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

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“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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Test Masters Wins Big, Takes Home 2014 BBB Pinnacle Award

Houston BBB Pinnacle Award Test MastersTest Masters, the fastest growing test preparation company in the country, has recently added another jewel to its crown. The Better Business Bureau of Houston awarded Test Masters the 2014 Pinnacle Award in Education Services. Though over 250 companies were recognized during the BBB’s May 7th Awards of Excellence ceremony, only a scant 33 companies were awarded the prestigious Pinnacle Award, each for being leaders in their respective fields. As this year marked Test Masters’ first every entry into the Awards of Excellence, we were extremely happy to not only be recognized for our commitment to excellence but to win the 2014 Pinnacle Award.

Test Masters was recognized for maintaining high standards of excellence in the workplace, giving back to our community, and for the high quality of our products and service.

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We pride ourselves on adapting to changes and advances with ease and professionalism, and we are thrilled at the opportunity to have been included in this awards process. We not only adhere to the Houston BBB’s code of conduct, but to our own strict quality assurances, which means we offer products and services that are unparalleled in the  test preparation industry.

Sample GRE Multiple Choice Math Problem – Combinations

timcurrycardinalrichelieuOn 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.

Consider the following problem:

King Louis XIII must pick a team of 5 musketeers to investigate one of Cardinal Richelieu’s nefarious schemes. If there are 10 musketeers to choose from, what is the probability that four of them (Athos, Porthos, Aramis, and d’Artangan, of course) will be selected?

A) 1/2

B) 1/10

C) 3/5

D) 1/42

E) 5/252

To solve this problem, we must first remember that the probability of any event is calculated by taking the number of desired outcomes over the number of possible outcomes. In this case, figuring out the number of desired outcomes is not too difficult. We know who four of the five musketeers should be, so the only variable is the remaining musketeer. We have already used 4 out of the 10 possible musketeers, so there are 6 possibilities left for the remaining musketeer. If we let P, Q, R, S, T, and U represent the unknown musketeers, then we could represent the desired outcomes like so:

Athos, Porthos, Aramis, d’Artangan, and P

Athos, Porthos, Aramis, d’Artangan, and Q

Athos, Porthos, Aramis, d’Artangan, and R

Athos, Porthos, Aramis, d’Artangan, and S

Athos, Porthos, Aramis, d’Artangan, and T

Athos, Porthos, Aramis, d’Artangan, and U

That leaves figuring out the total number of possible outcomes. You could try to write down all the possible combinations of five musketeers, but with 10 musketeers to choose from that’s going to take a long time, and there would be many opportunities for making mistakes. What we are trying to figure out here is how many possible combinations of 5 musketeers we could make from a group of 10. To calculate this, all we need is a little formula that you might remember from math class:

Where n is the number of items to choose from and r is the number of items to be selected. Combinations and permutations are occasionally tested on the GRE, so you would do well to memorize this formula and other relevant formulas before test day. Using the formula, we find that the total number of ways to select a group of 5 from a group of 10 is:

Thus, the number of desired outcomes over the number of possible outcomes is:

the-three-musketeers-6-1Thus 1/42, choice D, is correct. If you know what to do, it takes only about 30 seconds to solve this problem. So you see, with practice, even the hardest problems on the GRE become easy. Check back here each week for more extra hard problems and the tricks you need to solve them! Also, remember that you can find out all the tricks from experts like me with a Test Masters course or private tutoring. Until  then, keep up the good work and happy studying!

GRE Reading Comprehension Example Problem

In this passage you are presented with an unsupported hypothesis about the use of “wheeled utility vehicles” in 12th century Veracruz; namely, despite the lack of evidence, anthropologists hypothesize that the discovery of “wheeled ceramic toys” might indicate that “wheeled utility vehicles were used to carry materials needed for the monumental structures the Toltec produced.”

As you read through these potential answers, it is important that you determine what this question is actually asking. The passage says there is “no archeological evidence that the Toltec used wheels for anything but toys.” The correct answer must explain why archeologists haven’t found any non-toy wheels, or “wheeled utility vehicles.” Keep this in mind as we review the answers:

(A)   is incorrect. “Sometimes” is a weak word; “sometimes” is not enough to say that the wheel was necessarily one of tools “incorporated into (the Toltec’s) toys representations.” Additionally, this statement does not explain the lack of archaeological evidence for “wheeled utility vehicles.”

(B)   is correct because it offers a valid explanation that is consistent with the anthropologists’ hypothesis and also explains the lack of evidence for that hypothesis.

(C)   is incorrect. A discovery that the toy wheels had uses outside of being toys, such as decoration and sometimes in rituals does not “explain the lack of evidence” for wheeled utility vehicles.

(D)   is incorrect. “Areas outside of Veracruz” have nothing to do with the lack of archaeological evidence in Veracruz; this statement does not explain why no non-toy wheels have been found at Veracruz.

(E)    is incorrect. Again, this answer has nothing to do with the lack of archaeological evidence for non-toy wheels; finding toy wheels in a certain place does not explain the lack of evidence for non-toy wheels.

GRE reading comprehension questions will regularly feature subjects most students are not familiar with; you should expect to see questions relating to archaeology, anthropology, sociology, philosophy, theater, history, and English, as well as biology, physics, math, chemistry, economics, etc. You do not have to be an expert in these fields to answer these questions correctly! Don’t be intimidated by the verbiage or jargon used in these question types. If you feel overwhelmed by the subject matter, rest assured that the GRE is designed for you to be able to answer every question correctly based entirely on the information contained within the passage.