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**Issue Writing Task: Part 2
**

Monday, June 28th, 2010

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

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

**Issue Writing Task: Part 1
**

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010

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

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

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

**Quantitative Comparison Strategies: Part 2
**

Friday, June 18th, 2010

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

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

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

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

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

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

it generally narrows it down to . and a fraction). Quantitative. In the meantime. Don’t forget. where I would test a few simple numbers (preferably something like -2. Stay tuned for some more strategies for quantitative comparisons that will save you time and increase accuracy. always think of ways to simplify before you calculate.Simplify When presented with two baffling expressions.000/100 = 10/1 = 10. 2. though.000. 4x +5 OR 3x +6 I could approach this problem a few ways. series.000. 000 OR 1.000 / 200. you should get comfortable with estimating. so: Subtracting 5 from both sides gives us: 4x OR 3x+1 Subtracting 3x from both sides gives us: x OR 1 Now. 0. your first instinct should be to cross out matching zeros. I could use the tried and true plug-in method. which is clearly indeterminate. now. If I have 2. my expression is simply 20/2 = 10. I’ll have the same relationship between the two expressions. Same idea for column b: 1. Let’s check out this example: 1. 2010 To save time on the GRE. As long as I add or subtract the same number or variable from these expressions. look how simple it is? The comparison is any number (x) OR 1. Remember. Our answer is D. I should just eliminate five zeros from the top and 5 zeros from the bottom.5–you want to use a positive. that you can manipulate both expressions to make the comparison simpler. June 9th. and . when choosing numbers to add or subtract. strategy | 2 Comments » GRE Strategy – Estimation Wednesday. our goal is to make the relationship simpler. a negative. 0. 2. Simplify by Adding/Subtracting Same Value 1. First. Even if estimating doesn’t give you the 100% accurate answer.000 in the numerator and 200.000 / 100 When you see many zeros in fractions like this. try some of these strategies in Grockit! Posted in GRE. Quantitative Comparison.000 in the denominator.

$127. particular on the questions with charts and graphs. hydro and wind column (keeping my finger on it so I don’t read the wrong thing) and add up those percentages. 2. and the nuclear. For example. I tend to like figuring out 1%.0 billion $. So I’m looking for what value 7% of $10. Estimation also comes in handy for quantitative comparisons because you don’t need the precise answer. 4. In this case. let’s take a look at the following chart. Numerical Estimations Practice estimating with percentages. 5% or 10% represents and working from there depending on the question.7 million. I would figure out what 1% represents – approximately $0.1 million. you just need to know if they are equal or if one is bigger.6 million represents.one obvious choice (if you’re good at estimating and round up and down appropriately). hydro and wind power combined? I would look at the Canada row.6 billion $8. Given the following five answer choices 1. The question asks: approximately what average amount per month did the Canadian government spend on nuclear. . 3. This will save you a lot of time.2 billion $10. Some questions even tell you to approximate. so there really is no point calculating the precise answer there. and then multiply that by 7 to get $0.9 billion $7.74 billion I would then pick E easily based on my estimate. Wind (2%) + Hydro (2%) + Nuclear (3%) = 7%. 5.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1. if you happen to stumble upon an antonym question like this. common sense thinker will probably be able to answer this question without doing a calculation. You see a question like this and immediately start calculating the product. 1.165 C. Verbal.685 D. strategy | No Comments » Simple Quantitative Strategies. things change. 32. Moving a decimal one unit could transform a correct answer into a wrong answer. but remember that such a choice is probably a trap. ballparking essentially means thinking about mathematical figures in a vague. These types of answers catch your eye for one reason or another.50. but we were still successful with some effort. Anxiety sets in. learning the processes is more than half the battle. it can be no other answer. July 26th. This is where ballparking plays a significant role. it’s easy to make mistakes. don’t give up–use your brain! Tags: antonyms. and you go into human calculator mode. and look at the simplicity of the question. In terms of GRE quantitative strategy. Use the test format to your advantage. Yes. A third of 50 is a little more than 15 (15*3= 45). When we are overwhelmed by figures and calculations. 35.33 % of 50?A. but outsmarting the test-writers is very important too. and anticipate the clever gambits so often deployed by the ETS.Let’s look at a crude example:What’s 32. don’t overwork. 70. You may notice the anticipated answer in the choices and think that you won’t have to finish the problem. The only thing close to that is B.33 percent is awfully close to one third. Part 2 Monday. when you’re in the middle of a timed test. BallparkingTo ‘ballpark’ is to roughly approximate. but nonetheless common sense manner. These strategies are here to remind you that there is just a bit more to studying than simply cramming math material.125 B. vacabulary Posted in GRE.195 Any relaxed. But. no matter how many correct steps you painstakingly went through.Looks look at an .350 E. though. Step back. or attractors. imprecise.16. often making the problem appear a little bit easier than it actually is. Avoid TrapsNearly every multiple choice math problem has trap answers. 5. 2010 This is the second installment in the simple quantitative strategies series. During practice. Beating the GRE quantitative requires a balanced combination of math skills and test-taking skills– these strategies will help improve the latter.speculation will lead you to the correct answer.

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

then n=7. T is the total sum of values. 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. Janet took 8 math tests. 60. In our example. then T= 550. 70. If the aforementioned scores are 80. Example 1: John caught 14 fish after a long day of fishing. With this information. A = 550 / 7 = 78. they are related by the formula A= T / n. of all the fish? Answer: Simply multiply 14 and 4. where A is average. we have the info we need to find the average in question. 2. what was the average of her last three tests? Here. then simply multiply the average and the number of figures to find the sum total (T). we have to find two totals before we can calculate the average of the final three tests. The number of figures in a set (n).7. 14*4. After weighing all of them together. 80. What is the total weight. and 90. 8*83= 664.7 lbs. 95.7= 65. let’s go over some basic rules for finding averages. 219 (total) / 3 (number of figures) = 73 . 75. The sum total of all the figures in a set (T). he calculated the average weight of the fish to be 4. in pounds.Before we begin. and n is the number of figures in a set.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. the total number of percentage points on all the tests 5*89= 445. The average of the figures in a set: (A)= T / N. There are 3 numbers you want to know. If I want to find the average of seven different test scores.57.Finding the total: IF you know the average and the number of figures/items (n) in a set. her average score was 83. If her average score after the first three five tests was 89. 1. 3. the total number of percentage points on the first five tests.

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

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

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

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,

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

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

Also include a “roadmap” of the points that you will make. She’s likely to regard literary flourishes as a waste of your energy and her time. The easiest format to use in writing this essay is the classic 5-paragraph style. Paragraph 3: The second flaw gets the same treatment here as the first one did in the previous paragraph. Remember. Take a few minutes at the beginning of your AWA to outline the five sentences that will begin your paragraphs. does not currently provide traffic updates to viewers. and a simple. but your GRE AWA reader doesn’t need to be “drawn in. 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. Paragraph 5: Briefly recap the flaws you’ve presented and diplomatically explain how those flaws could be remedied to present a stronger argument.” she is getting paid to read your essay. effective format will look something like this: • • • • • Paragraph 1: Brief recap of argument and statement that the argument has merit but also contains multiple flaws. the most popular television station in Metropolis. a professor. the ereader is programmed to assess organization. At some point in high school or college. the Analysis of an Argument is likely to be the more challenging. and wants to do her job as efficiently as possible. . Paragraph 4: The third flaw is explained here in the manner established in the previous two paragraphs. or a test-prep specialist. Since Metropolis is located in a Midwestern state with serious winter weather road delays 4 months out of the year. 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. To start your essay on the right note. Of the two essays you’ll be expected to write. WPTK would significantly reduce the incidence of auto accidents on Metropolis-area roads by providing traffic updates. let’s look at a sample prompt and opening paragraph: Prompt: WPTK. make sure that your first paragraph does what it needs to do (recap the argument.and getting some feedback from a qualified source. Now. state your position. a composition instructor may have told you to use an “attention-getting” opening to really draw your audience in. and map out your three points) without any attempts at rhetorical bells and whistles. whether that is a professional mentor. this strategy can make your reader’s job far easier. and a happy reader is probably more apt to make those tricky 4/5 line calls in your favor. if only because the task is not a familiar one to most grad school candidates. in the order that you will make them. Similarly. your reader is probably going to devote no more than three to five minutes to your essay. Paragraph 2: Explanation of first flaw– this paragraph should have a strong topic sentence and then several sentences explaining the flaw in detail.

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

so 8 – 2 = 6 Example: What is 25% of 8? ¼*8 = 2 Use shortcuts 20% less than means 80% of. What was the percent change in James’ portfolio? Percent change = $2. it might not seem necessary. So instead of taking 20%.5)] in one neat step. you are probably missing what to apply the percent to. At the end of market close. the higher the resulting percent Applying the same percent to a higher number will yield a higher number. The original x will be bigger. Conversely.000 = 0. Which is bigger. 50% more than 10 should be calculated by multiplying 10*3/2 [10*(1 + 0.Recognize the difference between percent MORE/LESS THAN and percent OF Example: What is 25% less than 8? ¼* 8 = 2. See the previous example: What is 25% less than 8? ¾*8 = 6.2. James’ investment portfolio was worth $10.000.000/$10. or 20% Don’t add constants and percents You should never find yourself trying to figure out what 5 + 6% equals. just take 80% and be done. so will yield a larger change. and then decreased by 10%. The 10% decrease in the 2nd round is applied to a higher number. James’ investment portfolio grew by $2. but as numbers get larger. and we’re done! On easy numbers like this. Percent change = Total Change/Original Value Example: Before trading began. Example: A certain positive integer x is increased by 10%.000. . it will save lots of time. versus two tougher ones. then subtracting from the original. The higher the number. x or the resulting number? The 10% increase of x in the first round increases x by a certain amount. In this case.

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

000 = 3. T = R + 1.050 C.800 D.500 Again. strategy | No Comments » Number Theory Wednesday.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. In this case. We can solve! 750 + 3R/10 = 400 + 4R/10 350 = R/10 R = 3. 1. Tags: percent Posted in GRE. 3/4*1000 + 3/10*R = 4/10*T We have 2 equations. switching to fractions is always best. you could easily execute a calculation to ascertain them.000 = 4.B. The GRE . Not R. August 25th. And again. is to study these principles enough that they seem intuitive. though. 4. but it’s just an intimidating name for some pretty elementary mathematical principles. we want to set up the equation – this will make things a lot easier. The best option. 2010 Number theory may sound scary. Quantitative.500 E. 3. 1000 + R = T Now. This is a good hint that there may be a hidden 2nd equation. 1. we have 2 equations and 2 unknowns. and 1 unknown. if not.500 + 1.500 Choice E Please visit the Grockit forum or leave a comment here to discuss further. T.

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

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

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

-2.5 1/3 = . the quicker you can eliminate answer choices are clearly wrong.375 The more familiar with these you become.125 . so we count 3 from Dad. For example: If x is an integer. 67/4 leaves you will a remainder of 3.555 repeating C. 1.166 repeating 1/8 = .33 repeating 1/4 = .166 repeating E.11 repeating Note that multiplying these by constants will leave similarly instructive results. leaving us with Mom on March 26th.125 = 0.4 D. 8. 4.20 1/6 = . mainly: 1/2 = . which of the following is a possible value of (x² +2x – 7)/9? A.268 B.125 1/9 = .February 1-28: 28 + March 1 – 26: 26 = 67 days. such as: 3/8 = 3*1/8 = 3*0.25 1/5 = . 0. Fractions and Decimals are the same thing You should be familiar with common decimals.

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

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

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

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

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. strategy | 1 Comment » Fractions. such as in a number line.14 1/6 = 0. Some common ones to memorize: • • • • • • • • 1/9 = 0. Be proactive about your practice and about asking questions. try to have some fun with the studying process! Yes. and your Experts and fellow students could probably use a light moment as much as you could. But questions are sometimes funny. 90% of the time.25 1/3 = 0. remember that your GRE prep is a collaboration between you. mistakes should be learned from and sometimes laughed off.125 1/7 = ~0. And.5. and your future is a serious thing. Even if given a decimal (or percent) looks easy. August 13th. To summarize. preparing for it is often a rigorous experience.111 repeating 1/8 = 0. Oh My! Friday. Decimals are sometimes more useful when comparing numbers relative to one another. you should take some time out to play. GRE Prep. The writers recognize time is short. Proportions and Ratios.5 repeating . your fellow students. One way to mitigate this is by retaining a rockstar aptitude in manipulating fractions. and will give you ostensibly time-consuming calculations. Finally. quickly convert to a fraction. which occur in a large portion of the questions.333 repeating 1/2 = 0.20 1/4 = 0. fractions will be easier to perform arithmetic. finally. and take advantage of the many ways that you can study for the exam. 2010 GRE questions are notorious for seeming harder than they actually are. Dividing by 5 is the same as multiplying by 2/10. So remember that even as you’re working hard. and remember to take time to relax a little! What are some of your favorite ways to relieve GRE preparation pressure? Posted in GRE. the GRE is a challenging test. too. but these questions are the exception. try to enjoy the process as much as you can.166 repeating 1/5 = 0. and your Expert.

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

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

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

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

. 4/7. 3/7. if we have a ratio x:y. This does not mean that 3/4 of the party goers are boys. They may be a bit intimidating if you are unfamiliar with how to approach them. It’s a brilliant site that exploits the power of online collaboration (not unlike Grockit) to enhance education. but once you learn the basics.1%. and form the fraction 3/7. We now have to find the ratio. So. If you do want to find out what proportion or percentage of the party goers are boys or girls. you add the numerator and the denominator. August 5th. visit mnemonicdictionary. That means that for every 3 boys at the party. and then form a fraction in which this sum is the denominator.For an impressively comprehensive list of vocabulary mnemonics. or 42. Stated algebraically. you’ll learn that ratio and proportions problems require only simple algebra. Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments » Ratios and Proportions Thursday. What is the ratio of male to female party goers? This question uses the aforementioned rule. or 57. and then I take the ratio quantity of boys. then 4/10 or 2/5 of the party is male and 3/5 of the party is female.com. if I want to find out what proportion of the party goers are boys. there are 4 girls. of the party goers are girls. and the GRE is no exception. of the party goers are boys. A ratio is a kind of fraction that measures two or more quantities in a group. nor does it mean that 4/3 of the party goers are girls. If 40% of the party is male. You can also write this ratio as 3/4.9 %. respectively. Let’s see what an example using this rule might look like: Example 1: At a party. a ratio of boys to girls (Boys: Girls) at a party is 3:4. then x / x+y and y /x+y express the proportions of x to the group and y to the group. 40% of the party goers are male. 2010 Ratios and proportions are favorites of most standardized tests. For example. respectively. I add 3 and 4 (=7). 3. but reverses the process.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

M. 1/6 + 1/7 = 6/42 + 7/42 = 13/42 trucks/1 hour. Train C leaves Dallas for New York at 9 P. 42/13 hours/truck = 3 3/13 hours/truck. When together.be less than BOTH of the individual rates. approximately how long.com/groups/gre/dashboard”>GRE</a>usually travel toward or away from each other. we know the decimal cannot equal .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. A worker can load 1 full truck in 6 hours. Choice (E). This can also be 1/6 trucks/1 hour. However. we may not be able to decide between (D) or (E). we may be looking at a geometry question.25. will it take them to fill 1 truck? A. 0.31 C. we find the reciprocal of 13/42. Sometimes walking. we can add their speeds to see their relative velocities. in hours.15 B. what is the speed of Train C if the distance between Dallas and New York is 1260 miles? A. Objects moving at given speeds on the <a href=”http://grockit. If moving in the same direction. To find this. Remember the question is asking for the number of hours to fill 1 truck.M. trains and automobiles. NOT the number of trucks completed in 1 hour. 3. 2. The rate of worker #2 is 1/7. but not necessarily in proportion. Again. we instead subtract their speeds to find the relative velocity.25. they will complete 1/6 + 1/7 trucks/ 1 hour. Train A traveling at 60 m/hr leaves New York for Dallas at 6 P.M. At this point.23 E. A second worker can load the same truck in 7 hours.47 D. When moving at an angle. Train B traveling at 90 m/hr also leaves New York for Dallas at 9 P. the decimal is important. 0. Because the denominator is 13. 3. Nor. 60 m/hr . If both workers load one truck simultaneously while maintaining their constant rates. If moving toward or away from each other. are you averaging or adding the given times taken. be careful of units. so 3/13 will be slightly lower. We can also see that 3/12 will yield . Relative Velocity Planes. You must add rates.

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

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

500 will triple again. Mr. Mr.000 E. plus $26.500 (or $2.500 (or $7. 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. once in 14 years and one more time at the 28th year. Money invested at x%.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). and word problems involving the mention of .500 At first glance. Now. Compound interest can essentially be translated into “interest paid on interest”. Riley earns $1. compound interest.100 D. Riley has $525 because the bank paid $25 in interest ($500*5%) into his account. hence the phrase “compounding”. triples in value in approximately every 112/x years.500*3). and then will pay another 5% at the end of the year. plus the $25 interest paid at the end of 6 months.500*3). The lesson? Compound interest always pays more! Let’s look at another similar type of problem that involves interest. to get $7. So at the end of the six months. at the end of the year. so all we need to do is take 112/8 = 14. we know that this balance of $7. This interest is equal to $525*5% = $26. we know that the money will triple exactly twice in 28 years. meaning that after one period. we are given x% as 8%. Mr. $8. $22. compounded annually.25. Here. They will pay 5% interest (10%/2) at the end of six months. $15.600 C. For this one. what will be its approximate worth in 28 years? A. If $2500 is invested at a rate of 8%. Riley has $551. so the final balance at the end of the next 14 year period will be $22. Thus. Overall. Mr. which is equal to his balance of $500. For the second half of the year. $5. which might unnecessarily confuse you. Further. Mr.750 B.25 paid at the end of the year. the three types of interest problems you will most likely encounter come test day will be simple interest. 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). we know that the money triples in value every 14 years. compounded annually. you are paid interest on the interest that was paid in prior periods. Riley deposited $500 into his account at a rate of 10% compounded semiannually and the bank will divide his interest into two equal parts.25. it might be a bit easier to think about this without the use of compound interest. Riley is then paid 5% on the $525 balance that was in his account at the end of the first six months. $3. Therefore.In the above question. The correct answer choice is E.

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

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

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

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

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

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

multiplying and dividing by 2. imagine how long it takes to do! If the area of the square = 64 and we needed to find the area of the triangle. Memorize this. Here are your basic conversions: r = ½d = ½s. solving for the base. It will save you the time of drawing a 30-60-90 triangle. where s is the side of the square. 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. we should be able to derive essentially any other information. 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. finding the height. That was long to write. 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 . 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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

01356. Count the number of digits after the decimal in each number. Step 3: So. my product is . I need 5 digits after the decimal. line up the decimal points.003. Example: Add 382. Counting from right to left.232 and 1.5689 = 5689 / 10000 You’ll want one zero in the denominator for every digit in the decimal. I add 2 + 3=5).345 + 2. If I am multiplying 4. If multiplying 6. . Multiply the decimals as if the decimals are not present. Add zeros as necessary. not 40 or 400. 3.356.003 Step 1: 452 x 3 ———1356 Step 2: In 4. 2. if it makes things easier. My sum of digits equals the number of digits that should be to the right of the decimal in my product.4 = 4/10..345 and 2. Manipulate the placement of the decimal in the product to fulfill step 3.170 ————384. add zeros to fill up the empty space. . I know that my answer will have one digit before the decimal because 4 * 1 = 4. Example: Multiply 4. we have a total of 5 numbers after the decimals.84 = 84/100 . HINT: When multiplying simpler decimal numbers. and add these up (ex.45 and .515 Multiplication 1. and.52 and . Addition and Subtraction When adding and subtracting decimals. 4. in 1356.17 Set it up like this: 382. always use common sense to avoid calculation errors.6.52 and .

The first step is to stop using the calculator every time you make an arithmetic calculation. as always. . exactly. so I’ll convert 502.25 to 25) 2. we are left with 8. Do the same for the dividend. I change . 7. 8 times 205 is 1640. 2. Example: Divide 17.5 / .05 1. 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 . Move the decimal point in the divisor to the right so that the divisor is a whole number (If my computation is 502. 6. Bring up the decimal and place 7 after it.05 two times to the right to make 205.7_____ 205 ) 1783. yielding 1783. Divide normally and bring the decimal straight up into the quotient. is to practice on Grockit.7 Working with decimals without a calculator is all about practice.5 _ 8. Bring down the 5 from the dividend.5 to 50250) 3. Since there is no remainder left over. 205 can go into 1783 about 8 times. here is the process verbalized: 1. Move decimal point in 2. Now we have 1435. 1783 minus 1640 is 143.Division 1. 205 goes into 1435 seven times. 4.835 by 2. 3.25 to 25.25.5 1640 ——– 1435 1435 —— 0 For a little refresher in long division. 5. the second step.

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