As an international student applying for admission to postgraduate programs abroad, one of the requirements you must meet is to obtain a minimum score on the TOEFL or IELTS. In addition to the exam to prove your command of the English language, you must take the GRE or GMAT. Deciding which exam to take first will help you create a more effective study strategy.
First assess your level of English.
According to TOPSCHOOLSINTHEUSA, the GRE or GMAT are complex tests that require an excellent understanding and command of the English language, even in the mathematics section. Therefore, having a good level is a prerequisite for obtaining competitive scores. If your English is not that good or you do not feel so sure of it, first make a diagnosis to determine your level and start preparing for the language test. This will refresh you basic knowledge and give you vocabulary.
Determine the first goal.
Make sure you score at least 100 points on the TOEFL IBT or 7 points on the IELTS. Focus especially on reading and writing, and score at least 25 points in each section. However, if your math level requires urgent attention, don’t postpone studying until you’ve perfected your English. Keep in mind that studying math and the basics for the GMAT or GRE takes time.
Having a good level of English helps you keep your eyes on the goal.
If you don’t need to study a lot for the TOEFL or IELTS, pay attention to the format and the sections that will not evaluate you on the other exam (listening and peaking). Take the exam a few weeks before the GMAT or GRE. The experience of taking a standardized test in the same place / city where you will take the GMAT or GRE can help you coordinate logistics issues, especially if you have to go to another city. Meeting the language requirements allows you to dedicate more hours to the verbal and essay section of the GMAT or GRE. TOEFL or IELTS results take several weeks. It is not advisable to take the exam too close to the application deadline for the programs of your interest. As for the distance between exams, schedule them close to be better prepared; your study on the GRE or GMAT will help you get a better score. Once you have taken the standardized language test and have the score, redirect all your concentration to the GRE or GMAT. Remember that the TOEFL is valid for two years. Another good option for those who have an excellent level of English is to take the GMAT or GRE before the TOEFL or IELTS so as not to be distracted by reviewing the test formats. Finally, keep in mind that if you are looking to enter a competitive graduate degree, you may need to take the GRE or GMAT more than once. For this reason, it is essential to create a work schedule that takes this contingency into account.
Note: IELTS stands for International English Language Testing System. See ABBREVIATIONFINDER for definitions of more test acronyms.