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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.

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

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

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

that you can manipulate both expressions to make the comparison simpler. 0. I’ll have the same relationship between the two expressions. though. As long as I add or subtract the same number or variable from these expressions. Our answer is D. Let’s check out this example: 1. now. so: Subtracting 5 from both sides gives us: 4x OR 3x+1 Subtracting 3x from both sides gives us: x OR 1 Now. Remember. Even if estimating doesn’t give you the 100% accurate answer. Same idea for column b: 1. 2. when choosing numbers to add or subtract. I should just eliminate five zeros from the top and 5 zeros from the bottom. 2.000. you should get comfortable with estimating.Simplify When presented with two baffling expressions. I could use the tried and true plug-in method. strategy | 2 Comments » GRE Strategy – Estimation Wednesday. Quantitative Comparison. where I would test a few simple numbers (preferably something like -2. and .000/100 = 10/1 = 10.5–you want to use a positive. Quantitative. June 9th. your first instinct should be to cross out matching zeros. Don’t forget. 0.000. which is clearly indeterminate. my expression is simply 20/2 = 10. If I have 2. 000 OR 1. 4x +5 OR 3x +6 I could approach this problem a few ways.000 in the denominator.000 / 100 When you see many zeros in fractions like this. Simplify by Adding/Subtracting Same Value 1. always think of ways to simplify before you calculate. it generally narrows it down to . In the meantime. series. and a fraction). a negative. 2010 To save time on the GRE. Stay tuned for some more strategies for quantitative comparisons that will save you time and increase accuracy.000 / 200. look how simple it is? The comparison is any number (x) OR 1. First.000 in the numerator and 200. our goal is to make the relationship simpler. try some of these strategies in Grockit! Posted in GRE.

1 million.6 million represents.2 billion $10. so there really is no point calculating the precise answer there. 3. I tend to like figuring out 1%. and then multiply that by 7 to get $0.6 billion $8. I would figure out what 1% represents – approximately $0. Wind (2%) + Hydro (2%) + Nuclear (3%) = 7%. you just need to know if they are equal or if one is bigger. The question asks: approximately what average amount per month did the Canadian government spend on nuclear. Estimation also comes in handy for quantitative comparisons because you don’t need the precise answer. So I’m looking for what value 7% of $10. This will save you a lot of time. $127.9 billion $7. hydro and wind power combined? I would look at the Canada row. For example. 5% or 10% represents and working from there depending on the question. particular on the questions with charts and graphs.0 billion $. Given the following five answer choices 1. 4.7 million. Numerical Estimations Practice estimating with percentages.74 billion I would then pick E easily based on my estimate. Some questions even tell you to approximate. and the nuclear. . 5. hydro and wind column (keeping my finger on it so I don’t read the wrong thing) and add up those percentages. In this case.one obvious choice (if you’re good at estimating and round up and down appropriately). 2. let’s take a look at the following chart.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Because “depraved behavior” is certainly more negative than “lack of clarity. Lively imaginationàLack of imagination 2. In the test writer’s mind. since the words “turpitude. we ask ourselves these four questions: Does turpitude likely mean morally depraved behavior? Does turpitude likely mean unintelligent conversation? Does turpitude likely mean a lack of imagination? Does turpitude likely mean a lack of clarity? At this point. and see how they match our mysterious stem word: 1. there was some reasoning behind my choice.” and “fortitude.” “solitude. unintelligent conversation 1.” and “turbid” are often mixed up. while “turpitude” means corrupt or depraved. and hence. would not be “unintelligent conversation. the suffix “-tude” means a state.” makes me skeptical because it lacks the kind of negative charge I would expect from a word like “turpitude. First. I can guess that E was a trap answer. it is a particular action. D.” I’ll go with A.” In these examples and in general.” “turgid. Agitation 5.3.” though not as concrete as “unintelligent conversation. Clever conservation à banal. I’d think of the word “turpitude” and recognize that it ends in “-tude” like the other familiar words “gratitude.” Though these eliminations were based on speculation. Thus it would make much more sense that “turpitude. but we have more work to do. unclear. and there is no guarantee that such . Each antonym I created is sufficiently abstract (as opposed to concrete) and can be a state or condition. we were able to eliminate D. Saintly behavior à morally depraved behavior 2. “Lack of imagination. or condition of something. quality. “turbid” means cloudy. Granted. which happens to be the right answer.” a state or quality of something. Let’s create antonyms for each of our choices.” Unintelligent conversation is not really the state or quality of something. Lucidityà obscurity. Lively imagination 4. knowing the stem word’s definition would have gotten us the correct answer much faster. lack of clarity Now. Lucidity Using the negative/positive strategy. we should use a little critical thinking and reasonable speculation. A little thinking does go a long way. I am now down to A or E.

it’s easy to make mistakes. but outsmarting the test-writers is very important too. don’t give up–use your brain! Tags: antonyms. and look at the simplicity of the question. don’t overwork. when you’re in the middle of a timed test.Looks look at an . strategy | No Comments » Simple Quantitative Strategies. learning the processes is more than half the battle. BallparkingTo ‘ballpark’ is to roughly approximate. This is where ballparking plays a significant role. or attractors. Beating the GRE quantitative requires a balanced combination of math skills and test-taking skills– these strategies will help improve the latter. 2010 This is the second installment in the simple quantitative strategies series. 32. The only thing close to that is B.165 C. A third of 50 is a little more than 15 (15*3= 45). common sense thinker will probably be able to answer this question without doing a calculation. 35. but remember that such a choice is probably a trap. no matter how many correct steps you painstakingly went through.Let’s look at a crude example:What’s 32.33 percent is awfully close to one third.16. Verbal.685 D. In terms of GRE quantitative strategy.33 % of 50?A. but we were still successful with some effort. Use the test format to your advantage. vacabulary Posted in GRE.125 B. and you go into human calculator mode. 5. though. But. 70. imprecise. These types of answers catch your eye for one reason or another.speculation will lead you to the correct answer. Moving a decimal one unit could transform a correct answer into a wrong answer. and anticipate the clever gambits so often deployed by the ETS. You see a question like this and immediately start calculating the product. You may notice the anticipated answer in the choices and think that you won’t have to finish the problem. but nonetheless common sense manner. Anxiety sets in. Yes. Avoid TrapsNearly every multiple choice math problem has trap answers.195 Any relaxed.50. Part 2 Monday. things change. These strategies are here to remind you that there is just a bit more to studying than simply cramming math material.350 E. July 26th. Step back. if you happen to stumble upon an antonym question like this. 1. 1. When we are overwhelmed by figures and calculations. it can be no other answer. During practice. often making the problem appear a little bit easier than it actually is. ballparking essentially means thinking about mathematical figures in a vague.

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

we have to find two totals before we can calculate the average of the final three tests. There are 3 numbers you want to know. If the aforementioned scores are 80.Finding the total: IF you know the average and the number of figures/items (n) in a set. If her average score after the first three five tests was 89. and 90.8 Example 2: Throughout the year. then simply multiply the average and the number of figures to find the sum total (T). 14*4.7 lbs.7. 60. The average of the figures in a set: (A)= T / N. 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. and n is the number of figures in a set. 80. A = 550 / 7 = 78. T is the total sum of values. Janet took 8 math tests. her average score was 83.Before we begin. 8*83= 664.57. they are related by the formula A= T / n. In our example. 2. 75. The sum total of all the figures in a set (T). the total number of percentage points on the first five tests. 219 (total) / 3 (number of figures) = 73 . After weighing all of them together.7= 65. 70. With this information. where A is average. the total number of percentage points on all the tests 5*89= 445. If I want to find the average of seven different test scores. 3. 1. what was the average of her last three tests? Here. 95. of all the fish? Answer: Simply multiply 14 and 4. in pounds. then n=7. let’s go over some basic rules for finding averages. then T= 550. The number of figures in a set (n). we have the info we need to find the average in question. he calculated the average weight of the fish to be 4. What is the total weight. Example 1: John caught 14 fish after a long day of fishing. 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.

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

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

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

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,

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

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

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

GRE.25 . 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. which can come in a variety of formats.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. 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.” As you can see. analysis of an argument | No Comments » Tips For Percent Math Problems on the GRE Friday. the argument also exhibits several serious flaws which could limit its persuasiveness. 2010 In this article. Here are some quick pointers: Percents MUST be APPLIED to something A percent means nothing on it’s own. August 27th. and convert to fractions whenever possible. and outlining the points that the essay will be addressing. by failing to explicitly state how the updates would affect auto accidents. referring back to the issue briefly. However. Example: 16% of men. we will discuss some common problems students encounter with percent problems. The author weakens his claim by assuming that televised traffic updates would be timely enough to impact drivers’ actions.Response Paragraph 1: The argument. Let your concise. Posted in Essay. Verbal. or 30% off the sales price Percents are basically fractions with a denominator of 100 Learn your common percents. which states that WPTK’s broadcast of traffic updates would reduce the incidence of auto accidents on Metropolis-area roads. Example: 20% = 1/5.25 = 1. 62. has merit.

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

and are typically neater. how many items did Jerome offer for sale? A. 750 . fractions are always easier. $30 Without a calculator.05 (with tax) = $630 Note we can convert to fractions. setting x = ticket price before tax. $22 B. and 30% of his remaining items. $25. and all the tickets cost the same amount.000 items he offered for sale. They cancel well. cancel and simplify. Now we set up the equation. what was the face value of each ticket price without the sales tax? A. $23. 25 people * x dollars/person * 1. Look how easy it gets? 25*(21/20)*x = 630 5*(21/4)*x = 630 x = 630*4 / 5*21 x = $24 Choice C Example 2: During an auction.20 E.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. Jerome sold 75% of the first 1.94 C. If he sold 40% of the total number of items he offered for sale. If this price included a 5% sales tax. 5% = 1/20 since 5*20 = 100. $24 D.

500 + 1. 3/4*1000 + 3/10*R = 4/10*T We have 2 equations.050 C. T = R + 1. T.B. You probably know most of these principles by memory. you could easily execute a calculation to ascertain them. And again. 4. The best option. we have 2 equations and 2 unknowns.500 We always look back to the original question to see exactly what we are looking for. if not. 1. 2010 Number theory may sound scary. The GRE .500 E. We can solve! 750 + 3R/10 = 400 + 4R/10 350 = R/10 R = 3.500 Choice E Please visit the Grockit forum or leave a comment here to discuss further. Quantitative. strategy | No Comments » Number Theory Wednesday.800 D. In this case. Tags: percent Posted in GRE. we want to set up the equation – this will make things a lot easier. is to study these principles enough that they seem intuitive. switching to fractions is always best.500 Again.000 = 3. This is a good hint that there may be a hidden 2nd equation. 1. but it’s just an intimidating name for some pretty elementary mathematical principles. Not R. 3. though.000 = 4. and 1 unknown. 1000 + R = T Now. August 25th.

Quantitative section is all about saving time. C translates to an even (even ²) times an odd (t). or we could use our knowledge of number theory to figure out the answer. times another even (6). 5rt means we multiply an odd times that even product. We instantly know that rt. is even. so that’s even. Multiplication Even x even = even (6 x 4 = 24) Odd x odd = odd (5 x 3 = 15) Even x odd = even (6 x 5= 30) To more easily remember these. which of the following is odd? A. which is even. just think that a sum is only odd if you add an even and an odd. so . we could either plug in numbers for r and t. Odds and Evens Addition Even + even = even (12+14=36) Odd+ Odd = even (13+19=32) Even + Odd = odd (8 + 11 = 19) To more easily remember these. 5rt C. 6r + 5t In this example. rt B. 6(r²)t D. making number theory second nature will definitely save you some valuable seconds. 1. just think that a product is only odd if you multiply two odds. an odd times an even. D adds an even (odd times even) to an even (even times odd) . which is even. Example Question If r is even and t is odd. 5r + 6t E.

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

Look for the closest whole number and count up or down from there. so 167/(even #) must have an ODD remainder. We detect the pattern that regardless the value of n. I recently came across this question. 18/4 = 4 2/4. so your remainder is (15 -4) = 11. Brother. 4. even though you can reduce 4 2/4 to 4 1/2. 3^4n = 3^8 = 81*81 = one’s digit of 1. We can break 3^(4n+3) into 3^4n * 3^3 by the rules of exponents. we will be multiplying a term with a one’s digit of 1 with a term with a one’s digit of 7 (3³). who takes out the trash on March 26th? (There are 31 days in January and 28 days in February.) Instead. so the result will have a one’s digit of 7. we are left with a remainder of 2. For example. Dad. Your remainder can only range from zero to the denominator of the fraction. For example. when dividing by 5. when dividing by 9. since a remainder of 9 leaves you a new whole number (with a remainder of 0). you can see that 15 would go into 150 evenly. The order goes as follows: Mom. we are looking for the remainder above a one’s digit of either 0 or 5.) It’s clear that we don’t want to whip out our calendars and start counting. When and number with a one’s digit of 7 dividing by 5. Pattern questions with division are many times Remainder questions at their core The 4 members of the Jones Family rotate who takes out the trash on a daily basis. Become familiar with common trends or patterns. The remainder should NOT be reduced. it probably is…. your remainder options are 0-8. assuming n is a positive integer? Firstly. we only care about the one’s digit. 3. Sister. You then count down four from 150 to 146. The remainder stays equal to 2. This is easier than recognizing 135/15 is a whole number and counting up. If Dad takes out the trash on January 18th. If n = 1.1. so we only need to look at the one’s digit while multiplying. 2. which I think is a good introduction: What is the remainder of 3^(4n+3) divided by 5. we see how many days pass between January 18 and March 26: January 19-31: 13 + . when trying to find the remainder of 146/15. 3^4n = 3^4 = 81 = one’s digit of 1. For example. If n = 2. (A general rule of thumb is that if you think it’s taking too long. In this scenario. multiples of even numbers are even.

so we count 3 from Dad.February 1-28: 28 + March 1 – 26: 26 = 67 days. Fractions and Decimals are the same thing You should be familiar with common decimals.375 The more familiar with these you become. mainly: 1/2 = . such as: 3/8 = 3*1/8 = 3*0.33 repeating 1/4 = .166 repeating 1/8 = . -2. 1.268 B.125 1/9 = .20 1/6 = . 0.125 = 0. leaving us with Mom on March 26th.555 repeating C.11 repeating Note that multiplying these by constants will leave similarly instructive results. For example: If x is an integer.4 D. the quicker you can eliminate answer choices are clearly wrong. 4.166 repeating E. 8. 67/4 leaves you will a remainder of 3.125 .5 1/3 = .25 1/5 = . which of the following is a possible value of (x² +2x – 7)/9? A.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

we find the reciprocal of 13/42. 3. will it take them to fill 1 truck? A. A second worker can load the same truck in 7 hours. 0.23 E. 0. NOT the number of trucks completed in 1 hour.M. If all three trains meet at the same time between New York and Dallas. The rate of worker #2 is 1/7. we may not be able to decide between (D) or (E).15 B.25.M. When moving at an angle. If moving in the same direction. Again. in hours. 3. be careful of units.47 D. Nor. Relative Velocity Planes. the decimal is important. we can add their speeds to see their relative velocities. A worker can load 1 full truck in 6 hours. we may be looking at a geometry question. To find this. You must add rates. Choice (E). If both workers load one truck simultaneously while maintaining their constant rates. 42/13 hours/truck = 3 3/13 hours/truck. 1/6 + 1/7 = 6/42 + 7/42 = 13/42 trucks/1 hour. 60 m/hr . they will complete 1/6 + 1/7 trucks/ 1 hour. This can also be 1/6 trucks/1 hour. approximately how long. At this point.com/groups/gre/dashboard”>GRE</a>usually travel toward or away from each other. but not necessarily in proportion.be less than BOTH of the individual rates. If moving toward or away from each other. what is the speed of Train C if the distance between Dallas and New York is 1260 miles? A. 2. We can also see that 3/12 will yield . trains and automobiles.31 C.25 The rate of worker #1 is 1 truck/6 hours. Remember the question is asking for the number of hours to fill 1 truck.25. so 3/13 will be slightly lower.M. Because the denominator is 13. When together. Train B traveling at 90 m/hr also leaves New York for Dallas at 9 P. Train C leaves Dallas for New York at 9 P. However. we instead subtract their speeds to find the relative velocity. Train A traveling at 60 m/hr leaves New York for Dallas at 6 P. we know the decimal cannot equal . Sometimes walking. are you averaging or adding the given times taken. Objects moving at given speeds on the <a href=”http://grockit.

To catch up the 180 miles. Rate of Train C = 720 miles/ 6 hours = 120 miles/hour. 984 C. which has traveled the same time as B (6 hours). it will take Train B 6 hours. the time will be 3am. 90 m/hr C. 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. 16. 328 B. and they will be at mile marker 540. which is then compared to the work completed. we get: . So when they all meet up. 120 m/hr D. so all we have to is add “plows” to the expression. Notice that: Train A = 9 hours at 60 miles/hour = 540 miles Train B = 6 hours at 90 miles/hour = 540 miles We can now tackle Train C. 135 m/hr E.640 D. Choice (C). If we divide 123 ft/min by 3 plows. 180 m/hr Relative to Train A. Train B’s velocity is 30 m/hr.200 Instead of man-hours. This means that B will gain on A at a rate of 30 miles every hour. In the three hours from 6pm to 9pm. A gets to mile marker 180. and traveled (1260 – 540) miles.B. 1. how much snow could 8 plows remove in 5 minutes? A.400 E. At this rate. Feet and minutes are already compared. For example: Three plows working at identical constant rates can clear 123 ft of snow per minute. It may help consider the unit man-hours as the multiplication between workers and time. 131. Man Hours Many times you may be asked to calculate the number of workers would be need to complete a certain task. here we want to interact plow-minutes.

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

Riley has $551.In the above question. we know that the money triples in value every 14 years. which might unnecessarily confuse you.25 paid at the end of the year. Mr.500 (or $7. Mr. Riley has $525 because the bank paid $25 in interest ($500*5%) into his account. compounded annually. compounded annually. Further. $5.500*3). $22. For this one.600 C.000 E. Here. So at the end of the six months. Mr. $3. we know that this balance of $7. This interest is equal to $525*5% = $26. $8. Therefore. the three types of interest problems you will most likely encounter come test day will be simple interest. we are given x% as 8%. Thus. so the final balance at the end of the next 14 year period will be $22. Riley earns $1. Money invested at x%. at the end of the year. Mr. Mr. compound interest. once in 14 years and one more time at the 28th year.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). hence the phrase “compounding”. If $2500 is invested at a rate of 8%. The correct answer choice is E. meaning that after one period.25. it might be a bit easier to think about this without the use of compound interest. The lesson? Compound interest always pays more! Let’s look at another similar type of problem that involves interest. we know that the money will triple exactly twice in 28 years. and then will pay another 5% at the end of the year. Riley deposited $500 into his account at a rate of 10% compounded semiannually and the bank will divide his interest into two equal parts. Now.25. triples in value in approximately every 112/x years. which is equal to his balance of $500. what will be its approximate worth in 28 years? A. $15. Compound interest can essentially be translated into “interest paid on interest”. plus the $25 interest paid at the end of 6 months. Riley is then paid 5% on the $525 balance that was in his account at the end of the first six months.500 At first glance. 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). They will pay 5% interest (10%/2) at the end of six months.500*3).500 (or $2. to get $7.500 will triple again. For the second half of the year.750 B. so all we need to do is take 112/8 = 14. Overall. and word problems involving the mention of . plus $26.100 D. you are paid interest on the interest that was paid in prior periods. 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.

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

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

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

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

there are 120 ways of seating these 5 people. But P is repeated twice. I have 3 people and so on. you have 24 arrangements. how many combinations can you have of the two things? For example. when arranging n people in a circle. we thus have 40 accessory combinations to match with it. the same concept applies – 7 * 6 * 5 * 4 * 3 where each number represents the number of people I can choose from to put in each seat starting from the left. there are 4 accessory combinations that we could match with it. instead of having 120 seating arrangements like before. With 10 seat-color combinations. Permutations With permutations. and another number of choices for another. . Then choosing 3 accessories out of 4. we get 4 combinations. For example. So in total. For example. because for every seat color combination. So the answer is 5! If I have 7 people and five seats. and since one P looks the same as the other P. Permutations with repeated terms This type of question usually asks. How many different combinations of colors and dashboard options are available to this buyer? We look at seat colors first. there are (n-1)! Number of ways. Then for the second seat. And for the third seat. There are 7 letters so there are 7! ways of arranging these letters in order. Permutations in a circle What if you need to sit people around a circular table? Since there is no longer a left end and a right end. And more often than not. In general. If all the seats are empty and I want to fill the first seat. if we have 5 people and five seats on a plane. I have 4 people to choose from (because one person has already sat down). I have 5 people to choose from to fill the seat. how many different words can you form from the letters of word. we get 10. we have 10*4 seat color-accessories combinations. the word will have repeated letters in it. you have to divide 7! by 2!. the first person you seat is just a point of reference. order matters. 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. A and E are also repeated twice so you have to divide by 2! twice more.What if the question tells you that you have a number of choices for one thing. how many 7-letter words can you form from the word APPEASE. Choosing 2 out of 5 and applying the formula. So if you are seating 5 people in 5 seats around a circular table.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Add zeros as necessary. and. Manipulate the placement of the decimal in the product to fulfill step 3.01356. Count the number of digits after the decimal in each number. Example: Add 382. . Example: Multiply 4.17 Set it up like this: 382. 3.345 and 2. HINT: When multiplying simpler decimal numbers.170 ————384. I know that my answer will have one digit before the decimal because 4 * 1 = 4.5689 = 5689 / 10000 You’ll want one zero in the denominator for every digit in the decimal. I add 2 + 3=5). add zeros to fill up the empty space. always use common sense to avoid calculation errors. line up the decimal points.356.52 and . 4. Addition and Subtraction When adding and subtracting decimals. Multiply the decimals as if the decimals are not present. .. Counting from right to left. 2. If multiplying 6. Step 3: So.232 and 1. and add these up (ex. I need 5 digits after the decimal.515 Multiplication 1. if it makes things easier. we have a total of 5 numbers after the decimals. not 40 or 400. my product is . My sum of digits equals the number of digits that should be to the right of the decimal in my product.4 = 4/10. If I am multiplying 4.45 and .84 = 84/100 . in 1356.52 and .345 + 2.003.6.003 Step 1: 452 x 3 ———1356 Step 2: In 4.

3. here is the process verbalized: 1. Example: Divide 17. 205 can go into 1783 about 8 times. 8 times 205 is 1640. as always. Move the decimal point in the divisor to the right so that the divisor is a whole number (If my computation is 502. Bring down the 5 from the dividend. . 6. The first step is to stop using the calculator every time you make an arithmetic calculation. 4. is to practice on Grockit. 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 .Division 1.5 1640 ——– 1435 1435 —— 0 For a little refresher in long division. 7.05 1.25. so I’ll convert 502.25 to 25. I change . Bring up the decimal and place 7 after it. yielding 1783. Do the same for the dividend.835 by 2. 1783 minus 1640 is 143. Move decimal point in 2. Now we have 1435.5 to 50250) 3.5 _ 8. 5.5 / . 205 goes into 1435 seven times.05 two times to the right to make 205. 2.25 to 25) 2. Divide normally and bring the decimal straight up into the quotient.7_____ 205 ) 1783. Since there is no remainder left over.7 Working with decimals without a calculator is all about practice. we are left with 8. exactly. the second step.

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