There's an aphorism attributed to Laozi, father of Taoism: "A journey of a thousand miles starts under one's feet."

I could certainly apply this wisdom to doing my dishes, cleaning my house, filing my taxes, or writing a blog post. However, while this dusty old saw might strike you as clichéd, it is clichéd by dint of its truth and is applicable to preparation for the GRE.

Now that you're enthusiastic about embarking on this journey, cracking the books, and putting in the effort to succeed at the GRE, your next question might be: "So how exactly am I supposed to begin?"

Assuming that you've taken a practice test and have a pretty good gauge of where you are and where you want to be, many might suggest borrowing a prep book from the library, hiring a tutor, or registering for a course. All these are reasonable strategies depending on your personality and learning style, but especially if you intend to pursue a GRE class or private tutoring, I would like to emphasize one strategy for ensuring you get the most out of this structured instruction.

Topics: GRE prep, Quantitative

Have you ever seen this formula?What about this one?These are combinatorial formulas, used to solve counting problems, and if you’ve been preparing for the GRE, you might be familiar with them as the formulas for permutations and combinations, two of the most misunderstood and most fun concepts tested in the Quantitative Reasoning section.

Educators are communicators, so top Education schools tend to see a lot of strong GRE Verbal scores. What about Quant scores? Take a look at the Math scores for Education programs ranked in the top 25 from the latest U.S. News Best Grad Schools.

Engineering is a math-heavy discipline. Unsurprisingly, high GRE Quant scores abound among Engineering grad students. Take a look at the scores for Engineering programs ranked in the top 25 in the latest U.S. News Best Grad Schools.

GRE algebra can get weird sometimes. Strange markings like    or    will appear in equations that otherwise use ordinary operators like  +  and  . Unusual symbols in GRE Quant are the hallmark of symbolic functions—pairings of inputs and outputs that, as it turns out, are connected by some pretty standard math.

Topics: GRE prep, Quantitative

The GRE Quantitative section tests four areas of pre-college 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 practice tests and exercises from ETS, maker of the GRE. After all, ETS has a reputation to maintain as a test prep provider, not just as a test developer. So an analysis of official practice materials should give you a good idea of what to expect on the exam.

Topics: GRE prep, Quantitative

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.

Topics: Verbal, GRE prep, Quantitative

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.

Topics: GRE prep, Quantitative

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.