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This guidebook has been developed to help undergraduates understand and prepare for entering graduate school in the sciences or engineering. 


The lives of people around the world have been enriched through science and engineering. New discoveries and applications f knowledge will continue to develop – as long as we have people who are willing to gain the education and persevere to make today’s dreams and crazy ideas, tomorrow’s realities.


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Beyond the Beakers  (single pdf file - 2.7MB)



Individual Chapters in smaller PDF Files (~0.2 MB)




Chapter One: Research and Work Experiences

• Types of Undergraduate Research/Work Opportunities

• Applying for Summer Research/Work Programs

• Communicating with Program Directors

• Choosing a Project/Lab

• Expectations of Research Program Participants

• Making the Most of Your Research/Work Experience

• Finalizing Your Work

• Capitalizing on Your Research/Work Experience


Chapter Two: Doing Your Best on the GRE

• General Information about the GRE

• Reasons to Prepare for the GRE

• What is a Good GRE Score?

• Resources to Help You Prepare for the GRE

• Preparing for the GRE

• The Computer Adaptive Test: CAT

• Strategies to Improve Your Scores

Chapter Three: Building Logical Thinking Skills

• Logic problems

Chapter Four: Making the Most of Mentor Relationships

• Understanding What Kind of Relationship You Want with a Mentor

• Gathering Information to Choose a Mentor

• Approaching Individuals about Mentorship

• Working Effectively with Mentors

• Moving Away from Mentoring that Becomes Messy

Chapter Five: Data Management

• Responsibility of Data Acquisition

• Systems of Data Acquisition

• Organizing Your Lab Notebook

• Making Corrections to Lab Notes

• Guidelines for Computer Records

• Concerns Regarding Computer Records

• Results of Bad Record Keeping

• Keys to Reliable Record Keeping

Chapter Six: Reading the Scientific Literature

• General Pointers for Effective Reading

• Locating Papers

• Publication Myths

• Reading Objectives/Reading Approaches

• Analyzing Components of a Scientific Paper

Chapter Seven: Avoiding Plagiarism/Copyright Infringement

• What is Plagiarism?

• Avoiding Plagiarism

• Mechanics of Citation

• Common Questions about Citation

• Traps to Avoid in Citation

Chapter Eight: Writing Research Proposals

• General Pointers 

• Common Components of Research Proposals

• Common Barricades to Efficient Writing

• Practical Considerations

• Fellowship Applications

• Purpose of fellowships

• Budget restrictions

• Length of award

• Finding fellowship information

• Preparing application materials

• Writing a proposal

• If the fellowship is awarded

• If the fellowship is not awarded

Chapter Nine: Writing Scientific Abstracts

• General Pointers

• Organization and Content of Abstracts

• Common Mistakes

Chapter Ten: Creating Effective Figures

• General Guidelines for Creating Figures

• Ways to Present Data

• Specific Pointers for Setting-up Figures

Chapter Eleven: Posters with Pizzazz

• Planning Your Poster

• Poster Preparation

• Comparing Poster Formats

• Presenting Your Poster

Chapter Twelve: Oral Presentations

• General Pointers for Effective Speaking

• Common Components of Scientific Presentations

• Preparing a Scientific Presentation

• Characteristics of Effective Speeches

• Presentation Skills

• Mentally Preparing for a Presentation

Chapter Thirteen: Attending Conferences and Networking

• Meeting Other Scientists/Engineers

Chapter Fourteen: The Graduate School Application

• First Steps Toward a Successful Application

• Graduate School Application Pathway

• Application Components

• Writing Personal Statements .

• Describing Research/Work Experience

Chapter Fifteen: Interviewing for Graduate School

• Purpose of Graduate School Interviews

• Helpful Hints Before Your Interview 

• Helpful Hints For Interviewing

• Overcoming Shyness in an Interview Setting 

• Sample Interview Questions

• Social Events as a Part of the Interview

• What to Avoid in Interview Situations

• Helpful Hints After the Interview

Chapter Sixteen: Choosing the Right Graduate School for You

• Research Interest and Environment



Copyright Baylor College of Medicine 2005

Contact:  mailto:gradappboss@bcm.edu