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The Chronicles of Fear, Part IV: The Shadow of Doubt

April 13, 2011 by

Ahh . . . the year 2000. How I miss the old days. I was young, fit, and a being to be admired! Okay fine, I was younger, in slightly better shape, and still not much to look at. But hey, it’s my story, so I get to tell it how I want! Anyway, those were the days when I could do two dozen chin-ups (give or take a dozen) without breaking a sweat. But these days, I’d be lucky if I could manage two. And if I were to do four in one go, I would still feel like a disappointment. What’s wrong with me? Why am I incapable of matching and exceeding my former self?

As a future GRE test-taker, you may be well-acquainted with that feeling of inadequacy. While the GRE doesn’t task you with proving your physical prowess (unless you count ripping your hair out and … Read full post

Confessions of a First-Year B-School Student: Soft Skills

April 11, 2011 by

Walking into the Orientation Weekend that started my business school experience, my biggest source of worry (outside of loan repayment, of course) was my lack of “official” business training. In 6+ years of full-time employment, I’d done a lot of on-the-job learning and personal research about things like management, budgeting, hiring and human resources, and so on, but I had absolutely zero in the way of formal learning. My undergraduate degree is in psychology with a double major in music performance, of all things—not exactly the kind of background that prepares you to join a b-school program replete with investment bankers and future venture capitalists, or so I thought. How could I possibly compete in classes like Introduction to Financial Accounting, The Global Economy, and Firms & Markets? Would I be, for the first time in my academic life, behind the curve?

Well, like so many sources of worry, this … Read full post

The Chronicles of Fear, Part III: Location, Location, Location

April 6, 2011 by

I still remember it like it was yesterday. The fear I felt when I got there. The humiliation I felt afterward. The hope in my dad’s eyes. The disappointment he must’ve felt after. How could I screw up so badly after so much practice? My brain knew the answer, but my body had its own plans. That day, I felt like a complete failure.

Wait, what? GRE? Failure? Don’t worry—I wasn’t recounting my GRE Test Day experience, I was reminiscing about my first spelling bee in third grade. It was many years ago, and I was the most excited third grader you could find. Spelling was always an interest of mine, and this was supposed to be my first chance to show off my prowess in front of an audience. From the day I was picked to represent my class, I practiced for hours on end. While other kids … Read full post

GRE Word Roots: Gaining PERspective

March 21, 2011 by

English is funny, isn’t it?And in a lot of ways.Like, why do we park on driveways and drive on parkways?How in the world can inflammable and flammable mean the same thing?And why does no food soar skyward when we eat something up?

Today, we’re focusing on that last question.Sure, English is funny sometimes, but it’s not unique.That up is a particle that serves to intensify the verb.It doesn’t actually mean “up”; it means something more like “completely.”Intensive particles are used in many, many (I hesitate to say “all,” but would bet money it’s darn near close) languages, and it’s their presence in Latin that will help us on Test Day.

We’ve discussed several times that word roots are the quickest way to a giant vocabulary with which to destroy the GRE Verbal section, but I’m sure you’ve noticed during the course of your studies that sometimes everything doesn’t … Read full post

Divide . . . and Conquer

March 9, 2011 by

Fractions, fractions everywhere! Pizzas get cut into 8 slices, soda comes in 6-packs, automobile tires are needed in sets of 4, and—since we recently passed Valentine’s Day—lovers come in pairs of 2. With so many things getting “fractioned” in the world, it must go without saying that everyone loves fractions! No? Not everyone? Okay . . . most people love fractions! Still no? Some people maybe? Almost no one? Just me?! Hmm . . . that’s awkward . . . well, why don’t we discuss them then?

From as early as middle school, I can remember fractions bothering many of my fellow classmates. Sure, they were only made up of numbers, but that mystical fraction bar thing had plenty of folks confused. And when the denominator (that’s the bottom number, for those of you who may be a bit rusty!) gets large, the possibility of fainting increases exponentially. (Hey, one … Read full post

Climbing the Factor Tree to Pick the Prime Fruit

March 7, 2011 by

While making a factor tree may certainly bring back some fond (or not-so-fond) memories of grammar school, it has the added bonus of bringing a powerful weapon to the already strong arsenal of any GRE student.As any Kaplan GRE Expert will attest to, the Quantitative section of the GRE is a test of concepts, not numbers.And it is a psychological test, as well – the testmakers like to intimidate the rookie test-taker with large, unmanageable-looking numbers.But there is always a method to their madness, a reason for selecting the specific numbers they do.

First, we should review the basics of how to find prime factors . . . using a garden-variety factor tree whose fruit is composed of the essence of any positive non-prime integer.Suppose we want to find the prime factors of 60:

We can start with any two factors of 60 that are each less than 60 but … Read full post

So, you’ve taken a Kaplan GRE practice test. Now what?

February 16, 2011 by

Congratulations on taking a critical step toward GRE success by taking a Kaplan GRE practice test! Whether you take your first GRE practice test as a student in one of our Kaplan GRE courses, or you sign up for one of our free Kaplan practice tests, the experience of taking a full-length practice GRE is an important first step on your journey to mastering the GRE. If you would like to take a free practice test, you can enroll to take one either through our Kaplan Classroom Anywhereplatform (I’ll be excited to see you there if I’m your presenter!) or in a city near you. So many potential future graduate students walk into the real GRE without going through this experience, so it can be a real leg up – at no expense to you other than a couple hours of your time.

This first practice test … Read full post

Learn about the New GRE: Big Change #1—The Type of Test

December 8, 2010 by

The GRE General Test has not changed much since 2002, when the Analytical Ability section was replaced with the Analytical Writing Assessment. In 2007, the GRE testmaker planned to make a number of big changes to the GRE, but abandoned those plans several months prior to implementation. However, in August 2011, it appears that the most sweeping changes in the history of the GRE will be put into effect.

I’d like to introduce you to one of the many big changes that are coming to the GRE: the type of test you’ll take.

Prior to August 2011, the GRE is a Computer Adaptive Test—a CAT. This means that the test adapts to your performance at the question level. Here’s how the current GRE works:

• Each time you begin a section, the first question you see will be of medium difficulty. Answer this question correctly, and your score … Read full post

Using the Answer Choices: Think, Don’t Solve

November 29, 2010 by

One way the testmaker achieves the goal of making questions in the high difficulty ranges is through a combination of little-tested topics and intimidatingly complex answer choices.

Consider a rather typical “combined work” problem:

Mark can build a bookcase in 5 hours. Kevin can build an identical bookcase in 7 hours. How long would it take for the two of them, working together at these same rates, to build both bookcases?

Well, sure, there is a formula for solving combined work problems. But let’s be honest here: you have quite a few formulas and math facts to memorize and understand in order to be successful on the GRE. The combined work formula should be waaaaay down on your priority list.

But wait! This doesn’t mean you give up on the problem. First, look at the answer choices:

(A) 2 hours 55 minutes
(B) 4 hours 45 minutes
(C) 5 … Read full post

Word Roots, Part II: Double Vision

November 24, 2010 by

Word roots can be sneaky. Like, really sneaky. Like PLAIN. SIGHT. SNEAKY.

Now that I either have your attention or have lost it forever, let me direct your attention to the word attention. Double t. Huh. Okay, pause that.

I know that sometimes the vocabulary the GRE employs can be a source of suffering for — hold on. Double f? Pause on that, too.

What I’m trying to say is that it can be tough to acclimate to the — gee whiz! Double c? What is going on?

Take a look at attention. How can we break this up? Where does on root end and another begin? Is it just one piece? Let me ask you this: have you ever seen a word in ANY language outside of Star Trek that starts with a double t? You haven’t. But you HAVE found the seam in this word.

See, our mouths … Read full post

 

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