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No Pain, No Gain: Mastering The GRE Takes Guts

April 24, 2014 by

mastering the greThis article, No Pain, No Gain: Mastering A Skill Makes Us Stressed In The Moment, Happy Long Term, is one that I’ve sent to many of my students over the past few years. It explains that although learning a new skill (like how to take a standardized test efficiently and effectively) may cause stress in the moment, it will pay off in greater long-term happiness. Ryan Howell, assistant professor of psychology at San Francisco State University, says “People often give up their goals because they are stressful, but we found that there is benefit at the end of the day from learning to do something well.”

So, in addition to the obvious benefit (getting in to grad school)  of learning to be an excellent GRE test taker, you’ll also enjoy the long-term benefit of a boost in happiness and well-being. This can be important to remember … Read full post

Jelly Beans and GRE Math

April 22, 2014 by

gre mathThough it’s not celebrated as widely as Thanksgiving, Christmas, or New Year’s, today marks an important day on our holiday calendars: National Jelly Bean Day. That’s right. Today is the day we get to celebrate a candy that is, as described by Wikipedia, “a bean-shaped confectionary […] primarily made of sugar.” If you can’t celebrate bean-shaped candies made almost entirely of sugar, what can you celebrate?

Jelly Beans and the GRE

Jelly beans, in addition to showing up in the bowls (and mouths) of households across the country, have also been known to show up in GRE math. If you’ve been preparing for the test, you might know the kind of question that often includes descriptions of small, multi-colored objects. Can you think of it? Right: probability questions. Now, unfortunately, you very rarely see easy probability questions like, “What is the probability that Craig will eat too many … Read full post

Free Event: Join Our GRE Bootcamp

April 21, 2014 by

We love hosting online events for all of you hard-working GRE preppers: We regularly run full-length practice GRE practice tests and sample classes on how to strategically approach the test. I’m happy to announce that one of my favorite events is happening on Tuesday, April 22nd, at 7pm ET: the GRE Bootcamp.

As the name implies, the Bootcamp is not for the faint of heart: It will feature a series of some of the toughest problems that you can see on the GRE. While you need to be ready to tackle questions on all topics and of all difficulty levels for Test Day, this event will give you insight into how to prepare for the any situation that you could potentially face.

A Taste of GRE Bootcamp

You’ll encounter questions like this:

The _______ preconcert celebrations did not seem to suit what followed; the concert itself was low key, acoustic, Read full post

GRE Probability Practice: Strategy and Shortcuts

April 18, 2014 by

GRE marble probabilityAlthough probability isn’t tested with high frequency on the GRE, it’s a concept that GRE students ask about (and stress out about) often. You’re best served devoting the majority of your time to topics that show up most commonly on the exam, such as arithmetic, algebra, and geometry. However, if you are hitting the high percentiles in math and aiming for a really strong GRE math score, it’s worth having a good understanding of basic probability concepts that you can use on the exam.

Probability Shortcuts

The practice problem we posted on Facebook  is an example of the type of question you might see on the GRE if you’re hitting around the 80th percentile and above. In a previous series on probability, we discussed how to approach these “at least” problems. In short, solve for the probability of the desired outcome NOT happening, and subtract … Read full post

Make GRE Math Calculations Simple

April 17, 2014 by

ETS, the maker of the GRE, posted a guide to the on-screen calculator on their site. The guide itself is very good, but I’d like to give special attention to a few of its points. Correctly using — or, more importantly, not using — the GRE on-screen calculator on Test Day has a big impact on your performance.

My favorite bit from the test maker’s guide was this tantalizing suggestion:

Avoid using [the on-screen calculator] for simple computations that are quicker to do mentally, such as 10 – 490, (4)(70), 4,300/10, sqrt(25), and 30^2.

I call this advice “tantalizing” because it’s absolutely correct — but the author doesn’t specify why the example computations are considered “simple.” Some students may not know why, for example, (4)(70) should be computed mentally. Let me show you why all of the above computations are, indeed, simple.

Make GRE Math Calculations Simple

Looking for Patterns in GRE Arguments

April 15, 2014 by

While students often find it easy to spot patterns in the Quantitative section of the GRE, doing so in the Verbal section can seem like a more arduous task. This can be especially true in Critical Reasoning questions—those that ask you to evaluate an argument and then point out its flaw or assumption, or strengthen or weaken the author’s conclusion. To many students, each of the arguments they see on the test seems like a unique riddle to solve. But approaching every argument as its own, separate, special argument is a frustrating and inefficient way to move through this section of the test.

As you work through Critical Reasoning questions in your practice and homework, pay attention to the common argument patterns that the GRE tests over and over and over again. There are only a small number of types of arguments you’ll see on the test, and once you … Read full post

Find Clues, Earn Points in GRE Verbal

April 14, 2014 by

The #1 mistake you can make on short GRE verbal problems is looking at the choices too soon. When you solve a short verbal problem, whether it’s a text completion or a sentence equivalence, you should predict what kind of word should go in the blank before you look at the choices.

Think of it this way: the test makers aren’t your friend. They’re not trying to help you out. This means that they’re not just going to write random wrong answer choices; they’re going to write wrong answers that will influence your thinking. Don’t fall for that nonsense.

Using Clues to Make Predictions

Here’s a relatively straightforward problem that turns ugly if you look at the choices too soon:

The Leonidas Achievement Award, though ostensibly prestigious, is held in low repute by some scholars who claim that favoritism runs rampant and that the judges are ______.

GRE Sentence Equivalence Basics and Practice Question

April 11, 2014 by

Yesterday, we posted a practice GRE Sentence Equivalence Question on our Facebook page. Check it out.

GRE sentence equivalence

Since there are six choices, you know what kind of question this is: Sentence Equivalence. Your task is to pick two words that both fit the sentence and produce an equivalent effect.

Let’s review GRE Sentence Equivalence basics first before diving into the explanation.

GRE Sentence Equivalence Basics

  • Types: only one type with six answer choices
  • Frequency: you will encounter approximately 4 SE questions in each GRE Verbal section
  • Pacing: You should aim, by test day, to take about 1 minute per question for each SE question
  • Directions: You must 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.
  • Details: There is no partial credit – you must select both (and only) the
  • Read full post

The First GRE Prep Course eBook for Kindle

April 10, 2014 by

amazon-1Great news for Kaplan students: we’ve collaborated with Amazon to bring the first GRE prep course ebook directly to students enrolled in Kaplan courses using the Kindle reading apps and Kindle Fire tablets. This makes our GRE course the first Kindle-compatible Kaplan course available for aspiring graduate school students. Kaplan GRE students will have the ability to study across multiple devices—Kindle Fire and Android tablets, iPads, PCs and Macs—and take advantage of features such as note taking, highlighting, tracking progress, word look up, searching and syncing.

“Until recently, the adoption of tablets and eBooks for studying has lagged the adoption of eBooks for leisure reading, because studying involves engagement with the book through highlighting, note-taking and other tactile actions,” said Lee Weiss, Executive Director of Emerging Products, Kaplan Test Prep. “But as these functions became more user-friendly in eBook form and device ownership continues to grow, we’re now seeing a … Read full post

Use GRE Strategy on Your Grad School Applications

April 8, 2014 by

Studying for the GRE is critical to Test Day success. You must learn the structure of test, familiarize yourself with GRE strategy, master methods and strategies for every question type, and review content such as math concepts and vocabulary. With all the work that you’re going to be putting in to preparing for the GRE, you’ll be pleased to know that this prep work can help you accomplish more than simply doing well on the GRE.

Many of the skills that will help you succeed on Test Day can also help you succeed in your graduate school admission process. I recommend that you get your GRE studying in first, take the test and get the score that you need for the programs you are applying to, and then dedicate the time your graduate school applications.

Apply GRE Prep Tips to Your Grad School Applications

 
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