# No Pain, No Gain: Mastering The GRE Takes Guts

April 24, 2014 by

This 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

# 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

• 10 –

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.

• Always read the instructions carefully.The

# An Easier Approach to GRE Combination and Permutation Problems

April 7, 2014 by

“Paula is selecting some books from a collection of seven books. How many different groups of four books can Paula select?”

Does seeing a question like this fill you with dread and anxiety? If you’re like most GRE students, there’s a good chance that it does. Questions that ask you to determine the number of groups that can be selected from a larger group, or that ask you to determine the number of ways a smaller group of entities can be arranged, are called GRE Combination and Permutation problems. If you’ve been studying for the GRE, you know these problems. For many students, these questions seem extremely difficult, if not impossible.

Well, I have good news: these questions aren’t actually all that difficult. What’s difficult, for many students, is memorizing large, convoluted formulas like this:

$_{n}\textrm{c}{_{r}}&space;=&space;\frac{n!}{r!&space;(n-r)!}$

Now, formulas are certainly valuable, and they serve an important service: by memorizing the formula, Read full post

# Grad School: When is the Right Time to Go?

March 21, 2014 by

When is the right time to go to grad school?

# The Vernal Equinox is for GRE Vocab and Study Tips

March 20, 2014 by

Today is the Vernal Equinox in the northern hemisphere. This marks the beginning of spring, which is a great time for change and celebration – and for us to share some GRE vocab and study tips.

#### Vernal Vocab

Vernal means of, relating to, or occurring in the spring. (For totally geeky fun, check out uses of the word vernal in classic literature - get extra reading comprehension practice if you click “Go To Page” next to any of the sentences and read more of the text.)

The word equinox is derived from the Latin aequus (equal) and nox (night), because around the equinox, night and day are about equal length.

#### Springtime Studies

When we think of the spring, we think of new beginnings. The trees and flowers are waking up (for better or worse, where allergy sufferers are concerned), the birds and frogs start singing again, and we’ve got new, … Read full post

# We Treat You To Some GRE Tricks

October 31, 2013 by

Hey, nice costume! You must be dressed up as a tired, overworked GRE student who has been re-learning all of your important GRE Geometry formulas and going through dozens of GRE vocab flash cards every night. Oops, you’ve got toilet paper stuck to your shoe.

Since you showed up looking so frightful, we’re obliged to return the favor by treating you to some GRE tricks. Did you know that the test is designed to assess your critical thinking skills? Here’s a secret: whenever you see a problem that looks impossibly long, tedious, or difficult to calculate, there’s most likely a strategic shortcut that you can use to get you through.

Treat #1:

This Timing Trick for GRE Quantitative Comparisons

Learn how to outsmart your competition by using a strategic approach to this QC problem, and save time and effort on test day. Yum, this is even more delicious than scoring … Read full post

June 27, 2012 by

Everyone has a different timeline when it comes to applying to graduate school, but the to-dos are consistent across applicants.

At this point, it’s time for you—and us—to take stock of your progress and determine your next steps. Here’s a quick checklist to assess where you are in the process.

Have you…

If you checked all of them, our congratulations—you’re well on your way to graduate school.

If you’re not done with the GRE, then it’s time to get started. We’ve got free resources to support you … Read full post

November 16, 2011 by

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

# Don’t Argue with the GRE, Stay Level-Headed and Earn Points Instead!

October 5, 2011 by

One of the most destructive habits I see among students is the tendency of some of them to argue with the test. I don’t mean to judge: we’ve all been there. You’re rockin’ some readin’ comp, cruisin’ along, and suddenly the choice you picked is wrong because of one measly word or one measly line in the passage. As for the correct choice, well, you could have sworn it was wrong, and the linguistic contortions by which it’s proven correct seem nothing short of magecraft and witchery. You cry, “That’s a load of horse whiskers!” (Only I’m probably the only person who actually cries that.)

If arguing with the test is a habit you succumb to violently and often — if it’s commonplace for you to lose yourself fuming and roiling, convincing yourself that the test makers are idiots and that your answer is right and their answer is … Read full post

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