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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

10 Great Things About Studying For the GRE

December 31, 2013 by

One of the best things about the end of the year is all the great countdown lists. Check out our highlights as we prepare to say goodbye to 2013 and hello to 2014.

10 Great Things About Studying for the GRE:

#10: Vocab flash cards!

#9 : You’ve been wanting to revisit high school math because it was SO much fun the first time.

#8: You have the fanciest vocabulary of all your friends…

#7: Pi, the Pythagorean Theorem…those Geometry details that you actually remember.

#6: Your inbox is never lonely – you get the Kaplan GRE Free Question of the Day

#5: Nerdy GRE memes like this and this.

#4: You always wondered what laconic meant. Now that you know, you’re keeping quiet about it. (See what we did there?)

#3: The muscles you’re building from carrying around your GRE prep books.

2: It’s a … Read full post

Quiz Yourself on GRE Reading Comprehension: Free Practice Questions – The Explanations

December 20, 2013 by

Previously, we gave you some practice questions to try using a GRE Reading Comprehension passage that we had analyzed and mapped out. Now that you’ve had a chance to try the questions on your own, take a look at the full explanations. How did you do? Tell us in the comments!

The passage primarily

  • A – focuses on the techniques that Shirley Jackson used in her fiction
  • B – argues that Shirley Jackson used her fiction for social criticism
  • C – discusses Shirley Jackson’s relationship to Flannery O’Connor
  • D – lists the types of characters Shirley Jackson used in her short stories
  • E – argues that Shirley Jackson condescends to her readers

Correct choice: (A)

Explanation: The question asks you what the passage primarily does, so look for what it does most—i.e. what takes up the most space. The passage initially discusses Jackson’s varied body of work, but don’t … Read full post

Quiz Yourself on GRE Reading Comprehension: Free Practice Questions

December 18, 2013 by

Previously, we analyzed this GRE Reading Comprehension passage and pulled out the main ideas in order to get a high-level understanding of what the author is doing in the passage. Now that we have a map of our passage, we can answer questions and earn GRE points. Let’s review the passage and map first:

Although Shirley Jackson is perhaps best known for her macabre short stories and novels, she was, in fact, a master of several genres and a prolific and varied writer, composing essays, autobiographies, and magazine articles as well as fiction. While Jackson had a vast literary repertoire, however, she tended to use the same types of fictional elements in her stories.

For example, like Flannery O’Connor, another writer renowned for her dissection of genteel society, Jackson often paired hyper-realistic settings with surreal polts to expose the dark underside of Middle America. Many of her stories took place … Read full post

GRE Reading Comprehension: Passage Analysis Tips

December 12, 2013 by

What are your feelings on GRE Reading Comprehension? Good, bad, or indifferent, this is an important question type to master for success on the GRE verbal section. If you haven’t yet tried our GRE practice passage, take a look at it now and take a few minutes to answer the questions that we posted along with it. They are the questions you should work through each time you break down a reading comp passage.

Now, let’s talk analysis.

  • The TOPIC of this passage, or the broad main idea, is Shirley Jackson’s fiction. GRE passages don’t contain a lot of filler, so you usually see the gist of the topic emerge in the first paragraph, if not in the first sentence.
  • The SCOPE of the passage is a more detailed focus within the topic. In this passage, the scope is Jackson’s fictional techniques and how they illustrate her message. The
  • Read full post

Discover GRE Reading Comprehension: Passage Analysis

December 11, 2013 by

It’s always a good time to do some GRE Reading Comprehension practice. Our blog series will provide you with a GRE reading comp passage, and we’ll walk through it step-by-step to allow you to practice and get answers and explanations at each stage. First, we’ll break down this passage before moving on some practice questions. Let’s get started!

Although Shirley Jackson is perhaps best known for her macabre short stories and novels, she was, in fact, a master of several genres and a prolific and varied writer, composing essays, autobiographies, and magazine articles as well as fiction. While Jackson had a vast literary repertoire, however, she tended to use the same types of fictional elements in her stories.

For example, like Flannery O’Connor, another writer renowned for her dissection of genteel society, Jackson often paired hyper-realistic settings with surreal plots to expose the dark underside of Middle America. Many of … Read full post

News from ETS: Who Actually Takes the GRE?

December 4, 2013 by

ETS, the test-maker behind the GRE, recently released a new “Snapshot of the Individuals Who Took the GRE”. With data about the more than 530,000 unique test-takers who took the exam between July 2012 and June 2013, the report breaks down the testing population by age, gender, nationality, and many other factors.

The key takeaways from the report include:

  • Non-U.S. citizens now account for almost one third (32%) of test-takers. The most common place to take the GRE outside of the U.S. was Asia (22% of tests were administered there). Among Asian test-takers, 44% were from India, and 39% were from China.
  • While test-takers who are U.S. citizens are more likely to be women (58% female vs 35% male), the international percentage of test-takers is disproportionately male (59% male vs 40% female). Overall, women account for 52% of the worldwide testing population.

Free GRE Vocab Comic: Melee

December 3, 2013 by

Here’s a reminder for how to learn your GRE vocab: use it in your daily conversations. Instead of telling someone that you saw a fight at the mall, tell them, “The melee over the last toy on the shelf got serious last week during the Black Friday sales. I think someone lost a tooth!”

For more context, check out these uses of the word melee in classic literature. (Extra Reading Comp credit if you click “Go To Page” next to any of the sentences and read more of the text!)

Check out these GRE Vocab Flash Cards to find more words worth knowing for the GRE, and take a look at our previous blog entries on vocab to see comics, videos, and other fun learning tools. As always, you’re welcome to join one of our free GRE practice tests to determine your strengths and opportunities on the test and … Read full post

Grad School at Bard College: A Liberal, Creative Approach Towards Education

December 2, 2013 by

Located along the Hudson River in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York, Bard College fosters a love for learning and liberal arts. The college is a cultural institution, and prides itself on being a “place to think.”

School Stats and Facts

  • Bard College has 320 currently enrolled graduate students.
  • The University costs students an average of $44,798 in tuition and extra fees associated with class schedules.
  • The campus is spread across 500 acres of parks and woodlands and sits between the Hudson River and the Catskill Mountains.
  • The average GPA among students is 3.5.
  • The MBA program will accept either GRE or GMAT scores.
  • The school has a high acceptance rate for students. The average acceptance rate is 80% of students who apply to the graduate school.

Student Culture

Bard College is mainly known as a private liberal arts school, but its recent introduction of an MBA in Sustainability keeps students focused on … Read full post

GRE: You Asked, We Answered

November 24, 2013 by

GRE students often have questions about the logistics of when and how often to take the GRE. Today, we’ve compiled your most common questions and enlisted the animals of the Internet to help answer them.

Common question #1: What’s a good GRE score?

GRE scores vary widely by program and field, so there is actually no standard GRE score that is considered “good” – it will be specific to you. To set your target score, research your goal programs’ average scores, and aim to be in the 75th percentile. Remember: The higher your GRE scores, the more likely you are to get merit aid in addition to acceptances.

Common question #2: How long are my scores good for?

While no one knows exactly how long Longcat is, we do know how long your GRE scores are good for: 5 years. So even if you’re not planning to apply to grad … Read full post

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