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.
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
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.
- Determined when you want to apply to school?
- Familiarized yourself with GRE® questions through the Kaplan 20-Minute Workout?
- Selected your target programs?
- Taken a Kaplan practice test for the GRE at kaptest.com/GREPTVid?
- Figured out how you’ll finance your degree?
- Prepared for the GRE?
- Taken the GRE and secured the score you need?
- Started your application essays?
- Submitted your applications?
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
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
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
Recently, I took on the challenge of writing some sample GRE Analytical Writing essays to serve as models for our courses. Frankly, I didn’t think this would be a particularly difficult assignment. After all, barely a week goes by in which I don’t teach students how to write at least one of the two types of essay. In addition, I’ve graded hundreds of them in the course of my years teaching at Kaplan. Piece of cake, right?
Well, maybe not. First of all, I spent an inordinate amount of time procrastinating getting started. Could I find 30 straight minutes when I could be sure of being uninterrupted? What word processing software could I use to simulate what is found at the testing center? What should I use as a timer? How could I choose an essay prompt at random without risking seeing it for more than the allotted time? … 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
What does it mean to be fluent? We most often hear about the notion of fluency on the subject of languages. Those out there whom are lucky enough to have been raised speaking more than one language are likely fluent in both (i.e., you/they can effortlessly switch between the languages, and are just as comfortable speaking/writing/thinking in one as the other). All of us are fluent in at least one language, though, so each of us has an intrinsic understanding of what true fluency is. Nonetheless, here are a few definitions:
1. able to speak or write smoothly, easily, or readily
2. easy; graceful
3. flowing, as a stream
4. the property of a person or of a system that delivers information quickly and with expertise
Have any or all of the following questions boiled up into your brain during your consideration of attending grad school or even as you enter into the early stages of GRE preparation?
How does the GRE purport to properly assess my potential for grad school success – and what in great Odin’s raven is Item Response Theory (IRT)?
All alliteration (and potentially flummoxing vocabulary) aside, the truth is that, once you’ve made the decision to garner admittance to graduate school and the wise decision to prepare for success on the GRE, none of these concerns matter much at all.
That’s why they call ‘em “Standardized”…
Ahh… June is finally here. I just love this time of year! The sun shines brightly, the days are longer and warmer, the new GRE will be here in two months, and the birds… wait, hold on, what?! The new GRE will be here in two months?! You heard correctly—it will be here indeed. Most folks looking to squeeze in a last-minute application to graduate school will be clamoring for one of the few remaining spots to take the current GRE, but what if you’re different? What if you revel in the idea of trying something new? What if hurtling head-first into danger is your idea of fun? (Oh, if that is your idea of fun, I’m learning how to drive and could use a passenger for practice… )
Trompe l’oeil is a term from the art world that refers to perspectival illusionism—literally, “to fool the eye.” On the GRE, you may notice questions that use this technique, starting with a highly solvable problem but then trying to distract the test-taker into ignoring information that makes the solution accessible.
Here’s a great example of this sort of test question:
Although the entire question is written in the same font, many test-takers will see it more like this:
If x + 2y = 30, then [SCREAMINGLY HORRIBLE, MUST FIND COMMON DENOMINATOR, ARGH!!!] =
and won’t even notice that there are answer choices.
The clever test-taker will force herself to focus on exactly the parts of the test question that are most easy to ignore, first seeing the problem this way:
If x + 2y = 30, … Read full post