Preparation and Resources for Graduate School

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In this section, you will find information on a number of topics. Scroll down or click on the indivual topics below to be directed to the desired sub-section. 

  1. Preparing For Graduate School

1.1 What to Do During Your Junior Year (and Before!)
1.2 What to Do During Your Senior Year
1.3 Top 10 things to do to prepare for graduate school
1.4 Internships, REU, summer programs and other opportunities

  1. Choosing A Graduate Program

2.1 Tips to find the best Ph.D. program for you
2.2 FAQ on Graduate School
2.3 Information about professional Masters programs
2.4 Funding your graduate program

  1. Applying For Graduate School

3.1 Application form
3.2 Personal Statement
3.3 Letters of recommendation
3.4 Transcripts
3.5 GRE and GRE math subject tests
3.6 Resume


1. Preparing For Graduate School

1.1 What to Do During Your Junior Year (and Before!)

  • Get Information About Programs. Gather information. Talk to classmates and faculty, and do an online search.
  • Determine Admissions Requirements. Compare requirements for admissions at different programs. Also, find out whether the school requires any specific course work or out-of-class experiences, and whether they have minimum requirements for GRE and Subject GRE.
  • Select Programs to Which to Apply. How well do these programs match your interests and needs? Check funding, university reputation and your gut feelings to decide whether a given program is a good match for you.
  • Discuss Your Career Goals. Meet with faculty and career counselors to discuss programs and your plans.
  • Establish Relationships with Faculty.
Talk with faculty after class. Visit office hours. Discuss your career goals.
  • Take Coursework to Strengthen Your Application.
Take extra elective courses that may aid your application. Consider taking honors courses and graduate courses like Math 205 and/or 206. Try to raise your GPA.
  • Prepare for Standardized Tests. Take an online free sample test to determine your strengths and weaknesses. Then construct a plan for studying material that you're weak on and for learning how to take the test. Check out one of the many preparation books from the science library.
  • Take GRE Tests. 
Plan to take any required tests by the end of your Junior year, at least the general GRE test. Take them early so that you can retake them if needed.
  • Get involved in math-related extracurricular activities. Join the math club, do some tutoring, go to professional math meetings, give a talk.
  • Get Experiences. Enroll in a research project or a reading course (Math 199), do some volunteer work or anything that shows that you have some experience in your field.  - it perience.
  • Plan a REU for the upcoming summer, and apply for it.

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1.2 What to Do During Your Senior Year

Throughout the year, continue to be involved with math-related extra-curricular activities. Try to give a talk or a poster presentation, go to conferences (e.g., the Joint Mathematical Meeting of MAA and AMS) and look for intensive math programs for the summer.

  • Summer/September. If you haven't done so already, take the general GRE admission test. Register for the subject test and keep working on it.  Gather graduate programs brochures and narrow your choices. Think of which faculty member could write your recommendation letter.
  • September/October. Search sources of financial aid. Carefully examine each of the Program applications. Note any questions or essay topics that will require your attention. Write a draft of your statement of purpose. Ask a faculty member or the career/grad admissions counselor at your school to read your essays and provide feedback. Take their advice! Ask faculty for letters of recommendations, and provide them with all the necessary material. Plan to take the GRE subject test in October.
  • November/December. If you are not satisfied with your score on the GRE subject test, take the test again in November. (Be aware of the early registration deadline!). Arrange for your official transcripts to be sent to each program to which you apply. Visit the Registrar's office to request your transcript. Request that the Registrar hold your transcript until the Fall semester grades are in. Finalize your essay and statement of purpose. Don't forget to seek input from others. Apply for fellowships and other sources of financial aid, as applicable. Check and record the due date for each application. Finalize your requests for recommendation letters. Bring each letter writer a folder containing your statement of purpose, an unofficial copy of your transcripts, and some additional information about yourself. (See “letters of recommendation”.)
  • December/January. Complete the application forms for each program. Spell check your essay and statement of purpose. Mail your applications… Relax and breathe! Most schools send a postcard upon receipt of each application. Keep track of these. If you don't receive a postcard or letter, contact the admissions office by email or phone to ensure that your application has been received before the deadline. One week before the letters are due, send a gentle reminder to your letter writer.
  • February. Fill out the Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) application. You'll need your tax forms to do this.
  • March/April Visit schools to which you've been accepted. Discuss acceptances and rejections with a faculty member or the career/graduate admissions counselor at your school. Notify the program of your decision.
  • Summer Take an intensive math-program in preparation for graduate school.

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1.3 Top 10 things to do to prepare for graduate school

  1. Maintain a very high math GPA. Get excellent grades in your math courses; in particular, get very good grades in the "proof-based" courses. (Grades on core mathematics courses are more important than overall GPA.)
  1. Go beyond the standard curriculum. Take the "right" classes: 
  • Math 205 (introductory graduate real analysis) and Math 206 (introductory graduate abstract algebra) are highly recommended.
  • If you took Math 205 and Math 206 early enough and were very successful, consider taking Math 210 (graduate real analysis) and Math 230 (graduate abstract algebra) in your senior year.
  • Take as many elective courses as possible.
  • Complex Analysis (Math 147, typically offered in winter), Topology (Math 141, typically offered in spring) and Differential Geometry (Math 162 A and B, typically offered in winter and spring) are particularly valuable in preparation for graduate school.

Some warnings:

  • Take introduction to proofs, real analysis and abstract algebra early in your career: they are the gateway to many electives.
  • Elective courses might not be offered every year, so check the list of upper-division course offerings and plan ahead.
  • Graduate-level courses can be hazardous to your GPA. Before enrolling, talk to your professors and counselors.
  1. Enroll in the Math Honors Program. To give your application a competitive edge, consider writing an Honors Thesis.
  1. Go beyond the major requirements:
  • Do an internship. 
  • Participate in an intensive math enhancement program such as “the Budapest Semesters in Mathematics” (BSM), the Cornell “Summer Math Institute” (SMI) or the “Mathematics Advanced Studies Semester Program” (MASS).     
  1. Get involved in research.

Training in research will give you a chance to understand whether you would enjoy pursuing a Ph.D. degree and will put you in contact with potential recommenders. Most importantly, getting involved in research prior to grad school will give your application an enormous edge: to the admission committee, previous experience is an indicator of future success!

A number of resources are available to support undergraduate research, spanning from the UCI Undergraduate Opportunities Program (UROP) to the national NSF-funded Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program. 

  1. Participate in at least one "math activity" outside class, to show your commitment to mathematics. For example, you could:
  • Be an active member of the Math Club. 
  • Join a mathematical professional organization, e.g., MAA, AMS, AWM. (Note that MAA offers subsidized memberships to students.)
  • Tutor mathematics.
  • Participate in a math competition.
  • Give a talk (e.g., at the Math Club).
  • Attend a professional math meeting and present a poster at a math conference (e.g., at a MAA or AMS meeting).
  1. Show that you are able to study independently. Ask your recommenders for further readings on your favorite subjects. Enroll in a Math 199, and complete a reading course or a research project with a UCI faculty member.
  1. Get to know your professors (the potential writer of your recommendation letters): enhance your class participation, attend office hours frequently, and discuss your graduate school plans with them before you ask them for a letter.
  1. Study for the GRE subject test in math. Many schools consider this score a very valuable screening factor. Adequate training can significantly improve your score. Participate in the UCI GRE MATH working seminar and visit the corresponding website to download important resources (such as sample tests with solutions). For information about the UCI GRE MATH seminar email Dr. A. Pantano or Dr. D. Eichhorn
  1. Make sure that your application material contains no mistakes of any sort. Have your personal statement proofread by both the writing tutors at the Langson and Science Library ( and by a math faculty member or graduate student. Have your CV critiqued by the UCI Career Center (

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1.4 Internships, REU, summer programs and other opportunities

Participating in internships, summer programs and other (on-campus  or off-campus) research opportunities will demonstrate your genuine passion for mathematics and research and dramatically increase your chances of entering graduate school. Please visit our "Math Career Resources" page and our "Math Research Resources" page for more information about these opportunities.  

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2. Choosing A Graduate Program


2.1 Tips to find the best Ph.D. program for you

Do your research

Look at the AMS application material. In particular, download the Assistantships and Graduate Fellowships Guide.

Look at math departments websites:

Look at websites comparing schools.

The website contains a wide range of information about grad applications in general and specific information about programs at various schools in different areas. It sorts schools by the criteria you select.

Keep an open mind

Different schools have different strengths. Think about what feature you value the most. For instance, you may want to consider:

  • Size of the department (faculty, grad students)
  • Faculty: areas of research, number of students, productivity. (Useful sites: MathSciNet and the Mathematics Genealogy Project)
  • Colloquia and seminars
  • Degree requirements
  • Graduate funding and teaching responsibilities
  • Career placement of graduates
  • Prestige of degree
  • Average time to degree
  • Attrition rate
  • Graduate student housing
  • Location

Make a dream list. Think about why you like these schools.

Extend your dream list. Include schools of different prestige and selectivity.

Apply to many schools

Look beyond the UC system. Don’t be afraid to leave sunny California!

Apply to 10 or more schools, including:

  • A few long shots (your dream schools).
  • A few good-level schools where you have a good chance to be admitted.
  • A couple of back-up schools as an 'insurance policy' on your near future.

 Talk to faculty and graduate students.

Talk to a faculty member (or graduate student) who knows you well, and can honestly tell you if you are competitive for the school you are considering.

Consult the faculty list, and look for a faculty member who knows the school you are considering, to get some insights. Ask if you are a good fit for that school.

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2.2 FAQ about Graduate School

Prof. Richard Penney at Purdue University has collected some of the most frequently asked questions about going to graduate schools. Theses FAQ are published at, along with Prof. Penney’s (personal) answers. We report them here, for your convenience.

  • Question: How much does graduate school cost?
  • Answer: It may cost almost nothing. Most mathematics departments support most of their students through fellowships or through assistantships (teaching discussion sessions and/or grading papers). This support often covers the full costs of tuition as well as living expenses, although there may be some fees to pay. Also, some schools do not include tuition as part of their support. You should read the support offer very carefully to determine exactly what is covered and what isn't. 
It does happen that a school will accept more students than it has resources to support. In this case, support decisions may be based on the strength of the student's academic record in relation to the chosen program of study. 
Very strong students should consider applying for outside support. Of particular note is the National Science Foundation Fellowship program. 
The Department of Defense also has three separate fellowship programs, each with its own application. There are also several programs for minorities.
  • Question: Are my grades good enough?
  • Answer: There is a broad spectrum of graduate schools in the U.S with widely varying admission standards. The best advice is "give it a try''. Some schools will accept marginal students for the Master's program on a "probationary" basis, insisting that they "prove themselves". In such cases, they may not supply much in the way of support. 
The most important factors in most admission decisions are: (i) your recommendation letters, (ii) your grades in math and math-related subjects, (iii) the courses you took and (iv) your GRE MATH SUBJECT TEST score. The importance of the recommendations cannot be over emphasized. They are weighed very heavily in admission decisions. They should be from mathematics professors. Many students feel that their professors do not know them well enough to write a recommendation. This is often a mistake. The professor knows them through their work. The good students stand out. 
One final comment. You should also consider graduate work in a mathematics based field such as Applied Statistics (Master's level), Operations Research (often taught in Industrial Engineering Departments), Quality Control, Economics, Business, etc. Some schools even seek mathematics students for social science departments. Another possibility would be graduate work in Mathematics Education. This option is available even if your undergraduate degree is not in Math Ed. You should be aware, however, that many school corporations are reluctant to hire at the Master's or Ph.D. levels. They feel that such individuals are "over qualified" for their positions. Thus, an advanced degree in mathematics education is often a jumping off point for an academic career in education.
  • Question: You mentioned that I should take the `right' classes. What are the `right' classes? 

  • Answer: For grad school in math, linear algebra, real analysis and abstract algebra are absolutely essential. Taking the honors versions (where available) is almost essential. You should also squeeze in as many other math classes as you can. Other valuable classes would include a second course in linear algebra, complex analysis, advanced calculus and topology. 
A high ability student, who is hoping to go to one of the top ten graduate schools would typically be taking graduate classes by the senior year. Often, graduate classes can replace undergraduate classes in your program. 
Warning: Graduate classes may be hazardous to your grades! This is only for the strongest of students. Such a program must be chosen only after careful deliberation with your professors and counselors.
  • Question: Can I enter graduate school in the spring?
  • Answer: Some graduate schools will accept you for the spring. However, it is not recommended. By spring, most of the funds for support of graduate students will already be committed, so you may not get any support until the fall.
  • Question: When should I take the Graduate Record Examination?
  • Answer: For fall admissions, you should plan on taking the GRE in October of your senior year. If you miss October, November might also work, although some schools may not get the scores in time. (It can take as much as six weeks for the scores to become available.) Many application deadlines are early to mid January. However, a few are mid December. For spring admissions, contact the particular graduate school.  
  • Question: How will an advanced degree change my job opportunities? 

  • Answer: The answer here is, of course, very dependent upon individual circumstances. Many positions in industrial "research and development" require at least a masters degree, either in mathematics or some related field. Often such people would be working closely with engineers, designing and testing new products. Similar comments would apply to Ph.D.'s in industry. For more information on careers in mathematics, see the Math Department Home Page: Careers and Internships. 
For academic work at a university, a Ph.D. is required. The market for native speakers of English, whose primary interest is in teaching (as opposed to research), is very tight, but not impossible. For students seeking positions which allow time for research as well as teaching, the market is extremely tight and is expected to remain so for some time.
  • Question: How do I go about selecting a graduate school?
  • Answer: The graduate school must be selected to match your abilities. Most college libraries have information on graduate schools, including several rankings of graduate mathematics programs. You should also ask your professors for advice. 
Another source of information is the publication Assistantships and Fellowships in the Mathematical Sciences, published in the fall by the American Mathematical Society. It lists the assistantships and fellowships available for the following academic year. 
You should also check out the home page for any schools which interest you.
  • Question: How important is my choice of graduate school? 

  • Answer: It depends upon what your career goal is. If your primary goal is to do research at a university, then the graduate school is crucially important. At the best graduate schools, you will be exposed to the most current topics of research from the leaders of the field. A good recommendation from such a person can go a long way in helping to launch your career, particularly in the current tight market. 
If your primary interest is in college teaching, then the choice is not as important. A small college would definitely prefer that you come from a nationally recognized graduate school. However, their main concern will be how well you do in a classroom. 
For industrial work, the choice matters, but not nearly as much as in academic research. A company would be mainly interested in the over all strength of the academic program and its relevance to their needs. Often, companies recruit from schools where they have had success before.
  • Question: What is graduate school like? 

  • Answer: As a beginning graduate student, you would usually take two to three advanced mathematics classes per semester. You would also be teaching classes (unless you had a fellowship). This sounds easy. It isn't. Graduate classes are vastly more demanding than undergraduate classes. Also, teaching takes an immense amount of time and energy. 
At many universities, a Master's Degree may be earned without writing a thesis. Typically, a Master's Degree requires two years. 
The Ph.D. program is, of course, more demanding. The amount of time required depends upon the student's preparation. It can take as few as four years. This is rare, however. Many students take six to six-and-a-half years. 
Most schools require that Ph.D. candidates pass "qualifying exams." At Purdue, these are a series of four written exams based on courses that the student has taken. They are usually taken during the second year of graduate study. 
The next step, after "qualifiers", would be to find a thesis advisor. You begin by selecting an area of mathematics which interests you. You then approach a professor who specializes in this area and ask if s(he) would be willing to serve as your thesis advisor. Your thesis advisor would suggest what further classes you should take. The advisor might also recommend specialized reading. Eventually, the advisor will suggest a research topic for the thesis. At Purdue, you would also be required to pass `advanced topics' exams. The advanced topics exams are more specialized and usually cover topics related to the thesis. 
The thesis must represent original, publishable research. This is not as frightening as it sounds. The advisor is expected to provide considerable guidance in the research. After the work is completed, you must `defend' the thesis. In mathematics, this means that you will give a talk to a committee of professors, outlining the major points of the thesis. It is very rare that a thesis is rejected. Usually, by the time the defense of the thesis comes around, the student is more of an expert on the thesis topic than all but the advisor.

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2.3 Information about professional Masters programs

Directory of Professional Masters Programs

This directory of Professional Masters Programs is based on a survey conducted by MER (The Mathematicians and Education Reform Forum), AMS (American Mathematical Society) and SIAM (Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics.

Background Information

In 1998 MER, AMS and SIAM joined together in a two-year project, funded by NSF, to support the development of professional master's degrees in mathematics. As part of that project MER conducted a survey of existing Professional Master's programs, which resulted in a directory of more than 100 Professional Master's programs, organized by institution or by content area.

Index by Content Area

  • Actuary
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Computing, Information Sciences:
  • Environment-Biology- Chemistry
  • Financial Mathematics
  • General Mathematics
  • Industrial Mathematics
  • Operations Research
  • Statistics
  • Teaching Elementary and Middle School Mathematics
  • Teaching High School Mathematics
  • Teaching College Mathematics

Professional master’s degree programs

Professional master's degree programs differ in varying ways from standard master's programs. All of them are stand only programs, not intended to feed a Ph.D. program. They share a suite of courses that includes the essentials of analytical, computational, and stochastic modeling, an intern experience, and provision for the learning of presentation and writing skills. Program lengths and costs vary (typically 3 semesters) and financial aid is rare.

Other characteristics as exemplified at the workshops include:

  • The program may include sponsorship from businesses. Some Financial Mathematics programs call on experts from the financial institutions to advise their programs.
  • The students in the program might already be in the profession. Certain Masters in Teaching programs are geared to pre-college teachers in their respective communities.
  • The program may require internships or practicum. For example, in the NYU financial math program, a student works with an industry "mentor" to solve a problem in financial mathematics.
  • The program might stress inter-discipline study (e.g., bioinformatics, quantitative and computational finance).
  • The program may offer course work in developing communication skills.
  • Students may do some work in teams in a real or simulated professional environment.
  • The program may integrate technology into the program. Most of the programs include course work in computer skills relevant to the profession.

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2.4 Funding your Graduate Program

The following information is kindly provided by the UCI Career Center.

A decision to pursue advanced studies is often impacted by the availability of funding. Many doctoral programs offer a number of years of funding for their students through teaching or research assistantships, or dissertation funding. However, not all programs offer funding, and some offer funding to only some students. Masters programs typically offer limited funding, but there are exceptions. In addition, some funding requires work or repayment, and some does not.

It is essential to carefully research funding options when considering advanced study. Begin your search approximately one year before you need funding. Deadlines vary widely. If you are considering federal student loans, the institution and the federal government may have different deadlines.

You'll want to compare various funding packages, taking into account the actual stipend, tuition and fees covered, insurance options, cost of living expenses, and the expectations and commitments associated with the offer. The "value" of a funding package plays a key role in graduate school decision making.

Types of Funding: Grants and Assistantships

Grants generally do not require work or repayment of the funds. However, there could be future obligations such as academic requirements or a commitment of employment after graduation. The common types of grants include:

  • Fellowships provide a stipend for living and educational expenses which, in general, allow students to pursue graduate study full-time.
  • Scholarships provide funds to graduate students and are usually awarded based on academic merit or scholarly potential.
  • Training Grants are very similar to fellowships and provide students with the opportunity to develop research skills and techniques in a laboratory setting. Travel Grants reimburse graduate students for travel to conferences to network and present their research.

Assistantships are the most common method of funding graduate study and include teaching, research and other types of administrative or professional assistantships (such as the library, residence halls, or student services). Teaching and research assistant positions are most often available through the department in which you study.

Federal Government Resources

Student loan information and information on federal student aid for graduate and professional school are available from U.S. Department of Education.

Additional Internet Sources

The UCI Office of Financial Aid has compiled a catalog of external scholarships that are offered through private agencies and organizations. Follow this LINK this and select the GRADUATE STUDY category.

The University of Washington maintain a database of Graduate Students Funding Resources, a lengthy list of sites including general funding sites, on-line search services, special opportunities for women and minorities and links to numerous organizations offering grants and fellowship.

North Carolina State University has a list for nationally competitive fellowship programs and other funding opportunities in the sciences. has a great list of graduate fellowships, including government agencies and independent organizations and institutions is available online.

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3. Applying For Graduate School

Below you will find information on:

  • Application form (and fee)
  • Personal statement
  • Letters of Recommendation
  • Transcripts
  • GRE and GRE MATH scores
  • Resume and cover letter

Additional resources:

3.1. Application form

Application forms (and fees) can be found on individual school’s websites. Most schools offer a convenient and fully secure Online Application. Applying online will allow you to pay the fee by credit card, and will provide a more rapid delivery of your application materials to the admissions committee.

Search individual schools for specific information about fellowships. In addition, make sure you check out:

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3.2 Personal Statement

The personal statement is what brings out your uniqueness. Devote a lot of efforts to this part of the application!

Make yourself sound unique and motivated. Discuss why you wish to attend grad school. Show creativity, curiosity and enthusiasm for learning. Avoid clichés like “Math is beautiful” and “I want to save the world”.
Describe your accomplishments and exhibit pride in your work. Don’t be arrogant or overconfident.
Talk about research experience or interesting courses you took. Avoid listing courses you want to take.
Mention briefly (using technical language) one or two specific examples of mathematics that you like. Don’t write about a subject unless you know about it: mathematical nonsense is deadly!
Mention areas of possible research interest. If there is a professor you might like to work it, mention him/her in your statement. Avoid generic statements about the prestige of the school and/or its faculty.

Ask someone to proofread and critique your personal statement, for example:

Avoid (English- and math-) typos!

Additional Resources

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3.3 Letters of Recommendation

Here are some good tips, courtesy of Prof. Orrison (Harvey-Mudd College), and slightly edited by Dr. Pantano.

  1. Ask a professor who taught a class in which you did very well: Your letter writer will be asked to rank you.
  1. Ask a professor who knows you very well. You need is a personalized letter, that says much more than: "Albert was my student; he got an A." Hence, plan to:
  • Enhance your class participation.
  • Attend office hours frequently.
  • Visit your professors and discuss your graduate school plans before you ask them for a letter.
  1.   Allow your letter writer plenty of time to write the letter. Include all necessary forms and addressed UCI Math Department envelopes for the non-electronic applications. A week before the deadline, send a gentle reminder.
  1.   Provide your letter writer additional information about yourself. At least two weeks before the letter is due, bring the professor a folder containing an unofficial copy of your transcripts and a copy of your personal statement.
  1.   The more details the better. Email your letter writer a detailed answer to the questions below.
  • What are your name, year and major?
  • For what are you applying?
  • What makes you particularly qualified for this position/honor/award?
  • How would you describe yourself?
  • What are some of your academic and non-academic accomplishments?
  • What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses?
  • What are your long-term goals?
  • Additional comments (REUs, summer schools, interesting jobs, hobbies, etc...
  • Mentoring experience, talks, math-related extra curricular activities). Mention anything that could be beneficial to the application!
  • How long have I known you?
  • For what class(es) have I had you, what final grade(s) did I assign you and how did you distinguish yourself in my class(es)?
  • What makes me particularly qualified to write a letter for you?
  1. Send a thank you note and updates about your application process.

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3.4 Transcripts

Request them early: should a clerical error occur, you need time to fix it. Make sure they contain as many A’s as possible.

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3.5 GRE and GRE math subject tests

Most schools require applicants to take both the general GRE test and the subject GRE test in mathematics. The higher you score, the more chances you have to enter into the graduate school of your dreams.

Basic information

Information about the both the general GRE test and the subject test in mathematics can be found at the ETS website.

For additional information about GRE subject test in mathematics (including solutions to sample tests) please visit the website of the UCI GRE MATH study group.

The UCI GRE MATH study group, directed by Dr. Alessandra Pantano and Dr. Dennis Eichhorn, is a working seminar that meets about once a week during the Summer and Fall quarter, specifically designed to help students train for the GRE subject test. For schedule and details, and for a password to download the materials from the UCI GRE MATH website, please email Dr. A. Pantano (

Additional Tips

General GRE test

  • Plan to get a very high score on the quantitative reasoning part of the general GRE exam.
  • If you are not satisfied with your score, repeat the test. GRE scores are valid for five years.
  • The computer-based general GRE test is available once or twice per month at various locations.
  • Most students find studying for the general GRE test relatively easy. Some students recommend reviewing high school geometry.
  • Take the general GRE test early (possibly in your junior year) and save yourself plenty of time to study for the GRE subject test, which is much harder!

GRE math subject test

  • Do not underestimate the GRE subject test. 
  • Study, study, study!!! You need a really high score to be competitive.
  • No computer-based GRE subject test is available. The paper-based test is offered three times a year at various locations, in October, November and April.
  • There is a very early registration deadline. Be aware!
  • Typically students take the GRE subject test in their senior year (the more math you know, the better).
  • The April test date of the senior year is not compatible with most application deadlines. We recommend you take the GRE subject test in October, and leave the November test date as a back-up.
  • The score report received by the schools includes all test results obtained within the past five-year period. Most schools will only consider the highest score.
  • At first, most students find the GRE subject test quite hard and excessively long, but with practice they get better and faster. Practice is the key!
  • Download the sample tests from the UCI GRE MATH website, and attempt to solve all questions from a test before you look at the solutions.
  • Time yourself as you take a sample test. Time tends to be an issue.
  • Consider joining the UCI GRE MATH study group. Learn some useful test-taking strategies and practice regularly with friends.

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3.6 Resume

Whether you decide to get a job or go to graduate school, you will need to communicate who you are to others. Your resume is often what makes your first impression, so it is imperative to make your resume an accurate, succinct representation of yourself and your accomplishments.

Suggestions for writing a good resume along with several resume samples are available at

To have your resume critiqued, drop by the Career Center during “Take 10” (no appointment necessary). The Career Center is located on Ring Road, across from Starbucks (for general career questions call: 949-824-6881 or email

The career center also offers tips on how to write effective cover letters.


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