Should I retake GRE or GMAT?
Many US universities use standardized test scores as part of
their application screening process. GRE (for engineering, science, technology,
and a few other programs) and GMAT (for business) are well known and widely
accepted standardized tests. TOEFL and IELTS are designed to test the English
skills of students.
Students want to know if they should take the test and
if their scores on these tests matter. The answer to both is Yes and Yes. Yes,
you should take the test, and yes, your scores matter.
But what happens if
you make a terrible score? Should
you retake the test? Unless you were not able to perform well on the day of
the test because you were ill or there was some other compelling circumstance,
retaking the test will usually not make a big difference in your score.
Standardized tests are designed in a way to test one's basic aptitude and one's
basis aptitude does not change from day to day! However, if you did not prepare
for the test, then it is wise to take the time to prepare and retake the exam.
Having said that, it does not mean that if you do not take
the test, you cannot study in the US. There are a few universities that do not
require these tests. But there are only a few of them. In other words, your
choices become limited if you do not take these tests.
Prepare and do well on standardized tests. But, if you don't have a good score,
it is not the end of the world. You can still gain admission to some good
universities. So don't be discouraged!
Some students prefer universities that do not require the GRE. There are several U.S universities that do not require GRE. Here are some things to consider:
- There are many more U.S. schools that require the GRE than those that do not.
- You will have a smaller list to select from if you do not take the GRE.
- It is not fair to conclude that universities that do not require the GRE are bad and those that require them are good. Not true.
- If you don't take the GRE, you will not get your visa – FALSE.
- It is true that if you lie to the visa officer or if you lack confidence during your interview or if your marks or grades are poor, visa officers may tend to scrutinize your application more closely.
- It is better to take the GRE and score less than not to take the GRE at all.
You may still decide not to take the GRE. Students who make this decision gain admission to good US institutions. Just know the facts before you jump in!
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January 2011 seems far, far away if you are planning to study in the US. Seven months does seem like a long time but it is NOT if you are planning to apply to US universities for Spring! You must start right away in order to be successful in gaining admission. Take the following steps:
- Prepare for GRE, GMAT,TOEFL, or IELTS – depending on what test you plan or need to take.
- Register for the test right away! Deadlines are good. It will help you to focus and study. Also, if for some reason you don't do well, you will have an opportunity to retake the test.
- Don't wing it or go unprepared to take the test. These are tough tests and you must study for it. Scores matter!
- Short list your universities. What is a good US university? Read my previous postings.
- Visit the websites of your favorite universities and learn about them.
- Review all documents you will need to apply to a US university.
- Think about finances and what you can afford.
Students that start early have a greater chance of getting admission to a good US university!