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**Issue Writing Task: Part 2
**

Monday, June 28th, 2010

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

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

**Issue Writing Task: Part 1
**

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010

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

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

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

**Quantitative Comparison Strategies: Part 2
**

Friday, June 18th, 2010

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

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

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

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

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

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

000 in the denominator. now.000 / 100 When you see many zeros in fractions like this. Stay tuned for some more strategies for quantitative comparisons that will save you time and increase accuracy.000/100 = 10/1 = 10. 000 OR 1. strategy | 2 Comments » GRE Strategy – Estimation Wednesday. Don’t forget. and . In the meantime. it generally narrows it down to .000.000. which is clearly indeterminate. that you can manipulate both expressions to make the comparison simpler. Quantitative Comparison. so: Subtracting 5 from both sides gives us: 4x OR 3x+1 Subtracting 3x from both sides gives us: x OR 1 Now. series. First. I’ll have the same relationship between the two expressions. our goal is to make the relationship simpler. I could use the tried and true plug-in method. Even if estimating doesn’t give you the 100% accurate answer. your first instinct should be to cross out matching zeros. 0.5–you want to use a positive. 2. Our answer is D. and a fraction). As long as I add or subtract the same number or variable from these expressions. I should just eliminate five zeros from the top and 5 zeros from the bottom. Quantitative. Same idea for column b: 1. 0. Remember. my expression is simply 20/2 = 10. 4x +5 OR 3x +6 I could approach this problem a few ways. always think of ways to simplify before you calculate. try some of these strategies in Grockit! Posted in GRE. Simplify by Adding/Subtracting Same Value 1. June 9th.000 / 200.000 in the numerator and 200. you should get comfortable with estimating. 2. Let’s check out this example: 1. If I have 2. 2010 To save time on the GRE. though.Simplify When presented with two baffling expressions. when choosing numbers to add or subtract. where I would test a few simple numbers (preferably something like -2. look how simple it is? The comparison is any number (x) OR 1. a negative.

For example.6 million represents. 4. let’s take a look at the following chart. and the nuclear. This will save you a lot of time. $127.9 billion $7. 5% or 10% represents and working from there depending on the question.7 million. hydro and wind power combined? I would look at the Canada row. The question asks: approximately what average amount per month did the Canadian government spend on nuclear. 3.6 billion $8. Wind (2%) + Hydro (2%) + Nuclear (3%) = 7%. 5. and then multiply that by 7 to get $0. 2.2 billion $10. Given the following five answer choices 1. hydro and wind column (keeping my finger on it so I don’t read the wrong thing) and add up those percentages.one obvious choice (if you’re good at estimating and round up and down appropriately).74 billion I would then pick E easily based on my estimate. Some questions even tell you to approximate. you just need to know if they are equal or if one is bigger. So I’m looking for what value 7% of $10. Estimation also comes in handy for quantitative comparisons because you don’t need the precise answer.1 million.0 billion $. . particular on the questions with charts and graphs. so there really is no point calculating the precise answer there. I would figure out what 1% represents – approximately $0. Numerical Estimations Practice estimating with percentages. In this case. I tend to like figuring out 1%.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Use the test format to your advantage. BallparkingTo ‘ballpark’ is to roughly approximate.speculation will lead you to the correct answer. or attractors. Avoid TrapsNearly every multiple choice math problem has trap answers. ballparking essentially means thinking about mathematical figures in a vague. and look at the simplicity of the question. These types of answers catch your eye for one reason or another. 70. Part 2 Monday. 5. July 26th. 1. when you’re in the middle of a timed test.16. and you go into human calculator mode. it can be no other answer. 1.50. it’s easy to make mistakes. But.350 E. but remember that such a choice is probably a trap. imprecise.165 C.195 Any relaxed. You may notice the anticipated answer in the choices and think that you won’t have to finish the problem. 35. A third of 50 is a little more than 15 (15*3= 45). and anticipate the clever gambits so often deployed by the ETS. This is where ballparking plays a significant role. often making the problem appear a little bit easier than it actually is. Anxiety sets in. though. 2010 This is the second installment in the simple quantitative strategies series.33 percent is awfully close to one third. During practice. You see a question like this and immediately start calculating the product.125 B. strategy | No Comments » Simple Quantitative Strategies.33 % of 50?A. 32.Looks look at an . Moving a decimal one unit could transform a correct answer into a wrong answer. learning the processes is more than half the battle. don’t give up–use your brain! Tags: antonyms. In terms of GRE quantitative strategy. These strategies are here to remind you that there is just a bit more to studying than simply cramming math material. things change. Beating the GRE quantitative requires a balanced combination of math skills and test-taking skills– these strategies will help improve the latter. no matter how many correct steps you painstakingly went through. if you happen to stumble upon an antonym question like this. When we are overwhelmed by figures and calculations. The only thing close to that is B. but outsmarting the test-writers is very important too. but we were still successful with some effort. don’t overwork. common sense thinker will probably be able to answer this question without doing a calculation.685 D. vacabulary Posted in GRE. Yes. but nonetheless common sense manner. Verbal.Let’s look at a crude example:What’s 32. Step back.

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

There are 3 numbers you want to know. the total number of percentage points on the first five tests. With this information.7. of all the fish? Answer: Simply multiply 14 and 4. 1. The average of the figures in a set: (A)= T / N. Janet took 8 math tests. After weighing all of them together. 80. If her average score after the first three five tests was 89. in pounds. The most important rule to remember is that Average = Sum Total / Number of Figures Here are some possibilities for average questions and the strategies to solve them: 1.57. T is the total sum of values.7= 65. 14*4. they are related by the formula A= T / n. The number of figures in a set (n). he calculated the average weight of the fish to be 4. and 90. 219 (total) / 3 (number of figures) = 73 . 95. 2. A = 550 / 7 = 78. what was the average of her last three tests? Here.7 lbs. If the aforementioned scores are 80. 70. then n=7. then simply multiply the average and the number of figures to find the sum total (T). What is the total weight. then T= 550. 8*83= 664. let’s go over some basic rules for finding averages. If I want to find the average of seven different test scores. we have to find two totals before we can calculate the average of the final three tests. the total number of percentage points on all the tests 5*89= 445. where A is average. we have the info we need to find the average in question. 75. her average score was 83.8 Example 2: Throughout the year. 60.Finding the total: IF you know the average and the number of figures/items (n) in a set.Before we begin. we know that the total number of percentage points on the last three tests must be the total of all the tests minus the total of the first five tests: 664-445 = 219 Now. The sum total of all the figures in a set (T). 3. In our example. and n is the number of figures in a set. Example 1: John caught 14 fish after a long day of fishing.

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

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

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

historical account, a rebuttal of a different idea, or something else entirely? There are lots of possibilities here, but remember that each detail in the passage will in some way serve the author’s primary motivation in writing the passage; nailing the author’s approach can help you answer questions that ask you about the purpose of a specific statement or the passage as a whole. Map is that paragraph outline that we talked about in number 1 above. And Perspective is a one-word summary of the author’s tone: is it positive, negative, neutral, or something else? Boil the tone down to a single word, and you’ll be prepared if it is the subject of a question, which it often is. By taking a few quick notes on the CAMP issues before you tackle the question, you’ll be able to focus on finding correct answers that align with your CAMP notes, instead of being tempted by distracting wrong answers. A sample CAMP note set might look like this: C: lines 4—7 A: Rebuttal of traditional theory M: Para.1—intro, historical background Para. 2—traditional interpretation Para. 3—problems with trad. interp., and new interp. Para. 4—conclusion P: Critical Reading on a CAT can require some adaptation of your usual approach, but with practice, it’s absolutely a surmountable challenge. Start early, be consistent with taking CAMP notes on scratch paper during your practice, and remember that active reading is the key to success on the GRE! Posted in GRE, GRE Prep, strategy | No Comments »

**Simple Quantitative Strategies, Part 1
**

Tuesday, July 6th, 2010

Before you review all that algebra and geometry you’ve forgotten over the years, and before you practice with an endless sequence of practice problems, you should learn a few simple tips that well help you immensely on test day. Learn these early, and reinforce them during practice. 1. Be careful early on. When you take a computer adaptive test, you have to take certain things into consideration. One commonly overlooked fact is that the

questions at the beginning of each section are weighed more heavily. I’ll say that again: the questions you answer at the beginning have a bigger impact on your score. What does this mean for the average test taker? Well, if you’re like most people, you may not be super confident in your math abilities, so you tend to move quickly at the beginning of a math section. You may move especially quickly through easy questions. This can be very dangerous. Moving too quickly, even on the easiest of questions, can spell disaster. Careless mistakes at the beginning of the section will drastically hurt your score; painstakingly working through a very difficult question at the end of the section will only slightly increase your score.Take your time. It’s worth it. 2. Know what the question is asking for. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen a question that requires you to solve for some unknown variable x, and then it asks you “What’s the value of x/2?” or “What’s the value of 4x” or “What’s the value of sqrt(x)?” The GRE test writers know that multiplying your final answer by 2 does not prove your mathematical prowess. Rather, it tests your test taking ability. Often, what happens is that students read a question, figure out what they must do to arrive at the answer (say, solving for variable x), and then stop once they’ve figured out said variable. Why go any further? I’ve just done the algebra. I’ve unlocked the problem; I’ve got the answer. It’s that feeling of knowing the familiar process of solving for x that is dangerous; once you arrive at x, you feel finished. And, I guarantee that the value of ‘x’ will be in the answer choice, further reassuring you that you’ve completed this question correctly. But, unfortunately, the answer is not x, but 4x (or some variation, arbitrary or not, invented by the test writers). To avoid this, consciously think about following directions more so than you usually do. Don’t assume you know the drill, even if you really do know the drill. The test writers are looking for these cheap ways to trick smart students into missing the answer. 1. Don’t overwork quantitative comparisons. When it comes to math problems, students tend to work systematically. The way most of us are taught math in high school is to do many versions of the same problem over and over again. This causes us to associate math problems with systematic, almost mindless computation. We often don’t think critically about math problems; we don’t step back and assume a bird’s eye view. This kind of thinking should be avoided on GRE Quantitative, especially on quantitative comparisons. In a quantitative comparison problem, your job is to figure out which value is bigger; you technically do not have to know the exact value of each column to know which is bigger, and sometimes your efforts to do so may cause you precious seconds.

Here’s an example of what I’m talking about: Column A. Column A: 1/15 + 1/9 + 1/5 OR Column B: 1/5 + 1/15 + 1/10

Now, if you are rushing through the test and mindlessly calculating, when you see numbers that can be calculated, you’ll waste your time on a problem like this, which can be answered in about half a second. Take a second. Step back. Look at the problem. You’ll notice each column shares the sum 1/5 + 1/15. That means those fractions are irrelevant. You’re really just comparing 1/9 to 1/10, and you should know immediately that 1/9 is bigger (when you have two fractions with the same numerator, the fraction with the smaller denominator is bigger–1/2 > 1/3 > 1/4 > 1/5 …). It always pays to stop and think about a problem before you begin calculating. Please stay tuned for the next installment of simple quantitative strategies. Until then, use these strategies during Grockit practice, and see if they help you eliminate careless mistakes. Posted in GRE, GRE Prep, Quantitative, strategy | No Comments »

**Issue Writing Task: Part 4
**

Friday, July 2nd, 2010

In our last post, we learned about the intricacies of GRE Issue pre-writing and the introduction. Both are tremendously important to write a quality essay, but, let’s face it, they are really just leading up to the body of your essay. The body of an essay contains the evidence and reasons for an argument. Each paragraph should adopt one unified reason in support of an overall argument. How many body paragraphs should there be? You could probably get away with as few as two, but I’d say three body paragraphs is a good minimum to shoot for. Any more paragraphs than that is just good insurance. 1. Starting the Body: If you have written a solid outline of your essay, then, by all means, follow it. If you haven’t yet figured out the order of your ideas, but you have grouped them into coherent sections, then begin with what you feel is easiest to write (a paragraph that is easy to write is often convincing and logical). Remember, if you realize that a different order of body paragraphs would make more sense, then you can arrange them later. Taking a computer test has its perks—take advantage of them. Each one of your body paragraphs should begin with a topic sentence that tells the reader what the paragraph is about. Since the essay graders are not spending much time on each essay, make their lives easier by providing a roadmap to follow. A clear essay makes a happy grader; a happy grader makes a happy test-taker.

If you decide to qualify the prompt statement and choose to present opposing sides of an argument, then paragraph order is very important. For example, if you’re evaluating the argument that “political leaders should withhold information from the public,” you might want to argue that while political leaders cannot be expected to divulge the embarrassing minutia of their personal lives, they must remain honest in order to avoid falling into demagoguery and to uphold the values of democracy. What I’ve done with this thesis is concede a point to my opposition, which I will acknowledge in the beginning of my essay, but then I will end strong with my “honest is the best policy” argument. It would be nonsense to end my evidence with a concession. The last body paragraph is the one that will most strongly resonate with your reader, so if you opt for a thesis like this one, start with your concession and move into your strong argument. 2. Conclusion: No matter how tired you are after writing the body paragraphs, you must write a conclusion. Some may argue that the conclusion paragraph is often superfluous or redundant, but it is still a convention that you adhere to—at least for the GRE. The conclusion is meant for you to remind the reader of the main thrust of your essay. In your conclusion, restate your thesis, preferably in different words. If you can, try to think of a larger implication of your argument. Ask yourself “so what” after you’ve written these 500 words, and maybe a broader implication will come to you. If it doesn’t, don’t worry: an insightful flourish at the end of an essay may help put you into 6 territory, but don’t stress about forcing brilliance if it’s not coming naturally. 3. Revise: Allow yourself around 8-10 minutes to revise your essay. Watch out for awkward phrasing, inappropriate diction, and poor grammar. While you are reading through for these mechanical errors, think about the logical flow of your essay. You do have that copy/paste function to rearrange sentences and paragraphs, so use it to your advantage. When rereading your essay, keep these things in mind: -Don’t be too one-sided. While it’s fine to adopt a strong position, don’t be afraid to acknowledge other viewpoints or anticipate objections. -Pay attention to flow. Each paragraph should flow naturally to the next. This is easier said than done, but, sometimes, all you’ll need is a transitional phrase or sentence to do the trick. -Avoid unnecessary repetition. Under the time constraint, you may notice yourself repeating key phrases over and over. If it seems tiresome as you read, cut it down. Redundancy is a sign of immature writing, and while essay graders may acknowledge it as a common side effect of timed writing, it’s best to cut it out if you can. -Check for consistency. Does your intro address the topic? Does your body address your intro? Does your conclusion address your body? All parts of your essay should work together as a whole, and they should directly address the prompt Just follow these steps and you’ll have a quality GRE essay. The only way to test your skills, however, is to practice. Luckily, the GRE website gives you all the possible topics,

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

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

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

GRE. August 27th. has merit. 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. Here are some quick pointers: Percents MUST be APPLIED to something A percent means nothing on it’s own. Let your concise. referring back to the issue briefly. analysis of an argument | No Comments » Tips For Percent Math Problems on the GRE Friday. by failing to explicitly state how the updates would affect auto accidents. 2010 In this article. and convert to fractions whenever possible.” As you can see. Example: 16% of men. or 30% off the sales price Percents are basically fractions with a denominator of 100 Learn your common percents. Verbal. which can come in a variety of formats. the argument also exhibits several serious flaws which could limit its persuasiveness.25 = 1. However. The author weakens his claim by assuming that televised traffic updates would be timely enough to impact drivers’ actions. and outlining the points that the essay will be addressing. Example: 20% = 1/5.5% = 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. the opening paragraph responds to the prompt by taking a clear position.Response Paragraph 1: The argument. and by predicting a “significant” reduction in Metropolis auto accidents without specifying what kind of a reduction would be deemed “significant. which states that WPTK’s broadcast of traffic updates would reduce the incidence of auto accidents on Metropolis-area roads. 62. Posted in Essay.25 . we will discuss some common problems students encounter with percent problems.

000. then subtracting from the original. In this case. 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. it will save lots of time.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.000. See the previous example: What is 25% less than 8? ¾*8 = 6. it might not seem necessary. and we’re done! On easy numbers like this.2. The original x will be bigger.000 = 0. you are probably missing what to apply the percent to. so will yield a larger change. Example: A certain positive integer x is increased by 10%. The higher the number.Recognize the difference between percent MORE/LESS THAN and percent OF Example: What is 25% less than 8? ¼* 8 = 2. The 10% decrease in the 2nd round is applied to a higher number. so 8 – 2 = 6 Example: What is 25% of 8? ¼*8 = 2 Use shortcuts 20% less than means 80% of. Percent change = Total Change/Original Value Example: Before trading began. and then decreased by 10%. At the end of market close. 50% more than 10 should be calculated by multiplying 10*3/2 [10*(1 + 0. James’ investment portfolio was worth $10. . the higher the resulting percent Applying the same percent to a higher number will yield a higher number. So instead of taking 20%. Conversely. Which is bigger. versus two tougher ones. but as numbers get larger. just take 80% and be done. James’ investment portfolio grew by $2.

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

1000 + R = T Now. 2010 Number theory may sound scary. This is a good hint that there may be a hidden 2nd equation. The best option. August 25th. we want to set up the equation – this will make things a lot easier.000 = 4. You probably know most of these principles by memory. if not.500 Again. T. 1.000 = 3.B.500 Choice E Please visit the Grockit forum or leave a comment here to discuss further.500 E. Tags: percent Posted in GRE. strategy | No Comments » Number Theory Wednesday. 3.050 C. We can solve! 750 + 3R/10 = 400 + 4R/10 350 = R/10 R = 3. you could easily execute a calculation to ascertain them. though.800 D. 1.500 + 1. switching to fractions is always best. is to study these principles enough that they seem intuitive. but it’s just an intimidating name for some pretty elementary mathematical principles. Not R. T = R + 1. 4. Quantitative. and 1 unknown. 3/4*1000 + 3/10*R = 4/10*T We have 2 equations. And again.500 We always look back to the original question to see exactly what we are looking for. In this case. we have 2 equations and 2 unknowns. The GRE .

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

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

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

33 repeating 1/4 = .555 repeating C. Fractions and Decimals are the same thing You should be familiar with common decimals. mainly: 1/2 = . 1. 8.268 B.125 = 0. which of the following is a possible value of (x² +2x – 7)/9? A.125 .20 1/6 = .5 1/3 = . such as: 3/8 = 3*1/8 = 3*0. 67/4 leaves you will a remainder of 3.February 1-28: 28 + March 1 – 26: 26 = 67 days.4 D.11 repeating Note that multiplying these by constants will leave similarly instructive results. 4.25 1/5 = .166 repeating E.125 1/9 = . the quicker you can eliminate answer choices are clearly wrong.375 The more familiar with these you become. For example: If x is an integer. 0. -2.166 repeating 1/8 = . leaving us with Mom on March 26th. so we count 3 from Dad.

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

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

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

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

Dividing by 5 is the same as multiplying by 2/10.111 repeating 1/8 = 0. Finally. Oh My! Friday. 90% of the time. remember that your GRE prep is a collaboration between you. which occur in a large portion of the questions. and your Experts and fellow students could probably use a light moment as much as you could. you should take some time out to play.333 repeating 1/2 = 0.125 1/7 = ~0. strategy | 1 Comment » Fractions. your fellow students. But questions are sometimes funny. too.166 repeating 1/5 = 0. Be proactive about your practice and about asking questions. For example: • • • 840/5 = ? 840/5 = 840*(2/10) = 84*2 = 168 Multiplying or dividing by 10’s and 2’s is generally easier than using 5’s. and will give you ostensibly time-consuming calculations. And.5. Proportions and Ratios. preparing for it is often a rigorous experience. and your Expert. Even if given a decimal (or percent) looks easy. and remember to take time to relax a little! What are some of your favorite ways to relieve GRE preparation pressure? Posted in GRE. try to enjoy the process as much as you can. The writers recognize time is short. Some common ones to memorize: • • • • • • • • 1/9 = 0. finally. One way to mitigate this is by retaining a rockstar aptitude in manipulating fractions. and your future is a serious thing.25 1/3 = 0. but these questions are the exception. and take advantage of the many ways that you can study for the exam. mistakes should be learned from and sometimes laughed off.14 1/6 = 0. August 13th. quickly convert to a fraction. 2010 GRE questions are notorious for seeming harder than they actually are. such as in a number line. So remember that even as you’re working hard. Decimals are sometimes more useful when comparing numbers relative to one another.20 1/4 = 0. fractions will be easier to perform arithmetic. GRE Prep. To summarize.5 repeating . try to have some fun with the studying process! Yes. the GRE is a challenging test.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You must add rates. we can add their speeds to see their relative velocities. 0. Nor. 2. are you averaging or adding the given times taken. so 3/13 will be slightly lower. Train C leaves Dallas for New York at 9 P. When moving at an angle.25. Because the denominator is 13.25. 1/6 + 1/7 = 6/42 + 7/42 = 13/42 trucks/1 hour. NOT the number of trucks completed in 1 hour. Remember the question is asking for the number of hours to fill 1 truck.com/groups/gre/dashboard”>GRE</a>usually travel toward or away from each other. we may be looking at a geometry question. If all three trains meet at the same time between New York and Dallas. approximately how long. Objects moving at given speeds on the <a href=”http://grockit.31 C. Sometimes walking. in hours. A worker can load 1 full truck in 6 hours. Relative Velocity Planes. be careful of units. they will complete 1/6 + 1/7 trucks/ 1 hour. However.25 The rate of worker #1 is 1 truck/6 hours. When together.15 B.be less than BOTH of the individual rates. we find the reciprocal of 13/42. This can also be 1/6 trucks/1 hour. 60 m/hr . Again. To find this. will it take them to fill 1 truck? A. what is the speed of Train C if the distance between Dallas and New York is 1260 miles? A. We can also see that 3/12 will yield . we may not be able to decide between (D) or (E). If both workers load one truck simultaneously while maintaining their constant rates.M. If moving in the same direction. Train B traveling at 90 m/hr also leaves New York for Dallas at 9 P. the decimal is important. but not necessarily in proportion. Choice (E). At this point. The rate of worker #2 is 1/7.M. 3. 42/13 hours/truck = 3 3/13 hours/truck.M. we know the decimal cannot equal . trains and automobiles. we instead subtract their speeds to find the relative velocity.23 E.47 D. If moving toward or away from each other. Train A traveling at 60 m/hr leaves New York for Dallas at 6 P. A second worker can load the same truck in 7 hours. 3. 0.

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

. Note the absolute rate does not change. such as years or months). How much money will be in Mr. we can simply insert these into the existing rate. Mr. we need to divide 10% by 2 (because of 2 compounding periods). The resulting equation is: Interest = iPt In basic terms. work and rates Posted in GRE. Let’s look at similar type problem. you would get $60 in interest at the end of the year and would have a total of $1. first you need to divide the interest rate by how many compound periods there are. the principle amount of money invested.060.000 (P = your principle) for one year (t = one year) at 6% simple interest (i = given interest rate). compounded semiannually. and the amount of time the money is invested. This is by no means exhaustive. for a given time (t) at a given interest rate (i). though this one involves compound interest. For compound interest. Simple interest is the most basic and is a function of P. the interest rate earned on the principle. Choice (C). and they include simple interest and compound interest. Quantitative | 1 Comment » Interest and Compound Interest Problems Thursday. There are LOADS more rate questions. t (this is usually stated in periods. relative volocity. so the value is constant. 2010 There are two types of interest problems on the GRE. you would earn slightly more. September 16th. some are much more difficult. if we want to increase minutes to 5 and plows to 8. Riley’s account at the end of one year? For compound interest. 41*40 feet / 40 plow-minutes = 1640 feet / 40 plow-minutes. Please visit the Grockit forum or leave a comment here to discuss further. because we are compounding semiannually. since we are multiplying top and bottom by 40.123 ft/minute/3 plows = 41 ft/plow-minute At this rate. Tags: man hours. Riley deposits $500 into an account that pays 10% interest. and if we were compounding quarterly. we would need to divide 10% by 4. i. So for in the above question. the above equation tells us the amount of interest that would be earned on a principle amount invested (P). Example: If you invested $1.

500*3).500*3). so all we need to do is take 112/8 = 14. If $2500 is invested at a rate of 8%. Riley earns $1. it might be a bit easier to think about this without the use of compound interest. so the final balance at the end of the next 14 year period will be $22. For this one. compounded annually. Overall.25 paid at the end of the year. plus $26. Mr. you are paid interest on the interest that was paid in prior periods.25.25 more with this compound interest than he would have been paid if he were paid only 10% simple interest (would have been only $550). compounded annually. Mr. the three types of interest problems you will most likely encounter come test day will be simple interest. Money invested at x%. Riley has $551. and word problems involving the mention of . we are given x% as 8%. 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. at the end of the year. and then will pay another 5% at the end of the year. plus the $25 interest paid at the end of 6 months.750 B. $3.500 (or $2. hence the phrase “compounding”. we know that the money will triple exactly twice in 28 years. The lesson? Compound interest always pays more! Let’s look at another similar type of problem that involves interest. Therefore.100 D. The correct answer choice is E. compound interest. $15. triples in value in approximately every 112/x years. They will pay 5% interest (10%/2) at the end of six months. what will be its approximate worth in 28 years? A. to get $7. Further.25. Now. we know that this balance of $7.500 At first glance. Here. meaning that after one period. Thus. which might unnecessarily confuse you.500 will triple again. Riley has $525 because the bank paid $25 in interest ($500*5%) into his account. So at the end of the six months. For the second half of the year. we know that the money triples in value every 14 years. This interest is equal to $525*5% = $26. Mr. Riley is then paid 5% on the $525 balance that was in his account at the end of the first six months.500 (or $7.In the above question. $22. Riley deposited $500 into his account at a rate of 10% compounded semiannually and the bank will divide his interest into two equal parts. once in 14 years and one more time at the 28th year. which is equal to his balance of $500. Mr.600 C. Compound interest can essentially be translated into “interest paid on interest”. Mr. $5. $8. 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).000 E.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Area of an Equilateral Triangle The area of an equilateral triangle equals (s²√3)/4. We also know that the smaller triangles are each 30-60-90 because you are taking the 120degree internal angle from the circle’s center and cutting it in two. where s is the side of the square. solving for the base. multiplying and dividing by 2. Memorize this. 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. It will save you the time of drawing a 30-60-90 triangle. That was long to write. Here are your basic conversions: r = ½d = ½s. imagine how long it takes to do! If the area of the square = 64 and we needed to find the area of the triangle. we just use the conversions above: d=8 r=4 side of triangle = 4√3 Area of triangle = [(4√3)²√3]/4 = 16*3*√3 / 4 = 4*3*√3 = 12√3 Angle Relationships . we should be able to derive essentially any other information. finding the height.Note that the hypotenuses of the smaller triangles are equal to the radius of the circle.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Example: Add 382. .170 ————384. I know that my answer will have one digit before the decimal because 4 * 1 = 4. .. Manipulate the placement of the decimal in the product to fulfill step 3.17 Set it up like this: 382. add zeros to fill up the empty space. and. Add zeros as necessary. we have a total of 5 numbers after the decimals. I add 2 + 3=5).003 Step 1: 452 x 3 ———1356 Step 2: In 4. if it makes things easier. Step 3: So.52 and . always use common sense to avoid calculation errors.4 = 4/10.345 + 2. I need 5 digits after the decimal. Addition and Subtraction When adding and subtracting decimals. in 1356.345 and 2. 2.01356. If multiplying 6.515 Multiplication 1.003. not 40 or 400. 3. my product is . Example: Multiply 4.52 and .45 and .84 = 84/100 . and add these up (ex.232 and 1. Counting from right to left.6. My sum of digits equals the number of digits that should be to the right of the decimal in my product. HINT: When multiplying simpler decimal numbers. Count the number of digits after the decimal in each number. Multiply the decimals as if the decimals are not present.356. 4.5689 = 5689 / 10000 You’ll want one zero in the denominator for every digit in the decimal. If I am multiplying 4. line up the decimal points.

8 times 205 is 1640. 6. 5.05 1. I change .7 Working with decimals without a calculator is all about practice. the second step.835 by 2. 205 can go into 1783 about 8 times. 205 goes into 1435 seven times. Do the same for the dividend. Example: Divide 17. Bring down the 5 from the dividend. is to practice on Grockit. 4. 1783 minus 1640 is 143. 3. Now we have 1435. so I’ll convert 502. we are left with 8. Divide normally and bring the decimal straight up into the quotient. as always. . 7.25.05 two times to the right to make 205. Move decimal point in 2. Since there is no remainder left over. The first step is to stop using the calculator every time you make an arithmetic calculation.5 to 50250) 3.Division 1.5 1640 ——– 1435 1435 —— 0 For a little refresher in long division.25 to 25.5 _ 8.7_____ 205 ) 1783. 2. here is the process verbalized: 1. Move the decimal in the dividend the same number of places to the right (I moved the decimal two places to the right to convert .5 / . Bring up the decimal and place 7 after it. yielding 1783. Move the decimal point in the divisor to the right so that the divisor is a whole number (If my computation is 502. exactly.25 to 25) 2.

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