Archive for June, 2010

Issue Writing Task: Part 2
Monday, June 28th, 2010

Last time, we looked at what the Issue Writing task is and what exactly it asks of us. Your job is to present your perspective on an issue. You may agree with, disagree with, or qualify the given statement, but you must defend your perspective with evidence and a convincing argument. The range of topics is very broad, but the specific content of each question does not really allow you to tailor one essay–say, on Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King–to all possible essay prompts. The essay prompts run the gamut of intellectual disciplines, including anthropology, sociology, history, law and government, political science, philosophy, the fine arts, the performing arts, literature, physical science, and economics. Fortunately, you’ll have your choice of two prompts to choose from. You do not need to have a specialized knowledge in any one of these disciplines, but if you do, it will undoubtedly facilitate your writing and ideation. Fortunately, you’ll have your choice of two statements to choose from. So, if there is one or two topics you want to avoid, chances are you’ll have your chance to avoid them. ETS has been kind enough to actually show us all the possible topics beforehand here: Yes, there are hundreds, but it helps to look at a bunch of these, and feel free to practice with them. For many students, the first looming question about an essay assignment is length. Most authorities suggest that the issue writing task be at least 400 words, which, in 45 minutes, is rather brief. That being said, length is never really the main goal. A concise, wellarticulated essay of 400 words will be better than a wordy, redundant, and trite essay of 700 words. At the same time, a 700 word essay with many convincing examples and articulate prose will be better than a vague 400 word essay without concrete examples. In the end, length should not be on your mind: clear writing, convincing examples, and a solid argument should be your focus. Now, let’s look at the writing process. Beginning a timed essay will probably be the most intimidating part, so make sure you develop a system for writing them. Here’s the first, and in my opinion, most important, step for writing the essay: 1. Brainstorm: As soon as you decide which of the two choices you’d like to write on, begin the brainstorming process. Jot down some reasons for and against the issue. You may already have a personal opinion about the issue, but set that aside. Let your ability to reason an argument do the choosing for you. Based on the reasons you brainstorm, you may want to argue for the issue, against it, or qualify it.

When brainstorming, it is important to stay on track. Always keep that quoted statement in mind, and reread it to come up with new ideas. Before you jump into pro and con arguments, briefly sum up the statement’s argument on paper. For example, let’s look at an actual prompt from the GRE website: “”Over the past century, the most significant contribution of technology has been to make people’s lives more comfortable.” What’s the author trying to say? Simply put, the argument is that in the 20th century, the most important accomplishment of technology has been to make people more comfortable. Immediately, you should think of important technological accomplishments that don’t fit into this narrow category. Advances in medicine, for example, allow people to live longer. Yes, you may concede that certain drugs have been engineered to reduce human suffering and thus make people more comfortable, but on a grand scale, medicine has accomplished much more than comfort. Don’t forget, you’ll want to acknowledge what statement’s argument. Technology has indeed made people comfortable: automated machines have reduced the monotony of factory labor, computer engineering has allowed for the construction of safer and more efficient vehicles, roads, etc, and the internet has allowed us to more easily keep in touch with distant friends and families. Certainly these facts fall into the author’s argument, but it’s your job to assess their “significance” in the face of other technological achievements. Brainstorming is all about parsing the author’s statement into manageable parts that inspire ideas. The statement tells you what to include and exclude in your essay. Never assume that you can just write an essay about ‘technology’ and avoid the statement’s argument. Each statement is specific, and your response should be the same. Read other articles in this series: Issue Writing Task pt. 1 Posted in Essay, GRE, GRE Prep, Verbal, series | No Comments »

Issue Writing Task: Part 1
Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010

45 minutes of your entire exam will be devoted to the Issue Writing task, so even though it may not be the most famous section of the test, do not take it lightly. Do not assume that, because this is simply a timed essay, you do not have to study for it. Though practicing writing may be an even bigger pain than practicing multiple choice questions, you still have to do it to increase your chances of a high score. Your job in Issue Writing is to present your perspective on an issue. The Issue will consist of two elements: a statement of your task and a 1-2 sentence topic which is a statement of opinion on an issue. Your statement of task will always be the same: “present your perspective on the following issue; use relevant reasons and/or examples to support your viewpoint.” The topic might look like this: “The objective of science is

largely opposed to that of art: while science seeks to discover truths, art seeks to obscure them.” Before you see your topic, the testing system will present you with more directions specific to the task; 1. Writing on any topic other than the one presented is unacceptable. 2.The topic will appear as a brief statement on an issue of general interest. 3. You are free to accept, reject, or qualify the statement. 4.You should support your perspective with reasons and/or examples from such sources as your experience, observation, reading, and academic studies. 5. You should take a few minutes to plan your response before you begin typing. 6. You should leave time to reread your response and make any revisions you think are needed. What’s the most important detail in these lengthy directions? You are free to “accept, reject, or qualify the statement.” Don’t feel compelled to take a firm stance on the issue. As long as have an intellectual argument that is on topic, you’ll be fine; just make sure your evidence comes from “experience, observation, reading, and academic studies,” and not something you totally made up. The topics for the Issue come from an official pool of questions. Unfortuneately, there are hundreds of possible topics. On the other hand, the topics share many common themes. Here is a pretty comprehensive list of what you might expect: 1. Practicality and utility versus creativity and personal enrichment 2. The importance of cultural identity (customs, rituals, and ideals) 3 Keys to individual success and progress 4. Keys to societal progress, and how we define it 5. How we obtain or advance knowledge, and what constitutes knowledge or advancement of knowledge 6. The objectives and methods of formal education

7. The value of studying history 8. The impact of technology on society and on individuals 9. The sorts of people society considers heroes or great leaders 10.The function and value of art and science (for individuals and for society) 11. The proper role of government, business, and individuals in ensuring the wellbeing of society 12. Conformity and tradition versus individuality and innovation Though the Issue task seems dauntingly broad, there really are only about twelve different topics to write about. Don’t be fooled by the abundance of quotes–you’ll soon learn how to quickly break down a quote into one of the twelve basic topics above. Next time, we’ll look at how to properly study for the issue writing task and how to effectively write your essay. Until then, exercise your GRE skills with Grockit. Posted in Essay, GRE, Issue Writing, series | 3 Comments »

Quantitative Comparison Strategies: Part 2
Friday, June 18th, 2010

This is the second installment of the quantitative comparison strategies; below, you’ll find traditional and alternative strategies to solving quantitative comparisons. Factoring: Factoring is another popular way to simplify both expressions in order to make a comparison easier. Factoring doesn’t just mean pulling an x out of an expression. You can, and should, factor with constants (real, known numbers) in order to simplify. Let’s check out a few examples: Example 1. 9^99 – 9^98 OR 9 ^98

Hmm. There’s no way I’m calculating this one. Let’s try to factor out a 9^98. It helps to remember your basic multiplication and exponent rules, e.g. (x^5)(x)= x^6 9^98 (9 – 1) = 9^98 (8) OR OR 9^98 9^98

What’s bigger: a huge number times 8 or that huge number by itself? Clearly, A is bigger.

They’re equal. 9^99 – 9^98 OR 9 ^98 Why don’t we divide both sides by 9^98? 1. but we’d be wrong. It’s easy to see that. 0. when comparing 3x and 4x. 1. The Fallback Strategy: Use 1. You must use a negative. 9^99 – 9^98 / 9^98 9^1 – 9^0 9-1 OR 1 → 8 OR 1→A Warning: Do not simplify by multiplication or division unless you know the quantity you are using is positive. giving you: 5 OR 5 Easy choice. the most reliable method to test them is to be thorough with the types of numbers you use. When you are testing variable expressions. Though there is usually one “fastest” method. a positive. 5x + 5y / x + y OR 5 Here’s a chance for some good ol’ fashioned factoring. 5( x +y ) / x +y OR 5 (X+Y) on top and bottom cancel. 3x is larger. the answer must be D because when x= 0. This just goes to show you that there is usually more than one way to solve a math problem. there are some rare cases when there are multiple quick methods to solving a problem.Example 2. we’d think that we arrived at this: 3 OR 4 We might choose B as a result. or when we use a negative number. a fraction. When in doubt. the values are equal. Simplify by multiplying or dividing both sides by the same value: Let’s look at the problem we did above for the factoring method. We can actually use another method to figure out the answer. Let’s look at an example where you would not want to use this method: 3x OR 4x OR OR 9 ^98 / 9^98 9^0 If we tried to simplify by dividing by x. use your common sense. a . and a negative number as testers.

so both values are equal. it happens to become smaller. z=0 3z (2x +5y) OR 3x (2z+5y) We still have zero for our first value. remember. So in that case. not bigger (. y is greater. speed and accuracy are crucial! See other articles in this series: . as in our A value. Remember. And. When negative numbers are involved. Testing our second value gives us 3(-1) (2*0 + 5*2). So in that case.g. and of course. but we’re not in the clear quite yet. positives. z= 0… 3z (2x +5y) OR 3x (2z+5y) When a zero is on the outside.fraction. the whole value is zero.5 * . Let’s check out some examples that show us why it’s necessary to be thorough. Example 2: If x<0. then y is -3. y is zero also. then x is greater than y. y> 0. always test them. There you have it. we can be confident that our second value is larger. Our first value is larger. If we multiply a fraction by itself. our answer is D. But what if they are negative? If x is -4. When you practice on Grockit. and a zero.25). we suggest that you use simple numbers in order to save yourself time and avoid any calculation errors. What we have is a negative multiplied by a positive. try using different strategies to figure out which work best for you. It turns out that the answer must be D. y >0. so we know the answer is negative. Example 3: If 3x= 4y x OR y We know that if x and y are positive. our special numbers to test are negatives. e. fractions. Fractions have some very special properties. Since all the other values are positive. Example 4: If x > 0 and x does NOT equal 1… x² OR x So x must be positive and cannot be one. So in that case. if x is 4 then y is 3. zeroes. what if x is zero? Well in that case. Example 1: If x>0.5 = . it must be A right? Common Not so fast.

smaller. even if such a strategy appears to be the most obvious way to reach an answer. you might jump into calculation. which would take you quite a while (not to mention leave you vulnerable to errors). The art of quantitative comparison problems is getting away with the bare minimum to save time. . but notice that you can get away with much less. or equal to the other. Quantitative Comparison. June 14th. 33. 3569 OR 3(10) + 5 (10²) + 6 (10¹) + 9 (10^0) If I saw this problem without thinking. This may sound like a pain. You merely have to find out if one of the two expressions is larger. that is. in your practice. I might multiply out the second column (3 times 10³ is 3000. we can cross out the numbers that appear in both expressions. which is a good indicator that there is a much faster way to solve the problem. 31 x 32 x 33 x 34 x 35 OR 32 x 33 x 34 x 35 x 36 Again. Such an approach is self-defeating. and I know that both expressions are equal. we are left with a simple comparison: 31 OR 36. if you don’t quickly examine the two expressions intelligently. Let’s look at some strategies that pinpoint those faster ways to solve quant comps: when to calculate. Before we examine certain question types. Notice that 3569 is the same thing as saying 3000 + 500 + 60 + 9. and 35. now it’s quite clear that B is greater. you are doing unnecessary work. 2. Avoid Unnecessary Calculation If. Thus. 2010 Quantitative Comparison problems are not like standard math problems you’ll find on the SAT or a common standardized test. and how to quickly compare variable expressions. Since we are just comparing the two expressions. The GRE will not make you do endless calculations on paper. multiple choice) or to find the correct answer and write it in. Quantitative.e. when not to calculate. etc). There is a simple trick here. or if such information is impossible to calculate. Calculation is not necessary.Quantitative Comparison Strategies Pt 1 Posted in GRE. 34. let’s look at a couple simple examples to show how immediate calculation can be an inefficient strategy: 1. Many quantitative comparisons are designed to look time consuming. 32. which is what the expression on the right is really saying. series | No Comments » Quantitative Comparison Strategies: Part 1 Monday. Your job is not to find the correct answer amongst a group of answers (i. you notice yourself doing endless calculations.

000. where I would test a few simple numbers (preferably something like -2. though. I’ll have the same relationship between the two expressions. Even if estimating doesn’t give you the 100% accurate answer. 0. Stay tuned for some more strategies for quantitative comparisons that will save you time and increase accuracy. series.000 in the numerator and 200. so: Subtracting 5 from both sides gives us: 4x OR 3x+1 Subtracting 3x from both sides gives us: x OR 1 Now. 2. Let’s check out this example: 1. that you can manipulate both expressions to make the comparison simpler. 2. Quantitative. and a fraction). If I have 2. Simplify by Adding/Subtracting Same Value 1.000. my expression is simply 20/2 = 10. Remember. now. 000 OR 1. strategy | 2 Comments » GRE Strategy – Estimation Wednesday.000/100 = 10/1 = 10. June 9th. when choosing numbers to add or subtract. 2010 To save time on the GRE. 0.000 / 200. which is clearly indeterminate.5–you want to use a positive. Same idea for column b: 1. you should get comfortable with estimating.Simplify When presented with two baffling expressions. Our answer is D. Quantitative Comparison. I should just eliminate five zeros from the top and 5 zeros from the bottom. As long as I add or subtract the same number or variable from these expressions. First. 4x +5 OR 3x +6 I could approach this problem a few ways. Don’t forget. look how simple it is? The comparison is any number (x) OR 1. our goal is to make the relationship simpler. it generally narrows it down to .000 in the denominator. a negative. I could use the tried and true plug-in method. try some of these strategies in Grockit! Posted in GRE.000 / 100 When you see many zeros in fractions like this. your first instinct should be to cross out matching zeros. and . In the meantime. always think of ways to simplify before you calculate.

This will save you a lot of time.7 million. 3.2 billion $10. .1 million. 5% or 10% represents and working from there depending on the question. and the nuclear.6 billion $8. so there really is no point calculating the precise answer there. $127.6 million represents. hydro and wind column (keeping my finger on it so I don’t read the wrong thing) and add up those percentages. particular on the questions with charts and graphs. hydro and wind power combined? I would look at the Canada row. In this case.9 billion $7. I would figure out what 1% represents – approximately $0. let’s take a look at the following chart. Numerical Estimations Practice estimating with percentages. For example.74 billion I would then pick E easily based on my estimate. The question asks: approximately what average amount per month did the Canadian government spend on nuclear. 4. Given the following five answer choices 1. Wind (2%) + Hydro (2%) + Nuclear (3%) = obvious choice (if you’re good at estimating and round up and down appropriately). and then multiply that by 7 to get $0. 2. 5. So I’m looking for what value 7% of $10. Some questions even tell you to approximate. Estimation also comes in handy for quantitative comparisons because you don’t need the precise answer. you just need to know if they are equal or if one is bigger.0 billion $. I tend to like figuring out 1%.

the price/lb of coffee A is approximately $10/5 pounds = $2/lb. Clearly AE is the longer line since it spans four rectangles instead of three. The length of one edge of the cube is 6. The price/lb of coffee B is approximately $8/7 pounds = $1. The same goes with this question.In the example above. Clearly square root of 37 will be a teensy bit bigger.1 / lb. The important lesson in visual estimations is not to do it for triangles. Which is also square root of 36. so you can choose B without even calculating what root 37 might be. So A is bigger. You should always assume that triangles are never drawn to scale and when looking at diagrams of . Visual Estimations Visual estimations usually work for things like graphs or simple diagrams like the problem below.

Do not estimate based on what you see! This question is a little trickier. you need to add up the angles to get 10a.g. They may be. For example. You might be tempted to think that QRT or QRS is an isosceles triangle. sum of interior angles is 180. but they may not be. and equate 10a to 180 degrees to figure out that a=18 degrees. isosceles triangles have two equal angles and two equal sides etc.triangles. . You don’t know. you should only apply rules of triangles e. in the question below. so only apply mathematical rules.

Take this argument for example: As ice cream sales increase. First. when water activities are also more popular. Second. the rate of drowning deaths increases. so it’s essential that you master it. A speaker may often use correlation to simply causation when a lurking variable is present. This makes column A and B equal. . join a Grockit game today! Posted in GRE. and you can be confident that you’ll find more than one of them in any given argument. may be one of the most common you’ll encounter when examining the pool of arguments. more lovingly known as the post hoc fallacy. by the same logic. post hoc ergo propter hoc). June 7th. There are two basic ways a fallacious cause-and-effect claim can be made. T and S: 27 + 27 + y + y + x + x = 180. But you wouldn’t know this just by looking at it. again. it doesn’t mean that event caused the other to occur. just because one event happens after another. you need to use the sum of angles = 180 rule.g.As it turns out. correlation does not imply causation) Relying on inappropriate or potentially unrepresentative statistics Relying on biased or tainted data (methods for collecting data must be unbiased and the poll responses must be credible) 4. This means that 2 y + 2 x = 126 thus y + x = 63.e. Studying these flaws will simply help you identify them on test day. GRE Prep. i. 2010 In our last installment. we learned a little about the first three types of logical flaws you might find in the argument task. Quantitative. so ice cream causes drowning. strategy | No Comments » Argument Writing Task: Part 3 Monday. Again. Correlation Does Not Imply Causation: This fallacy. it doesn’t mean that one event causes the other. you are not expected to cite these flaws by name or cite the names of their fancy Latin correlatives (e. Since the lines bisect angles Q. Here. This one may take some headscratching to realize that ice cream is more popular in the summer months. the speaker may claim that a temporal relationship suggests causation. just because two phenomena often occur together. For more practice estimating. the speaker may claim that a correlation suggests causation. is the list: • • • • • • Assuming that characteristics of a group apply to each member of that group Assuming that a certain condition is necessary for a certain outcome Drawing a weak analogy between two things Confusing a cause-effect relationship with a correlation (famously known as post hoc ergo propter hoc.

In the meantime. if there is reason to believe that survey responses are dishonest. See other articles in this series: Argument Writing Task: Pt 1 Argument Writing Task: Pt 2 Posted in GRE. 80 percent of University X undergrads were employed within one year of graduating. it must be of significant size and characteristically representative of the population. fair. To really identify the source of the employment disparity. For example. Next time. For data to be considered legitimate it has to be collected in an unbiased. June 3rd. watch out for surveys that try to manipulate responses by providing narrow options. The speaker may often cite a statistic that polled a sample group in order to draw a conclusion about a larger group represented by the sample. and show the distribution of majors among grads and undergrads. we might fallaciously conclude that 78% of people identify “mint” as their favorite ice cream flavor. The statistics of one university simply cannot account for a sweeping claim about graduate and practice identifying these flaws. For a sample to adequately represent a larger population. Further. To spot tainted data. otherwise the quality of the data is compromised.g. Biased or Tainted Data: Tainted data is the second problem that could arise with data samples. we’ll look at an actual Argument Writing Task prompt and see how we can apply these logical flaws. a speaker may try to make a broad claim about graduate school’s impracticality by citing statistics from one particular university. e. Verbal. the results may be unreliable if the method for collecting the data is biased. and scientific manner. e. Inappropriate Statistics: You will often find that these arguments cite statistical evidence to bolster their claims.5. For example. if the survey is designed. check out the pool of prompts at ets. As you may find out. we’d have to compare the admission standards for undergrads and grad students. consciously or unconsciously. 6. series | No Comments » What’s the big idea? Thursday. make sure that if a survey should be conducted anonymously–like in the workplace–then it is indicated. This is where problems can arise. compare the types of jobs sought by undergrads and grads. unrepresentative. or inapplicable. 2010 . simply citing evidence does not prove a claim since the statistics may be faulty. to yield certain responses.g. while only 50 percent of the graduate students of the same university were employed after one year. For example. Also. the results may be unreliable. a survey asking the question “What is your favorite ice cream flavor?” should have more options than simply “coconut” and “mint. examine the economy of the surrounding area.” from those findings.

before getting asking more in depth questions about the arguments. i. Standardized test passages almost never criticize women. It could be as simple as the author is against stem cell research for this and this reason. You can also assume that politically incorrect answers are wrong and you can eliminate them. but also considers the benefits. You don’t even have to come up with a detailed summary. context clues. Keep an eye out for keywords such as “in contrast”. so learning them is essential. But ETS is nice enough that the initial questions are very general or word specific. we briefly looked at the kinds of flaws and fallacies you should expect to find in the given argument. Reading Comprehension. controversial views. Just focus on the first and last sentence of each paragraph and skim through the examples in between. June 1st. try to skim through and summarize each paragraph. Although there hundreds of possible arguments the ETS may choose. “for example”. 2010 In the last installment. correlation does not imply causation) Relying on inappropriate or potentially unrepresentative statistics . Don’t try to remember every single detail. Always remember that the main idea is not generally a straightforward one-sided matter. you won’t be able to skim through the passage to answer all the questions. Then.GRE reading comprehension passages are not simply lifted out of a book. we were introduced to the Argument Writing task and found out how it differs from the Issue Task. shifts in tone and argument (where necessary). common sense will also tell you that the passage will never argue that studying Shakespeare in school is without value. “however” which signal shifts in the argument. minorities. Be careful of answers to look too much like the first or last sentences though! Often times. Even if it is politically correct. They are carefully edited by experienced test writers to make sure that they are packed full of information. Verbal | No Comments » Argument Writing Task: Part 2 Tuesday. Here again are those logical flaws: • • • • • Assuming that characteristics of a group apply to each member of that group Assuming that a certain condition is necessary for a certain outcome Drawing a weak analogy between two things Confusing a cause-effect relationship with a correlation (famously known as post hoc ergo propter hoc. all of them will exhibit at least some of these flaws.e. Definitely skim through to the end of the passage to get a good idea what side the author is taking and the points that he or she considers before coming to a conclusion. To answer the initial general questions. or that the selling or organs should be endorsed. The passage will never support extreme. they are thrown in there to lead you away from a more accurate answer. great leaders etc. In other words. Posted in GRE.

the only means–to increase reading skills of students. Maybe that particular city’s downtown district was already on the rise. however. 2. Weak Analogies: The speaker may come to a conclusion about one thing on the basis of another thing. The Member vs. Watch out for them in your conversations. may find that a big competitor in a different city has increased sales by moving from a downtown location to a suburban one. a superintendent of a school argues that adopting a certain marketed reading program is necessary–i. The Necessary Condition Assumption: The speaker of an argument may assume that a certain course of action is necessary or sufficient to achieve a result. The argument may seem sound. most of the time. In order to avoid the member-group fallacy. it will be easy on the test. For example. making your body paragraph organization pretty simple. we can’t make this analogy. 3. we’ll look at the next three flaws and discuss how to begin forming our Argument Task essay. the superintendent may not have shown that the reading program by itself is enough to raise reading levels. if the manager of a business. Becoming familiar with these flaws and how to spot them is the first step to writing a quality Argument Task. The “sufficient” line of reasoning is weak if the speaker fails to provide evidence that the proposed course of action would be sufficient to bring about the desired result by itself. To practice. See other articles in this series: Argument Writing Task: Pt 1 . but we can’t completely analogize these different trading-card shops. Next time. think about these flaws in depth and try to find them in everyday reasoning. In the above example. and the relocation merely reaped the benefits? Without this thorough background info. etc. There are other factors involved in this proposed outcome: preparedness of teachers and attentiveness of students. Let’s look at these flaws in a little more depth: 1. it won’t.e. in television shows. the argument should clearly state that a member is a representative of the group as a whole. the demographics in their respective cities may respond to different incentives. For example. on commercials. If you can spot them in everyday situations. The “necessary” line of reasoning is particularly weak if the speaker does not provide evidence that no other means of achieving the same result is possible. We generally think of stereotypes as harmful because they unfairly limit a certain group to one definable characteristic that is often founded on little to no evidence. say a trading card shop. You can remember this fallacy by thinking about stereotypes.• Relying on biased or tainted data (methods for collecting data must be unbiased and the poll responses must be credible) Most of the arguments contain three or four of these flaws. First of all. Group Fallacy: It is pretty unrealistic to describe a group and then expect that every single member fulfills that characteristic.

Beware of words that simply “sound” negative or positive to you. 1. so we’ve only gotten rid of one. you can still quickly narrow the answer down to a couple options. With a little knowledge. there are words that make us think of something totally incongruous. if we know that turpitude is negative. If you don’t know the stem word. July 29th. but we know it’s a negative word. unfortunately. you will likely panic and blindly guess. The Positive/Negative Approach Let’s look at an example from an actual GRE test: TURPITUDE 1.Archive for July. 3. 2010 Working Backward: Antonyms Thursday. 2010 Paradoxically. Working backward is an effective technique that allows us to use what we know to get closer to our answer. logic. When you know the stem word but only some of the words in the answer choices. 2. Let’s move on to other strategies to eliminate some choices. and technique. antonyms can be both the easiest and the hardest question type–it all depends on whether or not you know the words in the question. you can locate the answer in a fraction of a second. we simply get rid of the negative antonym choices. Define Antonyms of the Answer Choices (aka Working Backward) TURPITUDE 1. never surrender like this on an antonym question. 4. So. Saintly behavior 2. For every word like “resplendent” that appropriately sounds positive (the “splend” makes us think of “splendid). 5. 1. Clever conversation . Make sure that you have at least heard the word or read the word. and you know that it has a negative or positive charge. Provided you have enough time. though. When you know every single word. only D is negative. like “strident. Saintly behavior Clever conversation Lively imagination Agitation Lucidity Let’s pretend we aren’t sure what “turpitude” means.” which makes me think of chewing gum. you can eliminate answer choices and significantly increase your chances of a correct answer.

” and “turbid” are often mixed up.” though not as concrete as “unintelligent conversation. I’d think of the word “turpitude” and recognize that it ends in “-tude” like the other familiar words “gratitude.” Unintelligent conversation is not really the state or quality of something.” “solitude. Granted. I am now down to A or E. Thus it would make much more sense that “turpitude. it is a particular action. “turbid” means cloudy. which happens to be the right answer. In the test writer’s mind.” Though these eliminations were based on speculation. or condition of something. quality. lack of clarity Now. we should use a little critical thinking and reasonable speculation. we were able to eliminate D. and hence. and see how they match our mysterious stem word: 1. would not be “unintelligent conversation. while “turpitude” means corrupt or depraved. knowing the stem word’s definition would have gotten us the correct answer much faster. and there is no guarantee that such . unintelligent conversation 1. Agitation 5. I can guess that E was a trap answer. A little thinking does go a long way. Because “depraved behavior” is certainly more negative than “lack of clarity. we ask ourselves these four questions: Does turpitude likely mean morally depraved behavior? Does turpitude likely mean unintelligent conversation? Does turpitude likely mean a lack of imagination? Does turpitude likely mean a lack of clarity? At this point.” a state or quality of something. there was some reasoning behind my choice.” makes me skeptical because it lacks the kind of negative charge I would expect from a word like “turpitude. Lucidityà obscurity.” and “fortitude.3. unclear. Clever conservation à banal. Let’s create antonyms for each of our choices. Lively imaginationàLack of imagination 2. Lucidity Using the negative/positive strategy. First. but we have more work to do. Lively imagination 4. “Lack of imagination.” I’ll go with A. Saintly behavior à morally depraved behavior 2.” “turgid. the suffix “-tude” means a state. since the words “turpitude. Each antonym I created is sufficiently abstract (as opposed to concrete) and can be a state or condition. D.” In these examples and in general.

it’s easy to make mistakes. if you happen to stumble upon an antonym question like this.165 C. In terms of GRE quantitative strategy. common sense thinker will probably be able to answer this question without doing a calculation. learning the processes is more than half the battle.33 percent is awfully close to one third. often making the problem appear a little bit easier than it actually is. This is where ballparking plays a significant role. These types of answers catch your eye for one reason or another. it can be no other answer. A third of 50 is a little more than 15 (15*3= 45). ballparking essentially means thinking about mathematical figures in a vague. Use the test format to your advantage. though. During practice. Moving a decimal one unit could transform a correct answer into a wrong answer. imprecise. strategy | No Comments » Simple Quantitative Strategies.50. vacabulary Posted in GRE. 1. But.Let’s look at a crude example:What’s 32.speculation will lead you to the correct answer. BallparkingTo ‘ballpark’ is to roughly approximate. 2010 This is the second installment in the simple quantitative strategies series.33 % of 50?A. but remember that such a choice is probably a trap. When we are overwhelmed by figures and calculations. Verbal. and you go into human calculator mode. but nonetheless common sense manner. You may notice the anticipated answer in the choices and think that you won’t have to finish the problem. and anticipate the clever gambits so often deployed by the ETS.685 D. no matter how many correct steps you painstakingly went through. Part 2 Monday. 32. Beating the GRE quantitative requires a balanced combination of math skills and test-taking skills– these strategies will help improve the latter. don’t overwork. but we were still successful with some effort. 1. when you’re in the middle of a timed test.125 B. things change. The only thing close to that is B. Yes. Avoid TrapsNearly every multiple choice math problem has trap answers. 70. and look at the simplicity of the question. These strategies are here to remind you that there is just a bit more to studying than simply cramming math material. Anxiety sets in.16. don’t give up–use your brain! Tags: antonyms. 5.350 E.195 Any relaxed. or attractors. July 26th. You see a question like this and immediately start calculating the product.Looks look at an . Step back. 35. but outsmarting the test-writers is very important too.

So. why not imagine the shirt is 100 bucks to start. and you get 80. July 20th. Unfortunately. the price was reduced another 20%. during a special sale. Thus. you’ve just missed a pretty easy question. B. Take 20% off of 80 (80 / 5 = 16) and you get 64. or arithmetic means. let’s get real. 42% e. 2010 Averages. These two strategies may appear simple. Did you really think that the test would give you a question that required such minimal effort as adding 10 and 10? It’s nice to dream. isn’t it? But. the GRE average problems will present you with various combinations of known and unknown information. . Just perform the calculations as necessary. 50% You may read this question and think that a 20 percent discount plus another 20% discount equals a 40% discount. Take 20% off of 100. Quantitative. 25% b. Posted in GRE. First.example of what this might look like:1. Seeing 40% as an answer choice. the total discount is $36. Then. but the test will probably present average questions in a more complicated way. 40% d. The price of a T-shirt was reduced by 20%. We went from a 100 dollar shirt to a 64 dollar shirt. which can end up making a huge difference on a computer adaptive test. What was the total percentage discount from the original price?a. you may be inclined to choose it and move on. 36% c. series | No Comments » Averages Tuesday. Most of us know how to find the average. but they can mean big points in a pressured testing environment. when you practice. are likely to show up on the GRE Quantitative section. That’s a difference of 10064=36. Rather than present you with all the numbers in a set and ask you to find the average of those numbers. think about these techniques! They will keep you from making careless mistakes on easy to intermediate problems.

they are related by the formula A= T / n. 3. The most important rule to remember is that Average = Sum Total / Number of Figures Here are some possibilities for average questions and the strategies to solve them: 1.8 Example 2: Throughout the year. where A is average. the total number of percentage points on the first five tests. 70. let’s go over some basic rules for finding averages. If her average score after the first three five tests was 89. With this information.57. 80.7. in pounds. 60. After weighing all of them together. he calculated the average weight of the fish to be 4. 8*83= 664.Before we begin. we know that the total number of percentage points on the last three tests must be the total of all the tests minus the total of the first five tests: 664-445 = 219 Now. of all the fish? Answer: Simply multiply 14 and 4. 95.7= 65. and 90.Finding the total: IF you know the average and the number of figures/items (n) in a set. 75. then simply multiply the average and the number of figures to find the sum total (T). Example 1: John caught 14 fish after a long day of fishing. If the aforementioned scores are 80. 14*4. There are 3 numbers you want to know. What is the total weight. The number of figures in a set (n). If I want to find the average of seven different test scores. we have to find two totals before we can calculate the average of the final three tests. then n=7. 219 (total) / 3 (number of figures) = 73 . Janet took 8 math tests. In our example. 2. what was the average of her last three tests? Here.7 lbs. A = 550 / 7 = 78. T is the total sum of values. then T= 550. her average score was 83. 1. and n is the number of figures in a set. The average of the figures in a set: (A)= T / N. we have the info we need to find the average in question. the total number of percentage points on all the tests 5*89= 445. The sum total of all the figures in a set (T).

July 15th. we need both the total distance and the total time to calculate average speed. Rather. let’s figure out the total distance. will pay for your airfare and arrange lodging with a current grad student. most schools probably won’t do . what is the value of x? Remember that Average = Total / Number of figures. Quantitative | No Comments » Nailing that Grad School Interview Thursday. but many overlook the formula when approaching average speed problems. While some programs. 2010 So you’ve applied to several schools and you get a letter inviting you to an in-person interview. Don’t forget that ‘x’ counts as a number in the list. Always remember: when in doubt. go back to the formula A=T / n. Example 4: In traveling from city A to city B. and 3 hours at 60 mph would be 180 miles. Even the most complicated average problems stem from the formula. 35= ( 34+44+28+x) / 4 35= 106 + x / 4 4 (35) = 106 + x x = 4(35) – 106 x = 34 2. If John traveled a greater distance at 60 mph. particularly the science programs. 1 hour at 50 mph would be 50 miles. it wouldn’t make sense for the average speed to lie right in the middle of 50 and 60. What was his average speed for the whole trip? First. Average Speed = total distance / total time = 230 / 4 = 57. and x is 35. Our total distance is 180 + 50 = 230 miles. Remember. so our total number of figures is 4. 44. Tags: Averages Posted in GRE. All you have to do is set up an equation with the information you know. the average speed should be closer to 60. The total time is 3+1 = 4 hours. 28.5 Note: the average speed is not merely the average of 50 and 60–that is a mistake that many students make.Example 3: If the average of 34. John drove for 1 hour at 50 mph and for 3 hours at 60 mph. Average Speed = total distance / total time The formula for average speed is quite simple and intuitive.

Some people have a tendency of raising their eyebrows or rolling their eyes that they may not even be aware of it. frequency of publication. practical work opportunities. the interview is also your chance to interview them. brush up on your table etiquette too – know your bread knife from your regular knife. (Don’t drink too much!) If you know ahead of time that there is going to be a formal dinner. It really helps too if you can demonstrate how your research experience ties in with their program. Posted in Grad School | No Comments » Reading on a GRE CAT.this. not only might the professors take up more of the interview time discussing their work but it also shows that you are serious about the school. don’t take your neighbor’s water glass etc. Find out what their research interests are because you will be working under one of them. please be aware that every moment could possibly be part of the “interview”. You should also try to speak more slowly that you think is normal. Before you leave. because there is a tendency for people to rush what they are saying when they are nervous. but even a friendly grad student who is buying you a drink at the bar may have something to contribute to the decision process. 2010 . Instead. Practicing taking a pause every time you catch yourself about to say that and it might help you say it less. You may not be taking to a professor. If you are asked to discuss an issue with some of your fellow applicants or grad students. If you can weave their area of interest into your conversation. such as saying “like” or “um” frequently. mentoring programs and job prospects. Finally. July 12th. Try not to ask questions that indicate that you haven’t done your research. Regardless. you should try to attend because it indicates your interest in the program. Others might have verbal tics. particularly during the main interview. and if you must disagree with them. Let other people speak their turn. ask about teaching opportunities during the program. without it being a CATastrophe Monday. remember not to monopolize the discussion even if you might have a lot to say. always acknowledge the person (preferably by name) and their opinion. If you have some research experience yourself. if there is a rotation program between professors and how that works. be prepared to explain and defend your work. Always be conscious of your manner. spend a few days researching the department and the faculty. before discussing yours. So be sure to watch how you act and what you say. Making a list of your academic and research interests and your graduate school goals and matching that list up with the program is often a good way of organizing your thoughts to the big question – “so why are you interested in our program?” If your school has planned an entire weekend of activities for you.

a question will refer back to a specific detail without giving you a line reference. underlining significant sections of the passage and putting notes in the margins near the relevant text. Since you can’t indicate those things by underlining them or putting a star or other mark in the margin nearby. On a CAT. dates or time periods. and hunting for that detail in the passage can cost you precious time. ect. Approach is how the author is writing the passage: is it a recommendation. An example might look like this: Para. Map. But on some sections. the computer is less an assistance than a hindrance. 2—traditional interpretation Para. even if you’re practicing on paper. Approach. or a Computer-Adaptive Test. Go to CAMP CAMP—or Central Point. Examples of this would be references to individuals or groups of people. and even adulthood learning how to read in a paper-based world. and key ideas that are addressed in detail only in one part of the passage. Get into the habit now.The GRE is a CAT. especially reading comprehension. Para. Outline the passage paragraph by paragraph as you read You will have scratch paper. and other key words and phrases Often. interp. and Perspective—issues are commonly addressed in questions. Standardized testing. often this will be summarized in one sentence. is very different on a paper-based test than it is on a CAT. historical background Para. theories. you don’t have that luxury. and you can indicate that sentence in your notes with a line reference. the more likely it is that you spent your childhood. particularly if chronology is important to the passage’s meaning. Here are a few ways to do that. 3—problems with trad. But learning to read actively even without the benefit of marking up the text is key to improving your reading comp score.. and you should take advantage of it. Jotting even just a few words to summarize each paragraph can help you get a handle on the passage and sharpen your focus. Central Point is the main idea of the passage. a .. places. Years of paper-based reading trains the test-taker to take notes on the passage itself. teen years. dates. and new interp. 4—conclusion Taking notes like this as you read forces you to synthesize the text and read more efficiently. instead write a couple of words with a line reference to tell you where to find what you’re looking for. Expedite the process by keeping track of the kinds of details that are common subjects of questions. use a notebook to annotate practice passages. Keep track of proper nouns. 1—intro. The older you are.

historical account, a rebuttal of a different idea, or something else entirely? There are lots of possibilities here, but remember that each detail in the passage will in some way serve the author’s primary motivation in writing the passage; nailing the author’s approach can help you answer questions that ask you about the purpose of a specific statement or the passage as a whole. Map is that paragraph outline that we talked about in number 1 above. And Perspective is a one-word summary of the author’s tone: is it positive, negative, neutral, or something else? Boil the tone down to a single word, and you’ll be prepared if it is the subject of a question, which it often is. By taking a few quick notes on the CAMP issues before you tackle the question, you’ll be able to focus on finding correct answers that align with your CAMP notes, instead of being tempted by distracting wrong answers. A sample CAMP note set might look like this: C: lines 4—7 A: Rebuttal of traditional theory M: Para.1—intro, historical background Para. 2—traditional interpretation Para. 3—problems with trad. interp., and new interp. Para. 4—conclusion P: Critical Reading on a CAT can require some adaptation of your usual approach, but with practice, it’s absolutely a surmountable challenge. Start early, be consistent with taking CAMP notes on scratch paper during your practice, and remember that active reading is the key to success on the GRE! Posted in GRE, GRE Prep, strategy | No Comments »

Simple Quantitative Strategies, Part 1
Tuesday, July 6th, 2010

Before you review all that algebra and geometry you’ve forgotten over the years, and before you practice with an endless sequence of practice problems, you should learn a few simple tips that well help you immensely on test day. Learn these early, and reinforce them during practice. 1. Be careful early on. When you take a computer adaptive test, you have to take certain things into consideration. One commonly overlooked fact is that the

questions at the beginning of each section are weighed more heavily. I’ll say that again: the questions you answer at the beginning have a bigger impact on your score. What does this mean for the average test taker? Well, if you’re like most people, you may not be super confident in your math abilities, so you tend to move quickly at the beginning of a math section. You may move especially quickly through easy questions. This can be very dangerous. Moving too quickly, even on the easiest of questions, can spell disaster. Careless mistakes at the beginning of the section will drastically hurt your score; painstakingly working through a very difficult question at the end of the section will only slightly increase your score.Take your time. It’s worth it. 2. Know what the question is asking for. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen a question that requires you to solve for some unknown variable x, and then it asks you “What’s the value of x/2?” or “What’s the value of 4x” or “What’s the value of sqrt(x)?” The GRE test writers know that multiplying your final answer by 2 does not prove your mathematical prowess. Rather, it tests your test taking ability. Often, what happens is that students read a question, figure out what they must do to arrive at the answer (say, solving for variable x), and then stop once they’ve figured out said variable. Why go any further? I’ve just done the algebra. I’ve unlocked the problem; I’ve got the answer. It’s that feeling of knowing the familiar process of solving for x that is dangerous; once you arrive at x, you feel finished. And, I guarantee that the value of ‘x’ will be in the answer choice, further reassuring you that you’ve completed this question correctly. But, unfortunately, the answer is not x, but 4x (or some variation, arbitrary or not, invented by the test writers). To avoid this, consciously think about following directions more so than you usually do. Don’t assume you know the drill, even if you really do know the drill. The test writers are looking for these cheap ways to trick smart students into missing the answer. 1. Don’t overwork quantitative comparisons. When it comes to math problems, students tend to work systematically. The way most of us are taught math in high school is to do many versions of the same problem over and over again. This causes us to associate math problems with systematic, almost mindless computation. We often don’t think critically about math problems; we don’t step back and assume a bird’s eye view. This kind of thinking should be avoided on GRE Quantitative, especially on quantitative comparisons. In a quantitative comparison problem, your job is to figure out which value is bigger; you technically do not have to know the exact value of each column to know which is bigger, and sometimes your efforts to do so may cause you precious seconds.

Here’s an example of what I’m talking about: Column A. Column A: 1/15 + 1/9 + 1/5 OR Column B: 1/5 + 1/15 + 1/10

Now, if you are rushing through the test and mindlessly calculating, when you see numbers that can be calculated, you’ll waste your time on a problem like this, which can be answered in about half a second. Take a second. Step back. Look at the problem. You’ll notice each column shares the sum 1/5 + 1/15. That means those fractions are irrelevant. You’re really just comparing 1/9 to 1/10, and you should know immediately that 1/9 is bigger (when you have two fractions with the same numerator, the fraction with the smaller denominator is bigger–1/2 > 1/3 > 1/4 > 1/5 …). It always pays to stop and think about a problem before you begin calculating. Please stay tuned for the next installment of simple quantitative strategies. Until then, use these strategies during Grockit practice, and see if they help you eliminate careless mistakes. Posted in GRE, GRE Prep, Quantitative, strategy | No Comments »

Issue Writing Task: Part 4
Friday, July 2nd, 2010

In our last post, we learned about the intricacies of GRE Issue pre-writing and the introduction. Both are tremendously important to write a quality essay, but, let’s face it, they are really just leading up to the body of your essay. The body of an essay contains the evidence and reasons for an argument. Each paragraph should adopt one unified reason in support of an overall argument. How many body paragraphs should there be? You could probably get away with as few as two, but I’d say three body paragraphs is a good minimum to shoot for. Any more paragraphs than that is just good insurance. 1. Starting the Body: If you have written a solid outline of your essay, then, by all means, follow it. If you haven’t yet figured out the order of your ideas, but you have grouped them into coherent sections, then begin with what you feel is easiest to write (a paragraph that is easy to write is often convincing and logical). Remember, if you realize that a different order of body paragraphs would make more sense, then you can arrange them later. Taking a computer test has its perks—take advantage of them. Each one of your body paragraphs should begin with a topic sentence that tells the reader what the paragraph is about. Since the essay graders are not spending much time on each essay, make their lives easier by providing a roadmap to follow. A clear essay makes a happy grader; a happy grader makes a happy test-taker.

If you decide to qualify the prompt statement and choose to present opposing sides of an argument, then paragraph order is very important. For example, if you’re evaluating the argument that “political leaders should withhold information from the public,” you might want to argue that while political leaders cannot be expected to divulge the embarrassing minutia of their personal lives, they must remain honest in order to avoid falling into demagoguery and to uphold the values of democracy. What I’ve done with this thesis is concede a point to my opposition, which I will acknowledge in the beginning of my essay, but then I will end strong with my “honest is the best policy” argument. It would be nonsense to end my evidence with a concession. The last body paragraph is the one that will most strongly resonate with your reader, so if you opt for a thesis like this one, start with your concession and move into your strong argument. 2. Conclusion: No matter how tired you are after writing the body paragraphs, you must write a conclusion. Some may argue that the conclusion paragraph is often superfluous or redundant, but it is still a convention that you adhere to—at least for the GRE. The conclusion is meant for you to remind the reader of the main thrust of your essay. In your conclusion, restate your thesis, preferably in different words. If you can, try to think of a larger implication of your argument. Ask yourself “so what” after you’ve written these 500 words, and maybe a broader implication will come to you. If it doesn’t, don’t worry: an insightful flourish at the end of an essay may help put you into 6 territory, but don’t stress about forcing brilliance if it’s not coming naturally. 3. Revise: Allow yourself around 8-10 minutes to revise your essay. Watch out for awkward phrasing, inappropriate diction, and poor grammar. While you are reading through for these mechanical errors, think about the logical flow of your essay. You do have that copy/paste function to rearrange sentences and paragraphs, so use it to your advantage. When rereading your essay, keep these things in mind: -Don’t be too one-sided. While it’s fine to adopt a strong position, don’t be afraid to acknowledge other viewpoints or anticipate objections. -Pay attention to flow. Each paragraph should flow naturally to the next. This is easier said than done, but, sometimes, all you’ll need is a transitional phrase or sentence to do the trick. -Avoid unnecessary repetition. Under the time constraint, you may notice yourself repeating key phrases over and over. If it seems tiresome as you read, cut it down. Redundancy is a sign of immature writing, and while essay graders may acknowledge it as a common side effect of timed writing, it’s best to cut it out if you can. -Check for consistency. Does your intro address the topic? Does your body address your intro? Does your conclusion address your body? All parts of your essay should work together as a whole, and they should directly address the prompt Just follow these steps and you’ll have a quality GRE essay. The only way to test your skills, however, is to practice. Luckily, the GRE website gives you all the possible topics,

or qualification of the statement’s argument.” “automotive safety. so it deserves a “pro. organize these ideas into body paragraphs. After all. 2010 Last time. series | No Comments » Issue Writing Task: Part 3 Thursday. Don’t get too specific with your evidence here. great ideas alone will not get you the grade. . your first step is to identify each idea as “agreeing with” or “disagreeing with” the prompt statement. 2. if some ideas are weak. 2 Issue Writing Task pt. finely tuned arguments are better than a bulk of crude ones. is an example in favor of the statement. Verbal.” After you have labeled your pieces of evidence. indicating your agreement. Unfortunately. follow these steps: 1. disagreement. Then.” “machines relieve factory worker of monotonous work. articulate your stance on the issue. Adopt a position / Articulate your thesis: When you look down at the overflowing mass of ideas you have written. Introduction: Your introduction should first clearly articulate the argument in the given statement.” and “internet allows for ease of you have no excuses—start writing! Read other articles in this series: Issue Writing Task pt. Try to see where ideas cohere. Fewer. Once you have your brilliant ideas down on paper. “pro” indicates that the idea supports the statement. but do give an informative outline of your main arguments.” you might have jotted down “advances in medicine. “Machines relieve factory worker of monotonous work. we looked at the single most important step in writing your essay: brainstorming. you can’t write a solid essay without solid ideas. 3 Tags: roadmap Posted in GRE.” for example. don’t use them. After you organize your ideas. July 1st.” however. you should start to see a coherent argument forming. Remember.” To quickly identify the stance of these ideas. write down “pro” or “con” next to each. the most significant contribution of technology has been to make people’s lives more comfortable. In our previous example statement. your argument can be one-sided. or it can qualify the conditions of the prompt statement. Show the reader that you understand the implications of the issue at hand. “Advances in medicine. “Over the past century. That’s where organization comes in. and “con” indicates that it opposes the statement. 1 Issue Writing Task pt. deserves a “con” since it argues that there are more prodigious technological achievements than those that make us comfortable.

Your thesis. In fact. 2010 Structuring Your Analysis of An Argument Essay Tuesday. Read other articles in this series: Issue Writing Task pt. If you’re taking a computer-based exam. but you really want to devote the bulk of your time to the body paragraphs. August 31st. Stay tuned. Very often. when combined with the initial brainstorming stage. which is essentially a sentence or two that outlines your argument. if your entire application package is borderline and you write one or two truly awful essays. though. That doesn’t seem like a lot of time. it should take about 9 minutes tops. but the process of writing them will help you refine your own ideas. should go at the end of the introduction. Although I don’t like to say “never. it’s important that you keep the AWA in perspective: it shouldn’t take up much of your prep time. so do not strictly limit your argument before you begin writing. 2010 Your GRE essays are unlikely to be the linchpin of your application. Next time. These two stages of the writing process should take about 6 minutes. Ideally. . so we don’t want the thesis seem forced or out of place. For that reason. but it’s certainly to your advantage to spend some time familiarizing yourself with what makes for a good essay.” I personally have not heard of a student getting into grad school because of his or her GRE essays. you may choose to write the thesis after you’ve written your body because your argument may slightly change during the writing process. this is no big deal. 1 Issue Writing Task pt. your thesis statement should be organically integrated into your introduction. Don’t worry too much about refining your thesis statement at this stage. and in the meantime. writing the body paragraphs leads to a more fine-tuned thesis. It certainly seems possible. The purpose of your introduction is to build up to your argument. 2 Archive for August. practice with Grockit or write some sample outlines and introductions. No need to leave a chunk of blank space—the magic of word processing takes care of this. Not only are the body paragraphs the most important and most heavily weighted part of the essay. that your essays could keep you out. we’ll look at how to construct the body paragraphs.

effective format will look something like this: • • • • • Paragraph 1: Brief recap of argument and statement that the argument has merit but also contains multiple flaws. and map out your three points) without any attempts at rhetorical bells and whistles. WPTK would significantly reduce the incidence of auto accidents on Metropolis-area roads by providing traffic updates. and well-written topic sentences that use transition words and clearly state the point of each paragraph are a big help in creating the kind of organizational structure that earns you points on test day. this strategy can make your reader’s job far easier. and a simple. but your GRE AWA reader doesn’t need to be “drawn in. Paragraph 2: Explanation of first flaw– this paragraph should have a strong topic sentence and then several sentences explaining the flaw in detail. Paragraph 4: The third flaw is explained here in the manner established in the previous two paragraphs. let’s look at a sample prompt and opening paragraph: Prompt: WPTK. Paragraph 3: The second flaw gets the same treatment here as the first one did in the previous paragraph. Take a few minutes at the beginning of your AWA to outline the five sentences that will begin your paragraphs. Since Metropolis is located in a Midwestern state with serious winter weather road delays 4 months out of the year. . does not currently provide traffic updates to viewers. Also include a “roadmap” of the points that you will make. Now. Of the two essays you’ll be expected to write. and wants to do her job as efficiently as possible. She’s likely to regard literary flourishes as a waste of your energy and her time. or a test-prep specialist. a composition instructor may have told you to use an “attention-getting” opening to really draw your audience in. To start your essay on the right note. in the order that you will make them. and a happy reader is probably more apt to make those tricky 4/5 line calls in your favor. if only because the task is not a familiar one to most grad school candidates. a professor. make sure that your first paragraph does what it needs to do (recap the argument. the most popular television station in Metropolis.” she is getting paid to read your essay.and getting some feedback from a qualified source. the Analysis of an Argument is likely to be the more challenging. state your position. your reader is probably going to devote no more than three to five minutes to your essay. At some point in high school or college. Paragraph 5: Briefly recap the flaws you’ve presented and diplomatically explain how those flaws could be remedied to present a stronger argument. whether that is a professional mentor. Remember. Similarly. the ereader is programmed to assess organization. The easiest format to use in writing this essay is the classic 5-paragraph style. A good rule of thumb is that your reader should be able to get the gist of your entire argument just by skimming the first sentence of each paragraph.

and convert to fractions whenever possible. The author weakens his claim by assuming that televised traffic updates would be timely enough to impact drivers’ actions. 2010 In this article. informative opening paragraph set the tone for your essay! Please visit the Grockit forum or leave a comment here to post questions on essay structures. Example: 20% = 1/5. the argument also exhibits several serious flaws which could limit its persuasiveness. Example: 16% of men.25 . 62.” As you can see. has merit. Posted in Essay. which can come in a variety of formats. the opening paragraph responds to the prompt by taking a clear position. or 30% off the sales price Percents are basically fractions with a denominator of 100 Learn your common percents. referring back to the issue briefly. Here are some quick pointers: Percents MUST be APPLIED to something A percent means nothing on it’s own. However.5% = 5/8 The word “of” means multiply Example: 80% of men = 4/5 * (total # of men) Percents higher than 100 are numbers higher than 1 Example: 125% = 100% + 25% = 1 + 0. Let your concise. we will discuss some common problems students encounter with percent problems. August 27th. analysis of an argument | No Comments » Tips For Percent Math Problems on the GRE Friday.Response Paragraph 1: The argument. which states that WPTK’s broadcast of traffic updates would reduce the incidence of auto accidents on Metropolis-area roads.25 = 1. by failing to explicitly state how the updates would affect auto accidents. and outlining the points that the essay will be addressing. Verbal. GRE. and by predicting a “significant” reduction in Metropolis auto accidents without specifying what kind of a reduction would be deemed “significant.

The higher the number. In this case. or 20% Don’t add constants and percents You should never find yourself trying to figure out what 5 + 6% equals.000. The original x will be bigger. The 10% decrease in the 2nd round is applied to a higher number. What was the percent change in James’ portfolio? Percent change = $2. then subtracting from the original. James’ investment portfolio grew by $2. See the previous example: What is 25% less than 8? ¾*8 = 6.000.Recognize the difference between percent MORE/LESS THAN and percent OF Example: What is 25% less than 8? ¼* 8 = 2. it will save lots of time. it might not seem necessary. but as numbers get larger. and then decreased by 10%. Percent change = Total Change/Original Value Example: Before trading began. and we’re done! On easy numbers like this. versus two tougher ones. so 8 – 2 = 6 Example: What is 25% of 8? ¼*8 = 2 Use shortcuts 20% less than means 80% of.000 = 0. James’ investment portfolio was worth $10. the higher the resulting percent Applying the same percent to a higher number will yield a higher number. So instead of taking 20%.000/$10. x or the resulting number? The 10% increase of x in the first round increases x by a certain amount. Example: A certain positive integer x is increased by 10%. you are probably missing what to apply the percent to.5)] in one neat step.2. 50% more than 10 should be calculated by multiplying 10*3/2 [10*(1 + 0. Conversely. At the end of market close. so will yield a larger change. just take 80% and be done. . Which is bigger.

If this price included a 5% sales tax. $23. $24 D. setting x = ticket price before tax. and 30% of his remaining items. They cancel well. $25. how many items did Jerome offer for sale? A. Jerome sold 75% of the first 1. If he sold 40% of the total number of items he offered for sale. $30 Without a calculator.000 items he offered for sale.Let’s take a look at two examples! Example 1: A tour group of 25 people paid a total of $630 for entrance to a museum. and all the tickets cost the same amount. 750 . fractions are always easier. and are typically neater. Look how easy it gets? 25*(21/20)*x = 630 5*(21/4)*x = 630 x = 630*4 / 5*21 x = $24 Choice C Example 2: During an auction.05 (with tax) = $630 Note we can convert to fractions. 25 people * x dollars/person * 1.94 C. 5% = 1/20 since 5*20 = 100. what was the face value of each ticket price without the sales tax? A. Now we set up the equation. $22 B. cancel and simplify.20 E.

1000 + R = T Now. you could easily execute a calculation to ascertain them.800 D. August 25th. 3/4*1000 + 3/10*R = 4/10*T We have 2 equations. We can solve! 750 + 3R/10 = 400 + 4R/10 350 = R/10 R = 3.500 We always look back to the original question to see exactly what we are looking for.500 Again. we have 2 equations and 2 unknowns.500 E. is to study these principles enough that they seem intuitive. T = R + 1. The best option. In this case. 1. Quantitative.000 = 3. You probably know most of these principles by memory. and 1 unknown. we want to set up the equation – this will make things a lot easier. Not R.500 + 1. 2010 Number theory may sound scary. Tags: percent Posted in GRE. This is a good hint that there may be a hidden 2nd equation.000 = 4. strategy | No Comments » Number Theory Wednesday.B. 4. 3. The GRE . 1. And again.500 Choice E Please visit the Grockit forum or leave a comment here to discuss further. but it’s just an intimidating name for some pretty elementary mathematical principles. though. switching to fractions is always best. if not. T.050 C.

is even. which is even. D adds an even (odd times even) to an even (even times odd) . 5r + 6t E. Multiplication Even x even = even (6 x 4 = 24) Odd x odd = odd (5 x 3 = 15) Even x odd = even (6 x 5= 30) To more easily remember these. we could either plug in numbers for r and t. so that’s even. making number theory second nature will definitely save you some valuable seconds. 6(r²)t D. 5rt means we multiply an odd times that even product. an odd times an even. rt B. 1. which is even. just think that a sum is only odd if you add an even and an odd. or we could use our knowledge of number theory to figure out the answer. 5rt C. just think that a product is only odd if you multiply two odds. times another even (6).Quantitative section is all about saving time. We instantly know that rt. Example Question If r is even and t is odd. so . which of the following is odd? A. Odds and Evens Addition Even + even = even (12+14=36) Odd+ Odd = even (13+19=32) Even + Odd = odd (8 + 11 = 19) To more easily remember these. C translates to an even (even ²) times an odd (t). 6r + 5t In this example.

53. 11. and 59. Note that 1 is not a prime. practice makes perfect. in the beginning. So we are now left with 41. you should quickly narrow down the primes with a sequence of steps. The more you practice finding primes. for example. 43. Missing just one prime means missing the question. it may help you to recall that a number is divisible by 3 if its digits add up to 3) 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 Then. write down the numbers. In some questions. the less often you’ll have to do this. 2. First. For example. Remember. and thus are not primes). which is finally odd. and cross out all the even numbers (all even numbers greater than 2 can be divided by 2. If you were asked to identify the primes between 40 and 60. it’s more important to be thorough than it is to be fast. 2010 Remainders are the NUMERATOR of a fraction from a mixed number that results from division. 47. and Grockit makes great practice. 47. cross out multiples of 5 (those that end in 5 or 0) 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 We are left with 41. cross out your multiples of 3. 19/3 leaves a remainder of 1. and 59. Tags: even. since 19/3 = 6 1/3. so be sure to watch out for those pesky composite numbers like 51 and 57. Take one last look at your group. number theory. 49. E is our answer. for example. odd. is a prime because it can only be evenly divided by itself and 1. E adds an even (even times even) to an odd (odd times odd). But. Quantitative | No Comments » All About Remainders Monday. primes Posted in GRE. alternatively. 53. Some quick tips: . and you should notice that 49 is 7 squared. you can just write down the odd numbers in the set. Primes: Prime numbers are numbers whose only factors are themselves and one. you will have to identify less recognizable primes.that’s even. August 23rd. 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 Then. 43.

Sister. (A general rule of thumb is that if you think it’s taking too long. we only care about the one’s digit. 3. it probably is…. This is easier than recognizing 135/15 is a whole number and counting up. For example. so 167/(even #) must have an ODD remainder. For example. If n = 2. 3^4n = 3^8 = 81*81 = one’s digit of 1. so we only need to look at the one’s digit while multiplying. 3^4n = 3^4 = 81 = one’s digit of 1. I recently came across this question. when dividing by 5. 2. If Dad takes out the trash on January 18th. you can see that 15 would go into 150 evenly. multiples of even numbers are even. your remainder options are 0-8. assuming n is a positive integer? Firstly.) Instead. when trying to find the remainder of 146/15. we will be multiplying a term with a one’s digit of 1 with a term with a one’s digit of 7 (3³). In this scenario. even though you can reduce 4 2/4 to 4 1/2. We detect the pattern that regardless the value of n. For example. The order goes as follows: Mom.1. we see how many days pass between January 18 and March 26: January 19-31: 13 + . Pattern questions with division are many times Remainder questions at their core The 4 members of the Jones Family rotate who takes out the trash on a daily basis.) It’s clear that we don’t want to whip out our calendars and start counting. The remainder stays equal to 2. We can break 3^(4n+3) into 3^4n * 3^3 by the rules of exponents. which I think is a good introduction: What is the remainder of 3^(4n+3) divided by 5. when dividing by 9. 4. If n = 1. Dad. 18/4 = 4 2/4. The remainder should NOT be reduced. Your remainder can only range from zero to the denominator of the fraction. You then count down four from 150 to 146. so the result will have a one’s digit of 7. so your remainder is (15 -4) = 11. Look for the closest whole number and count up or down from there. Become familiar with common trends or patterns. who takes out the trash on March 26th? (There are 31 days in January and 28 days in February. When and number with a one’s digit of 7 dividing by 5. we are left with a remainder of 2. Brother. we are looking for the remainder above a one’s digit of either 0 or 5. since a remainder of 9 leaves you a new whole number (with a remainder of 0).

mainly: 1/2 = .166 repeating E. such as: 3/8 = 3*1/8 = 3*0. leaving us with Mom on March 26th. 8.125 . 4.33 repeating 1/4 = .268 B.11 repeating Note that multiplying these by constants will leave similarly instructive results. 0. 67/4 leaves you will a remainder of 3.25 1/5 = .375 The more familiar with these you become. 1.4 D. so we count 3 from Dad.5 1/3 = . which of the following is a possible value of (x² +2x – 7)/9? A. Fractions and Decimals are the same thing You should be familiar with common decimals. For example: If x is an integer.125 = 0.166 repeating 1/8 = .125 1/9 = .20 1/6 = .February 1-28: 28 + March 1 – 26: 26 = 67 days.555 repeating C. the quicker you can eliminate answer choices are clearly wrong. -2.

2010 Finding factors of integers should become second nature on the GRE. a number that an integer can be evenly divided by.) Join a Grockit game for more GMAT math practice with Jake! Tags: remainders Posted in GRE. We know that when divided by 9. Notice that all the ends of the tree (those numbers that cannot be divided) are primes. -24. 4. Prime Factorization: Prime factorization. ((C) is divided by a factor of 5. 0. is a process by which we present an integer as a product of all its primes. 8. 2. are 1. the factor tree. more simply. for example. or 2² x 23. . 92 can be written as 2 x 2 x 23. The easiest way to do is to make a factor tree.k. even if they do not ask you explicitly. A factor is a divisor. The multiples of an integer x are the infinite products of x and another integer. or. 32.We don’t have to start plugging in. Only choice (B) fits that description. Let’s see an example: Above are the factor trees for 108 and 92. 64… and so on. August 19th. but it has many practical applications. 2² x 3³. Quantitative | No Comments » Prime Factorization Thursday. 8. -16. This practice may seem purposeless. A factor tree is a diagram that breaks down a number into its corresponding factors. Factor trees help us simply radicals (answer choices with radicals are almost always in simplified form). So. -8. and -8. 16. -2. (D) by a factor of 6. -4. 108 can be written as 2 x 2 x 3 x 3 x 3.a. a. the remainder will be a number repeating to the right of the decimal place. many questions will require you to find the factors of an integer. -1. and (E) by a factor of 8. The multiples of 8 include …-32. The factors of 8.

. To simply a radical. Greatest Common Factor: The greatest common factor (GCF) of two or more integers is the greatest integer that is a factor of those integers. I’m not quite sure what it is off the top of my head. Because I have five 2s in my primes. Suppose I want to find the GCF of 256 and 72. you will be able to arrive at the answer mentally. For example. Since I am trying to simplify the square root. which is 4². is not always so easy. Taking the GCF of bigger numbers. you’ll probably see the simplified version. if your answer to a multiple choice question was √96. Similarly. I know that the biggest perfect square is 2 x 2 x 2 x 2. the GCF of 24 and 16 is 8. so I’ll use factor trees to directly arrive at the answer. since 8 is the greatest number that is a factor of both. I know that sqrt96 = √16 x√3 x √2. I need to figure out the biggest square in those primes. however. Simplifying this. I know that 96 is the same thing as 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 3. When the calculations are more difficult. I know that √96 = 4√6. however. Sometimes.For example. chances are you won’t see √96 in your answer choices. Thus. or 16. first diagram the factor tree: So. the GCF of 60 and 15 is 15. you can use the factor tree to directly arrive at your answer.

Let’s see another example: GCF of 68 and 102 and 204. is the GCF.Once you perform the prime factorization. The good news is. August 16th. prime factorization Posted in GRE. Tags: factor tree. in this case. we have the common factors 17 and 2. Note: this one would be pretty difficult to figure out without the factor tree. Quantitative | No Comments » How to Get the Most Out of Your GRE Lessons Monday. The best way to get faster at prime factorizations and GCFs is to practice. 102 has the lowest power of 2. using each prime the smallest number of times in any of the factorizations. To find the GCF. first find how many primes are common to each prime factorization. so 2³. it helps to write each as a product of powers: 256 = 2^8 and 72= 2³ x 3². or 8. Using factor trees would yield: 68 = 2² x 17 102 = 2 x 3 x 17 204= 2² x 3 x 17 Here. 2010 . In this case. The GCF is the product of all the primes that appear in each factorization. you can practice without looking for sample problems–just make some up on your own. 2³ is smaller than 2^8. so our GCF is just 2 x 17 = 34. only 2 is common to both.

1. Can you give me some tips?” I may have tips to offer. like the one in this sample. Take advantage of all the resources available to you. And homework regarding a lesson you’ve already learned will help cement the methods that have been demonstrated. there are huge communities of online students and Experts who can give you feedback or guide you in the right direction. .) Online learning tools also have potential applications that many people never fully explore. That’s what the Experts are here for. Don’t be afraid to look for clarification if something doesn’t make sense. and sometimes all a student needs is for something to be explained in a different way. I can’t speak for other Experts here. Come prepared! If there’s any kind of background information that you should know before class. Experts often have time before or after class specifically set aside for questions. to help them get the most out of one-on-one time with their teachers or tutors (herein referred to as your Expert). Just because one of your classmates understands the question doesn’t mean that you are expected to understand it the same way. but without specific knowledge of your trouble areas. People learn differently. but I know that I find it much easier and more productive to address specific queries than extremely general ones. 2. if anything. Some use books to do practice questions on their own. others spend time on Grockit. know it. so don’t be afraid to approach yours to ask him or her to try to reframe the issue for you. I’m here to offer a few tips to the people in that last group. you need to be doing. if you arrive 20 minutes early. “I have trouble with Reading Comp. there’s no guarantee that I’ll be giving you the kind of information that will help you as an individual test-taker. he or she should be happy to clarify any issues regarding the type or amount of work you should do. Preview reading or practice problems ensure that you’re coming to your lesson with the basic foundation of knowledge that you will build upon to master the skills being taught. Post questions on Grockit forums and reach out for help.People prepare for the GRE in many different ways. And of course. but will be more than happy to put that aside to answer your questions or discuss your concerns. and not choice E? And how can I apply that to other RC detail questions?” I will be able to offer much more productive feedback to that than to someone saying. Often. waiting for someone just like you to come in for help. In live classes. A great question is something like. 3. If you’re not sure what. Can you explain to me why choice C is the correct answer. you’ll find your Expert sitting. ask your Expert. 4. “I’ve noticed that I have trouble with Reading Comp detail questions. (The Expert may be reading the newspaper or Facebooking on his or her Blackbery while waiting. some take a class or have a private tutor. Ask the right questions.

Oh My! Friday. quickly convert to a fraction. and your future is a serious thing. try to have some fun with the studying process! Yes. preparing for it is often a rigorous experience. such as in a number line. you should take some time out to play.5. fractions will be easier to perform arithmetic. Decimals are sometimes more useful when comparing numbers relative to one another. too. So remember that even as you’re working hard.111 repeating 1/8 = 0.14 1/6 = 0. 2010 GRE questions are notorious for seeming harder than they actually are. the GRE is a challenging test.166 repeating 1/5 = 0. try to enjoy the process as much as you can. and will give you ostensibly time-consuming calculations. Even if given a decimal (or percent) looks easy. Dividing by 5 is the same as multiplying by 2/10. Some common ones to memorize: • • • • • • • • 1/9 = 0. and remember to take time to relax a little! What are some of your favorite ways to relieve GRE preparation pressure? Posted in GRE. Proportions and Ratios. One way to mitigate this is by retaining a rockstar aptitude in manipulating fractions. For example: • • • 840/5 = ? 840/5 = 840*(2/10) = 84*2 = 168 Multiplying or dividing by 10’s and 2’s is generally easier than using 5’s. And. August 13th.20 1/4 = 0. strategy | 1 Comment » Fractions. but these questions are the exception. Be proactive about your practice and about asking questions. and your Experts and fellow students could probably use a light moment as much as you could.125 1/7 = ~0. 90% of the time. and take advantage of the many ways that you can study for the exam. But questions are sometimes funny. your fellow students. finally. which occur in a large portion of the questions. Finally. To summarize. remember that your GRE prep is a collaboration between you. mistakes should be learned from and sometimes laughed off.333 repeating 1/2 = 0. and your Expert.5 repeating . GRE Prep.25 1/3 = 0. The writers recognize time is short.

There are many many more shortcuts. GRE writers love to provide ratios (which are multiplicative relationships) and then add an absolute component (addition/subtraction).125 * 3 = 0. When 12 more waiters are hired. Do with this what you like: 7G = 2B or B = 7G/2. 9 D.375) are also important to remember. 6 C.• Note: Multiples of these. for example. such as 3/8 (0. leave them in the comment field. the ratio of the number of cooks to the number of waiters is 3 to 13. the new ratio becomes: C/W = 3x/(13x + 12) . Adding the 12 waiters. (x must be an integer. If you have some. the ratio of the number of cooks to the number of waiters changes to 3 to 16. There can be 14 boys and 4 girls. Notice that whatever x is. For example: At a certain restaurant. the ratio will hold true. Keep in mind what you can logically combine. or 70 boys and 20 girls. and can simply be treated as such. Note that when you have a ratio like B/G = 7/2. 15 The key here is setting up the equation. but generally practice and familiarity with the numbers helps a lot in doing quick arithmetic. Since we don’t know the initial scale of the number of cooks and waiters. since you can’t have a portion of a cook. whatever. C/W = 3x/13x. we can express this scale by “x”. but can easily be derived by multiplying the original fraction (1/8 * 3 = 3/8 = 0. How many cooks does the restaurant have? A. This list is by no means extensive. Forget the “:” with ratios. Questions that insert absolute numbers should be taken with caution. and what you cannot. we don’t actually know the number of girls and boys. “The ratio of boys to girls is seven to two” can be expressed as the proportion: B/G = 7/2.375) Denominators are super important. unless of course he chops his finger off by accident!) “When 12 more waiters are hired” is the insertion of an absolute. Ratios A ratio is both a comparison and division. 12 E. 4 B. A denominator of a reduced fraction with a multiple of 7 will not have a finite decimal.

3200 The key word here is “spread evenly”. however.) After cross-multiplying. A/F = 9600/1200 = 3600/x Clearly.“The ratio of the number of cooks to the number of waiters changes to 3 to 16” defines this new ratio: C/W = 3x/(13x + 12) = 3/16 STOP! Before we cross multiply and solve for x. it’s best to reduce top-bottom AND left-right before cross multiplying. which we originally represented by 3x. For example: A football field is 9600 square yards. right? Well. This will ensure you work with the smallest (and easiest) (and fastest) numbers possible. This implies that the relationship of fertilizer per square foot is uniform. and you can set equal the relationship of the wholes to the relationship of the parts. Before you do that. recall that x represents the scaling factor. and we are taught to cross-multiply and solve for that variable. Proportions A proportion is two ratios set equal to each other like the question above. we get: 16x = 13x + 12 3x = 12 x=4 Sweet. 600 C. 750 D. we can eliminate the zeros on the left side: 9600/1200 = 3600/x 96/12 = 3600/x . If 1200 pounds of fertilizer are spread evenly across the entire field. Generally. there is a variable in one of the four slots. So. The stimulus asks for the number of cooks. Choice D. (More on this below. That’s 120 fingers. 3*4 = 12 cooks. 450 B. how many pounds of fertilizer were spread over an area of the field totaling 3600 square yards? A. Answer A. 2400 E. we want to cancel out the 3’s in both the numerator.

Luckily. proportions. When faced with the task of memorizing 1000+ unfamiliar (and sometimes useless) words. so long as you are reducing by the same factor. most of us will either behave like a lost child or a disaffected teenager. you’ve heard of mnemonic devices. Order. we can still reduce left-to-right. ratios Posted in GRE. but the prodigious task of learning these daunting words is analogous to the rigors of graduate school (even if the analogy is a bit of stretch).Then we can divide 96/12: 8 = 3600/x Here. we can actually use creativity to improve the efficiency of learning vocabulary words. Class. by canceling 4 in both: 2 = 900/x Oh wait! There’s more! Both 2 and 900 are divisible by 2! 1 = 450/x x = 450 It DOES NOT matter whether you start top-bottom or left-right. This is one of my favorites from AP Biology that helped me remember the order of taxonomic classifications: Kingdom. we’ll either cower in fear or reject the whole endeavor completely. For this question we could have started by canceling 9600 and 3600 in the numerators. which are both divisible by 400 to get: 24/1200 = 9/x. If you’ve made it through college. Check out Grockit for more quantitative practice! Good luck! Tags: fractions. acronym. often a rhyme. a career in public administration will not require you to know the proper definition of peregrinate. You’ll eventually work your way down as the numbers progressively get easier. or anecdote. Phylum. Genus. that is. a mnemonic is a linguistic device. No need to go for the biggest common factor. You can take it from here. To refresh your memory (I wonder if there’s a mnemonic to remember the definition of mnemonic?). Believe it or not. the ETS has a reason for this. Quantitative | No Comments » Mnemonic Vocabulary Tuesday. that aids recall. August 10th. Also. Chances are. start with small numbers. Family. . our brains are a built for more complicated and efficient processes than rote memorization. 2010 Studying reams of vocabulary words can be a mind-numbing process.

come on for God sakes! You likely may have heard a different version of this. Abrogate: 1. I remember having a difficult time remembering the word when I was studying for my GRE. The second definition. . but obscure words may not. I would recognize the word. of course. Putting rum in your nostrils sounds like those many specious home remedies for preventing colds that you may have heard about (most of which have been debunked by scientists).Species = King Philip. just an easy way to remember a close synonym. but I find it pretty effective. I will think of a mnemonic for that definition. a hypothetical remedy for all ills. Sometimes. Let’s look at a few examples. Nostrum: 1. Indeed. I would know that it had a simple definition. 1. and. if the mnemonic works for you. drop it. Hypothetical remedy for all ills or diseases. Remember. this mnemonic as not as catchy as some others you’ve heard. Now. is best encapsulated by the idiomatic expression “snake oil. If it doesn’t.” The Mnemonic: Abrogate= Abolish This is an example of the simplest kind of mnemonic you can imagine. Indeed. or acronym here. but it has special relevance for me. but the best part is.” In essence. once sought by the alchemists 2.” which is defined as “a worthless preparation fraudulently peddled as a cure for many ills.Patent medicine whose efficacy is questionable Nostrum is a pretty rare word but a surprisingly useful one since one of its definitions is pretty unique. The first definition is basically the same definition as the more familiar word panacea–a cure-all. they all will help you memorize this specific information. rhyme. Revoke formally Abrogate is not a notoriously complicated word. But. the English word for “snake oil” is “nostrum. you may be thinking that such information lends itself well to a mnemonic. The Mnemonic: Put rum in your nostrils (or nose) to cure a cold. but I could never recall it. Abrogate means almost the same thing as Abolish. Then.” Because I find this definition more interesting and useful. 1. There’s no use in struggling to remember the mnemonic device on top of remembering these words. that is partly true. many words do happen to conduce corresponding mnemonics–it’s all a matter of using your creativity and finding that customized mnemonic that works for you. though. There is no fancy anecdote. it dawned on me. then use it. that’s all you need. both those words begin with “ab.

if we have a ratio x:y. That means that for every 3 boys at the party. respectively.9 %. We now have to find the ratio. Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments » Ratios and Proportions Thursday. 3. nor does it mean that 4/3 of the party goers are girls. What is the ratio of male to female party goers? This question uses the aforementioned rule. Stated algebraically. August 5th. For example. 4/7. and form the fraction 3/7. if I want to find out what proportion of the party goers are boys. and the GRE is no exception.1%. Let’s see what an example using this rule might look like: Example 1: At a party. of the party goers are girls. and then I take the ratio quantity of boys. then x / x+y and y /x+y express the proportions of x to the group and y to the group. It’s a brilliant site that exploits the power of online collaboration (not unlike Grockit) to enhance education. If you do want to find out what proportion or percentage of the party goers are boys or girls. 2010 Ratios and proportions are favorites of most standardized tests. You can also write this ratio as 3/4. .For an impressively comprehensive list of vocabulary mnemonics. but once you learn the there are 4 girls. visit mnemonicdictionary. So. If 40% of the party is male. and then form a fraction in which this sum is the denominator. but reverses the process. This does not mean that 3/4 of the party goers are boys. They may be a bit intimidating if you are unfamiliar with how to approach them. I add 3 and 4 (=7). a ratio of boys to girls (Boys: Girls) at a party is 3:4. 3/7. or 42. of the party goers are boys. A ratio is a kind of fraction that measures two or more quantities in a group. then 4/10 or 2/5 of the party is male and 3/5 of the party is female. you add the numerator and the denominator. 40% of the party goers are male. you’ll learn that ratio and proportions problems require only simple algebra. respectively. or 57.

Since we have two proportions expressed with the same denominator (2/5 and 3/5). the two acute angles have a ratio of 1:5. we can deduce some important information about the number of items. Though we cannot find the total number of items in a group (e. 66 D. 4x= 4*6= 24 men 7x=7*6=42 women That last example was pretty simple. so 5*15 = 75 . but you do. 78 At first. We know that the sum of the quantities. 64 C. but how about a tougher one that uses the same concept: Example 3: In a right triangle. Since the sum of the angles of a triangle equal 180 degrees. then x = 6. number of people at the party) if we are given a ratio. how many males and females would be there? If 11x=66. 70 E. just add the coefficient x to each quantity and add: 4x+7x=11x. so: 1x+5x =90 6x=90 x=15 The larger angle is 5x. Extra Credit: If there were 66 people at the party. If this is a right triangle.g. which of the following could be the number of people at the party? A. represents a fraction of the total number of party goers. The only multiple of 11 in our choices is C. you may think that you do not have enough information to answer this question. 50 B. To answer a problem like this. then the largest angle is 90 degrees. the answer would be 3:2. 11. 66. then the two acute angles must equal 90 degrees. What’s the measure of the larger acute angle? Before we apply the same method. let’s write down some important info. so our answer MUST be a multiple of 11. Note: If the question had asked for the proportion of females to males. A GRE question testing this rule may look like this: Example 2: If the ratio of men to women at a party is 4:7. we can simply express the ratio of males to females as 2/3 or 2:3.

Just because it looks like 90-degrees doesn’t mean it is! (Many of these common inferences will be detailed in this series. we will cover many types of geometric scenarios encountered on the GRE. Today.) is essential. Be careful in DS questions that pose equations in the context of quadratic equations with two solutions. Quantitative | No Comments » Geometry Series Part 1: Circles Inscribed in Squares Tuesday. only the positive solution remains and the information is sufficient. etc.) Shared angles will normally not be explicitly stated. 2010 In this series. If one solution is negative and the other is positive. ratios and proportions aren’t so scary anymore. For circles: • • • • • d=2r and all lines from the center to the exterior equal r. Some Things to Remember • • • • • The center of the square is the same point as the center of the circle Draw lines! Depending on what the stimulus asks for. Inferences must be drawn from fact. August 3rd.) Lengths cannot be negative. (Squares can be turned into triangles. perimeter. draw in lines that create simple shapes. for example. A basic knowledge of simple formulas (area. unless necessary. we’ll explore circles inscribed in squares. but not too much. Tags: ratios and proportions Posted in GRE. See if you can spot some ratio problems when you’re practicing on Grockit. . but there are numerous shortcuts to geometry questions that will save you time. Trust the pictures. C = 2πr = πd A = πr² NEVER use 2πr² unless you are adding the areas of identical circles! Tangent lines create right angles with the radius that meets that tangent.Hopefully.

Archive for September. 2010 « Older Entries Don’t Get Lazy for your GRE Studies. so the hypotenuse = (s√2)/2). eliminate answer choices that ONLY have π’s in them or don’t have any at all. Get Started Early . you know everything about the circle! Use π = 22/7 with caution. Two important takeaways: 1. The intersection of the diagonals creates a right angle. Follow the trail. your answer will look like x + yπ.• • If you know r. taking practice tests and then mentally preparing for the tests in the final few weeks. Never assume without proof. if not everything. 2. doing many practice problems. September 30th. Shaded Areas Find the large area and subtract the small area from it. Typically. you will be provided with one bit of information that tells you a whole lot. Post below with other helpful tips for your fellow GREers. since it creates 45-degree angles. These months take the form of figuring out what is on the test. perhaps taking a review class. Usually. 2010 For many. Remember 22/7 > π. When dealing with circles along with other figures. When a circle is inscribed inside a square. For squares: • • • The diagonal equals s√2. Get a Study Rountine Down! Thursday. the GRE study experience will take several months. This article suggests some pre-test routines and gives an idea of what people should be expecting and doing in the months leading up to their test. we can actually find the length of the hypotenuse of the internal triangle (s = d = 2r. If given the length of the side of the square in the above image. the side equals the diameter. Next Lesson: Inscribed Triangles.

Practice tests opportunities abound. what it tests exactly. online resources. Essentially you should know what you are getting into. Study as if you were taking the test. discipline yourself! Some people might take longer than others for this practice stage. Relax and Be Confident About a month before your test date you should be feeling confident and relaxed. In this final run. It will provide you with increased brainpower and will be a great mental stimulus to give you a boost on test day. relax and be confident.Overall. If you are missing triangle and circle problems. When you sign up for the GRE. Also. you will probably want at least 2 months for this practice phase and you will want a schedule. and then 6 hours on the weekend. how many questions. and what the different sections include (there are millions of resources out there. Create a Study Schedule and Stick With It Now that you know exactly what the GRE is. but you will eventually figure out when you are ready to start taking practice exams. don’t watch tv. books. and confidence is key!! . Some people might want to consider taking a class because they don’t have the time to self-study or need the direction. Don’t listen to music. You should know that you have taken the necessary steps to prepare for the GRE and should have practiced literally 1000s of problems. guides. the next step is to figure out how you are going to study and for how long. A class will probably meet once or twice a week for several hours and if you don’t take a class. you should focus on them and master them. sleep and exercise will work wonders on your body in these last few months. and go somewhere quiet where you can concentrate. and perhaps get on a workout regimen to burn off some of that extra stress that preparation can cause. ETS gives you access to a few tests. don’t study in environments that don’t simulate a real test. Regardless. etc. You will be feeling good about yourself in the weeks leading up to the test. this might take a few weekends to get up to speed. This will be after you have covered again areas that you struggle with. something like that). you will come across a lot. Don’t like quantitative comparisons? Then spend a few weeks to tackle these types of problems. Assuming you are working or still in college during this process. it is smart to begin initial preparation a few months before your test. get plenty of sleep. create a study schedule and stick to it. don’t drink wine. The right combination of diet. Others might want to buy preparation materials (such as the Official Guide for GRE Review books) and get started that way. This should include diligence of what the GRE is all about. Focus on Problem Areas The next step should be to take a few practice tests to see what scores you are achieving and this will also tell you what areas you should focus on in the final home stretch. what kinds of questions. Eat healthy. You should know where you stand and what areas you might want to focus on in your last few weeks. you should think about creating a schedule (Perhaps Tuesday and Thursday evenings for 3 hours each. Look online and ask your friends. etc). Regardless.

Get excited for the test and for your preparation and it will no doubt pay great dividends on your day. A pre-test routine and a schedule are imperative for a successful result on test day. You must be able to recognize the logical direction of a sentence. logical reasoning is just as important.Don’t Cram Finally.” and “surprisingly” become as important as words like “despotic. words like “despite. indeed. September 28th. 1. Get plenty of sleep. then have five cups of coffee.” “because. While knowledge of vocabulary is necessary for these questions. like five cups.” and “surreptitiously. Do not cram. If you routinely drink coffee in the morning. and. don’t do anything out of the ordinary. but if you are not much of an eater in the AM (assuming you have a morning test) then maybe stick to what you are accustomed to. then don’t have one. the semicolon and the colon can function in the same way. Here are some words that will often signal continuation or support: additionally. don’t do anything that your body or mind is not used to. Continuation Tuesday.” “benumbed. on the day before your test. continuation. too. and cause and effect are three common types of logic that sentence completions can exhibit. as you know. In the end. Continuation / Support: Certain trigger words or phrases indicate that a blank supports or continues an idea in the sentence. 2010 As you may have figured out. sentence completions do not only test you on vocabulary. GRE Prep. . do not think about the test.” Trigger words. Also. Bottom line. relax and don’t do much of anything. likewise. If you don’t normally. are those words that tell us what logical direction a sentence is going. at least 8 hours – your mind will not function well if you are tired and/or if you have your mind on something else. as you could freak out or have a case of the jitters (literally). as it may throw you off. Follow Your Regular Routine The day of your test. Good luck!! Posted in GRE. also. furthermore. just do something relaxing and know that your months of preparation will serve you well. then. I like to have a big breakfast. as food is proven to give you a mental boost. Will one clause support another? Will it contrast another? Will it provide the effect of a cause? Contrast. strategy | 1 Comment » Sentence Completions: Contrast vs. Go to bed with the peace of mind that you will do fantastic the next day.

angry criticism and then a mollified attitude. we can distinguish a cause and effect question from a contrast or continuation question. surprisingly. Essentially. nor are they directly opposite in meaning.Here’s an example: Some people believe that there is no such thing as true ——-: every action. every action is “motivated by a degree of self-interest. he would probably feel very disappointed. thus. still.” which satisfies our contrast. in order to. illogically. 3. even though. and. in contrast. her initial anger had been —— by his sincere promise to apply himself in the future. while.” then our prediction must be the opposite of self-interest. the clause following the colon defines the blank negatively. but there is an important distinction. paradoxically.” 2. given. unexpectedly. they say. Note Here’s an example: Even though the teacher continued to ——– her underachieving student. the answer is “benevolence. “even though. Contrast: Certain trigger words also can indicate a contrast with an idea in the sentence. on the other hand. if…then. consequently. rather than. We cannot readily identify a word in the sentence that is either synonymous or antonymous with our blank. nevertheless. If there is “no such thing” as ______. Cause and Effect: Cause and effect signal words are a bit like continuation/support words.” Consequently. despite. he felt ______. We have two contrasting ideas: harsh. . yet. the colon functions as a trigger word signaling continuation or support. We have to use cause and effect reasoning to figure out a prediction. but. hence. In this example. In this example. the clause following the colon defines the blank. we have an explicit contrast phrase. notwithstanding. include “ironically. Make sure you keep this in mind when you encounter these cause and effect trigger words: because. The answer to this sentence is “berate…abated. therefore. Indeed. as a result. Because John failed the test that he had been rigorously studying for. Even with this oversimplified example. Some implicit examples. Trigger words signaling contrast can be explicit or implicit. which are often harder to detect. Some explicit examples include although. is motivated by some degree of self-interest. we know that the teacher’s initial anger that characterizes the first blank must be diminished by his sincere promise to apply himself. on the contrary. Here’s a simple example. A cause and its effect are rarely synonymous in meaning. In this example. If John failed a test he had been studying for.

Although John failed the test that he had been rigorously studying for. event or gathering scheduled the week of your exam. it is offered virtually every day of the year. GRE scores are good for five years so it’s easier to take it now. Use this flexibility to your benefit and plan around your academic calendar when scheduling your exam.” “happy. rather than when you’re working a 9-5 job and haven’t studied for anything in three years. an appropriate prediction might be “fine. we cannot simply gloss over the trigger words in sentence completions. and see how that might change our prediction. Now. Here are some FAQs about taking the GRE as an undergraduate. Avoid scheduling your GRE for the middle or end of the semester/quarter when you will be stressed with midterms and finals. as they tend to fill up very quickly. Sentence Completion. Since college students tend to be night owls.For practice. Lastly. unlike many other graduate school exams. while you’re still in the habit of studying and taking exams. consider which time slot you would prefer to take your exam. why don’t we change “because” to a contrast word. study during the year but schedule the exam a few weeks after finals so that you will have some time to unwind. September 27th.” “undeterred. the best time to take the GRE is definitely while you are still in college. Also. some test centers offer testing times at both 8 am and noon. make sure you schedule it early in the term before your other campus responsibilities start becoming serious. Verbal | No Comments » Taking the GRE While Still in College Monday. If you have the option of taking it during the beginning of senior year. he felt ______.” Remember. Whenever you practice on Grockit. mentally take note of the trigger words in a sentence. Sign up early if you want to get one of the noon times. 2010 While some graduate school applicants have been out of school for a while. be sure to check your extracurricular activities to make sure that your group doesn’t have a performance. If you take it at the end of junior year. Happy studying! When should I take the exam? Since the GRE is a computer adaptive test. The most common time to take the GRE is at the end of your junior year or beginning of senior year. .’ we must radically change our approach to the problem. With just a change from ‘because’ to ‘although.” “undiscouraged. It will help you avoid simple mistakes that may cost you big points on the exam. Posted in GRE.

” “3x² – y. make sure you distribute the minus sign.Subtraction: If you are subtracting two polynomials. If you’re taking the exam during the academic year. If you’re the type that studies better by yourself. Compare this with your target GRE score to help you decide what type of help you need. and part-time campus jobs on top of academic classes. Let’s look at few different types of polynomial problems on the and download their free Powerprep® Software to access practice tests so you can get a gauge of your raw performance. an online or in-person class might be best for you. try to finish that assignment early so that you can keep your focus on the GRE. Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments » Polynomials Friday. subtraction.ets. September 24th. You need to set aside time regularly. But preparing for the GRE. Visit Grockit to join an interactive game and check out the Grockit forums and connect with other GRE test-takers. 2010 A polynomial is any expression that combines two or more monomials using addition.” and “a+b” are simple examples of polynomials. in-person class or simply buying books and practicing on your own. If you have a lengthy paper due three days before your exam. intramural sports. Example 1: (4x²+7x+11) – (x²+14x+15) What this means is: . you might be better served by buying some of the many prep books on the market. you’ll be expected to know how to manipulate polynomials. How do I balance GRE preparation with my regular course load? Plan ahead. there are myriad options for GRE prep. With extracurricular activities. or multiplication. If you’re an active learner. “2x+3y. 1. It’s normal to be nervous and stressed out as your test date approaches. Keep your study habits in mind. help your sanity by planning ahead and minimizing other stresses as much as possible. Go to the www. For the GRE Quantitative section. to practice problems and take practice exams so you can work on your pacing. just as you would for any other class. whether on your own or with professional help. examine your schedule for the last few weeks leading up to your GRE. college students are always busy. is like taking an extra class.What are my options for GRE prep? Whether it’s an online course. preferring to discuss methods and terms with others.

Average of polynomials: When finding the average of polynomials. Example 2. Binomial Products: Rather than use the distributive method (FOIL) every time. Miscellaneous Polynomial Question Types . so we divide by how many items in the list there are). What’s the average of: (5x²+10x-7) + (3x²-4x+4) + 4x² First. Example 4: (32(a²)b + 12a(b³)c) / 8ab = 32(a²)b / 8ab + 12a(b³)c / 8ab = 4a + (3/2) (b² )c 5. here are some quick ways to multiply familiar binomials. then our calculation is limited to (7)(13)=91 4. but just use the distributive property. (x-y)² = x² -2xy + y² C. add the expressions and divide by the number of different self-contained expressions. Dividing Polynomials: dividing polynomials may look daunting. A. what is the value of x²-y² Because we know that x²-y²= (x-y)(x+y). add the expressions: 12x² + 6x -3 Divide the sum by 3 (we are finding the average. (12x² + 6x – 3 ) / 3 = 4x² +2x – 1 3. (x-y)(x+y) = x²-y² B. (x+y)² = x²+2xy +y² Note: These three products should be memorized to save valuable time on the GRE. If x-y=7 and x+y=13. Example 3:.4x² + 7x +11 – x² – 14x – 15 Combine like terms: 3x² – 7x – 4 2.

If we multiply the top and bottom of the first expression by y² and multiply the top and bottom of the second expression by x². we can make this a lot easier with the rule x²-y²= (x-y)(x+y) With that logic. do not think you can just square each of these numbers. Example 7: What is the sum of the reciprocals of x² and y²? So. your first instinct should be to manipulate the numerator and denominator until you can comfortably cancel out expressions. x (4x²-1) = x (2x+1) (2x-1) So: x (2x+1)(2x-1) / 3(2x+1)(2x-1) = x / 3 NOW we can plug in. we want to add 1/x² + 1/y². y² / x²*y² + x² / x²*y² =( x² + y²) / (x²*y²) .Example 5 : What is the value of (10001)² – (9999)² When you see a problem like this. you can be confident that you overlooked a simpler solution to the problem. I bet we can manipulate the numerator a little further to yield this expression. Another trap here is that you may want to FOIL out the denominator. Remember. Let’s try some factoring: numerator: 4x³ – x = x ( 4x² – 1) [That's the only way we could factor it ] denominator: (2x+1) (6x-3) = (2x+1)* 3(2x-1) Hmm. When you see a very complicated expression like this. the denominator has the expression (2x+1). Don’t plug in the 9999 immediately just because you think it’s an easy way out of doing algebra. no calculator is allowed. we will yield the same denominator in both expressions. and we can. If you find yourself doing tons of calculations. It will make you miserable. say 10001=x and 9999=y. we know that the initial expression= (10001-9999)(10001+9999)= =2 * 20000 = 40000 Example 6: What is the value of ((4x³)-x) / (2x+1)(6x-3) when x = 9999 Same idea here. If we consider each number a variable. What’s the problem? We can’t add numerators unless we have the same denominator.

you know that the two blanks should correspond. and when added. This is particularly important in two-blank sentence completions. “therefore”. hence. the children spent the day playing in the yard. 2010 A common mistake that students make when doing sentence completions is forgetting to check if the sentence makes logical sense even though the word seems to fit the blank. Because of the ——– weather. then…”.. “in addition” etc. Let’s try a one blank sentence first. certain problems that seem to require extreme calculations really just require some crafty algebraic manipulation. September 22nd. consequently. If you need a little refresher with factoring. the other blank should also be a positive word and vice versa. Here are two situations which indicate that the sentence contains a structural agreement Case 1: Cause and Effect A cause and effect sentence usually runs like this: “Because…. therefore. symbiotic D. then and as a result should give you a clue that the blank agrees with the rest of the sentence. If one blank should be a positive word. If you see certain words such as “because”. This is known as Structural Agreement. when multiplied. don’t immediately plug in 994.Example 8: What’s the value of x²+ 12x + 36 when x = 994 Like our earlier examples. (x+6)(x+6)…or (x+6)² Plug it in: 1000² = 1.000 As you can see. Quantitative | No Comments » Structural Agreement Wednesday. Tags: polynomials Posted in GRE. How about 6 and 6? So. Words such as because. Having a thorough knowledge of polynomials will help you approach such problems the right way. (A second post on Structural Contrast will follow soon). mellifluous . equal 12. equal 36. A. balmy B. our goal here is to think of two numbers that. scan it quickly to see if it has any structural key words. We can easily factor this polynomial. Give these strategies a try during practice on Grockit.000. torrid C. Problem Solving. As always. attenuating E.

This means that you are looking for a positive word to fill in the blank and can get rid of torrid and attenuating. “infirmity” and “benevolence”. rather than stay indoors.E. This eliminates “affluence”. such as. entrepreneur Because tells you that its an agreement and further. Because the weather was good. The film was harshly criticized for its ——–. in addition. apply what other vocabulary guessing skills such as using roots if you don’t know what the words mean. exigencies E. such as placing a plasma-screen television in an early twentieth-century living room. The word accompanying in the following examples suggests that the blank echoes or strengthens “unemployment”. the agreement might not be indicated so obviously as shown by the next two examples. This is where part of the sentence elaborates and sometimes strengths what’s said in the other half. Imperfections B. E. injustices C. such as is used to indicate that the sentence contains a structural agreement. “Anachronism” means out of its proper time period and I can guess what this word means from the roots “ana” and “chrono”. E. Cummings is someone who rejects tradition for experimental forms. tempos Sometimes. Is “aberration” the definition of such a person? Is “aboriginal”? You can eliminate choices when you realize that the blank is defined by certain phrases in the sentence. industrial B. What follows such as defines or is an example of the first half of the sentence. From there. aboriginal E. A. which they are struggling to overcome. so I would pick choice C. anachronisms D. Here’s another example. In the following sentence. Strengthening words are also. it defines the blank for you. Cummings has been labeled an ——– because he rejected traditional poetic forms for his unique experimental ones.The “because” should tell you that the weather was good. A. Case 2: Strengthening words A little different from cause and effect are strengthening or amplifying sentence.E. for example. “Placing a plasma-screen television in an early twentieth-century living room” suggests that the TV is out of place. That family’s many financial woes include unemployment and the accompanying ——–. iconoclast D. the children could play in the yard outdoors. aberration C. . in other words.

Note that when working together. Problems involving “work” are essentially rate problems. A.A. you should be able to find the third. a disturbing… intuitions E. Posted in GRE. September 20th. a sexist… pestilences C. a misogynist… behaviors B. A semicolon is usually to join to clauses that can otherwise stand on its own. benevolence Other times. where a worker’s “efficiency” is calculated by amount completed in a given period of time. affliction B. Make sure you keep your units straight. but rather simply recognizing their existence. affluence C. “rate equals distance over time. penury D. Try this example: Critics of the self-help book deem it ——– folly. the second clause tells you that they do not like it because it “sets back women’s social issues by decades”. or one explains the other. the total time to complete the same task will . if the units remain constant. the agreement might be shown by the semicolon. Verbal | No Comments » Work and Rates Monday. a laudable… comportments The word “folly” suggests that the critics do not like the book. 2010 There is one very important equation that guides all rate and work questions: r = d/t. Sentence Completion. Always remember to check if the sentence contains a structural agreement or contrast. the clauses agree with one another. Don’t be in too much of a hurry to pick the immediate answer that fits without checking that it makes sense in context. This doesn’t mean wasting time and writing each and every one out. we typically need to add their separate rates together. You can thus eliminate choice C and E because “excellent” and “laudable” do not indicate the critics’ dislike. infirmity E. they claim that it advocates ——– that set back women’s social issues by decades. Working Together In questions where individuals work at different speeds. Specifically. an excellent… protocols D. More often than not.” If given any two of the three.

M.25. approximately how long.31 C. 42/13 hours/truck = 3 3/13 hours/truck. 3. When moving at an angle. trains and automobiles. are you averaging or adding the given times taken.23 E. You must add rates.25.M. If both workers load one truck simultaneously while maintaining their constant rates. Again. we instead subtract their speeds to find the relative velocity. they will complete 1/6 + 1/7 trucks/ 1 hour. 2.15 B. Objects moving at given speeds on the <a href=”http://grockit. we may not be able to decide between (D) or (E). Choice (E). Sometimes walking. Remember the question is asking for the number of hours to fill 1 truck. If all three trains meet at the same time between New York and Dallas. 0. 0. 1/6 + 1/7 = 6/42 + 7/42 = 13/42 trucks/1 hour. NOT the number of trucks completed in 1 hour. will it take them to fill 1 truck? A. Train A traveling at 60 m/hr leaves New York for Dallas at 6 P.47 D. To find this. Train B traveling at 90 m/hr also leaves New York for Dallas at 9 P. When”>GRE</a>usually travel toward or away from each other. the decimal is important. what is the speed of Train C if the distance between Dallas and New York is 1260 miles? A. we may be looking at a geometry question. This can also be 1/6 trucks/1 hour. A worker can load 1 full truck in 6 hours. be careful of units. 60 m/hr . Relative Velocity Planes. A second worker can load the same truck in 7 hours. If moving in the same less than BOTH of the individual rates. We can also see that 3/12 will yield .25 The rate of worker #1 is 1 truck/6 hours.M. The rate of worker #2 is 1/7. we can add their speeds to see their relative velocities. At this point. in hours. but not necessarily in proportion. we find the reciprocal of 13/42. we know the decimal cannot equal . so 3/13 will be slightly lower. Train C leaves Dallas for New York at 9 P. Because the denominator is 13. 3. However. Nor. If moving toward or away from each other.

At this rate. so all we have to is add “plows” to the expression. For example: Three plows working at identical constant rates can clear 123 ft of snow per minute. If we divide 123 ft/min by 3 plows. Keep in mind that the number of workers (at the same efficiency) is inversely proportional to the amount of time it takes one to complete a given task. how much snow could 8 plows remove in 5 minutes? A. 16. which has traveled the same time as B (6 hours).640 D. which is then compared to the work completed. 180 m/hr Relative to Train A. 328 B. 135 m/hr E. it will take Train B 6 hours. Man Hours Many times you may be asked to calculate the number of workers would be need to complete a certain task. Train B’s velocity is 30 m/hr. 131. 1. the time will be 3am. A gets to mile marker 180. Rate of Train C = 720 miles/ 6 hours = 120 miles/hour. To catch up the 180 miles. This means that B will gain on A at a rate of 30 miles every hour. In the three hours from 6pm to 9pm. So when they all meet up. Notice that: Train A = 9 hours at 60 miles/hour = 540 miles Train B = 6 hours at 90 miles/hour = 540 miles We can now tackle Train C. Choice (C). here we want to interact plow-minutes. Feet and minutes are already compared. we get: . 90 m/hr C. and traveled (1260 – 540) miles.200 Instead of man-hours.400 E. It may help consider the unit man-hours as the multiplication between workers and time. 120 m/hr D. 984 C. and they will be at mile marker 540.B.

41*40 feet / 40 plow-minutes = 1640 feet / 40 plow-minutes. relative volocity. September 16th. 2010 There are two types of interest problems on the GRE. and they include simple interest and compound interest. This is by no means exhaustive. Example: If you invested $1. Quantitative | 1 Comment » Interest and Compound Interest Problems Thursday.123 ft/minute/3 plows = 41 ft/plow-minute At this rate. Note the absolute rate does not change. Simple interest is the most basic and is a function of P. and the amount of time the money is invested. so the value is constant. the interest rate earned on the principle. if we want to increase minutes to 5 and plows to 8. Mr. we need to divide 10% by 2 (because of 2 compounding periods). the principle amount of money invested. There are LOADS more rate questions. Riley’s account at the end of one year? For compound interest. For compound interest. we would need to divide 10% by 4. and if we were compounding quarterly. since we are multiplying top and bottom by 40.060. Let’s look at similar type problem. Choice (C). you would earn slightly more. So for in the above question. the above equation tells us the amount of interest that would be earned on a principle amount invested (P). for a given time (t) at a given interest rate (i). Riley deposits $500 into an account that pays 10% interest. i.000 (P = your principle) for one year (t = one year) at 6% simple interest (i = given interest rate). though this one involves compound interest. you would get $60 in interest at the end of the year and would have a total of $1. first you need to divide the interest rate by how many compound periods there are. t (this is usually stated in periods. such as years or months). . work and rates Posted in GRE. The resulting equation is: Interest = iPt In basic terms. because we are compounding semiannually. How much money will be in Mr. Please visit the Grockit forum or leave a comment here to discuss further. compounded semiannually. some are much more difficult. we can simply insert these into the existing rate. Tags: man hours.

and then will pay another 5% at the end of the year. This interest is equal to $525*5% = $26. what will be its approximate worth in 28 years? A. Money invested at x%. The correct answer choice is E.500*3).600 C. Now. we know that this balance of $7. we know that the money triples in value every 14 years. The lesson? Compound interest always pays more! Let’s look at another similar type of problem that involves interest. Therefore.500 (or $2.500 At first glance. $8.In the above question. Riley earns $1. Mr. compounded annually. which might unnecessarily confuse you. we are given x% as 8%. plus $26. Mr. For the second half of the year. to get $7. Mr. Mr. $5.750 B. the three types of interest problems you will most likely encounter come test day will be simple interest. Riley is then paid 5% on the $525 balance that was in his account at the end of the first six months. hence the phrase “compounding”.500 (or $7. at the end of the year. Thus. triples in value in approximately every 112/x years.500 will triple again. $3. plus the $25 interest paid at the end of 6 months. $15. Riley has $525 because the bank paid $25 in interest ($500*5%) into his account.25.25 paid at the end of the year. They will pay 5% interest (10%/2) at the end of six months. Riley has $551. Overall. once in 14 years and one more time at the 28th year. $22. Compound interest can essentially be translated into “interest paid on interest”.25. and word problems involving the mention of .000 E. you are paid interest on the interest that was paid in prior periods. so all we need to do is take 112/8 = 14. So at the end of the six months. compounded annually. Mr. we know that the money will triple exactly twice in 28 years. Riley deposited $500 into his account at a rate of 10% compounded semiannually and the bank will divide his interest into two equal parts.100 D. it might be a bit easier to think about this without the use of compound interest. meaning that after one period. this one seems pretty tricky because you are given x% as the interest rate and it asks you about compounding and it might seem difficult where to find a starting point for this. so the final balance at the end of the next 14 year period will be $22. If $2500 is invested at a rate of 8%. which is equal to his balance of $500. compound interest. Here. For this one. Further.500*3). So first we need to multiply the original $2500 invested by 3 to get the balance at the end of year 14 (because it triples).25 more with this compound interest than he would have been paid if he were paid only 10% simple interest (would have been only $550).

remember that some questions can be solved intuitively. polite The structural clue here is a distinct contrast to. taciturn E. yet. Her flamboyant acting during the school play was a distinct contrast to her usual ——– demeanor. Tags: compound interest. scan the sentence for any structural clues and then guess what word could fit in the blank before looking at your options. however.interest paid in one period is simple interest and interest “paid on interest” in multiple periods is compound interest. The key to deciphering between compound interest and simple interest is to see how many periods the interest is paid…. he did not ——– this recent campaign to raise teachers’ salaries. Have a compound interest problem or question you can’t figure out? Go to Grockit forums and ask Grockit’s expert tutors for help. the two blanks are likely opposite in meaning. but. theatrical C. breed . structural contrasts indicate that there’s a shift in the sentence. uninhibited B. interest Posted in GRE. choice D. in contrast. on the other hand. but that can be solved without the application of interest or compound interest methods. This means you’re looking for a word that’s the opposite of flamboyant. A. This tells you that her —– demeanor is opposite to her flamboyant acting. Winthrop has always been a leading advocate for educational reform. As always. 2010 Unlike Structural Agreement. I would guess “reserved” and see which option is most like that word. communicative D. Quantitative | No Comments » Structural contrast Tuesday. nor. Finally. Let’s try a one-blank SC example first. A. rather. These are usually indicated by contrast words such as although. despite. nevertheless. It turns out that there is only one choice. In a two-blank SC. in spite of If you see any of these words upon scanning the sentence. you should realize that the word you are looking for in a one-blank sentence completion (SC) is probably opposite in meaning to the rest of the sentence. Let’s try another one-blank SC. instead. September 14th. Although Mr.interest.

the blanks are opposite. Verbal | No Comments » How to Study for GRE Vocabulary Sunday. Fred was pleased to find that his usually churlish brother-in-law behaved ——–. courteously…impolitely B. even though she had already faced —— from several talent agencies. rather than —(same as churlish)—. spearhead E. diminish D. My guess for the blank would be “he did not lead the campaign”. irritated… encouragement C. Looking at the options. legislate The keyword here is although: this tells you that even though he is a leading advocate. rather than ——–. Sentence Completion. So I know that the songwriter was either optimistic about Nashville even though she had faced rejection or that the songwriter was pessimistic about Nashville even though she had gotten several offers. gracefully…awkwardly C. I would narrow my choices down to choice D and E. A. humble… derogation Did you find the structural keyword in the above example? I found “even though”. miserable… insults B. Ultimately. His usually churlish brotherin-law behaved — (opposite of churlish) —. Notice that in both instances. 2010 . Recognizing this narrows it down to the options that are a positive word…negative word: choices A and B. repent C. repentently…arrogantly Posted in GRE. The contrast in the following example is even easier to spot. September 12th. optimistic… rejection E. hopeful… support D. lewdly…respectfully E. The songwriter was —— about the prospects for success in Nashville. Moving on to two-blank SC. jocularly…timidly D. at the party. I would settle for pessimistic … rejection because one does not usually “face encouragement” or “face support”. he was NOT involved in this campaign. A.B.

Once you learn these roots. First. . Make this document your official personal word list. write it down somewhere–scrawl it on a napkin.” which means offensively loud. Or. you can figure out that soliloquy means a speech you make alone or to yourself. If you’re serious about studying vocabulary. read it in a magazine or in a textbook. In general. or even text it on your cell phone. type it on the computer. For example. or. or add a note that helps you remember that particular word (e. or in test prep books. This may sound unnecessary for a written test. i. write the word you need to learn on the blank side of the card. spread out your vocabulary studying over a long time. write the word phonetically under the word (e. easily understandable definition.e. 3. If your buddy is up for a challenge. write it down.” meaning alone. If you have a hard time pronouncing it. and build to it and study from it every day. Whenever you come across an unfamiliar word that might be included in a GRE vocabulary list.” who just started learning to skateboard. the word “soliloquy” contains the roots “sol / solo. and “loquy. add a little phrase or sentence to help you remember the word’s proper use. here are a few tips to help you get the most out of your time. Find a Study Buddy: Studying vocabulary in a group or with a friend makes the often tedious task a bit more fun. 4. through Grockit forum posts.Learning vocabulary words the GRE is a pretty daunting task. especially when it comes to learning new words.” meaning speech.g. propitiate = pruh-PIH-shee-eyt). copy the unfamiliar words you encounter–found in both the questions and answer choices–in a separate document. but they are still one of the most effective ways to learn new words. 3. Write down Unfamiliar Words: I consider this step one of the most important and most overlooked. All you have to do is take turns saying the word aloud and having the other person define the word. for example. competitive games may help you forget that you are studying in the first place. creative. Learn your word roots: Many GRE vocabulary words contain easily identifiable word roots that help you with the answer. cramming is not very effective. but knowing the correct pronunciation will allow you to use the word with confidence and correctly identify the word if it is spoken.” meaning “an inexperienced person / beginner / newbie. encourage some friendly competition. I think “vociferous=voice ferocious”). When you practice on Grockit. 2. Whether or not you heard it on the street or in a conversation. write down the roots and their meanings on the flash cards. 1. On the lined side of the card.” I think of my friend “Tyler. write a short. Without looking in the dictionary. which can be learned online.g. you can switch it up: say the definition and ask for the word. a monologue. Use flash cards: Flash cards may sound a little old fashioned. If you have trouble with the word. Go for Long Term: If you have the opportunity. Just looking at the immense vocabulary lists offered in prep books can discourage you from starting a study plan. when I hear the word “vociferous. when I hear the word “tyro.

If you really want to know these words. 2010 Let’s go over a few definitions before we go over the different types of combination and permutation questions. 6! = 6*5*4*3*2*1 Combinations Combinations are used when the order of the objects doesn’t matter. It may be easier to implement them into an essay or a volunteered comment in class. When you choose something. For any integer n. Don’t neglect the words you’ve learned. Repeat: Once you’ve “finished” learning a group of new words. it doesn’t matter what order you choose them in. The general formula for choose r objects out of n objects (where r is obviously less than or equal to n) is n! / (n – r)! r! For example. at the very least. Around the right crowd. When you are ready for a new list. but chances are you may forget their meanings if you don’t keep reviewing. n = 7. trying out some of these big words will be welcomed. For example. September 10th. The first thing to know is what ! means. you need to remember the formula for combination and permutation which involves the ! sign. The answer is to choose 2 colors out of 7. Use the words: This may be the most challenging task in the list. though. it’ll get a laugh. if I am trying to create a custom striped tie and I need to pick two colors for it out of 7. Calculators have combination and permuation functions built in but you won’t be able to use them on your GRE “!” is read aloud as “factorial”.5. The keyword that lets you know to use the combination formula is the word choose. r = 2 and the answer is 7! / (5! * 2!) = 21 Combinations of combinations . then how many color combinations can I have. In general. don’t just set it aside. add them to an existing list. try to implement them into casual speech. Verbal | No Comments » GRE Combinations and Permutations Friday. So in this case. Studying vocabulary should always be a cumulative process. n! = n*(n–1 )*(n–2)*…*3*2*1. You may think they are locked in your brain. Posted in GRE. 6.

there are (n-1)! Number of ways. So in total. when arranging n people in a circle. there are 4 accessory combinations that we could match with it. you have to divide 7! by 2!. There are 7 letters so there are 7! ways of arranging these letters in order. If all the seats are empty and I want to fill the first seat. we get 10. And more often than not. Then for the second seat. Permutations in a circle What if you need to sit people around a circular table? Since there is no longer a left end and a right end. How many different combinations of colors and dashboard options are available to this buyer? We look at seat colors first.What if the question tells you that you have a number of choices for one thing. there are 120 ways of seating these 5 people. A and E are also repeated twice so you have to divide by 2! twice more. we get 4 combinations. I have 3 people and so on. With 10 seat-color combinations. I have 5 people to choose from to fill the seat. and since one P looks the same as the other P. we thus have 40 accessory combinations to match with it. But P is repeated twice. the first person you seat is just a point of reference. the same concept applies – 7 * 6 * 5 * 4 * 3 where each number represents the number of people I can choose from to put in each seat starting from the left. instead of having 120 seating arrangements like before. how many combinations can you have of the two things? For example. So the answer is 5! If I have 7 people and five seats. how many different words can you form from the letters of word. order matters. because for every seat color combination. how many 7-letter words can you form from the word APPEASE. Then choosing 3 accessories out of 4. if we have 5 people and five seats on a plane. And for the third seat. and another number of choices for another. any buyer of a new sports car has to pick between 2 of 5 options for seat colors and 3 of 4 options for dashboard accessories. For example. . So if you are seating 5 people in 5 seats around a circular table. you have 24 arrangements. the word will have repeated letters in it. For example. we have 10*4 seat color-accessories combinations. In general. Permutations with repeated terms This type of question usually asks. Permutations With permutations. I have 4 people to choose from (because one person has already sat down). Choosing 2 out of 5 and applying the formula.

If you don’t know it’s a right triangle. . 2010 To start off. Let’s continue with a standard diagram in which we have an equilateral triangle inscribed in a circle. The center point of all three figures (triangle. Therefore. a² + b² = c².The final answer is Archive for October. let’s quickly review the essentials. 45-45-90 triangles are ALWAYS in the ratio 1:1:√2 4. square or triangle. We draw a perpendicular line from the center to the side of the triangle. 30-60-90 triangle are ALWAYS in the ratio 1:√3:2 5. but only when a right triangle. but are NOT proportional.) 3. Angles and opposite sides are in the same relative size order. 2010 Geometry Series Part 2: Inscribed Triangles Wednesday. 5-12-13. 7-24-25 (and their multiples. circle. square) are all the same. These are formulas/concepts you must know: 1. Common special right triangles include 3-4-5. October 27th. but this is ONLY true if the triangle is equilateral. 8-15-17. if given ANY piece of information about the circle. we can derive the rest. Pythagorean theorem does not apply! 2. which is inscribed in a square.

solving for the base. Memorize this.Note that the hypotenuses of the smaller triangles are equal to the radius of the circle. Here are your basic conversions: r = ½d = ½s. where s is the side of the square. we just use the conversions above: d=8 r=4 side of triangle = 4√3 Area of triangle = [(4√3)²√3]/4 = 16*3*√3 / 4 = 4*3*√3 = 12√3 Angle Relationships . we should be able to derive essentially any other information. finding the height. imagine how long it takes to do! If the area of the square = 64 and we needed to find the area of the triangle. multiplying and dividing by 2. Area of an Equilateral Triangle The area of an equilateral triangle equals (s²√3)/4. That was long to write. We also know that the smaller triangles are each 30-60-90 because you are taking the 120degree internal angle from the circle’s center and cutting it in two. The sides of the 30-60-90 triangles become ½r : (r√3)/2 : r respectively The side of the equilateral triangle becomes 2*(r√3)/2 = r√3 If given the area of the square. It will save you the time of drawing a 30-60-90 triangle.

2010 In the United States.” “How to Select an Answer. Here are some facts and tips to help demystify the GRE Computer Based Test: 1. If you’re like most test-takers. Circles inscribed in squares Tags: triangles Posted in GRE. you probably have never taken a standardized test on a computer before. The Tutorials: This might sound silly.” “How to Use the Testing Tools. Though test format may not seem like a big deal at first. and practice makes perfect! Good luck! Read other articles in this series: Geometry Series pt 1. but will come up on quant questions over and over. they do have an important purpose. you’ll have to work through four computer tutorials created by the GRE test software. In the image above. but right before you take the test. the computer-based test is by the far the more popular choice because you can sign up to take it almost every day of the year. series | No Comments » Preparing for a Computer Based Test Tuesday. Be flexible in your reasoning.” and “How to Scroll. There are infinite variations of these concepts. The four tutorials are “How to Use a Mouse. Quantitative. 2b = a. October 26th. You may be computer savvy. .” While these lessons seem better suited for octogenarians at the Learning Annex. we must realize that a computer test necessitates its own set of preparations.Another important rule is that the interior angle created from of two radii extending to the outside of the circle is exactly twice the measure of any angle on the circle extending to those same points. This information is never explicitly stated on tests. the GRE can be taken as a computer-based or paper-based test.

so this is a great time to make your answer sheet. though. and vice versa. Luckily. You do not have sections of question types like you would on the SAT. it’s customized to your individual performance. Grockit makes great practice since it’s computer-based also. simply create two multiple choice columns. 2. you will only see one question at a time.but the GRE software is not exactly Windows or Apple–familiarize yourself with its quirks. That means no underlining words in passages and no crossing out answer choices. you won’t be comforted by the predictability of sections. There you have it. no saving the hardest for last. 5. you cannot return to any one question after you’ve answered it. The test begins with average difficulty questions. Test Day. that you won’t get fatigued by one question typed either (and by one question type. Remember the “tutorials” you have to go through? You can take as long as you like during them. After all. The Computer Based Test isn’t something to be feared. Before the test begins. a burden is lifted. use the scratch paper they give you to create a makeshift answer sheet. It just takes some getting used to. You cannot mentally prepare yourself for one question type. Process of Elimination: You’ve probably already figured this one out. you may find a “difficult” question easy. While this may initially cause some anxiety. and number each from 1 to 30. you will not be able to mark up your test. and then the questions will become harder if you are answering correctly or easier if you are answering incorrectly. What’s the Adaptive Mean?: The word “adaptive” in Computer Adaptive Test means that the test adapts to your skill level. what’s the solution? Just learn to deal with the handicap? No! You simply cannot afford to lose the luxury of crossing out answers on a standardized multiple choice test. antonyms. I mean reading comprehension of course). This may be the greatest disadvantage presented by the computer test.. 3. This may make things a bit more difficult. for an added bonus. 4. No Skipping: On a computer-based test. there is a way to circumvent this obstacle–use scratch paper. and analogies. can come up in any order. On the computer test. Sentence completions. On a computer-based test. That’s right. No second chances. for example. strategy | No Comments » Issue Writing Task: Use What You Know . GRE Prep. If you want to make your answer sheet as precise as possible. Question Type Order: Unfortunately. The good news is. after all. And. you cannot see the next question until you answer the current question. So. Do not try to predict your performance based on the difficulty of questions. no stalling. It’s also not worth your energy to worry about that. Go practice! Tags: computer based test Posted in GRE. it helps to think of this limitation as a liberation: intimidating questions can no longer loom over your head as you take the test–ah.

3. 1. I’m sure none of you wants to do that (though I bet it’s been done before). so try to temper your genius. This is probably a fruitless strategy. Let’s look at a relatively esoteric issue prompt and explore varying avenues of analysis. the ETS doesn’t expect this from you. . You might think that. Still. The Parthenon.) reveal the otherwise hidden ideas and impulses of a society. be searching your brain for any example of art you know something about. the toughest part of the Issue Task is coming up with ideas that you’re confident in. is the aim of art to reflect and comment on society? Let’s look at some ideas from different perspectives: 1. In fact. Each point will be labeled “agree” or “disagree” to indicate whether the example is for or against the speaker. Agree: Medieval and Renaissance painting was heavily religious. in fact. Students from all kinds of backgrounds take the GRE. scour the newspaper.” What we have here is a veritable breath of fresh air for any humanities or arts major. 2010 Admittedly. more importantly. The Layman’s Approach: If you’re not an art lover or humanities major. i. 1. and exhume those halfread classics from high school English. you may be worried by such a prompt. I want to offer an often unheeded caveat for those art lovers: don’t get too excited. but it’s a kiss of death for anybody without a predilection for the arts. so as to reflect the core societal values of the age. don’t reproduce your senior thesis in 45 minutes. if you come across a prompt that could benefit from your expertise. music. you may. thereby reflecting the pervasive religious fervor in their respective societies. so let’s simplify it: do the arts always reflect social ideas? That is. etc. Though it seems certain issue prompts necessitate a thorough knowledge in some particular area. October 21st. a chemistry student isn’t expected to know Shakespeare. by all means go for it. Agree: Skyscrapers built in urban metropolises in the 20th century reflect the zeitgeist of technological progress. Agree: Ancient and Renaissance architectures were often constructed to honor gods and provide an appropriate place of worship.Thursday. and an English student isn’t expected to understand hydrogen bonding. In other words. such is not the case. dust off an old history book. the great European cathedrals 2. as hard as that may be. The examples do not have to be in-depth analyses of the Renaissance masters–just use what you know. and. Why not take a step back and think about the kinds of art you could talk about. If you come across a topic that allows you to exploit your studies. some appropriate for the expert and others for the layman: “The arts (painting. the pyramids. The above prompt is a somewhat confusing question. with the 200+ topics available. literature. you’ll have to read an encyclopedia. keep in mind that your readers may not be conversant with your academic discipline.

Disagree: In twentieth century painting. Each chapter of the novel exhibits a markedly different style and theme. Agree: Victorian Literature 1. however. i. 2. Indeed.g. 3. ii. courtship and the social practices of marriage. Certain artistic movements are known for social commentary while others are famous for eschewing it. in some instances. T. i. Dystopian novels like 1984 make explicit the fears of totalitarian governments that were in power at the time. . Modernists aspire to more than social commentary. The Issue topic is always about using what you know and making sense of it. Austen’s Pride and Prejudice often elucidates the societal emphasis on marrying for status and financial security rather than marrying for love. the poem comments on the current zeitgeist. but its method in doing so recapitulates a history of the medium to draw attention to its status as an artwork. thereby referring to itself as art rather than commenting on or exhibiting any societal impulse.4. e. to draw attention to the process and materials of artistic composition. 2. for example. Disagree: Modernism 1. most critics of the movement agree that one philosophical project of modernism is to isolate the form of art and the form of the medium. 3.S. for example. we see a retreat from societal representation to more idiosyncratic aesthetics. visceral. is a complex and ostensibly chaotic mishmash of historical literary styles and references. that is. Pollock’s technique–violently splattering paint on the canvas– can be viewed as a purely visceral impulse. The Expert’s Approach: If you have some knowledge of art history or literature. thereby reflecting the psychosocial consciousness of the time. you can certainly use that here. Art becomes less mimetic and more cerebral. the mess of paint evokes the image of the action of painting. Agree: Dystopian Fiction: 1. follows a similar ambition. illustrating a detailed history of the development of English. or at least aspiring to something greater than it. Eliot’s The Wasteland. often considered the quintessential modernist novel. In fact. authors like Jane Austen and George Eliot strive to replicate realistic social scenarios. or. 1. iii. In Victorian fiction. While the “expert” essay has more complex and esoteric examples. all the while corresponding to a specific episode from Homer’s great epic poem The Odyssey. 2. i. both essays include logical arguments with sufficient evidence. i. one particular chapter changes its style paragraph by paragraph. 1. James Joyce’s Ulysses. in order to comment on and often critique social mores.

you will choose a locker in which to place all of your belongings. You will then be asked to sign the GRE Examination Testing Rules & Agreement. the basic sequence of events will be the same. try to use the knowledge that you already have rather than cram for new material. The palm sensor will soon replace the fingerprints as the only digital identification system. Posted in Essay. you will place each of your hands over a sensor. the last thing you should worry about on the day of your GRE is the testing environment. you’ll need to show proper photo identification and tell the administrator which exam you’re there to take. After weeks and months of preparation. Wear layers in case the room is cold. Then the administrator will escort you into the . Arrival: Try to arrive at the test center 15-30 minutes early because of the sign-in process. 2010 The GRE is unlike the SAT. you can avoid distractions and concentrate solely on your performance. and then try some prompts where you can use what you learned. you will be on your own. First. Get comfortable with the procedures so that. For the palm system. He or she will then take your photograph. the administrator will ask you to provide a digital fingerprint or palmvein pattern. Instead of sitting in a classroom with 25 other students all going through exactly the same experience. Once this is completed. ACT or any other standardized exam you took in high school. on test day. Don’t be surprised that others in the center may be taking different graduate exams. All you are allowed are your locker key and photo identification because the administrator will check it before you enter the testing room. Issue Writing | No Comments » It’s Test Day! Monday. you will need to provide your photo identification as well as your fingerprint or palm-vein pattern. However. if there is a specific area in which you are particularly lacking. Once all of these administrative procedures are completed. brush up on some new info.In your essay practice. Here are some tips about what to expect from the testing environment from arrival to departure. The administrator will demonstrate the procedure of ensuring that certain knobs on the machine fit your fingers to get a proper pattern. The Testing Room: Before you enter the test room. While there may be slight differences from test center to test center. October 18th.

The test administrator will provide you with scratch paper to use during the test. or if you want a restroom or snack break. Even though the break is technically 10 minutes long. There probably will be people already in the room. When you re-enter the room. You will be given the option of viewing your scores or canceling them. You cannot leave without signaling the test administrator. in the middle of their respective exams. Test Day | No Comments » . Score and Departure: You’re done. Don’t forget that exceeding the 10 minutes allotted for the break takes time out of your next test section. you will need to raise your hand once again so that the administrator will know to escort you from the room. If you chose to view your score. you can raise your hand to receive more scratch paper. and when all of your pages are filled. Once you signal. Then all you need to do is take your belongings out of your locker. However. in case mouse clicks or keyboard keys bother you. Good luck! Post your test day experience below and check out Grockit forums for test day advice from other test-takers. Once you view your score. return the key and leave with your report. don’t forget that the breaks are optional. the administrator will enter the room and escort you out. an administrator will print out your unofficial score report. the ten minute break is a great opportunitie to leave the room and reorient yourself if you are a bit rattled. you will have to provide your fingerprint or palm-vein pattern yet again before being escorted back to your station. Again. you will need to provide either your fingerprint or palm pattern to sign out of the room. so be careful. When you leave the room. Don’t feel obligated to take them if you’re in the zone and want to stay focused. You will be seated at a station with a computer and likely some soundproof headphones. Almost four hours after entering the center. you will have to digitally sign-out. Be sure to keep this because there will be an authorization number that you will need to view your official score. You can then access your locker and drink some water or snack on something small. you’ve completed the test. Again. you will not be able to cancel it. once the procedures of signing out and signing back in are included. Breaks: There is an optional 10-minute breaks after the Analytical Writing section. and one minute breaks between the remaining sections of the test. Posted in GRE. meaning you will have to verify either your digital fingerprint or palm-vein pattern. the time you have for yourself is probably more like 8 ½ to 9 minutes. Whatever you decide.testing room.

so to mimic your thought process and note-taking when you first come across an argument prompt: 1. and 3. To confirm this. three facts account for this description: 1. 2010 After learning all the possible fallacies and how to spot them. it’s time to look at a real possible argument task. which emphasizes the benefits of regular exercise at an early age. though the chances are very slim–approximately 1 out of 245. False correlation between exercise and health food: The speaker fallaciously correlates exercise with healthy eating habits. 2. We can even anticipate a new generation of customers: Plainsville’s schoolchildren are required to participate in a ‘fitness for life’ program. The local health club is experiencing its highest rates of attendance. Increase in sales of exercise shoes and clothing. but a health food store. such a task would take a long time (don’t you have more important things to do?). With the convenience of fast . in no particular order. “Previous experience has shown that our stores are most profitable in areas where residents are highly concerned with leading healthy lives. ideally. which nearly closed five years ago due to lack of business. What’s the Argument?: The speaker claims that Nature’s Way. they repeat many of the same fallacies.” I mean this could possibly be on your actual GRE. a chain of stores selling health food and other health-related products. The local health club. where “residents are highly concerned with leading healthy lives. The Problems with the Argument: I will enumerate potential problems I see with the speaker’s argument and reasoning. should open in Plainsville. and the weight training and aerobics classes are always full.” How did we gather this profile of Plainsville’s inhabitants? According to our speaker. When I say “real. a health food store. the two are not mutually inclusive. Secondly. and you probably shouldn’t take it upon yourself to write practice essays for each and every prompt. has more members than ever. While. 1. which has many such residents. 2. October 14th. 2. Plainsville merchants report that sales of running shoes and exercise clothing are at all-time highs. The similarities will pleasantly surprise you. though these argument prompts are all ostensibly different. That statistic should not deter you. Nature’s Way is neither a health club nor a sporting goods store. a healthy lifestyle entails both exercise and healthy eating habits. We should therefore build our next new store in Plainsville. Plainsville’s schools are now mandating a fitness program.Argument Writing Task: Part 4 Thursday. Here is one such prompt to get us started: The Prompt The following appeared in a memorandum written by the vice president of Nature’s Way.” 1. For one thing. or whatever you realistically have time for) and think about how your arguments against the prompts might overlap. just check out a hearty sample of prompts (perhaps twenty or thirty.

The compulsory exercise program is a poor indicator of future healthy lifestyles: The speaker mistakenly assumes that the compulsory “fitness for life” program enacted by schools will foster a new generation of health conscious individuals. choose the best examples and develop them into coherent paragraphs.” but there are other possible sources of these increases. The speaker refers to the club as “the local health club. more simply. exercise clothes may be an inexpensive alternative to other clothing styles. mandating exercise in school. 1. Though we may applaud the efforts of schools to introduce such a program. In fact. or. Often. perhaps through a survey or study. Does buying exercise clothing necessarily cause exercise?: The speaker assumes that the increase in health-related items suggests that the residents of Plainsville are “highly concerned with leading healthy lives. then high rates of attendance do not suggest an overwhelming increase in the citizens’ How can we be sure that Nature’s Way will thrive despite its potential new competition? 2. this guilt about eating habits encourages fast-food patrons to exercise. Also. 1. but not necessarily change their eating habits. 1. Don’t be afraid to integrate smaller fallacies into paragraphs: an abundance of information is not a . but because of sheer childhood obstinacy. Future interest in exercise?: Even if Plainsville residents are interested in health foods. Many children often willfully oppose orders given by parents and school teachers. If this is true. The sale of running shoes and exercise clothing could be attributed to a fashion trend that prizes the aesthetic value– rather than the functional value–of such clothes. why shouldn’t we assume that they can easily revert back to unhealthy lifestyles? 1. much like making beloved classics of literature “required texts. our national eating habits. To write the essay. What we have here is an abundance of information. the speaker must show a correlation between exercise habits and healthy eating habits. not quite an essay. An increase in health club attendance does not guarantee profits for Nature’s Way: Perhaps the local health club is full because of a lack of competition. we cannot assume that the program will have any lasting effect on the children’s lifestyles. not out of any sound reasoning. Suggestions for Improvement: To improve the argument. 1.” suggesting it’s the only one of its kind in Plainsville. these changes in lifestyle habits are relatively recent. the speaker should investigate the popularity of Plainsville’s health club and explain how Nature’s Way will plan to beat the competition. on average. are at their worst in history. Competition?: The speaker fails to mention the possibility or lack of competing health food stores. how do we know the interest will continue in the future? After all.” may cause unintended opposition to exercise.

as you will be able to make equations. This should be a habit as you study for the GRE. your probability of guessing the right answer is 50%! So be sure to get in the habit of writing down ABCDE and then crossing answers out as you go. Even if you don’t know the exact answer. you will become more proficient at identifying the key pieces of information. which will make your life much easier. October 11th. in fact. With easy questions. but as you practice. I am certain that you will find this extremely annoying in a CAT environment. WRITE THEM DOWN! You have no idea how many times you will be very appreciative of doing this when you look down and see that you have two answers to choose from instead of trying to look up at your screen and trying to remember what answers you told yourself to eliminate. you won’t have to write down much. your own arguments. 2010 One of the biggest frustrations of taking a CAT test is that you don’t have the questions and answers right there in front of you. Do not make this mistake. you will have essentially transferred the problem from the computer screen to your paper. The worst thing you can do is to write down wrong numbers or facts. USE YOUR PENCIL AND BLUE BOOK (but do not waste valuable time writing needless things down). do whatever you need to do to eliminate answers. USE IT! This way. Some of the following might sound like common sense. Without the luxury of being able to write notes. read the entire question carefully and write down the useful information (this is more geared for the Quantitative part). longer essays tend to receive higher scores. and. you should get in the habit of immediately writing down ABCDE on your scratch paper for every question. if you have them. your test scores will be drastically improved if you can eliminate even one or two incorrect answers. BUT. but not everyone employs these useful strategies that will save you valuable time come test day The CAT test format can be frustrating. using your own words and. eliminate answers. a key here is to make sure you transfer information correctly. etc. but there are some tricks that I found useful when taking the test that seemed to help me out. Don’t worry about writing everything down at first.bad thing. Don’t waste your valuable brainpower trying to remember answers that might be right or wrong. One of the worst things you can do is to waste time staring at the screen. For practice. Next. series | No Comments » Helpful GRE CAT Tips Monday. I can’t tell you how to . make equations or draw pictures. but with your ABCDE and key pieces of information. they don’t give you material to write things down for nothing. Posted in GRE. you may want to give yourself 30 minutes and write this essay. draw pictures. Instead. you will find that you are spending a lot of time looking between the screen in front of you and your blue book. and time consuming. you can immediately eliminate answers that you know are incorrect. First. If you can eliminate three incorrect answers. for many reasons.

you will be on the lookout for keywords. I’m sure that you will employ traditional book based studying (such as Official Guide for GRE Review) and I highly encourage you to use such books. Once you are certain you have it down in front of you. it is essential that you are able to transfer your mastery of the material to a CAT environment. words that describe the blank or relate to the overall flow of the sentence (transition words).become a pro at accuracy. but use that practice to become a master at translating the key pieces of information to your scrap paper. please post below. Write them down! It may seem redundant. or check out Grockit’s GRE forums for more advice. go to town on cracking the problem. Write down the keywords. What do the words tell you about the blank? Here are some common transition keywords you’ll see on Test Day: . 1. WRITE DOWN ABCDE. Many GRE students find SC’s the easiest Verbal question-type. but the act of writing them down will slow down your impulses and force your brain to think critically. They will contain tough vocabulary and will require a solid strategy to answer them correctly. Employing the above methods will help you become a master of the CAT environment and will definitely pay dividends come test day. Eliminate answers as you go. but make sure to practice them just as diligently as Antonyms or Analogies. Test Day | No Comments » GRE: Sentence Completions Overview Thursday. and good luck! If you have any other strategies that you have found helpful. it will be invaluable come test day. October 7th. Don’t become too comfortable with studying out of books. 2010 Currently the GRE Verbal section tests approximately 6 sentence completions. but in general. Become comfortable with using the computer to answer questions. Supplement your computer testing with your paper (book) testing and vice-versa. But as you become comfortable with the material itself. USE YOUR SCRATCH PAPER. Another issue with CAT test prep is that it is difficult to simulate the test day environment. That is where prep services like Grockit come in. work slow to work fast. As you read the sentence. Posted in GRE. or about 1/5th of the total Verbal section. GRE Prep.

carefully move through the choices from A to E. Eliminate answer choices. you will probably forget it as you read the answer choices. Don’t let yourself read the answer choices without a written-down prediction. Don’t be too narrow-minded in your elimination. if our prediction was “messy” and one of the answer choices was “distraught. then plug them into the sentence to see which one is correct. eliminating the answer choices that could not possible match your prediction. Surprise slows you down.” we want to keep it since it is at least a partial match. “a positive word” or “something like angry” is perfectly acceptable. It may seem like this method of writing down keywords and predictions will slow you down. Verbal | No Comments » Guess and Eliminate – GRE Problem Solving Tuesday.2. For example. If you have more than one answer choice left after eliminating. Write down a prediction. Instead of scanning the answers quickly looking for the correct one. Once you’ve analyzed the keywords and punctuation of a sentence. you can come up with a prediction for the blank. If you don’t write it down. we hope to be familiar with every type of question before walking into the test. 2010 While studying for the GRE. isn’t that what the GRE is really testing? Get started with some sentence completions now on Grockit! Posted in GRE Prep. Sentence Completion. This method will increase your accuracy by forcing your brain to do the necessary critical thinking – after all. October 5th. but you DO have to write something down. but your speed will increase as you practice and your brain becomes more disciplined. 3. If you are at a loss for words. It doesn’t have to be brilliant. and knowing what to do ahead of time . even a simple prediction like.

D. The last step: Take a peek at the last step of the question (if applicable). we know any answer that satisfies the description “even integer” is NOT the correct. 2. you can reasonably eliminate that option. which of the following CANNOT be an even integer? A. more importantly. of course. and answer choices that are “way far off” from the others are typically wrong. E. then look for a pair where one option is the square root of another. If you see a √3 in the answer choices. for 30-60-90 triangles. B. (You’d pick the square root option. Know the question: If the question involves a 45-45-90 triangle. This is particularly helpful for geometry questions. y/x 4(y/x) 4x + y 2(x + y) 5(x – y) Before we even start attacking the specifics of this question. In this post. Look for pairs of answers: wrong answers are chosen for a reason. you might look for √2. C. (Note: This post does not address quantitative comparison questions. 1/4 and 4 are one simple mistake away from each other.) Guessing on the Quantitative Section 1. which will addressed in a future post. it helps to know which questions are absolutely incorrect without much thought. However. if we have some hesitation on a question. If it asks you for the √x. there will inevitably be questions for which you will not know how to find the exact answer.) Eliminating Definitively Wrong Answers On the quantitative section. Because these mistakes are common. Conversely. 3. strategies to efficiently and accurately eliminate incorrect answer choices to reduce your options and point you in the right direction. we will quickly address guessing tactics and. For example.will save you time and help you earn more points. correct answers tend to be “close” to incorrect ones. Take a look at this example: If x is an odd integer and y is an even integer. you may look for √3s. if the question involves fractions or inverses. Plugging in numbers may .

The town of Sandwich has a total of 5. 23. We know that sometimes we might want to convert hours to minutes.4% After reading this and (E) through a variety of strategies. This will move the percent UP. Do a very quick estimate of what the answer should look like. and the answer is to be in miles/hour. If an advertising campaign attracts a number of new residents over 60 equal to 1/5 of the town’s current 60+ citizens and there are no other changes in the population. approximately what percent of Sandwich’s total population would be over the age of 60? A. we should think quickly about in which direction the percentage should be moving.6% 30% 33. so those are out. but because there is no mention of units. E.8% 25% 28. Answer choices (B) and (D) are multiplied by 4 and 2 respectively. (D) and . C. Answer choices (D) and (E) include “60”. E. Of these. Take a look at this example: How long (in hours) will it take Steve to run m miles if he runs at a constant speed of x miles per hour? A. C. D. B. B. Then you can pick between (A). You can then worry only about (A). Keep track of units.400 citizens. 1/4 are over the age of 60. We start at ¼ (25%) 60+ citizens and add more 60+ citizens to the population without any other additions. x/m m/x xm 60m/x x/60m The two units provided in the question are miles and miles/hour. you are still guessing between (C). (B). chances are we will not have to do that this time. we can quickly recognize that any product including a factor of 2 must be even. which is an indication that you are incorrectly converting hours to minutes. but to save time. D. If you have no clue how to answer this question. (C). and (C). Size Matters.

’ While this is certainly not the case on quantitative comparisons. November 8th. it is often the case on difficult multiple choice problems. Archive for November. Most students tend to go for the ‘not enough information’ choice when they are out of time. if asked for the greatest. they may lead you to the correct answer even when you’re not too confident about the material. it certainly works most of the time. 8 e. and test makers will rarely let you get away with no calculation for a difficult problem. Every effective test-taker must understand the strategies used to effectively eliminate wrong answer choices. eliminate the least (or greatest) number from the answer choices. While we could never say that this rule works 100 percent of the time. 1. there is more to strategy than simply trying to answer the question. (Note: Answer choices are ALWAYS in ascending order. 2010 As with all multiple choice tests. On hard problems.) This was a quick overview of general concepts for math questions. . when you are asked to find the least (or greatest) number. Test makers catch on to this. Answer choices are gifts that we test-takers must take advantage of.(E) since (A) and (B) are clearly too low. they rarely allow that expected choice to be the answer. and it follows the test-maker’s logic. 2010 Quantitative Elimination Strategies: Part 1 Monday. they’ll pick the greatest). Keep an eye out for a similar article focusing on Quantitative Comparison questions. and more importantly. 4 b. When test-takers guess on these problems. In fact. c is the answer (this question is pretty simple if we draw it out). 9 According to the strategy. These will help you save time. As always. Example 1: What is the maximum number of points common to the intersection of a square and a triangle if no two sides coincide? a. 2. they tend to guess the extreme answer choice (i. 6 d. we can eliminate 9. often eliminate the answer choice ‘not enough information. GRE practice makes perfect. On a hard problem. that should come out soon.e. 5 c. and as a result.

eliminate answer choices that merely repeat numbers from the problem. Example 2: If the sum of x and 20 is 8 more than the difference of 10 and y. On hard problems. E. For example: . -2 b.y) x + 12= 10-y x+y= 10 – 12 x+y= -2 A is our answer. Let’s see if we can answer it. Again. 2010 If you haven’t done decimal arithmetic since grade school. but you also want to increase your chances on the toughest problems. you should be skeptical of answer choices b and e. is a ‘not enough information. and you have no choice but to guess. as we saw earlier. Posted in GRE. This is basically a problem that needs to be converted into mathematical notation: x+20 = 8 + (10. If you remember nothing else. In the next installment. November 4th. these are not hard and fast rules.’ and b gets the number ‘8′ from the question. working with decimals can be a daunting experience when somebody takes away your calculator. 28 e. Quantitative. GRE Prep. not enough info If this type of problem is giving you trouble. 8 c. what is the value of x + y? A. Remember. 9 d. you’ll see more challenging examples for which you should use these elimination strategies. there is no substitute for knowing the math. remember that a decimal is really a decimal fraction–all decimals can be written as fractions with their respective powers of ten as the denominator. but you will increase your chances by avoiding these answers if you must guess. strategy | No Comments » GRE Quantitative: Decimals Thursday.3.

003. Count the number of digits after the decimal in each number. in 1356.356.52 and .170 ————384. 4.84 = 84/100 .232 and 1.003 Step 1: 452 x 3 ———1356 Step 2: In 4. we have a total of 5 numbers after the decimals. not 40 or 400.01356.6. if it makes things easier.345 + 2. HINT: When multiplying simpler decimal numbers. Example: Multiply 4.52 and .45 and . If I am multiplying 4. . Add zeros as necessary. Manipulate the placement of the decimal in the product to fulfill step 3.5689 = 5689 / 10000 You’ll want one zero in the denominator for every digit in the decimal. I add 2 + 3=5). 2.345 and 2.. My sum of digits equals the number of digits that should be to the right of the decimal in my product. and.515 Multiplication 1. If multiplying 6. Multiply the decimals as if the decimals are not present. add zeros to fill up the empty space. I know that my answer will have one digit before the decimal because 4 * 1 = 4. Addition and Subtraction When adding and subtracting decimals. Counting from right to left. and add these up (ex. Example: Add 382.17 Set it up like this: 382. Step 3: So. always use common sense to avoid calculation errors. . my product is . 3. I need 5 digits after the decimal. line up the decimal points.4 = 4/10.

here is the process verbalized: 1. Divide normally and bring the decimal straight up into the quotient. 205 can go into 1783 about 8 times.5 _ 8. Since there is no remainder left over. 2. I change . 205 goes into 1435 seven times. Move the decimal in the dividend the same number of places to the right (I moved the decimal two places to the right to convert . 7.05 1. exactly. is to practice on Grockit.Division 1. so I’ll convert 502. The first step is to stop using the calculator every time you make an arithmetic calculation. 4.5 / . Bring up the decimal and place 7 after it. the second step.25 to 25.5 1640 ——– 1435 1435 —— 0 For a little refresher in long division. 6. we are left with 8. yielding 1783. . Do the same for the dividend.05 two times to the right to make 205. Move the decimal point in the divisor to the right so that the divisor is a whole number (If my computation is 502. 3.7 Working with decimals without a calculator is all about practice. Now we have 1435. 1783 minus 1640 is 143. as always.7_____ 205 ) 1783. 8 times 205 is 1640.25 to 25) 2. Example: Divide 17.25.835 by 2. 5.5 to 50250) 3. Bring down the 5 from the dividend. Move decimal point in 2.

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