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Everything you need to know about MS in US / GRE

UPDATE : This post has become way to generalized & it would probably take a lot of time for me to fix all stuff. Better ignore this post as of now. Sorry for the inconvenience :-/

Since a lot people have been mailing me about information regarding education in US / MS / GRE, I am writing this blog post in answer.

Views mentioned here are entirely mine and I may be completely wrong. I am not responsible if shit happens.

Why US ?

  • To gain the knowledge
  • Wonderful research opportunities
  • And to become a REAL ENGINEER

Moreover education system in US is not actually marks oriented and you actually get to learn something. It’s more of a learning by doing, compared to marks by mugging in India. Engineering in India is a big fucking joke and sucks donkey balls. Marks here is directly proportional to how good is your memory power (so that you can mug all the stuff and gag gag puke on exam paper) and how actually well you can kiss asses of your lecturers. Perhaps I should dedicate a separate hate post for stupid Engineering in India :P

The CS Subjects :
First select in which area you want to study. There are many streams in MS in CS. Few being :

Artificial Intelligence
NLP
Machine Translation & Information Extraction
Multi Agent Systems
Speech Processing
Distributed DBMS
Web Data & Knowledge Management
Data Warehousing & Data Mining
Advanced Database Systems
Digital Image Processing
Computer Graphics
Computer Vision
Multimedia Systems
Pattern Recognition
Advanced Signal & Image Processing
Soft Computing
Machine Learning
Advanced Computer Graphics
Cryptography and Network Security
Performance Evaluation of Computer Systems
Principles of Programming Languages
Programming Language Processors
Computer Architecture
Numerical Methods
Theory of Computation
Advanced Algorithms
Spatial Databases
…many more !

These are just examples to get you started. There are still many ! Now you might know about these Or may not. Consult Wikipedia to get an idea about them. Just simply visit MIT Courseware Or Coursera & join the courses which you feel interested. Within a month you will find out what you want to study [even if that decision goes wrong, later you can change again]

US of A :
Cracking GRE is very easy, but getting into USA & getting into a good university is very tough. I don’t want to discourage you, but since 2010, they are rejecting visas very much. They are just looking for a reason to reject :-/ In Visa interview process if they somehow assume you are going to stay in USA forever, then high chances of having your Visa rejected. And you will be asked about this next time again, when you re-apply for Visa.

However, if you can make it to any top university then Visa will be very easy. I say the process will be easy, but that doesn’t mean you ain’t get rejected. However chances of rejection are lot less.

Visa :
Since 2010-11, the Visa rejection rate has become very high. If your luck is screwed, then you will be rejected anyways. If they had bad chutney with Idlis in morning breakfast, you will be rejected ! They are just looking for a reason to reject you.

Most often they stamp you as 214B / Potential Immigrant which means you are seeking for a permanent residential-ship OR work permit after education (and which is true in most of the cases).

Here are some tips (added by my friend, Prashant, many thanks to him !)

1. Show as much money as you can. Do not show much loan.
2. Don’t lamely say you want to come back and all stuff… Say logically, like IT India is improving and you want to help and all etcetera.
3. Have poor academics  / backlogs ? Then be ready to defend yourself with logical answers. Eg. I got into music, someone died in family, accident, watched some depressing movies like Ra.One and couldn’t recover etc.
4. Even poor university selection also may lead to visa  rejection. Don’t choose B Grade universities.
5. You should be ready to defend yourself when asked why you chose this university over other.
6. Why not India ? make sure you answer carefully and logically. Don’t show you are desperate for US but only for high quality education. Don’t mention your brother / family members are there working and you want to join them etc.
7. Your every answer should be logical (and only you can do that)

All you have to make them believe is you are considering US only for education and education only. You are serious about it and you will pack your bags at the end of curriculum.

Top Universities  :
There are many good universities in USA. But remember GRE score does not entirely contribute to admission process. First & foremost weightage will be given to Research Experience in the area of field you want to study. If you have worked under any renowned professor / published any papers, then it will be useful adds lot of weightage. Or internships at bigshot companies like Microsoft/Google or IITs. Secondly, they consider your academics. Academics are also important. Then LOR from professors you worked / studied under. Even SOP & extra curricular activities / prizes etc.

What I am trying to say is, you need to have good ~ balanced profile. A 330+ GRE score alone cannot land you in a top 5 univs

If you want a research based course, then first check which professor is on research of that field (of the university you selected). Contact him and try to impress him. (do not keep on emailing for every day & don’t stalk / pester the poor soul lol). It fine if he says yes, else don’t apply ! Doesn’t matter how brilliant you are, if you don’t have a teacher.

TA / RA :
This even tougher to get :-/ But however once you decide your univ & stream, contact the respective professor. mail them & try to impress them. This will help you alot.

If no TA/RA…
You could use your knowledge (in programming/coding) and become a part time coder and earn. A friend of mine has become a part time web developer & earns decently. Apart from that there will be campus jobs too. But still education in USA is costly & you cannot completely rely on your earnings to pay tuition fees [though that depends]. But in countries like Canada education is cheaper & you can save money & pay tuition fees.

Funding / Scholarships / Tuition Fees :
Getting a scholarship nowadays is almost impossible :-/ Tuition fee varies from university to university, if you get into top univ then expect fee around 40lakhs INR/2 years to 1 crore. Again, this could vary. So you have to rely on loan OR own funding. However, according to a friend  of mine, you could earn 50~70 lakhs INR / year once you complete your MS. If you manage to save good amount then you will able to repay the loan within 2~3 years.

Preparation :
GRE is easy to crack. You need to have lots of patience since you will have to mug up english words [which you never use again :P] & improve your vocabulary throughout your preparation. If you can devote 3-4 hours everyday & 6-7 hours in weekends, 3 months are sufficient for GRE, IMO.

Maths – Very easy ! If you are not confident, then get Nova GRE & solve maths from it.
Verbal – Barron’s & Kaplan are enough. If you do 1500+ words perfectly, I can assure you 310+. (Max is 340)

1500+ words – 310~315
2000+ words – 320~325
2500+ words – >330

(this is just rough estimation !)

There are 3 categories of words. Highly frequent – 100, Frequent – 300 [You must do these two type of words] & rest belong to Less Frequent. Google for list of words.

Concentrate more on Reading Comprehensions. They are tougher now compared to earlier format of GRE.

Get this software called GRE Bible & you can easily do words.

Let me tell you something, instead of mugging words you could actually ‘learn’ them. But it takes lots of time. It’s easy, you need to understand root words, pre/suffixes & how to apply them & derive the meaning. Start your preparation with Word Power Made Easy.

Eg. Patr/Pater means Father / pertaining to Father.

Now observe these words : Patriarch, Patrimony, Patrimony, Patronymic, Paternity, Paternal, Patricide, Expatriate.

These are all words derived from the root Patr / Pater. Now below are the meanings of these words. I have also mentioned new root words in braces.

Patriarch – Head of family [arch – rule, chief]
Patrimony – Inheritance from father [mony – money]
Patronymic – Name derived from father’s [nymic – name ]
Paternity – Fatherhood
Paternal – Relating to father
Patricide – Killing one’s father [cide – kill / murder]
Expatriate – Leaving one’s country & living abroad :P

Now I will list few words which are based on roots mentioned above :
Matriarch, Anarchy, Monarchy, Alimony, Synonym, Antonym, Pseudonym, Maternity, Fraternity, Sorority, Maternal, Fraternal, Homicide, Matricide, Insecticide.

If you are able to find out meaning of above words easily, bingo, you understood the method I am trying to explain, quite well. It’s called Etymology.

Lastly, solve from GRE Big Book.

Give online tests, mock tests so that you can gauge yourself & know how well you are performing. I always suggest to give Kaplan’s test which gives lower bound. GRE’s PowerPrep is almost near as actual GRE. Save it for week-before-exam mock test.

TOEFL / IELTS are LMAO type exams & one can actually get 100+ in TOEFL & 6+ bands in IELTS without ANY preparation.

Coaching :
I am never fan of coaching institutes & never will be. I honestly feel GRE does not require any coaching. It’s no Rocket Science & one can study on their own. However joining coaching institutes can help you keep focused  & motivated. The competitive environment might make you prepare more seriously.

Books list :

Online Resources :
http://www.mygretutor.com
http://www.etymonline.com
https://grockit.com/gre/info
http://www.wiziq.com/tests/gre
http://learnwordlist.com
http://www.studystack.com/GRE
http://mnemonicdictionary.com

Other options :
You could also try MS in Canada. Compared to US, getting into Canada is easy. You will also get 3 years work permit after MS. However the universities are far less compared to US & IT is in nascent stages.

Few other options :
You could also try European countries like Germany. In Germany, MS is almost free :P Does not cost you a paisa for most of the universities. You only have to take care about living costs. Even research opportunities are good in Germany. I wouldn’t suggest New Zealand & Australia for known reasons.

And few more options :
If you are good in CS subjects then consider giving Subject GRE for Computer Science. This will be tougher than GATE, but if you manage to get good marks then you could easily land in top universities.

Options, options & few more options :
One more option in higher studies in India itself. As pointed out earlier, there are good colleges apart from IITs & IISCs, like IIITs etc. They even offer MS by Research, MTech + PhD courses etc. You get 8k/month stipend, for TA – 12k/month & for RA – 20k/month [not sure about these figures]. Even some top companies can sponsor you & they will take care of your all expenses during your education.

But…MTech in IITs is not as good as BTech.

However getting into good college is lot tougher since competition in GATE is very much, especially in CS. This year 2.5 lakh CSE students are expected to give GATE :-/ Seems the no. of students appearing is in order of exponential growth.

If you study for GATE seriously then it will be lot helpful for you to crack Subject GRE.

One last thing I’d like to say, wherever you end up studying, whatever you end up doing, always have hunger for knowledge. Learn something ! At the end it’s the knowledge which matters most.

All the best !

PS – This post does not actually have ‘everything’ about MS/GRE, but it does has every info which is more than enough to get you started. Honestly, I used it in title to catch your attention.

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22 Comments

  1. As always wonderful article :)

    But “Engineering in India sucks donkey balls” ? Don’t you think that’s bit harsh ?? :P

  2. Thanks for the informative blog. What’s the right time to start preparation ? Currently I am in 3rd year of engineering. Can you contact me on (number removed) & consult me about MS privately ?

    • It’s always the right time :P

      There is no such thing as “right time” for preparation, you could start preparing at any time. Since you are in 3rd year of engineering, you should start doing words & improve your vocabulary now. If you give GRE after completion of this 5th sem or 6th sem, then you can apply for admissions when you will be in 7th sem & right after 8th sem you could be in USA :P

      I am no expert or an educational consultant. And I don’t do any private consultations ! Sorry.

      All the best !

  3. Very detailed & awesome article about MS. Got a print out of this & will be saved !!

    Thank you very much mate !

  4. I was quite confused about MS and after reading your article it cleared all my doubts.

    Actually I am mutual friend of you in FB. Thanks to you & my friend who ‘shared’ the article :)

    Please write few more such articles. Thanks a lot again :D

  5. “TOEFL / IELTS are LMAO type exams & one can actually get 100+ in TOEFL & 6+ bands in IELTS without ANY preparation.”

    ROFL !!

    And I agree with you totally. I wrote IELTS WITHOUT any preparation & got 7 bands :)

    • Lower bound means worst possible marks you could get in actual GRE. Kaplan’s tests are very tough & if you manage to score X marks in Kaplan, you’d never get less than X marks in actual GRE.

      And you’re welcome :)

  6. Honestly dude, the way you write articles is awesome. I am just fan of your witty remarks & sense of humor. The way you present few things is just hilarious !!

    “watched some depressing movies like Ra.One and couldn’t recover etc.”

    LOL. How did you even think of that ? :D

    Please write more educational stuff. Most of your blog posts are about gadgets’ reviews which goes way over my head :P

    cheers !
    Priya

  7. Hi avi. I have been reading your blogs from quite well time & I’d like to thank you for your articles which are always very informative.

    I still have doubt whether I should join coaching classes or not. My friend tells me tutors at these institutes provide tricks to solve questions etc.

    I have already started preparing on my own from past one month. Can you write a separate blog post about how to study / prepare for GRE ??

    Thanks a lot again :)

    PS – you have a great sense of humor. Keep it up !

    • Thank you !

      Well, they do provide such tricks/methods to solve questions, especially RCs, but you can get all such tricks / tips from books too.

      I can write, but I cannot promise anything. Firstly I am too lazy & always busy in some stupid stuff. Let’s see ;-)

      PS – oh, thank you :P

  8. How beautiful calligraphy of sentence- humor that gives a big time awakening to all the depression grasped aspirants.

    Finest bro work ;) given that :” if something written by you with your own research “..

    and keep engaging urself in your shitty & stupid stuff..it yields pounds.

  9. I am in 8th semester of BE with electronics & communications branch. i want to take gre but i dont have my passport ready but i have applied for it. i want to take gre as soon as possible and if possible, in march. can i register for gre without passport. Also, if I take gre after my graduation, will i be eligible for scholarships from various universities. please reply me queries as soon as possible. please.