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.

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

try using different strategies to figure out which work best for you. So in that case. we can be confident that our second value is larger. and of course. e. if x is 4 then y is 3. y >0.25). So in that case. then y is -3. z= 0… 3z (2x +5y) OR 3x (2z+5y) When a zero is on the outside. Since all the other values are positive. So in that case. Example 3: If 3x= 4y x OR y We know that if x and y are positive.5 = . y is zero also. and a zero. what if x is zero? Well in that case. it must be A right? Common Not so fast. always test them. y> 0. fractions. Fractions have some very special properties. And. z=0 3z (2x +5y) OR 3x (2z+5y) We still have zero for our first value. Remember. but we’re not in the clear quite yet. zeroes. Example 2: If x<0. Example 4: If x > 0 and x does NOT equal 1… x² OR x So x must be positive and cannot be one.g. When negative numbers are involved. then x is greater than y. so we know the answer is negative. it happens to become smaller. It turns out that the answer must be D. What we have is a negative multiplied by a positive. positives. not bigger (. When you practice on Grockit. the whole value is zero. our special numbers to test are negatives.fraction. There you have it. as in our A value. remember. Example 1: If x>0. If we multiply a fraction by itself. Let’s check out some examples that show us why it’s necessary to be thorough. we suggest that you use simple numbers in order to save yourself time and avoid any calculation errors. so both values are equal. Our first value is larger.5 * . Testing our second value gives us 3(-1) (2*0 + 5*2). y is greater. But what if they are negative? If x is -4. our answer is D. speed and accuracy are crucial! See other articles in this series: .

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

000. our goal is to make the relationship simpler. In the meantime. 4x +5 OR 3x +6 I could approach this problem a few ways. 0. Stay tuned for some more strategies for quantitative comparisons that will save you time and increase accuracy. Same idea for column b: 1. where I would test a few simple numbers (preferably something like -2. try some of these strategies in Grockit! Posted in GRE. 000 OR 1. Our answer is D. when choosing numbers to add or subtract. As long as I add or subtract the same number or variable from these expressions. Quantitative. I could use the tried and true plug-in method.000 / 200.000 in the denominator.000 / 100 When you see many zeros in fractions like this. that you can manipulate both expressions to make the comparison simpler. Remember. I’ll have the same relationship between the two expressions. strategy | 2 Comments » GRE Strategy – Estimation Wednesday. now. If I have 2. my expression is simply 20/2 = 10. 2010 To save time on the GRE. your first instinct should be to cross out matching zeros. and . series. Let’s check out this example: 1. Quantitative Comparison. so: Subtracting 5 from both sides gives us: 4x OR 3x+1 Subtracting 3x from both sides gives us: x OR 1 Now. First.000 in the numerator and 200. which is clearly indeterminate. June 9th. a negative. and a fraction).000/100 = 10/1 = 10. Don’t forget. 2.000.Simplify When presented with two baffling expressions. always think of ways to simplify before you calculate. it generally narrows it down to . 2.5–you want to use a positive. Simplify by Adding/Subtracting Same Value 1. Even if estimating doesn’t give you the 100% accurate answer. 0. you should get comfortable with estimating. I should just eliminate five zeros from the top and 5 zeros from the bottom. look how simple it is? The comparison is any number (x) OR 1. though.

so there really is no point calculating the precise answer there. $127. Wind (2%) + Hydro (2%) + Nuclear (3%) = 7%. I would figure out what 1% represents – approximately $0. Numerical Estimations Practice estimating with percentages. This will save you a lot of time. let’s take a look at the following chart.74 billion I would then pick E easily based on my estimate.6 million represents. particular on the questions with charts and graphs. hydro and wind column (keeping my finger on it so I don’t read the wrong thing) and add up those percentages. 5% or 10% represents and working from there depending on the question. I tend to like figuring out 1%. The question asks: approximately what average amount per month did the Canadian government spend on nuclear. 4.6 billion $8. you just need to know if they are equal or if one is bigger. In this case. hydro and wind power combined? I would look at the Canada row.1 million. For example. and then multiply that by 7 to get $0. So I’m looking for what value 7% of $ obvious choice (if you’re good at estimating and round up and down appropriately). 5. 2. Given the following five answer choices 1.2 billion $10.7 million. Estimation also comes in handy for quantitative comparisons because you don’t need the precise answer.0 billion $. 3. Some questions even tell you to approximate. and the nuclear. .9 billion $7.

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

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

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

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

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

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. Next time. if the manager of a business. If you can spot them in everyday situations. in television shows. say a trading card shop.e. 2. You can remember this fallacy by thinking about stereotypes. etc. 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. In the above example. Group Fallacy: It is pretty unrealistic to describe a group and then expect that every single member fulfills that characteristic. making your body paragraph organization pretty simple. Becoming familiar with these flaws and how to spot them is the first step to writing a quality Argument Task. we can’t make this analogy. it will be easy on the test. the only means–to increase reading skills of students. Weak Analogies: The speaker may come to a conclusion about one thing on the basis of another thing. however. Watch out for them in your conversations. 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. In order to avoid the member-group fallacy. on commercials. Let’s look at these flaws in a little more depth: 1. See other articles in this series: Argument Writing Task: Pt 1 .• 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. it won’t. The Member vs. may find that a big competitor in a different city has increased sales by moving from a downtown location to a suburban one. For example. 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. The argument may seem sound. 3. Maybe that particular city’s downtown district was already on the rise. but we can’t completely analogize these different trading-card shops. think about these flaws in depth and try to find them in everyday reasoning. we’ll look at the next three flaws and discuss how to begin forming our Argument Task essay. First of all. the argument should clearly state that a member is a representative of the group as a whole. To practice. There are other factors involved in this proposed outcome: preparedness of teachers and attentiveness of students. a superintendent of a school argues that adopting a certain marketed reading program is necessary–i. the demographics in their respective cities may respond to different incentives. For example. and the relocation merely reaped the benefits? Without this thorough background info. the superintendent may not have shown that the reading program by itself is enough to raise reading levels. most of the time.

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

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

don’t overwork. 32. and you go into human calculator mode. 5. but nonetheless common sense manner. don’t give up–use your brain! Tags: antonyms.195 Any relaxed. Step back. Verbal. Part 2 Monday. These types of answers catch your eye for one reason or another.16. though. or attractors. Yes. often making the problem appear a little bit easier than it actually is. Anxiety sets in. but outsmarting the test-writers is very important too. You see a question like this and immediately start calculating the product. 35. things change. Use the test format to your advantage. but we were still successful with some effort.Let’s look at a crude example:What’s 32. During practice. The only thing close to that is B.350 E. it’s easy to make mistakes.685 D. vacabulary Posted in GRE. July 26th. But. when you’re in the middle of a timed test.speculation will lead you to the correct answer.125 B. 1. no matter how many correct steps you painstakingly went through.33 % of 50?A. learning the processes is more than half the battle. A third of 50 is a little more than 15 (15*3= 45). These strategies are here to remind you that there is just a bit more to studying than simply cramming math material.33 percent is awfully close to one third. You may notice the anticipated answer in the choices and think that you won’t have to finish the problem. 2010 This is the second installment in the simple quantitative strategies series. In terms of GRE quantitative strategy. BallparkingTo ‘ballpark’ is to roughly approximate. if you happen to stumble upon an antonym question like this. Moving a decimal one unit could transform a correct answer into a wrong answer. imprecise. Avoid TrapsNearly every multiple choice math problem has trap answers.165 C. and look at the simplicity of the question. common sense thinker will probably be able to answer this question without doing a calculation.50. ballparking essentially means thinking about mathematical figures in a vague. 70. but remember that such a choice is probably a trap. strategy | No Comments » Simple Quantitative Strategies. 1.Looks look at an . it can be no other answer. and anticipate the clever gambits so often deployed by the ETS. Beating the GRE quantitative requires a balanced combination of math skills and test-taking skills– these strategies will help improve the latter. This is where ballparking plays a significant role. When we are overwhelmed by figures and calculations.

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

95. we have the info we need to find the average in question. what was the average of her last three tests? Here. of all the fish? Answer: Simply multiply 14 and 4. In our example. the total number of percentage points on the first five tests. 8*83= 664. The average of the figures in a set: (A)= T / N. 2. There are 3 numbers you want to know. 70. 219 (total) / 3 (number of figures) = 73 . 14*4. If her average score after the first three five tests was 89. 80. then simply multiply the average and the number of figures to find the sum total (T). After weighing all of them together.Before we begin. then n=7. and 90. If the aforementioned scores are 80.57. the total number of percentage points on all the tests 5*89= 445.Finding the total: IF you know the average and the number of figures/items (n) in a set.8 Example 2: Throughout the year. If I want to find the average of seven different test scores.7 lbs. then T= 550. her average score was 83. in pounds. 60. and n is the number of figures in a set. he calculated the average weight of the fish to be 4. let’s go over some basic rules for finding averages. 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. where A is average. T is the total sum of values. 75.7= 65. we have to find two totals before we can calculate the average of the final three tests. The sum total of all the figures in a set (T). What is the total weight.7. 1. 3. The number of figures in a set (n). With this information. Example 1: John caught 14 fish after a long day of fishing. they are related by the formula A= T / n. 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. A = 550 / 7 = 78. Janet took 8 math tests.

what is the value of x? Remember that Average = Total / Number of figures. Tags: Averages Posted in GRE. John drove for 1 hour at 50 mph and for 3 hours at 60 mph. but many overlook the formula when approaching average speed problems. Even the most complicated average problems stem from the formula. particularly the science programs. will pay for your airfare and arrange lodging with a current grad student. While some programs. the average speed should be closer to 60. it wouldn’t make sense for the average speed to lie right in the middle of 50 and 60. and 3 hours at 60 mph would be 180 miles.Example 3: If the average of 34. All you have to do is set up an equation with the information you know. most schools probably won’t do . Example 4: In traveling from city A to city B. Don’t forget that ‘x’ counts as a number in the list. 44. Quantitative | No Comments » Nailing that Grad School Interview Thursday. The total time is 3+1 = 4 hours. Always remember: when in doubt. Average Speed = total distance / total time The formula for average speed is quite simple and intuitive. so our total number of figures is 4. What was his average speed for the whole trip? First. If John traveled a greater distance at 60 mph. 35= ( 34+44+28+x) / 4 35= 106 + x / 4 4 (35) = 106 + x x = 4(35) – 106 x = 34 2. Remember. 2010 So you’ve applied to several schools and you get a letter inviting you to an in-person interview. Our total distance is 180 + 50 = 230 miles. we need both the total distance and the total time to calculate average speed. let’s figure out the total distance. Average Speed = total distance / total time = 230 / 4 = 57. 28. July 15th. 1 hour at 50 mph would be 50 miles. Rather. go back to the formula A=T / n. and x is 35.5 Note: the average speed is not merely the average of 50 and 60–that is a mistake that many students make.

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

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

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,

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

Very often. but the process of writing them will help you refine your own ideas. so we don’t want the thesis seem forced or out of place. No need to leave a chunk of blank space—the magic of word processing takes care of this. August 31st. These two stages of the writing process should take about 6 minutes. Next time. it should take about 9 minutes tops. if your entire application package is borderline and you write one or two truly awful essays.Your thesis. you may choose to write the thesis after you’ve written your body because your argument may slightly change during the writing process.” I personally have not heard of a student getting into grad school because of his or her GRE essays. . when combined with the initial brainstorming stage. it’s important that you keep the AWA in perspective: it shouldn’t take up much of your prep time. should go at the end of the introduction. For that reason. 2010 Your GRE essays are unlikely to be the linchpin of your application. your thesis statement should be organically integrated into your introduction. this is no big deal. 2 Archive for August. Ideally. writing the body paragraphs leads to a more fine-tuned thesis. 2010 Structuring Your Analysis of An Argument Essay Tuesday. Read other articles in this series: Issue Writing Task pt. and in the meantime. that your essays could keep you out. which is essentially a sentence or two that outlines your argument. It certainly seems possible. practice with Grockit or write some sample outlines and introductions. but it’s certainly to your advantage to spend some time familiarizing yourself with what makes for a good essay. The purpose of your introduction is to build up to your argument. Although I don’t like to say “never. In fact. 1 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. Not only are the body paragraphs the most important and most heavily weighted part of the essay. Stay tuned. That doesn’t seem like a lot of time. so do not strictly limit your argument before you begin writing. though. Don’t worry too much about refining your thesis statement at this stage. 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. the Analysis of an Argument is likely to be the more challenging. Paragraph 2: Explanation of first flaw– this paragraph should have a strong topic sentence and then several sentences explaining the flaw in detail. whether that is a professional mentor. The easiest format to use in writing this essay is the classic 5-paragraph style. Paragraph 4: The third flaw is explained here in the manner established in the previous two paragraphs. Remember. She’s likely to regard literary flourishes as a waste of your energy and her time. the most popular television station in Metropolis. and a simple. your reader is probably going to devote no more than three to five minutes to your essay. does not currently provide traffic updates to viewers. Take a few minutes at the beginning of your AWA to outline the five sentences that will begin your paragraphs.and getting some feedback from a qualified source. To start your essay on the right note. in the order that you will make them. a professor. if only because the task is not a familiar one to most grad school candidates. state your position. and a happy reader is probably more apt to make those tricky 4/5 line calls in your favor. a composition instructor may have told you to use an “attention-getting” opening to really draw your audience in. Also include a “roadmap” of the points that you will make. or a test-prep specialist. Paragraph 5: Briefly recap the flaws you’ve presented and diplomatically explain how those flaws could be remedied to present a stronger argument. make sure that your first paragraph does what it needs to do (recap the argument. . this strategy can make your reader’s job far easier. 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. Now. the ereader is programmed to assess organization. and map out your three points) without any attempts at rhetorical bells and whistles.” she is getting paid to read your essay. and wants to do her job as efficiently as possible. 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. Of the two essays you’ll be expected to write. Similarly. 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. At some point in high school or college. but your GRE AWA reader doesn’t need to be “drawn in. WPTK would significantly reduce the incidence of auto accidents on Metropolis-area roads by providing traffic updates. Since Metropolis is located in a Midwestern state with serious winter weather road delays 4 months out of the year.

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

Percent change = Total Change/Original Value Example: Before trading began. The 10% decrease in the 2nd round is applied to a higher number.000.000/$10. At the end of market close. . and then decreased by 10%. So instead of taking 20%. The higher the number. James’ investment portfolio grew by $2. See the previous example: What is 25% less than 8? ¾*8 = 6. you are probably missing what to apply the percent to. it will save lots of time.5)] in one neat step. x or the resulting number? The 10% increase of x in the first round increases x by a certain amount. Which is bigger. then subtracting from the original. and we’re done! On easy numbers like this. so 8 – 2 = 6 Example: What is 25% of 8? ¼*8 = 2 Use shortcuts 20% less than means 80% of. The original x will be bigger. or 20% Don’t add constants and percents You should never find yourself trying to figure out what 5 + 6% equals.Recognize the difference between percent MORE/LESS THAN and percent OF Example: What is 25% less than 8? ¼* 8 = 2. versus two tougher ones. the higher the resulting percent Applying the same percent to a higher number will yield a higher number. it might not seem necessary.000.2. What was the percent change in James’ portfolio? Percent change = $2.000 = 0. just take 80% and be done. but as numbers get larger. Conversely. Example: A certain positive integer x is increased by 10%. 50% more than 10 should be calculated by multiplying 10*3/2 [10*(1 + 0. so will yield a larger change. In this case. James’ investment portfolio was worth $10.

750 . cancel and simplify. and all the tickets cost the same amount. Now we set up the equation. $23. and are typically neater. $22 B. 5% = 1/20 since 5*20 = 100. $24 D. how many items did Jerome offer for sale? A.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.20 E.94 C. Jerome sold 75% of the first 1. fractions are always easier. and 30% of his remaining items. what was the face value of each ticket price without the sales tax? A. They cancel well. setting x = ticket price before tax. If this price included a 5% sales tax.05 (with tax) = $630 Note we can convert to fractions.000 items he offered for sale. 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. $25. If he sold 40% of the total number of items he offered for sale. 25 people * x dollars/person * 1. $30 Without a calculator.

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

6(r²)t D. 5rt means we multiply an odd times that even product. or we could use our knowledge of number theory to figure out the answer. 5r + 6t E. C translates to an even (even ²) times an odd (t). so . which of the following is odd? A. making number theory second nature will definitely save you some valuable seconds. just think that a product is only odd if you multiply two odds. 5rt C. 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. D adds an even (odd times even) to an even (even times odd) . an odd times an even. We instantly know that rt.Quantitative section is all about saving time. 6r + 5t In this example. 1. which is even. so that’s even. 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. is even. which is even. we could either plug in numbers for r and t. just think that a sum is only odd if you add an even and an odd. times another even (6). Example Question If r is even and t is odd. rt B.

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

even though you can reduce 4 2/4 to 4 1/2. since a remainder of 9 leaves you a new whole number (with a remainder of 0). 18/4 = 4 2/4.1. 4. it probably is…. which I think is a good introduction: What is the remainder of 3^(4n+3) divided by 5. your remainder options are 0-8. so 167/(even #) must have an ODD remainder. Your remainder can only range from zero to the denominator of the fraction. 3^4n = 3^4 = 81 = one’s digit of 1. so the result will have a one’s digit of 7. you can see that 15 would go into 150 evenly. so your remainder is (15 -4) = 11. when dividing by 9. when trying to find the remainder of 146/15. For example. I recently came across this question. assuming n is a positive integer? Firstly. If Dad takes out the trash on January 18th. so we only need to look at the one’s digit while multiplying. The order goes as follows: Mom. we see how many days pass between January 18 and March 26: January 19-31: 13 + . we only care about the one’s digit.) Instead. In this scenario. For example. You then count down four from 150 to 146. If n = 1. Brother. We can break 3^(4n+3) into 3^4n * 3^3 by the rules of exponents. For example. we are looking for the remainder above a one’s digit of either 0 or 5. 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. Look for the closest whole number and count up or down from there. The remainder should NOT be reduced. Sister.) It’s clear that we don’t want to whip out our calendars and start counting. when dividing by 5. we are left with a remainder of 2. 2. 3. We detect the pattern that regardless the value of n. The remainder stays equal to 2. 3^4n = 3^8 = 81*81 = one’s digit of 1. (A general rule of thumb is that if you think it’s taking too long. If n = 2. who takes out the trash on March 26th? (There are 31 days in January and 28 days in February. Become familiar with common trends or patterns. This is easier than recognizing 135/15 is a whole number and counting up. we will be multiplying a term with a one’s digit of 1 with a term with a one’s digit of 7 (3³). multiples of even numbers are even. Dad. When and number with a one’s digit of 7 dividing by 5.

February 1-28: 28 + March 1 – 26: 26 = 67 days.125 . 0. the quicker you can eliminate answer choices are clearly wrong.11 repeating Note that multiplying these by constants will leave similarly instructive results.25 1/5 = . For example: If x is an integer. so we count 3 from Dad.166 repeating E.20 1/6 = .4 D. 67/4 leaves you will a remainder of 3.125 1/9 = . 4. 8. 1.33 repeating 1/4 = . Fractions and Decimals are the same thing You should be familiar with common decimals. which of the following is a possible value of (x² +2x – 7)/9? A. such as: 3/8 = 3*1/8 = 3*0. mainly: 1/2 = . -2.375 The more familiar with these you become.268 B. leaving us with Mom on March 26th.5 1/3 = .555 repeating C.125 = 0.166 repeating 1/8 = .

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

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

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

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

One way to mitigate this is by retaining a rockstar aptitude in manipulating fractions. 2010 GRE questions are notorious for seeming harder than they actually are. The writers recognize time is short. Finally. And. Decimals are sometimes more useful when comparing numbers relative to one another.14 1/6 = 0. Some common ones to memorize: • • • • • • • • 1/9 = 0. and will give you ostensibly time-consuming calculations. and your Expert. Even if given a decimal (or percent) looks easy. too. try to enjoy the process as much as you can. and your future is a serious thing.333 repeating 1/2 = 0. strategy | 1 Comment » Fractions. the GRE is a challenging test. finally. Oh My! Friday. So remember that even as you’re working hard. you should take some time out to play. mistakes should be learned from and sometimes laughed off. GRE Prep. such as in a number line. quickly convert to a fraction. Proportions and Ratios. To summarize. and take advantage of the many ways that you can study for the exam.5 repeating . preparing for it is often a rigorous experience. 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. remember that your GRE prep is a collaboration between you.5. Dividing by 5 is the same as multiplying by 2/10. But questions are sometimes funny. your fellow students. Be proactive about your practice and about asking questions. August 13th.166 repeating 1/5 = 0.125 1/7 = ~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.111 repeating 1/8 = 0.25 1/3 = 0.20 1/4 = 0. fractions will be easier to perform arithmetic. but these questions are the exception. try to have some fun with the studying process! Yes. and your Experts and fellow students could probably use a light moment as much as you could. 90% of the time. which occur in a large portion of the questions.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tags: ratios and proportions Posted in GRE.) Shared angles will normally not be explicitly stated. only the positive solution remains and the information is sufficient. but there are numerous shortcuts to geometry questions that will save you time. ratios and proportions aren’t so scary anymore. For circles: • • • • • d=2r and all lines from the center to the exterior equal r. Today. we will cover many types of geometric scenarios encountered on the GRE. 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. perimeter. Quantitative | No Comments » Geometry Series Part 1: Circles Inscribed in Squares Tuesday.) Lengths cannot be negative. for example. . etc. 2010 In this series. Just because it looks like 90-degrees doesn’t mean it is! (Many of these common inferences will be detailed in this series.Hopefully. See if you can spot some ratio problems when you’re practicing on Grockit.) is essential. draw in lines that create simple shapes. we’ll explore circles inscribed in squares. A basic knowledge of simple formulas (area. August 3rd. but not too much. If one solution is negative and the other is positive. Trust the pictures. Inferences must be drawn from fact. 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. Be careful in DS questions that pose equations in the context of quadratic equations with two solutions. unless necessary. (Squares can be turned into triangles.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A worker can load 1 full truck in 6 hours. We can also see that 3/12 will yield . we find the reciprocal of 13/42. Train C leaves Dallas for New York at 9 P. 0. You must add rates. NOT the number of trucks completed in 1 hour. we may not be able to decide between (D) or (E).M.47 D. but not necessarily in proportion. If all three trains meet at the same time between New York and”>GRE</a>usually travel toward or away from each other. Train B traveling at 90 m/hr also leaves New York for Dallas at 9 P. trains and automobiles. Because the denominator is 13. When together. we instead subtract their speeds to find the relative velocity. will it take them to fill 1 truck? A. A second worker can load the same truck in 7 hours.25. Sometimes walking. Again. If moving in the same direction. Choice (E). we know the decimal cannot equal . If moving toward or away from each other. 0. However. To find this. Objects moving at given speeds on the <a href=”http://grockit. we can add their speeds to see their relative velocities. 60 m/hr . so 3/13 will be slightly lower. 3. they will complete 1/6 + 1/7 trucks/ 1 hour. we may be looking at a geometry question. 2. Remember the question is asking for the number of hours to fill 1 truck. If both workers load one truck simultaneously while maintaining their constant rates. Relative Velocity Planes.25 The rate of worker #1 is 1 truck/6 hours. Train A traveling at 60 m/hr leaves New York for Dallas at 6 P. This can also be 1/6 trucks/1 hour. Nor. 1/6 + 1/7 = 6/42 + 7/42 = 13/42 trucks/1 hour. less than BOTH of the individual rates.23 E. are you averaging or adding the given times taken.M. what is the speed of Train C if the distance between Dallas and New York is 1260 miles? A.15 B.M. When moving at an angle. be careful of units. in hours. the decimal is important. approximately how long.31 C. 42/13 hours/truck = 3 3/13 hours/truck. At this point. The rate of worker #2 is 1/7.

and traveled (1260 – 540) miles. so all we have to is add “plows” to the expression.B. Train B’s velocity is 30 m/hr. 1. 328 B. 984 C. For example: Three plows working at identical constant rates can clear 123 ft of snow per minute. we get: . 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.200 Instead of man-hours. To catch up the 180 miles. Man Hours Many times you may be asked to calculate the number of workers would be need to complete a certain task. which has traveled the same time as B (6 hours). and they will be at mile marker 540. 90 m/hr C.400 E. It may help consider the unit man-hours as the multiplication between workers and time. 135 m/hr E. 131.640 D. the time will be 3am. Rate of Train C = 720 miles/ 6 hours = 120 miles/hour. how much snow could 8 plows remove in 5 minutes? A. which is then compared to the work completed. 16. here we want to interact plow-minutes. In the three hours from 6pm to 9pm. it will take Train B 6 hours. Choice (C). Feet and minutes are already compared. If we divide 123 ft/min by 3 plows. At this rate. 180 m/hr Relative to Train A. 120 m/hr D. So when they all meet up. This means that B will gain on A at a rate of 30 miles every hour. 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. A gets to mile marker 180.

How much money will be in Mr. So for in the above question. Let’s look at similar type problem. for a given time (t) at a given interest rate (i). t (this is usually stated in periods. and they include simple interest and compound interest. and the amount of time the money is invested. 2010 There are two types of interest problems on the GRE. Mr. you would earn slightly more. and if we were compounding quarterly. There are LOADS more rate questions. Example: If you invested $1. since we are multiplying top and bottom by 40. the interest rate earned on the principle. Please visit the Grockit forum or leave a comment here to discuss further. September 16th.000 (P = your principle) for one year (t = one year) at 6% simple interest (i = given interest rate). if we want to increase minutes to 5 and plows to 8. the principle amount of money invested. relative volocity. Riley’s account at the end of one year? For compound interest. work and rates Posted in GRE. though this one involves compound interest. Choice (C). . Simple interest is the most basic and is a function of P. some are much more difficult.123 ft/minute/3 plows = 41 ft/plow-minute At this rate. we need to divide 10% by 2 (because of 2 compounding periods). Quantitative | 1 Comment » Interest and Compound Interest Problems Thursday. compounded semiannually. 41*40 feet / 40 plow-minutes = 1640 feet / 40 plow-minutes. because we are compounding semiannually. Note the absolute rate does not change. such as years or months). The resulting equation is: Interest = iPt In basic terms. This is by no means exhaustive. Riley deposits $500 into an account that pays 10% interest. For compound interest. first you need to divide the interest rate by how many compound periods there are. the above equation tells us the amount of interest that would be earned on a principle amount invested (P). we would need to divide 10% by 4.060. we can simply insert these into the existing rate. you would get $60 in interest at the end of the year and would have a total of $1. i. so the value is constant. Tags: man hours.

Overall. Mr. we are given x% as 8%.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).100 D. which might unnecessarily confuse you. This interest is equal to $525*5% = $26. to get $7. Riley is then paid 5% on the $525 balance that was in his account at the end of the first six months. Further.500 (or $7.In the above question. Therefore. Compound interest can essentially be translated into “interest paid on interest”. For this one. compounded annually.25 paid at the end of the year. at the end of the year. Mr. 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). Now.600 C. Mr.000 E. compound interest. Riley earns $1. you are paid interest on the interest that was paid in prior periods. it might be a bit easier to think about this without the use of compound interest. The lesson? Compound interest always pays more! Let’s look at another similar type of problem that involves interest. For the second half of the year.500*3). Riley has $525 because the bank paid $25 in interest ($500*5%) into his account.500 At first glance. Riley has $551.25. so all we need to do is take 112/8 = 14. The correct answer choice is E. Riley deposited $500 into his account at a rate of 10% compounded semiannually and the bank will divide his interest into two equal parts. compounded annually. Mr. Money invested at x%. we know that this balance of $7. plus $26. $22. the three types of interest problems you will most likely encounter come test day will be simple interest. triples in value in approximately every 112/x years. So at the end of the six months. we know that the money triples in value every 14 years. Here. what will be its approximate worth in 28 years? A. meaning that after one period. we know that the money will triple exactly twice in 28 years. $15. $5. $3. $8. and word problems involving the mention of .500*3).25. hence the phrase “compounding”. plus the $25 interest paid at the end of 6 months. so the final balance at the end of the next 14 year period will be $22.500 will triple again. once in 14 years and one more time at the 28th year. If $2500 is invested at a rate of 8%.750 B.500 (or $2. They will pay 5% interest (10%/2) at the end of six months. 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. which is equal to his balance of $500. Mr. Thus. and then will pay another 5% at the end of the year.

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

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

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

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

and another number of choices for another. For example. And more often than not. . 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. So in total. there are (n-1)! Number of ways. when arranging n people in a circle. I have 5 people to choose from to fill the seat. And for the third seat. Permutations with repeated terms This type of question usually asks. we get 4 combinations. Choosing 2 out of 5 and applying the formula. So the answer is 5! If I have 7 people and five seats. you have 24 arrangements. I have 3 people and so on. 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. But P is repeated twice.What if the question tells you that you have a number of choices for one thing. 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. order matters. So if you are seating 5 people in 5 seats around a circular table. If all the seats are empty and I want to fill the first seat. Then choosing 3 accessories out of 4. there are 120 ways of seating these 5 people. the word will have repeated letters in it. In general. and since one P looks the same as the other P. I have 4 people to choose from (because one person has already sat down). how many combinations can you have of the two things? For example. if we have 5 people and five seats on a plane. There are 7 letters so there are 7! ways of arranging these letters in order. Permutations With permutations. instead of having 120 seating arrangements like before. how many different words can you form from the letters of word. because for every seat color combination. A and E are also repeated twice so you have to divide by 2! twice more. we get 10. we thus have 40 accessory combinations to match with it. you have to divide 7! by 2!. how many 7-letter words can you form from the word APPEASE. Then for the second seat. the first person you seat is just a point of reference. For example. With 10 seat-color combinations. we have 10*4 seat color-accessories combinations. there are 4 accessory combinations that we could match with it.

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

Here are your basic conversions: r = ½d = ½s. solving for the base. where s is the side of the square. That was long to write.Note that the hypotenuses of the smaller triangles are equal to the radius of the circle. 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. multiplying and dividing by 2. 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. Memorize this. It will save you the time of drawing a 30-60-90 triangle. 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. Area of an Equilateral Triangle The area of an equilateral triangle equals (s²√3)/4. 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 .

you probably have never taken a standardized test on a computer before. 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. The Tutorials: This might sound silly. The four tutorials are “How to Use a Mouse. they do have an important purpose.” “How to Select an Answer. Be flexible in your reasoning. 2010 In the United States. October 26th. If you’re like most test-takers. series | No Comments » Preparing for a Computer Based Test Tuesday. Here are some facts and tips to help demystify the GRE Computer Based Test: 1. This information is never explicitly stated on tests. Quantitative. .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. the GRE can be taken as a computer-based or paper-based test. You may be computer savvy. but will come up on quant questions over and over.” and “How to Scroll. 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. Circles inscribed in squares Tags: triangles Posted in GRE.” 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. but right before you take the test.” “How to Use the Testing Tools. you’ll have to work through four computer tutorials created by the GRE test software. 2b = a. There are infinite variations of these concepts. In the image above.

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

scour the newspaper. and exhume those halfread classics from high school English.” What we have here is a veritable breath of fresh air for any humanities or arts major. with the 200+ topics available. and an English student isn’t expected to understand hydrogen bonding. the great European cathedrals 2. 1. by all means go for it. some appropriate for the expert and others for the layman: “The arts (painting. Though it seems certain issue prompts necessitate a thorough knowledge in some particular area. 2010 Admittedly. a chemistry student isn’t expected to know Shakespeare. etc. Each point will be labeled “agree” or “disagree” to indicate whether the example is for or against the speaker. Agree: Ancient and Renaissance architectures were often constructed to honor gods and provide an appropriate place of worship. dust off an old history book. be searching your brain for any example of art you know something about. Let’s look at a relatively esoteric issue prompt and explore varying avenues of analysis. music. the ETS doesn’t expect this from you. 3. so let’s simplify it: do the arts always reflect social ideas? That is. you’ll have to read an encyclopedia.Thursday. I want to offer an often unheeded caveat for those art lovers: don’t get too excited. Students from all kinds of backgrounds take the GRE. keep in mind that your readers may not be conversant with your academic discipline.) reveal the otherwise hidden ideas and impulses of a society. the toughest part of the Issue Task is coming up with ideas that you’re confident in. literature. more importantly. and. as hard as that may be. October 21st. . Agree: Medieval and Renaissance painting was heavily religious. 1. thereby reflecting the pervasive religious fervor in their respective societies. Why not take a step back and think about the kinds of art you could talk about. you may. so try to temper your genius. if you come across a prompt that could benefit from your expertise. don’t reproduce your senior thesis in 45 minutes. This is probably a fruitless strategy. Agree: Skyscrapers built in urban metropolises in the 20th century reflect the zeitgeist of technological progress. 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. I’m sure none of you wants to do that (though I bet it’s been done before). Still. If you come across a topic that allows you to exploit your studies. The Layman’s Approach: If you’re not an art lover or humanities major. the pyramids. is the aim of art to reflect and comment on society? Let’s look at some ideas from different perspectives: 1. In other words. in fact. The Parthenon. i. In fact. The above prompt is a somewhat confusing question. You might think that. you may be worried by such a prompt. The examples do not have to be in-depth analyses of the Renaissance masters–just use what you know. such is not the case.

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

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

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

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

1. are at their worst in history. In fact. Also. 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. mandating exercise in school. exercise clothes may be an inexpensive alternative to other clothing styles. Don’t be afraid to integrate smaller fallacies into paragraphs: an abundance of information is not a . this guilt about eating habits encourages fast-food patrons to exercise. 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. 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. Though we may applaud the efforts of schools to introduce such a program. not out of any sound reasoning.” suggesting it’s the only one of its kind in Plainsville. 1. much like making beloved classics of literature “required texts. on average. how do we know the interest will continue in the future? After all. then high rates of attendance do not suggest an overwhelming increase in the citizens’ exercise. 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. choose the best examples and develop them into coherent paragraphs. why shouldn’t we assume that they can easily revert back to unhealthy lifestyles? 1.” may cause unintended opposition to exercise. our national eating habits. If this is true. 1. 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. Often. we cannot assume that the program will have any lasting effect on the children’s lifestyles. Competition?: The speaker fails to mention the possibility or lack of competing health food stores. but not necessarily change their eating habits. The speaker refers to the club as “the local health club. Future interest in exercise?: Even if Plainsville residents are interested in health foods. the speaker must show a correlation between exercise habits and healthy eating habits. perhaps through a survey or study. How can we be sure that Nature’s Way will thrive despite its potential new competition? 2. 1. Many children often willfully oppose orders given by parents and school teachers. To write the essay. What we have here is an abundance of information. not quite an essay.” but there are other possible sources of these increases. Suggestions for Improvement: To improve the argument. more simply. but because of sheer childhood obstinacy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2. and. Add zeros as necessary. line up the decimal points. Step 3: So.356. always use common sense to avoid calculation errors. I know that my answer will have one digit before the decimal because 4 * 1 = 4. My sum of digits equals the number of digits that should be to the right of the decimal in my product.170 ————384.5689 = 5689 / 10000 You’ll want one zero in the denominator for every digit in the decimal. in 1356. Multiply the decimals as if the decimals are not present. .84 = 84/100 .. add zeros to fill up the empty space. I need 5 digits after the decimal. if it makes things easier.003 Step 1: 452 x 3 ———1356 Step 2: In 4.4 = 4/10.52 and .17 Set it up like this: 382. Manipulate the placement of the decimal in the product to fulfill step 3. I add 2 + 3=5).01356. 4. .232 and 1.52 and . and add these up (ex. Example: Add 382. Counting from right to left. HINT: When multiplying simpler decimal numbers.515 Multiplication 1.345 and 2. Addition and Subtraction When adding and subtracting decimals. Count the number of digits after the decimal in each number. my product is . not 40 or 400. we have a total of 5 numbers after the decimals. If multiplying 6. 3.6.345 + 2. If I am multiplying 4. Example: Multiply 4.45 and .003.

is to practice on Grockit. so I’ll convert 502. I change .05 1.25 to 25. 8 times 205 is 1640. Bring down the 5 from the dividend.5 / .25 to 25) 2. Move decimal point in 2. 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 .5 1640 ——– 1435 1435 —— 0 For a little refresher in long division. Bring up the decimal and place 7 after it. The first step is to stop using the calculator every time you make an arithmetic calculation.7_____ 205 ) 1783.7 Working with decimals without a calculator is all about practice. . the second step. Do the same for the dividend. Example: Divide 17. 6. yielding 1783. 7.05 two times to the right to make 205. 2. Now we have 1435.25. as always. exactly. 205 goes into 1435 seven times. Divide normally and bring the decimal straight up into the quotient. we are left with 8. 3. 1783 minus 1640 is 143.5 to 50250) 3. 5. here is the process verbalized: 1. Since there is no remainder left over. 205 can go into 1783 about 8 times. Move the decimal point in the divisor to the right so that the divisor is a whole number (If my computation is 502.5 _ 8.835 by 2. 4.Division 1.

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