By the Book: New Titles Across the Board

by J. Michael DeAngelis, Information Resources Manager

September marked the start of a new school year, which is always a booming time in the Career Services library.  We’ve been adding titles to our collection every week this month, on subjects ranging from cover letter writing to graduate studies in Europe.  Here’s a look at just three of the most interesting new additions.

Life is What You Make of It by Peter Buffet.  Buffett, son of the much-in-the-news Warren Buffett, and an accomplished composer, penned this New York Times Best Seller about forging your own path in life.

This is a good, quick read for students who are at the start of their career decision making journey.   Without pretension, the author suggests ways of determining your purpose and seizing oppertunities.

Endorsed by such luminaries as Bono, Bill Gates and Bill Clinton, the book focuses on staying true to yourself and holding on to your values over economic prosperity – specifically making money just for money’s sake.

Alumni thinking about making career path changes will also find this, and other titles we have on the subject, helpful.  You can find it in the Career Decision Making section of our library.

The 12th Guide to German Biotech Companies compiled by BIO Deutschland and the Eurpopean Biotechnology Foundation. This extremely unique (and extremely specific) book was recently donated to the Career Services Library by a student who interned in Germany this past summer.  This beautifully put together edition is a directory of every major biotech firm in Germany, complete with contact information and in-depth company profiles.  If you are interested in working in either biotech or pharmaceuticals on the international level, this guide is a great jumping off point.  Written in English, with the American job-seeker in mind.  Located in the International section of our library, with other books on working in Europe.


Cracking the New GRE 2012 by The Princeton Review.  This guide is just one of four new GRE study guides we have purchased for the 2011-2012 school year.  As recently noted by our own Peter Stokes in his blog, the GRE completely changed its format starting in August of this year.  All of the guides in the library contain tips and practice tests to help you prepare for the new exam.  The Princeton Review edition also came with an informative DVD, which you can watch in our library on your laptop or at our video computer station.  Students interested in watching the DVD much make arrangements by sending an e-mail to Carol Hagan.  This book, as well all of our GRE study guides and practice tests, can be found in the Graduate Study section of the Career Services library.

Remember, the Career Services library is for reference only.  Books may not be checked out, but we invite you to spend time in our comfortable reading room. Photocopying is available.  The Career Services library has extended hours during the school year: Monday-Wednesday, 9am-6pm and Thursday-Friday, 9am-5pm.

The Revised GRE

by Peter M. Stokes

As any of you who have heard me speak may have guessed, I hail from the United Kingdom, a magical land where Harry Potter casts his spells, entire summers pass without the sun appearing, and graduate schools don’t require the GRE[*]. Here in the real world of the USA, however, most of you planning on applying to graduate schools that don’t have their own kind of standardized test will need at some point to take the Graduate Record Examination.  In fact, though, if you take the test after August 1st, 2011, you will take the GRE Revised General Test.

The test is changing this summer, both in the way that questions are structured and in scoring.  Scary as change can be, this actually looks like a good thing.  Gone from the verbal section will be, for example, antonym questions that permit allow test-takers to succeed purely through memorization.  Instead the test will emphasize things like text completion and reading comprehension that require a more global understanding of the English language in context.  In the quantitative section the emphasis will be on data interpretation and problems explained in terms of real-world scenarios.  There will actually be an on-screen calculator so as to de-emphasize basic calculation in favor of the ability to reason through problems.

In terms of scoring, the 200-800 scale with 10 point increments will be replaced by a 130-170 scale in 1-point increments.  The idea, evidently, is that small differences in scores aren’t really very significant, and they want to make that clear by having differences of, say, 2-3 points instead of 20-30 because the zero makes the difference seem big (really, no kidding here).  Presumably this won’t provide problems in comparing scores across the old and new tests since schools will also be able to look at percentiles as well as the raw scores.

For much more information on the revised test, see:

But what should you do?  Take the test now?  After August 1st?  Run screaming in panic down Locust Walk?

One concrete reason to take the test before August would be if you need your score before mid-November (which is before most grad school deadlines—but that’s something to check).  I assume they want to wait that long before giving scores so that they have a big batch of scores and can make sure they’re scoring equitably. In any event, they won’t release any revised GRE scores until November.

A concrete reason to take the test after August 1 is that between then and the end of September, they sweeten the deal by giving you 50% off (and the thing costs $160).

More generally, though, I don’t see a particular reason to rush to take the current test this year if you weren’t already going to do it that soon.  As I say, the test looks like it will actually improve.  However, you might want to take the test this summer, perhaps because you’re planning on applying in the fall and the summer is when you have time, or because you’re graduating and just want to make sure you have the test done before applying later.  In that case, you might consider shooting for before August 1 just because there are plenty of preparation materials and practice tests available for the current, soon-to-be-superseded test.

Having said that, though, there are already some materials and practice tests for the revised GRE too, and you’ll find some available for free by scrolling to the bottom of the page linked above.  And as always, if you’re perplexed about the GRE or any aspects of planning for graduate school, please make use of the pre-grad advising services here in Career Services.

[*] OK, a couple programs at places like LSE might just ask for it, so if you want to apply to programs in the UK, do check, and buy an umbrella.