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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.

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

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

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

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

I tend to like figuring out 1%. Some questions even tell you to approximate.9 billion $7. .6 million represents. 2.6 billion $8. 3. and then multiply that by 7 to get $0.7 million. hydro and wind column (keeping my finger on it so I don’t read the wrong thing) and add up those percentages. Estimation also comes in handy for quantitative comparisons because you don’t need the precise answer.74 billion I would then pick E easily based on my estimate.one obvious choice (if you’re good at estimating and round up and down appropriately). you just need to know if they are equal or if one is bigger. In this case. Wind (2%) + Hydro (2%) + Nuclear (3%) = 7%. and the nuclear. hydro and wind power combined? I would look at the Canada row. The question asks: approximately what average amount per month did the Canadian government spend on nuclear. Numerical Estimations Practice estimating with percentages. 5. This will save you a lot of time.2 billion $10. For example.0 billion $. so there really is no point calculating the precise answer there. So I’m looking for what value 7% of $10. particular on the questions with charts and graphs. 5% or 10% represents and working from there depending on the question. let’s take a look at the following chart. Given the following five answer choices 1.1 million. $127. I would figure out what 1% represents – approximately $0. 4.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If I want to find the average of seven different test scores. The number of figures in a set (n). and 90. then simply multiply the average and the number of figures to find the sum total (T).Finding the total: IF you know the average and the number of figures/items (n) in a set.8 Example 2: Throughout the year. Example 1: John caught 14 fish after a long day of fishing. A = 550 / 7 = 78. of all the fish? Answer: Simply multiply 14 and 4. 2. they are related by the formula 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: 1.57. 80.7 lbs. In our example. then T= 550. With this information. 95. 1. 219 (total) / 3 (number of figures) = 73 . What is the total weight. then n=7. her average score was 83. let’s go over some basic rules for finding averages. in pounds. The average of the figures in a set: (A)= T / N. where A is average. If the aforementioned scores are 80. he calculated the average weight of the fish to be 4. what was the average of her last three tests? Here. we have to find two totals before we can calculate the average of the final three tests. If her average score after the first three five tests was 89. Janet took 8 math tests. and n is the number of figures in a set. The sum total of all the figures in a set (T). After weighing all of them together. 75. 8*83= 664.7.7= 65. the total number of percentage points on all the tests 5*89= 445. 3. we have the info we need to find the average in question.Before we begin. 14*4. 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. There are 3 numbers you want to know. the total number of percentage points on the first five tests. 70. T is the total sum of values. 60.

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

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

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

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,

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

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

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

we will discuss some common problems students encounter with percent problems. August 27th. has merit. 2010 In this article.” As you can see. referring back to the issue briefly. 62. However. Example: 20% = 1/5. the opening paragraph responds to the prompt by taking a clear position. Posted in Essay.25 = 1.25 .Response Paragraph 1: The argument. by failing to explicitly state how the updates would affect auto accidents. and by predicting a “significant” reduction in Metropolis auto accidents without specifying what kind of a reduction would be deemed “significant. Here are some quick pointers: Percents MUST be APPLIED to something A percent means nothing on it’s own. Verbal. or 30% off the sales price Percents are basically fractions with a denominator of 100 Learn your common percents.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. which can come in a variety of formats. Example: 16% of men. which states that WPTK’s broadcast of traffic updates would reduce the incidence of auto accidents on Metropolis-area roads. GRE. and convert to fractions whenever possible. The author weakens his claim by assuming that televised traffic updates would be timely enough to impact drivers’ actions. and outlining the points that the essay will be addressing. informative opening paragraph set the tone for your essay! Please visit the Grockit forum or leave a comment here to post questions on essay structures. the argument also exhibits several serious flaws which could limit its persuasiveness. analysis of an argument | No Comments » Tips For Percent Math Problems on the GRE Friday. Let your concise.

and then decreased by 10%. but as numbers get larger.000. The higher the number. In this case. the higher the resulting percent Applying the same percent to a higher number will yield a higher number. Percent change = Total Change/Original Value Example: Before trading began. What was the percent change in James’ portfolio? Percent change = $2. so will yield a larger change.000 = 0. Which is bigger. it will save lots of time. or 20% Don’t add constants and percents You should never find yourself trying to figure out what 5 + 6% equals. so 8 – 2 = 6 Example: What is 25% of 8? ¼*8 = 2 Use shortcuts 20% less than means 80% of.Recognize the difference between percent MORE/LESS THAN and percent OF Example: What is 25% less than 8? ¼* 8 = 2. James’ investment portfolio was worth $10. it might not seem necessary. you are probably missing what to apply the percent to.000.5)] in one neat step. then subtracting from the original. At the end of market close. versus two tougher ones. and we’re done! On easy numbers like this. Example: A certain positive integer x is increased by 10%. The original x will be bigger. The 10% decrease in the 2nd round is applied to a higher number. just take 80% and be done. James’ investment portfolio grew by $2. See the previous example: What is 25% less than 8? ¾*8 = 6. 50% more than 10 should be calculated by multiplying 10*3/2 [10*(1 + 0. Conversely. .000/$10.2. So instead of taking 20%. x or the resulting number? The 10% increase of x in the first round increases x by a certain amount.

94 C. and all the tickets cost the same amount. 25 people * x dollars/person * 1. 750 . 5% = 1/20 since 5*20 = 100.000 items he offered for sale. setting x = ticket price before tax. what was the face value of each ticket price without the sales tax? A.20 E. $30 Without a calculator. Now we set up the equation. $22 B. how many items did Jerome offer for sale? A.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. and are typically neater. $23. and 30% of his remaining items. If this price included a 5% sales tax. cancel and simplify. They cancel well. If he sold 40% of the total number of items he offered for sale. $25. Jerome sold 75% of the first 1. $24 D.05 (with tax) = $630 Note we can convert to fractions. 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. fractions are always easier.

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

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

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

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

67/4 leaves you will a remainder of 3. 0.125 1/9 = .555 repeating C.33 repeating 1/4 = .4 D.5 1/3 = . -2.February 1-28: 28 + March 1 – 26: 26 = 67 days. 1. which of the following is a possible value of (x² +2x – 7)/9? A.20 1/6 = .125 .166 repeating E. such as: 3/8 = 3*1/8 = 3*0. so we count 3 from Dad. mainly: 1/2 = .11 repeating Note that multiplying these by constants will leave similarly instructive results.375 The more familiar with these you become.268 B.25 1/5 = . 4.125 = 0.166 repeating 1/8 = . For example: If x is an integer. leaving us with Mom on March 26th. the quicker you can eliminate answer choices are clearly wrong. 8. Fractions and Decimals are the same thing You should be familiar with common decimals.

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

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

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

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

but these questions are the exception. One way to mitigate this is by retaining a rockstar aptitude in manipulating fractions.333 repeating 1/2 = 0.166 repeating 1/5 = 0. and remember to take time to relax a little! What are some of your favorite ways to relieve GRE preparation pressure? Posted in GRE. fractions will be easier to perform arithmetic. GRE Prep. Finally. Dividing by 5 is the same as multiplying by 2/10. For example: • • • 840/5 = ? 840/5 = 840*(2/10) = 84*2 = 168 Multiplying or dividing by 10’s and 2’s is generally easier than using 5’s. and your future is a serious thing. Decimals are sometimes more useful when comparing numbers relative to one another. and your Expert. try to enjoy the process as much as you can. The writers recognize time is short. Be proactive about your practice and about asking questions. and take advantage of the many ways that you can study for the exam. But questions are sometimes funny. strategy | 1 Comment » Fractions. such as in a number line. Some common ones to memorize: • • • • • • • • 1/9 = 0. try to have some fun with the studying process! Yes.111 repeating 1/8 = 0. August 13th. 90% of the time. remember that your GRE prep is a collaboration between you. And. you should take some time out to play. your fellow students.25 1/3 = 0.125 1/7 = ~0. which occur in a large portion of the questions. Oh My! Friday. To summarize. Proportions and Ratios. Even if given a decimal (or percent) looks easy. and will give you ostensibly time-consuming calculations.14 1/6 = 0. So remember that even as you’re working hard. preparing for it is often a rigorous experience.5. and your Experts and fellow students could probably use a light moment as much as you could.20 1/4 = 0.5 repeating . finally. mistakes should be learned from and sometimes laughed off. quickly convert to a fraction. the GRE is a challenging test. 2010 GRE questions are notorious for seeming harder than they actually are. too.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Example 4: (32(a²)b + 12a(b³)c) / 8ab = 32(a²)b / 8ab + 12a(b³)c / 8ab = 4a + (3/2) (b² )c 5. Dividing Polynomials: dividing polynomials may look daunting. If x-y=7 and x+y=13. (x-y)(x+y) = x²-y² B. Binomial Products: Rather than use the distributive method (FOIL) every time. Miscellaneous Polynomial Question Types . Average of polynomials: When finding the average of polynomials. add the expressions: 12x² + 6x -3 Divide the sum by 3 (we are finding the average. What’s the average of: (5x²+10x-7) + (3x²-4x+4) + 4x² First. (x+y)² = x²+2xy +y² Note: These three products should be memorized to save valuable time on the GRE. but just use the distributive property. (12x² + 6x – 3 ) / 3 = 4x² +2x – 1 3. Example 2.4x² + 7x +11 – x² – 14x – 15 Combine like terms: 3x² – 7x – 4 2. here are some quick ways to multiply familiar binomials. so we divide by how many items in the list there are). A. Example 3:. what is the value of x²-y² Because we know that x²-y²= (x-y)(x+y). (x-y)² = x² -2xy + y² C. then our calculation is limited to (7)(13)=91 4. add the expressions and divide by the number of different self-contained expressions.

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

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

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

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

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

Train B’s velocity is 30 m/hr. In the three hours from 6pm to 9pm. which has traveled the same time as B (6 hours). It may help consider the unit man-hours as the multiplication between workers and time. we get: . This means that B will gain on A at a rate of 30 miles every hour. 1.200 Instead of man-hours. 135 m/hr E. the time will be 3am. 90 m/hr C. 984 C.400 E. 120 m/hr D. which is then compared to the work completed. 180 m/hr Relative to Train A. A gets to mile marker 180. 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. Rate of Train C = 720 miles/ 6 hours = 120 miles/hour. so all we have to is add “plows” to the expression. Feet and minutes are already compared. If we divide 123 ft/min by 3 plows. 328 B. it will take Train B 6 hours.B. 16. For example: Three plows working at identical constant rates can clear 123 ft of snow per minute. Man Hours Many times you may be asked to calculate the number of workers would be need to complete a certain task. 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. and traveled (1260 – 540) miles. So when they all meet up. Choice (C). To catch up the 180 miles.640 D. how much snow could 8 plows remove in 5 minutes? A. At this rate. 131. here we want to interact plow-minutes. and they will be at mile marker 540.

first you need to divide the interest rate by how many compound periods there are. September 16th. some are much more difficult.060.000 (P = your principle) for one year (t = one year) at 6% simple interest (i = given interest rate). the above equation tells us the amount of interest that would be earned on a principle amount invested (P). Quantitative | 1 Comment » Interest and Compound Interest Problems Thursday. the principle amount of money invested. Note the absolute rate does not change. we would need to divide 10% by 4. work and rates Posted in GRE. you would get $60 in interest at the end of the year and would have a total of $1. for a given time (t) at a given interest rate (i). the interest rate earned on the principle. There are LOADS more rate questions. Mr. t (this is usually stated in periods. 2010 There are two types of interest problems on the GRE. since we are multiplying top and bottom by 40. Please visit the Grockit forum or leave a comment here to discuss further. Riley’s account at the end of one year? For compound interest. such as years or months). and the amount of time the money is invested. and if we were compounding quarterly. How much money will be in Mr. though this one involves compound interest. 41*40 feet / 40 plow-minutes = 1640 feet / 40 plow-minutes. relative volocity. Let’s look at similar type problem. because we are compounding semiannually. Example: If you invested $1. The resulting equation is: Interest = iPt In basic terms. Choice (C). Riley deposits $500 into an account that pays 10% interest.123 ft/minute/3 plows = 41 ft/plow-minute At this rate. we can simply insert these into the existing rate. Simple interest is the most basic and is a function of P. i. we need to divide 10% by 2 (because of 2 compounding periods). For compound interest. This is by no means exhaustive. . compounded semiannually. and they include simple interest and compound interest. you would earn slightly more. if we want to increase minutes to 5 and plows to 8. So for in the above question. so the value is constant. Tags: man hours.

The lesson? Compound interest always pays more! Let’s look at another similar type of problem that involves interest.500 (or $2. to get $7. you are paid interest on the interest that was paid in prior periods. Mr. we know that the money triples in value every 14 years. Compound interest can essentially be translated into “interest paid on interest”. plus $26. So at the end of the six months. For the second half of the year.500 will triple again. we are given x% as 8%. at the end of the year.25. $5. compounded annually. plus the $25 interest paid at the end of 6 months. Riley has $551. They will pay 5% interest (10%/2) at the end of six months. Here. Riley has $525 because the bank paid $25 in interest ($500*5%) into his account.100 D.500 At first glance. what will be its approximate worth in 28 years? A.750 B. Thus. and then will pay another 5% at the end of the year. Riley earns $1. compound interest. Further. Riley is then paid 5% on the $525 balance that was in his account at the end of the first six months. $15. Now. we know that the money will triple exactly twice in 28 years. $8. meaning that after one period. so the final balance at the end of the next 14 year period will be $22. compounded annually. which might unnecessarily confuse you. $3. Mr. For this one. $22. If $2500 is invested at a rate of 8%.500*3).25.000 E. Mr. 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.500 (or $7.25 paid at the end of the year. we know that this balance of $7. 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). This interest is equal to $525*5% = $26. and word problems involving the mention of . Therefore.In the above question. Mr.500*3). which is equal to his balance of $500. it might be a bit easier to think about this without the use of compound interest. Mr.600 C. Overall.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). Money invested at x%. triples in value in approximately every 112/x years. Riley deposited $500 into his account at a rate of 10% compounded semiannually and the bank will divide his interest into two equal parts. hence the phrase “compounding”. so all we need to do is take 112/8 = 14. The correct answer choice is E. the three types of interest problems you will most likely encounter come test day will be simple interest. once in 14 years and one more time at the 28th year.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.help. Keep track of units. and (C). E.8% 25% 28. If you have no clue how to answer this question. but because there is no mention of units. approximately what percent of Sandwich’s total population would be over the age of 60? A. E. (C). we should think quickly about in which direction the percentage should be moving. You can then worry only about (A). The town of Sandwich has a total of 5.4% After reading this question. Do a very quick estimate of what the answer should look like. and (E) through a variety of strategies. Then you can pick between (A). which is an indication that you are incorrectly converting hours to minutes. x/m m/x xm 60m/x x/60m The two units provided in the question are miles and miles/hour. we can quickly recognize that any product including a factor of 2 must be even. C. (B). C. Size Matters. Answer choices (B) and (D) are multiplied by 4 and 2 respectively. you are still guessing between (C).400 citizens. and the answer is to be in miles/hour. 23.6% 30% 33. 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. (D) and . chances are we will not have to do that this time. D. B. so those are out. Of these. 1/4 are over the age of 60. D. This will move the percent UP. B. but to save time. Answer choices (D) and (E) include “60”. We know that sometimes we might want to convert hours to minutes. We start at ¼ (25%) 60+ citizens and add more 60+ citizens to the population without any other additions.

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

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

Multiply the decimals as if the decimals are not present. add zeros to fill up the empty space. if it makes things easier. My sum of digits equals the number of digits that should be to the right of the decimal in my product. 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. Add zeros as necessary. 2. I need 5 digits after the decimal. Manipulate the placement of the decimal in the product to fulfill step 3. Step 3: So. my product is .52 and .170 ————384. 3. line up the decimal points. I add 2 + 3=5).515 Multiplication 1.17 Set it up like this: 382. If I am multiplying 4.01356.6.345 and 2.. 4.45 and . Count the number of digits after the decimal in each number. . Counting from right to left. Example: Multiply 4.003 Step 1: 452 x 3 ———1356 Step 2: In 4. we have a total of 5 numbers after the decimals. Example: Add 382. If multiplying 6. in 1356.52 and . HINT: When multiplying simpler decimal numbers.4 = 4/10.232 and 1. and add these up (ex. and.003.84 = 84/100 . always use common sense to avoid calculation errors.356. Addition and Subtraction When adding and subtracting decimals. . not 40 or 400.345 + 2.

Divide normally and bring the decimal straight up into the quotient. 7. Move the decimal in the dividend the same number of places to the right (I moved the decimal two places to the right to convert . Move decimal point in 2. 4. Bring up the decimal and place 7 after it.25. we are left with 8. 1783 minus 1640 is 143. the second step.5 / .05 two times to the right to make 205. exactly. 205 can go into 1783 about 8 times. yielding 1783.05 1. Since there is no remainder left over. . Do the same for the dividend.835 by 2.5 1640 ——– 1435 1435 —— 0 For a little refresher in long division. is to practice on Grockit. here is the process verbalized: 1.5 _ 8. 5.7 Working with decimals without a calculator is all about practice. Example: Divide 17. The first step is to stop using the calculator every time you make an arithmetic calculation.5 to 50250) 3. 8 times 205 is 1640. Bring down the 5 from the dividend. I change . 3. Move the decimal point in the divisor to the right so that the divisor is a whole number (If my computation is 502. 6.Division 1.25 to 25.25 to 25) 2. so I’ll convert 502. as always. 2. 205 goes into 1435 seven times. Now we have 1435.7_____ 205 ) 1783.

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