Archive for June, 2010

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Our answer is D.Simplify When presented with two baffling expressions.5–you want to use a positive. I could use the tried and true plug-in method. As long as I add or subtract the same number or variable from these expressions. Quantitative. my expression is simply 20/2 = 10. and a fraction). In the meantime. Stay tuned for some more strategies for quantitative comparisons that will save you time and increase accuracy. June 9th. when choosing numbers to add or subtract.000. strategy | 2 Comments » GRE Strategy – Estimation Wednesday. your first instinct should be to cross out matching zeros. now. 4x +5 OR 3x +6 I could approach this problem a few ways. that you can manipulate both expressions to make the comparison simpler. I’ll have the same relationship between the two expressions. If I have 2.000 in the denominator. Simplify by Adding/Subtracting Same Value 1. and .000 in the numerator and 200. you should get comfortable with estimating. though. 0. our goal is to make the relationship simpler. I should just eliminate five zeros from the top and 5 zeros from the bottom. where I would test a few simple numbers (preferably something like -2. 2. always think of ways to simplify before you calculate. 2. Don’t forget. try some of these strategies in Grockit! Posted in GRE. series. Even if estimating doesn’t give you the 100% accurate answer. 0.000 / 100 When you see many zeros in fractions like this. 2010 To save time on the GRE. Remember. 000 OR 1.000 / 200. so: Subtracting 5 from both sides gives us: 4x OR 3x+1 Subtracting 3x from both sides gives us: x OR 1 Now. Same idea for column b: 1. it generally narrows it down to . Quantitative Comparison.000/100 = 10/1 = 10. First. Let’s check out this example: 1. look how simple it is? The comparison is any number (x) OR 1. a negative.000. which is clearly indeterminate.

5% or 10% represents and working from there depending on the question. and the nuclear. hydro and wind power combined? I would look at the Canada row. So I’m looking for what value 7% of $10.0 billion $. $127. I would figure out what 1% represents – approximately $0. Given the following five answer choices 1.6 billion $8. I tend to like figuring out 1%. and then multiply that by 7 to get $0. you just need to know if they are equal or if one is bigger. .1 million. let’s take a look at the following chart. so there really is no point calculating the precise answer there. Numerical Estimations Practice estimating with percentages. Wind (2%) + Hydro (2%) + Nuclear (3%) = 7%.74 billion I would then pick E easily based on my estimate. The question asks: approximately what average amount per month did the Canadian government spend on nuclear.9 billion $7. In this case. Some questions even tell you to obvious choice (if you’re good at estimating and round up and down appropriately). 5. 2.6 million represents. For example.7 million. This will save you a lot of time. 3. Estimation also comes in handy for quantitative comparisons because you don’t need the precise answer.2 billion $10. hydro and wind column (keeping my finger on it so I don’t read the wrong thing) and add up those percentages. particular on the questions with charts and graphs. 4.

The same goes with this question. So A is bigger. the price/lb of coffee A is approximately $10/5 pounds = $2/lb. You should always assume that triangles are never drawn to scale and when looking at diagrams of . The length of one edge of the cube is 6. Clearly square root of 37 will be a teensy bit bigger. Which is also square root of 36. The important lesson in visual estimations is not to do it for triangles. so you can choose B without even calculating what root 37 might be. Clearly AE is the longer line since it spans four rectangles instead of three. The price/lb of coffee B is approximately $8/7 pounds = $1.1 / lb.In the example above. Visual Estimations Visual estimations usually work for things like graphs or simple diagrams like the problem below.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Looks look at an . Moving a decimal one unit could transform a correct answer into a wrong answer. imprecise. The only thing close to that is B. Yes. it can be no other answer. Part 2 Monday.165 C. 70. common sense thinker will probably be able to answer this question without doing a calculation.16. if you happen to stumble upon an antonym question like this. When we are overwhelmed by figures and calculations. Beating the GRE quantitative requires a balanced combination of math skills and test-taking skills– these strategies will help improve the latter. Step back. You may notice the anticipated answer in the choices and think that you won’t have to finish the problem. don’t give up–use your brain! Tags: antonyms. often making the problem appear a little bit easier than it actually is. when you’re in the middle of a timed test. don’t overwork. During practice. but nonetheless common sense manner. and look at the simplicity of the question. July 26th. BallparkingTo ‘ballpark’ is to roughly approximate.685 D. Use the test format to your advantage.speculation will lead you to the correct answer. but outsmarting the test-writers is very important too. but remember that such a choice is probably a trap. ballparking essentially means thinking about mathematical figures in a vague.Let’s look at a crude example:What’s 32. things change. Avoid TrapsNearly every multiple choice math problem has trap answers. or attractors. no matter how many correct steps you painstakingly went through. 1.33 percent is awfully close to one third. 35. But. strategy | No Comments » Simple Quantitative Strategies. 1. though. These types of answers catch your eye for one reason or another. vacabulary Posted in GRE.33 % of 50?A. These strategies are here to remind you that there is just a bit more to studying than simply cramming math material. You see a question like this and immediately start calculating the product. and you go into human calculator mode.195 Any relaxed. A third of 50 is a little more than 15 (15*3= 45). 5.125 B. 2010 This is the second installment in the simple quantitative strategies series. This is where ballparking plays a significant role. 32. Anxiety sets in.350 E. learning the processes is more than half the battle. it’s easy to make mistakes.50. Verbal. and anticipate the clever gambits so often deployed by the ETS. but we were still successful with some effort. In terms of GRE quantitative strategy.

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

80. the total number of percentage points on the first five tests. 3. he calculated the average weight of the fish to be 4. A = 550 / 7 = 78. then simply multiply the average and the number of figures to find the sum total (T). the total number of percentage points on all the tests 5*89= 445. 75. If her average score after the first three five tests was 89. and 90. 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. we have to find two totals before we can calculate the average of the final three tests. 8*83= 664. 1. Example 1: John caught 14 fish after a long day of fishing.7 lbs. After weighing all of them together. With this information. What is the total weight. they are related by the formula A= T / n.Finding the total: IF you know the average and the number of figures/items (n) in a set. 219 (total) / 3 (number of figures) = 73 . If I want to find the average of seven different test scores. 2. then T= 550. 70. If the aforementioned scores are 80. 60.Before we begin. There are 3 numbers you want to know. what was the average of her last three tests? Here.7= 65. 14*4. T is the total sum of values. of all the fish? Answer: Simply multiply 14 and 4. and n is the number of figures in a set. The average of the figures in a set: (A)= T / N.7. The sum total of all the figures in a set (T). then n=7. The number of figures in a set (n).8 Example 2: Throughout the year. where A is average.57. 95. let’s go over some basic rules for finding averages. 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. in pounds. In our example. we have the info we need to find the average in question. her average score was 83. Janet took 8 math tests.

go back to the formula A=T / n. the average speed should be closer to 60. and 3 hours at 60 mph would be 180 miles. what is the value of x? Remember that Average = Total / Number of figures. Always remember: when in doubt. we need both the total distance and the total time to calculate average speed. What was his average speed for the whole trip? First. so our total number of figures is 4. 1 hour at 50 mph would be 50 miles. let’s figure out the total distance. The total time is 3+1 = 4 hours. While some programs. 44. 35= ( 34+44+28+x) / 4 35= 106 + x / 4 4 (35) = 106 + x x = 4(35) – 106 x = 34 2. but many overlook the formula when approaching average speed problems. Our total distance is 180 + 50 = 230 miles. Average Speed = total distance / total time = 230 / 4 = 57. Quantitative | No Comments » Nailing that Grad School Interview Thursday. 28. particularly the science programs. Rather. Don’t forget that ‘x’ counts as a number in the list.Example 3: If the average of 34. Remember. will pay for your airfare and arrange lodging with a current grad student. Even the most complicated average problems stem from the formula. July 15th. If John traveled a greater distance at 60 mph. 2010 So you’ve applied to several schools and you get a letter inviting you to an in-person interview. it wouldn’t make sense for the average speed to lie right in the middle of 50 and 60.5 Note: the average speed is not merely the average of 50 and 60–that is a mistake that many students make. John drove for 1 hour at 50 mph and for 3 hours at 60 mph. and x is 35. most schools probably won’t do . All you have to do is set up an equation with the information you know. Average Speed = total distance / total time The formula for average speed is quite simple and intuitive. Example 4: In traveling from city A to city B. Tags: Averages Posted in GRE.

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

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

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,

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

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

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

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

2.Recognize the difference between percent MORE/LESS THAN and percent OF Example: What is 25% less than 8? ¼* 8 = 2.000. Percent change = Total Change/Original Value Example: Before trading began. So instead of taking 20%. so will yield a larger change.5)] in one neat step.000/$10. See the previous example: What is 25% less than 8? ¾*8 = 6. The higher the number. At the end of market close. versus two tougher ones. The 10% decrease in the 2nd round is applied to a higher number. but as numbers get larger. James’ investment portfolio grew by $2. the higher the resulting percent Applying the same percent to a higher number will yield a higher number. then subtracting from the original. 50% more than 10 should be calculated by multiplying 10*3/2 [10*(1 + 0. What was the percent change in James’ portfolio? Percent change = $2.000 = 0.000. Which is bigger. it might not seem necessary. just take 80% and be done. In this case. Conversely. and we’re done! On easy numbers like this. and then decreased by 10%. it will save lots of time. . The original x will be bigger. so 8 – 2 = 6 Example: What is 25% of 8? ¼*8 = 2 Use shortcuts 20% less than means 80% of. you are probably missing what to apply the percent to. Example: A certain positive integer x is increased by 10%. James’ investment portfolio was worth $10. x or the resulting number? The 10% increase of x in the first round increases x by a certain amount. or 20% Don’t add constants and percents You should never find yourself trying to figure out what 5 + 6% equals.

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. 750 . $23. 5% = 1/20 since 5*20 = 100. and all the tickets cost the same amount. If he sold 40% of the total number of items he offered for sale. Look how easy it gets? 25*(21/20)*x = 630 5*(21/4)*x = 630 x = 630*4 / 5*21 x = $24 Choice C Example 2: During an auction.20 E. $30 Without a calculator. and 30% of his remaining items. and are typically neater. Jerome sold 75% of the first 1. how many items did Jerome offer for sale? A. Now we set up the equation. fractions are always easier. what was the face value of each ticket price without the sales tax? A. If this price included a 5% sales tax. cancel and simplify. $22 B.05 (with tax) = $630 Note we can convert to fractions. $24 D. $25.000 items he offered for sale. 25 people * x dollars/person * 1. They cancel well.94 C. setting x = ticket price before tax.

3. This is a good hint that there may be a hidden 2nd equation.000 = 3. Tags: percent Posted in GRE. T = R + 1.000 = 4. 1. 3/4*1000 + 3/10*R = 4/10*T We have 2 equations.800 D.500 Choice E Please visit the Grockit forum or leave a comment here to discuss further. And again.500 E. 1.500 + 1.500 We always look back to the original question to see exactly what we are looking for. if not. The best option. but it’s just an intimidating name for some pretty elementary mathematical principles. though. and 1 unknown. Not R. Quantitative. T. 1000 + R = T Now.500 Again.050 C. We can solve! 750 + 3R/10 = 400 + 4R/10 350 = R/10 R = 3. 2010 Number theory may sound scary. strategy | No Comments » Number Theory Wednesday. we have 2 equations and 2 unknowns. switching to fractions is always best.B. In this case. August 25th. is to study these principles enough that they seem intuitive. we want to set up the equation – this will make things a lot easier. you could easily execute a calculation to ascertain them. The GRE . You probably know most of these principles by memory. 4.

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

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

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

such as: 3/8 = 3*1/8 = 3*0.5 1/3 = . leaving us with Mom on March 26th. Fractions and Decimals are the same thing You should be familiar with common decimals.33 repeating 1/4 = .125 = 0. which of the following is a possible value of (x² +2x – 7)/9? A. 1. the quicker you can eliminate answer choices are clearly wrong.4 D. -2.20 1/6 = .375 The more familiar with these you become. so we count 3 from Dad. 8.166 repeating 1/8 = .555 repeating C.268 B. For example: If x is an integer.125 .166 repeating E. 0.25 1/5 = .125 1/9 = . 4.February 1-28: 28 + March 1 – 26: 26 = 67 days. mainly: 1/2 = .11 repeating Note that multiplying these by constants will leave similarly instructive results. 67/4 leaves you will a remainder of 3.

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

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

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

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

125 1/7 = ~0. GRE Prep. and will give you ostensibly time-consuming calculations. which occur in a large portion of the questions.166 repeating 1/5 = 0. fractions will be easier to perform arithmetic. mistakes should be learned from and sometimes laughed off. 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. finally. such as in a number line.14 1/6 = 0. and take advantage of the many ways that you can study for the exam. Dividing by 5 is the same as multiplying by 2/10. too. preparing for it is often a rigorous experience. and your future is a serious thing. remember that your GRE prep is a collaboration between you. The writers recognize time is short. And. Decimals are sometimes more useful when comparing numbers relative to one another. One way to mitigate this is by retaining a rockstar aptitude in manipulating fractions. and remember to take time to relax a little! What are some of your favorite ways to relieve GRE preparation pressure? Posted in GRE.333 repeating 1/2 = 0. strategy | 1 Comment » Fractions. Some common ones to memorize: • • • • • • • • 1/9 = 0. 2010 GRE questions are notorious for seeming harder than they actually are. Even if given a decimal (or percent) looks easy. So remember that even as you’re working hard. But questions are sometimes funny. Finally. and your Expert.111 repeating 1/8 = 0.5 repeating . Oh My! Friday. August 13th. try to enjoy the process as much as you can. 90% of the time. Be proactive about your practice and about asking questions.25 1/3 = 0.5. try to have some fun with the studying process! Yes. you should take some time out to play. To summarize. your fellow students. the GRE is a challenging test. and your Experts and fellow students could probably use a light moment as much as you could. Proportions and Ratios. quickly convert to a fraction. but these questions are the exception.20 1/4 = 0.

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

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

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

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

and then I take the ratio quantity of boys. That means that for every 3 boys at the party. if we have a ratio x:y. respectively. 40% of the party goers are male. of the party goers are boys. and then form a fraction in which this sum is the 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 the GRE is no exception. respectively. August 5th. Stated algebraically. This does not mean that 3/4 of the party goers are boys. For example.1%. a ratio of boys to girls (Boys: Girls) at a party is 3:4. A ratio is a kind of fraction that measures two or more quantities in a group. then 4/10 or 2/5 of the party is male and 3/5 of the party is female. 4/7. If 40% of the party is male. of the party goers are girls. or 57. you’ll learn that ratio and proportions problems require only simple algebra. nor does it mean that 4/3 of the party goers are girls. You can also write this ratio as 3/4. then x / x+y and y /x+y express the proportions of x to the group and y to the group. Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments » Ratios and Proportions Thursday. . I add 3 and 4 (=7). So. We now have to find the ratio. and form the fraction 3/7.9 %. 3/7. or 42. 3. 2010 Ratios and proportions are favorites of most standardized tests.For an impressively comprehensive list of vocabulary mnemonics. there are 4 girls. They may be a bit intimidating if you are unfamiliar with how to approach them. but reverses the process. It’s a brilliant site that exploits the power of online collaboration (not unlike Grockit) to enhance education. visit mnemonicdictionary. you add the numerator and the denominator. Let’s see what an example using this rule might look like: Example 1: At a party. but once you learn the basics. If you do want to find out what proportion or percentage of the party goers are boys or girls.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Problem Solving. equal 12. September 22nd. Because of the ——– weather. symbiotic D. then and as a result should give you a clue that the blank agrees with the rest of the sentence. you know that the two blanks should correspond. consequently. then…”. Tags: polynomials Posted in GRE. If you need a little refresher with factoring. scan it quickly to see if it has any structural key words. Let’s try a one blank sentence first. mellifluous . equal 36. attenuating E. don’t immediately plug in 994.000 As you can see. 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. Quantitative | No Comments » Structural Agreement Wednesday. our goal here is to think of two numbers that. Words such as because. If one blank should be a positive word. (x+6)(x+6)…or (x+6)² Plug it in: 1000² = 1. certain problems that seem to require extreme calculations really just require some crafty algebraic manipulation. “therefore”. Having a thorough knowledge of polynomials will help you approach such problems the right way. balmy B. This is known as Structural Agreement.000. when multiplied.. As always. hence. How about 6 and 6? So. 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…. If you see certain words such as “because”.Example 8: What’s the value of x²+ 12x + 36 when x = 994 Like our earlier examples. therefore. We can easily factor this polynomial. torrid C. A. the other blank should also be a positive word and vice versa. the children spent the day playing in the yard. This is particularly important in two-blank sentence completions. “in addition” etc. and when added. (A second post on Structural Contrast will follow soon). Give these strategies a try during practice on Grockit.

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

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

Relative Velocity Planes. However. we can add their speeds to see their relative velocities. trains and automobiles. Because the denominator is 13. If moving in the same direction.25.47 D.M. To find this.25. Remember the question is asking for the number of hours to fill 1 truck. A worker can load 1 full truck in 6 hours. we know the decimal cannot equal . 0.M. Sometimes walking. Nor. Choice (E). 3. are you averaging or adding the given times taken. so 3/13 will be slightly lower. 0. 1/6 + 1/7 = 6/42 + 7/42 = 13/42 trucks/1 hour. If all three trains meet at the same time between New York and Dallas. Objects moving at given speeds on the <a href=”http://grockit. The rate of worker #2 is 1/7. we may not be able to decide between (D) or (E). You must add rates. in hours. 60 m/hr . we instead subtract their speeds to find the relative velocity. 42/13 hours/truck = 3 3/13 hours/truck.”>GRE</a>usually travel toward or away from each other.15 B. we may be looking at a geometry question. be careful of units. 2. 3. When together. NOT the number of trucks completed in 1 hour. Train A traveling at 60 m/hr leaves New York for Dallas at 6 less than BOTH of the individual rates. If both workers load one truck simultaneously while maintaining their constant rates.M. but not necessarily in proportion. what is the speed of Train C if the distance between Dallas and New York is 1260 miles? A. When moving at an angle. approximately how long.25 The rate of worker #1 is 1 truck/6 hours.23 E. At this point. If moving toward or away from each other.31 C. We can also see that 3/12 will yield . This can also be 1/6 trucks/1 hour. they will complete 1/6 + 1/7 trucks/ 1 hour. the decimal is important. we find the reciprocal of 13/42. will it take them to fill 1 truck? A. A second worker can load the same truck in 7 hours. Train B traveling at 90 m/hr also leaves New York for Dallas at 9 P. Train C leaves Dallas for New York at 9 P.

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

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

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). Riley deposited $500 into his account at a rate of 10% compounded semiannually and the bank will divide his interest into two equal parts. we know that this balance of $7.500 (or $2.25. Now. so the final balance at the end of the next 14 year period will be $22. we are given x% as 8%. Therefore.750 B.500 will triple again.600 C. For the second half of the year.25 paid at the end of the year.000 E.500*3). Riley has $525 because the bank paid $25 in interest ($500*5%) into his account. 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. Compound interest can essentially be translated into “interest paid on interest”. Riley is then paid 5% on the $525 balance that was in his account at the end of the first six months. and then will pay another 5% at the end of the year. The correct answer choice is E. $22. Overall. Riley earns $1. once in 14 years and one more time at the 28th year. $5. Mr. hence the phrase “compounding”.25. we know that the money will triple exactly twice in 28 years. Mr. Riley has $551. to get $7. it might be a bit easier to think about this without the use of compound interest. The lesson? Compound interest always pays more! Let’s look at another similar type of problem that involves interest. Thus. $8. This interest is equal to $525*5% = $26.500*3). Here.100 D. you are paid interest on the interest that was paid in prior periods.500 (or $7. the three types of interest problems you will most likely encounter come test day will be simple interest. $15.In the above question. For this one. compound interest. and word problems involving the mention of . which is equal to his balance of $500. triples in value in approximately every 112/x years. we know that the money triples in value every 14 years. Mr. which might unnecessarily confuse you. So at the end of the six months. compounded annually. meaning that after one period. at the end of the year. Further. what will be its approximate worth in 28 years? A. If $2500 is invested at a rate of 8%. Mr. They will pay 5% interest (10%/2) at the end of six months. plus the $25 interest paid at the end of 6 months. 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). Money invested at x%. $3. plus $26. Mr. so all we need to do is take 112/8 = 14.500 At first glance.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Test makers catch on to this.) This was a quick overview of general concepts for math questions. When test-takers guess on these problems. they tend to guess the extreme answer choice (i. 2. Answer choices are gifts that we test-takers must take advantage of. These will help you save time. if asked for the greatest. November 8th. they rarely allow that expected choice to be the answer. Keep an eye out for a similar article focusing on Quantitative Comparison questions.(E) since (A) and (B) are clearly too low. . it certainly works most of the time. In fact. GRE practice makes perfect. Most students tend to go for the ‘not enough information’ choice when they are out of time. 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. 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. Every effective test-taker must understand the strategies used to effectively eliminate wrong answer choices. 1. c is the answer (this question is pretty simple if we draw it out). 2010 As with all multiple choice tests. and as a result.e. eliminate the least (or greatest) number from the answer choices. that should come out soon. 5 c. and it follows the test-maker’s logic.’ While this is certainly not the case on quantitative comparisons. On hard problems. (Note: Answer choices are ALWAYS in ascending order. 4 b. there is more to strategy than simply trying to answer the question. As always. 6 d. Archive for November. and more importantly. 2010 Quantitative Elimination Strategies: Part 1 Monday. often eliminate the answer choice ‘not enough information. 9 According to the strategy. On a hard problem. it is often the case on difficult multiple choice problems. when you are asked to find the least (or greatest) number. and test makers will rarely let you get away with no calculation for a difficult problem. 8 e. we can eliminate 9. they’ll pick the greatest).

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

not 40 or 400. Addition and Subtraction When adding and subtracting decimals. Example: Multiply 4. 3. Example: Add 382. Counting from right to left.5689 = 5689 / 10000 You’ll want one zero in the denominator for every digit in the decimal. 2.52 and .232 and 1. . we have a total of 5 numbers after the decimals. HINT: When multiplying simpler decimal numbers. I know that my answer will have one digit before the decimal because 4 * 1 = 4. always use common sense to avoid calculation errors.84 = 84/100 . Step 3: So.45 and .345 and 2.003. I need 5 digits after the decimal. 4. add zeros to fill up the empty space.01356. if it makes things easier.356. If multiplying 6. Add zeros as necessary.345 + 2.003 Step 1: 452 x 3 ———1356 Step 2: In 4.17 Set it up like this: 382. in 1356. Multiply the decimals as if the decimals are not present. Manipulate the placement of the decimal in the product to fulfill step 3.515 Multiplication 1. If I am multiplying 4.52 and ..6.4 = 4/10. my product is . line up the decimal points. I add 2 + 3=5). My sum of digits equals the number of digits that should be to the right of the decimal in my product. Count the number of digits after the decimal in each number. and. . and add these up (ex.170 ————384.

Bring up the decimal and place 7 after it.05 two times to the right to make 205. Divide normally and bring the decimal straight up into the quotient. Move the decimal point in the divisor to the right so that the divisor is a whole number (If my computation is 502.25 to 25) 2. 3. Do the same for the dividend. . so I’ll convert 502.5 / . 2. we are left with 8. Now we have 1435.05 1. 6.25. The first step is to stop using the calculator every time you make an arithmetic calculation. Bring down the 5 from the dividend. yielding 1783. exactly.5 _ 8.5 1640 ——– 1435 1435 —— 0 For a little refresher in long division.25 to 25.Division 1. 5. here is the process verbalized: 1.835 by 2.5 to 50250) 3. 205 goes into 1435 seven times.7_____ 205 ) 1783. the second step. Since there is no remainder left over. as always. 8 times 205 is 1640. 205 can go into 1783 about 8 times. 4. 7. Move the decimal in the dividend the same number of places to the right (I moved the decimal two places to the right to convert .7 Working with decimals without a calculator is all about practice. Example: Divide 17. Move decimal point in 2. is to practice on Grockit. I change . 1783 minus 1640 is 143.

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