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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.

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

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

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

0. always think of ways to simplify before you calculate.000 / 100 When you see many zeros in fractions like this.000. Our answer is D. First. I could use the tried and true plug-in method. when choosing numbers to add or subtract. Let’s check out this example: 1. Simplify by Adding/Subtracting Same Value 1. I should just eliminate five zeros from the top and 5 zeros from the bottom. that you can manipulate both expressions to make the comparison simpler. 4x +5 OR 3x +6 I could approach this problem a few ways. you should get comfortable with estimating. look how simple it is? The comparison is any number (x) OR 1. and . it generally narrows it down to . Stay tuned for some more strategies for quantitative comparisons that will save you time and increase accuracy. 2.000 in the numerator and 200. In the meantime. our goal is to make the relationship simpler. If I have 2. your first instinct should be to cross out matching zeros. I’ll have the same relationship between the two expressions. 2010 To save time on the GRE. Don’t forget.000 / 200. series. Same idea for column b: 1.5–you want to use a positive. which is clearly indeterminate.000. As long as I add or subtract the same number or variable from these expressions. my expression is simply 20/2 = 10. June 9th. 2. try some of these strategies in Grockit! Posted in GRE. so: Subtracting 5 from both sides gives us: 4x OR 3x+1 Subtracting 3x from both sides gives us: x OR 1 Now.000/100 = 10/1 = 10. Quantitative. now. Remember. a negative. where I would test a few simple numbers (preferably something like -2. and a fraction). 000 OR 1.Simplify When presented with two baffling expressions.000 in the denominator. strategy | 2 Comments » GRE Strategy – Estimation Wednesday. Quantitative Comparison. though. 0. Even if estimating doesn’t give you the 100% accurate answer.

Some questions even tell you to approximate. In this case. hydro and wind power combined? I would look at the Canada row. So I’m looking for what value 7% of $10.0 billion $.one obvious choice (if you’re good at estimating and round up and down appropriately). The question asks: approximately what average amount per month did the Canadian government spend on nuclear. 4.2 billion $10. 2. and then multiply that by 7 to get $0. Wind (2%) + Hydro (2%) + Nuclear (3%) = 7%. This will save you a lot of time.7 million. Given the following five answer choices 1. Estimation also comes in handy for quantitative comparisons because you don’t need the precise answer.6 billion $8. and the nuclear. . I tend to like figuring out 1%. 5% or 10% represents and working from there depending on the question.6 million represents. particular on the questions with charts and graphs. let’s take a look at the following chart.1 million. $127. you just need to know if they are equal or if one is bigger. 5. hydro and wind column (keeping my finger on it so I don’t read the wrong thing) and add up those percentages.9 billion $7.74 billion I would then pick E easily based on my estimate. so there really is no point calculating the precise answer there. For example. 3. Numerical Estimations Practice estimating with percentages. I would figure out what 1% represents – approximately $0.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

. 36% c. or arithmetic means. the GRE average problems will present you with various combinations of known and unknown information. Then. Thus. Take 20% off of 80 (80 / 5 = 16) and you get 64. during a special sale.example of what this might look like:1. 50% You may read this question and think that a 20 percent discount plus another 20% discount equals a 40% discount. let’s get real. which can end up making a huge difference on a computer adaptive test. Did you really think that the test would give you a question that required such minimal effort as adding 10 and 10? It’s nice to dream. Posted in GRE. the total discount is $36. think about these techniques! They will keep you from making careless mistakes on easy to intermediate problems. That’s a difference of 10064=36. Quantitative. 40% d. B. What was the total percentage discount from the original price?a. Seeing 40% as an answer choice. isn’t it? But. The price of a T-shirt was reduced by 20%. the price was reduced another 20%. you’ve just missed a pretty easy question. We went from a 100 dollar shirt to a 64 dollar shirt. 25% b. Most of us know how to find the average. Just perform the calculations as necessary. Unfortunately. you may be inclined to choose it and move on. Take 20% off of 100. why not imagine the shirt is 100 bucks to start. 2010 Averages. First. when you practice. but the test will probably present average questions in a more complicated way. These two strategies may appear simple. 42% e. but they can mean big points in a pressured testing environment. July 20th. and you get 80. So. Rather than present you with all the numbers in a set and ask you to find the average of those numbers. are likely to show up on the GRE Quantitative section. series | No Comments » Averages Tuesday.

then T= 550. If her average score after the first three five tests was 89. he calculated the average weight of the fish to be 4. 219 (total) / 3 (number of figures) = 73 . what was the average of her last three tests? Here. 60. If I want to find the average of seven different test scores. In our example. 14*4.8 Example 2: Throughout the year. where A is average. the total number of percentage points on all the tests 5*89= 445. then simply multiply the average and the number of figures to find the sum total (T). Example 1: John caught 14 fish after a long day of fishing. let’s go over some basic rules for finding averages.Before we begin. T is the total sum of values.57. The most important rule to remember is that Average = Sum Total / Number of Figures Here are some possibilities for average questions and the strategies to solve them: 1. Janet took 8 math tests. and 90. they are related by the formula A= T / n. A = 550 / 7 = 78. 70. If the aforementioned scores are 80. The sum total of all the figures in a set (T). What is the total weight. 95. and n is the number of figures in a set. The number of figures in a set (n). in pounds. 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.7= 65. we have the info we need to find the average in question. of all the fish? Answer: Simply multiply 14 and 4. 1. The average of the figures in a set: (A)= T / N.7 lbs. 2. her average score was 83. then n=7. 75. 8*83= 664.7. the total number of percentage points on the first five tests. 80. 3. After weighing all of them together.Finding the total: IF you know the average and the number of figures/items (n) in a set. With this information. There are 3 numbers you want to know. we have to find two totals before we can calculate the average of the final three tests.

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

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

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

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,

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

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

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

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

and then decreased by 10%. Example: A certain positive integer x is increased by 10%.000. The original x will be bigger.000 = 0.2.Recognize the difference between percent MORE/LESS THAN and percent OF Example: What is 25% less than 8? ¼* 8 = 2. In this case. Conversely. James’ investment portfolio grew by $2. James’ investment portfolio was worth $10. or 20% Don’t add constants and percents You should never find yourself trying to figure out what 5 + 6% equals.5)] in one neat step. just take 80% and be done. See the previous example: What is 25% less than 8? ¾*8 = 6. At the end of market close.000/$10. What was the percent change in James’ portfolio? Percent change = $2. x or the resulting number? The 10% increase of x in the first round increases x by a certain amount. you are probably missing what to apply the percent to. then subtracting from the original. The higher the number. and we’re done! On easy numbers like this. Percent change = Total Change/Original Value Example: Before trading began. 50% more than 10 should be calculated by multiplying 10*3/2 [10*(1 + 0. so 8 – 2 = 6 Example: What is 25% of 8? ¼*8 = 2 Use shortcuts 20% less than means 80% of. the higher the resulting percent Applying the same percent to a higher number will yield a higher number. versus two tougher ones.000. it will save lots of time. The 10% decrease in the 2nd round is applied to a higher number. So instead of taking 20%. so will yield a larger change. it might not seem necessary. . Which is bigger. but as numbers get larger.

05 (with tax) = $630 Note we can convert to fractions. Now we set up the equation. Jerome sold 75% of the first 1.000 items he offered for sale. cancel and simplify. setting x = ticket price before tax. 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. 750 . 5% = 1/20 since 5*20 = 100. fractions are always easier. If he sold 40% of the total number of items he offered for sale. and are typically neater. If this price included a 5% sales tax. $22 B. $30 Without a calculator.20 E. $24 D. and all the tickets cost the same amount. $25. 25 people * x dollars/person * 1.94 C. what was the face value of each ticket price without the sales tax? 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 30% of his remaining items. They cancel well. $23. how many items did Jerome offer for sale? A.

500 Again. is to study these principles enough that they seem intuitive. strategy | No Comments » Number Theory Wednesday. 1000 + R = T Now. but it’s just an intimidating name for some pretty elementary mathematical principles. you could easily execute a calculation to ascertain them. In this case. 2010 Number theory may sound scary.B. August 25th. This is a good hint that there may be a hidden 2nd equation. though. T = R + 1. Tags: percent Posted in GRE. T. You probably know most of these principles by memory.050 C.000 = 3. 1. we have 2 equations and 2 unknowns. 3.500 Choice E Please visit the Grockit forum or leave a comment here to discuss further. 4. if not. Quantitative.500 We always look back to the original question to see exactly what we are looking for.500 + 1. Not R. 1.000 = 4. we want to set up the equation – this will make things a lot easier. The best option. and 1 unknown. We can solve! 750 + 3R/10 = 400 + 4R/10 350 = R/10 R = 3. 3/4*1000 + 3/10*R = 4/10*T We have 2 equations. And again. switching to fractions is always best. The GRE .800 D.500 E.

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

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

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

leaving us with Mom on March 26th.20 1/6 = .166 repeating 1/8 = .375 The more familiar with these you become. 1. 8.11 repeating Note that multiplying these by constants will leave similarly instructive results.33 repeating 1/4 = . For example: If x is an integer.125 1/9 = . so we count 3 from Dad.268 B.4 D. 67/4 leaves you will a remainder of 3. the quicker you can eliminate answer choices are clearly wrong. such as: 3/8 = 3*1/8 = 3*0. which of the following is a possible value of (x² +2x – 7)/9? A. -2.166 repeating E.555 repeating C. Fractions and Decimals are the same thing You should be familiar with common decimals.5 1/3 = .125 = 0. 0.February 1-28: 28 + March 1 – 26: 26 = 67 days.125 . 4. mainly: 1/2 = .25 1/5 = .

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

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

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

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

166 repeating 1/5 = 0.25 1/3 = 0. and your Expert. and your future is a serious thing. The writers recognize time is short. finally. Proportions and Ratios.5 repeating . GRE Prep. and will give you ostensibly time-consuming calculations. strategy | 1 Comment » Fractions. your fellow students. the GRE is a challenging test. To summarize. 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. too. Finally. you should take some time out to play. But questions are sometimes funny. And. Oh My! Friday. mistakes should be learned from and sometimes laughed off. but these questions are the exception. try to have some fun with the studying process! Yes. such as in a number line. Dividing by 5 is the same as multiplying by 2/10.125 1/7 = ~0.5. which occur in a large portion of the questions. fractions will be easier to perform arithmetic.333 repeating 1/2 = 0. Even if given a decimal (or percent) looks easy. quickly convert to a fraction. 2010 GRE questions are notorious for seeming harder than they actually are. Some common ones to memorize: • • • • • • • • 1/9 = 0. Decimals are sometimes more useful when comparing numbers relative to one another. and your Experts and fellow students could probably use a light moment as much as you could. preparing for it is often a rigorous experience. So remember that even as you’re working hard. try to enjoy the process as much as you can.14 1/6 = 0. 90% of the time. August 13th. and remember to take time to relax a little! What are some of your favorite ways to relieve GRE preparation pressure? Posted in GRE.20 1/4 = 0. One way to mitigate this is by retaining a rockstar aptitude in manipulating fractions.111 repeating 1/8 = 0. remember that your GRE prep is a collaboration between you. Be proactive about your practice and about asking questions. and take advantage of the many ways that you can study for the exam.

we don’t actually know the number of girls and boys. the ratio of the number of cooks to the number of waiters changes to 3 to 16.125 * 3 = 0. Note that when you have a ratio like B/G = 7/2.375) are also important to remember. the new ratio becomes: C/W = 3x/(13x + 12) . 15 The key here is setting up the equation. but generally practice and familiarity with the numbers helps a lot in doing quick arithmetic. There are many many more shortcuts. but can easily be derived by multiplying the original fraction (1/8 * 3 = 3/8 = 0. 4 B. (x must be an integer. There can be 14 boys and 4 girls. How many cooks does the restaurant have? A.• Note: Multiples of these. for example. unless of course he chops his finger off by accident!) “When 12 more waiters are hired” is the insertion of an absolute. we can express this scale by “x”. 12 E. or 70 boys and 20 girls.375) Denominators are super important. 6 C. A denominator of a reduced fraction with a multiple of 7 will not have a finite decimal. and can simply be treated as such. 9 D. This list is by no means extensive. the ratio will hold true. and what you cannot. Questions that insert absolute numbers should be taken with caution. When 12 more waiters are hired. “The ratio of boys to girls is seven to two” can be expressed as the proportion: B/G = 7/2. Notice that whatever x is. the ratio of the number of cooks to the number of waiters is 3 to 13. leave them in the comment field. Since we don’t know the initial scale of the number of cooks and waiters. whatever. Ratios A ratio is both a comparison and division. Forget the “:” with ratios. If you have some. For example: At a certain restaurant. GRE writers love to provide ratios (which are multiplicative relationships) and then add an absolute component (addition/subtraction). Keep in mind what you can logically combine. Do with this what you like: 7G = 2B or B = 7G/2. since you can’t have a portion of a cook. such as 3/8 (0. C/W = 3x/13x. Adding the 12 waiters.

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

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

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

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

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

etc. Today.) Shared angles will normally not be explicitly stated. only the positive solution remains and the information is sufficient. Trust the pictures. we’ll explore circles inscribed in squares. Inferences must be drawn from fact. If one solution is negative and the other is positive. See if you can spot some ratio problems when you’re practicing on Grockit. we will cover many types of geometric scenarios encountered on the GRE. Be careful in DS questions that pose equations in the context of quadratic equations with two solutions.) is essential. (Squares can be turned into triangles. Some Things to Remember • • • • • The center of the square is the same point as the center of the circle Draw lines! Depending on what the stimulus asks for. A basic knowledge of simple formulas (area. 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.) Lengths cannot be negative. but not too much. Quantitative | No Comments » Geometry Series Part 1: Circles Inscribed in Squares Tuesday. perimeter. 2010 In this series. . unless necessary. ratios and proportions aren’t so scary anymore. but there are numerous shortcuts to geometry questions that will save you time. for example. August 3rd. 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. Tags: ratios and proportions Posted in GRE.Hopefully. draw in lines that create simple shapes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Train A traveling at 60 m/hr leaves New York for Dallas at 6 P. Because the denominator is 13. Again. When together. 60 m/hr . trains and automobiles. but not necessarily in proportion. the decimal is important. Train C leaves Dallas for New York at 9 P. Nor. If all three trains meet at the same time between New York and Dallas. A second worker can load the same truck in 7 hours.com/groups/gre/dashboard”>GRE</a>usually travel toward or away from each other. 0. we may be looking at a geometry question. 1/6 + 1/7 = 6/42 + 7/42 = 13/42 trucks/1 hour.15 B. are you averaging or adding the given times taken. To find this.M. If moving in the same direction. At this point. 2. A worker can load 1 full truck in 6 hours. Choice (E). 42/13 hours/truck = 3 3/13 hours/truck. Objects moving at given speeds on the <a href=”http://grockit. Sometimes walking. 0. Remember the question is asking for the number of hours to fill 1 truck. We can also see that 3/12 will yield . be careful of units.25 The rate of worker #1 is 1 truck/6 hours. However. approximately how long. so 3/13 will be slightly lower.25. You must add rates.47 D.M.31 C. we can add their speeds to see their relative velocities. When moving at an angle. we may not be able to decide between (D) or (E). 3.25. we find the reciprocal of 13/42. This can also be 1/6 trucks/1 hour. Relative Velocity Planes. will it take them to fill 1 truck? A. they will complete 1/6 + 1/7 trucks/ 1 hour. what is the speed of Train C if the distance between Dallas and New York is 1260 miles? A. we instead subtract their speeds to find the relative velocity. The rate of worker #2 is 1/7. we know the decimal cannot equal .be less than BOTH of the individual rates. NOT the number of trucks completed in 1 hour. If moving toward or away from each other. 3. If both workers load one truck simultaneously while maintaining their constant rates.23 E. Train B traveling at 90 m/hr also leaves New York for Dallas at 9 P. in hours.M.

180 m/hr Relative to Train A. we get: . For example: Three plows working at identical constant rates can clear 123 ft of snow per minute. Choice (C). 1. which is then compared to the work completed. here we want to interact plow-minutes. At this rate. Feet and minutes are already compared.200 Instead of man-hours. 135 m/hr E. This means that B will gain on A at a rate of 30 miles every hour. and traveled (1260 – 540) miles. So when they all meet up. which has traveled the same time as B (6 hours). 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. A gets to mile marker 180.B. If we divide 123 ft/min by 3 plows. 131. In the three hours from 6pm to 9pm.640 D. Train B’s velocity is 30 m/hr. the time will be 3am. To catch up the 180 miles. so all we have to is add “plows” to the expression. 16.400 E. 328 B. Man Hours Many times you may be asked to calculate the number of workers would be need to complete a certain task. how much snow could 8 plows remove in 5 minutes? A. Rate of Train C = 720 miles/ 6 hours = 120 miles/hour. 120 m/hr D. 90 m/hr C. 984 C. and they will be at mile marker 540. it will take Train B 6 hours. It may help consider the unit man-hours as the multiplication between workers and time. 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.

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

500 At first glance. to get $7. compounded annually. $22. it might be a bit easier to think about this without the use of compound interest.600 C. plus $26. Now. we know that the money will triple exactly twice in 28 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.500 (or $2. which is equal to his balance of $500. and word problems involving the mention of .500 will triple again. the three types of interest problems you will most likely encounter come test day will be simple interest. So first we need to multiply the original $2500 invested by 3 to get the balance at the end of year 14 (because it triples). we know that this balance of $7. Mr. triples in value in approximately every 112/x years.25 more with this compound interest than he would have been paid if he were paid only 10% simple interest (would have been only $550). and then will pay another 5% at the end of the year. Overall. Further. so all we need to do is take 112/8 = 14.25. $5.000 E. Mr. at the end of the year. this one seems pretty tricky because you are given x% as the interest rate and it asks you about compounding and it might seem difficult where to find a starting point for this. we are given x% as 8%. Riley has $525 because the bank paid $25 in interest ($500*5%) into his account.25.500*3). Mr. If $2500 is invested at a rate of 8%. which might unnecessarily confuse you. $15. Riley has $551. we know that the money triples in value every 14 years. This interest is equal to $525*5% = $26. Here. For the second half of the year. you are paid interest on the interest that was paid in prior periods. Mr. once in 14 years and one more time at the 28th year. The correct answer choice is E. They will pay 5% interest (10%/2) at the end of six months. For this one. so the final balance at the end of the next 14 year period will be $22. compounded annually.100 D.750 B.500 (or $7. hence the phrase “compounding”. Riley earns $1. Riley is then paid 5% on the $525 balance that was in his account at the end of the first six months. $8.In the above question. Mr.500*3). Money invested at x%. $3. meaning that after one period. The lesson? Compound interest always pays more! Let’s look at another similar type of problem that involves interest. plus the $25 interest paid at the end of 6 months. So at the end of the six months.25 paid at the end of the year. compound interest. Compound interest can essentially be translated into “interest paid on interest”. Thus. what will be its approximate worth in 28 years? A. Therefore.

remember that some questions can be solved intuitively. As always. on the other hand. interest Posted in GRE. instead. uninhibited B. structural contrasts indicate that there’s a shift in the sentence. 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. in contrast.interest. polite The structural clue here is a distinct contrast to. September 14th. Let’s try another one-blank SC. The key to deciphering between compound interest and simple interest is to see how many periods the interest is paid…. the two blanks are likely opposite in meaning. theatrical C. rather. Have a compound interest problem or question you can’t figure out? Go to Grockit forums and ask Grockit’s expert tutors for help. Winthrop has always been a leading advocate for educational reform. In a two-blank SC. 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. A. I would guess “reserved” and see which option is most like that word. These are usually indicated by contrast words such as although. A. but that can be solved without the application of interest or compound interest methods. nevertheless. communicative D. but. This means you’re looking for a word that’s the opposite of flamboyant. Although Mr. This tells you that her —– demeanor is opposite to her flamboyant acting. Let’s try a one-blank SC example first. however. choice D. breed . 2010 Unlike Structural Agreement. despite. taciturn E. It turns out that there is only one choice. 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. yet. nor. scan the sentence for any structural clues and then guess what word could fit in the blank before looking at your options. in spite of If you see any of these words upon scanning the sentence. Finally. Tags: compound interest.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

8% 25% 28. If you have no clue how to answer this question. and (E) through a variety of strategies. and the answer is to be in miles/hour. Take a look at this example: How long (in hours) will it take Steve to run m miles if he runs at a constant speed of x miles per hour? A. (C). Of these. we can quickly recognize that any product including a factor of 2 must be even. The town of Sandwich has a total of 5. Answer choices (D) and (E) include “60”. x/m m/x xm 60m/x x/60m The two units provided in the question are miles and miles/hour. D. you are still guessing between (C). This will move the percent UP. chances are we will not have to do that this time. Answer choices (B) and (D) are multiplied by 4 and 2 respectively. (D) and .6% 30% 33.400 citizens. but to save time. C. C. 23. B. but because there is no mention of units.help. Keep track of units. we should think quickly about in which direction the percentage should be moving.4% After reading this question. Size Matters. You can then worry only about (A). B. (B). Then you can pick between (A). Do a very quick estimate of what the answer should look like. which is an indication that you are incorrectly converting hours to minutes. 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. 1/4 are over the age of 60. If an advertising campaign attracts a number of new residents over 60 equal to 1/5 of the town’s current 60+ citizens and there are no other changes in the population. E. and (C). so those are out. D. approximately what percent of Sandwich’s total population would be over the age of 60? A. E.

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

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

Add zeros as necessary. Multiply the decimals as if the decimals are not present. 4.17 Set it up like this: 382. and add these up (ex. Addition and Subtraction When adding and subtracting decimals. we have a total of 5 numbers after the decimals. Step 3: So.01356.. add zeros to fill up the empty space.170 ————384. Example: Add 382.003 Step 1: 452 x 3 ———1356 Step 2: In 4.345 + 2.345 and 2. Counting from right to left. I need 5 digits after the decimal.6. 2.003.4 = 4/10.515 Multiplication 1.356.232 and 1. always use common sense to avoid calculation errors. in 1356. If multiplying 6. 3. Count the number of digits after the decimal in each number. Manipulate the placement of the decimal in the product to fulfill step 3.84 = 84/100 .5689 = 5689 / 10000 You’ll want one zero in the denominator for every digit in the decimal.45 and . My sum of digits equals the number of digits that should be to the right of the decimal in my product. and. I add 2 + 3=5).52 and . my product is . . I know that my answer will have one digit before the decimal because 4 * 1 = 4. If I am multiplying 4. . Example: Multiply 4. not 40 or 400. line up the decimal points.52 and . HINT: When multiplying simpler decimal numbers. if it makes things easier.

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 . 1783 minus 1640 is 143.5 1640 ——– 1435 1435 —— 0 For a little refresher in long division. Now we have 1435. 8 times 205 is 1640. yielding 1783. exactly. Bring up the decimal and place 7 after it.5 / . 3. here is the process verbalized: 1. Move decimal point in 2. Move the decimal point in the divisor to the right so that the divisor is a whole number (If my computation is 502.05 two times to the right to make 205.25. . so I’ll convert 502. Example: Divide 17.05 1. 6.7 Working with decimals without a calculator is all about practice.835 by 2. is to practice on Grockit. Bring down the 5 from the dividend. 7.25 to 25. 5. 205 can go into 1783 about 8 times. 4. 205 goes into 1435 seven times. the second step.7_____ 205 ) 1783. Do the same for the dividend.5 _ 8. Divide normally and bring the decimal straight up into the quotient.25 to 25) 2.Division 1. 2. The first step is to stop using the calculator every time you make an arithmetic calculation.5 to 50250) 3. we are left with 8. I change . Since there is no remainder left over. as always.

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