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Categoría: Graduate Record Examinations GRE

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Overrepresentation and Old Achievements in Your Application Essays

Manhattan Prep GRE Blog - Overrepresentation and Old Achievements in Your Application Essays by mbaMission

Taking the GRE for your graduate school application? You’re in luck. Each month, we are featuring a series of admission tips from our exclusive admissions consulting partner, mbaMission.

Many applicants worry that they are overrepresented—male investment bankers and Indian software engineers, for example. Applicants cannot change their work histories, of course, but they can change the way they introduce themselves to the admissions committee. Consider the following examples:

Example 1: “As an investment banker, I…

Example 2: “Managing a team to code a new software product for ABC Corp., I…

In these brief examples, each candidate introduces the very overrepresentation that he/she would like to minimize. Many applicants feel they must start their essays by presenting their titles or company names, but this approach can immediately make the reader pause and think, “Here we go again.”

Overrepresented candidates should therefore consider the opening lines of their essays especially carefully. Rather than stating the obvious, an applicant might instead immerse the reader in a situation or present a special aspect of his/her position:

Example 1 (launching into a story): “At 5:30 pm, I could rest easy. The deadline for all other offers had passed. At that point, I knew…

Example 2 (stand out): “While managing a multinational team, half in Silicon Valley and half in Pakistan, I…

In the first example here, the banker candidate avoids drab self-introduction and instead plunges the reader into the midst of a mystery that is playing out. In the second example, the software engineer candidate introduces him-/herself not as a “coder” but as a multinational manager. Of course, every applicant’s situation is different, but with some effort, your story can be told in a way that avoids the pitfalls of overrepresentation.

Another issue that applicants should consider is the relevance of the stories they tell in their application essays. Because candidates must share examples of a variety of experiences with admissions committees, we encourage applicants to truly reflect on their lives and consider all potential stories, including academic, professional, community, extracurricular, athletic, international, and personal. However, candidates inevitably have questions about which anecdotes are truly appropriate and effective. “Can I use stories from high school and college?” “Can I use a story from four years ago?” “How far in the past is too far in the past?” Although no definitive rule exists, with the exception of questions that specifically ask about personal history or family background, schools generally want to learn about the mature you—the individual you are today. So we ask you, “How long have you been the you that you are today?”

When considering experiences that occurred long ago, ask yourself, “Would this impress an admissions committee today?” If you ran a few successful bake sales six years ago when you were in college, this clearly would not stand the test of time and impress a stranger today. However, if, while you were still a student, you started a small business that grew and was ultimately sold to a local firm when you graduated, you would have a story to tell that would likely impress an admissions reader.

Inevitably, judgment is always involved in these decisions. Nonetheless, we offer this simple example as a starting point to help you decide which stories to share. 📝

Manhattan Prep GRE Blog - mbaMission LogombaMission is the leader in MBA admissions consulting with a full-time and comprehensively trained staff of consultants, all with profound communications and MBA experience. mbaMission has helped thousands of candidates fulfill their dream of attending prominent MBA programs around the world. Take your first step toward a more successful MBA application experience with a free 30-minute consultation with one of mbaMission’s senior consultants. Click here to sign up today.

The post Overrepresentation and Old Achievements in Your Application Essays appeared first on GRE.

Fuente https://www.manhattanprep.com

More GRE Math Misconceptions

Manhattan Prep GRE Blog - More GRE Math Misconceptions by Chelsey Cooley

Did you enjoy our last set of GRE Math Misconceptions? Here are four more to watch out for.

Mistake: If you raise a negative number to a negative exponent, the answer will definitely be negative.

Fact: Weirdly enough, a negative number with a negative exponent can come out positive. Check out this expression:

Manhattan Prep GRE Blog - More GRE Math Misconceptions by Chelsey Cooley

To simplify it, remember that a negative exponent is “shorthand” for an exponent in the bottom of a fraction. This is what the expression really means:

Manhattan Prep GRE Blog - More GRE Math Misconceptions by Chelsey Cooley

What happens when you raise -2 to the 4th power?

Manhattan Prep GRE Blog - More GRE Math Misconceptions by Chelsey Cooley

The answer comes out positive.  

Why?: All that matters is whether the exponent is even or odd. If the exponent is even, the result will always be positive. That’s true even if the exponent is a negative even number. When you see a negative number and a negative exponent, don’t automatically assume that the answer will be negative too. Check whether the exponent is odd or even first.


Mistake: -1/3 is smaller than -1/2.

Fact: -1/3 is actually greater than -1/2.

Why?: Draw a number line:

Manhattan Prep GRE Blog - More GRE Math Misconceptions by Chelsey Cooley

On a number line, numbers to the left are always smaller than numbers to the right. Counterintuitively, since -1/2 is to the left of -1/3, -1/2 is smaller. (A quick way to check this is to decide which one should be further away from zero.) So, if you’re writing an inequality, it should look like this:

Manhattan Prep GRE Blog - More GRE Math Misconceptions by Chelsey Cooley

This is a good example of something that might seem clear now, but that can easily trick you if you’re working quickly. If you’re comparing negative numbers on the GRE, especially negative fractions, consider drawing a quick number line. At the very least, slow down for a moment!


Mistake: There are 12 numbers between 8 and 20, inclusive. (By the way, ‘inclusive’ just means ‘including the numbers at the ends,’ which are 8 and 20 themselves.)  

Fact: There are actually 13 numbers in that range. To be completely certain, count them:

8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20

Why?: The issue arises when you just subtract 8 from 20 and get 12. Just subtracting doesn’t give you the right number of terms. You need to add 1 to whatever you got.

To see why this happens, go back to the number line. Place a token on every integer from 1 to 20:

Manhattan Prep GRE Blog - More GRE Math Misconceptions by Chelsey Cooley

When you subtract 8 from 20, that’s the equivalent of removing the first 8 tokens:

Manhattan Prep GRE Blog - More GRE Math Misconceptions by Chelsey Cooley

When you do that, though, you don’t have tokens on the numbers from 8 to 20, inclusive! You’re actually missing one token: the one that’s supposed to be on 8. That’s why your result will turn out 1 too low. When you subtracted, you ‘removed’ one too many tokens.


Mistake: To find the solution to this equation:

x (3x – 1) = 8x

Start by dividing both sides of the equation by x.

Fact: Hold on! The equation actually has two solutions: x = 3, and x = 0. But if you start by dividing both sides by x, you only find the first solution. That could cause you to miss the right answer.

Why?: On the GRE, you’re never allowed to divide by 0. Since x is a variable, you don’t know what it equals: it could be 5, 100, -3, or even 0. If you divide by x, you could be dividing by 0 accidentally. That’s an ‘illegal move’ and will cause your math to come out wrong.

To avoid accidentally dividing by 0, don’t divide both sides of an equation by a variable unless you’re sure it doesn’t equal 0. Instead, simplify using addition, subtraction, and multiplication:

x (3x – 1) = 8x

3x² x = 8x

3x² – 9x = 0

x (3x – 9) = 0

Now, either x equals 0, or 3x – 9 equals 0 (in which case x is 3). 📝

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Chelsey CooleyChelsey Cooley Manhattan Prep GRE Instructor is a Manhattan Prep instructor based in Seattle, Washington. Chelsey always followed her heart when it came to her education. Luckily, her heart led her straight to the perfect background for GMAT and GRE teaching: she has undergraduate degrees in mathematics and history, a master’s degree in linguistics, a 790 on the GMAT, and a perfect 170Q/170V on the GRE. Check out Chelsey’s upcoming GRE prep offerings here.

The post More GRE Math Misconceptions appeared first on GRE.

Fuente https://www.manhattanprep.com

8 Things Learning to Surf Has Taught Me about Studying for the GRE

Manhattan Prep GRE Blog - 8 Things Learning to Surf Has Taught Me about Studying for the GRE by Cat Powell

When I was 30, I went surfing for the first time, and I fell in love. And, like many people in love, I made an impulsive commitment whose consequences I did not fully understand: I decided that I was going to learn to surf well.

It turns out that surfing is really hard, and 30 is not the ideal age for trying to master a demanding and dangerous sport. But it also turns out it’s still worth it, both because surfing is awesome and because there’s a lot to learn from trying to acquire a complex set of new skills—and a number of those lessons transfer surprisingly well to students studying for the GRE. Plus, good news for students: unlike learning to surf, studying for the GRE won’t result in actual, physical scars!

And so, in no particular order, 8 lessons about studying for the GRE from my obsessive, somewhat misguided quest to become a decent surfer.

Lesson 1: You can do it by yourself, but it’s probably better if you don’t.

My first surfing “lesson” involved being given a list of the top ways to die while surfing and then being pushed into a six-foot wave. After that, I was on my own for the day, and for a number of days after that. I learned mostly by trial and error (and there was a lot of error; I have the scars to prove it). I made progress, but slowly, and I acquired a lot of bad habits that I’m still working to correct. When I did finally get some instruction from professional teachers and patient friends, I improved a lot faster and did so in a much safer way.

Studying for the GRE is similar. Yes, you can totally do it on your own. But it will probably take you longer, and you’ll fight hard for realizations that an experienced friend or teacher (or awesome free online resource/blog) could have helped you to reach much sooner. Don’t be shy about seeking out help.

Lesson 2: Don’t try to learn everything all at once.

When I did finally take some lessons, I had a really great teacher who threw tons of information at me. So many areas of skill and knowledge go into surfing well, from the minute physical adjustments required to maneuver a board to knowing how to read ocean conditions and time your approach to a wave. I’d get overwhelmed by all I had to learn and end up learning nothing. And then I got some advice from another teacher that really helped. We were working on my pop-up (the fluid motion that takes you from lying down to standing up as you catch a wave), and he’d break down the ten components of my pop-up that weren’t working properly. Before I went for another wave, though, he’d tell me to pick just one of those things and focus on that. So I might go for four or five waves just thinking about changing my hand position, or not pushing from my feet, until I’d improved that one component. Then I’d move onto the next. It took a lot of repetition, and I improved slowly, but I did actually improve.

I always remind my GRE students that they’ll run out of time before they run out of things to learn. And if you keep thinking about that seemingly endless number of skills you need to acquire, you’ll not only feel overwhelmed, you’ll be less likely to get better at any of them. Instead, prioritize: pick one or two things to work on each time you study. Once those are solid, pick another two. Chip away at this big, complex task bit by bit, and you’ll see your performance improve.

Lesson 3: Manage Your Expectations

The first time I went surfing, I caught a big wave, got into a crouch, and rode all the way to the beach. This gave me the very wrong idea that surfing would be a quick study. Then I spent nearly a year not catching waves, getting hit on the head by waves, falling off my board, getting hit on the head by my board, etc. On one particularly bad day, I started angry-crying from frustration, and my surfing buddy threatened to never surf with me again. So I worked on adjusting my attitude. I tried to accept that I wouldn’t get better quickly, and I would probably never be particularly good. Being content with a slow path to decent was a more realistic outlook. To embrace this, I had to let go of my pride; I’ve always considered myself a good athlete, and it was tough to keep doing a sport that I was resiliently bad at. But I liked it enough to keep trying, and once I lowered my expectations, I was immensely happier doing it. Also, my friends continued surfing with me.

The lesson here isn’t to have low expectations for your GRE score. It’s good to set ambitious goals as a way of inspiring yourself to work hard. But if those goals are no longer serving you—if they’re discouraging you, or if your single-minded pursuit of a benchmark score is ruining the rest of your life—then it’s time to readjust. Remember that your score is only one component of your application, and a GRE score is not a measure of your intelligence or worth or likeliness of succeeding in life. It’s a measure of how good you are at taking the GRE.

I believe that anyone can achieve any score on this test given enough time and effort. But the amount of time and effort required varies from person to person, and sometimes it’s so much time and work it’s just not worth it. It’s up to you to decide how to balance your score goals against the commitment you want to make. And as you negotiate this balance, be kind to yourself, and be reasonable.

Lesson 4: Watch Where You’re Going

Eventually, things started to come together: I began to figure out how to pick a wave, how to catch it, how to stand up on it, even how to turn. And I got so focused on doing all those things that, once I was standing, I’d keep staring intently at my board or at the wave, and I’d run right into a rock or my long-suffering surf companion. Another surfer began shouting, “Look up! Look up!” every time he saw me.

The GRE lesson is simple. Things will start to come together. You’ll learn the content, you’ll learn the strategies, you’ll start solving more and more problems correctly. When that happens, don’t forget to watch the clock! As you get more confident, you also run the risk of getting more stubborn, which will lead to your wasting too much time solving problems you should have skipped. Look up!

Lesson 5: Relax into the Terror

Here is a short list of some things that have gone wrong while surfing: a big hurricane swell has forced me onto rocks; I’ve fallen off a steep, tall wave and been dragged underwater for a good 100 yards; the leash connecting me to the board has gotten wrapped around a rock and held me under.

In all of these situations, the solution is the same: relax, both physically and mentally. If you’re being dragged underwater, kicking and struggling will only waste oxygen. You’re not going to win against a wave; you just need to wait it out until the water releases you. If you’re caught in the rocks, you’re going to get badly hurt if you’re tense when you hit them; if you’re relaxed, you’ll get out with a couple bruises. And in any scary situation, if you panic, you’ll make bad choices; if you’re calm, you’re better able to make the quick calculations that will turn a potentially fatal incident into a funny story.

Of course, being told to relax when you’re scared is like being told not to think about an elephant. Now you’re thinking about an elephant. It takes practice and will to train yourself to be calm in a crisis. The trick isn’t to not feel fear; it’s to lean into that fear, to accept that you’re in the grip of forces you can’t control, and then to go with that flow, making the best decisions you can within those constraints, as calmly as possible.

So if studying for the GRE makes you nervous, or math inspires terror, don’t tell yourself not to feel anxious or not to feel fear. Inevitably, you will, and fighting those feelings is what leads to panic and paralysis. Instead, let that fear come and go like the weather. Take some deep breaths, relax, and then do the best you can with the skills and knowledge you have at hand. Focus on what you can do, and let go of what you can’t. Don’t remember the volume of a cylinder? Skip that problem and save time for the next one.

Here’s the funny thing: getting dragged by a big wave can be terrifying if you’re kicking and struggling and running out of breath. But getting rolled around in a lot of turbulent foam can also be really fun if you relax your limbs, conserve your breath, and do your best to just enjoy.

Lesson 6: Breathing Matters

Speaking of which, breathing is so important! Surfing, you have to paddle really hard to catch a wave, and then (if you’re me) you have to concentrate really hard to get on that wave correctly and stand up. I find I can get so focused that I hold my breath—and then if I fall and get pushed underwater, I’m already out of oxygen. So I remind myself all the time to keep breathing and to breathe deeply.

Taking the GRE, breath is energy. Take a deep breath before and after every problem. Don’t get so tense and so focused that you’re holding your breath or breathing shallowly. It may sound superficial, but if you commit to doing this consistently, you’ll find you have a lot more stamina and make fewer errors.

Lesson 7: Celebrate Small Wins

I remember the first time I stood up on a wave and didn’t fall off. I shouted and waved and asked everyone if they’d seen it. Of course no one had seen it, because it was a short, dinky wave and my performance was in no way impressive. I fell off every other wave I took that day, but I went home super-psyched nonetheless.

Studying for the GRE can be a long, difficult, and sometimes bleak road. You may hit a plateau and not see your score increase for some time. You may get overwhelmed by the distance between where you’re at and where you want to go. If you’re going to stick it out through tough stretches, it’s really, really important that you keep reminding yourself of what is going well. Even if it’s something small, like not making the same error in simplifying a fraction, or remembering a geometry rule: be psyched about that. Keep reminding yourself of all the ways, big and small, in which you’re improving, even if that improvement hasn’t yet yielded tangible score improvement. Trust that, with time, it will.

Lesson 8: Find the Fun

I am by no means a decent surfer yet, let alone a good one. But I’m going to keep paddling out, because I get a little better every time I go; because I believe that someday, I will be halfway decent; and because I’m having a great time along the way.

I’m not going to lie and tell you that studying for the GRE is a blast. But you should find ways to make it not painful, whether that’s studying with friends, rewarding yourself with food treats (my pick), or fantasizing about how cool your grad school life will be. And if you decide to take a study break and go surfing for the first time, hit me up for advice. I have in-depth knowledge of really stupid mistakes that I’ve had a lot of fun making. 📝

Want more guidance from our GRE gurus? You can attend the first session of any of our online or in-person GRE courses absolutely free! We’re not kidding. Check out our upcoming courses here.

cat-powell-1Cat Powell is a Manhattan Prep instructor based in New York, NY. She spent her undergraduate years at Harvard studying music and English and is now pursuing an MFA in fiction writing at Columbia University. Her affinity for standardized tests led her to a 169Q/170V score on the GRE. Check out Cat’s upcoming GRE courses here.

The post 8 Things Learning to Surf Has Taught Me about Studying for the GRE appeared first on GRE.

Fuente https://www.manhattanprep.com

What Are the Hardest GRE Math Problems?

Manhattan Prep GRE Blog - What Are the Hardest GRE Math Problems? by Tom Anderson

And what do they tell us about prepping for the GRE?

Students often ask me, “Where can I find the most difficult questions on the GRE?” In this blog entry, I’ll show you the top three hardest GRE Math problems, ranked by percent of students who got them wrong. Before we get there, I should say: you don’t need to correctly answer questions like these to get a very, very good score on the GRE. This is a test that favors accuracy and consistency on mid-range questions over the ability to get the very hard ones. One can nab a score in the 90th percentile or above without getting any of the very hardest GRE Math problems correct. In case you’re curious, though, this is what the hardest GRE Math problems look like. Each of these questions were correctly answered by fewer than 20 percent of GRE test takers.

Start the drum roll.

The Hardest GRE Math Problems: #3

Coming in at #3 is this probability question—85% of test takers missed it. Feel free to try it before you keep reading.

Manhattan Prep GRE Blog - What Are the Hardest GRE Math Problems? by Tom Anderson

What It Teaches Us about GRE Math

This question is a “one-trick pony,” as they say. It’s a relatively simple probability question with a tricky little twist. I’d be willing to bet that it’s that little twist that’s making most folks miss this one. Once you figure out the twist, this problem (and others like it) will be a breeze. To illustrate how it works, let’s look first at a simpler version of the same question:

A person rolls a 20-sided die two times. What are the odds that both of the rolls result in 19s or 20s?

To answer this question, you’d first need to write the odds of getting a 19 or 20—that’s 2 out of 20. Because you need both rolls to come out with the high numbers, your odds are (2/20) x (2/20) or (1/10) x (1/10). For this question, our answer is 1/100. We have a 1% chance of getting such high numbers on both dice.

A similar sort of scenario is at work in the “very hard” problem above. At first glance, these problems may seem to be two surface-level flavors that contain the exact same math. (We’re no longer in a basement playing role-playing games; we’ve got a job in a factory checking out lightbulbs. I guess we had to pay the bills.)

Underneath that surface-level veneer, though, arises a sneaky little trick. As we pull bulbs out of the box, we change the odds of what’s left in it. If you’ve got a good bulb in one hand, that’s one fewer good bulb that might be in the other hand. To solve this problem, you have 18 good bulbs to choose from (18/20), but even if you’re pulling them out simultaneously, there are only 17 other good bulbs that might be in your other hand. So the odds change to 17 out of 19.

Multiply (18/20) by (17/19) and you get 153 out of 190—a very ugly fraction that is the correct answer to this tricky little question.

The Hardest GRE Math Problems: #2

Manhattan Prep GRE Blog - What Are the Hardest GRE Math Problems? by Tom Anderson

Here’s #2 on our list of the hardest GRE Math problems. 89% of test takers missed this one. Before we discuss how to do it, give it a shot on your own.

What It Teaches Us about GRE Math

That’s not an excited 25 in there, it’s 25 factorial. 25! Means

25 x 24 x 23 x 22 x 21 x 20 x 19 x 18 x 17 x 16 x 15 x 14 x 13 x 12 x 11 x 10 x 9 x 8 x 7 x 6 x 5 x 4 x 3 x 2 x 1

And it’s this part of the problem that sets up a classic GRE trap. If you were to approach this problem by calculating 25!, you’d either have a calculator with an error screen (too many digits) or you’d be spending 10 minutes doing a long calculation on paper… and end up with something totally useless to you. Even typing out all of the numbers (like I did above) takes an annoyingly long amount of time. To beat this “can’t calculate” trap, turn your attention instead to the answer choices.

If they’d given us 25 as an answer choice, I bet you’d know immediately that it divided evenly into 25!. Same thing if they gave us 24 or 23 or any of the other smaller numbers listed above. They’re right there in the product, so they could be divided out evenly. The same thing is true about the answer choices they gave us, if you break them down into smaller products like so:

A) 26 = 13 x 2
B) 28 = 14 x 2
C) 36 = 12 x 3
D) 56 = 7 x 8
E) 58 = 29 x 2

4 of the choices are made out of factors on our list. They’ll all divide evenly into 25!. Only one of them contains factors that aren’t on our list for 25! Answer choice E contains a 29, which is a prime number bigger than 25. It won’t be found anywhere between 1 and 25 and it can’t be broken down any further than it is. That makes E the correct choice here.

The Hardest GRE Math Problems: #1

Manhattan Prep GRE Blog - What Are the Hardest GRE Math Problems? by Tom Anderson

There you have it: the hardest GRE Math problem in the book. 90% of test takers missed it. Feel free to give it a go before we discuss…

What It Teaches Us about GRE Math

If you dealt with this question in an abstract way, it’s a lot to process. Instead, draw out a few variations of lines that don’t go through the origin and look for any patterns.

Manhattan Prep GRE Blog - What Are the Hardest GRE Math Problems? by Tom Anderson

Since the first couple of answer choices ask about x and y intercepts, take a look at our examples and look for patterns. In our negative lines, we hit the axes in two positive spots or two negative spots. On the positive lines, one intercept is in the negative and one is in the positive.

Answer choices A and B are both ways of saying that the x and y intercepts have the same sign. If they have the same sign, their slopes are negative. Lines with positive slopes have a positive x-intercept and a negative y-intercept or vice versa. Both of these choices are correct.

Answer choice C seems strange at first, but rephrase it a little bit: (a – r) refers to the change in x. (b-s) refers to the change in y.

You may have learned to call these—the “run” of the line (a-r) and the “rise” of the line (b-s). Answer choice C is telling you that if you multiply the rise and run of the line you get a negative. And that’s the very definition of a negative slope. If you’d like to try it with real numbers, try it with the coordinates drawn in on the lines above. You’ll find that answer choice C also proves the line has a negative slope. It’s also correct.

Underneath all of this content, I think, lies the real head-game of this “most difficult” question. You actually check all three of the answer choices. As wild as that might seem, sometimes all three are correct.

This is as Hard as It Gets, Folks

I think these problems have a few big-picture things to teach you about GRE Math:

  1. When faced with a complex or very difficult problem, solve a simpler problem as a step to getting the hard one.
  2. Avoid big calculations. Look for opportunities to work backwards from the answers.
  3. Take any complex information (especially on geometry) and draw it to better understand it.

There’s also definitely some content worth remembering:

  1. With countable objects, probability often changes as you go.
  2. Numbers are divisible by their factors. And you can break big numbers down into factors to check.
  3. The slope of a line is negative when its rise and run have opposite signs—one positive and the other negative.

Perhaps most importantly, remember that this is as hard as it gets. You’ll likely never encounter anything nastier than these. And even these “hardest GRE Math problems” can be cut down to size.

Want more guidance from our GRE gurus? You can attend the first session of any of our online or in-person GRE courses absolutely free! We’re not kidding. Check out our upcoming courses here.

tom-andersonTom Anderson is a Manhattan Prep instructor based in New York, NY. He has a B.A. in English and a master’s degree in education. Tom has long possessed an understanding of the power of standardized tests in propelling one’s education and career, and he hopes he can help his students see through the intimidating veneer of the GRE. Check out Tom’s upcoming GRE courses here.

The post What Are the Hardest GRE Math Problems? appeared first on GRE.

Fuente https://www.manhattanprep.com