What is GRE Score Select?

What is a good score on the GRE?

GRE Score Select gives students who take the GRE multiple times the option of selecting which score reports are submitted to the graduate schools to which they will apply. This means that if you take the GRE more than once, when you go through the process of finalizing your application, you can choose to only share your highest GRE score. The option to utilize GRE Score Select is automatically included with your GRE registration, so beyond actually registering for the GRE you will not have to take any additional steps in order to have access to the GRE Score Select option.

How does GRE Score Select work?

After taking the official GRE you will be allowed to view an unofficial score report. After viewing this score report you will be given the option to share or not share your score(s). At this time, you will have three options. They are as follows:

1) You may choose to NOT share your scores.

2) You may choose to share ALL of your scores.

3) You may choose to share only your MOST RECENT score (this will be the score report from the exam you will have just completed).

The most significant benefit of choosing to share your scores immediately after the test is, at that time, it is free. Your registration for the GRE includes the option to share up to four free score reports immediately after the exam. If you choose not to share your score(s) immediately after the test, you will be charged a fee of $27 per Additional Score Report (ASR).

What’s the catch?

The catch here is two-fold: first, if you do not send out your scores per the options listed above, after the test, there is a cost associated with sending out past GRE score reports; likewise, there is a cost of $195 to register for the GRE. Score Select is really only valuable in the context of choosing between multiple score reports. This logic is, of course, what precipitated the creation of GRE Score Select. The ETS now markets GRE Score Select as an assurance to students that if they don’t score well enough the first or second time they take the GRE, they can always just take the exam again and again, and use their highest score for admission purposes. Naturally, this encourages students to take the GRE multiple times, putting more money, in the form of registration and ASR fees, in ETS’ non-profit pockets. That said, Score Select is still a very useful score reporting option.

To more fully explain: the value of GRE Score Select really comes into play in a scenario where you have previously completed the GRE, taken it again, and did not score as well as you expected on the second administration of this exam. Say, for example, that you take the GRE a second time and your score goes down! Say again, for the purposes of this dramatic hypothetical, that you elected NOT to cancel your scores (assuming you had scored better, not worse) and thus now have a bad GRE score on your permanent (or at  least, 5-year) score record. In this case, for a small fee of $27, you can choose to only share your best GRE score report to the institution to which you are applying.

While GRE Score Select is a great option for students who have taken the GRE previously and are now attempting to improve their scores, the best method to taking the GRE is to thoroughly prepare for the exam the first time you take it so that you can avoid the complications associated with retaking the GRE.


Reminder — Application Deadlines

Checklist Icon

It’s time to start checking items off your ‘to-do’ list.

It’s that time of year again! No, not Arbor Day. Application deadlines!

Just a friendly reminder from us here at Test Masters that it’s already the end of October, and application deadlines are fast approaching. Deadlines are obviously different for every program, but many of you who are hoping to find yourself enrolled in school next fall should be polishing up your resumes, fleshing out those essays, and requesting those letters of recommendation! Hopefully you’ve already taken your GREs and are satisfied with your results – if not, we’re always happy to help out in whatever way we can!

Here’s a quick, very general checklist of items you will most likely need to complete an application:

1. A resume
2. Transcript from your undergraduate institution
3. GRE scores
4. Letters of recommendation
5. Essays
6. A completed application
7. An application fee
8. A TOEFL score for international students

Be sure to check you program’s website to make sure you have everything you need to apply. Best of luck to everyone!

GRE Vocabulary – Mellifluous


From Greek Mythology, Pan, the god of the wild, was often depicted playing the pipe, whose sound was described as piercing, sweet, and mellifluous.

mel·lif·lu·ous məˈliflo͞oəs/ adjective

Mellifluous is an adjective that means “having a smooth, rich flow.” It is often used to describe a person’s voice or the flow of a sentence.

The origins of mellifluous are Latin –the Latin words mell and fluere mean honey and to flow, respectively. Putting them together, we get “to flow as honey.” True to its origins, the word mellifluous often connotes a sweetness and pleasantness.

Sample Sentence

The highlight of Jake’s evening was hearing his daughter’s mellifluous voice resonating throughout the stadium as she sang the national anthem before the big game.

In this sentence, the word mellifluous is being used to describe a girl’s voice. There are a couple context clues in this sentence that can help you understand the positive connotation of the word mellifluous. The first is that hearing his daughter’s voice was “the highlight” of Jake’s evening. One can assume that, had her voice not been beautiful and sweet, hearing her sing would not have been a “highlight.” The other is a bit of a stretch, but not unreasonable – it’s safe to assume that Jake’s daughter has a lovely voice, otherwise she would not have been chosen to sing the national anthem before a a big game in front of a stadium audience.

How Do I Find a GRE Testing Center?

CATFinding a GRE testing center is pretty simple. The Educational Testing Service (ETS) has an easy-to-use testing center locator on their website, located here. All you have to do is select a few options for your location, and voila!

When I took my GRE, I was living in Houston, and the nearest one to me was in an area of the city that I wasn’t familiar with at all. A few days before I was scheduled to take my GRE, I made a dry run out to the testing center so that I would know exactly how to get there on the day of the test. The last thing you want is to get lost! The stress of trying to find the building and getting there on time might mess up your ability to concentrate during the test, so I strongly suggest that you find out where it is and make sure you know how to get there. You might even want to look up an alternate route in case some unexpected construction suddenly pops up.

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Sample GRE Multiple Choice Math Problem – Way Too Many Variables


“I hope you’re not … under-prepared … Mr. Bond.”

On every GRE Math section, the test makers try to come up with a few extremely difficult problems that will leave even the cleverest students scratching their heads. The really evil part, though, is that even these problems can be solved in under a minute without a calculator – if you know what to do. This means that once you “figure out the trick,” these difficult problems become easy. So, while those test makers are busy cackling with sadistic glee, let’s see if we can’t beat them at their own game.

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Sample GRE Multiple Choice Math Problem – FOIL or Factor?

GRE test writers are always trying to find new ways to discombobulate students.

GRE test writers are always trying to find new ways to discombobulate students.

On every GRE Math section, the test makers try to come up with a few extremely difficult problems that will leave even the cleverest students scratching their heads. The really evil part, though, is that even these problems can be solved in under a minute without a calculator – if you know what to do. This means that once you “figure out the trick,” these difficult problems become easy. So, while those test makers are busy cackling with sadistic glee, let’s see if we can’t beat them at their own game.

Continue reading “Sample GRE Multiple Choice Math Problem – FOIL or Factor?” »

University of Houston Downtown Master’s Programs

UH DowntownUniversity of Houston-Downtown Master’s Programs

There are plenty of Top 5 lists for which school has the most successful graduates or the best undergraduate teachers, but for many people, going to the schools at the tops of those lists just isn’t feasible, either for distance, cost, or due to the high admission standards. For people who already have careers and are looking to go back to school to further their prospects, a local school with flexible schedules that specifically cater to career students may be the best option available to them.

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Top 5 Bioengineering PhD Graduate Programs

Biomedical EngineeringProgram Profile – Top 5 Bioengineering PhD Graduate Programs

For anyone hoping to do original research in the field of Bioengineering (a.k.a. Biomedical Engineering), obtaining a PhD is often necessary. In the field of Bioengineering, unlike in many other engineering disciplines, undergraduate coursework alone does not fully prepare students for the research component of working in fields like tissue, cell, or biomaterial engineering, which are just a few subsets in the field of bioengineering. Obtaining a PhD in bioengineering will often consist of combining modern approaches in the experimental life sciences with theoretical and computational methods from engineering in order to find solutions to medical problems.


According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for bioengineers between 2012 and 2022 is expected to grow by 27%, which is much faster than average. Most bioengineers either conduct original research in academia or are employed by medical device or pharmaceutical companies. The starting salary for those with a PhD in Bioengineering ranges from $80,000-$100,000. It is clear by just looking at starting salary that a PhD in bioengineering can be extremely lucrative. In addition, if you are conducting original research it is possible to gain patents and start your own side company based on marketable discoveries. Many of the foremost bioengineers own multiple companies and/or patents based on their research.

The work done in the graduate program of your choosing can heavily influence the research you do throughout your career, so it is important to pick the right school and lab within the school. Below we have listed the top 5 Bioengineering graduate programs. These rankings are based on expert opinions about program excellence and statistical indicators that measure the quality of a school’s faculty, research, and students. Make sure you research the bioengineering labs and Principal Investigators (PI) within each school to make sure you find one that aligns with your interests. Choosing the right lab and PI that fits with your interests, personality, and work ethic can be more important than choosing the school. Remember this lab is where you will spend the vast majority of your time for the 4-7 years it takes to earn your PhD.

*Please note that many of the GRE scores provided for admitted students are according to the old GRE scoring scale.

TOP 5 Graduate Schools for Bioengineering/Biomedical Engineering[*]

#1 Johns Hopkins University (Whiting) Baltimore, MD

Johns Hopkins University is known for having one of the very best medical schools in the world, which is a great advantage for those wanting to study bioengineering. Johns Hopkins educates engineers alongside their medical students in the biological sciences and then expands their education in advanced mathematical and engineering sciences. As would be expected, admission to Johns Hopkins is extremely competitive, but those accepted receive a full fellowship which includes a yearly stipend, full tuition, matriculation fee, and individual medical and dental insurance. In 2012, 500 students applied to the Bioengineering PhD program and 70 were accepted. Admitted students featured:

  • Significant laboratory experience and published abstracts or papers
  • Undergraduate GPA: 3.81 ± 0.17
  • Quantitative GRE: 786 ± 21
  • Verbal GRE: 604 ± 68

The areas of study students are recruited for include Biomedical Imaging Science, Cell and Tissue Engineering/Technology, Computational Biology and Bioinformatics, Molecular Neural Cardiovascular Systems, and Neuroscience and Neuroengineering. To learn more about Johns Hopkins’s Graduate Program, visit www.bme.jhu.edu/graduate/phd/overview

#2 Georgia Institute of Technology Atlanta, GA

The Bioengineering PhD program at Georgia Institute of Technology (GIT) is a great choice for anyone looking to pursue interdisciplinary research for their dissertation. Students apply through one of 8 participating Georgia Tech engineering home schools or departments and can work with any of the 90+ participating faculty members. This gives graduate students the unique opportunity to have a wide range of options for choosing their dissertation and work across multiple disciplines if they choose to do so. For example, someone hoping to develop a unique medical device can complete coursework in electrical, mechanical, and biological engineering to further their research. The average scores for students entering engineering doctoral programs at GIT are as follow:

  • Average Undergraduate GPA: 3.70
  • Quantitative GRE: 777
  • Verbal GRE: 550

The areas of study include Biomaterials and Regenerative Medicine, Cardiovascular Biology and Biomechanics, Cellular and Biomolecular Engineering, Integrative Biosystems, and Neuroengineering.  To learn more about GIT’s Graduate Program, visit www.bioengineering.gatech.edu

#3 Massachusetts Institute of Technology Cambridge, MA

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is well known as one of the top technical schools in the world, and this holds true when speaking of their graduate Bioengineering program. Their PhD program offers two tracks, one in Bioengineering and one in Applied Biosciences, which allows students to choose from a wide range of research options. You may choose to follow one of these tracks or a combination of both. Note though that students in either track may pursue research projects in any area with approval by their research supervisor. Average GRE scores of students admitted to MIT’s doctoral engineering programs are as follow:

  • Quantitative GRE: 788
  • Verbal GRE: 607

Due to the presence of multiple tracks, research area options are too numerous to list here. Refer to www.web.mit.edu/be/programs/ to find a full list of research areas in the MIT Bioengineering PhD Program.

#3 University of California—San Diego (Jacobs) La Jolla, CA

University of California San Diego has fantastic bioengineering programs both at the undergraduate and graduate levels. California is an ideal place to be for those interested in pursuing bioengineering research (and those that enjoy beautiful weather) because of the concentration of biomedical companies and research institutions that focus on bioengineering. UC San Diego focuses their bioengineering PhD program on Integrative Bioengineering. This means they promote the integration of research at all levels of bioengineering design from genes and molecules to the whole organism. They also promote interactions between engineering and biomedical sciences, coordination of research and education (you must complete four quarters of teaching to earn a PhD), partnerships between neighboring institutions, and collaboration with industry and clinical medicine. In order to be accepted to UC San Diego’s bioengineering PhD program, you must have a GPA of at least 3.4. The average scores of admitted students to engineering PhD programs at UC San Diego are as follow:

  • Average GPA: 3.6
  • Quantitative GRE: 780
  • Verbal GRE: 543

Note that because UC San Diego’s bioengineering PhD is their highest ranking engineering doctoral program, the GPA and GRE scores of admitted students may be slightly higher than those listed. To learn more about UC San Diego’s Graduate Program, visit www.be.ucsd.edu/graduate

#5 Duke University (Pratt) Durham, NC

Duke’s Bioengineering PhD program is specifically tailored to those wishing to pursue specialized research in academia, industry, or a government lab. One great aspect of Duke’s approach to the Bioengineering PhD is their focus on mentorship. The process of finding the best fit between you and your research advisor starts before you are even admitted. After you submit your application, interested faculty may contact you and the best applicants are invited to Duke to interview with the group of research advisors that have identified you as a potential graduate student. This ensures that those accepted are placed in a lab that best fits the need of both the lab and student.  The average scores of admitted students to engineering PhD programs at UC San Diego are as follow:

  • Average GPA: 3.6
  • Quantitative GRE: 780
  • Verbal GRE: 599

To learn more about Duke’s Graduate Program, visit www.bme.duke.edu/grad

#5 Stanford University Stanford, CA

Stanford tied in ranking with Duke to give us the 6th school that makes the Top 5 Bioengineering Graduate Programs list. Like UC San Diego, Stanford’s location in California makes it a great place to build a network as well as earn a top degree. Stanford is ranked as having the 2nd best engineering school in the country overall, which means the caliber of interdisciplinary research is extremely high. Most of the top Bioengineering PhD programs offer a joint MD/PhD, but Stanford also offers a joint JD/MS/PhD. This is just one of the many benefits of attending a university that is top ranked in virtually every school they have. These joint programs are extremely competitive though, so expect to need a near perfect GPA and top scores in every qualifying exam to earn admission. The average scores of admitted students to engineering PhD programs at Stanford are as follow:

  • Quantitative GRE: 786
  • Verbal GRE: 605

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