Studying in America and Canada  
4.11 Preparing for Entrance Exam

You should take the exam almost one year prior to the time you intend to start your education in America or Canada, as discussed in Chapter 3. Accordingly, your preparation for the exam must begin much earlier.

Just like any entrance exam anywhere, just as in India, you have to register to take the exam. You are required to fill out the appropriate form and remit applicable fees. Applications for entrance exams are available on the Web, including the fee schedules and details of the registration process. This is a fairly mechanical step, bureaucratic and perhaps expensive, but fairly straightforward nonetheless.

4.11.1 Understanding the Content

Stating the obvious it is, but it is also critical. You must thoroughly understand: the structure of questions - such as multiple-choice and composition; types of questions - such as English comprehension, quantitative problem solving and analytical analysis of arguments; and the subjects and the depth of understanding in each subject that is expected of the candidates.

4.11.2 Practice, Practice, Practice

Do not take comfort in the fact that the level of understanding of the subject matter is often at the high school level, or it is general, or it is at most at the early-college level. A dedicated preparation for the entrance exam can and will make a significant difference in your score. Taking practice tests in a disciplined fashion - as if you were taking the real test - is important in both assessing your personal preparation and the pace through the test.

To do your absolute best, you should spend at least a 3-month period of full-time effort (10 hours a day, 6 days a week) for preparing for one entrance exam. Depending on your starting abilities and the amount of time you dedicate to this effort on an on-going basis, the duration of good preparation could be significantly longer.

You have at your disposal many means for preparation. Just walk down to your neighborhood bookstore or library and you are likely to find numerous books on the exam of interest. Open the local newspaper and you will find advertisements for coaching classes. Surf the Web and you will find both free and for-fee preparation materials. Which approach and materials are right for you, depends in part on you; for example, if you need the discipline of a coaching class, then you should join one.

We do not recommend any books or coaching classes or any other preparation services. You have to do your own research. You should certainly consider seeking recommendations from others who have been successful in the past.

We will not go into such details as sleep well, take breaks, set up a time table, play Cricket one hour a day, and so on. You have taken many tests before, for which you did prepare. You are an adult. You can devise a scheme that works for you.

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