a lot of candidates, the “Fall versus Spring” has been a subject of immense debate. Majority of the universities in the US, Canada, Australia and Germany offer two admission intakes – the Fall (which commences in late August) and the Spring (which starts in January) (some may even have a Summer (May-June) intake). While most of the students seek admission into the Fall intake, there are several myths surrounding the Spring intake – be it concerning the coursework, internship opportunities and the number of admissions offered – that we, in the following article, will attempt to debunk; and, at the same time, present several advantages and disadvantages one should keep in mind when considering the Spring intake. For any student deciding whether to go for a Fall or a Spring intake, the first point of consideration is the available universities. It is an indisputable fact that Fall semesters offer more seats (primarily because accommodating volumes of students in one semester is far from being a feasible option),

but that certainly does not mean that one will be left with only low-ranking universities in Spring. Some of the highest sought after universities – including Purdue University, Cornell, CMU, University of Melbourne, Columbia University, among myriad others – offer programs in Engineering, Analytics, Finance, supply Chain Management, Marketing, Pharmacy, etc for the Spring intake. As a matter of fact, most of our students were able to secure admission into the courses of their choice and interest in their dream universities. This is the biggest advantage of applying in Spring and it outweighs a lot of cons.

Secondly, it is a common misconception among students that, for the Spring intake, the lower admission rate will be to their disadvantage. As a matter of fact, while the number of seats on offer may be less, so is the competition. Since the students who are currently in their final year of their studies (comprising a large fraction of the candidates) will not be looking for the Spring intake, the prospects of seeking admission into the Spring intake are surprisingly high as competition is much lower. Based on empirical data, we have seen that students applying for the Spring intake get into better Universities compared to their Fall counterparts who have a similar profile.

Another significant consideration every aspiring student takes into account is internship opportunities on offer. While some universities may require students to have completed at least two semesters before applying for internships, those who are pursuing a program that requires immediate participation in CPT can apply for off-campus summer internships. Financial aid opportunities – assistantships and on-campus jobs – is another point of contention for students when deciding which intake they should opt for. While the Fall intake offers more assistantship and part-time job positions (owing to a higher acceptance rate), the less competition seen in the Spring intake evens out the imbalance. Rest assured, there are plenty of opportunities available for Spring students as well. If they cant intern in the first summer, they can pick up RA/TA roles and work with professors on projects or sign up for summer courses and then do internship in the next summer.

Once the applications have been submitted, and the acceptance letters received, the next consideration in line is the Visa for higher education abroad. This topic has also fallen prey to false conjecture – that those applying for the Spring intake are less likely to receive Visas. Irrespective of the semester one joins in, the granting of Visas depends, as it always has, on the basis of one’s qualification and eligibility. Contrary to popular belief, the intake has no bearing on the obtainment of the Visa.

Although applying for a Spring intake for higher studies in abroad would not land a student in an inescapable predicament – a conjecture we’ve attempted to break through the above-stated pointers – there are some disadvantages that starting in a Spring semester offers. Beginning their education in what is considered a ‘not so standard’ time, it is possible students may not be able to make the best of some of the universities, or their departments, resources. While this may not be as detrimental in cases of large universities, one may suffer when applying to a smaller, private school. Furthermore, in terms of the courses on offer, while the exact courses will not vary between the two intakes, the orientation of the curriculum does – and that may be worth noting. In the Fall intake, many upper-level courses are kept in Fall, which is followed with their corresponding graduate level courses in the Spring semester. The same trend follows when it comes to housing and accommodation. With more leases being available and signed in Fall (owing to large intake rates), students can face difficulties in securing accommodations in Spring.

Lastly, spring intakes may not be the best choice for study abroad students who are seeking transfer to another career / course. A lot of universities offer prerequisite courses only in the Fall intake. Or if the course of a 1-year duration, then Spring intake limits the number of options you may have.

There are several attributes – available universities, coursework, internship and assistantship opportunities, and visas, among others – that come into play when choosing the intake for abroad education. While the decision should rest on these factors, we can safely say that the Spring intake isn’t as scary of an option as the popular belief may have you believe. We recommend that you keep all the considerations in mind and choose wisely. It is, after all, a question of your future.

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Collegepond November 14, 2019 0 Comments

Best and worst GRE Prep Material

Reading Time: 3 minutes

GRE is offered by the Education Testing Service (ETS) and is used by most graduate and business schools worldwide as a common evaluative score for international students. The test is divided into three sections Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning and Analytical Writing.

To prepare for your GRE, we have listed some books that we feel will best equip you to master each section of the test, offer strategies for being successful before and during the test, and also provide you with practice questions to get you ready for test day.

Here’s the list to Best and worst GRE Prep Material

ETS: GRE The Official Guide to the Revised General Test

This guide includes four complete real tests (two are available using the included CD-ROM), hundreds of genuine test questions, thorough descriptions of the Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning Content Areas plus tips for answering each type of question. It also contains an overview of the two types of Analytic Writing Tasks you will see on the test, including scored sample replies with actual raters’ comments.

Pros -The only official guide to GRE, it is one of the most authoritative text to refer to as it is designed by the company who creates the text. It is very trustworthy source as it can guide you to what you should be expecting in the exam.

Manhattan Prep

It offers a wide range of products that will help you to prep for your exam.

Pros – Their comprehensive material is compiled of 8 test taking strategies that emphasis on areas like Algebra; Fractions, Decimals, Percentage; Geometry; Number Properties; and Word Problems. Also, a noteworthy addition at the end of each book is that they have three sets of practice questions that are arranged according to their level of difficulty—easy, medium, and difficult. Best and worst GRE Prep Material

Cons – As the guide is detailed, it cannot be used for last minute prep.

Kaplan’s GRE Premier 2016

Equipped with strategies, test taking instructions and practice questions, this guide also comes with six full-length practice tests (five online, one in the book), a digital iPad download, a DVD, a mobile application and access to an online question bank, all of which make studying easier.

Pros – Giving you access to more than 2200 questions; the books are a wealth of test taking strategies that will simplify taking the exam for you. They also provide a 500-question online Quizbank and support from instructors through their Facebook page. Another feature that makes them a popular choice is a guarantee that using their resources would help you score higher on the GRE General Test or they provide a full refund to the student.

Barron’s GRE: 21st Edition

A well-known name in the test taking industry, this book comes with one diagnostic test and two full-length models of the actual test structure. You also get access to their online GRE Course material which comprises of video tutorials, quizzes, a practice question bank, and an iPad study app.

Pros – Well explained answers to the sample tests are provided, which helps in better assimilation.

Two books to not refer to –

McGraw-Hill’s GRE 2014 Edition, McGraw-Hill’s Conquering the New GRE Math, McGraw-Hill’s Conquering the New GRE Verbal and Writing, McGraw-Hill’s 6 GRE Practice Tests

Contain very basic and non-GRE like questions, which will not be of any major help in exams. Will only be able to help you master the basics and not ace the more complicated concepts.

Gruber’s Complete GRE Guide 2015

Not a very appealing layout, and the content is also not up to the mark that you would see in an actual GRE exam. Again, very basic mastery can be achieved, but not recommended for serious GRE takers.

Students often opt for online GRE classes to score well. The Online GRE coaching services guide you through their decades of experience and enables you to make optimum use of the study strategies and materials.

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Collegepond November 11, 2019 0 Comments

Best Books for IELTS Study

Reading Time: 3 minutes

There are ample study materials available in the market for IELTS aspirants. However, few make sure you excel in your IELTS test that focuses on the four elements, i.e., Listening, Speaking, listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Based on our research and the reviews of test-takers, we are listing here the best study materials that can help you maximize your scores in the IELTS test.


Here are the top-rated books for IELTS Study:


1.  Target Band 7: IELTS Academic – How to Maximize Your Score

This book is a strategic guide to the Academic IELTS test aiming to solve quintessential problems and aid them in refraining from making common mistakes. It is written by a former IELTS test–taker herself named Simone Braverman. Braverman provides useful tips, content and techniques for each of the four elements of the IELTS concisely. Sample exercises, material dealing with topic development, and clear language are the main highlights of this prep book, ensuring that the test-takers fully understand and perform brilliantly in every test section.

2. Ace the IELTS General – How to Maximize Your Score

This is another gem written by no other than Simone Braverman who has already published a study material for Academic IELTS. Simone Braverman is a former test taker and knows the key aspects to cover during exam preparation. The book encompasses the unique tips and tricks to ace the actual test. It an easy-to-understand book, designed effectively for you to familiarize with the General training IELTS. The book also includes the links to the online practice tests.

3. IELTS Cambridge Books

The IELTS Cambridge books comprises 10 volumes wherein each book includes 4 full tests and two General Training test – Reading and Writing which also includes answer keys. The IELTS Cambridge books are more reliable and authentic as they are published by IELTS itself. The book also facilitates you with CDs or Audio transcripts for listening the book contents.

4. IELTS Trainer

The authors Louise Hashemi and Barbara Thomas have strategized the IELTS preparations by developing your grammar and vocabulary. The book comprises six practice tests with answers and aims to share tips step-by-step on answering the questions with clear explanations. It enables you to build confidence and score well in the exam by taking four additional practice tests and helps you avoid common mistakes. The study material also includes audio scripts and model writing answers and answer keys with clear explanations.

5. Vocabulary for IELTS 

A strong vocabulary is a must for the IELTS test. It would be best if you had an IELTS vocabulary book to advance your writing and speaking skills for the test to improve it. The book contains various topics, a list of words and exercises. Understand and solve those exercises to crack the test and match the required band.

6. Grammar for IELTS

Grammar is a crucial part of any language. To prepare for IETLS, you should first have a good understanding of grammar. The book Grammar for IELTS will improve your accuracy and range of grammar for the test. The book guides you in two formats, i.e. text and audio with clear explanations. It also includes the exercises for practice that covers all your grammar required for the IELTS test.

7. Barron’s IELTS Superpack

This book is as extensive as it can be. Each section is described in immense detail, along with essential tips to grasp each section faultlessly. The super pack edition includes practice tests with two audio CDs for the listening component and a manual of necessary words to build your vocabulary for IELTS. It also consists of the CD in MP3 format to help you understand and clarify the pronunciation. Candidates who have studied this book reviewed it saying it is good to build up your confidence level as the difficulty level transitions from easy to tough as it puts together distinctive helpful material from Barron’s IELTS into a superpack. The audio CDs for Listening tests are in American English, however there are chances that on the day of the test you may interact with a person speaking in British English, Canadian English or Australian English, and more.

8. Road to IELTS

The British Council offers the Road to IELTS prep guide with mock papers, tutorial videos, interactive exercises. Road to IELTS is an online course available in three versions namely: ‘test drive’ which is free for download and gives you information of what is IELTS all about; ‘last minute’ is only accessible for free to those people who register for the IELTS test in association with the British Council, which gives you a practice session of up to 30 hours. The ‘full version’ is available for a price of $49.99 (estimated INR 3,300), which is a complete online IELTS course with over 300 interactive activities and nine practice tests. The ‘full version’ also contains tutorial videos by the British Council experts. This software keeps you updated on how you will be evaluated based on your practice tests.

Besides, you can also choose to join online IELTS coaching to get guidance directly from experienced professionals. These online IELTS classes can help you to access and make optimal use of the required course material with ease.

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Collegepond November 11, 2019 0 Comments
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