GRE Seminars Summary and Recap

GRE prep

Working Hard-1.jpgTHANK YOU!

To everyone who attended our series of GRE Seminars, we would like to extend our gratitude for making the project a success, and to those who signed up but could not attend, we hope you find the recordings helpful. Whether or not you attended, we would like to provide a summary of some of the key points from these seminars to help you progress with your GRE preparation. 

These seminars were designed to cover some of the fundamentals of GRE preparation and to address aspects of the test that occasion both an early start and more self-study. The four topics were as follows:

  • GRE 101
  • Math Secrets
  • Power Vocabulary
  • Elements of Argumentation

GRE 101:

The first thing many GRE students want to do when starting test preparation is to dive in and start doing problems. After all, there's plenty of time to figure out the logistics and structure of the test. However, a solid grasp of the basic features of the test is of paramount importance, for several reasons:

  1. Familiarity with the parameters of the test should be second nature. You do not want for there to be any confusion or surprises when you sit for the actual examination.
  2. Test preparation techniques are more effective when students recognize where and how to apply them. You must know where, when, and how to apply different approaches.
  3. There is an underlying philosophy, character, and "feel" for every standardized test. Further, each standardized test has a purpose. Some knowledge of the history of the GRE, who develops it, and how it is used can help students to set goals and expectations for both the GRE and the overall admissions process.

The GRE 101 Seminar covered these essentials and more. We hope that it was beneficial for attendees. For much of the information covered in the seminar, please visit our GRE Free Help Area


The Math Secrets seminar and the subsequent Power Vocabulary seminar covered core aspects of the Quantitative and Verbal Reasoning sections, respectively. The Math Secrets seminar covered fundamental math skills that may seem rudimentary to some but still pose many challenges, especially for students outside math and science fields.

The GRE is not a math test per se. The concepts covered stop before trigonometry and pre-calculus. In other words, if you're competent at linear algebra, basic statistics, planar geometry, and quadratics, you'll be in good shape, conceptually. Don't let the fancy language intimidate you; we're talking about stuff you studied before sophomore year in high school.

However, the flip side of this coin is that many if not most GRE students have not used this kind of math since they were in high school. The Math Secrets seminar was intended in part as a primer on these concepts to get students up to speed as well as a preview of more sophisticated test-taking strategies that can generate fast solutions to otherwise difficult problems.

Among the key topics discussed during the Math Secrets seminar were:

  1. Concepts Tested
    1.  Arithmetic
    2. Algebra
    3. Geometry
    4. Data Analysis
  2. Textbook Math vs. GRE Math
  3. Problem Solving Skills
  4. More in depth explanations of:
    1. Number Properties
    2. Quadratics
    3. Standard Deviation

If you were unable to attend our Math Secrets seminar and wish to watch a recording taught by a master instructor, we are pleased to offer a full-length session taught by PowerScore vice president Jon Denning here


Just as a preliminary review of math fundamentals can lead to success on Quantitative Reasoning, strong vocabulary skills are essential for top scores on Verbal Reasoning. The Power Vocabulary seminar covered not only the importance of vocab on the GRE but also several methods for mastering crucial vocabulary skills. 

Essentially, to succeed on Verbal Reasoning, one must be conversant in formal diction, both with the denotations of academic jargon and the understanding of such words in context. Unfortunately, mastery of these concepts takes time, diligence, and consistent effort. 

In the Power Vocab seminar, we covered:

  1. The Importance of Vocabulary
  2. Question Types that Involve Vocabulary
  3. Test Taking Skills vs. Direct Knowledge of Definitions
  4. How to Use Vocabulary Lists
  5. EdTech and Other Learning Strategies
  6. Parts of Speech
    1. Morphemes and Their Uses
    2. Word Part Association Game
  7. Connotations
    1. Similar Words: Utility and Pitfalls
    2. Positive and Negative Associations

The Power Vocab seminar outlined the core competencies needed as well as how best to prepare for success on the Text Completion and Sentence Equivalence questions. The bottom line is: start now to build a powerful lexicon for the GRE.


Lastly, one difficult but frequently overlooked aspect of the GRE concerns logical reasoning or the fundamentals of dialectics or deductive logic. These obtuse concepts are only introduced in a rudimentary form on the GRE but are actually of critical importance for the Analytical Writing section and many Verbal Reasoning short passage questions.

Since argumentation is only present in a rough form on the GRE, it becomes of second-order importance in preparation, frequently encountered towards the end of preparation courses. Given the lack of time and emphasis of argumentation preparation material, students sometimes lack the opportunity to master these concepts. The Essentials of Argumentation webinar aimed to remedy some of these flaws by giving students a head start with this subject so they could hit the ground running in GRE preparation.

On the Elements of Argumentation Seminar, we covered:

  1. What is an 'Argument'?
    1. The Analytical Writing Argument Essay stimulus
      1. Identify key argument elements
      2. Describe relationships
    2. Basic Syllogisms
  2. Flaws and Assumptions
    1. Gaps in Reasoning
    2. Compare Strong and Weak Arguments
    3. How to Identify and Describe Flaws
  3. Causal Reasoning
    1. Importance of Causality on the GRE
    2. How to Analyze and Respond to Causal Reasoning
  4. Argumentation on GRE Questions
    1. How to Use Argumentation Skills to Answer Short Passage Questions
  5. Sample Analytical Writing Argument Essay

Argumentation and logic are two of the greatest strengths of the PowerScore methodology, so I was pleased  to adapt them for the GRE.


We would again like to thank all our registrants and participants in the GRE seminar series. We look forward to offering these webinars again. For more GRE help please visit our Free Help Area or GRE Forum. If you're ready to dive into GRE preparation with PowerScore, we hope you will consider one of our class or tutoring options