When students think of studying abroad, the parameters they judge themselves on are academic qualifications, language test scores, GPA scores and GRE scores. The GPA or GRE scores are more than just a number as they test a candidate’s aptitude, learning ability, and analytical reasoning skills for the selection process of studying at a university abroad.
Several Indian students often stay unaware of these terms until they decide to study in a foreign country. Other counties like the USA, have their own tests and criteria for the admission process. However, in general, GPA scores and GRE scores are used to hint at the knowledge and learning ability of a student.
Though a single test cannot represent a candidate’s ability to the full potential, both GRE and GPA scores have their own importance when applying to foreign universities. However, there are only a few study abroad aspirants who know what is the real difference between these two scores.
GPA score has been in the education system for a long time as an accumulative grade. This score counts each and every score a candidate has obtained during their degree. Since its score calculating process is comprehensive, this Grade Point Average score tells much more than what a GRE score can say.
The applicants should note that the GPA score is quite contextual and comes with a completely different challenge for an Ivy League student to get an ‘A grade’ as compared to students from different universities. Some of the majors or specialisations can be more challenging as there is no particular scoring process or system that can ascertain every grade A score in each subject having the same value. Hence, this is what makes a GPA score very contextual.
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How is GPA calculated?
Each and every grade a candidate receives, whether in numerical, letter-grade or percentage system, shows a quality point. In foreign countries like the United States, the quality point is always on a scale of 4.0 or between 0 and 4. The highest grade one can get on the scale equates to the highest score on the scale.
For instance, an A is the highest a student can achieve in class. Now, according to the school they attend, A is equal to 4 or a multiple of 4 (8 or 16). After a few classes these points will keep on adding up and at last, will get divided by the total amount of credits of all the courses they have taken. After calculating, the number the student will get is their GPA.
There are certain universities that have a dedicated help desk for international students or an admission office to help the candidates in converting their scores as per the country or university.
Difference between GPA and CGPA?
While both GPA and CGPA calculate the performance of a student in a course, there are certain differences between them. The main difference between both of them is that CGPA measures a candidate's performance throughout the course including the semesters and units, but GPA only measures the performance of a single unit or semester.
Furthermore, foreign universities prefer GPA scores over CGPA scores to assess students' consistency in the course duration they have pursued. Another difference between them is that GPA makes use of grades such as A, B and C, while CGPA measures on a scale of 1-10.
In India, universities use a 10 GPA method. While a 4 GPA method is mostly used in countries like the USA called the US grading scale. CGPA, on the other hand, makes use of a uniform system.
The Graduate Record Examination (GRE Exam) is one of the most significant tests for study abroad aspirants. GRE scores are required by almost all universities and colleges during the admission process for graduate-level programmes in countries like the US or Canada. The test, administered by Educational Testing Service (ETS), includes six sections that test a candidate's learning, writing and thinking ability. A well-versed GRE preparation can help the applicants to fetch good scores easily. A higher GRE score can help the candidates to get added advantages during the admission process.
A higher GRE score may get the applicant GRE scholarships as several graduate colleges and universities offer merit-based scholarships. For this, universities generally refer to academic and standardised test scores. Fetching 158 in the verbal and quantitative section and 4.0 in the writing section can be a good score to submit. However, it is advisable to try your best and aim for high scores to get into top consideration during the admission process.
Is GPA or GRE Important?
Both GPA and GRE are undoubtedly important and we will discuss why. Ultimately, top universities and colleges require an applicant who will work hard, have knowledge of what they are doing and eventually, succeed academically at school.
Now the question is how will these universities and colleges evaluate a candidate based on the above mentioned factors? So far, the universities use GPA as the safest way to calculate and assess the score. The reason is that the candidate's GPA is solid proof that they have worked hard and dedicated their time in a particular program to secure those grades.
Those are not just marks but can also be treated as a test of the candidate's focus, patience and perseverance over a long time. Thus, even if the applicant's grades are just a part of their overall profile, they do play a vital role and universities give a lot of weightage to them.
Let us say a candidate scored a 9.5 on a scale of 10 GPA in India, such a score would make his job much easier. An 8+ GPA on a scale of 10 will no wonder give the applicant a very good chance to secure some solid admits. Though again, the doors are not closed for them yet, even if they are not able to secure a decent GPA. If the student has some relevant work experience along with a fantastic Statement of Purpose showing off their goals and vision properly, they can still get admitted to your dream university or college.
Now the question arises of whether GRE scores are useful or not. So, the answer is yes as there are several GRE Participating Universities around the world. Also, there are several other good universities that have a score requirement of 170 in GRE Quant or a decent 320+ score. So, getting a high score would help a student if compared to overall GRE scores for Masters in Engineering courses.
However, keep in mind that a student's low GRE score will make the university question their aptitude and ability to manage the curriculum. So, having a good GRE score can also save you at times while applying to foreign universities.
Do universities prefer GRE or GPA?
International students must know that universities abroad have no preference and hence they prefer both GRE scores and GPA scores. There are certain colleges and universities that clearly mention their eligibility criteria regarding the scores and tests they want the candidate to submit. However, if given a choice, it is better to present both GPA and GRE. It helps the university to understand the candidate's abilities and academic knowledge.
In some cases, candidates who score low marks in GPA, but a good GRE score are also in a safer zone. However, still, universities need some extra proofs or certifications that can prove that the candidate is a good fit for the particular course and university.
After a detailed analysis, it must have been clear whether GRE or GPA has more weightage than the other. So it is advisable to get a good score in both of them as they have their own value at a certain stage. Apart from these, relevant experience and academic qualifications are also important to get admission to top universities. So altogether, every standardised test or GPA score is equally important and can help candidates to make an impactful impression on the Admissions Committee.
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