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post #1 of 35 (permalink) Old 05-26-2014, 05:56 PM Thread Starter
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Graduate School Applications: Test Preparations etc.

I'm applying for PhD programs in linguistics for Fall 2015. Right now I'm preparing for GRE. I'm scheduled to take it on July 7th. It's a really daunting. I have not done math in 2 years, and I'm really struggling with math problems. I hope I can get at least a 150 on math. Right now I'm so stressed And the time is ticking


I would love to hear if you could share your experiences with graduate school application process, and specially with GRE or other test prep.

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post #2 of 35 (permalink) Old 05-26-2014, 07:29 PM
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Re: Graduate School Applications: Test Preparations etc.

Yes indeed.

I am trying to get into graduate school this coming August for Exercise Science/Kinesiology. I have everything, and am also preparing for the GRE, I am taking it on June 6. I took it once prior, killed in the 2 sections, but, shockingly, score 0.5 points too low in writing to get into grad school

So now I am going to kick some ass on June 6th and start grad school August 18

That's the plan, at least

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post #3 of 35 (permalink) Old 05-26-2014, 07:40 PM
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Re: Graduate School Applications: Test Preparations etc.

I'm assuming you mean the General GRE. I gave it last summer. Didn't prepare too much. Just 3-4 days. Got 170 in Quantitative, 159 in Verbal, 4 in AW. To be fair, I am a Math student, so the math the the General GRE was of an extremely low level for me. I hear that Kaplan GRE is good. I just went through the Verbal sections of that, was good enough to give me an idea of what the test was about. Can't vouch for the Quant parts though as I didn't prepare for that.

As for US graduate school applications(PhD), I went through it twice. Fall 2013 and 2014. Didn't get adequate funding at any of the places in Fall 2013, so thought I'd give it one more shot. Had better results this time around, though in the end decided to do my PhD in Germany(continuing in a university where I am currently an RA). All in all, I hated the application process. It is just terrible. Quite stressful and extremely expensive.
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Re: Graduate School Applications: Test Preparations etc.

My way of studying during crucial times: I sleep at 7 PM walk up 2 AM and study.. Very cruicial I walk 12 AM

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post #5 of 35 (permalink) Old 05-27-2014, 03:25 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Graduate School Applications: Test Preparations etc.

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Originally Posted by Johnny Groove View Post
Yes indeed.

I am trying to get into graduate school this coming August for Exercise Science/Kinesiology. I have everything, and am also preparing for the GRE, I am taking it on June 6. I took it once prior, killed in the 2 sections, but, shockingly, score 0.5 points too low in writing to get into grad school

So now I am going to kick some ass on June 6th and start grad school August 18

That's the plan, at least
Good luck on your test ETS has a pool of writing prompts, which can show up on the test. So you can work on those.

Are you applying for a masters program or a PhD one?

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I'm assuming you mean the General GRE. I gave it last summer. Didn't prepare too much. Just 3-4 days. Got 170 in Quantitative, 159 in Verbal, 4 in AW. To be fair, I am a Math student, so the math the the General GRE was of an extremely low level for me. I hear that Kaplan GRE is good. I just went through the Verbal sections of that, was good enough to give me an idea of what the test was about. Can't vouch for the Quant parts though as I didn't prepare for that.

As for US graduate school applications(PhD), I went through it twice. Fall 2013 and 2014. Didn't get adequate funding at any of the places in Fall 2013, so thought I'd give it one more shot. Had better results this time around, though in the end decided to do my PhD in Germany(continuing in a university where I am currently an RA). All in all, I hated the application process. It is just terrible. Quite stressful and extremely expensive.
A Math major I wish I was that smart. My strength lies in the verbal portion though. I've been using magoosh GRE prep. I only have this month to prepare; so hopefully this would be enough to get a decent score on Math.

I agree it's a really stressful and expensive process, especially when you take into account the competitiveness. I'm only applying to five schools, and they only accept 5-7 students max. One of my professors thinks that I've next to no chance, because my background in not strong enough. So I need to get excellent GRE scores to be even considered.

Did German universities also looked at your GRE scores, or did they have their own requirements? Do you have to know any German?

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My way of studying during crucial times: I sleep at 7 PM walk up 2 AM and study.. Very cruicial I walk 12 AM
Wow I can't sleep that early! I've sleep problems. I barely sleep when I'm studying. I like your method though. Studying early in the morning is very beneficial, and you also get a full night sleep

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post #6 of 35 (permalink) Old 05-27-2014, 06:15 AM
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Re: Graduate School Applications: Test Preparations etc.

Just the masters, viva-rafa. PhD, well, maybe one day.

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post #7 of 35 (permalink) Old 05-27-2014, 06:40 AM
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Re: Graduate School Applications: Test Preparations etc.

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Yes indeed.

I am trying to get into graduate school this coming August for Exercise Science/Kinesiology. I have everything, and am also preparing for the GRE, I am taking it on June 6. I took it once prior, killed in the 2 sections, but, shockingly, score 0.5 points too low in writing to get into grad school

So now I am going to kick some ass on June 6th and start grad school August 18

That's the plan, at least

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post #8 of 35 (permalink) Old 05-27-2014, 07:19 PM
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Re: Graduate School Applications: Test Preparations etc.

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A Math major I wish I was that smart. My strength lies in the verbal portion though. I've been using magoosh GRE prep. I only have this month to prepare; so hopefully this would be enough to get a decent score on Math.

I agree it's a really stressful and expensive process, especially when you take into account the competitiveness. I'm only applying to five schools, and they only accept 5-7 students max. One of my professors thinks that I've next to no chance, because my background in not strong enough. So I need to get excellent GRE scores to be even considered.

Did German universities also looked at your GRE scores, or did they have their own requirements? Do you have to know any German?
Applications are much easier in Germany(though I applied only to 1 place here). No GRE. They only require some proof of English proficiency(ex. TOEFL), that too not all universities ask for it. No application fee either. As for German language requirements, depends on the University and the program. For my program, I need to pass a basic test in German within a year of registering for my PhD, else I will be forced to withdraw(that's why I'm continuing my current RAship for as long as possible and delaying registering for the PhD program till I absolutely have to ). However, countries like Germany have direct PhD's(only research, no coursework). So, you need to have a Master's degree to apply.

For US Grad Schools(PhD programs), from my two years of application experience, I can say that the most important thing is your recommendations. More importantly, you should get a good recommendation from someone they(the schools you are applying to) know. i.e. Use your Professors' contacts to your advantage. That is literally the most important thing. Anything else can be overcome by this. If your Undergrad/Master's was not in the US, the TOEFL matters a LOT for getting TAships.

For the Quantitative section, I really recommend using Kaplan. At least that's what my brother told me, who had not done any Math for 6 years when he gave the GRE. You should be able to get a free ebook online. (If not, I could send you one ).

As for competitiveness, International students have it much much worse(again, only for PhD programs). Though this effect gets reduced a lot if you studied in US before.

thegradcafe.com is a great place to meet other people who are applying(though don't know if many people from linguistics visit there). But approach that site with care. Many people there are more stressed than you can imagine and you may catch that too.

Last edited by Pratik; 05-27-2014 at 07:21 PM.
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post #9 of 35 (permalink) Old 05-27-2014, 09:01 PM
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Re: Graduate School Applications: Test Preparations etc.

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Originally Posted by viva-rafa View Post
I'm applying for PhD programs in linguistics for Fall 2015. Right now I'm preparing for GRE. I'm scheduled to take it on July 7th. It's a really daunting. I have not done math in 2 years, and I'm really struggling with math problems. I hope I can get at least a 150 on math. Right now I'm so stressed And the time is ticking


I would love to hear if you could share your experiences with graduate school application process, and specially with GRE or other test prep.
I did an in-class prep course for the GRE, but the school provided us with Magoosh accounts to practice at home. You will have to subscribe and pay a fee, but I would recommend it if you really need a good math review. It's the only online program I used, so I can't say how effective other programs are compared to this one.



EDIT: Sorry, looks like you're using Magoosh. Good luck to you!

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post #10 of 35 (permalink) Old 05-28-2014, 05:58 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Graduate School Applications: Test Preparations etc.

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Applications are much easier in Germany(though I applied only to 1 place here). No GRE. They only require some proof of English proficiency(ex. TOEFL), that too not all universities ask for it. No application fee either. As for German language requirements, depends on the University and the program. For my program, I need to pass a basic test in German within a year of registering for my PhD, else I will be forced to withdraw(that's why I'm continuing my current RAship for as long as possible and delaying registering for the PhD program till I absolutely have to ). However, countries like Germany have direct PhD's(only research, no coursework). So, you need to have a Master's degree to apply.

For US Grad Schools(PhD programs), from my two years of application experience, I can say that the most important thing is your recommendations. More importantly, you should get a good recommendation from someone they(the schools you are applying to) know. i.e. Use your Professors' contacts to your advantage. That is literally the most important thing. Anything else can be overcome by this. If your Undergrad/Master's was not in the US, the TOEFL matters a LOT for getting TAships.

For the Quantitative section, I really recommend using Kaplan. At least that's what my brother told me, who had not done any Math for 6 years when he gave the GRE. You should be able to get a free ebook online. (If not, I could send you one ).

As for competitiveness, International students have it much much worse(again, only for PhD programs). Though this effect gets reduced a lot if you studied in US before.

thegradcafe.com is a great place to meet other people who are applying(though don't know if many people from linguistics visit there). But approach that site with care. Many people there are more stressed than you can imagine and you may catch that too.
Thanks for your insight! For now, I'm sticking to the US. My undergrad did come from a US school, but I chose the wrong school for my major. I actually started off as a business major, and the school had the best business program. But I switched my major to linguistics, for which the school is not renowned; in fact, many people at the university itself are not even aware that it has a linguistics major So I don't have a strong linguistics background in that sense.

I've a backup Masters program at a no-name private university in my neighborhood . But it's going to cost me a lot; so I hope I get accepted into a PhD program.

As for Kaplan, I'm spending a lot of money on Magoosh already. But I'd be grateful if you could send me the e-book.

I'm doing fine in terms of solving math problems, but I take a lot of time. At my current pace, I might not even go through the whole set of problems at GRE. I just need to learn some shortcuts, and build my mathematical intuition. Magoosh is sort of helpful in that. But sometimes I don't even understand the shortcuts

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post #11 of 35 (permalink) Old 05-28-2014, 07:55 PM
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Re: Graduate School Applications: Test Preparations etc.

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Thanks for your insight! For now, I'm sticking to the US. My undergrad did come from a US school, but I chose the wrong school for my major. I actually started off as a business major, and the school had the best business program. But I switched my major to linguistics, for which the school is not renowned; in fact, many people at the university itself are not even aware that it has a linguistics major So I don't have a strong linguistics background in that sense.

I've a backup Masters program at a no-name private university in my neighborhood . But it's going to cost me a lot; so I hope I get accepted into a PhD program.

As for Kaplan, I'm spending a lot of money on Magoosh already. But I'd be grateful if you could send me the e-book.

I'm doing fine in terms of solving math problems, but I take a lot of time. At my current pace, I might not even go through the whole set of problems at GRE. I just need to learn some shortcuts, and build my mathematical intuition. Magoosh is sort of helpful in that. But sometimes I don't even understand the shortcuts
How are you paying for all this?

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post #12 of 35 (permalink) Old 05-28-2014, 11:15 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Graduate School Applications: Test Preparations etc.

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How are you paying for all this?
Credit Cards It's only $99 though. The test fee was $195. I'll be spending a lot more money on my applications

It is expensive!And I hope it's worth it!

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post #13 of 35 (permalink) Old 05-28-2014, 11:30 PM
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Re: Graduate School Applications: Test Preparations etc.

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Credit Cards It's only $99 though. The test fee was $195. I'll be spending a lot more money on my applications

It is expensive!And I hope it's worth it!
No...grad school

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post #14 of 35 (permalink) Old 05-29-2014, 04:15 AM
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Re: Graduate School Applications: Test Preparations etc.

This was a loooong time ago and things may have changed but I just took a bunch of practice exams to get an idea of what the questions were like. My university had a folder of exams and I just got photocopies. I've always done well on standardized tests (my good scores paid for my college education) so I never stressed about it although I do get nervous.

If it has only been 2 years since you last took a math class, you should get much faster with practice provided you understand what you're supposed to do to get the solution. By the way, when I took practice exams, I started with a couple not timed, then was on the clock thereafter.
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post #15 of 35 (permalink) Old 05-29-2014, 05:35 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Graduate School Applications: Test Preparations etc.

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No...grad school
For the PhD programs, they should provide for funding. Usually, the university has fellowships. And there are teaching assistant or research assistant positions, which entitle you to tuition remission and a stipend.

External Funding is also available. I'm applying for NSF graduate fellowship. If I get accepted, I'll get $44,000 for predoctoral studies every year. If you are a US citizen, you can apply for Fulbright Scholarship, which funds your studies or research anywhere in the world for a year. Sadly, I'm not eligible for that. There are several other fellowships and scholarships available. Of course, all of them are competitive just like graduate school.

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