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**Issue Writing Task: Part 2
**

Monday, June 28th, 2010

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

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

**Issue Writing Task: Part 1
**

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010

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

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

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

**Quantitative Comparison Strategies: Part 2
**

Friday, June 18th, 2010

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

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

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

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

so we know the answer is negative. y is greater. Our first value is larger.g. Example 1: If x>0.25). Example 2: If x<0. e. then y is -3. it happens to become smaller. fractions. not bigger (. z= 0… 3z (2x +5y) OR 3x (2z+5y) When a zero is on the outside.fraction. if x is 4 then y is 3.5 * . When you practice on Grockit. what if x is zero? Well in that case. y >0. What we have is a negative multiplied by a positive. Since all the other values are positive. Remember. There you have it. our answer is D. and a zero. z=0 3z (2x +5y) OR 3x (2z+5y) We still have zero for our first value. positives. If we multiply a fraction by itself. Testing our second value gives us 3(-1) (2*0 + 5*2). So in that case. zeroes. Fractions have some very special properties. When negative numbers are involved. speed and accuracy are crucial! See other articles in this series: . so both values are equal. then x is greater than y. So in that case. always test them. the whole value is zero. we suggest that you use simple numbers in order to save yourself time and avoid any calculation errors. Example 4: If x > 0 and x does NOT equal 1… x² OR x So x must be positive and cannot be one. but we’re not in the clear quite yet. y> 0. Let’s check out some examples that show us why it’s necessary to be thorough. remember. as in our A value. So in that case. our special numbers to test are negatives. y is zero also. It turns out that the answer must be D. But what if they are negative? If x is -4. try using different strategies to figure out which work best for you. we can be confident that our second value is larger. and of course. And. it must be A right? Common Not so fast.5 = . Example 3: If 3x= 4y x OR y We know that if x and y are positive.

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

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

Some questions even tell you to approximate.6 billion $8. . I would figure out what 1% represents – approximately $0. I tend to like figuring out 1%. 5% or 10% represents and working from there depending on the question.74 billion I would then pick E easily based on my estimate.6 million represents. The question asks: approximately what average amount per month did the Canadian government spend on nuclear. particular on the questions with charts and graphs. 3. For example. so there really is no point calculating the precise answer there. So I’m looking for what value 7% of $10. Wind (2%) + Hydro (2%) + Nuclear (3%) = 7%. Given the following five answer choices 1.9 billion $7.7 million. you just need to know if they are equal or if one is bigger. In this case. hydro and wind column (keeping my finger on it so I don’t read the wrong thing) and add up those percentages. Numerical Estimations Practice estimating with percentages. Estimation also comes in handy for quantitative comparisons because you don’t need the precise answer. and then multiply that by 7 to get $0. and the nuclear.2 billion $10.0 billion $. hydro and wind power combined? I would look at the Canada row. 4. 2. let’s take a look at the following chart. $127.1 million. This will save you a lot of time.one obvious choice (if you’re good at estimating and round up and down appropriately). 5.

You should always assume that triangles are never drawn to scale and when looking at diagrams of . Clearly AE is the longer line since it spans four rectangles instead of three. The same goes with this question. So A is bigger.In the example above. Clearly square root of 37 will be a teensy bit bigger. Which is also square root of 36. 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. The important lesson in visual estimations is not to do it for triangles. The length of one edge of the cube is 6.1 / lb. Visual Estimations Visual estimations usually work for things like graphs or simple diagrams like the problem below. so you can choose B without even calculating what root 37 might be.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BallparkingTo ‘ballpark’ is to roughly approximate. but nonetheless common sense manner. 2010 This is the second installment in the simple quantitative strategies series.16.350 E.Looks look at an . 1. Beating the GRE quantitative requires a balanced combination of math skills and test-taking skills– these strategies will help improve the latter.165 C. strategy | No Comments » Simple Quantitative Strategies.195 Any relaxed. don’t give up–use your brain! Tags: antonyms. it can be no other answer. During practice. You see a question like this and immediately start calculating the product. Step back.50. common sense thinker will probably be able to answer this question without doing a calculation. often making the problem appear a little bit easier than it actually is. Yes. 35. and you go into human calculator mode. imprecise. 1. ballparking essentially means thinking about mathematical figures in a vague. 32.125 B. learning the processes is more than half the battle. it’s easy to make mistakes. Moving a decimal one unit could transform a correct answer into a wrong answer. vacabulary Posted in GRE. A third of 50 is a little more than 15 (15*3= 45).33 percent is awfully close to one third. Avoid TrapsNearly every multiple choice math problem has trap answers. but we were still successful with some effort. Verbal. and anticipate the clever gambits so often deployed by the ETS. don’t overwork.Let’s look at a crude example:What’s 32. In terms of GRE quantitative strategy. But. and look at the simplicity of the question. no matter how many correct steps you painstakingly went through. This is where ballparking plays a significant role.33 % of 50?A. You may notice the anticipated answer in the choices and think that you won’t have to finish the problem. Part 2 Monday. These strategies are here to remind you that there is just a bit more to studying than simply cramming math material. or attractors. These types of answers catch your eye for one reason or another. Use the test format to your advantage. things change. July 26th. 5. though. 70.speculation will lead you to the correct answer. Anxiety sets in.685 D. The only thing close to that is B. if you happen to stumble upon an antonym question like this. but outsmarting the test-writers is very important too. but remember that such a choice is probably a trap. when you’re in the middle of a timed test. When we are overwhelmed by figures and calculations.

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

and n is the number of figures in a set. 70. T is the total sum of values. 80. 8*83= 664. we have to find two totals before we can calculate the average of the final three tests.57. What is the total weight. After weighing all of them together. In our example. There are 3 numbers you want to know.7= 65.Before we begin. of all the fish? Answer: Simply multiply 14 and 4.7. With this information. Janet took 8 math tests. 219 (total) / 3 (number of figures) = 73 . 75. The sum total of all the figures in a set (T). the total number of percentage points on all the tests 5*89= 445. then T= 550. The average of the figures in a set: (A)= T / N. in pounds. then simply multiply the average and the number of figures to find the sum total (T).8 Example 2: Throughout the year. 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. Example 1: John caught 14 fish after a long day of fishing. 14*4. they are related by the formula A= T / n. If I want to find the average of seven different test scores. 2. then n=7. let’s go over some basic rules for finding averages. and 90. 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. the total number of percentage points on the first five tests. we have the info we need to find the average in question. If the aforementioned scores are 80. where A is average. he calculated the average weight of the fish to be 4. what was the average of her last three tests? Here. If her average score after the first three five tests was 89. The number of figures in a set (n). 3. A = 550 / 7 = 78.Finding the total: IF you know the average and the number of figures/items (n) in a set. 95. 60. 1.7 lbs.

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

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

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

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,

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

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

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

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

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

$23.20 E. fractions are always easier. 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.000 items he offered for sale. $30 Without a calculator. $22 B. 750 . and 30% of his remaining items. They cancel well. how many items did Jerome offer for sale? A. 25 people * x dollars/person * 1. cancel and simplify. and are typically neater. Jerome sold 75% of the first 1. what was the face value of each ticket price without the sales tax? A. $25. If this price included a 5% sales tax.94 C. If he sold 40% of the total number of items he offered for sale. and all the tickets cost the same amount. 5% = 1/20 since 5*20 = 100.05 (with tax) = $630 Note we can convert to fractions. Now we set up the equation.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. setting x = ticket price before tax. $24 D.

T = R + 1. we want to set up the equation – this will make things a lot easier. 3. 1000 + R = T Now.500 We always look back to the original question to see exactly what we are looking for. You probably know most of these principles by memory. and 1 unknown.500 Again. Not R. if not.000 = 3.800 D. though.050 C. switching to fractions is always best. you could easily execute a calculation to ascertain them. This is a good hint that there may be a hidden 2nd equation. The GRE . 1. 3/4*1000 + 3/10*R = 4/10*T We have 2 equations. T. 4. 1.500 Choice E Please visit the Grockit forum or leave a comment here to discuss further. is to study these principles enough that they seem intuitive. strategy | No Comments » Number Theory Wednesday.500 E. We can solve! 750 + 3R/10 = 400 + 4R/10 350 = R/10 R = 3. we have 2 equations and 2 unknowns. Quantitative.000 = 4.B. Tags: percent Posted in GRE. 2010 Number theory may sound scary. And again. In this case. August 25th. The best option.500 + 1. but it’s just an intimidating name for some pretty elementary mathematical principles.

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

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

The remainder should NOT be reduced. The remainder stays equal to 2. In this scenario. 4. We detect the pattern that regardless the value of n. 2. multiples of even numbers are even.) It’s clear that we don’t want to whip out our calendars and start counting. so the result will have a one’s digit of 7. If Dad takes out the trash on January 18th. Dad. If n = 1. Brother. When and number with a one’s digit of 7 dividing by 5. we are looking for the remainder above a one’s digit of either 0 or 5. even though you can reduce 4 2/4 to 4 1/2.1. when trying to find the remainder of 146/15. 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. 18/4 = 4 2/4. your remainder options are 0-8. who takes out the trash on March 26th? (There are 31 days in January and 28 days in February. when dividing by 5. If n = 2. we are left with a remainder of 2. we see how many days pass between January 18 and March 26: January 19-31: 13 + . you can see that 15 would go into 150 evenly. assuming n is a positive integer? Firstly. we only care about the one’s digit. when dividing by 9. This is easier than recognizing 135/15 is a whole number and counting up. Look for the closest whole number and count up or down from there. Your remainder can only range from zero to the denominator of the fraction. For example. Become familiar with common trends or patterns. so your remainder is (15 -4) = 11.) Instead. The order goes as follows: Mom. (A general rule of thumb is that if you think it’s taking too long. it probably is…. which I think is a good introduction: What is the remainder of 3^(4n+3) divided by 5. so 167/(even #) must have an ODD remainder. We can break 3^(4n+3) into 3^4n * 3^3 by the rules of exponents. For example. 3^4n = 3^4 = 81 = one’s digit of 1. we will be multiplying a term with a one’s digit of 1 with a term with a one’s digit of 7 (3³). I recently came across this question. Sister. 3. For example. since a remainder of 9 leaves you a new whole number (with a remainder of 0). so we only need to look at the one’s digit while multiplying. 3^4n = 3^8 = 81*81 = one’s digit of 1. You then count down four from 150 to 146.

11 repeating Note that multiplying these by constants will leave similarly instructive results.125 .125 = 0.25 1/5 = . such as: 3/8 = 3*1/8 = 3*0. For example: If x is an integer. leaving us with Mom on March 26th.33 repeating 1/4 = . the quicker you can eliminate answer choices are clearly wrong.4 D.268 B.166 repeating 1/8 = . 1. 67/4 leaves you will a remainder of 3. 4. 8. 0.166 repeating E.February 1-28: 28 + March 1 – 26: 26 = 67 days. Fractions and Decimals are the same thing You should be familiar with common decimals. -2.20 1/6 = .5 1/3 = . mainly: 1/2 = .555 repeating C. so we count 3 from Dad.375 The more familiar with these you become.125 1/9 = . which of the following is a possible value of (x² +2x – 7)/9? A.

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

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

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

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

Decimals are sometimes more useful when comparing numbers relative to one another. too. Finally.5 repeating .14 1/6 = 0. and remember to take time to relax a little! What are some of your favorite ways to relieve GRE preparation pressure? Posted in GRE. your fellow students. and your Experts and fellow students could probably use a light moment as much as you could. mistakes should be learned from and sometimes laughed off. fractions will be easier to perform arithmetic. 2010 GRE questions are notorious for seeming harder than they actually are. Even if given a decimal (or percent) looks easy. preparing for it is often a rigorous experience. try to enjoy the process as much as you can. but these questions are the exception. To summarize. remember that your GRE prep is a collaboration between you. try to have some fun with the studying process! Yes. Be proactive about your practice and about asking questions. finally.125 1/7 = ~0. Some common ones to memorize: • • • • • • • • 1/9 = 0. One way to mitigate this is by retaining a rockstar aptitude in manipulating fractions. and your future is a serious thing. quickly convert to a fraction. and take advantage of the many ways that you can study for the exam.25 1/3 = 0. and your Expert. The writers recognize time is short.20 1/4 = 0.111 repeating 1/8 = 0. And. strategy | 1 Comment » Fractions. 90% of the time. Oh My! Friday.333 repeating 1/2 = 0. So remember that even as you’re working hard. Dividing by 5 is the same as multiplying by 2/10. 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. August 13th. you should take some time out to play. GRE Prep. But questions are sometimes funny.166 repeating 1/5 = 0. the GRE is a challenging test. which occur in a large portion of the questions. such as in a number line. and will give you ostensibly time-consuming calculations.5. Proportions and Ratios.

but generally practice and familiarity with the numbers helps a lot in doing quick arithmetic. If you have some. Note that when you have a ratio like B/G = 7/2. leave them in the comment field. such as 3/8 (0.375) are also important to remember. Forget the “:” with ratios. we can express this scale by “x”.• Note: Multiples of these. Notice that whatever x is. the ratio will hold true. There can be 14 boys and 4 girls. Adding the 12 waiters. whatever. the new ratio becomes: C/W = 3x/(13x + 12) . and can simply be treated as such. the ratio of the number of cooks to the number of waiters changes to 3 to 16. Keep in mind what you can logically combine. There are many many more shortcuts. GRE writers love to provide ratios (which are multiplicative relationships) and then add an absolute component (addition/subtraction). 12 E. C/W = 3x/13x. For example: At a certain restaurant.375) Denominators are super important. or 70 boys and 20 girls.125 * 3 = 0. Ratios A ratio is both a comparison and division. but can easily be derived by multiplying the original fraction (1/8 * 3 = 3/8 = 0. “The ratio of boys to girls is seven to two” can be expressed as the proportion: B/G = 7/2. 15 The key here is setting up the equation. When 12 more waiters are hired. since you can’t have a portion of a cook. Questions that insert absolute numbers should be taken with caution. 4 B. 6 C. Since we don’t know the initial scale of the number of cooks and waiters. and what you cannot. 9 D. for example. we don’t actually know the number of girls and boys. the ratio of the number of cooks to the number of waiters is 3 to 13. This list is by no means extensive. unless of course he chops his finger off by accident!) “When 12 more waiters are hired” is the insertion of an absolute. Do with this what you like: 7G = 2B or B = 7G/2. How many cooks does the restaurant have? A. A denominator of a reduced fraction with a multiple of 7 will not have a finite decimal. (x must be an integer.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

400 E. 90 m/hr C. For example: Three plows working at identical constant rates can clear 123 ft of snow per minute.640 D. the time will be 3am. it will take Train B 6 hours. 16. 180 m/hr Relative to Train A. To catch up the 180 miles. Man Hours Many times you may be asked to calculate the number of workers would be need to complete a certain task. Choice (C). how much snow could 8 plows remove in 5 minutes? A. so all we have to is add “plows” to the expression. and they will be at mile marker 540. A gets to mile marker 180.200 Instead of man-hours. here we want to interact plow-minutes. 1. 131. Notice that: Train A = 9 hours at 60 miles/hour = 540 miles Train B = 6 hours at 90 miles/hour = 540 miles We can now tackle Train C. 135 m/hr E. It may help consider the unit man-hours as the multiplication between workers and time. 328 B. Train B’s velocity is 30 m/hr. 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. 984 C. which has traveled the same time as B (6 hours). and traveled (1260 – 540) miles.B. In the three hours from 6pm to 9pm. Rate of Train C = 720 miles/ 6 hours = 120 miles/hour. If we divide 123 ft/min by 3 plows. Feet and minutes are already compared. 120 m/hr D. This means that B will gain on A at a rate of 30 miles every hour. At this rate. So when they all meet up. we get: . which is then compared to the work completed.

though this one involves compound interest. 41*40 feet / 40 plow-minutes = 1640 feet / 40 plow-minutes.060. This is by no means exhaustive. work and rates Posted in GRE. so the value is constant. There are LOADS more rate questions. we would need to divide 10% by 4. Let’s look at similar type problem. Note the absolute rate does not change. relative volocity. i. September 16th. because we are compounding semiannually. first you need to divide the interest rate by how many compound periods there are.000 (P = your principle) for one year (t = one year) at 6% simple interest (i = given interest rate). compounded semiannually. Riley deposits $500 into an account that pays 10% interest. you would get $60 in interest at the end of the year and would have a total of $1. 2010 There are two types of interest problems on the GRE. Simple interest is the most basic and is a function of P. we need to divide 10% by 2 (because of 2 compounding periods). The resulting equation is: Interest = iPt In basic terms. some are much more difficult. and they include simple interest and compound interest. since we are multiplying top and bottom by 40. . Quantitative | 1 Comment » Interest and Compound Interest Problems Thursday. such as years or months). for a given time (t) at a given interest rate (i). if we want to increase minutes to 5 and plows to 8. and if we were compounding quarterly. Tags: man hours. Example: If you invested $1.123 ft/minute/3 plows = 41 ft/plow-minute At this rate. Riley’s account at the end of one year? For compound interest. So for in the above question. Please visit the Grockit forum or leave a comment here to discuss further. and the amount of time the money is invested. the interest rate earned on the principle. t (this is usually stated in periods. Mr. we can simply insert these into the existing rate. Choice (C). you would earn slightly more. For compound interest. How much money will be in Mr. the principle amount of money invested. the above equation tells us the amount of interest that would be earned on a principle amount invested (P).

Therefore. Riley earns $1.500 (or $2. This interest is equal to $525*5% = $26. compound interest.500*3). Mr. $5. $3. and then will pay another 5% at the end of the year. so the final balance at the end of the next 14 year period will be $22. $15.500 (or $7. which is equal to his balance of $500. They will pay 5% interest (10%/2) at the end of six months.25 paid at the end of the year. hence the phrase “compounding”. which might unnecessarily confuse you. it might be a bit easier to think about this without the use of compound interest.25 more with this compound interest than he would have been paid if he were paid only 10% simple interest (would have been only $550). compounded annually. Compound interest can essentially be translated into “interest paid on interest”. Riley is then paid 5% on the $525 balance that was in his account at the end of the first six months.500 will triple again. compounded annually. Mr. Here.25. at the end of the year. and word problems involving the mention of . Now.In the above question. the three types of interest problems you will most likely encounter come test day will be simple interest. to get $7. Mr. meaning that after one period.25. triples in value in approximately every 112/x years. so all we need to do is take 112/8 = 14. 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. Further.500*3).000 E. what will be its approximate worth in 28 years? A. The lesson? Compound interest always pays more! Let’s look at another similar type of problem that involves interest. plus the $25 interest paid at the end of 6 months. once in 14 years and one more time at the 28th year. you are paid interest on the interest that was paid in prior periods. For the second half of the year.750 B. Riley has $551. So at the end of the six months. Mr.100 D. $22. we know that this balance of $7. $8.500 At first glance. Mr. we know that the money triples in value every 14 years. Riley deposited $500 into his account at a rate of 10% compounded semiannually and the bank will divide his interest into two equal parts. we are given x% as 8%. plus $26. If $2500 is invested at a rate of 8%. For this one. Money invested at x%. Riley has $525 because the bank paid $25 in interest ($500*5%) into his account. The correct answer choice is E. we know that the money will triple exactly twice in 28 years. Thus. 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). Overall.600 C.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If you can eliminate three incorrect answers. your test scores will be drastically improved if you can eliminate even one or two incorrect answers. October 11th. series | No Comments » Helpful GRE CAT Tips Monday. etc. Even if you don’t know the exact answer. 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. USE IT! This way. BUT. using your own words and. you will become more proficient at identifying the key pieces of information. draw pictures. 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. as you will be able to make equations. Instead. and. you won’t have to write down much. This should be a habit as you study for the GRE. if you have them. make equations or draw pictures. I am certain that you will find this extremely annoying in a CAT environment. First. you should get in the habit of immediately writing down ABCDE on your scratch paper for every question. and time consuming. but there are some tricks that I found useful when taking the test that seemed to help me out. I can’t tell you how to . With easy questions. Next. in fact. do whatever you need to do to eliminate answers. you will have essentially transferred the problem from the computer screen to your paper. eliminate answers. USE YOUR PENCIL AND BLUE BOOK (but do not waste valuable time writing needless things down). longer essays tend to receive higher scores. Posted in GRE. a key here is to make sure you transfer information correctly. you can immediately eliminate answers that you know are incorrect. Don’t worry about writing everything down at first. 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.bad thing. The worst thing you can do is to write down wrong numbers or facts. you will find that you are spending a lot of time looking between the screen in front of you and your blue book. For practice. for many reasons. Don’t waste your valuable brainpower trying to remember answers that might be right or wrong. 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. read the entire question carefully and write down the useful information (this is more geared for the Quantitative part). which will make your life much easier. your own arguments. Do not make this mistake. One of the worst things you can do is to waste time staring at the screen. but with your ABCDE and key pieces of information. Some of the following might sound like common sense. they don’t give you material to write things down for nothing. you may want to give yourself 30 minutes and write this essay.

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

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

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

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

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

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

4 = 4/10. I add 2 + 3=5). .5689 = 5689 / 10000 You’ll want one zero in the denominator for every digit in the decimal. add zeros to fill up the empty space.6. if it makes things easier. line up the decimal points. 4. we have a total of 5 numbers after the decimals. my product is .232 and 1. Example: Add 382. and. Add zeros as necessary. Counting from right to left. 2. Multiply the decimals as if the decimals are not present. Example: Multiply 4. Step 3: So..45 and . and add these up (ex.17 Set it up like this: 382. My sum of digits equals the number of digits that should be to the right of the decimal in my product. I know that my answer will have one digit before the decimal because 4 * 1 = 4.52 and .345 and 2.52 and . 3. not 40 or 400. in 1356. .01356. I need 5 digits after the decimal. Count the number of digits after the decimal in each number.84 = 84/100 . Manipulate the placement of the decimal in the product to fulfill step 3. HINT: When multiplying simpler decimal numbers.003.356. If multiplying 6.345 + 2.003 Step 1: 452 x 3 ———1356 Step 2: In 4. Addition and Subtraction When adding and subtracting decimals.170 ————384. always use common sense to avoid calculation errors.515 Multiplication 1. If I am multiplying 4.

3.835 by 2. Example: Divide 17. 205 goes into 1435 seven times. 4. yielding 1783. 6.25.7 Working with decimals without a calculator is all about practice. 7. here is the process verbalized: 1.5 _ 8.5 to 50250) 3. Move the decimal in the dividend the same number of places to the right (I moved the decimal two places to the right to convert .7_____ 205 ) 1783.Division 1. so I’ll convert 502. Move decimal point in 2. 5. as always. exactly. Now we have 1435.05 1. 2.5 / . the second step. 1783 minus 1640 is 143.5 1640 ——– 1435 1435 —— 0 For a little refresher in long division. Do the same for the dividend. . Move the decimal point in the divisor to the right so that the divisor is a whole number (If my computation is 502. I change .05 two times to the right to make 205. we are left with 8. is to practice on Grockit.25 to 25. Bring down the 5 from the dividend. Divide normally and bring the decimal straight up into the quotient. Bring up the decimal and place 7 after it. 8 times 205 is 1640.25 to 25) 2. The first step is to stop using the calculator every time you make an arithmetic calculation. 205 can go into 1783 about 8 times. Since there is no remainder left over.

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