Using GRE Argument Topics to Prepare for Reading Comprehension

Posted by Ryan Born on

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.

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Topics: Verbal, GRE prep, Reading Comprehension, Analytical Writing

Free Official GRE Practice Besides Powerprep?

Posted by Ryan Born on

You probably know about Powerprep, the two free computer-based practice tests from ETS, maker of the GRE. You may not know about the Practice Book, the free paper-based practice test from ETS that comes in two editions. The two Practice Books have mostly the same questions as Powerprep, so they're not really distinct practice tests. But you can still use many of the Practice Book questions as practice exercises.

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Topics: Verbal, GRE prep, Quantitative

Official GRE Essay Practice: Score 6 vs. Score 5 on the Argument Task

Posted by Ryan Born on

ScoreItNow! is an online writing practice service from ETS, maker of the GRE. For US$20, you can write two responses to real Analytical Writing prompts and have them scored by e-rater, the automated essay scoring software used to check GRE essay scores assigned by human raters.

I signed up and wrote an Argument essay. The score e-rater returned fell within the range I expected—5 to 6—and the feedback I got covered grammar, mechanics, usage, and style, as well as development and organization. My essay's content wasn't evaluated, but sample essays were presented that gave me an idea of what constitutes a top-scoring analysis.

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Topics: GRE prep, Analytical Writing

Speed Reading for GRE Reading Comprehension?

Posted by Ryan Born on

The GRE is timed. So when it comes to Reading Comprehension, you might worry that reading speed is being tested, too. Speed does matter. But you don't need to be a speed reader to excel at GRE Reading Comp.

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Topics: GRE prep, Reading Comprehension

Powerprep II Verbal Answers and Explanations

Posted by Ryan Born on

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. The new PowerScore GRE Forum has explanations for every Verbal (and every Quantitative) question on every version of the two practice tests in Powerprep II, the official GRE practice software!

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Topics: Verbal, GRE prep

GRE Text Completion Challenge: Follow the Clues

Posted by Ryan Born on

GRE Text Completion gives you a sizable chunk of text to parse when you have multiple blanks to fill. Putting all the context clues together can be tricky, and any hard vocabulary that pops up, whether in the text or the answer choices, won't make your work any easier. Get some practice with this challenging three-blank question.

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Topics: Verbal, GRE prep, GRE Challenge

Real-World Prep for GRE Reading Comp & The Argument Essay

Posted by Ryan Born on

A sizable chunk of the GRE requires you to think 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.

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Topics: Verbal, GRE prep, Reading Comprehension, Analytical Writing

GRE Reading Comp Challenge: Weaken the Argument

Posted by Ryan Born on

GRE Reading Comp questions that make you think critically are rarely easy. In fact, some will be very hard. But others will be medium difficulty, like this week's "weaken the argument" question.

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Topics: Verbal, GRE prep, Reading Comprehension, GRE Challenge

GRE Geometry: Inscribed Squares Hide Right Triangles

Posted by Vicki Wood on

A square that fits snugly inside a circle is inscribed in the circle. The square's corners will touch, but not intersect, the circle's boundary, and the square's diagonal will equal the circle's diameter. Also, as is true of any square's diagonal, it will equal the hypotenuse of a 45°-45°-90° triangle. GRE questions about squares inscribed in circles are really questions about the hypotenuse of this hidden right triangle.

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Topics: GRE prep, Quantitative

GRE Arithmetic: Breaking Down Complex Fractions

Posted by Vicki Wood on

Complex fractions are made up of one or more other fractions. For instance, a complex fraction could have ½ as its numerator or ¾ as its denominator—or both! You probably haven't thought much about complex fractions since elementary or primary school. After all, the further you get in your education, the more you get to lean on your calculator. But when the GRE hits you with a complex fraction full of variables, your calculator won't help. You'll have to get back to basics and simplify that fraction.

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Topics: GRE prep, Quantitative