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
Last year, I wrote a series of entries about the critical reasoning problems that were recently added to the GRE. Since it’s been a while, let’s revisit that question type — and check out another aspect of critical thinking that confounds many of you.
Here’s a type of problem that’s caused no end of consternation to a lot of my students:
Residents of this state are obligated to renew their driver’s license in two circumstances only: if they accumulate six or more points in moving violations, or if they obtain citizenship in another country. Clarice, who is a citizen of only this country, has been involved in only one accident, which added three points to her license. Therefore, Clarice has no reason to renew her driver’s license at this time.
The argument above depends on which of the following assumptions?
I’m not going to show you the answer choices … Read full post
In this entry and in this one, I discussed two patterns of reasoning that can help you unravel tough problems in GRE reading comprehension. Today our logical journey continues with a look at a classic GRE reasoning flaw of a more quantitative bent: confusing numbers with percentages.
Here’s a silly argument that showcases the flaw nicely:
Common wisdom holds that crossing the street at a corner is safer than jaywalking (that is, crossing in the middle). But annual statistics show that many more pedestrians are hit by cars while crossing at a corner than while jaywalking. Hence, our common intuition is wrong: pedestrians who jaywalk are actually safer than those who don’t.
Are you convinced? I sure hope not, because if so you’ve just dramatically decreased your life expectancy. This argument supports a claim about safety — which is a matter of percentages — with evidence that deals in … Read full post
When asked recently for a student success story, I immediately thought of Heather (not her actual name). Like a sizable portion of students who come to Kaplan, Heather had already taken the GRE after preparing on her own, and her scores were not high enough. She was a senior in college, with a hefty course load and a time-consuming job in her field that required a lot of travel.
Right from the start of class, Heather and I were in frequent email contact, figuring out how she should structure her study time so she could take her test a couple weeks after the end of a twice a week class. She was a diligent, goal-oriented student.
Her Test Day came, and she fell short of the scores she needed to be considered for the grad program she wanted. Her math score was a little over what she needed, but her … Read full post
Recently a reader asked me to post about strategies for long Reading Comprehension passages and Bolded Statement questions. (Mohamed also asked about vocab strategies, which I will discuss soon. Be sure to see previous vocabulary-related posts from my Kaplan colleagues.)
The Kaplan New GRE Verbal Workbook includes a chapter devoted to Reading Comprehension, as well as sets of practice questions and additional resources. One of these resources is a list of additional tips for tackling the Reading Comprehension section, including Bolded Statements questions. These tips are found on pages 78-80, and I’m going to borrow from them here.
There are differences between real-world reading and reading GRE passages is that on the GRE:
- On Test Day, you don’t care about the facts in the passage — you only care about ideas. A passage might tell you that the character Superman first appeared in 1938. You don’t care what year
So, you are preparing yourself for the GRE and you need to add some egghead words to your prodigiousand more commonly utilized line-up of text-speak, pop culture jargon, and 4-letter expletives (hey, studying for the GRE can be stressful!) Certainly, you are aware that there are tools for such a task to be found on many websites – Kaplan, of course, includes in our course offerings many effective means to increase and enrich your vocabulary.
Additionally, reading novels and certain newspapers and magazines (the ones that don’t cater to a fifth-grade reading level – all apologies to USA Today and People magazine, which are just fine for their purpose of informing and entertaining) will aid you in realizing heretofore unexplored words. However, perhaps even better fodder for the acquisition of headier, grad-level words can be found by examining trade journals and works of non-fiction. Try delving into the … Read full post
“Alright, I know how to read – what more to it can there possibly be?
“Almost all of the answer choices in the Reading Comp section seem like they could be correct – it’s hopeless…”
If you haven’t uttered one of the above statements about the GRE’s Reading Comp questions, then you are probably somewhere in the spectrum between these two attitudes of naively confident and unduly uncertain.
Indeed, you will need to know how to read – but your present activity proves that you are in check with that prerequisite…
So, testing more than just your ability to discern words from groups of letters, the GRE attempts to assess your ability to think critically and read strategically – with purpose. Moreover, the Reading Comp passages and their corresponding questions are measuring your analytical skills as they are performed under time constraints. Specifically, how well can you determine the … Read full post
Ahh… logic. If math had a sister, it would probably be physics, but if it had a third cousin twice removed on the verbal side of the family, it would have to be logic! So why are we talking about logic on a GRE blog, you ask? Well, other than it being one of my random obsessions, logic is one of the new things coming to the GRE on August 1.
Oh, you haven’t heard about that yet? I should back up and start at the beginning then…
Reading Comprehension on the GRE has traditionally been similar to that on other standardized tests. You may remember the staple question types, such as Global, Detail, and Inference questions, to name a few. Well-honed passage mapping techniques make the process for answering such questions fairly routine. In fact, if you’re like me, you may have found your brain on autopilot as you … Read full post
Back when I was teaching the GMAT and the GRE extensively, one of the questions my students would constantly ask me is “why do we have to take this [insert colorful word] test anyway?” Their despair and frustration was evident in the question—I want to be a management consultant, for heaven’s sake, they seemed to say, why am I studying exponents? While I believed very strongly that the admissions tests were indeed relevant and always said so, I lacked the real-world business school examples to back up my claims. Until now.
After less than a semester of business school, the following GMAT/GRE topics have already proven indispensable to my success:
1) Fractions: Oh yes, it’s third-grade math back to haunt you! Specific example? In Accounting, we study various financial ratios that determine the health of the business. For instance, the current ratio, a measure of solvency, … Read full post
Asiatic lions are easily lost amid the trees as they move stealthily through India’s Gir Forest National Park. Similarly, the correct answers for Global questions are often missed if test-takers focus too closely on distracting details. Happily, just as zoologists have learned how to track these beautiful creatures, you too can find success in identifying the right answer on Test Day.
To begin, Global questions always ask about the Reading Comprehension passage as a whole and use wording like, “primary purpose,” “primarily concerned with,” and “main idea.” Since the correct answer must reflect the main idea of the entire passage, you can immediately eliminate any answer choices that refer only to one paragraph out of the entire passage, since they are … Read full post