Nearly 1,000 official GRE practice problems are available for the revised exam. Four-hundred of these come with an interesting statistic attached: the percentage of test takers who got the problem right when it was on a real exam. Presumably, the lowest percentage would mark the hardest official practice problem. Two problems are tied for this distinction.Read More
GRE Reading Comprehension makes up about half of the Verbal section. Passages range from roughly 50 words to almost 500. Most (about 75%) are just a single paragraph that's under 150 words. Subjects include the arts, sciences, and humanities as well as a smattering of non-academic topics. You might think that longer passages or less familiar subjects (as, say, Physics might be to an English major) would yield tougher questions. But an analysis of official practice tests shows that question difficulty depends, as it should, on the level of comprehension a question demands.Read More
The GRE Quantitative section tests four areas of high school math: Arithmetic, Algebra, Geometry, and Data Analysis. Not all four are tested equally. Some of these concepts come up more often, and some tend to be more difficult. The frequency and difficulty of the "Big Four" on the GRE is probably similar to what's seen in official practice tests. After all, ETS has a reputation to maintain as a test prep provider, not just as a test maker. So an analysis of the official practice tests should give you a good idea of what to expect on the real exam.Read More
A sizable chunk of the GRE requires you to think critically about arguments. Half of Analytical Writing is the Analyze an Argument task, and about half of Verbal Reasoning is Reading Comprehension, a question type that often uses argument-based passages. Conveniently, you can prepare for Reading Comp and the Argument Task simultaneously using free (and modestly priced) practice material from ETS, maker of the exam. Other free, high-quality resources can sharpen your critical thinking skills, too. You just need to be open to supplementing your GRE prep materials with some real-world reading.Read More
Taking practice tests is a must when preparing for the GRE. Conveniently, ETS, maker of the exam, offers three free practice tests with answer keys. Unfortunately, none of them comes with explanations. We’ve stepped in to pick up some of the slack. Our GRE Free Help Area now features explanations for every Quantitative question on every version of the two practices tests in Powerprep II, the official GRE practice software!Read More
In the Analytical Writing section's "Analyze an Argument" task, you’ll critique a short argument that’s being made for or against some prediction (“profits will rise”), explanation (“genetics is the cause”), recommendation (“repeal the ban”), or other topic of debate. Your directions may be to ferret out hidden assumptions or to identify evidence that could help or hurt the argument. Either sort of analysis takes practice, and doing certain Reading Comprehension questions can help.Read More
GRE Reading Comprehension passages often present arguments. By argument, I don’t mean a messy quarrel. I mean an attempt to give reasons called premises in support of a (usually) novel or debatable claim called a conclusion. Analyzing arguments is a crucial skill for Reading Comp, and ETS, maker of the GRE, offers tons of free practice passages in the official pool of Argument topics for the Analytical Writing section.Read More
Symbolic functions on the GRE can easily cause confusion. When the average test taker sees one of these peculiar-looking problems, she may think to herself: "What does an upside down triangle mean?" or "Does a star inside of a circle mean multiply? I've never seen this in school!" True—the symbols will be unfamiliar. But the solutions will still amount to some pretty standard algebra.
Often, the challenge in the GRE Quantitative section isn't doing the math: it's knowing what math to do. One kind of GRE math question involves averages, but does not appear to be about averages at all! Consider an example:
Word problems notoriously cause students difficulty on the GRE. You'll see them often, especially in questions about percentages. Fortunately, those wordy percentage problems can be converted into easily managed math.