Tag Archives: GRE


3 Apr

That’s right–this word is so cool that I am dedicating an entire (short) post to it.  I like that it starts with a vowel.  And how can you go wrong with a word that contains the letter”V”?

As a side-note, I’m pretty sure question marks are the only punctuation that don’t automatically go inside quotation marks.  True?  I’m pretty sure it depends if whatever you have enclosed in quotes is the question, or if the sentence, which happens to contain something in quotes, is the question.  Wait–is the exclamation this way too?  I can never remember so I try to never use quotation marks and the exclamation point at the end of the sentence–just to avoid that scene.

You, my readers are probably thinking–why is there some random paragraph on grammar?  She obviously doesn’t know/care, because I see about a thousand errors every time I read these posts.  True.  But not because I don’t know.  I type using the hunt & peck method.  And I’m FAST at it.  But because I’m looking at my fingers rather then the screen, I miss some stuff.  Also, I’m just a really, really lazy editor–in my blog.  I write in here to get things off my chest, and editing just has no place in that process.  So deal.  You don’t mind that much anyway though–you can get the gist.

Anyhow, I’ve gotten off on some sort of grammar tangent, when I am trying to praise “effervescent.”  There is a nice variety of letters, and even another word inside, “scent.”  The formal definition (I happened to find) is:

effervescent  (ˌɛfəˈvɛs ə nt)
— adj
1. (of a liquid) giving off bubbles of gas; bubbling
2. high-spirited; vivacious

Translation:  Vivacious, gay, lively, and sparkling.  All things I like.  And I always like effervescent because it’s fun to say, and it makes me think of bubbles.  And who doesn’t love anything this fizzes or bubbles?

Vet School Interview [GRE Vocab from my App]

6 Dec

1.  cacophony-harsh and meaningless mixture of sounds.

2.  pungent-sharp, biting, acrid smell.

3.  decibel-unit used to express the intensity of sound.

4.  levity-lightness of mind, behavior, or character.  Lack of earnestness.

4.5.  earnestness-serious in intention, purpose, or effort.

5.  juncture-critical point in time made important by concurrence of circumstances.

6.  trajectory-the (curved) path (of a projectile) in air/space under influence of forces such as thrust,

wind, resistance, and gravity.

7.  coveted-to have a wrongful desire.

8.  conjure-to bring to mind or recall

9.  zeal-eager desire, passion

10.  musings-contemplation, reflection

11.  analogous-corresponding or alike

12.  convoluted– complicated

13.  bleak– without hope or encouragement.

14.  amass– to gather for oneself.

15.  garner– to get, acquire, or earn.

16.  volatile– changeable, mercurial.

17.  enervated– to lesson the vitality or strength.

18.  restive– restless, uneasy.

19.  aberrant– deviating from the ordinary.

20.  reticent– reluctant or restrained.

Practical Veterinary Applicant Advice

5 Dec

It’s easy to be a little starry-eyed when pursuing a career in veterinary medicine.  After all, this aspiration usually doesn’t appear suddenly.  You have been dreaming of this since your toddler days.  Many touchy-feely moments have contributed to this notion.  You are an idealist.  You want to help animals.  The realization that it is super-competitive to get into school, the work is long hours, and you will have dirty labor-intensive, pressure filled days is just not a deterrent.  Not after this long.  Not when you’ve already worked this hard to get to this point.

I hear you.  Really–I more than anyone, understand this process.  I have stupidly determindly applied to veterinary school 10 times.  I’m not kidding or exaggerating.  And no, I’m not bitter.  Truly.  But I have learned a few things that could have made my life, the process, and possible heartbreak of rejection SO much more bearable:

1.)  Life isn’t fair.  Even if you think you’ve worked harder, had more obstacles to overcome, and felt a stronger passion and calling.  Sometimes your plan is not the same as God’s *insert higher power you believe in here* and things are not going to work out the way you chose, or in your preferred time frame.  Believe in yourself, run towards your dream, but also be practical and realize it’s not the end of the world if it’s just not meant to be.  Maybe, just maybe you are better suited for something else, and you’ve been chasing veterinary medicine so long and hard that you have not realized it.  This brings me to my second piece of advice.

2.)  Consider (seriously consider) a back up plan.  Yes, veterinary medicine is THE dream.  That’s the number one optimal career goal, and the only thing you can ever see yourself happy doing.  Have a back up plan anyway.  This is of the utmost importance so I will repeat it:  Have a back up plan–no matter how far along you are in this veterinary endeavor.   Always.  I was accepted to Saint George’s Veterinary School.  Had my plane ticket and paid my class deposit.  Things were in motion.  Then, my loan fell through.  And I floundered–because I had never seriously entertained a back up plan.

3.)  Finally, the system (the veterinary admissions decisions) rewards numbers over substance.  Substance being passion, dedication, devotion to the career, animal experience, true involvement in extra-curriculars (as opposed to joining just to write it on the app), countless volunteer and work hours, etc. . .  Grades and to a slightly lessor extent, residency are important factors in veterinary admissions committee’s decisions.  As much as I do not like it, and do not agree, I have to work within that system–all applicants do.  Someone with a 4.0 who decided, like, yesterday that she loves petting animals and despite her fear of blood and aversion to hard work wants to be a vet WILL get accepted over a student with a lifelong dream, tons of experience, and a mediocre GPA.  Almost every time.  This is because schools can justify quantitative reasons over qualitative feelings about candidates.  And nobody wants to get sued.  Not fair, but use this knowledge to work WITH the system instead of against it.  Look at your dream school’s criteria, and most importantly, statistics of entering classes which will help you see just what kind of numbers you need:

Pullman, WA Class of 2015
Applications                                                                   Age
Total 1028                                                                     Average 24
Admitted 104                                                                Range 20-39
Female 81      Male 23

Number of Years in College                                        Times Applied Before Admitted
Average 4.75                                                                 1: 82
                                            2: 18
3: 4

As you can see, about 70% of the accepted students have a GPA above 3.5–it’s not mean to tell prospective students that a HUGE emphasis is placed on college grades (I’m talking to you, impractical veterinary bloggers).

Cumulative GPA                                                                        Total Science GPA
Average 3.552                                                               Average 3.473
Range 2.782-4.000                                                     Range 2.712-4.000
% >3.5:  69%                                                                  % > 3.5:  56%
% >3.2:  90%                                                                  % > 3.2:  85%
% >3.0:  99%                                                                % > 3.0:  95%

Hope in the Form of One Very Low GPA!  It looks like one person had a 2.78 cumulative and 2.7 science GPA and got in–so it CAN happen.  Although rarely, and I wonder what other amazing things that person had going for them. . .  But STILL–if they can make it, I we can too.  Just don’t forget it’s a slim chance statistically, so you should refer to my 3 pieces of advice above if you just got super-dreamy.

GRE Scores                                                            Highest Degree Held at Admissions
Cumulative % 58%                                                       No Degree:  10
Verbal Average 516                                                     Associate:  8
Verbal Range 350-800 (who is this jerk?)         Bachelor’s:  92
Quantitative Average 632                                          Master’s:  3
Quantitative Range 410-800                                     Doctorate:  0
Analytical Writing Average 4.17
Analytical Writing Range 3-6

It is also not unfair, or untrue to say that students with a veterinary school in their home state are MUCH more likely to be accepted.  WA has one of the most generous programs to give out-of-staters in close proximity a fair shake at acceptance.  Those that qualify under the WICHE program (western states without their own vet school) are given preference as well as residents.  That’s very different then most vet schools who accept in-state residents (only) much more readily then students from outside states (that have a vet school or not).

State                                    # Applied                           # offered                            # Accepted
Washington                         137                                     59                                        52
Idaho                                    35                                      12                                        12

WICHE States                    219                                     65                                        36
Arizona                                69                                       16                                        5 (WICHE 4, *NS 1)
Hawaii                                  21                                        4                                         1 *NS
Montana                              26                                       12                                        9 (WICHE 7, NS 2)
Nevada                                31                                        7                                          5 (WICHE 3, NS 2)
New Mexico                       22                                        9                                          6 (WICHE 4, NS 2)
North Dakota                     12                                        1                                          0
Utah                                    25                                        7                                          6 (WICHE 4, NS 2)
Wyoming                            13                                        9                                          4 (WICHE 4)

Other Out of Area             637                                     16                                         4
Grand Total                   1028                                  152                                       104
*NS = Non-sponsored

So good luck, and BE PRACTICAL about this dream of ours!

How to Analyze an Argument, GRE Style

14 Oct

Ferret Out Conclusion in an Argument:

1.  Conclusion= You should eat veggies regularly to reduce your risk of heart disease.

Why?  A diet low in saturated fat reduces risk of heart disease, and veggies are low in saturated fats.


A.  Veggies are the only thing low in saturated fats.

a.  all types of veggies are low in saturated fat.

B.  Low saturated fat is the only way to reduce risk of heart disease.

2.  Conclusion= Mandatory seat belt use will reduce auto fatalities.

Why?  State X requires seat belts and they have one of the lowest auto fatality rates.


A.  Seat belt use is the only reason state X has lower auto fatalities.

a.  All other laws in state X are the same to other states.

B. State X has the same amount of traffic as other states.

b1. state X has the same road maintenance as other states.

b2. State X has the same weather as other states.

3.  Conclusion=Imposing stress management programs would reduce the stress during evening rush hour and as a result, reduce car accidents at that time.

Why?  Studies show most car accidents occur during the evening rush hour when people are stressed and in a hurry to get home from work.


A.  All drivers during rush hour are coming home from work.

B.  All accidents occur because people are stressed to get home.

C.  Stress management programs would be effective at diminishing stress and it’s negative consequence of causing car accidents.


Career Interests- A Brainstorm

24 Sep

First a list of possible veterinary replacements.  First thing, I need to see how these translate to job (and pay).  Then, I need to write if they are related to my undergrad degrees and experiences.  Third, I need to look at locations of schools.  Before anything else, I need to check out prerequisite GPA and GRE scores.  Then, find out how competitive, number of students vs. graduates.

Agricultural Science




Chef (baker?)



Exercise & Sports Science

Food Critic:  No clear path, school, degree.  May work freelance with a portfolio of writings.  Can work for publification such as news paper or food magazine.  Salary expectation is about $43 thousand.

Food Science-They study crops and animals to improve quality and quantity.  Fast growth in field, especially in biotechnology.  Research at universities and government positions (which in this economy are not hiring).


Human Nutrition

Marine Science/Biology-highly competitive.  Marine Biologists specializing in marine mammals have very limited funding.  They study tissue sample of dead and dying animals.  Most career options involving live, healthy marine mammals are conservation groups, aquariums, and zoo (non-profit).  VERY competitive.


Sports Nutrition

Women’s Studies:  Universities and teaching, social work, women’s centers, lawyer, history (women’s), non-profit organizations.  OK, nothing very economically viable for me, or in the case of law–of interest to me.

Zoology:  It looks like most jobs are in university settings, government, or non-profit organizations.  Meaning, in this economy, low prospects upon graduation.

My Tenth Veterinary Application

2 Aug

Yeah, I’m pretty sure this is not an exaggeration.  I have literally applied to veterinary school 9 previous time!  And going through the application process makes me feel like a total loser each time.

My grades are mediocre.  I worked really hard on my standardized test scores to counter this, and am proud of my resultant scores.  BUT I feel they are still not good enough to beat my vet school competitors or impress the admissions committee.  Also, I just know the people going over my record are thinking–sure she can get these OK GRE scores while she’s doing nothing but working full time–but what about when she’s taking 18-21 credits, participating in school clubs, and trying to financially make ends meet?

Then there is my experience–which is stellar.  I challenge anyone to have more.  I have worked with a variety of species and observed, volunteered, and worked in multiple types of practice in different states.  But I feel like they don’t care.  As long as my quantitative numbers aren’t up to par, all the experience, desire, and passion in the world can’t help me.

And again with the letters.  It seems no matter how hard I worked, or how close I was to my superiors it doesn’t matter.  Time and distance makes everyone forget and the letters (if they’re written at all) go down in quality.  Plus I know these people get tired of writing me a letter year after year. . .  And new connections are never deep enough or long enough to make a decent impact.  It’s just. . .  A losing battle.

I’m not certain if this is just a veterinary thing, or if it’s all program admissions.  Whatever the case I look forward to the days I don’t have to feel like this.  I just want IN to a program I like.  Then I can just work hard and prove I belong there.  Until then–I’m still a loser.

Let the Statistics Begin! [All the GRE Scores]

3 Jun

I have given the ETS soooooo much money that I don’t even want to think about it.  I took the PSAT, SAT (twice), ACT, MCAT, and bought numerous study guides.  Taking the GRE 3 times (and paying for it 4 times, plus for one date change) was the icing on the financial cake.  The first time I took the test I was in the middle of a full college course load plus working almost full-time to meet expenses.  Needless to say there wasn’t much time to study, so I devoted those hours to graded courses.  Read:  I did not study for the first GRE test even a little bit.  The second exam got just as little attention, plus some douche-bag professor made some huge, critical assignment due near my test date at the least minute.  I skipped the test (and work) to finish this college assignment.  Yes, the test center was nice enough to call my work (which I had missed to take the GRE) to ask where I was.  It was not pretty.  The third time, I moved states before my test date, so had to pay to change the date and location of the test.  Then, I went to the GRE exam at 12:50 to make my 1:00 PM test time.  Unfortunately, my test actually started at 11:00 AM.  They let me take the test anyway, and not wanting to waste MORE money, I received my scores–though I had been terribly rushed during the test.  As I had studied, my scores were actually better than the first time around.  This time, I started preparing early, bought bunches of study books, and took time off work to study.  I gave my best efforts for sure.  At any rate, here are my scores.

new score translation of 5/24/11 scores:

V=157; 77th percentile

Q=150; 53rd percentile [ick, I liked how this looked on the old system better!]

W= still 5.0


V= 560

Q= 630

W= 5.0


V= 500

Q= 540

W= 4.0


V= 430

Q= 430

W= 4.5

I raised my verbal score by 60 points from my 2007 test to the current one.  That’s an overall 130 points higher than my original score!  For math (my weakest subject in school) I raise the score first 110 points, then another 90, for a total increase of 200 points!!!  My complete score has gone up by 330 points, and I don’t think that’s anything to sneeze it.

I felt proud of my scores, because they were higher than before, what I felt were an acceptable level, and because I truely could not have tried any harder.  I seriously gave it my all.  And who knew I would score higher on the quantitative section than verbal-yay me!

That is, I felt proud until I began looking at the scores of accepted veterinary students.  Most schools had verbal scores in the 500-550 range.  So my scores were compatible.  What I found to be really bleak, was the fact the veterinary quantitative score were sitting in the 650-750 range!  So I suddenly felt like a failure.  I could not possibly get my math scores any higher, and had been amazed at how elevated they were!

It made me question my career choice.  Maybe I need to face reality and admit, my math scores are just not good enough for veterinary school.  Maybe I should look at another career option.  And do I want to spend my life working long hours on weekends and holidays, dealing with crummy clients, and uncaring staff?  Is veterinary medicine still what I want???  It’s a big question, and may be life-altering.  I’ve been chasing this dream with such diligence, for so long that it has become my personality–but do I still want it?  Am I following this course because that’s what I do, that what others expect of me, and it’s what I’m already geared towards–or because I still really, really desire it?  I really have to think hard about it.

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My Thoughts Exactly! (re-post from one-twenty-five)

26 May

Life Limbo. That’s me. That’s my life.

I’m 26 [err-27, which = even worse] as I type this and am exactly the person I didn’t want to be.  I imagined such fabulous things for this little life I lead, and not one of them found me so lost at 2[7].

Depression? No.

Rut? No.

Limbo? Yes.

The world is my oyster, right? I’m still young. I want to do something meaningful, not let the days slip through my fingers. Not sit in cubicle country [or dead-end job that doesn’t appreciate my efforts or pay me a big-girl salary, as the case may be] a moment longer, not be in this city.

But where do I go? What do I do? [What career/life would I even like, and most of all what would I be best suited for?]  What if I run from this current life, and land somewhere worse? Be in the exact same position, but on the other side of the world? What then? What if I’m looking for something that doesn’t exist? Or fleeing something that was never there? What then?

…  I studied super-hard for my GRE test.  And Tuesday I took it, and got scores that I’m extremely proud of.  I conquered my nemesis (math) and my scores reflected my newly minted knowledge.  I did my absolute best and was happy about my substantially  improved scores. . .  Until I saw many examples of the accepted class’ veterinary student’s GRE scores–my math is still too low.  It made me question this life dream of mine.  Maybe I’m not cut out for veterinary school–better yet, maybe I don’t really want my life to be that of a veterinarian at all.  Do I want a stupendous amount of student debt and to suffer through the most demanding school curriculum for four more years only to work long hours on holidays and weekends for little pay?  I questioned everything I saw, everything I was, I judged myself, my life back home, this blog, me.

I feel like I’m waiting for something, but I don’t know what. . .

My GRE Test Map

23 May

45 min issue essay

-10 min +agree statement; oppoisition statement, then state my side for intro

-10-min to write conclusion with generalized importance of issue or philospophy behind issue.

-20 min to brainstorm support topics, and write each one in sep paragraph.

–1 paragraph with rhetorical question

–another paragraph with descriptive passage

–third paragraph with financial implications and quote.

-5 min to edit and add points to intro

1 min break to roll neck and breathe

30 min analyize an argument essay.

-3 min to restate argument and tell how it makes illogical assumptions that makes it flawed. As intro

-10 min to state argument, say it suffered from certain assumptions and write implication.  Conclusion.

-10 min to brainstorm all points that are not well-reasoned, and put them in separate paragraphs.

-2 min to go back and write each paragraph topic in intro

-5 min to edit

10 min break to stand up, stretch, and breathe.

30 min for 30 Q verbal

–9 Q in first 10 min

–10 Q in 2nd 10 min

–11 Q in 3rd 10 min

devote 7 min per reading comprehension passage

1 min break to breathe and stretch

45 min for 28 Q Quantitative reasoning

–24 min for 9 Q

–21 min for rest of Qs

–skip all non-obvious charts

-read the quant reasoning Answers before doing the problem

-use my own # for variables whenever possible

-use the answer to solve when possible

-use most freq answers when stumped

Keep the Antiquated Buildings! GRE Issue

15 May

issue essay topics:


“Most people would agree that buildings represent a valuable record of any society’s past, but controversy arises when old buildings stand on ground that modern planners feel could be better used for modern purposes. In such situations, modern development should be given precedence over the preservation of historic buildings so that contemporary needs can be served.”

Real estate planning has been controversial for ages.  When there is limited space and an overabundance of ideas there is going to be some strife.  Deciding how to utilize highly coveted land is never easy.  Many people believe that the best way to maximize productivity on sparse land is get rid of old, historic buildings to construct new buildings that serve more contemporary needs.  I can see how people think it is more advantages to build new buildings to serve current purposes rather than saving a portion of history that may or may not be relevant to current needs.  Making a new building from the ground up that fills every intended purpose within is ideal.  Though I agree it would be perfect in the short term to construct based on current demands, I think it is very important to respect the past and keep historic buildings in the long run.  Historic structures are tangible reminders of where we came from, more economical to use, and perfectly capable of meeting contemporary needs with a little creativity.

Tearing apart history is disrespectful and abusive.  If we destroy all older buildings, we are taking away relics of the past our future generations could learn from and admire.  For instance, imagine if historic Virginia City had all new buildings and concrete sidewalks lining the streets!  Sure it would be more aesthetic, and may lend to a better economy for the residents who currently depend on seasonal tourism for money.  But without the shoddy, old buildings, painted signs like the “Suicide Table” proclaiming fortunes could be won (or lost), and tattered, brown wood boardwalks, it would not be a special place to visit and learn about the history of the old west.  my descriptive section We would know nothing about the glory days of Nevada by getting rid of the famous Bucket of Blood Casino in favor of a four star resort.  It would be a complete travesty to modernize Virginia City, whether or not the town meets current business needs.  We need reminders of where we came from as country, and destructing ancient buildings would negate our appreciation of where we are now.

Why would we want to bull-doze historic landmarks only to build brand new structures when such an act costs an abundance of money?  my rhetorical question In a time of economic downturn especially, it is just not a priority to rejuvenate all structures.  I think Louisa May Alcott who wrote, “Money is a needful and precious thing,–and when well used, a noble thing. . .”  in her book, Little Women, would agree using funds to rebuild extraneously is not using our public coffers wisely.  My book quote Not only does it cost a lot to wreck an existing old building, it takes time to do so.  It is not very practical to cease business while the former structure is demolished and the new one is undergoing construction.  Even more money would be lost due to dearth of projects during the transition.  Because it requires such resources, we should not get carried away trying to modernize the world.  I think it would be more prudent to think outside the box and figure out how to use older business to meet our needs.

Similarly, it is not necessary to build entirely new buildings to meet contemporary needs.  In fact, the veterinary hospital where I work, was previously a restaurant, and a house from the 1900s before that.  We are able to practice current, effective, and meticulous animal medicine there despite the history of the building.  As a matter of fact, part of the reason I was drawn to apply to the veterinary practice in the first place was the cute appearance of the house-turned-hospital.  My current job location certainly feels more hospitable to me than past places featuring the modern white walls and sterility of current hospitals.  It is possible to conduct current business in older establishments, and even lends character.

Because the past represents our future, it is most important to save a piece of it in our real estate.  It is sad there is a movement to vandalize our past buildings so we can construct more cookie-cutter modern structures.  How many copies of brand new buildings do we need to be satisfied?  The building and rebuilding would never stop, and as a consequence we could not appreciate the past.  Demolishing historic landmarks does not serve a greater purpose, and it costs money and takes time.  The real trick is learning to utilize the older buildings for our current purposes.  last sentence especially needs a lot of work to flow better.

brainstorm 1:20 PM-1:27

intro & conclusion

points -1:45 PM

edit -2:00 PM