Archive for the ‘IELTS, TOEFL and GRE exam’ Category

Why GRE and TOEFL scores are important ??

Monday, January 18th, 2010

Raihan Masud


I am writing for those who are planning for higher studies. Probably the most frequent question comes to applicant’s  mind is “What is most important for admission?” There is no common parameter that what I understood form my application and admission experience. For US/Canadian universities it seems applicant’s GPA, class rank (merit position), Statement of Purpose (Why interested in MS/PhD), GRE [as a standard measure for all applicants' admission test] and TOEFL for international students are important, research papers are very important when someone is applying for PhD or Research Assistance ship [one way of funding when one work for one professor's project and get tuition fee waiver and stipend for living].

For admission in US and most Canadian universities GRE act as an admission test which is required for all applicants including American or Canadian students. Why GRE is important because the applicants are from all over the world and when applicant’s university is unknown to graduate admission committee they look to the applicant’s GRE score for evaluating the applicant (and GRE act as a standard for all applicants as everyone has to take it no matter form where applicant did his undergrad/MS from). If GRE score is low and the university is pretty unknown then the chance become very low for acceptance.

Then TOEFL especially the spoken part is really important for those who wish to have a funding as a form of teaching assistant ship. TA ships are very competitive and given only to few applicants including American, Canadian or students coming from English spoken countries. If someone’s GPA or all other parts of profile are superb but TOEFL score is very low then chance of getting TA ship is rare because as a TA one has to interact with undergrad students and has to help the labs or grade their projects/quizzes and answer their queries.

Students have to submit both GRE and TOEFL scores for a application not either one. GRE and TOEFL are different exams and both are required for north American universities.

If you do bad or do not even participate in GRE and TOEFL then even if you get your admission, you might face problem getting your visa if one visa officer ask you for your GRE and TOEFL score. You may get admission into some low profile universities in US/Canada with low GRE or TOEFL score or even without appearing at GRE and TOEFL but when funding or good university is a concern then GRE and TOEFL matter. When you have admission but no funding offer form a university then it would be real hard to get a visa. But those who have funding offer VISA is nothing to worry about especially in US unless it is a real bad luck. I know US embassy is even arranging seminar (I attended on in US Emabassy of BD) for attracting more students to apply for US as because last couple of years number of applicants decreased in alarming rate to US regarding VISA hassles. But now visa is real easy if someone has funding offer from a good university but they will definitely look to your profile for finding whether your sole goal for going to US is study.

Once students cross the minimum requirement of GRE score of one university say 1300 or Toefl iBT 100 then other factors become important like research paper (if applying for research assistantship or PhD), GPA and class position. Overally it is a whole package of your profile to make a successful application to get funding and admission.

If you have good scores in GRE and TOEFL then the whole world is open to you. So why not work for GRE and TOEFL from your early student life? It would hardly take 6 monts for GRE and 1/2 two moths for TOEFL to make good scores. Work hard for building your future. Good luck.

IELTS Preparation FAQs

Wednesday, November 18th, 2009
Md. Mohsin Ali
Department of Computer Science and Engineering (CSE)
Khulna University of Engineering & Technology (KUET)
Khulna – 9203, Bangladesh.
Telephone: +880 41 769471 Ext. 371.
Mobile: +880 1721 332985

1.Is it computerized test as like GRE & TOEFL?

It is paper and pencil based.

2.How is test taken in reading, listening, writing and speaking sections?

There are 3 passages with 40 questions and time is 60 minutes including transfer to the answer sheet for reading. There are varieties of questions like MCQ, Fill in the blanks, True-false-not given, diagram labeling etc.

In speaking section there are three parts. First part- introducing with the examiner with some familiar question like name, profession, hoby liking etc. and last for 4-5 minutes. Second part- A Cue Card having a topic on which have to talk for at most 2 minutes but can have 1 minute time for preparation of what a candidate wants to talk and in third part- examiner will discuss with the candidate about the topic given in the cue card and lasts for 5-6 minutes.

In listening there are 4 sections with 40 questions and 30 minutes allowed time for exam excluding 10 minutes to transfer the answers to the answer sheet. There are varieties of questions in this part like fill in the blanks, MCQ, labeling diagram etc. There are some pause time between one section sections.

In writing section there are 2 tasks given, one with at least 150 words having allowed time 20 minutes and another with at least 250 words and lasts for 40 minutes. Task 1 is to describe the line graph, chart, figure etc. and in task 2 there is a topic given to describe whether I support this topic or not or what is my view about this.

3.How many time IELTS exam is taken in a year?

Actually it varies from place to place. In Khulna it occurs about 4 times per year and in Dhaka it is arranged about 3 times per month. One can also take exam in Rajshahi, Khulna, Chittagong, Comilla and Sylhet like Khulna.

4. And when?

Candidates can found the exam schedule in the

Building Vocabulary: Appropriate Tools and Strategy for KUETians

Sunday, November 1st, 2009


Md. Iftekhar Tanveer (Chayan)

EEE, 2K2

MS Student, University of Memphis, USA

We, KUETIANS, always feel an obvious lagging in our vocabulary. One of the main reasons for this is our apathy towards English books, magazines and novels etc. During my 4 years in KUET, I never saw anybody to read an English novel (including me). Nobody even advised to do so. This bad habit eventually lead to a lack in confidence in the English skill measuring tests (like TOEFL and IELTS) as well as the aptitude tests (like GRE). Our teachers also show severe antipathy for learning English. Although the medium of instruction is English, they deliver lectures in Bengali. Moreover, the one semester English course is not up to the mark in quality. As a result, our students are seriously lagging behind in competition when the question of higher education and research comes.

To get rid of this situation, it is exigent that an English club is to be formed where students can practice and improve their English listening, reading, writing and speaking ability. A group effort obviously has much more strength than an individual effort. S@ifur’s Language club could be a role model for this. But till the club is not being formed, we have to be a little more serious on learning English. We have to give effort to build our own vocabulary. Still, only trying to memorize words from a wordbook (or dictionary ;) will be a futile job. Mind it, I am not telling that reading words from wordlists is inconsequential – in fact, this is the only way to ameliorate vocabulary for us because we never actually went through the world of English literature. Rather, what I wanted to establish is that mere memorizing words is a tedious act and requires an extremely high motivation and perseverance.

However, the process of building vocabulary becomes much easier and enjoyable if we follow some techniques. While reading words (or memorizing words form a wordlist), we should always pay attention to the prefixes, roots and suffixes of the words. These are wonderful tools to decode the internal meaning. Let me substantiate my claim with an example. Suppose we have learnt a word “Eloquent” – which actually mean “Expressive or Fluent in a language”. If you try to find the etymology of this word, you will eventually come up to the fact that it is actually based on the root “-loqu-”, which means to speak or talk. And the suffix “-ent” indicates that it is an adjective. Now, if we encounter another word “loquacious”, for which we don’t know the meaning, we can easily identify the root “loqu” at the beginning and come to a conclusion that it is something related to “talk” (loquacious means talkative). In this way, a learner is automatically being able to decode lots of words by just understanding a few. This is a major skill that is tested in GRE. Even after memorizing 3500 completely new hard words from Barron’s GRE book, people fail to identify the right meaning if they lack this skill.

Now the question comes – where can we find the etymology of words? Some of the dictionaries contain those. But why spend money to buy another dictionary? Just go to, type the word, and hit the search button – you will get definitions of the word as well as sample applications to sentences from 5-6 different dictionaries ( unabridged, American Heritage Dictionary, Online Etymology Dictionary, WordNet, Kernerman English Multilingual Dictionary, Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary). Not only this – you can hear the pronunciation also through the speakers (Say goodbye to those obscure pronunciation keys). You will also get links of articles about those words from Encyclopedia Britannica and Wikipedia. Moreover, a thesaurus will show all the possible synonyms of the word (Seems like the Lamp of Aladdin, Right?). If you use Mozilla Firefox, you can add to the search box so that you don’t need to access to the main site every time when searching for a new word.

At this point, I have to concede about the hurdles imposed by our imprudent decision-makers (i.e. our teachers). For internet access you have to go to the lab because they don’t want to provide connection to the halls even if you are ready to pay for it. Very few students would actually show this energy. But why would you damage your own future for them? Just buy an EDGE enabled mobile set (now days, an EDGE and java enabled set costs less than 8000BDT). Download Opera Mini Browser and have the Aladdin’s Lamp in your pocket! Opera has a built in feature to search in without accessing the page first.

If you find this EDGE is not pocket-friendly (i.e. costly) you can download an offline version of English dictionary. Although you will not get all those features available in in this offline dictionary, yet it is a very good tool to use (you can explore this website ¨C it has lot more important tools for your handset. Within some days you would start to love the mobility provided by these software). Anyway, if you have neither EDGE nor Java support, still your mobile can help you. When you are reading English newspaper or magazine in the television room, always save all the new words you encounter in the “notes” section or in the “Text Message Drafts”. Now, when you are back in room, take your dictionary and start learning each word. This approach is proved much easier than gobbling down the wordlists. This is because in this approach you already have an idea about the context and a possible use of the word.

If you don’t like any of the above mentioned ways (I don’t find any reason for that), the most rudimentary form of these tools is already in your room, or the room beside yours. Just open up a word document in MS Word, and type any word you want, Right click and go to thesaurus, you will get several synonyms and one antonym. Choose the most abstruse one and repeat the same process. Eventually you will get lots of new words to memorize.

I want to conclude my write-up by talking about one point which I forgot to mention earlier. That is, we always need to maintain a diary or notebook for vocabulary building purpose. Whenever have we learnt a new word it is very important to write it in the notebook, along with a concise definition and one or two sentences as an example of its use. Otherwise, we shall never get an opportunity to mature up the inchoate knowledge on these newly learned words. Last, but not the least, passion for learning words is the best tool to increase vocabulary. Since you are still reading this boring write-up, it can be assumed that you have a longing for that. Happy Studying!!!

How GRE Test will help you for your life

Sunday, September 27th, 2009

Md. Raihan Masud, CSE Alumni, Batch- 2K2
Lecturer, Stamford University Bangladesh
PhD Student(From Fall,2008), Fellowship
University of Oregon, USA
I would like to write on GRE issue. I hope it might help the current
students or those who want to go for a Higher Study.

Importance of GRE :
GRE-Graduate Record Examination

To apply for MSc or PhD programs GRE is a like an entrance exam or admission test. If you do well in GRE, it seems that you are doing well in an admission test. So your chances become higher for getting an admission as well as scholarship to World Leading Universities. Even students form USA or CANADA require GRE for their MS and PhD application.

Which universities ask for GRE?
Ans: GRE test is required for most of US Universities (around 95%) many Canadian Universities(around 65%), some European Universities(around 30%), in Japan I don’t feel GRE required but it is good if you have GRE score. Even for applying to IIT, India GRE is required.

GRE would not only help you for Higher Study but also help you for the following two primary issues:

#1. If you think you would apply for IBA MBA. GRE preparation would cover both the Math and verbal section of IBA test. If you plan for staying at Bangladesh you can plan for a MBA. Engineering + MBA is of high demand.

#2. A lot of job recruiting exams for example in Telecom sector, especially in case of written test, it is based on quantitative or analytical practice which is very similar to GRE test.

Now Few Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ) and Answers about GRE
Question: What are the parts of GRE ?
Ans: GRE Test comprise of 3 sections.i.e. Quantative Section/Math (of 800 marks), Verbal Section(of 800 marks), Analytical Writing Section (of 6 points)

Question: Do you need to give both GRE and TOEFL/IELTS or only one?
Ans: Both GRE and TOEFL/IELTS is required for applying. To apply for MSc or PhD programs GRE is a like an entrance exam or admission test. If you do well in GRE, it seems you are doing well in an admission test. So your chances become higher for getting an admission as well as scholarship to World Leading Universities. Even students form USA or CANADA require GRE for their MS and PhD application.

Question: Which one I should take with GRE? TOEFL or IELTS ?
Ans: TOEFL or IELTS are similar type of Tests and required only for those students whose native language is not English like Bangladeshi students. You can take either TOEFL or IELTS. In case of USA there are few universities which allow only TOEFL not IELTS. Other than that in all over the world both IELTS and TOEFL are allowed. The preparation is almost same and variation may be in question patterns. But the matter is that if you take GRE then TOEFL or IELTS is not that much to prepare again. I took my TOELF (Internet based) exam with a four days preparation after my GRE exam. So concentrate on
GRE and don’t worry much of TOEFL or IELTS. These exams are very easy comparing to GRE.

Question: How to start with GRE Preparation?
Ans: The first thing should be memorizing words for the verbal section of GRE. Then practice quantitative(math). Now a days the math secrion is very very tough. Do not ignore maths only because you are an Engineer. Take at least one week preparation for analytical writing.

Ques: What are the books for GRE preparation?
Ans: For words/verbal the Book :”Word Smart” by Princeton Review is the ultimate weapon. It is a small and cheap book with near about 1500 words. Try to memorize all those with in 2/3 months. For quantitative Barron’s GRE is very good book. For verbal Barrons has 3500 words but the bad thing with Barron’s GRE book is that it has tough word meanings with tougher synonyms. So at the beginning do not start with Barrons for verbal/word practice. Only after you complete the 1500 most common words from Word Smart you can start Barrons if you have time to prepare. If you complete both Word Smart+ Barrons then you would get 1450+ for sure in GRE.

Question: Which score is good in GRE?
Ans: Out of 1600(800 in math, 800 in verbal) above 1200 is good in the sense that you must get 750 in math(which is most important for Engineering Students) and a score with 450+ as our mother language is not English. But for US/CAN students 600+ is required for Verbal section. Anything above 1400 is superb score and you can apply to University of California, Barkley with 1400+ score.

I should soon mail for how to prepare for GRE. You can mail me [] for any query.

Best luck to KUETians.

Tips for TOEFL Preparation

Sunday, September 27th, 2009

Md. Raihan Masud, CSE Alumni, Batch- 2K2
Lecturer, Stamford University Bangladesh
PhD Student(From Fall,2008), Graduate Fellow
University of Oregon, USA

TOEFL is now a days available in iBT format i.e. Internet Based Test.

Sections :

Reading :
Long Format : Five Passages
[3 out of 5 should be evaluated but have to answer all five]
Short Format: Three Passages
Each Passage has 12-14 MCQ(with 1/2 exceptions)
20 minutes for reading each Passage(100+ lines long)ans ans 12-14 questions

Tips: Read Daily Star Weekends, Online versions of Wall Street Journals, New York Times and articles from ALDAILY.COM
be used to with american literatures(May read Novels from Sidney Sheldon)

Short Format: Six lectures+converstions
Long Format: Nine lectures+converstions
Have to ans. 5-6 MCQ from each lecture or conversation
Time: 10 Minutes for each lecture/conversation

Tips: Be sure to understand American Accent
Listen CNN & CNN radio Podcasts @ Internet, Can download several audio lectures on different subjects from Internet like Watch English muviz without subtitles

Speaking :
This is real tough is you don’t practice much
2+4 Speaking tasks
You have to speak within 45-60 seconds for each task like one I can recall from my test : Most memorable event in my
life (in 45 seconds)
Tips: Don’t worry about time if you practice you would wonder that you have some time left after you finish out of this 45 seconds!!!
Practice with your friends as much as you can and do speak on any sort of topic. Its a good idea that when you speak, speak in english when you are intended to take the TOEFL Test Before you speak listen a lot. It would help you to capture
the style of speaking. For example, Instead of “I will eat rice” use “I will have rice”

Writing :
2 Writing Task [20+30 minutues]
Tips: Read a lot before you write to learn the writing style

Each part contains 30 Marks total exam is out of 120.
Most schools(universities) ask for 80+

Preparation Materials:

Barrons TOEFL iBT(12th Edition)
Official Guide for TOEFL iBT(ETS)

Note: TOEFL is not that hard and time consuming exam like GRE/GMAT.

Best luck with your Test.