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GRE Skills for the Real World

January 31, 2014 by

“How does anything on the GRE relate to relate to real life?  None of this applies to what I want to do in grad school!”

I hear some variant on these words from at least one of you in every GRE class that I teach, and I know that for every one who asks, there are many more who are silently feeling the same way.  Putting aside the negative effects that such a mindset will surely have on your motivation and GRE study habits, the idea that the skills tested on the GRE are not relevant to what you’ll do in grad school is simply not true.  To prove my point, take a look at the following question:

In printing an article of 48,000 words, a printer decides to use two sizes of type. Using the larger type, a printed page contains 1,800 words.  Using smaller type, a page … Read full post

Should You Retake to Get a Higher GRE Score?

January 30, 2014 by

If you take the GRE and are not completely satisfied with your score, you may consider retaking the test.  Is doing so a great idea?  While every applicant is unique, and while every program has its own particular guidelines, there are a number of general factors to consider before deciding to take the test again to try to get a higher GRE score.

  1. Taking the GRE multiple times will not harm your chances of admission.  Last year, the ETS (the makers of the GRE) introduced a new feature for test-takers called ScoreSelect.  The introduction of this option allows test-takers to decide which test scores they’d like to send to schools.  In other words, if you take the test three times, you can choose which of those three test scores you’d like to send to the program or programs of your choice.  For more information , check out the test-maker’s
  2. Read full post

Efficient, Effective GRE Studying

January 27, 2014 by

We often post GRE practice problems for you to try on your own, and then follow up with answer explanations. In my experience as a Kaplan teacher, I’ve found that many students read through the explanations quickly and move on, missing out on the wealth of learning that can be had from thorough engagement with answer explanations. It’s my mission to help you make your GRE studying efficient and effective.

Here’s how to get the most out of every GRE practice problem that you try by using the answer explanation effectively.

  • Work through the problem using the answer explanation as your guide. Take as long as you need to understand the explanation fully. Ask questions – if it’s here on the blog, ask us in the comments. If you’re taking a Kaplan course, ask your teacher. If there are specific rules or strategies that you aren’t yet familiar with, make
  • Read full post

Beating the GRE with Practice

January 24, 2014 by

Interested in beating the GRE? Take a break from your whatever you are doing right now, and watch this video:

Baby Polar Bear Cub Takes First Adorable Steps

You’re welcome.

But why is this on a GRE blog? It’s not just because it’s cute, or even because so many places are freezing cold right now, and you might be wrapped up like you’re living in the Arctic.

It’s because, when I saw this, I was reminded that, as they say, “Every expert was once a beginner.”

So, incipient GRE preppers, though you may feel small and wobbly now, much like our neophyte friend the baby polar bear cub, you will (with practice) grow to be big and strong like the mighty polar bear:

Even if some of your study days feel like this:

Or this:

Keep at it, and keep a sense of humor about it. And keep cute polar … Read full post

Practice Your GRE Problem Solving Skills: The Solution

January 23, 2014 by

Tuesday’s practice problem was a tough one, there’s no way around it. If you haven’t tried it yet, give it a go. You may surprise yourself.

Now, let’s review.

GRE Problem Solving Practice

There are exactly three colors of socks in Lamont’s drawer: red, blue, and green. The current ratio of red to blue to green socks is 2:3:7. If Lamont were to purchase n new red socks, the new ratio of red to blue to green socks would be 8:9:21. If Lamont were to instead purchase n + 2 blue socks, the new ratio of red to blue to green socks would be 2:4:7. What is the value of n?

  • A) 4
  • B) 5
  • C) 6
  • D) 7
  • E) 8

The Explanation

We’ll attack this question by creating equations to express each of the relationships stipulated in the question stem. We can then use those equations to determine the … Read full post

How to Use Your GRE Practice Test Results

January 20, 2014 by

Congratulations on dedicating yourself to your GRE training!  Since you’re reading this blog entry, you’ve probably completed a really important step — taking your GRE diagnostic practice test and setting your baseline score. This is the most challenging GRE practice test that you will ever take, because it’s the last one that you will take without preparation (or, if you are a student enrolled in a Kaplan course, it’s the last one you will take without the Kaplan methods and strategies.) It will only get better from here, as you learn about and practice new skills and techniques to help you handle the kinds of questions that the GRE asks.

The diagnostic test is just what the name suggests. If you’re a psychology or nursing student, you’re very familiar with what it means to diagnose. This test is a diagnosis that will allow you to figure out the areas … Read full post

GRE 2013 – A Retrospective, Kaplan-Style

December 30, 2013 by

As 2013 draws to a close, let’s take a look back at some momentous events from this year. There was certainly no lack of “wow” moments from which we can all learn a lesson or two, whether we’re applying to grad school or quietly planning world domination:

Dream big.

In February, American scientists used a 3D printer to create a lab-grown ear from collagen and animal ear cell cultures. Similar ears could be potentially be grown to use as transplants in the future. Let’s repeat that: Science figured out how to print an ear. If that doesn’t inspire you to set lofty goals for your GRE and grad school path, then I don’t know what will.





Find your inspiration.

The royal baby was born this July, and while only time will tell whether he’s as attractive as his parents, he definitely gave people something to talk … Read full post

GRE MST Scoring: Adaptivity and Percentiles

December 19, 2013 by

Are you confounded by how the GRE is scored? If so, you are not alone. Recently, a student preparing for the GRE asked, “Is the percentile based on how well you do compared to everyone else who took the test on the same day you did? Or, is it just based on how many questions you get right in each section?”  

Scoring on the GRE is really complicated.  Neither way she described is the way the percentiles are derived. Remember, this is a multi-stage test (thus: MST). In the first set of 20 questions that count toward your score, the questions are at a mix of various difficulty levels in addition to a mix of different topics and types of questions. The mix of difficulty levels of the second set of questions (in the same area, Math or Verbal) depends on how many of the questions you got correct … Read full post

GRE Structure: How an MST Works

November 23, 2013 by

Since many of you have asked, we are happy to to share a video discussion of the basics of GRE MST scoring.

The GRE is unlike any test that most test-takers have ever seen. Not only is the GRE computer-based, but it also adapts to your performance as you progress throughout the sections – the better you do, the more difficult the test gets (and vice versa). The GRE algorithm isn’t quite as smart as the Matrix, but it does allow the test to get a lot of information about you using a relatively small number of questions.

For an introduction to how the GRE measures and adjusts to user performance, check out this video from Kaplan Executive Director Lee Weiss, on how the GRE Multi-Stage Test (or MST) works. You’ll learn:

  • How the difficulty level of the Verbal and Quantitative sections changes based on your demonstrated skill level.
  • How
  • Read full post

GRE Three Blank Text Completions Practice

November 21, 2013 by

Good job on our GRE Text Completions practice problem. If you haven’t tried it yet, take a couple of minutes right now to visit the original blog entry and try it on your own before reading the explanation. We’ll wait for you.

Jeopardy music

One of the first strategies to know and use for multi-blank text completions is the one that says that you don’t need to take them in any specific order. In fact, we train students in our Kaplan GRE courses to start with the easiest blank first. Which blank is easiest? The one that has the most context and is easiest for you to predict.

Here, the second blank follows directly from the clue “not only demeaning but…” – the word that goes in the blank must also be negative, and must follow from “demeaning.” Since you’ve read through the entire sentence first (yes, … Read full post

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