GRE Subject Tests: To Take, or Not To Take

Wait. There are subject tests, too?!

Wait. There are subject tests, too?!

Remember when you took the SAT for the first time? You were so anxious because it was the SAT AND IT WAS THE BIGGEST TEST YOU WERE EVER GOING TO TAKE! And just as you got up to the front of the line to check-in, they asked you if you were taking an SAT II. A WHAT?!

And, indeed, it turned out that on top of the SAT reasoning tests there were other subject tests that were “optional.” Perhaps if you’re a strange Martian who is immune to the horrors of standardized testing, you were excited for another chance to show what you know, but more likely, your heart sank with the realization that “subject tests” meant that more future Saturdays would begin with your stomach in knots at 8 AM in a cold testing center.

You may have thought applying to graduate school would be more straightforward, but if you’re taking the GRE, you’re likely to find yourself at the same crossroads. Yes, luckily for you, if you’re applying to graduate school in the field of Biology, Biochemistry, Chemistry, Literature (in English), Mathematics, Physics, or Psychology, you have the option to take a GRE Subject Test to support your graduate school application. The tests are administered in April, September, and October and scored on a scale of 200-990 in ten point increments. The Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology; Biology; and Psychology Tests all have subsections scored on a scale of 20-99 in one point increments. The question is, do you need to give up $150 and a weekend? Continue reading “GRE Subject Tests: To Take, or Not To Take” »

GRE Vocab – Querulous

querulous

Intransigent means “refusing to compromise” or “inflexible.”

quer·u·lous kwer-yə-ləs, -ə-ləs\ adjective 

Querulous is an adjective meaning “given to complaining” or “habitually complaining.” Synonyms of querulous include peevish, fretful, or whining. Querulous is often used to describe someone who is complaining in a way that is annoying or irritating.

Querulous finds its etymological roots in the Old French adjective querelos, meaning “quarrelsome” and “argumentative.” An even earlier version of querulous may be found in the Latin querulus, meaning “full of complaints” or “complaining.”

Sample Sentence

The querulous timbre of Aunt Ruthie’s screeching voice led me to believe that this silly debate was far from complete.

In this sentence, the context clues present in the second half of the sentence could help you determine the meaning of querulous. “Screeching” and “debate” indicate that the nature of Aunt Ruthie’s speech is argumentative.

 

Sample GRE Multiple Choice Math Problem – Finding the Sum of Way Too Many Numbers

You'll never get out of this one!

You’ll never get out of this one!

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.

Consider the following problem:

If the sum of the following integers from 1 to 50 is s, which of the following is the sum of the integers from 1 to 100? Continue reading “Sample GRE Multiple Choice Math Problem – Finding the Sum of Way Too Many Numbers” »

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

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.

Continue reading “How Do I Find a GRE Testing Center?” »

Sample GRE Multiple Choice Math Problem – Way Too Many Variables

bond_villain

“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.

Continue reading “Sample GRE Multiple Choice Math Problem – Way Too Many Variables” »