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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

ReKap: What is a Good GRE Score?

November 21, 2013 by

We’ve discussed this hot topic before, but it bears revisiting: You’re prepping for the GRE, so one of your first questions is bound to be, “What is a good GRE score?” One of your next questions is sure to be, “How do I get a good GRE score?” (For tips on how to raise your score, check out our free GRE classes and events online.)

Quite simply, a good GRE score is one that gets you into the graduate program of your choice.

I’m going to give you more detail, of course, but that’s the simplest, most straightforward answer to your burning question.

For starters, here is what you need to know:

The GRE is scored on a 130–170 scale in each section. This relatively small range of possible scores means that small improvements in performance can increase your score quite a bit. It also means that small improvements … Read full post

GRE Reading Comprehension Practice…With Spelt?

November 19, 2013 by


Let’s practice GRE Reading Comprehension. First, read the passage. When you’re done, jot down a brief paraphrase of the main idea of the passage before going on to the practice questions. Share your answers in the comments, and we’ll post a blog entry with the full explanations in two days. Take your time here, and be sure to use the information in the passage and your passage notes to choose your answers carefully. Good luck!

Spelt is a type of wheat that served as a staple in European diets from the Bronze Age until well into the Middle Ages. Although considered the food of peasants for centuries, spelt has recently received attention as a healthier alternative to other grains, including common wheat. More easily digestible than ordinary wheat or other grains, spelt is also thought to be less likely to cause allergic reactions in individuals who cannot digest … Read full post

Grad School Profile: Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island

November 18, 2013 by

Located in Providence, Rhode Island, Brown University was founded on religious principles, but it was the first university to accept students regardless of religious affiliation. Today, the school puts an emphasis on life sciences and the practical areas of business, and education.

Quick Facts and Figures

  • The Brown graduate school and colleges have 1,700 full-time students enrolled.
  • Tuition to attend one year in graduate school is $43,758 for in-state students.
  • The gender ratio is almost split in half with 52% female population and 48% male.
  • The average GPA for students in graduate school is between 3.6, and the average GRE score is 1300 reported on the old scale (Check the ETS concordance table to convert to the new scale.)
  • Job acceptance and placement after graduation from Brown is a reported 65%.
  • The university has several prominent alumni including John D. Rockefeller and Charles Hughes.

Student Culture

Brown UniversityRead full post

The Procrastinator: Giddyup

November 15, 2013 by

Do you find yourself getting distracted? Do random thoughts…hey, I need to go pick up my dry cleaning!


Do random thoughts set you off on a path of YouTube searches and Facebook creeping, and suddenly it’s five hours later and you haven’t done your scheduled GRE studying for the day? It happens to the best of us. Here are a couple of suggestions to avoid distraction. Please help us out by adding your best practices to the list:

  1. Go to the library to study. They don’t have a TV to watch or a bed to nap in.
  2. Partner up with a study buddy. Even if you’re not feeling motivated or focused, your study buddy can help get you back on track.
  3. Make your study plans realistic. You’ll be more likely to sit down and focus if you have planned a 30 minute study session than if you’re trying to
  4. Read full post


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