Posted by on 9/17/2015

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.

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Topics: GRE prep, Quantitative

Posted by on 9/9/2015

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.

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

Posted by on 9/2/2015

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!

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Topics: GRE prep, Quantitative

Posted by on 8/26/2015

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.

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

Posted by on 8/20/2015

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

Posted by on 8/5/2015

Sometimes the challenge in GRE Quant isn't doing the math; it's knowing what math to do.

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Topics: GRE prep, Quantitative

Posted by on 7/29/2015

Percentage questions on the GRE often use words and phrases in place of mathematical operators and expressions. To find the answers, just translate the relevant English into the required math. Call this solution strategy translation.

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Topics: GRE prep, Quantitative

Posted by on 7/22/2015

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

Posted by on 7/15/2015

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

Posted by on 6/24/2015

This is our last post in the "Gearing up for Grad School" series, and we hope you've learned a lot over the past 10 weeks! For our final installment, we're talking about grad school application interviews.

Unless you're applying to medical school or business school, it is fairly unlikely that a formal interview will be part of the application process. However, you should be prepared for one in the event that one does come up (as can be the case with highly competitive programs), or if the school allows you to request an interview (an opportunity you should take advantage of, if possible).

Acing an interview can be boiled down to three things:

  1. Being prepared.
  2. Being enthusiastic.
  3. Being yourself.

Let's talk about each of them in a little more detail.

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Topics: Grad School Admissions