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**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: http://www.ets.org/gre/general/prepare/sample_questions/analytical/issues/index.html. 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.

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

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

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

5–you want to use a positive. If I have 2.000/100 = 10/1 = 10. 2.000. Don’t forget.000 / 200. Simplify by Adding/Subtracting Same Value 1. our goal is to make the relationship simpler. and . series. though.000 in the denominator. Our answer is D. that you can manipulate both expressions to make the comparison simpler.000 in the numerator and 200. Let’s check out this example: 1.000.000 / 100 When you see many zeros in fractions like this. First. In the meantime. now. my expression is simply 20/2 = 10. Even if estimating doesn’t give you the 100% accurate answer. Same idea for column b: 1. Remember. As long as I add or subtract the same number or variable from these expressions. 4x +5 OR 3x +6 I could approach this problem a few ways. a negative. your first instinct should be to cross out matching zeros. Quantitative Comparison. you should get comfortable with estimating. I’ll have the same relationship between the two expressions. where I would test a few simple numbers (preferably something like -2. always think of ways to simplify before you calculate. 2. and a fraction). when choosing numbers to add or subtract. try some of these strategies in Grockit! Posted in GRE. strategy | 2 Comments » GRE Strategy – Estimation Wednesday. I could use the tried and true plug-in method.Simplify When presented with two baffling expressions. I should just eliminate five zeros from the top and 5 zeros from the bottom. Quantitative. 000 OR 1. which is clearly indeterminate. Stay tuned for some more strategies for quantitative comparisons that will save you time and increase accuracy. June 9th. 2010 To save time on the GRE. 0. look how simple it is? The comparison is any number (x) OR 1. it generally narrows it down to . so: Subtracting 5 from both sides gives us: 4x OR 3x+1 Subtracting 3x from both sides gives us: x OR 1 Now. 0.

6 billion $8. 5% or 10% represents and working from there depending on the question.74 billion I would then pick E easily based on my estimate. hydro and wind power combined? I would look at the Canada row. So I’m looking for what value 7% of $10. 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. . and the nuclear.9 billion $7. Estimation also comes in handy for quantitative comparisons because you don’t need the precise answer. let’s take a look at the following chart.6 million represents.7 million. 3.one obvious choice (if you’re good at estimating and round up and down appropriately). so there really is no point calculating the precise answer there. This will save you a lot of time. $127. 2. Some questions even tell you to approximate.2 billion $10. Given the following five answer choices 1. In this case.1 million. Wind (2%) + Hydro (2%) + Nuclear (3%) = 7%. Numerical Estimations Practice estimating with percentages. I would figure out what 1% represents – approximately $0. 5.0 billion $. The question asks: approximately what average amount per month did the Canadian government spend on nuclear. and then multiply that by 7 to get $0. 4. For example. I tend to like figuring out 1%. you just need to know if they are equal or if one is bigger.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You see a question like this and immediately start calculating the product.165 C. learning the processes is more than half the battle. vacabulary Posted in GRE. but nonetheless common sense manner. and look at the simplicity of the question. You may notice the anticipated answer in the choices and think that you won’t have to finish the problem.350 E. Anxiety sets in. if you happen to stumble upon an antonym question like this. but remember that such a choice is probably a trap.33 percent is awfully close to one third.16. When we are overwhelmed by figures and calculations. 2010 This is the second installment in the simple quantitative strategies series. though. 35.125 B.33 % of 50?A. The only thing close to that is B. 32. These strategies are here to remind you that there is just a bit more to studying than simply cramming math material. 1. and anticipate the clever gambits so often deployed by the ETS. Avoid TrapsNearly every multiple choice math problem has trap answers. strategy | No Comments » Simple Quantitative Strategies. ballparking essentially means thinking about mathematical figures in a vague. This is where ballparking plays a significant role. don’t give up–use your brain! Tags: antonyms. Verbal.Let’s look at a crude example:What’s 32. July 26th. Moving a decimal one unit could transform a correct answer into a wrong answer. things change. but we were still successful with some effort. 70.Looks look at an . common sense thinker will probably be able to answer this question without doing a calculation. BallparkingTo ‘ballpark’ is to roughly approximate.685 D. it can be no other answer. In terms of GRE quantitative strategy. but outsmarting the test-writers is very important too. 1. or attractors.speculation will lead you to the correct answer. 5. Step back. no matter how many correct steps you painstakingly went through. But. don’t overwork. it’s easy to make mistakes. During practice. when you’re in the middle of a timed test. Use the test format to your advantage. imprecise. Yes. often making the problem appear a little bit easier than it actually is. A third of 50 is a little more than 15 (15*3= 45).50. These types of answers catch your eye for one reason or another. Part 2 Monday.195 Any relaxed. and you go into human calculator mode. Beating the GRE quantitative requires a balanced combination of math skills and test-taking skills– these strategies will help improve the latter.

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

There are 3 numbers you want to know.7. What is the total weight. 70. After weighing all of them together. let’s go over some basic rules for finding averages. they are related by the formula A= T / n. The number of figures in a set (n). The sum total of all the figures in a set (T).7 lbs. T is the total sum of values. In our example. in pounds. where A is average. If I want to find the average of seven different test scores. he calculated the average weight of the fish to be 4. then simply multiply the average and the number of figures to find the sum total (T). 80. the total number of percentage points on all the tests 5*89= 445. and 90. 8*83= 664. A = 550 / 7 = 78. what was the average of her last three tests? Here. Example 1: John caught 14 fish after a long day of fishing.7= 65.8 Example 2: Throughout the year. 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. of all the fish? Answer: Simply multiply 14 and 4. her average score was 83.Before we begin. Janet took 8 math tests. 2. 95. we have to find two totals before we can calculate the average of the final three tests. 60. then n=7. With this information. and n is the number of figures in a set. If her average score after the first three five tests was 89. then T= 550. If the aforementioned scores are 80.Finding the total: IF you know the average and the number of figures/items (n) in a set.57. 3. the total number of percentage points on the first five tests. 75. The average of the figures in a set: (A)= T / N. 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. 14*4. 1. 219 (total) / 3 (number of figures) = 73 . we have the info we need to find the average in question.

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. will pay for your airfare and arrange lodging with a current grad student. and 3 hours at 60 mph would be 180 miles. What was his average speed for the whole trip? First. Rather. Remember. let’s figure out the total distance. Even the most complicated average problems stem from the formula. Example 4: In traveling from city A to city B. 28. While some programs.Example 3: If the average of 34. 1 hour at 50 mph would be 50 miles. Average Speed = total distance / total time = 230 / 4 = 57. so our total number of figures is 4. 35= ( 34+44+28+x) / 4 35= 106 + x / 4 4 (35) = 106 + x x = 4(35) – 106 x = 34 2. 2010 So you’ve applied to several schools and you get a letter inviting you to an in-person interview. most schools probably won’t do . Tags: Averages Posted in GRE. The total time is 3+1 = 4 hours. 44. Don’t forget that ‘x’ counts as a number in the list. Our total distance is 180 + 50 = 230 miles. Always remember: when in doubt. particularly the science programs. All you have to do is set up an equation with the information you know. go back to the formula A=T / n. but many overlook the formula when approaching average speed problems. Average Speed = total distance / total time The formula for average speed is quite simple and intuitive. July 15th. Quantitative | No Comments » Nailing that Grad School Interview Thursday. we need both the total distance and the total time to calculate average speed. and x is 35. If John traveled a greater distance at 60 mph. what is the value of x? Remember that Average = Total / Number of figures. John drove for 1 hour at 50 mph and for 3 hours at 60 mph.5 Note: the average speed is not merely the average of 50 and 60–that is a mistake that many students make.

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

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

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,

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

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

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

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 + 0.25 . Example: 16% of men. Here are some quick pointers: Percents MUST be APPLIED to something A percent means nothing on it’s own. and convert to fractions whenever possible. Verbal.Response Paragraph 1: The argument. or 30% off the sales price Percents are basically fractions with a denominator of 100 Learn your common percents. and outlining the points that the essay will be addressing. The author weakens his claim by assuming that televised traffic updates would be timely enough to impact drivers’ actions. GRE. 62. Example: 20% = 1/5. Posted in Essay. which can come in a variety of formats. 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. August 27th. the argument also exhibits several serious flaws which could limit its persuasiveness. the opening paragraph responds to the prompt by taking a clear position. referring back to the issue briefly. 2010 In this article. analysis of an argument | No Comments » Tips For Percent Math Problems on the GRE Friday. we will discuss some common problems students encounter with percent problems.” As you can see. However. and by predicting a “significant” reduction in Metropolis auto accidents without specifying what kind of a reduction would be deemed “significant. has merit. which states that WPTK’s broadcast of traffic updates would reduce the incidence of auto accidents on Metropolis-area roads. by failing to explicitly state how the updates would affect auto accidents. Let your concise.25 = 1.

and then decreased by 10%.000 = 0. just take 80% and be done. and we’re done! On easy numbers like this. 50% more than 10 should be calculated by multiplying 10*3/2 [10*(1 + 0.000. In this case. What was the percent change in James’ portfolio? Percent change = $2.5)] in one neat step. At the end of market close. then subtracting from the original. James’ investment portfolio was worth $10. .Recognize the difference between percent MORE/LESS THAN and percent OF Example: What is 25% less than 8? ¼* 8 = 2. The 10% decrease in the 2nd round is applied to a higher number. x or the resulting number? The 10% increase of x in the first round increases x by a certain amount. Percent change = Total Change/Original Value Example: Before trading began. The higher the number. it will save lots of time. you are probably missing what to apply the percent to. or 20% Don’t add constants and percents You should never find yourself trying to figure out what 5 + 6% equals. versus two tougher ones. Conversely.000. it might not seem necessary. See the previous example: What is 25% less than 8? ¾*8 = 6. James’ investment portfolio grew by $2. so 8 – 2 = 6 Example: What is 25% of 8? ¼*8 = 2 Use shortcuts 20% less than means 80% of.000/$10. So instead of taking 20%. The original x will be bigger. so will yield a larger change. Example: A certain positive integer x is increased by 10%. Which is bigger. but as numbers get larger. the higher the resulting percent Applying the same percent to a higher number will yield a higher number.2.

If he sold 40% of the total number of items he offered for sale. and are typically neater. Jerome sold 75% of the first 1. 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. $30 Without a calculator. setting x = ticket price before tax. cancel and simplify. $23. 750 .20 E. They cancel well. $25. 25 people * x dollars/person * 1. 5% = 1/20 since 5*20 = 100.94 C. If this price included a 5% sales tax. $22 B.Let’s take a look at two examples! Example 1: A tour group of 25 people paid a total of $630 for entrance to a museum. and 30% of his remaining items. fractions are always easier.000 items he offered for sale. how many items did Jerome offer for sale? A. Now we set up the equation. and all the tickets cost the same amount.05 (with tax) = $630 Note we can convert to fractions. what was the face value of each ticket price without the sales tax? A. $24 D.

if not. The GRE .500 Choice E Please visit the Grockit forum or leave a comment here to discuss further. we have 2 equations and 2 unknowns. 3. 1.800 D. The best option. We can solve! 750 + 3R/10 = 400 + 4R/10 350 = R/10 R = 3. August 25th.000 = 4. T. you could easily execute a calculation to ascertain them. You probably know most of these principles by memory.500 E. This is a good hint that there may be a hidden 2nd equation.B. 2010 Number theory may sound scary. though. strategy | No Comments » Number Theory Wednesday. T = R + 1.500 We always look back to the original question to see exactly what we are looking for. switching to fractions is always best. and 1 unknown.500 + 1. Not R.050 C. Quantitative. we want to set up the equation – this will make things a lot easier.000 = 3. 4. but it’s just an intimidating name for some pretty elementary mathematical principles. 1000 + R = T Now. 3/4*1000 + 3/10*R = 4/10*T We have 2 equations.500 Again. is to study these principles enough that they seem intuitive. And again. 1. Tags: percent Posted in GRE. In this case.

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

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

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

February 1-28: 28 + March 1 – 26: 26 = 67 days.555 repeating C. which of the following is a possible value of (x² +2x – 7)/9? A.125 .125 1/9 = . so we count 3 from Dad.5 1/3 = .11 repeating Note that multiplying these by constants will leave similarly instructive results. mainly: 1/2 = .25 1/5 = . such as: 3/8 = 3*1/8 = 3*0. 8.4 D. 1.125 = 0.33 repeating 1/4 = . -2. leaving us with Mom on March 26th. 4. For example: If x is an integer.375 The more familiar with these you become. 0.20 1/6 = . 67/4 leaves you will a remainder of 3. Fractions and Decimals are the same thing You should be familiar with common decimals.166 repeating 1/8 = .268 B.166 repeating E. the quicker you can eliminate answer choices are clearly wrong.

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

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

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

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

5 repeating . and remember to take time to relax a little! What are some of your favorite ways to relieve GRE preparation pressure? Posted in GRE. such as in a number line. and your future is a serious thing. Oh My! Friday. One way to mitigate this is by retaining a rockstar aptitude in manipulating fractions. fractions will be easier to perform arithmetic. Dividing by 5 is the same as multiplying by 2/10.166 repeating 1/5 = 0. 2010 GRE questions are notorious for seeming harder than they actually are. To summarize. 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.25 1/3 = 0. GRE Prep. Proportions and Ratios.5. strategy | 1 Comment » Fractions.20 1/4 = 0.333 repeating 1/2 = 0. which occur in a large portion of the questions. 90% of the time. Even if given a decimal (or percent) looks easy. Finally. and take advantage of the many ways that you can study for the exam. try to have some fun with the studying process! Yes. Decimals are sometimes more useful when comparing numbers relative to one another. you should take some time out to play. mistakes should be learned from and sometimes laughed off. and will give you ostensibly time-consuming calculations. your fellow students. try to enjoy the process as much as you can. and your Expert. The writers recognize time is short. remember that your GRE prep is a collaboration between you. Be proactive about your practice and about asking questions. and your Experts and fellow students could probably use a light moment as much as you could. the GRE is a challenging test.125 1/7 = ~0. But questions are sometimes funny. And. August 13th. finally.111 repeating 1/8 = 0. preparing for it is often a rigorous experience. but these questions are the exception.14 1/6 = 0. Some common ones to memorize: • • • • • • • • 1/9 = 0. So remember that even as you’re working hard. quickly convert to a fraction. too.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You must add rates.47 D. We can also see that 3/12 will yield . what is the speed of Train C if the distance between Dallas and New York is 1260 miles? A.M. 0. Remember the question is asking for the number of hours to fill 1 truck. When moving at an angle. we may not be able to decide between (D) or (E). The rate of worker #2 is 1/7. If all three trains meet at the same time between New York and Dallas. 0. If moving in the same direction. A worker can load 1 full truck in 6 hours. we instead subtract their speeds to find the relative velocity. If moving toward or away from each other. 3.25. When together. we can add their speeds to see their relative velocities.31 C. Because the denominator is 13. Sometimes walking.com/groups/gre/dashboard”>GRE</a>usually travel toward or away from each other. they will complete 1/6 + 1/7 trucks/ 1 hour. Train B traveling at 90 m/hr also leaves New York for Dallas at 9 P. To find this. we may be looking at a geometry question. Nor. This can also be 1/6 trucks/1 hour. trains and automobiles. so 3/13 will be slightly lower.25 The rate of worker #1 is 1 truck/6 hours. Relative Velocity Planes. we find the reciprocal of 13/42.be less than BOTH of the individual rates. but not necessarily in proportion. However. 1/6 + 1/7 = 6/42 + 7/42 = 13/42 trucks/1 hour. Choice (E).M.15 B. Train C leaves Dallas for New York at 9 P. 60 m/hr . 3. be careful of units.23 E. Objects moving at given speeds on the <a href=”http://grockit. 2. will it take them to fill 1 truck? A. A second worker can load the same truck in 7 hours. 42/13 hours/truck = 3 3/13 hours/truck. At this point. approximately how long. the decimal is important. Train A traveling at 60 m/hr leaves New York for Dallas at 6 P.M. are you averaging or adding the given times taken. If both workers load one truck simultaneously while maintaining their constant rates.25. we know the decimal cannot equal . Again. in hours. NOT the number of trucks completed in 1 hour.

135 m/hr E. which has traveled the same time as B (6 hours). Man Hours Many times you may be asked to calculate the number of workers would be need to complete a certain task. here we want to interact plow-minutes. A gets to mile marker 180.640 D. This means that B will gain on A at a rate of 30 miles every hour. 328 B. 16. which is then compared to the work completed. 131. it will take Train B 6 hours. how much snow could 8 plows remove in 5 minutes? A. 90 m/hr C. At this rate. Choice (C). Rate of Train C = 720 miles/ 6 hours = 120 miles/hour. If we divide 123 ft/min by 3 plows. To catch up the 180 miles. Feet and minutes are already compared. For example: Three plows working at identical constant rates can clear 123 ft of snow per minute. It may help consider the unit man-hours as the multiplication between workers and time. In the three hours from 6pm to 9pm. 1. so all we have to is add “plows” to the expression. 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. 180 m/hr Relative to Train A. and they will be at mile marker 540. Train B’s velocity is 30 m/hr. 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. So when they all meet up. we get: . 984 C.B. and traveled (1260 – 540) miles.400 E. 120 m/hr D. the time will be 3am.200 Instead of man-hours.

Riley deposits $500 into an account that pays 10% interest.000 (P = your principle) for one year (t = one year) at 6% simple interest (i = given interest rate). we would need to divide 10% by 4. such as years or months).123 ft/minute/3 plows = 41 ft/plow-minute At this rate. i. work and rates Posted in GRE. so the value is constant. So for in the above question. This is by no means exhaustive. Example: If you invested $1. the above equation tells us the amount of interest that would be earned on a principle amount invested (P). September 16th. 2010 There are two types of interest problems on the GRE. Quantitative | 1 Comment » Interest and Compound Interest Problems Thursday. and they include simple interest and compound interest. the interest rate earned on the principle. for a given time (t) at a given interest rate (i). . you would get $60 in interest at the end of the year and would have a total of $1. since we are multiplying top and bottom by 40. Choice (C). Simple interest is the most basic and is a function of P. if we want to increase minutes to 5 and plows to 8. Tags: man hours. Please visit the Grockit forum or leave a comment here to discuss further. and the amount of time the money is invested. There are LOADS more rate questions. Note the absolute rate does not change. t (this is usually stated in periods. some are much more difficult. and if we were compounding quarterly. 41*40 feet / 40 plow-minutes = 1640 feet / 40 plow-minutes. we can simply insert these into the existing rate. How much money will be in Mr. relative volocity.060. For compound interest. though this one involves compound interest. you would earn slightly more. compounded semiannually. we need to divide 10% by 2 (because of 2 compounding periods). because we are compounding semiannually. The resulting equation is: Interest = iPt In basic terms. first you need to divide the interest rate by how many compound periods there are. Riley’s account at the end of one year? For compound interest. Let’s look at similar type problem. the principle amount of money invested. Mr.

meaning that after one period. Compound interest can essentially be translated into “interest paid on interest”. For the second half of the year. which is equal to his balance of $500. Therefore. Riley earns $1.600 C. triples in value in approximately every 112/x years. and word problems involving the mention of . Further. Thus. compounded annually. 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. Overall. plus $26.500*3). you are paid interest on the interest that was paid in prior periods.100 D. Mr. which might unnecessarily confuse you. it might be a bit easier to think about this without the use of compound interest. so all we need to do is take 112/8 = 14. compound interest.500*3). $8. compounded annually. we are given x% as 8%. the three types of interest problems you will most likely encounter come test day will be simple interest.500 At first glance. If $2500 is invested at a rate of 8%. we know that the money will triple exactly twice in 28 years.25. Mr. This interest is equal to $525*5% = $26. Money invested at x%.000 E. Mr. Mr. Riley has $551. we know that the money triples in value every 14 years. The correct answer choice is E.25. Now. $3. hence the phrase “compounding”. $22.500 will triple again. and then will pay another 5% at the end of the year. so the final balance at the end of the next 14 year period will be $22. Riley has $525 because the bank paid $25 in interest ($500*5%) into his account.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). 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). at the end of the year. what will be its approximate worth in 28 years? A. $5. Here. to get $7. Mr. Riley is then paid 5% on the $525 balance that was in his account at the end of the first six months.In the above question. Riley deposited $500 into his account at a rate of 10% compounded semiannually and the bank will divide his interest into two equal parts.750 B. $15.25 paid at the end of the year. So at the end of the six months. we know that this balance of $7.500 (or $2.500 (or $7. They will pay 5% interest (10%/2) at the end of six months. plus the $25 interest paid at the end of 6 months. For this one. The lesson? Compound interest always pays more! Let’s look at another similar type of problem that involves interest. once in 14 years and one more time at the 28th year.

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

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

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

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

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

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

where s is the side of the square. Here are your basic conversions: r = ½d = ½s. 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. That was long to write. multiplying and dividing by 2.Note that the hypotenuses of the smaller triangles are equal to the radius of the circle. finding the height. 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. Memorize this. we should be able to derive essentially any other information. It will save you the time of drawing a 30-60-90 triangle. 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 . 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. solving for the base.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4.345 + 2.52 and . Multiply the decimals as if the decimals are not present. 2. not 40 or 400. if it makes things easier. Add zeros as necessary. and add these up (ex. I need 5 digits after the decimal.4 = 4/10. My sum of digits equals the number of digits that should be to the right of the decimal in my product. and. Example: Add 382. line up the decimal points. we have a total of 5 numbers after the decimals.232 and 1. Addition and Subtraction When adding and subtracting decimals. Step 3: So.. my product is . Example: Multiply 4. I add 2 + 3=5).515 Multiplication 1.5689 = 5689 / 10000 You’ll want one zero in the denominator for every digit in the decimal.003.170 ————384. Count the number of digits after the decimal in each number. I know that my answer will have one digit before the decimal because 4 * 1 = 4. 3. . Counting from right to left. add zeros to fill up the empty space.84 = 84/100 .01356. If I am multiplying 4.6.52 and . Manipulate the placement of the decimal in the product to fulfill step 3.345 and 2.45 and .356. HINT: When multiplying simpler decimal numbers. in 1356. If multiplying 6. always use common sense to avoid calculation errors.003 Step 1: 452 x 3 ———1356 Step 2: In 4.17 Set it up like this: 382. .

Division 1.25 to 25. 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 . 4.5 1640 ——– 1435 1435 —— 0 For a little refresher in long division. 205 can go into 1783 about 8 times. we are left with 8. 1783 minus 1640 is 143.5 to 50250) 3. 205 goes into 1435 seven times. 2.25. Divide normally and bring the decimal straight up into the quotient. Bring down the 5 from the dividend. I change .05 1. The first step is to stop using the calculator every time you make an arithmetic calculation. is to practice on Grockit. as always. 8 times 205 is 1640. Move decimal point in 2. 7. Move the decimal point in the divisor to the right so that the divisor is a whole number (If my computation is 502. exactly. yielding 1783. so I’ll convert 502. 5. the second step.5 _ 8. 3.7 Working with decimals without a calculator is all about practice. Bring up the decimal and place 7 after it.25 to 25) 2. Example: Divide 17. 6.5 / . here is the process verbalized: 1. Do the same for the dividend.7_____ 205 ) 1783. Now we have 1435.835 by 2.05 two times to the right to make 205. . Since there is no remainder left over.

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