Adventures with the GMAT Abroad: Finding the Location

Since I know several college student from International Countries (or from the US living abroad) also take the GMAT every year, I thought I’d keep you up-to-date on the process I go through while I’m taking it in China. Partly just because it’s kind of a glimpse into how things are different just traveling and surviving abroad. 

The registration process itself was pretty  simple – I did the normal US registration website and everything. Registered an account and selected Zhengzhou, China as my location.  

However, that was the end of the easy part. First of all, finding English study books is a pain though do-able. My students order them off of Taobao (Chinese Ebay) or Amazon.cn.  I went ahead and purchased one while I was in the States on holiday and brought it with me.  As long as its a semi-developed country where many students take the test, I think you can find study books. I wouldn’t count on it in other countries necessarily. 

I don’t actually live in Zhengzhou, instead I live about an hour away. Since the GMAT is less common in China, the testing centers are less populous.  So I was kind of lucky to find one this close to me.

My test is at 8:30am local time, which was the only time slot available. The dates are not as open, and you are more limited as to what time of day is available here than in the US I think. That means I need to arrange a hotel for the night before. Since my test will not end until after noon, that means I would have to rush in order to get to the bus and home on time. So I ended up getting  a hotel for two nights instead–A lot of students from out of town do this I’ve found.  

So the total GMAT cost goes to Test + Travel (for me about $10 for bus + subway + taxi) + Hotel ($150 for two nights).  

Unfortunately, the location itself is clear out in the boonies (sp? — out in the middle of nowhere) and I could never have found it on my own.  As with all good small-town Chinese addresses, it isn’t even a real address.  The location according to the MBA site is at “NEEA-Henan Higher Education Admission Office Zhengzhou HEN, CHN.”  Legit – I put in the name of the location that the MBA site gave me and it doesn’t show up on Google. 

Luckily my ticket had a little more information — HENAN COLLEGE OF FINANCE &TAXATION,  ZHENGKAI RD&KANGZHUANG RD INTERSECTION,  RM 517, ADMINISTRATION BLDG.. Yep – that’s a helpful address – “at the intersection of Zhengkai Rd & Kangzhuang Rd.” I tried looking up the college, and found an address on the opposite end of town (apparently the old address? – I’m not really sure).  

One of the things you learn when you travel abroad is that GoogleMaps can be much less helpful depending on the country. I’ve heard that it’s pretty on spot in Europe. But in Japan, Korea, and China where I’ve traveled extensively, GoogleMaps is frequently not helpful whatsoever. The names on Google are in Chinese (which I don’t speak and certainly can’t write or read), the roads aren’t up to date, the buildings move, everything is a couple years old. In a well-developed city, a couple years might not mean much for a map. But in a still swiftly growing and expanding area like Henan, China just two months might see a complete and total difference. 

I finally just posted the address on Weixin (China Facebook/Twitter) and my students (have I mentioned how much I love them to pieces?) immediately responded with the Chinese map, the Chinese name of the School, the Chinese address, and directions to give to a taxi driver. According to the map, it’s out in the middle of nowhere – land  several kilometers outside of the actual city.  Seriously, it’s at a small community college “on the road between Zhengzhou and Kaifeng” (hence the intersection of Zhengkai road 😛 ). So we all agreed, I’d need to take the subway all the way to the end. Then one student said I should take Exit E (thank God for that piece on information — people appreciate the Exit number not enough!) then go east to the main road. No one knows where the bus stop is (our city doesn’t have a good bus map or layout — so no one really knows when or where it’ll stop). Just that I need bus 102 to the stop (of course it’s in Chinese).  At first they said try to find Chinese students to help me find the bus — then we realized its the holiday and there probably won’t be anyone. 😛

Oh the life I lead!

Of course, because it’s so far out, there were no hotels in the area to speak of.  A couple that were low end – $20 a night- places. But while a cheap motel might be okay in the US, I don’t trust them here in China. Too many horrific experiences (namely one including a plate on the floor outside the hotel restaurant with so much mold on it, it should have been a lab experiment .) 😛  So I had to go further up line 1 on the Subway to find a hotel.

 To be honest, I have no idea how much time this whole thing is going to take me. And I’m kind of dreading the whole “Check-in” and get a computer process. They say the people will speak English, but I’m not really counting on it. 🙂 I’ve been told that before. Anyway, I’ll let you know how the process itself goes. Off to work on my math. Wish me luck!

International Merry Christmas”

Taking College Entrance Exams When Traveling Outside of the US

Just registered for the GMAT! Wish me luck! I’ll officially be taking the exam on February 7, 2017 at 8:30am in Henan, China. 

Yep, that’s right. Most standardized American college entrance exams are offered in international locations. In fact, many international schools also utilize these exams for admissions and scholarship criteria. For example, I’m looking at schools in Asia, and most of the accredited big ones ask for either the GMAT or the GRE. 

 So if you want to study abroad in fall of Senior Year or last year of Undergrad, you can still take the all-important exams you need for your future.  Or if you’re an international student looking to study in the states, you can find one in your area hopefully. 

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American College Testing (ACT)

The ACT is one of the two main undergraduate school entrance exams. Most universities accept either the ACT, SAT, both, (or on the very rare occasion) neither. It is up to you to research your potential universities and verify which exam they require. They are not major specific-all majors need to take it.

Format (as of 2016-2017) -the ACT has four primary parts (Math, Reading, Science, and English) as well as an optional written portion. The English portion covers grammar, punctuation, and structure. The Math portion covers basic algebra, trig, and calculus questions. The Reading portion asks you to analyze essays or paragraphs you read for meaning, complete thoughts, etc. The Science portion is less science and more logic. It asks you to take data and analyze it to answer their questions.  The Writing asks you to write an essay response to a question they give you.

Notes: Unlike the GMAT or computer-based GRE in the US, the GRE internationally is usually the “paper format.” Meaning you have to sign up for a specific date (often only a few times a year) to go take the test in hand-written form. Then, because scores are not calculated online, you will have to wait for your scores (as much as 4-6 weeks later).  SO READING INSTRUCTIONS IS IMPORTANT!

Cost: $51 (for International locations)

Next Date: April 8, 2017 (Register by March 3, 2017) or June 10, 2017 (Register by May 5, 2017).

List of International Locations  **To Register for International Locations, you must make an account on the ACT website and register through that. 

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Scholastic Achievement Test (SAT)

The SAT is one of the two main undergraduate school entrance exams. Most universities accept either the ACT, SAT, both, (or on the very rare occasion) neither. It is up to you to research your potential universities and verify which exam they require. They are not major specific-all majors need to take it.

Format (as of 2016-2017) -the general SAT has four primary parts (Math, Reading, Writing & Language, and Essay). The Writing & Language portion asks you to analyze things you read–correcting logic issues, strengthening or weakening the argument, finding errors, etc.. The Math portion covers basic algebra and elementary calculus/trigonometry questions. The Reading portion asks you to analyze essays or paragraphs you read for meaning, complete thoughts, etc.  The Writing asks you to write an essay response to a question they give you.

WARNING – I’ve heard a lot of bad things about the College Board exam centers in China. I have absolutely no background in other countries – but I do NOT recommend taking the SAT in Mainland China or Hong Kong.  Friends or students taking the exam here or in Hong Kong report never receiving their grades, being told to wait as much as 6 months for scores (and then still not getting them), scores being thrown out because “someone cheated,” not being given the full time to take the exam, not being provided with all the materials needed for the exam, questions not being answered, and more.  When students (some US citizens included) attempted to call the College Board in Hong Kong and ask for information, the first question they were asked is where they were from. When they said China, the office immediately hung up on them. Several reported similar issues. One of my friends was actually late applying to schools, despite taking the exam early, because her first scores never came and they just told her to re-take the exam again.  

Cost: $45 * without essay | $57 *with essay  (there is an addition “fee” for international students changing by region. Africa and the Americas pay an extra $35.  East Asia / Pacific pay an extra $53.  Europe and Eurasia pay an extra $38.  Middle East is $47. South and Central Asia is $49).

Next Date: January 21, 2017 (Register by December 7, 2017) or May 6, 2017 (Register by March 22, 2017).

List of International Locations  **It is not offered in March outside of the United States. You may have to obey special national rules for the SAT which vary country-by-country. The SAT does provide international examinees the option of having an “international representative.” However if you do this, you must register by paper and by the early deadline. They also cost money 🙂  Here is their “Tips for International Registration.”

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General Record Exam (GRE)

The GRE is a basic graduate school entrance exam used largely for all majors not including Medicine, Business, and Law. So basically all arts and sciences. It’s definitely the most popular and the most commonly taken exam of the lot. Schools accepting the GRE internationally

Format (as of 2016-2017) – the GRE has three separate parts (Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, and Analytical Writing). The Verbal Reasoning portion is split into Reading Comprehension (read the essay and answer questions about it), Text Completion (fill in the blank), and “Sentence Equivalence (word definitions –  can you put in the correct word).  The Quantitative Reasoning portion is mostly math and logic questions.  The Analytical Writing asks you to write an essay response to a question they give you.

Notes: Unlike the GMAT or computer-based GRE in the US, the GRE internationally is usually the “paper format.” Meaning you have to sign up for a specific date (often only a few times a year) to go take the test in hand-written form. Then, because scores are not calculated online, you will have to wait for your scores (as much as 4-6 weeks later).  SO TIMING IS IMPORTANT!

Cost: $205 (or $220 in China – why, I don’t know.)

Next Date: February 4, 2017 (Register by December 23, 2016 or pay a late fee).

List of International Locations where the Paper-based General GRE is offered. **To Register for International Locations, you probably need to look for testing centers and dates under the “paper version.”

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Law School Admissions Test (LSAT)

The LSAT is the graduate school entrance exam used students entering Law Schools. 

Format (as of 2016-2017) – the LSAT has five separate parts (Reading Comprehension, Analytical Reasoning, two Logical Reasoning sections, and a Writing portion). Reading Comprehension asks you to analyze essays or paragraphs you read for meaning, complete thoughts, etc. Tests your ability to analyze, understand, and apply what you read to other information. The Analytical Reasoning portion is what many of us call the “logic” portion. It’s like those old games you used to play (M is married to S. S is not married to T or J. X married on Tuesday but is not married to T. Who married who and when). The Logical Reasoning parts provide you with information and asks you to analyze what you read and draw conclusions, explain, or provide the logical theory underlying what you read. The Writing asks you to write an essay response to a question they give you.

Notes: Most schools want you to take the exam before December, in order to get your scores on time.

Cost: $180. (If you are applying to a US school, you’ll probably also buy the CAS paperwork compilation system which is $175).  

Next Date: Varies significantly by country and region. 

List of International Locations where the LSAT is offered. **Some countries only offer the exam on certain days, not all of them. 

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Medical College Admission Test (MCAT)

The MCAT is the graduate school entrance exam used for Medicine programs. 

Format (as of 2016-2017) – the MCAT has four separate parts. The Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems portion tests biology, organic chemistry, and inorganic chemistry. The Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems tests biology, inorganic and organic chemistry, and physics. Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior Systems  will test psychology, sociology, and biology as it relates to sociological threats to heath. Critical Analysis and Reasoning portion is basically a Reading Comprehension section.  Mixed within the first three parts will be questions testing you on specific Scientific Inquiry and Reasoning Skills 

Notes: 

Cost: $310 (goes up to $365 about 1-2 weeks before the exam). Applicants at international locations must pay an extra $100 no matter what.

Next Date: January 19, 2017 (Often vary by country).

List of International Locations where the Paper-based General GRE is offered. **To Register for International Locations,follow the same instructions as domestic registrations. Make an account on the AAMC website first.

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General Management Achievement Test (GMAT)

The GMAT is a graduate school entrance exam used largely Business Schools. Some MBA programs accept the GRE in lieu of the GMAT, but not all. 

Format (as of 2016-2017) – The GMAT has four parts (Integrated Reasoning, Quantitative, Verbal, and Analytical Writing). The Analytical Writing asks you to write an essay analytical response to a question they give you.The Integrated Reasoning will provide with a set of information and data. Then you will be asked a serious of questions based on that info analyzing your ability to evaluate, comprehend, and utilize it.  The Quantitative is similar but focuses on math and logic. You might be given a set of facts and then you are asked to find the truth that fits all those facts. The Verbal Reasoning tests you ability to correct sentences, answer reading comprehension questions, analyze and answer questions using what you read. 

Cost: $250  (+VAT – depending on Country)

Next Date: You Choose.  Each testing location and country will have different exams. Rather than the ACT, SAT, etc where a bunch of people take it together in a testing scenario, the GMAT and computer-based GRE are more individual. You must first choose your testing location. Then look at the dates and times available at that center.

List of International Locations where the GMAT is offered. **Each country has specific requirements and taxes they will apply. You need to read the “country-specific instructions” before applying.

“The 20 most popular destinations for Americans to study abroad”

“The 20 most popular destinations for Americans to study abroad”

by Alexa Pipia via “Business Insider

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“Every semester, college students pack their bags and jet off to foreign countries to study abroad. The experience allows them to learn things they wouldn’t be able to learn in their college classrooms.

The Institute of International Education, a not-for-profit organization that researches the movement of international students, found that 304,467 American students studied abroad during the 2013-2014 school year — the most recent data available.

The IIE’s “Open Doors Data” is compiled with the help of the Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs of the US Department of State. With this data, the IIE broke down the number of American studying in each country.

Business Insider used IIE’s research to find the top 20 countries and then researched the basics of what they need to know before moving there: official language, currency, and exchange rate (as of early August). We then looked to Lonely Planet for the cost of a typical low-budget meal, since studying abroad can get costly.

Europe is the continent of choice, with eight countries featured on the list. South America is in second place with five countries.

Read on to find out the 20 most popular countries where American students study abroad.”

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Facts you should know to study abroad unafraid

**This article is specifically directed to Auburn students, but the information in it is pretty valid for other University Study Abroad Programs too. Worth a Glance. :)**DB

“Facts You Should Know to Study Abroad Unafraid”

By Ariel Cochran via “The Auburn Plainsman”

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Aer Lingus “Study in Ireland Program”

For my first return post, I thought I’d share a nice deal offered especially to Study Abroad Students!

According to their website, AerLingus (an Irish airline) is offering students studying in Ireland a special deal this summer through their “STUDY IN IRELAND Program.”

They’ll be offering “special airfares and a free date change to their return flight.” I like how it says you can change your return flight. Probably because so many students fall in love with Ireland and just want to stay a little bit longer (I know I did!).  Actually, it says you can even move the date of your return flight up (but who would want to?!?).  

The offer is for travel to or from Dublin or Shannon, Ireland on the following dates:

  • August 17-December 20, 2016 (Fall Semester)
  • January 6 – May 30, 2017 (Spring Semester)

Flights include those to/from Boston, Chicago, Hartford (as of Sept. 2016), Los Angeles, New York, Newark (as of Sept. 2016), Orlando, San Francisco, Toronto, and D.C.  Only individual students studying abroad get this special plan. 

However, the website also offers “special fares for Family & Friends Interested in travelling with or visiting the student while in Ireland (fares based on availability).” Awesome! Your best friend could come and visit you too!

For more details about the specifics and limitations, you can use the following resources:

If you try this program out, let us know how it goes! Excellent? Good? Bad? Terrible? Pass it on!

DISCLAIMER: This website is not affiliated with Aer Lingus in any way. My and my website are not responsible for anything AerLingus does or the program they are offering or anything else. I’m just letting you know what the website says.

Colleges With the Most Students Who Study Abroad

“Colleges With the Most Students Who Study Abroad”

by Delece Smith-Barrow via “US News

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The U.S. News Short List, separate from our overall rankings, is a regular series that magnifies individual data points in hopes of providing students and parents a way to find which undergraduate or graduate programs excel or have room to grow in specific areas. Be sure to explore The Short List: College, The Short List: Grad School and The Short List: Online Programs to find data that matter to you in your college or graduate school search.

More U.S. college students are packing their bags and heading abroad to complete some of their undergrad degree requirements.

The number of students studying abroad for credit during the 2013-2014 academic year grew 5.2 percent from the previous year, topping 300,000, according to NAFSA: Association of International Educators.

Studying overseas can be a great way to complete college coursework while also learning a new language and experiencing a different culture. At some schools, almost every undergrad studies abroad.

[See the 10 top destinations for U.S. students studying abroad.]

Goucher College in Maryland and Soka University of America in California, for example, require students to spend time overseas. At both of these schools, 100 percent of 2014 graduates studied abroad – the highest percentage among the 321 colleges and universities that submitted data to U.S. News in an annual survey.

Among the 12 schools where the highest percentage of students studied abroad, 10 are National Liberal Arts Colleges. These institutions emphasize undergraduate education and award at least half of their degrees in the liberal arts fields.

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