Three years have flown by for us seniors and we have so much on our minds. To all the juniors – Kids, (HIMYM reference on purpose here) you might wonder what is on the minds of the 4th years. Keep reading and you’ll know the maze you’ll soon enter in the coming years. Don’t be frightened, though. It’s completely safe.
Many of us attend FS classes to get into the corporate world. But there’s still a large group focused on a Master’s degree and that means there are a plethora of questions on their minds: Which exam will get me into a good Master’s program? What sort of material is sufficient for preparation? What if I want to go towards research, what then? What if I want to go to non-American universities? Well, this article is aimed at those who have some of these queries in mind and will try to put them to rest.
You can condense the whole process of taking a competitive exam into four parts: Where, What, How, When.
Do you want to study in India or abroad? India is a country that is growing and will probably be the place to be in the future in terms of economy, growth rate and maybe the luxuries you can afford. However by going outside India, apart from enjoying world-class facilities compared to Indian colleges, you will also get exposure to different people, cultures, languages, mindsets etc and this will help you grow personally as a human. (And also, you get to be posh and say you’re studying abroad) There is no such thing as one country is better than the others – it’s about what you want to do and how you want to grow. There are so many options because every country has something unique to offer to you. So before anything, decide where you want to go so that you take the right steps toward your goal.
If you want to stay in India, you’ve got many options here as well. GATE is for M.Tech and further research aspirants. There are also entrances for MCA (Master in Computer Applications). If you want to go into management and MBA, take the CAT entrance. Coaching institutes like TIME, ACE etc offer help to all these aspirants and material is given as per the coaching center. To name a few more entrances, there are XAT, IIFT, JMET etc (MBA). Some of you may interested in civil services (IES, IAS etc) and some of the centers mentioned give coaching for these as well. Refer to the following link to explore Indian PG courses:
If you want to go outside India, you’ve a whole world to explore.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Do I want to pursue my core subject ?
- Do I want to make a shift to another field of engineering (example: Electronics to Computer Engineering)?
Refer to the given link to a glossary of Master’s programs, to get an idea of what subject you want to do your post-graduation in: http://bit.ly/1Ip2lvA
Hopefully, you have an idea of what you want to pursue by now. Once you do, you can decide which specific country is most apt to go to for your Master’s pursuit. This again links to the ‘Where’ part of the whole process. There is a tendency for everyone to lean toward going to the United States and understandably so. However, there are other countries that offer as excellent a Master’s degree as the US universities would. Don’t fixate on only ONE university. Categorize and locate the country, rather, most suitable for your course. For example, ECE and EIE students, on an average, pursue electrical, power or electronics engineering (which comprises of VLSI, Embedded Systems Engg etc). The universities of Toronto (Canada), Melbourne (Australia), Tokyo (Japan), Aachen (Germany) etc are renowned for a Master’s degree in electronics or electrical. So one could also look into France, Australia, China, Japan, Canada, Switzerland, Germany etc for a good university choice. For the list of top universities in the world, subject-wise, follow the links below:
Electronics/Electrical engineering: http://bit.ly/1bDqy42
Hopefully, you guys are keeping up. Now that you’ve got an idea of what course you wish to pursue and in which country, you’ve got to tackle the ‘How’ part – the eligibility criteria for that country. The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is the accepted standard criteria for admission to American universities.
GRE home page : http://www.ets.org/gre
There are select universities from other countries that accept the GRE as criteria too. You can find all American (state-wise) and foreign universities (including India) accepting the GRE here:
To be on the safe side and keep your options open, it’s better to also write TOEFL as well because this exam is standard for almost all countries in the world. TOEFL, unlike GRE consisting of just verbal and quant (math), tests only your English language and has reading, writing, speaking and listening sections. More details about the exam, registration and others are available here: https://www.ets.org/toefl
IELTS is another language proficiency test and is specific to European countries and is accepted by all of them, along with TOEFL. IELTS goers, you can take a look here: http://www.ielts.org/test_takers_information.aspx
Coming to material. There are standard books for GRE, IELTS and TOEFL, published by ETS or the British Council (for IELTS). Apart from these, Barron’s and Kaplan are two publishers of guides and exam prep material for all three exams. These include sample papers with solutions. These books are available online on Amazon, Flipkart or can be purchased from Koti (well naturally, ‘cuz it’s the center of the world of books. In India. In Hyderabad. Ok no further classifications.)
Okay, three steps down. One more to go – ‘When’ will you take the exam? You can book the test date from the respective exam’s website given above. Now here are a few words of wisdom: Work with a goal! There are two ways to take these competitive exams – you could prepare at your own pace, then book your date (which ends up being a month or two away) and take the test, in which case you may not keep momentum going because many of us, without a deadline, won’t work efficiently. We’re Indians, it’s in our blood (no pun intended). You will also be prolonging the process following the exam. The second method is to book a date which is about two months away and begin your preparation from now itself at a steady pace, tackling things as you go. This approach, in my humble opinion, is smarter because you will work with a plan and hence can be more strategic in your preparation schedule. Your actions will be centered around the exam and you thus focus better on the goal. It saves time too.
And that’s it. Phew! That was a lot to take in, right? If you’re overwhelmed, I’m glad (because I’m evil). Actually, this overwhelming feeling will help you work toward what you want to do. Hopefully this article will help you make an informed decision for your future! There will be another article in the coming editions on how to select a good and apt university and what factors you should consider while doing so. Until then, keep all this in mind and do your best! Good luck!
P.S. Feel free to approach me for any questions!