If you wish to pursue a graduate program outside your home country, it can present a huge challenge. Especially, for ESL students, English can be a huge problem if you are looking at programs in the US and UK. However, GRE gives you a great opportunity to overcome this weakness. You just need to strive harder in the English section than students from primarily English speaking countries.
Here are useful GMAT Preparation Strategies for International Students:
1. Get comfortable with English – Part of the problem with international students is that they do not get enough opportunities to employ English. However, internet has made it all very easy. Subscribe to top newspapers and magazines such as The New York Times and The Economist. Apart from mastering the language, you will also stay on top of the latest news and events around the world. A fun way of doing this is watching English movies and TV series and listening to English songs. Start speaking to your friends in English. Make use of study groups on our site to get comfortable with English. Make a dictionary your best friend. Completely immerse yourself in the language. Take a quick verbal practice test to know where you stand.
2. Give yourself enough time – Do not rush into taking the GRE. Remember that you may need more time than other students. And that’s perfectly fine. So even if it takes one year to master the concepts, give yourself that time.
3. Master your vocabulary – Make use of flashcards and mobile apps to learn English words. Keep coming back to words and revise their meanings. This will also help you when you write essays.
4. Learn basic grammar – Grammatical rules are very important in any standardized exam. The great thing about being an international student is that you can view these rules more objectively without biases that may have crept in throughout the years.
5. Practice reading – Reading fast and accurately is important for success in the Reading Comprehension questions. Make sure that you spend some quality time reading. Apart from the magazines mentioned above, you can read books by renowned authors. You can time yourself on practice problems periodically to test improvements.
6. Use practice tests for feedback – While we recommend practice tests for everyone, ESL students should specifically use practice tests for feedback on the verbal section. Identify the errors you make regularly and weed them out in subsequent practice tests. Also, make sure that you finish the practice test in the stipulated time. Time management is often a weakness for international students.
7. Practice essays – Along with practice tests, make sure you write a lot of essays. Taking two 30-minute essays can present a challenge for international students. Practice both issue and argument essays extensively.
8. Pay attention to quant – Even if you are good at quant, the section can pose a unique challenge to international students. The wording of the problems can confuse ESL students. Familiarize yourself with mathematical terms and problems. Accurately understanding the problems presented is key to solving them.
9. Stay motivated – We know that it can get frustrating sometimes. However, keep in mind that many students from your own country are successfully admitted in leading graduate programs. So, stay motivated during the entire course of preparation.
All the best!
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