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# 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: http://www.ets.org/gre/general/prepare/sample_questions/analytical/issues/index.html. Yes, there are hundreds, but it helps to look at a bunch of these, and feel free to practice with them. For many students, the first looming question about an essay assignment is length. Most authorities suggest that the issue writing task be at least 400 words, which, in 45 minutes, is rather brief. That being said, length is never really the main goal. A concise, wellarticulated essay of 400 words will be better than a wordy, redundant, and trite essay of 700 words. At the same time, a 700 word essay with many convincing examples and articulate prose will be better than a vague 400 word essay without concrete examples. In the end, length should not be on your mind: clear writing, convincing examples, and a solid argument should be your focus. Now, let’s look at the writing process. Beginning a timed essay will probably be the most intimidating part, so make sure you develop a system for writing them. Here’s the first, and in my opinion, most important, step for writing the essay: 1. Brainstorm: As soon as you decide which of the two choices you’d like to write on, begin the brainstorming process. Jot down some reasons for and against the issue. You may already have a personal opinion about the issue, but set that aside. Let your ability to reason an argument do the choosing for you. Based on the reasons you brainstorm, you may want to argue for the issue, against it, or qualify it.

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

**Issue Writing Task: Part 1
**

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010

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

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

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

**Quantitative Comparison Strategies: Part 2
**

Friday, June 18th, 2010

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

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

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

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

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

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

my expression is simply 20/2 = 10. and a fraction). Simplify by Adding/Subtracting Same Value 1. strategy | 2 Comments » GRE Strategy – Estimation Wednesday. a negative. so: Subtracting 5 from both sides gives us: 4x OR 3x+1 Subtracting 3x from both sides gives us: x OR 1 Now. where I would test a few simple numbers (preferably something like -2. now. 2. our goal is to make the relationship simpler. 0. your first instinct should be to cross out matching zeros. Even if estimating doesn’t give you the 100% accurate answer. June 9th.000. Same idea for column b: 1. and . you should get comfortable with estimating. In the meantime. though.000/100 = 10/1 = 10. Don’t forget.000 in the numerator and 200. 4x +5 OR 3x +6 I could approach this problem a few ways.Simplify When presented with two baffling expressions. I should just eliminate five zeros from the top and 5 zeros from the bottom. If I have 2. 000 OR 1. 2010 To save time on the GRE. Quantitative Comparison.000 / 200. which is clearly indeterminate. I could use the tried and true plug-in method. I’ll have the same relationship between the two expressions. it generally narrows it down to . Remember. First.000 / 100 When you see many zeros in fractions like this. Let’s check out this example: 1.5–you want to use a positive. that you can manipulate both expressions to make the comparison simpler. 2. Quantitative. look how simple it is? The comparison is any number (x) OR 1.000. Our answer is D. As long as I add or subtract the same number or variable from these expressions. always think of ways to simplify before you calculate. 0. Stay tuned for some more strategies for quantitative comparisons that will save you time and increase accuracy.000 in the denominator. try some of these strategies in Grockit! Posted in GRE. series. when choosing numbers to add or subtract.

let’s take a look at the following chart.2 billion $10. you just need to know if they are equal or if one is bigger.1 million. 3. 2. particular on the questions with charts and graphs. For example. . Some questions even tell you to approximate.9 billion $7.74 billion I would then pick E easily based on my estimate. hydro and wind power combined? I would look at the Canada row. Given the following five answer choices 1. $127. Estimation also comes in handy for quantitative comparisons because you don’t need the precise answer. Numerical Estimations Practice estimating with percentages. and the nuclear.7 million.one obvious choice (if you’re good at estimating and round up and down appropriately). I would figure out what 1% represents – approximately $0. hydro and wind column (keeping my finger on it so I don’t read the wrong thing) and add up those percentages. The question asks: approximately what average amount per month did the Canadian government spend on nuclear. 5. so there really is no point calculating the precise answer there. 5% or 10% represents and working from there depending on the question.6 million represents. In this case. So I’m looking for what value 7% of $10. This will save you a lot of time.6 billion $8.0 billion $. and then multiply that by 7 to get $0. I tend to like figuring out 1%. 4. Wind (2%) + Hydro (2%) + Nuclear (3%) = 7%.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

and look at the simplicity of the question. 70. This is where ballparking plays a significant role. though.165 C. The only thing close to that is B.50.350 E. and you go into human calculator mode.195 Any relaxed. don’t give up–use your brain! Tags: antonyms.16. When we are overwhelmed by figures and calculations. but we were still successful with some effort. but remember that such a choice is probably a trap.685 D. These strategies are here to remind you that there is just a bit more to studying than simply cramming math material. Step back. Part 2 Monday. and anticipate the clever gambits so often deployed by the ETS. Avoid TrapsNearly every multiple choice math problem has trap answers. 32. when you’re in the middle of a timed test. but nonetheless common sense manner. But. common sense thinker will probably be able to answer this question without doing a calculation.Let’s look at a crude example:What’s 32.33 percent is awfully close to one third. 1. Verbal. During practice. imprecise. ballparking essentially means thinking about mathematical figures in a vague. Use the test format to your advantage. You may notice the anticipated answer in the choices and think that you won’t have to finish the problem. Beating the GRE quantitative requires a balanced combination of math skills and test-taking skills– these strategies will help improve the latter. but outsmarting the test-writers is very important too. BallparkingTo ‘ballpark’ is to roughly approximate. strategy | No Comments » Simple Quantitative Strategies. In terms of GRE quantitative strategy. These types of answers catch your eye for one reason or another. if you happen to stumble upon an antonym question like this.Looks look at an . Anxiety sets in. 1. things change. no matter how many correct steps you painstakingly went through. July 26th. or attractors. 35.speculation will lead you to the correct answer. don’t overwork. often making the problem appear a little bit easier than it actually is.33 % of 50?A. 5. it’s easy to make mistakes.125 B. You see a question like this and immediately start calculating the product. Yes. Moving a decimal one unit could transform a correct answer into a wrong answer. 2010 This is the second installment in the simple quantitative strategies series. it can be no other answer. learning the processes is more than half the battle. A third of 50 is a little more than 15 (15*3= 45). vacabulary Posted in GRE.

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

Finding the total: IF you know the average and the number of figures/items (n) in a set. and 90. After weighing all of them together. In our example. A = 550 / 7 = 78. he calculated the average weight of the fish to be 4. in pounds. T is the total sum of values. If the aforementioned scores are 80. the total number of percentage points on all the tests 5*89= 445. 60.Before we begin. of all the fish? Answer: Simply multiply 14 and 4.7 lbs. we have the info we need to find the average in question. The sum total of all the figures in a set (T). The average of the figures in a set: (A)= T / N. If I want to find the average of seven different test scores.8 Example 2: Throughout the year. 95. 2. where A is average. 14*4. Example 1: John caught 14 fish after a long day of fishing. If her average score after the first three five tests was 89. 70. Janet took 8 math tests. let’s go over some basic rules for finding averages. and n is the number of figures in a set. the total number of percentage points on the first five tests. What is the total weight. then simply multiply the average and the number of figures to find the sum total (T). With this information. 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. we have to find two totals before we can calculate the average of the final three tests. The number of figures in a set (n). what was the average of her last three tests? Here.7. 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. her average score was 83. 1.57. 80. 3. then T= 550. 8*83= 664.7= 65. then n=7. 219 (total) / 3 (number of figures) = 73 . they are related by the formula A= T / n. There are 3 numbers you want to know. 75.

What was his average speed for the whole trip? First. so our total number of figures is 4.5 Note: the average speed is not merely the average of 50 and 60–that is a mistake that many students make. 1 hour at 50 mph would be 50 miles. let’s figure out the total distance. and x is 35. but many overlook the formula when approaching average speed problems. Tags: Averages Posted in GRE. go back to the formula A=T / n. Don’t forget that ‘x’ counts as a number in the list. most schools probably won’t do . will pay for your airfare and arrange lodging with a current grad student. it wouldn’t make sense for the average speed to lie right in the middle of 50 and 60. Quantitative | No Comments » Nailing that Grad School Interview Thursday. 28. 44.Example 3: If the average of 34. All you have to do is set up an equation with the information you know. we need both the total distance and the total time to calculate average speed. 35= ( 34+44+28+x) / 4 35= 106 + x / 4 4 (35) = 106 + x x = 4(35) – 106 x = 34 2. Even the most complicated average problems stem from the formula. Our total distance is 180 + 50 = 230 miles. Average Speed = total distance / total time The formula for average speed is quite simple and intuitive. If John traveled a greater distance at 60 mph. and 3 hours at 60 mph would be 180 miles. the average speed should be closer to 60. July 15th. particularly the science programs. Average Speed = total distance / total time = 230 / 4 = 57. Always remember: when in doubt. While some programs. what is the value of x? Remember that Average = Total / Number of figures. Rather. Example 4: In traveling from city A to city B. 2010 So you’ve applied to several schools and you get a letter inviting you to an in-person interview. John drove for 1 hour at 50 mph and for 3 hours at 60 mph. The total time is 3+1 = 4 hours. Remember.

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

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

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,

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

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

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

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

000 = 0. Example: A certain positive integer x is increased by 10%.000. . and we’re done! On easy numbers like this. it might not seem necessary. Which is bigger. you are probably missing what to apply the percent to. Conversely. The higher the number. The 10% decrease in the 2nd round is applied to a higher number. What was the percent change in James’ portfolio? Percent change = $2. and then decreased by 10%. then subtracting from the original. 50% more than 10 should be calculated by multiplying 10*3/2 [10*(1 + 0. the higher the resulting percent Applying the same percent to a higher number will yield a higher number. 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. So instead of taking 20%.5)] in one neat step. or 20% Don’t add constants and percents You should never find yourself trying to figure out what 5 + 6% equals.Recognize the difference between percent MORE/LESS THAN and percent OF Example: What is 25% less than 8? ¼* 8 = 2. it will save lots of time. At the end of market close. just take 80% and be done. James’ investment portfolio grew by $2.000. The original x will be bigger.2. but as numbers get larger. In this case. so will yield a larger change. so 8 – 2 = 6 Example: What is 25% of 8? ¼*8 = 2 Use shortcuts 20% less than means 80% of. versus two tougher ones. Percent change = Total Change/Original Value Example: Before trading began. See the previous example: What is 25% less than 8? ¾*8 = 6.000/$10.

5% = 1/20 since 5*20 = 100. $30 Without a calculator. 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. Jerome sold 75% of the first 1.000 items he offered for sale. 25 people * x dollars/person * 1.20 E. Now we set up the equation. 750 . fractions are always easier. how many items did Jerome offer for sale? A. If this price included a 5% sales tax. They cancel well. and are typically neater. and 30% of his remaining items. and all the tickets cost the same amount. setting x = ticket price before tax.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. $24 D.94 C. $22 B. $23.05 (with tax) = $630 Note we can convert to fractions. If he sold 40% of the total number of items he offered for sale. what was the face value of each ticket price without the sales tax? A. $25. cancel and simplify.

500 + 1. you could easily execute a calculation to ascertain them. 3/4*1000 + 3/10*R = 4/10*T We have 2 equations.000 = 3. T. but it’s just an intimidating name for some pretty elementary mathematical principles. 1. And again. T = R + 1.B. August 25th.000 = 4. and 1 unknown. Not R. 4.500 E. Quantitative.800 D. The best option. we want to set up the equation – this will make things a lot easier.500 We always look back to the original question to see exactly what we are looking for.050 C. 1. 2010 Number theory may sound scary. we have 2 equations and 2 unknowns.500 Again. 1000 + R = T Now. if not. This is a good hint that there may be a hidden 2nd equation. Tags: percent Posted in GRE. though.500 Choice E Please visit the Grockit forum or leave a comment here to discuss further. We can solve! 750 + 3R/10 = 400 + 4R/10 350 = R/10 R = 3. In this case. The GRE . You probably know most of these principles by memory. 3. switching to fractions is always best. strategy | No Comments » Number Theory Wednesday. is to study these principles enough that they seem intuitive.

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

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

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

67/4 leaves you will a remainder of 3. the quicker you can eliminate answer choices are clearly wrong.11 repeating Note that multiplying these by constants will leave similarly instructive results. For example: If x is an integer.25 1/5 = . which of the following is a possible value of (x² +2x – 7)/9? A.33 repeating 1/4 = .125 1/9 = .166 repeating 1/8 = . 4.268 B.February 1-28: 28 + March 1 – 26: 26 = 67 days. such as: 3/8 = 3*1/8 = 3*0.125 = 0.166 repeating E. 1. leaving us with Mom on March 26th.20 1/6 = . Fractions and Decimals are the same thing You should be familiar with common decimals. 0.125 .555 repeating C. so we count 3 from Dad. -2. mainly: 1/2 = .4 D.375 The more familiar with these you become. 8.5 1/3 = .

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

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

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

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

Oh My! Friday. Be proactive about your practice and about asking questions.5. Even if given a decimal (or percent) looks easy. preparing for it is often a rigorous experience. and your Experts and fellow students could probably use a light moment as much as you could.333 repeating 1/2 = 0. 2010 GRE questions are notorious for seeming harder than they actually are. To summarize. and take advantage of the many ways that you can study for the exam. GRE Prep.25 1/3 = 0.125 1/7 = ~0. The writers recognize time is short.111 repeating 1/8 = 0.20 1/4 = 0. your fellow students. Some common ones to memorize: • • • • • • • • 1/9 = 0. and will give you ostensibly time-consuming calculations. too. mistakes should be learned from and sometimes laughed off. Proportions and Ratios. but these questions are the exception. So remember that even as you’re working hard. For example: • • • 840/5 = ? 840/5 = 840*(2/10) = 84*2 = 168 Multiplying or dividing by 10’s and 2’s is generally easier than using 5’s. and your future is a serious thing. which occur in a large portion of the questions. finally. try to enjoy the process as much as you can.14 1/6 = 0. try to have some fun with the studying process! Yes. August 13th. strategy | 1 Comment » Fractions. One way to mitigate this is by retaining a rockstar aptitude in manipulating fractions. fractions will be easier to perform arithmetic. 90% of the time. Finally. the GRE is a challenging test. But questions are sometimes funny. And. remember that your GRE prep is a collaboration between you.166 repeating 1/5 = 0. and your Expert. Dividing by 5 is the same as multiplying by 2/10. Decimals are sometimes more useful when comparing numbers relative to one another. you should take some time out to play. quickly convert to a fraction. such as in a number line.5 repeating . and remember to take time to relax a little! What are some of your favorite ways to relieve GRE preparation pressure? Posted in GRE.

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

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

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

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

What is the ratio of male to female party goers? This question uses the aforementioned rule. of the party goers are boys. but once you learn the basics. August 5th. a ratio of boys to girls (Boys: Girls) at a party is 3:4. if we have a ratio x:y. Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments » Ratios and Proportions Thursday. I add 3 and 4 (=7). and form the fraction 3/7. 3. respectively. 4/7.1%. if I want to find out what proportion of the party goers are boys. So.For an impressively comprehensive list of vocabulary mnemonics. If 40% of the party is male. or 42. of the party goers are girls. We now have to find the ratio. or 57. . For example. you’ll learn that ratio and proportions problems require only simple algebra. then 4/10 or 2/5 of the party is male and 3/5 of the party is female. 40% of the party goers are male. nor does it mean that 4/3 of the party goers are girls.com. then x / x+y and y /x+y express the proportions of x to the group and y to the group. Let’s see what an example using this rule might look like: Example 1: At a party. but reverses the process. 2010 Ratios and proportions are favorites of most standardized tests. there are 4 girls.9 %. and then I take the ratio quantity of boys. respectively. you add the numerator and the denominator. visit mnemonicdictionary. They may be a bit intimidating if you are unfamiliar with how to approach them. If you do want to find out what proportion or percentage of the party goers are boys or girls. and the GRE is no exception. You can also write this ratio as 3/4. Stated algebraically. This does not mean that 3/4 of the party goers are boys. That means that for every 3 boys at the party. It’s a brilliant site that exploits the power of online collaboration (not unlike Grockit) to enhance education. and then form a fraction in which this sum is the denominator. 3/7. A ratio is a kind of fraction that measures two or more quantities in a group.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2. Nor.M. in hours. approximately how long. we may not be able to decide between (D) or (E). 42/13 hours/truck = 3 3/13 hours/truck. we instead subtract their speeds to find the relative velocity. Train B traveling at 90 m/hr also leaves New York for Dallas at 9 P.15 B. However. If all three trains meet at the same time between New York and Dallas. If both workers load one truck simultaneously while maintaining their constant rates. 0. they will complete 1/6 + 1/7 trucks/ 1 hour.be less than BOTH of the individual rates. we find the reciprocal of 13/42.25 The rate of worker #1 is 1 truck/6 hours. At this point. If moving toward or away from each other. This can also be 1/6 trucks/1 hour. Remember the question is asking for the number of hours to fill 1 truck. Train A traveling at 60 m/hr leaves New York for Dallas at 6 P. A second worker can load the same truck in 7 hours. Relative Velocity Planes. but not necessarily in proportion.23 E. A worker can load 1 full truck in 6 hours.M. The rate of worker #2 is 1/7. Train C leaves Dallas for New York at 9 P. so 3/13 will be slightly lower. We can also see that 3/12 will yield .25. Sometimes walking. will it take them to fill 1 truck? A. When together.com/groups/gre/dashboard”>GRE</a>usually travel toward or away from each other. 1/6 + 1/7 = 6/42 + 7/42 = 13/42 trucks/1 hour. Objects moving at given speeds on the <a href=”http://grockit.M. we can add their speeds to see their relative velocities.31 C. Because the denominator is 13. 3. be careful of units.47 D. If moving in the same direction. 60 m/hr .25. what is the speed of Train C if the distance between Dallas and New York is 1260 miles? A. trains and automobiles. 3. Choice (E). we may be looking at a geometry question. we know the decimal cannot equal . You must add rates. To find this. are you averaging or adding the given times taken. 0. When moving at an angle. Again. NOT the number of trucks completed in 1 hour. the decimal is important.

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. Rate of Train C = 720 miles/ 6 hours = 120 miles/hour. how much snow could 8 plows remove in 5 minutes? A. 131. A gets to mile marker 180. If we divide 123 ft/min by 3 plows.B. which is then compared to the work completed. the time will be 3am. 16.640 D. here we want to interact plow-minutes. so all we have to is add “plows” to the expression.200 Instead of man-hours. 984 C. 180 m/hr Relative to Train A. and traveled (1260 – 540) miles. it will take Train B 6 hours. and they will be at mile marker 540. 90 m/hr C. For example: Three plows working at identical constant rates can clear 123 ft of snow per minute. 1. So when they all meet up. which has traveled the same time as B (6 hours). we get: . It may help consider the unit man-hours as the multiplication between workers and time. 328 B. Feet and minutes are already compared. 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. To catch up the 180 miles. In the three hours from 6pm to 9pm. 135 m/hr E. Man Hours Many times you may be asked to calculate the number of workers would be need to complete a certain task. Train B’s velocity is 30 m/hr. At this rate. This means that B will gain on A at a rate of 30 miles every hour. Choice (C). 120 m/hr D.400 E.

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

we are given x% as 8%.In the above question.500 (or $2.500 (or $7. Mr. Riley is then paid 5% on the $525 balance that was in his account at the end of the first six months. it might be a bit easier to think about this without the use of compound interest.600 C.500*3). Compound interest can essentially be translated into “interest paid on interest”. This interest is equal to $525*5% = $26. compounded annually. Therefore.000 E. For this one. Overall. The lesson? Compound interest always pays more! Let’s look at another similar type of problem that involves interest. and then will pay another 5% at the end of the year. $15. we know that the money will triple exactly twice in 28 years. to get $7. Money invested at x%. Riley deposited $500 into his account at a rate of 10% compounded semiannually and the bank will divide his interest into two equal parts. compounded annually. you are paid interest on the interest that was paid in prior periods. plus $26. which is equal to his balance of $500. Now. Here. Riley has $551. triples in value in approximately every 112/x years. 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). For the second half of the year. 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. $3. The correct answer choice is E. once in 14 years and one more time at the 28th year.500 At first glance. Thus. we know that the money triples in value every 14 years.500*3). the three types of interest problems you will most likely encounter come test day will be simple interest. Riley has $525 because the bank paid $25 in interest ($500*5%) into his account. $8.25. plus the $25 interest paid at the end of 6 months. So at the end of the six months. Mr.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). They will pay 5% interest (10%/2) at the end of six months.25. meaning that after one period. hence the phrase “compounding”. we know that this balance of $7. If $2500 is invested at a rate of 8%.25 paid at the end of the year.750 B. Mr. $22. Further. compound interest.500 will triple again. which might unnecessarily confuse you. $5. so the final balance at the end of the next 14 year period will be $22. so all we need to do is take 112/8 = 14. Mr. Riley earns $1. Mr. what will be its approximate worth in 28 years? A. at the end of the year.100 D. and word problems involving the mention of .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

but its method in doing so recapitulates a history of the medium to draw attention to its status as an artwork. in order to comment on and often critique social mores. one particular chapter changes its style paragraph by paragraph. Agree: Victorian Literature 1. 2. In Victorian fiction. the poem comments on the current zeitgeist. 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. we see a retreat from societal representation to more idiosyncratic aesthetics. Dystopian novels like 1984 make explicit the fears of totalitarian governments that were in power at the time. all the while corresponding to a specific episode from Homer’s great epic poem The Odyssey. visceral. the mess of paint evokes the image of the action of painting. thereby reflecting the psychosocial consciousness of the time. 3.S. Indeed. Pollock’s technique–violently splattering paint on the canvas– can be viewed as a purely visceral impulse. Agree: Dystopian Fiction: 1. Eliot’s The Wasteland. for example. thereby referring to itself as art rather than commenting on or exhibiting any societal impulse. James Joyce’s Ulysses. Disagree: In twentieth century painting. i. you can certainly use that here.g. in some instances. courtship and the social practices of marriage. often considered the quintessential modernist novel. 1. Austen’s Pride and Prejudice often elucidates the societal emphasis on marrying for status and financial security rather than marrying for love. The Expert’s Approach: If you have some knowledge of art history or literature. Certain artistic movements are known for social commentary while others are famous for eschewing it. i. 1. The Issue topic is always about using what you know and making sense of it. 2.4. Disagree: Modernism 1. both essays include logical arguments with sufficient evidence. illustrating a detailed history of the development of English. i. T. 2. ii. is a complex and ostensibly chaotic mishmash of historical literary styles and references. i. however. to draw attention to the process and materials of artistic composition. Each chapter of the novel exhibits a markedly different style and theme. for example. iii. While the “expert” essay has more complex and esoteric examples. Art becomes less mimetic and more cerebral. authors like Jane Austen and George Eliot strive to replicate realistic social scenarios. that is. Modernists aspire to more than social commentary. follows a similar ambition. e. or at least aspiring to something greater than it. In fact. . or. 3.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

but because there is no mention of units. If you have no clue how to answer this question.4% After reading this question. You can then worry only about (A). 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. so those are out. Answer choices (D) and (E) include “60”.6% 30% 33. C. The town of Sandwich has a total of 5.8% 25% 28.help. Then you can pick between (A). B. x/m m/x xm 60m/x x/60m The two units provided in the question are miles and miles/hour. This will move the percent UP. approximately what percent of Sandwich’s total population would be over the age of 60? A. D. and (C). E. chances are we will not have to do that this time. (D) and . (B).400 citizens. Answer choices (B) and (D) are multiplied by 4 and 2 respectively. and the answer is to be in miles/hour. 1/4 are over the age of 60. but to save time. which is an indication that you are incorrectly converting hours to minutes. Do a very quick estimate of what the answer should look like. B. and (E) through a variety of strategies. Keep track of units. E. we can quickly recognize that any product including a factor of 2 must be even. We know that sometimes we might want to convert hours to minutes. C. D. we should think quickly about in which direction the percentage should be moving. If an advertising campaign attracts a number of new residents over 60 equal to 1/5 of the town’s current 60+ citizens and there are no other changes in the population. (C). 23. you are still guessing between (C). Of these. We start at ¼ (25%) 60+ citizens and add more 60+ citizens to the population without any other additions. Size Matters.

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

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

Manipulate the placement of the decimal in the product to fulfill step 3. Add zeros as necessary. line up the decimal points.6. Example: Multiply 4.5689 = 5689 / 10000 You’ll want one zero in the denominator for every digit in the decimal. HINT: When multiplying simpler decimal numbers.356.. I know that my answer will have one digit before the decimal because 4 * 1 = 4.003. . 2. If multiplying 6. my product is . always use common sense to avoid calculation errors. My sum of digits equals the number of digits that should be to the right of the decimal in my product. if it makes things easier. add zeros to fill up the empty space.4 = 4/10. Addition and Subtraction When adding and subtracting decimals. we have a total of 5 numbers after the decimals.003 Step 1: 452 x 3 ———1356 Step 2: In 4. Example: Add 382.232 and 1. 4.345 + 2.45 and .52 and . not 40 or 400.17 Set it up like this: 382.84 = 84/100 .515 Multiplication 1. I add 2 + 3=5).01356. Step 3: So. . Counting from right to left. Count the number of digits after the decimal in each number. Multiply the decimals as if the decimals are not present. and. I need 5 digits after the decimal.52 and .170 ————384. in 1356.345 and 2. If I am multiplying 4. and add these up (ex. 3.

25 to 25) 2.05 two times to the right to make 205. 3. Move decimal point in 2. 5. The first step is to stop using the calculator every time you make an arithmetic calculation.Division 1. 6.25. here is the process verbalized: 1. we are left with 8. 205 goes into 1435 seven times. Move the decimal point in the divisor to the right so that the divisor is a whole number (If my computation is 502. Example: Divide 17. I change . Do the same for the dividend. 8 times 205 is 1640.5 to 50250) 3. 205 can go into 1783 about 8 times. 4. Bring down the 5 from the dividend. 1783 minus 1640 is 143.7_____ 205 ) 1783. so I’ll convert 502. Divide normally and bring the decimal straight up into the quotient. 7. Since there is no remainder left over.7 Working with decimals without a calculator is all about practice. the second step.05 1. Now we have 1435. Bring up the decimal and place 7 after it. as always.25 to 25.5 _ 8. exactly. 2. is to practice on Grockit. yielding 1783. . Move the decimal in the dividend the same number of places to the right (I moved the decimal two places to the right to convert .5 / .5 1640 ——– 1435 1435 —— 0 For a little refresher in long division.835 by 2.