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.
If you see a square inscribed in a circle on the GRE, the test makers are assessing your knowledge of 45:45:90 triangles.
What? Huh? The question is about squares and circles, not triangles! Listen closely, my GRE cohorts: Hidden triangles are often the key to solving the most difficult geometry questions.
Let’s look at an example of an inscribed square problem:
You’ve probably been leaning on your calculator for so long that you’ve forgotten what a complex fraction even is.
ETS likes to reach way back into your math history to gather concepts you learned in elementary school (remainders, anyone?). The more years that have passed since you mastered an operation, the more likely that operation will appear (and cause panic) on the GRE. Among the most anxiety-inducing concepts are complex fractions—those that have a separate fraction in the numerator and/or denominator:
Geometry accounts for a sizable portion of the math questions on the GRE. Since triangles are the most commonly tested geometric figure, it’s important to know the tricks and traps set by ETS when facing a three-sided figure.Read More
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: ETS tests the same concepts, over and over and over again. Test experts are able to become test experts for that very reason—there is a finite amount of material one needs to learn in order to master the GRE. If you study a few dozen tests and find these predictable patterns, you could be an expert, too.