Archive for June, 2010

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: 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.

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

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

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

always think of ways to simplify before you calculate. 0. 0. June 9th. where I would test a few simple numbers (preferably something like -2. Even if estimating doesn’t give you the 100% accurate answer. 2010 To save time on the GRE. 4x +5 OR 3x +6 I could approach this problem a few ways.Simplify When presented with two baffling expressions. Don’t forget. As long as I add or subtract the same number or variable from these expressions. my expression is simply 20/2 = 10.000 in the numerator and 200. Same idea for column b: 1. Remember. Simplify by Adding/Subtracting Same Value 1. when choosing numbers to add or subtract. Stay tuned for some more strategies for quantitative comparisons that will save you time and increase accuracy. strategy | 2 Comments » GRE Strategy – Estimation Wednesday.5–you want to use a positive. look how simple it is? The comparison is any number (x) OR 1. that you can manipulate both expressions to make the comparison simpler.000. and .000 in the denominator. so: Subtracting 5 from both sides gives us: 4x OR 3x+1 Subtracting 3x from both sides gives us: x OR 1 Now. Quantitative Comparison. and a fraction). I should just eliminate five zeros from the top and 5 zeros from the bottom. Let’s check out this example: 1. now. 2. though. 2. Quantitative. I could use the tried and true plug-in method. try some of these strategies in Grockit! Posted in GRE. which is clearly indeterminate. I’ll have the same relationship between the two expressions. a negative. series. you should get comfortable with estimating. In the meantime. your first instinct should be to cross out matching zeros.000. our goal is to make the relationship simpler.000 / 200. If I have 2. Our answer is D.000 / 100 When you see many zeros in fractions like this. 000 OR 1.000/100 = 10/1 = 10. it generally narrows it down to . First.

2. let’s take a look at the following chart. and then multiply that by 7 to get $0. Numerical Estimations Practice estimating with percentages. The question asks: approximately what average amount per month did the Canadian government spend on nuclear.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. . $127. Estimation also comes in handy for quantitative comparisons because you don’t need the precise answer. 3. you just need to know if they are equal or if one is bigger.0 billion $. 4. I tend to like figuring out 1%.9 billion $7.1 million. Some questions even tell you to approximate. I would figure out what 1% represents – approximately $0. so there really is no point calculating the precise answer there.6 billion $8. For example.6 million represents. and the nuclear. hydro and wind power combined? I would look at the Canada row. This will save you a lot of time. Wind (2%) + Hydro (2%) + Nuclear (3%) = 7%. particular on the questions with charts and graphs. So I’m looking for what value 7% of $ obvious choice (if you’re good at estimating and round up and down appropriately). 5% or 10% represents and working from there depending on the question. 5.7 million.74 billion I would then pick E easily based on my estimate. In this case.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You may notice the anticipated answer in the choices and think that you won’t have to finish the problem. But. but outsmarting the test-writers is very important too. don’t give up–use your brain! Tags: antonyms.165 C. In terms of GRE quantitative strategy. Part 2 Monday. Moving a decimal one unit could transform a correct answer into a wrong answer. it can be no other answer.16. A third of 50 is a little more than 15 (15*3= 45). 2010 This is the second installment in the simple quantitative strategies series. when you’re in the middle of a timed test. imprecise. These types of answers catch your eye for one reason or another. July 26th. Step back. and you go into human calculator mode. or attractors.685 D. Avoid TrapsNearly every multiple choice math problem has trap answers. often making the problem appear a little bit easier than it actually is. When we are overwhelmed by figures and calculations. You see a question like this and immediately start calculating the product. BallparkingTo ‘ballpark’ is to roughly approximate. but remember that such a choice is probably a trap. These strategies are here to remind you that there is just a bit more to studying than simply cramming math material. Beating the GRE quantitative requires a balanced combination of math skills and test-taking skills– these strategies will help improve the latter. vacabulary Posted in GRE. This is where ballparking plays a significant role. 1.33 percent is awfully close to one third. if you happen to stumble upon an antonym question like this. and look at the simplicity of the question.50. though.Let’s look at a crude example:What’s 32. Yes. common sense thinker will probably be able to answer this question without doing a calculation. but we were still successful with some effort. Verbal. 35. During practice. ballparking essentially means thinking about mathematical figures in a vague. learning the processes is more than half the battle. no matter how many correct steps you painstakingly went through.speculation will lead you to the correct answer. but nonetheless common sense manner.350 E. it’s easy to make mistakes.125 B. 1. Anxiety sets in. The only thing close to that is B.195 Any relaxed.Looks look at an . things change. 32. strategy | No Comments » Simple Quantitative Strategies. Use the test format to your advantage.33 % of 50?A. 5. don’t overwork. and anticipate the clever gambits so often deployed by the ETS. 70.

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

let’s go over some basic rules for finding averages. and 90. the total number of percentage points on all the tests 5*89= 445. what was the average of her last three tests? Here. then T= 550. 2. her average score was 83. we have the info we need to find the average in question. the total number of percentage points on the first five tests. then simply multiply the average and the number of figures to find the sum total (T). The sum total of all the figures in a set (T). 219 (total) / 3 (number of figures) = 73 . in pounds. they are related by the formula A= T / n. The average of the figures in a set: (A)= T / N.Finding the total: IF you know the average and the number of figures/items (n) in a set.Before we begin. 80. and n is the number of figures in a set. where A is average. then n=7. If I want to find the average of seven different test scores. 3. With this information.57. In our example. T is the total sum of values. After weighing all of them together. What is the total weight. 8*83= 664. 60. 14*4. 70.7. of all the fish? Answer: Simply multiply 14 and 4. we know that the total number of percentage points on the last three tests must be the total of all the tests minus the total of the first five tests: 664-445 = 219 Now. Janet took 8 math tests. Example 1: John caught 14 fish after a long day of fishing. If the aforementioned scores are 80. he calculated the average weight of the fish to be 4. There are 3 numbers you want to know. we have to find two totals before we can calculate the average of the final three tests. If her average score after the first three five tests was 89. 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. The number of figures in a set (n). 75. 1.7 lbs. 95.8 Example 2: Throughout the year.7= 65. A = 550 / 7 = 78.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

you are probably missing what to apply the percent to. or 20% Don’t add constants and percents You should never find yourself trying to figure out what 5 + 6% equals.000. James’ investment portfolio was worth $10.Recognize the difference between percent MORE/LESS THAN and percent OF Example: What is 25% less than 8? ¼* 8 = 2. x or the resulting number? The 10% increase of x in the first round increases x by a certain amount. Which is bigger. The original x will be bigger. it might not seem necessary. and then decreased by 10%. So instead of taking 20%. just take 80% and be done.000/$10. James’ investment portfolio grew by $2. In this case. What was the percent change in James’ portfolio? Percent change = $2. The 10% decrease in the 2nd round is applied to a higher number. so will yield a larger change.2.5)] in one neat step. and we’re done! On easy numbers like this. At the end of market close. Example: A certain positive integer x is increased by 10%. 50% more than 10 should be calculated by multiplying 10*3/2 [10*(1 + 0. it will save lots of time. Percent change = Total Change/Original Value Example: Before trading began. .000. See the previous example: What is 25% less than 8? ¾*8 = 6. but as numbers get larger. The higher the number. versus two tougher ones. the higher the resulting percent Applying the same percent to a higher number will yield a higher number. so 8 – 2 = 6 Example: What is 25% of 8? ¼*8 = 2 Use shortcuts 20% less than means 80% of. Conversely. then subtracting from the original.000 = 0.

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

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

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

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

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

125 = 0. For example: If x is an integer. which of the following is a possible value of (x² +2x – 7)/9? A. -2. mainly: 1/2 = .375 The more familiar with these you become. leaving us with Mom on March 26th.125 .33 repeating 1/4 = . 1. 0.25 1/5 = .555 repeating C.11 repeating Note that multiplying these by constants will leave similarly instructive results.4 D.February 1-28: 28 + March 1 – 26: 26 = 67 days.268 B. 67/4 leaves you will a remainder of 3. 8.5 1/3 = .166 repeating 1/8 = . 4.20 1/6 = . so we count 3 from Dad. such as: 3/8 = 3*1/8 = 3*0.125 1/9 = . the quicker you can eliminate answer choices are clearly wrong. Fractions and Decimals are the same thing You should be familiar with common decimals.166 repeating E.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If you do want to find out what proportion or percentage of the party goers are boys or girls. visit mnemonicdictionary. and form the fraction 3/7. That means that for every 3 boys at the party. 3/7. We now have to find the ratio. and the GRE is no exception. there are 4 girls. you’ll learn that ratio and proportions problems require only simple algebra. respectively. of the party goers are girls. You can also write this ratio as 3/4. For example. What is the ratio of male to female party goers? This question uses the aforementioned rule. or 42. 2010 Ratios and proportions are favorites of most standardized tests. then x / x+y and y /x+y express the proportions of x to the group and y to the group. if I want to find out what proportion of the party goers are boys. nor does it mean that 4/3 of the party goers are girls. but reverses the process. So. respectively. and then form a fraction in which this sum is the denominator. and then I take the ratio quantity of boys. if we have a ratio x:y.9 %. 40% of the party goers are male. or 57. A ratio is a kind of fraction that measures two or more quantities in a group.For an impressively comprehensive list of vocabulary mnemonics. If 40% of the party is male. you add the numerator and the denominator. Stated algebraically. but once you learn the basics. This does not mean that 3/4 of the party goers are boys. 4/7. I add 3 and 4 (=7). of the party goers are boys. then 4/10 or 2/5 of the party is male and 3/5 of the party is female. Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments » Ratios and Proportions Thursday. a ratio of boys to girls (Boys: Girls) at a party is 3:4. . August 5th. They may be a bit intimidating if you are unfamiliar with how to approach them. 3.1%. Let’s see what an example using this rule might look like: Example 1: At a party. It’s a brilliant site that exploits the power of online collaboration (not unlike Grockit) to enhance

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

do not think you can just square each of these numbers. I bet we can manipulate the numerator a little further to yield this expression. Another trap here is that you may want to FOIL out the denominator. Don’t plug in the 9999 immediately just because you think it’s an easy way out of doing algebra. 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 you find yourself doing tons of calculations. 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. and we can. It will make you miserable. 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. When you see a very complicated expression like this. If we consider each number a variable. 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. we can make this a lot easier with the rule x²-y²= (x-y)(x+y) With that logic. 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. the denominator has the expression (2x+1). you can be confident that you overlooked a simpler solution to the problem. 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. your first instinct should be to manipulate the numerator and denominator until you can comfortably cancel out expressions. Remember. we want to add 1/x² + 1/y². Example 7: What is the sum of the reciprocals of x² and y²? So. say 10001=x and 9999=y.

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

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

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

23 E.31 C. they will complete 1/6 + 1/7 trucks/ 1 hour. This can also be 1/6 trucks/1 hour. When moving at an less than BOTH of the individual rates. Nor.15 B. the decimal is important. Again. Train C leaves Dallas for New York at 9 P. are you averaging or adding the given times taken. 0. If all three trains meet at the same time between New York and Dallas. At this point. To find this. we may be looking at a geometry question. so 3/13 will be slightly lower. approximately how long. we can add their speeds to see their relative velocities. When together. If both workers load one truck simultaneously while maintaining their constant rates. Choice (E). We can also see that 3/12 will yield . be careful of units. Relative Velocity Planes. A second worker can load the same truck in 7 hours. Train B traveling at 90 m/hr also leaves New York for Dallas at 9 P. 3. If moving toward or away from each other. we may not be able to decide between (D) or (E). in hours. what is the speed of Train C if the distance between Dallas and New York is 1260 miles? A. we instead subtract their speeds to find the relative velocity. Because the denominator is 13.47 D. 1/6 + 1/7 = 6/42 + 7/42 = 13/42 trucks/1 hour. Train A traveling at 60 m/hr leaves New York for Dallas at 6 P. Remember the question is asking for the number of hours to fill 1 truck. Objects moving at given speeds on the <a href=”http://grockit.25 The rate of worker #1 is 1 truck/6 hours. trains and automobiles. we know the decimal cannot equal . 3.25.”>GRE</a>usually travel toward or away from each other. However. but not necessarily in proportion. we find the reciprocal of 13/42. NOT the number of trucks completed in 1 hour. will it take them to fill 1 truck? A. You must add rates. 60 m/hr . Sometimes walking. A worker can load 1 full truck in 6 hours.25. 0.M. If moving in the same direction. 42/13 hours/truck = 3 3/13 hours/truck.M.M. The rate of worker #2 is 1/7.

328 B. Train B’s velocity is 30 m/hr. For example: Three plows working at identical constant rates can clear 123 ft of snow per minute. which is then compared to the work completed. 984 C. so all we have to is add “plows” to the expression. here we want to interact plow-minutes.400 E. Man Hours Many times you may be asked to calculate the number of workers would be need to complete a certain task. and they will be at mile marker 540. 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. 180 m/hr Relative to Train A. Rate of Train C = 720 miles/ 6 hours = 120 miles/hour. It may help consider the unit man-hours as the multiplication between workers and time. how much snow could 8 plows remove in 5 minutes? A. To catch up the 180 miles. Choice (C). we get: . 135 m/hr E. 1. 90 m/hr C. 120 m/hr D. 16. 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. This means that B will gain on A at a rate of 30 miles every hour. which has traveled the same time as B (6 hours). In the three hours from 6pm to 9pm. it will take Train B 6 hours. Feet and minutes are already compared. and traveled (1260 – 540) miles.640 D. If we divide 123 ft/min by 3 plows. At this rate.B. the time will be 3am. A gets to mile marker 180. 131.200 Instead of man-hours. So when they all meet up.

you would get $60 in interest at the end of the year and would have a total of $1. we can simply insert these into the existing rate. for a given time (t) at a given interest rate (i). and the amount of time the money is invested. How much money will be in Mr. and if we were compounding quarterly. . the interest rate earned on the principle. the principle amount of money invested. we need to divide 10% by 2 (because of 2 compounding periods). if we want to increase minutes to 5 and plows to 8. Mr. Example: If you invested $1. i.000 (P = your principle) for one year (t = one year) at 6% simple interest (i = given interest rate). This is by no means exhaustive. though this one involves compound interest. Simple interest is the most basic and is a function of P. September 16th. first you need to divide the interest rate by how many compound periods there are. Tags: man hours. some are much more difficult. work and rates Posted in GRE. Riley deposits $500 into an account that pays 10% interest.123 ft/minute/3 plows = 41 ft/plow-minute At this rate. so the value is constant. because we are compounding semiannually. 2010 There are two types of interest problems on the GRE. So for in the above question. For compound interest. relative volocity. you would earn slightly more. The resulting equation is: Interest = iPt In basic terms. Note the absolute rate does not change. Choice (C). and they include simple interest and compound interest. we would need to divide 10% by 4.060. 41*40 feet / 40 plow-minutes = 1640 feet / 40 plow-minutes. There are LOADS more rate questions. Quantitative | 1 Comment » Interest and Compound Interest Problems Thursday. since we are multiplying top and bottom by 40. compounded semiannually. Riley’s account at the end of one year? For compound interest. such as years or months). Please visit the Grockit forum or leave a comment here to discuss further. t (this is usually stated in periods. the above equation tells us the amount of interest that would be earned on a principle amount invested (P). Let’s look at similar type problem.

Mr.500 will triple again. If $2500 is invested at a rate of 8%. Mr. it might be a bit easier to think about this without the use of compound interest. which might unnecessarily confuse you. Mr. compound interest. The lesson? Compound interest always pays more! Let’s look at another similar type of problem that involves interest. and then will pay another 5% at the end of the year.500 At first glance. we are given x% as 8%. we know that this balance of $7. For the second half of the year. which is equal to his balance of $500. Compound interest can essentially be translated into “interest paid on interest”.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).500 (or $7. once in 14 years and one more time at the 28th year. Riley earns $1. They will pay 5% interest (10%/2) at the end of six months. Mr. Further. Now.25.25. Riley has $525 because the bank paid $25 in interest ($500*5%) into his account. Riley deposited $500 into his account at a rate of 10% compounded semiannually and the bank will divide his interest into two equal parts. Money invested at x%. to get $7. the three types of interest problems you will most likely encounter come test day will be simple interest. $8. Riley is then paid 5% on the $525 balance that was in his account at the end of the first six months. plus $26. plus the $25 interest paid at the end of 6 months. 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). so the final balance at the end of the next 14 year period will be $22. at the end of the year. $22. The correct answer choice is E. For this one. $5. Overall. So at the end of the six months.600 C. you are paid interest on the interest that was paid in prior periods.In the above question. we know that the money triples in value every 14 years. compounded annually. Here. what will be its approximate worth in 28 years? A.000 E. hence the phrase “compounding”. meaning that after one period.500*3).25 paid at the end of the year. so all we need to do is take 112/8 = 14. Thus. and word problems involving the mention of . compounded annually.500*3). Riley has $551.500 (or $2. we know that the money will triple exactly twice in 28 years. Mr. This interest is equal to $525*5% = $26. $3. Therefore.750 B. $15. triples in value in approximately every 112/x years.100 D. 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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

52 and . we have a total of 5 numbers after the decimals. Example: Add 382. and add these up (ex. my product is .003. I know that my answer will have one digit before the decimal because 4 * 1 = 4. line up the decimal points. 2. Add zeros as necessary.4 = 4/10. Multiply the decimals as if the decimals are not present. . Count the number of digits after the decimal in each number. Addition and Subtraction When adding and subtracting decimals.45 and . If multiplying 6. My sum of digits equals the number of digits that should be to the right of the decimal in my product.003 Step 1: 452 x 3 ———1356 Step 2: In 4.345 and 2.5689 = 5689 / 10000 You’ll want one zero in the denominator for every digit in the decimal. Example: Multiply 4. if it makes things easier.356. I need 5 digits after the decimal.17 Set it up like this: 382. add zeros to fill up the empty space.. and. Step 3: So. If I am multiplying 4. 4. not 40 or 400.345 + 2. Manipulate the placement of the decimal in the product to fulfill step 3.232 and 1.170 ————384. 3. always use common sense to avoid calculation errors. Counting from right to left.84 = 84/100 . . in 1356. I add 2 + 3=5). HINT: When multiplying simpler decimal numbers.52 and .01356.6.515 Multiplication 1.

25 to 25. . 7. so I’ll convert 502.5 _ 8. Move decimal point in 2. as always. The first step is to stop using the calculator every time you make an arithmetic calculation. is to practice on Grockit. Do the same for the dividend. Now we have 1435. Move the decimal point in the divisor to the right so that the divisor is a whole number (If my computation is 502. 1783 minus 1640 is 143. 205 goes into 1435 seven times. 4.25. 2.5 1640 ——– 1435 1435 —— 0 For a little refresher in long division. the second step.5 / . yielding 1783.7_____ 205 ) 1783. 8 times 205 is 1640. 6. I change . 3.Division 1. Example: Divide 17.7 Working with decimals without a calculator is all about practice.05 1. 5. Since there is no remainder left over. we are left with 8.835 by 2. 205 can go into 1783 about 8 times. exactly. here is the process verbalized: 1.05 two times to the right to make 205. Bring up the decimal and place 7 after it.5 to 50250) 3. 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 .25 to 25) 2. Bring down the 5 from the dividend. Divide normally and bring the decimal straight up into the quotient.

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