How to prepare for Skoltech's online entrance exam
Survival guide from our student
After my bachelor's degree, I asked myself a question: what do I want to do?
I'm interested in space exploration, ideally projects to explore the Moon and Mars. Because this is the area of solving interesting non-standard problems, and technology and science really excite the brain. So the desire to enter Skoltech in Space and Engineering Systems appeared naturally at the level of intuition when I accidentally saw an advertisement. Then I realized Skoltech's advantages such as training in English, modular system, foreign internships, business development, and my desire became stronger. It was impossible to stop.
This article is prepared by Angelina Prokopeva, our First-year student in the Space & Engineering Systems Master's program.
Angelina is an active member of the Skoltech student community. She documents her experience about studying in the Space Center at Skoltech and shares news in the space industry in her Telegram channel.
first of all, great job
The fact that you are able to pass the online test means that you at least have already submitted your application, including CV, motivation letter and letter of recommendation. Great! Join the club:)

The next step is to take an online exam and show your expertise. You will receive the date and time of your online test via email straight after the submission. Meanwhile, it's time to study.
about the online test
This test is obligatory only for future MSc students. All applicants who submit a complete application receive an email with instructions within a few days of the application submission.

The online test is administered by ProctorEdu (founded by a Skoltech graduate) through a special online examination platform. This ensures transparency of the tests takers and validity of results.
Why a proctored online test? Skoltech sets strict selection criteria for its students, and an exam is one of the ways to test that. Many students are applying from abroad, where it's physically impossible to administer the test. That's why Skoltech relies on online proctoring to ensure the transparency and honesty of applicants, which Skoltech and today's science community honor so much.

The system we use checks for the smallest hints of cheating: the physical presence of other people in the room, outside noise, switching to external websites and so on. Here's a hack: study the test materials so well that there is no need to rely on outside help during the exam. Confidence in your skills is the first step to being successful on the test.
Natalia Galochkina
Deputy Head of Skoltech Student Department, responsible for the Admissions process in Skoltech
The exam takes about three hours. You will be asked to solve a set of problems on basic topics in your program of choice - anything from math, physics, chemistry, programming and so on. During these 3 hours, you are left with the laptop's webcam face to face: as you are solving the test online, the camera is watching you. Sounds scary, right? No worries, I have a few tips for you.
preparing for the test
I was scheduled to take the online test for Space and Engineering Systems program.
My preparation consisted of:

  • Solving all the available practice tests from the official site;
  • Solving similar tasks on the Internet;
  • Learning English terminology in physics books in English (for example English version of Savelyev's physics books) and online books on higher math and celestial mechanics. My previous academic experience was fully in Russian, so I had to transfer my knowledge to English.
All this preparation took a full week of work. The hardest topic for me was with celestial mechanics because I did not have experience in it. However, by the time of the test I felt confident in my knowledge of other subjects because I prepared.
taking the test
The test was much more complicated than I expected. There are about 50 problems and almost all of them require calculations. The stress builds up because you know Skoltech proctors are watching you and your computer in real-time: you cannot check your notes, your phone or open any new windows on the computer. That will disqualify you! I was confident about half of the problems on the test, so the first thought after I finished it «That's all. This is the end...». But it turned out to be the beginning!
actual tips for taking the test
Can't solve a problem? Don't understand a task? – skip it and come back if you have time. It is like speed-dating :)
Try to solve the problem on your first try, stay concentrated. There will be no time to go back and check.
Focus. Put away your phone and your notes, turn off any sounds on your laptop. The testing system may even show notifications that there's somebody in your room. Ignore anything unless you receive a message from the proctor in the chat. This is the only thing you need to pay attention to. The rest is just you and the test.
Check your technical requirements before starting the test. For example, I had problems with the Chrome browser, some plugins interfered. So I had to open the test in Opera. You will receive a detailed guide in an email and will be able to ask your proctors if some technical problems appear.
Breathe deeper, don't be nervous. It's just a test!
This approach is good for speed testing: having the sense is that there will be only one attempt to solve a task. The key is to be confident in your skills and your knowledge of the subject. Everything else will follow. Good luck!
Time to start studying!
Check the sample test problems below.
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