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October 19, 2016, by


GRE Test:  We have you covered!


As you prepare for the GRE Test, you will see how tightly timed it is. For even the fastest test-taker, it can be difficult to finish all of the questions in the time allotted. Here are three tips we use at Marks Education to help students raise their GRE scores.

1. Think up your own words for the GRE vocabulary questions.

Most of the questions on the GRE’s Verbal sections ask the test-taker to choose the most appropriate word to fill in the blank.  For each of these blanks, before you look at the answer choices, you should try to come up with your own word that would fit the context.

This won’t always be easy, but it will be helpful when preparing for the test.  First, it will save you time, allowing you to quickly eliminate the incorrect choices. Second, it will help you understand the sentence or paragraph better, avoiding the tricky incorrect word choices, which can mislead and confuse you if you’re not careful.

It is best to write down your word or words on your scratch paper before looking at the answer choices.  That way you don’t have to remember your idea as you look through the choices.

2. Know which math figures are drawn to scale and which aren’t.

On the Quantitative sections of the test, you have to pay attention to the scale of drawn figures, as the scale varies.

Here is how to tell which is which:

*Geometry figures are not necessarily shown accurately to scale.

*Graphs, number lines, and graphic data distributions are all drawn to scale.

Knowing the difference helps GRE test-takers avoid jumping to conclusions on Geometry figures; for example, don’t assume that the angle that appears to be 90 degrees actually is.  You need to apply your knowledge of geometry rules to be sure the appearance matches the reality.

On the other hand, you can definitely trust the markings you see on the axes of graphs or on a number line. If necessary, you can use the graphs to guesstimate. This can help save valuable time in narrowing down answer choices, getting an idea of where to start on a problem, and in taking a best guess if and when it’s time to move on from a tough question.

3. Don’t spend time reducing fractions when typing in a math answer.

Unlike the SAT, the GRE does not require that fractions be simplified.  This means that during the Quantitative section, whenever you are asked to give an answer in the form of a fraction, you can enter the answer as whatever fraction you get initially without the extra step of reducing.

For example, suppose a problem asked you the following:

When rolling a 6-sided die three times in a row, what is the probability of the die landing on an odd number first, a prime number second, and an even, non-prime number third?

The probably of rolling odd is 3/6, of rolling prime is 3/6 (2, 3, and 5 are primes but 1, 4, and 6 are not), and of rolling an even non-prime number is 2/6.

The probability of rolling all three in a row is 3/6 * 3/6 * 2/6, which equals 18 / 216.  This can be simplified to 1/12, but taking that extra step to simplify is not required.  The GRE would count both 18/216 and 1/12 as correct, along with partial simplifications in between, like 2/24 and 9/108.

Save valuable time by skipping the simplification.

Lastly, GRE preparation can take some time, so to put yourself in the best position you should start your prep work early.  Take a baseline test for practice to see what your starting score is and compare that with your goals, based on where you are thinking about applying to school.

You should start this process at least three months before you intend to take the GRE, if possible, and ideally even earlier than that, if you know you will have limited time available to study each week.  You may wind up not needing that much time to prepare, but it is dangerous to wait until your test date approaches.

Contact Marks Education for a free 30-minute consultation to discuss the GRE, your study plan, and how we can help you improve your scores.

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