As we step into a brand new year 2020, it is time to reboot. Whether you are a student or a working professional; whatever stage of life you are at, it always helps to introspect, to reassess your priorities and to set/reaffirm your goals. Just setting goals is not enough, you must also inculcate the self-discipline to achieve them. This can prove to be a challenging task despite the best of intentions!
If you are just starting your study-abroad preparation, and you intend to take your exam in say, three months from today, divide these three months into three phases – learning, practicing and testing. Learning would include building up your concepts and learning how to apply them. Practicing would involve solving several questions with varying difficulty levels. Testing would include solving questions within specified time limits and eventually building up the stamina to solve questions with fast without compromising accuracy. Staying in touch with your faculty and counsellor during ‘down times’ can do wonders in lifting your spirits and putting things in perspective.
If you are somewhere in the middle of your preparation, you need to take a stock of how much of the syllabus you have covered and what is your confidence level when faced with questions on familiar topics. If you have missed some topics within your study plan you will need to readjust your weekly goals and cover more questions. Also, plan ahead so that you can dedicate sufficient time for the testing phase.
Time can be an ally or an enemy. What it becomes depends entirely upon you, your goals, and your determination to use every available minute.
– Zig Ziglar
Remember to work on your applications alongside exam preparation. As a part of your application depends on your recommenders, it can take more time than anticipated. Your Statement of Purpose is the face of your application and is as important as your exam score; focus on showcasing professional skills through academic and extracurricular achievements.
We have complied a special list with prep advice from our successful students. Coming straight from the horse’s mouth it is worth a dekko.
- If there was one advice that I had to give, I would say start early. That is in Class 11th or before. If I would have applied earlier I might have had a better SAT score because then wouldn’t feel rushed through SAT preparation and Class 12 at the same time. – Prachi Tomar, SAT 1280
- Follow all instructions that Jamboree gives inside the classroom and attempt all mocks sincerely. – Avantika Singh, SAT 1550
- The important thing to remember about SAT is that it is not that hard. I had only a month to prepare. I went through the curriculum part of it in two weeks and then finished with all the tests in the next two weeks. All the while the extra doubt sessions really helped. – Sera Gandhi, SAT 1500
- Do as many practice papers as possible to build up your speed. During the exam in the English section, just read the passage carefully so that you can get the gist of it in one go and don’t have to come back to it. In the Math section, recheck your answers if possible so that you don’t make any silly mistakes. – Kahaan Shah, SAT 1580
- I started my SAT preparation right after Class 10. There were so many things to do, school studies, SAT preparation, individual university requirements and co-curricular activities. I felt I had an advantage by starting early. – Ajinkya, Old SAT 2050
- After taking so many mocks, GMAT was like just another one. I finished the first question in just under 30 seconds and that was what gave me the boost. – Govinda Lalwani, GMAT 720
- I started from the basics in Quant section. I did all handouts, practice tests of Jamboree and took the official guide tests. I would advise aspirants to keep an eye on errors that you make during your mocks because that is where you are likely to fall. – Kaushik Bhave, GMAT 710
- First and foremost be sure of the order of sections that would work out best for you. Visualize yourself attempting the exam—the test centre, how you would sit at the computer, the order of sections. – Divya Rajpal, GMAT 750
- I used student portal extensively and took all full length tests. The level of these tests is higher and more challenging so it gives you confidence to face the actual test. – Karthik S, GRE 324
- My live online classes were for 5 and a half weeks. I spent more time in post-class sessions for doubt solving and extra sessions like AWA, refresher sessions, etc. These can help you stay in touch even if your exam is after a few months. – Purnima Narayan, GRE 320
- We chose Jamboree because it has more than 35 centers, my friend and I thought that we would be competing nationally. This would be a good indicator of our performance in mock tests. I studied in library after classes because I knew I don’t study at home. – Ajinkya Demda, GRE 333
- When you take the GRE should be a well thought-out decision. You can’t take the GRE randomly in third year because many people are doing it. I would recommend that take GRE in 2nd year because once you have your GRE score, you know what universities you are eligible for, you can spend one year completely for profile-building which is very important. – Pranjal Awasthi, GRE 320
- I had no work experience and wanted to do an MS in Data Science from a top US university. Aside from my college-level knowledge in Math and programming languages, I undertook online courses at Cajal. I also worked on a few online projects and took up an internship in Data Science. All this helped me supplement my lack of work experience and I made it to Columbia University. – Priyanka Lahoti, GRE 323
- Vocabulary plays a very important part in GRE verbal. I went through the entire vocabulary list from Jamboree vocabulary app in 1 and a half months and then I kept revising the difficult words. – Jeevanjot Singh, GRE 340
Plan to study abroad in 2020? Call a Jamboree counsellor now!
“I had planned on giving the GMAT last year,” says ISB-hopeful Govinda Lalwani, “but my job was being an impediment.” A computer engineering graduate from Pune University, Govinda had some years ago, gone the self-preparation way, taken the GMAT and scored a 620. “At that time I didn’t have anyone telling me what to do while preparing. I ended up repeating stuff and it reflected on my score,” he regrets.
On recommendation of a friend, he joined GMAT classes at Jamboree Pune. “Once classes started I thought I had a head start. But I was wrong at certain moments,” he admits, “Here (at Jamboree) I didn’t have to hunt for stuff at ten places. Everything, from start to finish, is mentioned in the books. I got all the concepts at one place. I got a map which I just had to follow.”
Asked about his test day experience, Govinda replies, “In my first GMAT I was a bit nervous. But yesterday, I was confident. After giving so many mocks it felt like just another mock!”
“Follow whatever approach your teachers suggest and take as many mocks as possible,” he advises, “20 plus mocks is necessary if you want that your final exam should be just a repetition.”
Govinda scored a 720 on the GMAT and is planning to apply to ISB.
For DPS Indirapuram student, Ankur Devra, the SAT journey has been all about hard work and consistent practice. “Don’t underestimate the SAT,” Ankur cautions, “Although many students say that SAT is easy in comparison to Indian exams, it is actually not. It may look easy curriculum-wise but once you start doing the questions you can easily run out of time.”
He advises students to practice consistently. “It is ultimately practice that will fetch you marks. SAT is about the basics. Be very clear with those,” he says. The first time Ankur took the SAT, he ran out of time in the Math section so he stresses that students need to brush up on their mental math skills.
“Apply to 5-10 universities and always compare universities. Don’t make a decision purely on the basis of scholarships. Ultimately, the quality of your degree matters more than scholarship,” he advises.
Ankur scored a 1400 on the SAT and made it to SUNY Buffalo. Congratulations, buddy!
Aiming to do a PhD in Astrophysics from a good university in US or Canada, Purnima Narayan from Pune joined Jamboree’s GRE Live Online classes. In just two-and-a-half months of preparation, she scored a decent 320 on the GRE.
Asked about the unusual choice of online GRE prep in Pune where two Jamboree centers are present, she explains, “As I knew I was going to travel during prep time, I needed to be able to attend the classes from wherever I was. I wasn’t really skeptical about online training because I was pretty comfortable with video calls, typing and chatting. Moreover, the interface and instructions were pretty clear.”
Purnima was also pretty impressed with post-class support. “It was way beyond my expectations!” she says, “The professors took personal initiative. They were in constant touch through Whatsapp group. Though the classes were for five-and-a-half weeks or so, I actually spent more time in post-class sessions, clearing my doubts, attending refresher classes for revision and so on.”
She advises prospective GRE takers to have a plan in mind before they start. “It is important to know why you want to take the GRE,” she reflects, “Have an overview of the syllabus. Once you have that, you will understand the areas that you need help in. Stay in touch with your professors and keep analysing your mistakes on a daily basis.”
Well said, Purnima. We wish you luck in your study abroad journey!
Coming from rural Shirdi, Suyash Sakhare moved to Mumbai to prepare for the SAT. “It was terrifying for me to come to this big city. Jamboree helped me make the transition smoothly,” he says, grateful for customized support that extended beyond the classroom.
He took the SAT and scored a decent 1400. He also took SAT Subject Tests and scored 800 in both Physics and Math Level II. “Don’t take the SAT too seriously! A lot of students do that and get nervous. While preparing, study for an hour every day and take mocks on weekends. Also, read good novels for improving your English,” he advises.
Suyash applied to 10 universities and got admits from eight: Purdue, University of Kansas, University of Minnesota at Twin Cities, University of Colorado at Boulder and University of Michigan, among others. He chose University of Kansas as he won a scholarship of USD26,000 per year covering his full tuition.
On how Jamboree’s admissions team helped him, he explains, “My admissions advisor at Jamboree asked me to submit a research paper on physical analysis of basketball. I credit my success to Jamboree. I also think my interest in sports (basketball, cricket, horse riding, etc.) helped me a lot in getting the desired result.”
A BITS-Pilani Computer Science Engineer, Ameya Deshpande, had been working with CISCO Systems for the past five years when he decided to pursue an MBA abroad. Choosing the self-preparation way a year ago and not finding much success with it (he scored a GMAT 670), Ameya joined Jamboree.
“It was on the recommendation of seniors at work that I visited Jamboree FC Road center. We analysed my ESR and worked out the weak areas. The next one and a half months were spent working on these,” he says.
Ameya found his test-day experience to be pretty similar to the first one. “Since it was the second attempt and I knew what to expect, I think that was what helped me keep my nerves. I found the initial quant questions to be a bit tough, but as I got into the zone I did pretty well towards the end. In the verbal section, I found the RCs to be on the tricky side and that is where I thought my score dipped a bit. But that is part and parcel of any exam,” he avers.
His advice to GMAT aspirants: “You need to plan out your GMAT journey. It may take a couple of months for someone and 3-4 months for someone else. It is important too, to find and work on your weak areas so that you can build your concepts.”
Ameya scored a 720 on the GMAT and is looking forward to applying to B-schools in India and abroad.
“I cannot prepare at home. I mean, I barely study at home!” confesses Ajinkya Demda, explaining how he found the lab and library at Jamboree Pune center particularly useful, once his GRE classes were over.
On why he chose Jamboree, this Pune University engineering grad says, “I figured that as Jamboree has 35 centers, I would be competing on a national level during mock tests. This would give me an idea of where I stand.”
For GRE aspirants, he advises: “As far as Jamboree study material is concerned, it is more than enough. It is sufficient, comprehensive and thorough. Further, the more questions that you come across, the more your confidence grows.”
“I am a very slow reader,” he admits, “It used to take me 3-4 minutes to read the passage which is a lot! What I learned was that you’re not supposed to study the passage, but to attack it. I also experimented with different techniques during mock tests and worked out the one that I was most comfortable with.”
Ajinkya scored a brilliant 333 on the GRE and intends to pursue MSc Finance at LSE or HEC Paris. We wish him success!