To study abroad requires a fair amount of prep, but before you get to the part where you prepare yourself for staying miles away from home and acclimatizing to a whole new culture, you’ve got to ace the entrance exams and write stellar applications. To get started on the right foot, take a look at these study guides.
Known as the Scholastic Assessment Test, or simply SAT, this test is used by most American, and several Canadian, universities as part of their admission process. It tests students on three fronts—reading, writing and math.
The Official SAT Study Guide
The Official SAT Study Guide is an all-encompassing tutorial of sorts, with tips and tricks on how to approach sections, solve problems and strategize. It also gives you sample tests to practise with, dealing with virtually every section of the test in a detailed manner. A must-have for beginners looking to acquaint themselves with what this test is all about.
SAT Prep Black Book: The Most Effective SAT Strategies Ever Published by Mike Barett
Apart from tackling sample tests from The Official SAT Study Guide (and The Princeton Review’s annual editions on the most recent SATs), make sure to grab a copy of coach Mike Barett’s unique coaching method to cracking the SATs. Rather than learning words and remembering equations, this book tells you how to beat the testers, guess your answers using smart reasoning and set your SAT score goals realistically.
TOEFL stands for Test of English as a Foreign Language and is used by countries such as USA, UK, Canada and Australia to test your ability to read, write, speak, understand and perform tasks in English.
TOEFL iBT Premier
Published by Kaplan Publications, this book is excellent for a beginner, as it covers all bases and ensures that your foundation is rock solid. The book comes along with a CD that will aid you with mastering the speaking and listening sections, as well as practise tests that you can take online.
Cracking the TOEFL iBT
Published by Princeton Review, this book is for you if you’ve got your basics in place. Once you are confident with your prep, turn to this book for helpful tips and tricks on how to approach the test and learn more about the techniques that you should master.
Graduate Record Examinations, or GRE, is a test that you are required to sit for if you wish to pursue a post-graduate course overseas. It is usually split into two tests—the general tests and the subject tests—which cover quantitative reasoning, analytical writing, verbal skills and even your proficiency in the subject you specialised in at an undergraduate level.
Official GRE Super Power Pack
If the name wasn’t indication enough, this set of three books, published by McGraw-Hill is as authentic as it gets. It may not be the simplest guide to all things GRE, but sure is the most comprehensive guide, with snippets from the creators of the tests themselves.
Gruber’s Complete GRE Guide by Gary Gruber
If you want to sink yourself in theories, strategies and nifty tips and tricks that will make you score higher, this book is the one to opt for. With tests, feedback and explanations at every stage, the book takes a hands-on, practical approach to helping you prepare for the exam.
The Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) is an essential test that you have to sit for if you are looking to pursue an MBA. It measures your verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, analytical writing and integrated reasoning, which is a combination of the above.
GMAT Verbal Strategy Guide Set
Published by Manhattan Prep, this set of three books covers every aspect of verbal strategy in exhaustive detail. If you want to keep your course material minimal, this in-depth set is all you need. Since it trains you tackle a level of difficulty that is higher than the actual test’s, master it and you’ll approach the test on sure footing.
Total GMAT Math by Jeff Sackman
For all things related to mathematics, turn to this book. While it explains every concept thoroughly, it comes with scores of solved as well as unsolved practise papers to ensure that your preparation is as watertight as it gets.
The International English Language Testing System, or the IELTS, is a test that assesses your command over reading, writing, speaking and comprehending English (a test that is similar to the TOEFL and required by some universities).
The Official Cambridge Guide to IELTS by Cullen P
Written by the creators of the test, this guide takes you over everything you need to know, from start to finish. The reason why this book stands a head taller than the others is because it points out the mistakes most people commonly make and trains you to avoid them.
Barron’s Essential Words for the IELTS by Lin Lougheed
Considering the fact that speaking is a big part of the IELTS, it is imperative that you work on building your vocabulary. This book by Barron’s will help you do just that, by focussing on words that appear most commonly in the test. Additionally, it also has practice tests for listening comprehension loaded on to a CD.
So whatever test you need to take, prepare a study schedule, make sure you’ve mapped out enough time for your admissions essays and study hard. Your efforts will inspire others who want to study abroad.
All the best!