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Many of you have been following Ubaida’s four-part series on the topic of re-certification and continuing education in the United States–today his last post appears.  As we have mentioned before, the List Project is committed to helping U.S.-affiliated Iraqis blog about topics that are important to them.  Please pass this blog on to anyone looking to return to school and email us if you have any questions or would like to get involved with our Iraqi Voices blog series.

My Engineering Master Degree in the United States of America     Part IV

In the last blog we were discussing the evaluation process for the degrees obtained from foreign universities (Iraqi universities) and how the process works. This time I will discuss the required exams and tests by most of the accredited graduate schools here in the US.

The first required exam is the TOFEL (Test of English as a Foreign Language). This exam is managed by ETS; it is prepared to test English proficiency for the international applicants to all American universities.  There are three types of TOFEL exams based on the method of testing, a PBT paper based test, an IBT internet based test and a CBT computer based test. Any test taker needs to register at the ETS website and pay the test fees online. Check the following link (http://www.ets.org/bin/getprogram.cgi?test=toefl).

Before taking the test the test taker needs to be prepared because the cost for each test is about $200, so before registering for the test it is recommended to take a training or test preparation course to learn some techniques. The answering strategy is the most important technique to insure passing the test on the first attempt. Also buying some books with CD’s is helpful.  Here are some useful links for books: http://www.amazon.com/Must-Have-Words-TOEFL-Lynn-Stafford-Yilmaz/dp/0071443282/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1275178864&sr=1-6

http://www.amazon.com/Practice-Exercises-TOEFL-Audio-Barrons/dp/0764193171/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1275178864&sr=1-5

After completing the TOFEL test the next important test is the GRE (Graduates Records Examination) for most engineering and sciences grad schools or the GMAT(graduate management admission test) for most of the business schools. These two tests are the most difficult part of the enrollment requirements in the graduate schools for us. Some of the grad schools do not require the GRE or GMAT but these schools are not highly recognized by most employers. The GRE and the GMAT had been designed to test the general knowledge of the applicants to the grad schools. Basically the GRE contains two major sections (Verbal and Quantitative), the most difficulties are with the Verbal, which is testing of the English level of the test taker.  The other part (quantitative) contains a math test.  It’s the easiest part for all the engineers because it has the basic math testing. Add to these two sections the problem solving part for the GMAT test.  There are training courses specialized in these tests, and the courses will help the test taker learn some of the important techniques and answering strategies.

The other requirements of the admission seem to me easier than what we went through in the last four parts of obtaining the master degree in the United States. For myself, I moved to the second part, which is the preparation for TOFEL test and still have not figured out what I will do with GMAT exam.

I hope this series was a benefit to anyone who went through it.  Thanks for reading.

P.S.  I will have a meeting soon with a UW (University of Washington) Tacoma campus consultant and I am working on getting in touch with WSU (Washington State University) also the Tacoma campus.   Right now I am preparing myself for the TOFEL exam.


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