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Your GRE Study Calendar

Manhattan Prep GRE Blog - Your GRE Study Calendar by Chelsey Cooley

Studying for the GRE on your own? Load up your GRE study calendar right now—it’s time to get organized.

The Big Picture

Start by filling in your test date. Not sure when you’ll take the test? Just pick a date that’s in the right ballpark. Plan to spend the two days before your test relaxing, mentally preparing for test day, and doing some light, easy review problems.

Next, mark down any travel or commitments you have coming up. Be realistic about what will and won’t affect your ability to study. You don’t want your whole plan to revolve around studying hard during your beach trip, only to realize once you get there that it’s not going to happen.

Count backwards from your test date by about one week, and choose a day for your dress rehearsal. This is your last practice test, so choose a day when you’ll be able to give it your full attention. On dress rehearsal day, do everything exactly how you’ll do it on test day: timing, scratchwork, breaks, everything.

Next, count backwards another two weeks. You should take and review a GRE practice test about every 14 days—and no more often than every 10 days. Since the GRE is a long test, for many of us, that’ll mean taking a practice test every other weekend. Put these practice tests on your GRE study calendar now. Also, give yourself at least three hours (ideally, over two study sessions) to review each test.

Think of your GRE studying as coming in three phases. Early in your studies, you’ll be spending most of your time learning content. Close to test day, you’ll be spending most of your time practicing problem-solving and staying sharp with what you already know. In the middle, you’ll be doing both of those things—brushing up on a few topics, but also practicing your problem-solving skills.

Here’s what you might have on your calendar right now, if you’re starting it on August 25:

Manhattan Prep GRE Blog - Your GRE Study Calendar by Chelsey Cooley

Filling in the Gaps with Your GRE Study Calendar

Don’t get overwhelmed: start by only filling in the first two weeks of your GRE study calendar. Your needs and goals will change as you take practice tests and learn more about your performance.

Start by analyzing your most recent GRE practice test. Your goal is to find the areas that are currently high-value for you. That means:

  • Areas where you’re missing easy problems and need to brush up on the basics;
  • Areas that showed up frequently on your practice test (think Fractions or Sentence Equivalence, not Combinatorics or Logical Reading Comprehension).
  • Areas that are just a little too tough for you right now, or that take you just a little too long.

Choose about 3-5 focus areas to start with. That seems like a lot, but it’s actually better for your brain in the long run if you jump around between topics, rather than just working on one until you’re exhausted.

Here’s what you might do to study each of these areas:

You don’t have to do every one of these things for every single topic you study! Use what works best for you.

Unless you only have a short time to study on a particular day, try to include two different topics. You should also go back to previous topics on later days. That’s called interleaving, and it helps promote memory formation.

On top of that, dedicate at least one day each week to reviewing your problem log and redoing problems you missed in the past.  

Okay! Now we’re ready to zoom in on the first two weeks of our example GRE study calendar. Suppose that this student was much stronger on Verbal than on Quant, but also missed a lot of Reading Comprehension problems. In Quant, she did pretty well on word problems, but found that she’d forgotten the basic algebra and geometry rules.

Manhattan Prep GRE Blog - Your GRE Study Calendar by Chelsey Cooley

This student is starting her first week, once she finishes reviewing her practice test, by brushing up on the rules for Algebra, Reading Comprehension, and Geometry. As the second week starts, she mixes in more GRE problems on the topics she was weak on. She also builds in two review sessions before her second practice test. Importantly, she takes two days completely away from studying.

Your GRE study calendar will look different, depending on your own strengths and weaknesses and how much time you have before test day. But, you should use the same general ideas from this example: mix up your studies across different days, build in a lot of time for review (and use it!), and be realistic about days you won’t be able to study. The more you plan your studying ahead of time, the less stressed you’ll be when it comes time to actually sit down and do the work. 📝


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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 Your GRE Study Calendar appeared first on GRE.

Fuente https://www.manhattanprep.com

How to Create a GRE Problem Log for Quant

Manhattan Prep GRE Blog - How to Create a GRE Problem Log for Quant by Chelsey Cooley

Having a GRE problem log is like having a budget: sort of a pain sometimes, but much smarter than the alternative. Skeptical? Check out this article first—then come back here when you’re ready to roll.

1. Choose a format that inspires you.

Are you a gel-pen-loving bullet-journal enthusiast? Or would you rather something plain but practical, like a nice Excel spreadsheet? Your GRE problem log won’t work at all if you don’t write in it or look at it. A GRE problem log can be in any format that lets you record information in an organized way.

2. Light, heavy, or in between?

Some of us are natural self-analyzers. Some of us would rather just skip straight to the action. It’s okay if your GRE problem log is very simple. An elaborate problem log is great too. What matters is that you choose something that won’t feel like a burden.

3. The world’s simplest GRE problem log…

At the heart of it, the point of a GRE problem log is to remember what you’ve learned and to help you learn in the future. There are all kinds of little ‘aha’ moments that come from doing GRE problems: keeping a problem log makes sure those moments are recorded rather than vanishing.

With that in mind, here’s the world’s simplest GRE problem log:

Manhattan Prep GRE Blog - How to Create a GRE Problem Log for Quant by Chelsey Cooley

4. Not all takeaways are created equal.

The best takeaways are general. When you do a problem, you’re not going to see that same problem on your actual GRE. So, recording exactly how you did that specific problem is a waste of time. Your goal is to glean ideas from that problem that you could use on other problems.

The best takeaways remind you of not only what to do, but when to do it. Try to record not only which actions you took during a problem, but also how you knew what to do.

Here’s a problem from the 5 lb. Book of GRE Practice Problems:

If y≠0, what percent of y percent of 50 is 40 percent of y?

Here’s a quick solution:

  • Since y isn’t part of the answer, choose a number for y. We’ll choose 100, so we can read the problem like this:

What percent of 100 percent of 50 is 40 percent of 100?

  • Start by writing the equation as follows:

Manhattan Prep GRE Blog - How to Create a GRE Problem Log for Quant by Chelsey Cooley

  • Then, simplify the equation to solve for p:

Manhattan Prep GRE Blog - How to Create a GRE Problem Log for Quant by Chelsey Cooley

And here are some great takeaways:

  • If you see a variable percent (y%), but you aren’t solving for y, just choose 100 for y!
  • Translate ‘what percent’ as ‘p/100’ and translate ‘of’ as multiplication
  • If you see ‘100 percent’, you can just ignore it while doing math
  • Complicated percent problems can be easier to solve with fractions, rather than decimals

5. ‘Do it again?’

You don’t have to redo every single problem, or even every problem you missed. The best problems to redo are the ones that were right at the edge of your ability level. Don’t bother with the ones that were ridiculously hard, or the ones that you missed for a silly reason (although you should still write those ‘silly reasons’ down.) Redo the ones that you know you could get right with just a bit more studying.

6. Taking it up a notch…

Here’s some more information you may want to include in your GRE problem log:

  • What topic was the problem testing? This way, you can quickly skim your log to find all of the Algebra problems, or all of the Geometry problems, and so on.
  • What answer did you pick? This is useful when you redo a problem: compare your answer now to the one you got originally.
  • How long did it take? Log problems that take you a long time as well as the ones you got wrong. When you do them again, try to beat your previous time.

7. Take it up two notches.

You might not include this information for every single problem you do, but it can be useful for some problems!

  • If you got it wrong: what type of error was it? I like to think in terms of conceptual errors (you didn’t know how to do something), process errors (you knew how to do it, but didn’t choose the right approach), and careless errors (you added 2 plus 3 and got 7).
  • For Quantitative Comparison problems: what cases did you test? If you didn’t test cases… that may be a clue to why you missed the problem! What cases should you have tried?
  • Were there any interesting trap answers or easy mistakes to make in the problem – regardless of whether you fell for them yourself? What would be the easiest ways to get this problem wrong?
  • Is there a better or faster way to solve it – even if your approach worked?

8. Now what?

So, you’ve created this GRE problem log, and you’ve started filling it up with Quant problems. Now what? Twice per week, on the same days every week, read over your GRE problem log. On one of those two days, just reread it and look at your takeaways. On the other day, redo some or all of the problems you’ve decided to redo, and record whether you got them right this time. With time, you’ll find yourself thinking about lessons learned from old problems when you’re doing new ones—and that’s exactly what you need for test day. 📝


See that “SUBSCRIBE” button in the top right corner? Click on it to receive all our GRE blog updates straight to your inbox!


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 How to Create a GRE Problem Log for Quant appeared first on GRE.

Fuente https://www.manhattanprep.com

Using Smart Numbers for GRE Quant

Manhattan Prep GRE Blog - Using Smart Numbers for GRE Quant by Chelsey Cooley

Here’s a quick cheat sheet on how, when, and why to use Smart Numbers to solve GRE Quant problems.

What is Smart Numbers?

Smart Numbers is a strategy for certain GRE Quant problems, usually word problems. It’s not a guessing method—in other words, using Smart Numbers will give you the exact right answer, just like doing algebra will.

When can you use Smart Numbers on GRE Quant?

You’ll decide whether to use Smart Numbers by looking at the answer choices (so, it’s most often useful on Discrete Quant problems, which have answer choices!).

If you see the following in the answer choices, you can definitely use Smart Numbers:

  • Expressions with variables in them, such as 3x or 4y + z.

You can also usually use Smart Numbers if you see the following in the answer choices:

  • Percents
  • Ratios
  • Fractions

If you see percents, ratios, or fractions, here’s how to make the decision. Read the whole problem, and decide whether you’re dealing with specific numbers, or just with relationships between numbers.

For instance, does the problem say that x equals 12, or that Beryl has sixteen cats? Those are specific numbers, and you probably can’t use Smart Numbers.

On the other hand, if x is 50% more than y, or if Beryl has twice as many cats as Jane, those are relationships—and you probably can use Smart Numbers.

There are a few other special situations, so I’ll also give you a rule that covers everything—although it takes a little bit more thinking to apply it. If a GRE Discrete Quant problem doesn’t tell you the numbers, but just tells you how they relate to each other, you can use Smart Numbers. If it does tell you specific numbers, you can’t.

How does Smart Numbers work?

Suppose you’ve decided to use Smart Numbers because there are variable expressions in your answer choices. For instance, the problem looks like this:

If a, b, c, and d are consecutive integers and a < b < c < d, what is the average (arithmetic mean) of a, b, c, and d in terms of d?

A) d – 5/2
B) d – 2
C) d – 3/2
D) d + 3/2
E) (4d – 6)/7

In this situation, start by choosing numbers that fit all of the facts the problem gives you. In this one, the four numbers you choose have to be consecutive, with a being the smallest, and d being the largest.

As long as the numbers fit the facts, you should use the easiest numbers you can think of. For this problem, let’s go for 1, 2, 3, and 4.

The next step is probably the most important one: everywhere you see a variable in the problem—including the answer choices!—replace it with the number you chose. You can use a combination of mental math and scratch work to do this, depending on how complex the problem looks.

By the way, during this step, you should forget about the phrase “in terms of d.” “In terms of” only matters when you’re using variables. Since we’re replacing our variables with numbers, we can just drop it.

Here’s what that problem would look like, once we’re finished with this step:

If 1, 2, 3, and 4 are consecutive integers and 1<2<3<4, what is the average of 1, 2, 3, and 4?

A) 4 – 5/2
B) 4 – 2
C) 4 – 3/2
D) 4 + 3/2
E) (4*4 – 6)/7

Next, answer the question. What is the average of 1, 2, 3, and 4? It’s 2.5.

Which of the answer choices equals 2.5? Only (C) does. (By the way, you can often figure this out without doing too much math—for instance, you should eliminate (B) quickly, since it won’t result in a decimal.)

Let’s try another one. This time, suppose you’re using Smart Numbers because you noticed percents in the answer choices. Your problem might look like this:

Aloysius spends 50% of his income on rent, utilities, and insurance, and 20% on food. If he spends 30% of the remainder on video games and has no other expenditures, what percent of his income is left after all of the expenditures?

A) 30%
B) 21%
C) 20%
D) 9%
E) 0%

Pick a number that fits everything you’re told in the problem. This problem doesn’t really give us any constraints on the number—except that it’s a dollar amount, so it shouldn’t be negative—so we can pick more or less any number we want. Let’s say that Aloysius’s income is $100.

You don’t have to replace the variables with numbers in this scenario, because there aren’t any variables! If the problem only has percents or ratios, not variables, you can skip that step. Go right ahead and solve the problem.

50% of $100 is $50, and 20% of $100 is $20. That leaves $30 remaining. Aloysius spends 30% of that $30, or $9, on video games. His total expenditures are $50+$20+$9, or $79, with $21 left over. Since $21 is 21% of his original income, the right answer is (B).

Why should you use Smart Numbers?

In some situations, using Smart Numbers takes more time than just doing the algebra. If you’re fast and confident with algebra, there will be problems where you’ll save time by “just doing the math.” However, there are other advantages to using Smart Numbers:

  • It’s easier to check your work with numbers than with variables.
  • It makes it easier to convert between different units. It’s much easier to convert 100 pennies to dollars than to convert 4x pennies to dollars.
  • It makes it easier to work with percentages. I know that 3 is 50% of 6, but it’s not nearly as obvious that 3xy is 50y% of 6x.
  • It’s often an easier way to solve a very tough word problem. If you’re having a hard time setting up equations based on a word problem, it may become clearer when you try using specific numbers.

However, I do have one warning: don’t think of Smart Numbers as a last resort! If you wait until you’ve already spent two minutes on the GRE Quant problem, using Smart Numbers isn’t going to help you. Try using it first—after all, there’s no rule saying you have to try algebra before you can do something else. On the GRE, you’re free to use whichever approach works, even if your middle school algebra teacher would disapprove! 📝


See that “SUBSCRIBE” button in the top right corner? Click on it to receive all our GRE blog updates straight to your inbox!


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 Using Smart Numbers for GRE Quant appeared first on GRE.

Fuente https://www.manhattanprep.com

What Your Favorite Class in High School Says about You as a GRE Student

Manhattan Prep GRE Blog - What Your Favorite Class in High School Says about You as a GRE Student by Cat Powell

The good and bad news about taking the GRE is that it’s not a skill that’s taught directly in school, though it does draw on skills that are. This is bad news, because it means that most of us have to do some work to adapt to the test. It’s also good news, because it means that anyone can master this skill, no matter how long they’ve been out of school.

That said, students’ backgrounds in different subjects and preferences for different types of tasks can inform what they find harder or easier on the test. Here are a few ideas on how your favorite subject in school might shape your strengths and weaknesses as a GRE student.

ENGLISH – You’ll likely feel a lot more comfortable on the Verbal sections of the GRE. In fact, you might find that you tend to finish early. One challenge will be making sure that you don’t go so fast that you make careless errors. Writing down a few notes could help with this. You also might find yourself inclined to argue with the correct answer—couldn’t it also be this? If this happens, ask yourself: what kind of mindset would I need to be in to see this as the only right answer? The more you adjust yourself to the mind of the test, the faster you’ll boost your Verbal score.

Quant, on the other hand, could seem more daunting. It’s important that you re-familiarize yourself with the GRE math content as quickly as possible; flashcards are a great tool for this, as are simple math drills. The good news in Quant is that your strong Verbal skills will help you. Data Interpretation (DI) problems, the ones that ask about graphs, are actually very similar to Reading Comprehension (RC). Both DI and RC require that you stay focused while sorting through dense information. Word problems, too, will be made easier thanks to your Verbal strength.

MATH – You’ll be excited to see that, in terms of conceptual content, the GRE Quant section is a breeze. The topics tested are limited to materials you probably covered in middle school or early in high school, so no trigonometry, advanced algebra, or calculus.

For you, the challenge will be adapting your strong math skills to the format of the test. While the GRE Quant sections draw on math concepts, they’re using this material to test broader reasoning and decision-making skills. Make sure that you learn the tricks and strategies that save time on GRE question formats; the “proper” algebraic solution won’t always be the best.

You can also apply some of your quantitative skill to the Verbal sections. Try breaking down the fill-in-the-blank vocab sentences into simple, equation-like patterns. A similar technique can work for analyzing details in reading passages. If you make your approach to Verbal as methodical and analytical as your approach to solving a math problem, you’ll find your accuracy improves quickly.

HISTORY – Your precision and focus (and possibly your ability to stay engaged with tasks others might find dull) will make you an ace when it comes to the Reading Comprehension questions that deal with specific details in the passages. You’ll also be able to assess the big picture, though you might struggle with spending too long on reading the passages themselves, wanting to be precise about every detail. Your interest in history could also make learning etymologies a fun way to grow your vocabulary, giving you an insight into the evolution of the language (and culture) as you learn new words.

Don’t let Quant intimidate you. Remember that this isn’t a math test like the ones you took (and maybe didn’t love) in high school. Rather, the GRE Quant sections are using math concepts to test the logical reasoning and critical thinking skills you’re already using in the Verbal sections.

SCIENCE – You already have a leg up when it comes to some of the hardest GRE Reading Comprehension passages. For many students, dense and technical science passages can be daunting, but your interest in and familiarity with the material will help you breeze through these. Your challenge will be not getting so bogged down in the minutiae that you miss the bigger picture. You might find the humanities passages less engaging; doing some additional reading in humanities and social science topics will boost your overall comfort with the reading content.

Your ability to reason logically, and to identify logical fallacies and problems with the evidence used to support an argument, will help you both with the logic-based reading questions and with the argument essay.

As with those who are drawn to math, don’t become overconfident in your quantitative skills. In particular, watch out for making snap judgements on the Quantitative Comparison (QC) questions. These are often designed to catch people with strong math skills who make quick assumptions rather than applying a rigorous process.

FOREIGN LANGUAGE – If you studied a Romance, Germanic, or classical language, you’re going to have a big leg up when it comes to vocab. You can use your knowledge of these languages to figure out the meanings of the many English words that have ancestors or relatives in other European languages.

If you studied a language further away from English, or if you speak English as a second or third language, you might find the vocabulary part of the Verbal section more challenging. However, your experiences with working in a second language can still be a real asset on the GRE. Learning a new language requires that you figure out how to decipher meaning without knowing every word used; you know how to get the big picture even if you miss some of the details. This is an essential skill for doing well on Reading Comprehension, and one you’ve already cultivated in your language learning.

You can apply this skill to Quant, too. The GRE likes to use math terminology to disguise what questions are really asking. Even if you find this language intimidating or unfamiliar, you can often figure out what a problem is saying by disregarding distractors and making practical inferences from the context and question format—just as you would when first reading or speaking a new language. 📝


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 What Your Favorite Class in High School Says about You as a GRE Student appeared first on GRE.

Fuente https://www.manhattanprep.com

GRE Reading Comprehension without the Reading

Manhattan Prep GRE Blog - GRE Reading Comprehension without the Reading by Tom Anderson

Who Needs the GRE Reading Comprehension Passage Anyway?

Let me be clear, if you want to maximize your GRE Reading Comprehension score, you should read each passage, thoroughly and entirely, before trying any of the questions about it. Strategies like skimming the passage or reading the questions first tend to result in sub-par performances. In the name of honing your Verbal skills, though, I’m going to suggest you do something seemingly ludicrous: practice answering some GRE Reading Comprehension questions without reading the passages.

You heard me—skip the passages entirely. Jump straight to the GRE Reading Comprehension questions and try to answer them with no context or background whatsoever. Of course, your accuracy will almost certainly drop when doing GRE Reading Comprehension questions this way. By starting with the answer choices, though, you may just train yourself to pay attention to some nuances in the way correct answers tend to be written and in the very common ways they take otherwise-fine answer choices and make them provably wrong.

For reference, I’ve found that when I do this, my accuracy falls from 90+% correct answering normally down to about 50% correct without reading the GRE Reading Comprehension passages. Even so, that’s much better than random guessing. When you try this, aim to beat the 20% odds you’ve got going for you on a run-of-the-mill guess. If you can learn to eliminate some obviously-wrong choices and identify some common themes in right answers, you’ll likely blow that number out of the water. And if you practice this without looking at the passages, imagine how well you’ll do when you start reading them again.

The Personality of the Test

To make this exercise work, you need to know something about the GRE: It has a personality. In both the Verbal and Math sections, there are themes, tricks, and traps that appear over and over again. The GRE Reading Comprehension passages also come with a bit of a personality. It’s a pretty stodgy test. There’s little in the way of slang or improper grammar. You’re not going to be reading racy passages or experimental fiction. There are no long, rambling excerpts from Jack Kerouac’s On the Road on this test. No bitter rants. No Twitter feuds. No 50 Shades of Grey.

Instead, remember that the GRE Reading Comprehension questions, answers, and passages are all written with a careful scholarly tone. All of the writing will be filled with the elevated vernacular and labyrinthine sentences characteristic of academic writing. Passages tend to discuss both sides fairly. Rarely do they advocate for one side of an argument over another; when they do, they’ll advocate carefully with caveats and concessions. You’ll never read a GRE Reading Comprehension passage that totally rips the opposing side to shreds. If you go in expecting all of this, it often helps you to dodge answer choices like this one:

D) The author’s work is vastly superior to all other fiction written in the 19th century.

Or this one:

E) The passage argues that all scientific theories have failed due to the same few reasons.

The “Right Answer Voice”

Here are some traits of the GRE Reading Comprehension “right answer voice.” For each one, I’ve written out an example of what a correct and an incorrect answer might sound like. Most of these are taken out of context from questions in the 5 lb Book of GRE Practice Problems.

The GRE Reading Comprehension “Right Answer Voice” is Bland and Hard to Disprove

Correct answers on the GRE tend to be vague or boring. They’ll be full of words like “may” and “generally” and “some” rather than words like “all” or “never.” The wrong answers tend to make bigger, more exciting claims that just aren’t quite backed up by the passage. Because the wrong answers on the GRE have to be provably wrong, they’re often written in simple declarative sentences: “It is exactly this way,” whereas correct answers tend to be written in a way that makes them more slippery and therefore difficult to disprove.

Example question: Which of the following expresses the main idea of the passage?

Right: A small set of non-human animals has been found to form social networks.

Wrong: Only humans can form social networks.

The GRE Reading Comprehension “Right Answer Voice” is Inoffensive

The GRE is written by people who value political correctness. You’ll never find correct answers that are offensive to an author, scholar, or group of people. If you can imagine a person being offended by an answer, it’s probably wrong.

Example question: Based on the information in the passage, which of the following would best explain Einstein’s motivation for stating that “God does not play dice with the universe”?

Right: Einstein did not believe that particles should be governed by probability as in a game of dice.

Wrong: Einstein’s religious beliefs did not allow him to fully understand the theory of quantum mechanics.

The GRE Reading Comprehension “Right Answer Voice” is Based on the Passage, Not on Common-Sense Knowledge

The GRE test writers very often plant a “common knowledge” trap—an answer choice that most folks know without ever reading the passage. That answer choice tends to be utterly unrelated to what the passage discusses, but perhaps it’s tempting because it feels familiar. If you notice blatantly obvious choices that clearly pull on outside knowledge rather than the passage itself, don’t pick them.

Example Question: Which of the following can be inferred from the passage?

Right: At least some individuals in Puerto Rico have expressed opposition to Puerto Rico becoming a U.S. State.

Wrong: There are currently 50 states in the United States of America.

You Try a Few!

Read each of these questions and do a little process of elimination. You’ll probably be able to rule out at least a few wrong answers for the reasons listed above. You might not be able to get all the way to the correct answer, but I bet you can get close. I’ve also written out my analysis of the choices (without reading any of these passages, I promise). If you do want to look up any of the original passages and questions, you can find them in the 5 lb Book.

5 lb. Book p.208 #72

The author of the passage would be most likely to agree with which of the following statements?

A) Free Riders cannot be blamed for their actions, because they are an inevitable part of any government.
B) Free rider problems are not worth worrying about, because they are an inevitable part of any government.
C) There are at least some situations in which the free rider problem should not be viewed as an inevitable part of government.
D) National defense is a perfect example of why free rider problems need to be stamped out as quickly as possible.
E) Free riders are morally at fault, and ought to be punished.

5 lb. Book p.218 #92

2. Which of the following most accurately states the author’s reason for citing the Copernicus and Brahe models of the solar system?

A) It shows that a theory without predictive power can never be tested and verified.
B) It reveals that some theories can have more or less of an “ad hoc” quality.
C) It shows that two different theories can never yield the same predictions for future events.
D) It is used to support the idea that a more complicated model will always fail to a simpler model.
E) It provides an example of when a theory can correctly predict future events but not offer the best explanation.

5 lb. Book p.194 #45

3. The passage implies which of the following?

A) Students can benefit from exposure to inaccurate accounts of history.
B) Students today prefer music to film.
C) Students today are functional illiterates.
D) Students today prefer charts to opinions.
E) Students today should not be exposed to political agendas.

Before I give you the answers, here is my analysis of the choices.  

Question 1:

A and B both make the claim that this problem is ”an inevitable part of any government.” That’s a pretty big claim and would be very hard to prove. All it takes is one government that solves this problem to prove these false. Answer choice D calls this a “perfect example,” which also feels a little too strong for the GRE. Stating that they need to be “stamped out as quickly as possible” also sounds rash and judgmental—not the typical voice in which these passages are written. Choice E also makes a pretty big subjective claim, so it’s likely to be wrong. My guess is answer choice C because it’s such a small claim: “at least some situations” are an exception to the rule. This is much more bland and more difficult to disprove, compared to the other choices.

Question 2:

I can’t guess all the way on this one, but I can narrow it down to two. Answer choices A, C, and D all use extreme language. By using the words “never” and “always,” they open themselves up to be easily disproved. They’re almost certainly going to be wrong. Answer choices B and E both seem pretty good to me. B is nice because it only talks about “some theories.” And answer choice E just says that the author used this as an example of a very particular and un-extreme phenomenon. Without reading the passage, I’m stuck between those two choices, but I’m willing to bet B or E is correct.

Question 3:

Many of the choices here are both extreme and offensive. Take a look at choice C, for example. Any current or former student would feel hurt by that choice. “But I’m not a functional illiterate! Leave me alone!” So that choice is definitely going to be wrong. I also thought all of the choices from B through E were making bold, black-and-white claims that would be easily disproved. Surely some students don’t prefer film over music or charts over opinions. And answer choice E also feels a little subjective and moralistic. To state that students should not be exposed to political agendas is a value statement—not the carefully-worded, judgment-free kind of statement we typically see on the GRE. I’d be willing to bet the correct answer is A without ever reading this passage. It’s a mild claim. It’s not even stating students “will” benefit but that they “can” benefit. Who could argue with that?

After checking these in the answer key, it seems like my predictions were pretty close. Here are the actual correct answers:

  1. C
  2. E
  3. A

How did you do?

Imagine How Well You’ll Do When You Start Reading Again

If you can learn to answer these questions without reading the passages, imagine how well you’ll do when you start reading them again. You’ll likely find that you start paying attention to wording and turns of phrase in a way that you weren’t before. Good luck with this GRE Reading Comprehension exercise.  Happy studying! 📝


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.

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Fuente https://www.manhattanprep.com

Can You Ace GRE Quant if You’re Bad at Math? (Part 3)

Manhattan Prep GRE Blog - Can You Ace GRE Quant if You're Bad at Math? (Part 3) by Chelsey Cooley

If you have a complicated relationship with math, you need to be especially careful about how you study. Some GRE Quant study techniques might seem to make perfect sense, but can actually leave you frustrated and demoralized in the long run. For painless studying, try these next few ideas instead.

(If you’re just joining us now, check out the previous two articles in this series before you keep reading. In the first one, we dispel the “bad at math” myth. In the second, we go over some simple approaches to gain momentum and learn the basics.)  

The When and Why of GRE Quant Rules

Part of the “bad at math” mindset is the feeling that math is sort of like magic. When you watch an expert solve a math problem, it’s like watching someone pull a rabbit out of a hat: you can see what’s happening, but you don’t know what they actually did.   

That’s compounded by the way that a lot of us learn math in school. Unless you had great elementary school math teachers, you probably learned math as a long list of rules and operations. You probably spent a lot of time learning to apply each rule correctly, and much less time learning when to use each rule.

So, if you took a test on multiplication in elementary school, you’d pass as long as you multiplied the numbers correctly. That doesn’t work on GRE Quant. To ‘pass’ the GRE, you have to not only multiply correctly, you have to decide whether to multiply in the first place.

That’s a skill that you won’t get from memorizing rules. You also won’t get there by drilling one problem type over and over until you can perform it perfectly, then moving on to the next one. If you don’t also know the “when and why,” the real test will seem much harder than your practice sessions.

So, what can you do? My first piece of advice is to create “when I see this, do this” flashcards. Those are discussed in detail here. Every time you do a GRE Quant problem, try to spot clues that you could use in other problems. Then, identify what you’re supposed to do when you notice one of those clues. Put those two things on the front and back of a flashcard, and keep it handy. Periodically, go through all of these flashcards and test your “what to do next” knowledge.

Second, regularly set aside time to do random sets of actual GRE Quant problems. This is more and more important the closer you get to test day. It forces you to not only solve the problems, but also figure out what they’re testing in the first place, and what approach to take. Instead of just skimming through your mental cheat sheet on a single topic, you have to choose from among everything you know about GRE Quant. That’s not something that comes naturally, but it will improve if you start practicing it!

Take GRE Quant Step by Step

Think of your GRE Quant knowledge as a jigsaw puzzle. Each time you learn a new fact or skill, someone hands you a new puzzle piece. If you already have the surrounding pieces in place, it’ll be easy to fit the new one in. But if you’re just getting started, and someone hands you a random piece from the middle of the puzzle, it’s almost impossible to decide where it goes.

Don’t start your GRE Quant studies by picking random pieces from the middle of the puzzle. Start with the corners and the edges: the math foundations. Check out the previous article for a list of starting places and some ideas on how to approach them.   

From there, aim to “push your GRE Quant score up from below,” rather than “dragging it up from above.” You’ll gain more points by really mastering the easy or moderate problems than you will by conquering the very hardest problems—and this will take less of your limited study time and build your confidence as well. Spend a little more of your time on the problems that are just a bit too hard for you—the ones where you have all of the surrounding puzzle pieces in place, but you haven’t quite placed the very last one. And avoid wasting time on the very toughest problems, unless those are really the only ones that are challenging for you.

It may seem satisfying to continue drilling one topic until you’re comfortable with it, but this can also lead to frustration when it doesn’t work out. Worse, it’s a poor strategy for memory formation. You’re better off moving around the jigsaw puzzle, changing which bit you’re working on in order to stay fresh. (This means that even if you’re spending almost all of your study time on GRE Quant, a little work on Verbal can be good for both your morale and your score.)

It’s fine to not understand things, to make mistakes, and to get problems wrong, even all the way up until test day. Focus on learning the material that’s most within your grasp right now, and learning it in the most efficient and effective way you can. Why not check out GRE Interact to get started? 📝


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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 Can You Ace GRE Quant if You’re Bad at Math? (Part 3) appeared first on GRE.

Fuente https://www.manhattanprep.com

Can You Ace GRE Quant if You’re Bad at Math? (Part 2)

Manhattan Prep GRE Blog - Can You Ace GRE Quant if You're Bad at Math? (Part 2) by Chelsey Cooley

You’re here because you’re bad at math, and you want to ace GRE Quant but aren’t sure how. But if you read the previous article, you know that you weren’t born without a “math organ,” and your brain is just as suitable for learning GRE Quant as anybody else’s. That doesn’t mean you don’t have challenges to overcome. But you should really be asking, How can I ace the GRE with limited math experience? Or How can I ace the GRE when I don’t know how to study math? Or even How can I get over my math anxiety and get excited about the GRE?

Don’t Panic

There’s a lot of common sense involved in solving GRE Quant problems. If the price of a couch is marked up by 15%, it shouldn’t end up costing $180,000. If you want to know how many eighth-graders are in a classroom, you shouldn’t end up with 2/3 of a student. But when you let math anxiety get the better of you, it’s easy to lose that common sense.

When you start a GRE Quant problem, take a deep breath. This reduces anxiety—and gives your brain some oxygen. Read the problem slowly and calmly. Don’t immediately start asking yourself which equations to use. When you start trying to do the math immediately, you stop trying to understand the story the problem is telling you.

It’s okay to slow down at the beginning of a GRE Quant problem. On the GRE, you don’t run out of time because you read math problems too carefully! You run out of time because you don’t understand the problem, but you try to solve it anyway.

If you struggle with math anxiety—and a lot of people do!—you probably won’t fix it by studying more. Actually, things tend to work the opposite way: studying and practice will be far more effective if you reduce your math anxiety first. Staying calm makes you better at GRE Quant, not the other way around. Here’s another article with some great tips for reducing test anxiety.

Don’t Go from Zero to a Hundred

One huge study mistake I see from “bad at math” students is this: you choose one topic, say, solving linear equations. You drill away at that topic during a killer multi-hour study session, or even over a period of days. You watch videos, read articles, and do practice problems. When you’re finished, you’re exhausted, but confident that you totally understand how to solve an equation. So, you move on to the next topic.

Then you see a linear equation on your practice GRE a week later, and you get it wrong.

The study style described above is called “blocking.” I’ll be the first to admit that there’s something satisfying about it. It’s nice to feel like you’re finally done with a topic that’s challenged you for a long time. But your brain hates it.

This analogy might be a little crude, but just work with me: teaching yourself GRE Quant is a little bit like training a dog. If you want your dog to learn to sit, you start when it’s calm and relaxed, and you don’t try to get it to master the trick in a single marathon session. Instead, you interleave, which is what you should do when you study basic math.

Here’s a great rundown on interleaving. (The article is from our GMAT blog, but everything there applies to the GRE as well!)

In short, give yourself permission to walk away without 100% mastering something. In the long run, that’s actually better for your brain.

Where Should You Start on GRE Quant?

Some math-phobes get along just fine in our 8-week GRE course. If you have a lot of time to devote to the GRE, and you’re confident that you’ll pick up the basics quickly—for instance, if you always did well in math in school, but you’ve gotten rusty—go ahead and dive in!

However, if you’re weak on the math foundations, you might struggle to get as much as possible out of the course and the homework. Consider starting with something like Khan Academy, which has great videos and problem sets on all of the topics covered on the GRE. Good math topics to start with:

  • Working with fractions, decimals, percents, and ratios
  • Writing, simplifying, and solving basic equations
  • Working with equations that have exponents or quadratics
  • Knowing some basic statistics definitions: average, median, range, quartile, and standard deviation
  • Basic geometry formulas, dealing with circles, triangles, squares, and rectangles

You could even begin with the Foundations of GMAT Math Strategy Guide: it’s written for GMAT students, but the content heavily overlaps with what’s on GRE Quant, and the book is a fantastic guide to math basics for adults.

Also, start developing your “math instincts” as soon as you can. You get a calculator on the GRE, but the more confident you are with numbers, the better. Take every opportunity to do simple math or estimation: guess the number of people in a large auditorium, or calculate your tip at dinner in your head, or estimate how much it’ll cost to fill your car up with gas at a certain price. Try out some arithmetic games, like this one. Download the Manhattan Prep GRE app, and start getting in the habit of thinking about math every day.

Next time, we’ll take a deeper look at how to study GRE Quant. You may have been studying inefficiently for your whole life! That could have a lot to do with why you aren’t a math expert—and with a few simple changes, you can start becoming one. 📝


See that “SUBSCRIBE” button in the top right corner? Click on it to receive all our GRE blog updates straight to your inbox!


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 Can You Ace GRE Quant if You’re Bad at Math? (Part 2) appeared first on GRE.

Fuente https://www.manhattanprep.com

S is for Summer AND GRE Studying!

Manhattan Prep GRE Blog - S is for Summer AND GRE Studying! by Cat Powell

I am, without question, a summer person. As soon as the weather gets warm, I emerge from my perpetual crust of low-grade gloom and become the person I know I’m really meant to be: cheerful, energetic, relaxed (sort of), and ready to spend as much time as I can in the sun, near the ocean, and with friends. Ironically, the season in which I have the most energy is the one in which I’m least inclined to get anything done.

Now, not everyone is a summer person (I have friends who swear their Seasonal Affective Disorder hits hardest in July). But whether or not you thrive in the warmest months, you can harness the general good cheer, longer days, and relaxed atmosphere of the season to make the most of your GRE studying. Here are some thoughts on how to do that.

1. Allocate travel time productively.

Weddings, beach trips, camping, family vacations: for a lot of us, the summer is packed with travel. Whether you’re taking a train, bus, or plane, commit to always using travel time for GRE studying. You can get many resources online or as e-books, so you don’t have to lug around anything besides a laptop. You’ll be surprised by how much you can accomplish using travel or commute time alone. When I was in grad school and working nearly full time, I used all of my subway commutes for reading, and I was able to get a big chunk of my schoolwork done that way. It’s a pretty painless way to put serious hours toward your GRE studying. If you’re going to be driving, this becomes a bit more challenging, but not impossible. Listening to audiobooks or podcasts that use GRE-level vocabulary is a great way to build both vocab and verbal comprehension skills.

2. Create a reasonable GRE studying schedule and stick to it.

For many, work schedules can be a bit lighter in the summer, making this a great season to tackle the additional challenge of preparing for a standardized test. If this applies to you, commit now to a summer study schedule.

Decide on how many hours a week you can realistically put toward GRE studying. A realistic schedule is one that you can stick to without it being unduly painful. Then portion these hours out into a regular weekly pattern (I often recommend at least 5 hours per week and ideally 10-15, depending on how much time you have and how quickly you work).

Don’t let all your hours pile up on weekends. Half an hour a day each weekday will add up and save you from unproductive marathon sessions on Sundays. Give yourself at least one day a week entirely off. If you find that you are consistently not sticking to your schedule, decide: is the schedule unreasonable, or do you need to be more committed?

3. Use outdoor exercise to manage stress.

Preparing for the GRE can be exhausting and stressful, and many of the students I work with grapple with test anxiety. For this reason, regular stress-reducing routines are just as important as regular GRE studying habits. Being in the sun, exercising and playing, spending time near trees and water: these are all great ways to relieve stress, and summer is the perfect time to enjoy outside activities. So don’t get so invested in your GRE studying that you forget to take care of yourself, and remember that taking some time to enjoy the season will actually improve your memory and overall test performance.

4. Stick to an end-of-summer deadline.

Many test centers start to get busy in the late summer and early fall, so sign up for an official test now. Pick a late August or early September date, so that you have a hard deadline for your studying (for my part, if I didn’t have deadlines, I’d never get anything done). An end-of-summer date is a good choice for a few reasons.

First, if you begin your GRE studying in June, this will give you about two-and-a-half to three months to prepare, which, if you’re committed and consistent, is a good timeline for many students. Second, you’ll still leave plenty of time to take the test again before most application deadlines. In an ideal world, you’d only need to take the test once. Bad days do happen, though, and I see many students take the test twice (and most do better on their second sitting). Third, you’ll get the test out of the way with plenty of time left to work on the other, equally important aspects of your application.

5. Remember that a change of scene is a great antidote to burnout.

It turns out that GRE studying in different places and at different times actually helps you to better retain material. Changing up habits and routines can also help re-energize you if your enthusiasm starts to wane. So, take some time this summer to visit a new place, whether close to home or far-flung. And when you do, bring a few GRE resources along for the ride.

Good luck in your studies, enjoy the sun, and remember: there’s no time like now, because winter is coming! 📝


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.

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Fuente https://www.manhattanprep.com

Can You Ace GRE Quant if You’re Bad at Math? (Part 1)

Manhattan Prep GRE Blog - Can You Ace GRE Quant if You're Bad at Math? (Part 1) by Chelsey Cooley

First, let’s get on the same page about what being “bad at math” really means. In my experience, GRE students who say that they’re bad at math tend to fall into these categories:

  1. People who don’t think math is interesting or fun.
  2. People who got bad grades in math as kids—or people who got good grades, but had to work harder than everybody else.
  3. People to whom math doesn’t feel natural or intuitive.
  4. People who feel anxious about math.

Instead of saying that you aren’t a math person, get specific. Which one of those groups describes you? Or, like many of my GRE students, do you fall into more than one of those categories? The more clearly you can describe the challenge you’re facing, the more power you have over it.

People Who Don’t Think Math is Interesting or Fun

It’s fine to think that math is boring—I think Reading Comprehension is soul-crushingly boring, and I’ve managed to make a career out of teaching the GRE. Learning to enjoy the GRE will make studying more fun, but I’ve also had a lot of successful students who thought of studying for the GRE as a boring but worthwhile job—or even as an annoying obstacle.

People Who Got Bad Grades in Math as Kids

As an adult learning middle-school and high-school math for the GRE, you’re in a strange position. You’re studying things that you once learned in grade-school math class. But you’re learning them from a totally different perspective: you’re smarter, more introspective, and have access to better resources. Getting bad grades in math as a kid says a lot about your middle-school math teacher, a little about your childhood level of patience and study skills, and not much at all about your “math aptitude.”

People to Whom Math Doesn’t Feel Natural or Intuitive

The idea that math should come naturally (or not at all!) is one of the nastiest myths in modern education. Math isn’t natural, and it isn’t intuitive. There’s actually a lot of evidence—which we’ll look at later in this article—that there’s no such thing as a “math person,” at least when it comes to GRE-level math.

Most people are more or less equally equipped to learn GRE math. But some people start the GRE process with more math experience, some people start out with more math confidence, and some people start out with both. Those people who seem to “get it” right away? It’s more likely that they’re just a little more familiar with the material than you are. Maybe they use math every day in their work; maybe they had a fantastic middle-school algebra teacher.

Think about it: when teachers and parents decide that a student is “good at math,” what do they do? They give them more and harder math to work on, creating a self-perpetuating cycle. Some people end up getting a lot of positive and varied experiences with math, which strengthens their abilities even further. The rest of us fall behind and focus on other topics.

People Who Feel Anxious about Math

A lot of us have had negative experiences with bad math teachers, bad grades, or seemingly impossible math problems. More of my students seem to have math anxiety than, say, “vocabulary anxiety”—probably because of the pervasive myth that some people are doomed to suck at math. Hopefully, by examining and rejecting that myth, you’ll find your anxiety being replaced by determination. Keep reading!

Bad at Math: The Evidence

This is the point where you stop saying that you’re “bad at math.” The language you use to describe yourself, even in your own head, makes a difference. It’s fine to say that you’re scared of math, or that you dislike math, or that you haven’t taken a math class in fifteen years, or that you absolutely hated your eighth-grade Algebra teacher. Those are facts! “Bad at math,” though, is a myth—here’s some evidence to prove that.

Here’s a chart summarizing the math performance of 15-year-olds around the world in 2012. If high-school math was always intuitive for some of us, and counterintuitive for others, we’d expect to see similar rates of high- and low-performers regardless of location. But the chart makes it clear that some ways of teaching and learning make almost everybody “good at math,” while other ways work for almost nobody. (So, why not sign up for GRE Math in a Day?)

There’s a common misconception, although fortunately it’s becoming less common as time goes on, that girls are naturally more likely to be bad at math than boys. But there are strong arguments to be made that this gap is completely explained by other factors, and when some of those factors are mitigated—as in single-sex schools—the gap begins to disappear.  

Twin studies have tried to determine whether mathematical ability is genetic. Here’s a study that leans more towards the “bad at math” side than what we’ve looked at so far. On the one hand, it suggests that genetics makes a “moderate” contribution to math ability at age 10. On the other hand, differences in mathematical ability due to social factors tend to be smaller for elementary school students than for older students—it’s possible that with older students, the pattern would change.

Finally, here’s one of my favorite articles addressing the “bad at math” issue. It contains a great description of where the “bad at math” myth comes from, and it’s worth a read just for that. It also introduces the idea that your beliefs about math influence how well you perform. People who believe that math ability can be improved, will improve! People who believe that they’re stuck where they are, won’t.

So, as you start or continue your GRE Quant studies, strive to convince yourself that you can get better at math. That belief alone may be enough to improve your performance. And remember that while you may feel anxious towards math or may dislike math, that won’t stop you from improving your Quant score. Want to know how to get better at Quant when you’re math-phobic? That’s coming up in the next article. 📝


See that “SUBSCRIBE” button in the top right corner? Click on it to receive all our GRE blog updates straight to your inbox!


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 Can You Ace GRE Quant if You’re Bad at Math? (Part 1) appeared first on GRE.

Fuente https://www.manhattanprep.com

This Simple Visualization Exercise Will Help You Beat the GRE

Manhattan Prep GRE Blog - This Simple Visualization Exercise Will Help You Beat the GRE by Chelsey Cooley

When I’m not teaching the GRE or writing this blog, I like riding my bicycle absurdly long distances. For the last five months, I’ve been training for one of the hardest bike races of my life: the 206-mile, 14-plus-hour Dirty Kanza. And now I want to share the best piece of advice I was given while training, because it applies to GRE test day just as much as it applies to bike racing.

A couple of months ago, I was lucky enough to get to chat with a woman who’s won Dirty Kanza a couple of times—including a win on her very first attempt. The conversation turned to the strategies she uses to succeed on race day. When she brought up visualization, I immediately assumed that I was supposed to visualize myself winning. If you want to overcome an obstacle, whether it’s a 200-mile bike race or the GRE, you should picture yourself overcoming it, right?

Maybe not. Instead of picturing myself succeeding, she invited me to picture myself failing. I was supposed to imagine rolling across the finish line hours late, having had a terrible race. “Now,” she said, “try to think of all of the excuses you might be making if you don’t do well.”

I imagined trying to explain that my back was bothering me, that my bike had gotten a flat tire, or that I had forgotten to bring enough water. Any number of things could send my race completely off the rails.

Each of those imaginary excuses, she explained, was actually something that I could fix right now, before race day. If I thought I might run out of water, I should start measuring how much water I needed during my training rides. If I was worried about back pain, I should start stretching and work on my posture on the bike. Almost anything that could put an end to my race could be prevented, if I started working on it before race day.

So, let me extend the same invitation to you. Imagine finishing the GRE, and getting a score that you’re really unhappy with. What excuses can you imagine making? Make a list on paper. For each excuse, there’s probably something you could do to help right now, before test day.  

For instance, here’s one I often hear: “I didn’t have enough time to finish a section.” That doesn’t mean the GRE should have given you more time on test day. Running out of time isn’t something that happens to you—it’s a consequence of actions you take on and before test day. It means you didn’t guess enough, or you should have practiced your pencil-and-paper arithmetic, or you didn’t identify the problem types that take you the longest. There’s so much you can do prior to test day to avoid having to make this excuse!

Or, you might picture yourself saying, “I got really anxious during the test, and it threw me off.” A little anxiety might be unavoidable, but you can take steps now to ensure that it doesn’t derail your GRE. Read this article about anxious reappraisal and give it a try. Check out these tricks for staying calm during the GRE, and plan to use one or more of them on test day.

Something could happen during your GRE that you can’t predict. For all you know, a meteor might fall through the roof of the testing center! But it’s more likely that if you start thinking of the excuses you might make if you fail, you’ll come up with the situations that are most likely to cause you problems on test day. If those situations are unexpected, they could hurt your score. But if you anticipate them ahead of time, you can make sure they won’t cause you any problems.

What are you most worried about on test day? Feel free to share or offer your own advice in the comments. 📝


See that “SUBSCRIBE” button in the top right corner? Click on it to receive all our GRE blog updates straight to your inbox!


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 This Simple Visualization Exercise Will Help You Beat the GRE appeared first on GRE.

Fuente https://www.manhattanprep.com

GRE Sentence Equivalence Questions: What Makes a Pair?

Manhattan Prep GRE Blog - GRE Sentence Equivalence Questions: What Makes a Pair? by Cat Powell

There are two types of fill-in-the-blank vocabulary questions on the GRE: Text Completion and Sentence Equivalence. Text Completion questions ask you to fill in one, two, or three blanks with a single word; Sentence Equivalence questions ask you to fill in one blank with two words. Often, students think of these as the “synonym” questions, but that’s not entirely accurate; being too focused on looking for exact synonyms trips up some test takers. Others aren’t rigorous enough when looking for a pair. In this article, I’m going to discuss exactly what we’re looking for when we “pair” answers for Sentence Equivalence and what common traps we should avoid.

The official instructions for Sentence Equivalence questions are:

Select the two answer choices that, when used to complete the sentence, fit the meaning of the sentence as a whole and produce completed sentences that are alike in meaning.

We’re looking for two words that, when we plug them into the sentence, give us the same general idea of what that sentence is saying. This means that our correct answers don’t have to be exact synonyms, but they do need to be close enough that they don’t alter the core meaning of the sentence.

I sometimes use this test: if I were told that someone or something were X, could I reasonably assume it was also Y? Let’s try out this test with a potential pair of words that came up in a class I taught recently: demanding and critical.

Let’s say, for example, that I was told someone is demanding, meaning that they expect a lot or have high standards. Could I reasonably assume that this person is also critical, meaning that they are discerning or tend to pass judgments (which are often, but not always, negative)? In everyday life, maybe. People who are demanding seem like they’d be inclined to be critical. But for GRE purposes, no. Critical adds layers of meaning that demanding lacks. Consider each of these in a sentence:

(A) She was a very demanding teacher.
(B) She was a very critical teacher.

These are clearly different teachers. The teacher in sentence A sounds like a teacher you might like to have; she’d push you, but in a way that felt fair. The teacher in sentence B? Well, she might offer more negative or more judgmental feedback.

Try out this idea with a set of actual answer choices. See what pairs you can spot here.

  • Exciting
  • Dangerous
  • Opulent
  • Reportorial
  • Costly
  • Expensive

Here, I’d pair “costly” and “expensive.” These are the only words that really match one another. Notice that “opulent”—rich, luxurious—seems close in meaning (it has to do with money). It’s like “critical” when compared to “demanding,” though; one adds layers of meaning that the other lacks. “Exciting” and “dangerous” might be tempting, too, since dangerous things are often exciting—but this is even more of a stretch than “critical” and “demanding.”

Let’s double-check our thinking on this by consulting the sentence these answers go with:

The frequent and wide-ranging travels of a photo-journalist are often _______, racking up huge bills for freelancers working without a guarantee of payment.

Nice! I have the clue “racking up huge bills,” which further confirms that “costly” and “expensive” are the right pair. Notice that “exciting” and “dangerous” are both, on their own, tempting choices; they seem like good words to describe “frequent and wide-ranging travels.” However, by being rigorous about how I pair my answers, I can avoid this trap.

Pairing answers is a good step to add to your Sentence Equivalence process, if you don’t do this already. When the sentence is confusing, looking for pairs in the answer choices can help focus your reading. In this case, you might skip ahead to the answer choices and then return to the sentence to look for clues. Even when you do have a good understanding of the sentence, pairing answer choices can still help you to avoid falling into GRE traps. 📝


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 GRE Sentence Equivalence Questions: What Makes a Pair? appeared first on GRE.

Fuente https://www.manhattanprep.com

Math and the Growth Mindset

Manhattan Prep GRE Blog - Math and the Growth Mindset by Tom Anderson

Do you consider yourself a “math person?”

Actually—hold on a second. Whether you answer yes or no, you’re expressing a potentially harmful thought. Such thoughts reflect a fixed mindset about oneself—a belief that you’re born good at some things and bad at others. Carry that line of thinking a little further:

“Math people” grew up solving quadratic equations in their heads as toddlers. They always just “got it.” Everyone else had to work hard to get there. “Non-math people” could more easily run 10 miles backwards than calculate a tip at a restaurant. If you’re a “math person,” congrats on the easy grades and high GRE scores for the rest of your life. If you’re not, then too bad. It’s hopeless.

I believe that such thoughts are not just untrue, but downright harmful. There’s a growing body of research on this issue. Many readers of this blog entry will no doubt have heard of Carol Dweck, her book Mindset, and her TED talk, which currently has over 7 million views. Dweck argues that the way you view yourself has a huge impact on your success. It’s not just those who think they’re “naturally bad at something” who are at risk, by the way. One of the most negatively-impacted groups seems to be very high-performing students who think it’s all about being “naturally good at something.” I would encourage you to leave behind those fixed ideas of being a “math person” and instead adopt a mindset of growth.

In this entry, I’ll share with you a few ideas from research in educational psychology about growth mindsets and what you can do to develop one. In particular, I’ve been reading a book called Mathematical Mindsets by Jo Boaler. I’ll share with you some ideas from this book.

You Can Rewire Your Brain (to Become a “Math Person”)

First of all, know that your brain can be changed. In one intriguing study, researchers looked at the brains of cab drivers in London who had to memorize over 25,000 streets and 20,000 landmarks in order to qualify for their jobs. During the intensive training process, cab drivers showed dramatic growth in the hippocampus—the area of the brain that is used to acquire spatial information. Their brains were so affected by their practice that they showed measurable growth in the very brain matter inside their heads.

This concept that the brain can change and adapt in dramatic ways is called neuroplasticity. There are abundant examples of it. Stroke victims can sometimes regain their speech by rewiring a new region of their brain. People paralyzed in accidents can sometimes regain their movement; in one extreme case, an individual even lost the entire left hemisphere of her brain and was then able to regrow its functions in the remaining right hemisphere.

Aside from these extreme examples, we all experience neuroplasticity when we learn. Your brain is more like a muscle that can grow with exercise than like a computer that’s stuck with the processor it was built with.

Mistakes Matter

Take a few minutes and watch this video of a Swiss watchmaker who has been making watches by hand for 50 years. He tells us, “It’s not easy because you learn all your life. Even at my age, I learn every day and very often by making mistakes.” An expert in nearly any field will tell you the same thing: they’ve made their most significant learning through mistakes rather than successes.

The research backs them up. Not only do experts learn from making an incredible number of mistakes, they seem to learn more when making mistakes than when doing something correctly. Jo Boaler summarizes some research on the issue:

“Students’ brains reacted with greater […] electrical activity when they made mistakes than when their answers were correct. Second […] brain activity was greater following mistakes for individuals with a growth mindset than for individuals with a fixed mindset. The study also found that individuals with a growth mindset had a greater awareness of errors than individuals with a fixed mindset, so they were more likely to go back and correct errors.” Mathematical Mindsets (p.12)

It may not always feel this way, but mistakes are not something that should make you cringe. They’re probably the most worthwhile tidbits from any study session. And they’re even better for you if you open yourself up to growth, log them, and go back to correct them.

Think of it this way: your brain grows a synapse every time you make a mistake. A good practice session shouldn’t be easy. Get out there and start making some mistakes!

Process > Product

A good teacher will make it clear: the route to a right answer is much more important than the right answer itself. Of course, on an exam like the GRE, you want to get as many points as possible. But you get those points by carefully thinking about the problem in front of you and the solution paths it beckons you to use.

In the same way that you don’t improve your free throws by focusing on the “whoosh” a basketball makes when it goes through the net, you shouldn’t try to improve your problem-solving process by going straight to an answer key. Instead, focus on the steps to get there.

When you practice on your own, try thinking of your answer keys and explanations less like the finish line and more like consultants to whom you can turn for feedback along the way. Rather than just checking the right answer, peek at the explanation to see if the work you’ve done is on the right track. If so, continue onward. If not, go back and revise. Try to lead yourself to the correct answer rather than just reading what it is.

Believing You Can Grow is Part of the Recipe for Growth

On the first day of my GRE class, I often ask my students a similar question to the one I asked at the beginning of this blog entry—I ask them to raise their hand if they’ve come into my classroom with an idea floating around in their subconscious that they are “bad at math.” Every time I ask this question, a few reluctant hands pop into the air, followed by an avalanche of others, until a huge majority of hands silently confess this belief.

It’s easy for me to believe that there is no such thing as being “bad at math”—for years, I’ve seen my students bring up their GRE Math scores, sometimes to levels they never thought possible. That said, I’m well aware many folks have been traumatized by math in their prior education. Even many well-meaning teachers may have conveyed the notion that math is a gift, and either you have it or you don’t. Take heart and do what you can to throw out these “fixed” notions that may be rummaging around in your brain. Just like your math ability can be changed, so can your mindset.

Believing that you can get smarter is part of the process in doing so. 📝


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 Math and the Growth Mindset appeared first on GRE.

Fuente https://www.manhattanprep.com

GRE Math for People Who Hate Math: Cracking the GRE Code

Manhattan Prep GRE Blog - GRE Math for People Who Hate Math: Cracking the GRE Code by Chelsey Cooley

The GRE will never lie to you—but it doesn’t always tell you what you really want to know. The GRE is a little bit like my friend in this exchange:

Me: “What do you think of this outfit?”

My friend: “Well, it’s very… creative.”

Sure, it’s not like she lied (zebra-striped leggings are pretty creative). But she also didn’t come right out and call me a fashion victim. In order to work that out, I had to crack the code.

You already know how to “crack the code” in English. Codebreaking is how we figure out what people really mean, even though we exaggerate, simplify, avoid touchy topics, and change the subject. And on the test, codebreaking is how you start to understand a GRE Math problem.

Here’s an example of a GRE Math problem that’s full of code:

What is the largest integer n such that 5n is a factor of 10!?

1. …

2. …

This problem looks fairly intimidating, but if it just said what it meant in plain English, it’d be a lot easier. The people who write GRE Math problems want to intimidate you a little, if they can—that way, they can reward people who calm down, take a deep breath, and focus on what the problem really means. Let’s do exactly that right now.

10! is pronounced as “10 factorial,” and it’s code for a very large number: the number you’d get by multiplying 10, times 9, times 8, times 7, and all the way down to 1.

If something is a factor of 10!, you can divide 10! evenly by that number. For instance, 2 is a factor of 10!. So is 20.

We really want to know whether 5n divides evenly into this large number. 5n is code too. An exponent just refers to a number such as 5, 5×5, 5x5x5, 5x5x5x5, or any number of 5s multiplied together. Since the problem asks about the largest integer n, you’re looking for the largest number of 5s that you can possibly divide evenly into 10!.

So, here’s what the problem says now:

10x9x8x7x6x5x4x3x2x1 can be evenly divided by 5x5x…x5. What is the largest number of 5s that can be evenly divided into the larger number?

“Divisible” or “evenly divided” is code as well. If you want to know if one number is divisible by another number, here’s a great way to do it. Write a fraction, with the bigger number on the top and the smaller number on the bottom. Start simplifying that fraction, a little bit at a time. If you can cross off the entire bottom of the fraction, you know the number is divisible. If you can’t, it isn’t divisible.

If we were solving this problem, we’d write our fraction like this:

Manhattan Prep GRE Blog - GRE Math for People Who Hate Math: Cracking the GRE Code by Chelsey Cooley

How many 5s can be crossed off on the bottom? As many 5s as there are on the top. Notice that 10 can be rewritten as 5 times 2.

Manhattan Prep GRE Blog - GRE Math for People Who Hate Math: Cracking the GRE Code by Chelsey Cooley

So, there are exactly two 5s on the top of the fraction. The answer to the problem is 2: 10! is divisible by 5².

Here’s what the GRE Math problem really said, ignoring all of the code:

In total, how many 5s can be divided out of the numbers 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, and 1?

You aren’t supposed to go through all of that codebreaking on GRE test day. There just isn’t time. If you see a GRE Math problem that has code you don’t know how to translate, consider guessing and moving on. But, here’s why codebreaking is still important: if you do it ahead of time, you’ll recognize the code quickly when you see it on the test.

If anything about the problem we just did was surprising or challenging for you, take a moment to make some flashcards. On the front of the flashcard, write a piece of code you could see in a problem. On the back, write out what it really means. Here are the flashcards that I’d make for this GRE Math problem:

Manhattan Prep GRE Blog - GRE Math for People Who Hate Math: Cracking the GRE Code by Chelsey Cooley

Let’s practice some codebreaking and get a few more flashcards made. Here are some snippets of “GRE code.” Take your time and work out what they’re really saying, in plain English. Then, make a flashcard or two for each one.

  1. xy ≠ 0
  2. x is divisible by 6, but not by 12
  3.  + 1 is odd
  4. p has exactly two factors
  5. p has an odd number of factors
  6. /b < 0

Try it out, and let us know what you think in the comments! 📝


See that “SUBSCRIBE” button in the top right corner? Click on it to receive all our GRE blog updates straight to your inbox!


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 GRE Math for People Who Hate Math: Cracking the GRE Code appeared first on GRE.

Fuente https://www.manhattanprep.com

Interact for GRE, Our New Adaptive & Interactive GRE Prep, is Here!

Manhattan Prep GRE Blog - Interact for GRE, Our New Adaptive & Interactive GRE Prep, is Here! by Manhattan Prep

We’re extremely excited to announce that Interact for GRE—our on-demand, interactive GRE self-study experience that’s been in the works for years—has officially launched. 🎉

Starting at just $249, Interact for GRE is a revolutionary learning experience made just for you, the busy grad school applicant who needs flexible and comprehensive GRE prep. Using branching video technology, Interact for GRE adapts to your performance by providing you with prompts and delivering customized feedback based on your responses.

With Interact for GRE, you will:

  • learn from top 1% GRE scorers with years of teaching experience
  • be an active participant in the study experience—you won’t just watch instructors lecture you from slides.
  • work with videos that adapt to your strengths and weaknesses so that you spend the right amount of time on each topic.
  • get all the practice problems you could ask for (100,000+) to ensure that the lessons did their job.

Check out Interact for GRE here—you can learn what it’s all about, see what’s included, and even try it out for free. 📝

The post Interact for GRE, Our New Adaptive & Interactive GRE Prep, is Here! appeared first on GRE.

Fuente https://www.manhattanprep.com

GRE Sentence Equivalence: Charge Traps

Manhattan Prep GRE Blog - GRE Sentence Equivalence: Charge Traps by Chelsey Cooley

In this article, GRE instructor Tom Anderson asks a smart question: is it better to sort of know a lot of GRE words, or to really know a few GRE words? It turns out that you’re better off if you learn fewer words, but really learn them well. If you don’t, here’s one way the GRE could trick you.

Most of the toughest GRE words are adjectives: descriptions of people, situations, or things. Adjectives are a bit like cupcakes. A sweet cupcake is good, but a cupcake that’s too sweet can make your teeth ache. They’re both sweet, but one is tasty, and the other is, well, gross.

Likewise, lots of GRE adjectives have “evil twins.” One word is sweet, but the other is too sweet. Here are some examples.

thrifty – miserly

sentimental – mawkish

respectful – obsequious

devout – priggish

ornate – ostentatious

All of these pairs share the same relationship. Someone who’s miserly is too thrifty. If a poem is mawkish, it’s too sentimental. If an employee is obsequious, she’s not just respectful, she’s so respectful that it’s kind of weird. And so on. The second word is a “too sweet” version of the first word.

If you only sort of know these words, you can see how you might assume they mean the same thing. After all, thrifty and miserly both mean “cheap,” and ornate and ostentatious both mean “fancy.” But do they mean the same thing on the GRE? Nope.

So, what if you see both of them in the answer choices? It depends.

Suppose you’re doing a GRE Sentence Equivalence problem—the type of problem where the two right answers will be synonyms. Here’s one possible set of answer choices:

crafty

gawky

hardy

miserly

stingy

thrifty

The first three answer choices are right out, since none of them has a twin. That leaves us with miserly, stingy, and thrifty. Let’s call this ‘situation number 1’—where you have three answer choices that sort of mean the same thing.

This is what we call a charge trap. The three words have similar meanings, but one of them has a different “charge”—thrifty is a neutral word, while miserly and stingy are much more extreme, and therefore bad. Since only two of the words really match each other, you should choose miserly and stingy, regardless of what your fill-in was.

When you learn a new word, take note of whether it has a strong charge, either good or bad. This is especially true if it’s a more extreme version of some other word you already know. If you’re not sure what the charge of a word is, search for it online and check out how people are using it!

Okay, here’s situation number 2, with a different set of answer choices:

elaborate

gaudy

ornate

ostentatious

pragmatic

rustic

Two answer choices—pragmatic and rustic—are definitely out, since they have no twins. That leaves four possibilities, of which you need to choose two. Take a moment and divide those four words into two pairs, based on their charge.

Ready? Here we go. Elaborate and ornate have the same (neutral) charge, while gaudy and ostentatious share a negative charge. Other than that, they basically mean the same thing: fancy.

To choose a pair, let’s go back to the golden rule of GRE Verbal: Find the Proof. Every GRE Verbal problem has one and only one right answer, and you can always prove that the right answer is right.

If you can’t prove that a strong word is right, you should choose a neutral one. However, if the sentence contains proof for the stronger word, the stronger word is the right answer. Here’s a sentence that might go with those answer choices from above:

“Gilding the lily” is a 19th-century expression that was first coined to describe the ________ décor adopted by those who were too eager to display their recently acquired wealth; some owners of Beaux Arts homes, for instance, would cover up the beautiful but subtle carvings of flowers around their entranceways with a layer of flashy gold gilt.

There’s a lot of proof here for ostentatious and gaudy. The homeowners were too eager to display their wealth; they covered up beautiful but subtle features of their homes in favor of something more flashy.

This next sentence doesn’t have proof for a strong word, so you should pick the neutral pair:

In the late 19th century, architecture and decoration took a turn for the ________, with many owners of Beaux Arts homes embellishing their entryways with intricate carvings of flowers inscribed with gold gilt.

There’s no proof here that the decoration was too ornate—and if you can’t prove the stronger answer, you can’t pick it. If this is the sentence you’re dealing with, choose ornate and elaborate.

In short, here’s how to avoid charge traps:

  • Pay attention to charge when you learn new GRE words;
  • If you see three similar words in the answers, ask yourself whether they have different charges;
  • If you see two pairs with different charges, only pick what you can prove using the sentence.

If you follow those guidelines, you’ll deepen your vocabulary knowledge and protect yourself against trap answers on GRE Sentence Equivalence! 📝


See that “SUBSCRIBE” button in the top right corner? Click on it to receive all our GRE blog updates straight to your inbox!


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 GRE Sentence Equivalence: Charge Traps appeared first on GRE.

Fuente https://www.manhattanprep.com

What Should I Look for in a GRE Trial Class?

Manhattan Prep GRE Blog - What Should I Look for in a GRE Trial Class? by Tom Anderson

As you may know, we open up the first session of our 8-session Manhattan Prep GRE Complete Course as a free GRE trial class for anyone to attend. What happens in a GRE trial class? Why bother attending one? I’m sure every class is a little bit different, but there are some things you can expect to see, as well as a few things you should make sure to look for.

1. Why take a standardized test class in the first place?

When I was a high school student preparing for the SAT, I never really considered taking a test prep class. In retrospect, I really should have—I just never considered it at the time. I have a hunch that it had something to do with my own deep misunderstanding of how standardized tests work. I thought that the SAT tested how smart you were. It was called the “Scholastic Aptitude Test,” after all. Surely, smart people just did well on it and that was that. Actually, in the 1970s, the SAT was renamed the “Standardized Achievement Test.” Why the name switch? I think they realized such a silly test could not and should not pretend to test someone’s innate ability. Rather, it tests a set of discrete, learnable skills. In many ways, the SAT just tests how well you prepared for the SAT.

Likewise, the GRE—at its core—is just testing you on how well you prepared for the GRE. And you will almost definitely do better on it if you put in some deliberate practice. When I approached the GRE as an adult, I did so in a much different way than I’d studied for such tests in the past. I dug deep into the problems I missed, ironed out weaknesses in the 5 lb. Book, and noticed that the problems were usually much easier when I pushed past the content to look for time-saving and efficiency strategies.

After years of considering myself “a bad standardized test taker,” I surprised myself with how well I did on my GRE. I also recently went back and took the SAT again. (That might seem peculiar—30-year-old me sitting there with a bunch of teenagers getting ready to go to college—but sometimes you’ve got to do such things if you’re a test prep instructor.) After years of teaching the GRE, I was surprised at how much easier this test felt compared to when I was in high school.

When I was younger, I really struggled on it; I took it twice and got the same mediocre scores on both attempts. When I went back and took it as an adult with lots of relevant practice, I scored about 200 points higher. What was the difference? There may have been some maturity and a college education at play. But I think the most significant factor was that somewhere along the way, I learned how to prepare for standardized tests. They’re not intelligence tests, and they really do keep testing the same few themes over and over again.

However you prepared for tests when you were younger, consider approaching the GRE with a mindset that embraces your potential to grow. Even if you never considered yourself a “good test taker,” you can learn to become one. A good test prep class will show you how to begin that transformation.

2. What’s covered in a GRE trial class?

In a Manhattan Prep GRE trial class, you can expect to look at the structure of the test, analyze the way it’s scored, and then spend the brunt of the three-hour class actually solving and talking about problems. Along the way, you’ll learn (or re-learn) some things about how exponents and triangles work.

In a good class, though, your teacher won’t just stop at the content and rules. A good class will also introduce you the personality of the test. In my class, we refer to this GRE persona as “Ethel”—a peculiar and exacting spirit who knows some common errors in thinking and tries to induce those mistake patterns in similar ways, over and over again.

Take, for example, a simple comparison:

Manhattan Prep GRE Blog - What Should I Look for in a GRE Trial Class? by Tom Anderson

Ethel knows that your first instinct is probably to simplify quantity A and B, rewriting each as “x.” She knows that you’ll probably want to pick answer choice C. And she’s messing with you.  

This is a pretty common move. If the two sides seem equal and it seems really easy to prove that… then C is probably a trap answer. Pause for 10 seconds and ask yourself whether they’re still equal when you plug in a negative number. The correct answer to this question should be D.

A good test prep class will introduce you to such situations, and will make you aware of the “personality of the test” and themes that come up in such tricky questions. Many of us Manhattan Prep teachers have actually grown to enjoy these little puzzles. (I sometimes write about them in blog entries like this one.) Once you’ve had these patterns highlighted for you, you’ll find that your awareness makes you sidestep all sorts of common pitfalls you weren’t really noticing before. Who knows, you may even find yourself having a little fun doing so.

3. What kind of teacher do I want?

I’m sure you know that an ideal teacher is somewhat a matter of personal taste. And while I do think my colleagues are all fantastic teachers in their own ways, I’d encourage you to attend a GRE trial class before you commit to 8 full weeks with any of them in particular. Any teacher can tell you how the content works; a good teacher will also leave you feeling inspired and will give you a fundamentally different way of thinking about something than you had before.

For some of you, you’ll find that you gravitate toward a benevolent, kind teacher who knows how to encourage you. Others will find that you need a tough personality—a teacher who holds you accountable, challenges you, and gets you out of your comfort zone. If you attend my GRE trial class, you’ll probably find that I’m far from that “drill sergeant.” I certainly hope you’ll enjoy the class, but I’m sure many folks will find they need a teacher who’s a little tougher on them. If that’s you, I know a few other teachers I’d highly recommend. One way or another, you should try a GRE trial class to determine whether your teacher is a good fit for you.

4. Not just the what, but the why.

Finally, a GRE trial class should leave you not just knowing what to work on, but how and why. If you really understand how your memory works, for example, you’ll spend about 1/3 as much time memorizing vocabulary as someone who just makes simple flashcards and churns through them repetitively. In your first class, you may learn the definitions of the words “arcane” and “archaic.” Ideally, you’ll also learn how to tell them apart and how to generate some good flashcards for them:

Archaic = old (like this old arch)

Arcane = mysterious (like the magic spells of a cane-wielding wizard)

I’ve written a little bit about such memory moves in blog entries like this one. A good class will consistently make you aware of how your brain works and how to use it best.       

In your GRE trial class, your teacher will also introduce you to your course books, videos, flashcards, and apps, as well as give you some guidance on how to best approach studying them (hint: it’s definitely not just plowing through page by page, trying to do everything). Ideally, you’ll leave that first class with a crystal-clear game plan for what you should be doing before the next class starts.

5. Let us know what you think.

Hopefully I’ve got you thinking about whether or not you want to attend a GRE trial class and about what you should look for if you do. If you’ve been to a GRE class (whether with Manhattan Prep or some other test prep company), be sure to let us know what you thought about it. Shoot us an email or post about it in the comments below. 📝


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 Should I Look for in a GRE Trial Class? appeared first on GRE.

Fuente https://www.manhattanprep.com

Why Bother Predicting a GRE Verbal Answer?

Manhattan Prep GRE Blog - Why Bother Predicting a GRE Verbal Answer? by Chelsey Cooley

One habit of Verbal high-scorers is predicting the GRE Verbal answer before checking the answer choices. Here’s why this works, and how you can do it yourself.

1. Predicting the GRE Verbal answer makes sure you really read the sentence (or the passage).

Think about how you read in the real world.

When you read a book or an article, you usually don’t do a deep read of every single sentence. Unless you’re a lawyer, small misunderstandings don’t matter that much.

You have to read more closely to succeed on the GRE. You’re not only trying to get the basic idea, you’re also trying to answer questions, some of which can be downright nitpicky. But close reading doesn’t come naturally to a lot of us.

One way to force yourself to read closely, especially on Text Completion and Sentence Equivalence problems, is to predict the right GRE Verbal answer after you read. On these two problem types, we call this prediction a “fill-in”—you fill in the blank(s) in the sentence with your own word(s), before you look at the actual answer choices.

If you finish reading the sentence and you can’t come up with a fill-in, your brain is letting you know that you didn’t really “get” the sentence!

If you can’t predict the GRE Verbal answer at all, reread the sentence more closely. You may have missed an important clue. Sure, looking at the answer choices can give you a nudge in the right direction—but you shouldn’t rely on them as a crutch. Instead, practice reading closely. After all, looking at the answer choices can be dangerous…

2. Predicting the GRE Verbal answer protects you from “confirmation bias.”

Have you ever noticed that sometimes, certain answer choices just “look right”?

Sometimes, these great-looking answer choices are actually right. However, a great-looking answer could also be a really smart wrong answer.

Confirmation bias is the cognitive bias that makes us look for support for what we already think is correct. If you look at the answer choices too soon, and one of them looks great, your brain will start looking for evidence to prove that answer and ignoring evidence that supports other answers.

If the GRE Verbal answer you noticed is the right one, this is a good thing! But if you got tricked by a nice-looking wrong answer, it’s easy to talk yourself into picking it, even if it’s not really correct. Once you decide which answer is right, it’s hard to change your mind.

When you predict a GRE Verbal answer ahead of time, you’re protecting yourself against confirmation bias. By the time you look at the answer choices, you already know what the right answer should look like. Since you’ve already done the thinking, you (hopefully) won’t talk yourself into a wrong answer. You’ll go straight to the right answer that best matches your prediction.

Of course, sometimes our predictions are wrong or don’t match any of the answer choices. Prediction is a skill that you can practice. Every time you do a GRE Verbal problem in practice, predict an answer before you check the choices—if it helps, you can even write down your prediction. Once you check the answer choices, evaluate your prediction. Gradually, you’ll get better at anticipating right GRE Verbal answers.

3. Predicting the GRE Verbal answer protects you from some of the most common traps.

What makes a wrong GRE Verbal answer a “trap”? A trap is any wrong answer that you’d arrive at by making a common, simple mistake.

For instance, on Verbal, you might get overwhelmed and focus too much on the jargon in a sentence, ignoring the underlying structure. There’s a trap for that: it’s called a “theme trap.” Here’s an example:

Contrary to the assumptions that many Westerners hold about mindfulness practices, meditation is often anything but ____________; while using various methods to calm the mind, meditators frequently experience intense periods of restlessness and doubt.

Manhattan Prep GRE Blog - Why Bother Predicting a GRE Verbal Answer? by Chelsey Cooley

The theme trap here is mystical. The sentence talks about mindfulness and meditation, which can be somewhat mystical practices. If you focus too much on what the sentence is about, and not enough on what it says, you could fall for this trap. (By the way, the right answer is idyllic, which means peaceful and joyous.)

If you predict the GRE Verbal answer first, though, you hopefully won’t even notice mystical. After all, there isn’t much evidence in the sentence that would lead you to mystical before you look at the answer choices. You should fill in the blank with something like restful or relaxing, which are great matches for the right answer.

Hopefully this has convinced you to try predicting the right GRE Verbal answer, if you weren’t already! It might feel a bit unnatural or time-consuming at first, but there are a lot of good reasons to keep working on it. If you can master this skill, you’ll be on your way to improving your GRE Verbal score. 📝


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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 Why Bother Predicting a GRE Verbal Answer? appeared first on GRE.

Fuente https://www.manhattanprep.com

GRE Math Misconceptions

Manhattan Prep GRE Blog - GRE Math Misconceptions by Chelsey Cooley

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Math can be counterintuitive. There are a few GRE Math misconceptions that really seem like they should be true—but actually aren’t. Being prepared for them will keep you aware on test day.

Mistake: 1 is prime.

Fact: 1 isn’t prime. In fact, the smallest prime number is 2.

Why?: It seems like 1 should be prime, because you can’t divide it by any other integers. However, mathematicians have agreed to say that 1 isn’t a prime. This makes certain mathematical theorems much simpler and more intuitive. Even though you won’t use those theorems on the GRE (phew!), you have to deal with their consequences by remembering that 1 isn’t prime.

Mistake: 3-4-5 and 30-60-90 triangles are the same thing.

Fact: A right triangle can be 3-4-5 or 30-60-90, but not both.

Why?: Here’s a couple of 3-4-5 triangles next to a couple of 30-60-90 triangles. Even if the triangles get bigger or smaller, the triangles on the left all have different proportions from the triangles on the right. So, if the sides of a right triangle have the ratio 3-4-5, you know the angles aren’t 30-60-90, and vice versa.

Manhattan Prep GRE Blog - GRE Math Conceptions by Chelsey Cooley

Mistake: If the ratio of teachers to students at a school is 1 to 4, then 1/4 of the people at the school are teachers.

Fact: In this scenario, only 1/5 of the people at the school are teachers!

Why?: A fraction always represents a part of a particular whole. In this case, the part is the number of teachers, and the whole is all of the people at the school. So, the denominator of the fraction has to be the sum of the teachers and the students, not just the students alone.

Try it out with numbers to confirm. If there are 10 teachers and  40 students, then 10 out of the 50 people at the school, or 1/5, are teachers.

Mistake: The average of the numbers from 1 to 10 is 5.

Fact: The average of the numbers from 1 to 10 is 5.5.

Why?: Intuition tells you that 5 is halfway from 1 to 10. However, to find the average of a bunch of consecutive numbers, you need to average the smallest and largest numbers together. The right answer will be the average of 1 and 10, which is (1+10)/2 = 11/2 = 5.5.

Confirm this by actually averaging the numbers from 1 to 10. Here’s the sum:

1+2+3+4+5+6+7+8+9+10 = 55

There are 10 terms, so the average is 55/10, which equals  5.5.

Mistake: If x is 25% greater than y, then y is 25% less than x.

Fact: If x is 25% greater than y, then y is only 20% less than x.

Why?: This is one of the most counterintuitive math facts out there, but the numbers back it up. Suppose that a coat costs 25% more than a sweater. If the sweater costs $100, the coat would cost 1.25($100), or $125.

However, if a sweater costs 25% less than a coat, and the coat costs $125, the sweater only costs 0.75($125) = $93.75.

‘Percent more than’ and ‘percent less than’ aren’t interchangeable. Pay close attention to which term the problem actually uses. If it says ‘percent more’ or ‘percent greater,’ then use a decimal greater than 1, such as the 1.25 figure from the example above. If it says ‘percent less’ or ‘percent smaller,’ then use a decimal lower than 1, such as 0.75.

You can also prove this specific example using fractions. If x is 25% greater than y, then x is 5/4 of y. Use algebra rules to get y by itself:

x = 5/4 y

4x = 5y

4/5 x = y

y is fourth-fifths as large as x. Since the missing 1/5 is equivalent to 20%, y is only 20% smaller than x. 📝


See that “SUBSCRIBE” button in the top right corner? Click on it to receive all our GRE blog updates straight to your inbox!


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 GRE Math Misconceptions appeared first on GRE.

Fuente https://www.manhattanprep.com