### Friday Links: Gifts for Grad Students, Application Checklists, Procrastination-proof apps, and More!

Need a break from finals, applications, and the holiday madness? Take a moment to sit back and enjoy our weekly roundup of grad school tips and news:

My Professor is Awesome! Is it OK to Give My Professor a Gift? (About.com Graduate School)

With the holidays quickly approaching, many students wonder whether it’s a good idea to get their favorite professor a gift. Here’s some advice from *About.com*.

5 Procrastination-proof Programs for Studying (USA Today College)

Having trouble staying focused this holiday season? Check out these five applications and programs that can help to keep you on task.

JustStartApplications.com Releases a Top 10 Graduate School Application Checklist (PR Web)

Here is a detailed checklist to help you organize and keep track of the various components of your graduate school applications.

Read more

### The Math Beast Challenge Problem of the Week – December 17, 2012

In the figure above, an unshaded circle with diameter

xis surrounded by a shaded region with uniform width of 2. For what values ofxis the area of the unshaded circle greater than the area of the shaded region?

### Friday Links: Multinational Labs, Letters of Recommendation, Application Checklist and More!

We hope everyone is surviving finals week and working to finish up those grad school applications! When you catch a break, have a look at some top news stories and application tips from the week.

12 Don’ts for Getting Letters of Recommendation (About.com Grad School)

Good relationships with professors usually lead to helpful letters of recommendation. If you want to ensure that faculty members see you in a positive light, don’t engage in any of the behaviors listed in this article.

Benefits of Multinational Labs (Inside Higher ED)

A new study finds that science and engineering departments with foreign students from a variety of countries tend to produce more publications and to get more citations.

Grad School Application Checklist: 8 Months Out (U.S. News Education)

Here is the fifth installment of U.S. News’ series on what you should be doing eight months in advance of submitting your graduate school applications.

Read more

### The Math Beast Challenge Problem of the Week – December 10, 2012

Set

Aconsists of four distinct numbers; setBconsists of five distinct numbers, including all four numbers that are in setA. The average (arithmetic mean) of setAis equal to the average (arithmetic mean) of setB.Quantity A

The standard deviation of set

AQuantity B

The standard deviation of set

B

### Friday Links: Work Experience, Application Checklist, Gifts for Grad Students and More!

Happy Friday everyone! Take a break from your GRE prep or grad school applications and have a look at some of our favorite articles from the week:

What Kinds of Work Experiences Do Grad Programs Prefer? (About.com Graduate School)

This week About.com discusses what graduate school admissions committees look for when it comes to past work experience.

Applying to Graduate School (Society of Women Engineers)

If you’re considering grad school, be sure to have a look at this presentation from the Society of Women Engineers. It provides a step-by-step guide and timeline for choosing a graduate school and an advisor as well as an overview of the application process, including campus visits.

Grad School Application Checklist: 9 Months Out (U.S. News Education)

Here’s U.S. News’ fourth installment of the Grad School Application Checklist. With nine months until you submit your applications, it’s time to think about visiting campuses.

Read more

### The Math Beast Challenge Problem of the Week – December 3, 2012

Two cards are drawn consecutively, without replacement, from a deck originally consisting of 4 red and 6 black cards.

Quantity AThe probability that the first card is red

Quantity BThe probability that the second card is red

### Manipulating Inequalities and Absolute Value on the GRE

*Did you know that you can attend the first session of any of our online or in-person GMAT courses absolutely free? We’re not kidding! **Check out our upcoming courses here**.*

Most people dislike absolute value, and inequalities can tie us up into knots. Put them together, and we can have some major headaches! Let’s test one out.

Set your timer for 1 minute and 15 seconds for this Quantitative Comparison problem and GO! Read more

### Free GRE Events This Week: Dec. 3 – 9

Here are the free GRE events we’re holding this week.

**12/5/12** – New York, NY – Free Trial Class – 6:30-9:30 PM

**12/5/12** – Washington, D.C. – Free Trial Class – 6:30-9:30 PM

Looking for more free events? Check out our Free Events Listings Page.

### Friday Links: Recommendation Letters, Note-Taking, and More!

Need a break from writing your grad school applications? Take a moment to catch up on some recent stories circulating around the grad school community.

Should You Ask a Teaching Assistant for a Recommendation Letter? (About.com Graduate School)

Trying to decide who to ask to write your grad school recommendation letters? Here’s why it’s probably not the best idea to turn to your undergraduate TAs.

Grad School Application Checklist: 10 Months Out (US News Education)

It’s never a good idea to wait until the last minute to get your graduate school applications together. Here is US New Education’s third installment of advice for completing your applications in a timely manner.

What I know now: Grad School (Jeremy Yoder) (The Molecular Ecologist)

Planning to attend grad school for science? Check out what one postdoctoral associate wishes he’d known to do (and what he’s glad he did) in graduate school.

Read more

### Using Smart Numbers to Avoid Algebra on the GRE

Many word problems seem to require us to write formulas in order to solve. Certain problems, though, qualify for a neat technique: Smart Numbers. We can actually pick our own real numbers and use them to solve!

Set your timer for 2 minutes for this Fill-In problem and GO! (© ManhattanPrep)

* Lisa spends 3/8 of her monthly paycheck on rent and 5/12 on food. Her roommate, Carrie, who earns twice as much as Lisa, spends ¼ of her monthly paycheck on rent and ½ on food. If the two women decide to donate the remainder of their money to charity each month, what fraction of their combined monthly income will they donate? (Assume all income in question is after taxes.)

(No answer choices given; this is a fill-in-the-blank)

We’ve got two women, Lisa and Carrie, and they each spend a certain proportion of income on rent and on food. Annoyingly, the fractions don’t have the same denominators; even more annoyingly, the two women don’t make the same amount of money. All of that will make an algebraic solution challenging.

Here’s what an algebraic solution would look like. Let’s call Lisa’s income *x*. She spends (3/8)*x* on rent and (5/12)*x* on food. Add these together:

(3*x*/8) + (5*x*/12) = (9*x*/24) + (10*x*/24) = 19*x*/24

Subtract from 100%, or *x*:

24*x*/24 “ 19*x*/24 = 5*x*/24

Lisa donates 5/24 of *x*, her income, to charity. What about Carrie?

Carrie’s income is equal to 2*x* (because she makes twice as much as Lisa). How much does she spend on rent and food?

Read more