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BenchPrep's GRE Playbook
BenchPrep's GRE Playbook
BenchPrep's GRE Playbook
BenchPrep's GRE Playbook
BenchPrep's GRE Playbook
BenchPrep's GRE Playbook
BenchPrep's GRE Playbook
BenchPrep's GRE Playbook
BenchPrep's GRE Playbook
BenchPrep's GRE Playbook
BenchPrep's GRE Playbook
BenchPrep's GRE Playbook
BenchPrep's GRE Playbook
BenchPrep's GRE Playbook
BenchPrep's GRE Playbook
BenchPrep's GRE Playbook
BenchPrep's GRE Playbook
BenchPrep's GRE Playbook
BenchPrep's GRE Playbook
BenchPrep's GRE Playbook
BenchPrep's GRE Playbook
BenchPrep's GRE Playbook
BenchPrep's GRE Playbook
BenchPrep's GRE Playbook
BenchPrep's GRE Playbook
BenchPrep's GRE Playbook
BenchPrep's GRE Playbook
BenchPrep's GRE Playbook
BenchPrep's GRE Playbook
BenchPrep's GRE Playbook
BenchPrep's GRE Playbook
BenchPrep's GRE Playbook
BenchPrep's GRE Playbook
BenchPrep's GRE Playbook
BenchPrep's GRE Playbook
BenchPrep's GRE Playbook
BenchPrep's GRE Playbook
BenchPrep's GRE Playbook
BenchPrep's GRE Playbook
BenchPrep's GRE Playbook
BenchPrep's GRE Playbook
BenchPrep's GRE Playbook
BenchPrep's GRE Playbook
BenchPrep's GRE Playbook
BenchPrep's GRE Playbook
BenchPrep's GRE Playbook
BenchPrep's GRE Playbook
BenchPrep's GRE Playbook
BenchPrep's GRE Playbook
BenchPrep's GRE Playbook
BenchPrep's GRE Playbook
BenchPrep's GRE Playbook
BenchPrep's GRE Playbook
BenchPrep's GRE Playbook
BenchPrep's GRE Playbook
BenchPrep's GRE Playbook
BenchPrep's GRE Playbook
BenchPrep's GRE Playbook
BenchPrep's GRE Playbook
BenchPrep's GRE Playbook
BenchPrep's GRE Playbook
BenchPrep's GRE Playbook
BenchPrep's GRE Playbook
BenchPrep's GRE Playbook
BenchPrep's GRE Playbook
BenchPrep's GRE Playbook
BenchPrep's GRE Playbook
BenchPrep's GRE Playbook
BenchPrep's GRE Playbook
BenchPrep's GRE Playbook
BenchPrep's GRE Playbook
BenchPrep's GRE Playbook
BenchPrep's GRE Playbook
BenchPrep's GRE Playbook
BenchPrep's GRE Playbook
BenchPrep's GRE Playbook
BenchPrep's GRE Playbook
BenchPrep's GRE Playbook
BenchPrep's GRE Playbook
BenchPrep's GRE Playbook
BenchPrep's GRE Playbook
BenchPrep's GRE Playbook
BenchPrep's GRE Playbook
BenchPrep's GRE Playbook
BenchPrep's GRE Playbook
BenchPrep's GRE Playbook
BenchPrep's GRE Playbook
BenchPrep's GRE Playbook
BenchPrep's GRE Playbook
BenchPrep's GRE Playbook
BenchPrep's GRE Playbook
BenchPrep's GRE Playbook
BenchPrep's GRE Playbook
BenchPrep's GRE Playbook
BenchPrep's GRE Playbook
BenchPrep's GRE Playbook
BenchPrep's GRE Playbook
BenchPrep's GRE Playbook
BenchPrep's GRE Playbook
BenchPrep's GRE Playbook
BenchPrep's GRE Playbook
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BenchPrep's GRE Playbook

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What's inside? …

What's inside?

Prepare smarter with the GRE Playbook. Review a breakdown of the test, study useful GRE-specific strategies, and learn expert tips.

* Practice questions and sample essay prompts
* Learn what a good GRE score is
* Prepare yourself with question type explanations
* Learn what the GRE essay graders are looking for
* Read the 10 GRE Commandments
* Get reviews of GRE test prep courses and books

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  • 1. BenchPrep’s GRE Playbook 2014 The one-stop resource for everything GRE.
  • 2. Dear Student, This Playbook is a compilation of some of the best BenchPrep material and blog posts on the GRE. Combined with useful infor- mation about the content of the GRE, we’ve provided advice about how it might be smart to tackle your GRE study program and grad school application process. We’re pleased to offer it to you for free online and also as a downloadable PDF file. The Playbook includes: ∞∞ Basic information, statistics, and advice about the Revised General GRE and Grad School Admissions. ∞∞ Information about the Sections of the GRE: explanations of the Quantitative, Verbal, and Analytical Writing sections, and of each question type on each section. ∞∞ Test Prep Tips and Strategies ∞∞ Reviews of Test Prep Material and Online Courses. Feel free to print this Playbook out, give it to friends and teachers, and use it in any way that’s helpful for your study plan. As with any Playbook, it’s up to you to call the shots, but we’re here to try to coach you as best we can. We hope you like it! As always, if you have questions, comments, or suggestions about this Playbook, feel free to reach out 24/7 at 855-BENCHPREP (855-236-2477) or email us at support@benchprep.com. Happy Studying! The Team at BenchPrep Welcome
  • 3. Table of Contents Ch. 1: Introduction Introduction to BenchPrep’s GRE Test Prep Program • BenchPrep Games, Flashcards, Adaptive Nature and Other Features • How BenchPrep Can Improve Your Score Ch. 2: GRE 101 Overview of the GRE • Why You Should Take the GRE • What the GRE Measures • What Programs Accept the GRE • Infographics Comparing GMAT, MAT, and GRE • How the GRE is Scored • What the “Adaptive” GRE Means • What is a Good GRE Score? Ch. 3: Taking the GRE When Shoud You Take the GRE Infographic • How to Register for the GRE • What’s the Dif- ference Between the Paper-Based and Com- puter-Based GRE? • About the GRE Subject Tests • Should You Take the Subject Tests? Ch. 4: Quantitative Section GRE Quantitative Basics • Multiple Choice Questions • Quantitative Comparison Ques- tions • Numeric Entry Questions • 25 Things to Know for the Quantitative Section • Quan- titative Section General Strategies and Tips • A Special Note on the Quantitative Section Ch. 5: Verbal Section GRE Verbal Basics • Sentence Equivalence Questions • Reading Comprehension Ques- tions • Text Completion Questions • A Special Note about Vocabulary • 25 Things to Know for the Verbal Section • Verbal Section Gen- eral Strategies and Tips Ch. 6: Analytical Writing Section GRE Writing Basics • “Analyze an Issue” Task • “Analyze an Argument” Task • Sample Essay Prompts • 25 Tips for Analytical Writing • What the GRE Graders are Looking For • How to Get a 6 • Writing Section General Strategies and Tips Ch. 7: GRE Test Day How to Manage Stress Before the GRE • Why Staying Relaxed Will Help You Score Well on the GRE • Things to Bring on GRE Test Day • The 10 GRE Commandments Ch. 8: GRE Resources GRE Resources Overview • Group Classes and In-Person Tutoring • Free ETS Resources • GRE Apps • Physical GRE Books and Flashcards • GRE Prep Books • GRE Prep Book Reviews and Recommendations Ch. 9: After the GRE Understanding Your GRE Score Report • How Do Schools Look a Multiple GRE Scores Ch. 10: Conclusion Special $50 Off BenchPrep Promo Code 4 14 31 42 54 66 79 88 96 101
  • 4. Chapter 1 Introduction Introduction to BenchPrep’s GRE Test Prep Program Games, Flashcards, BenchPrep’s Adaptive Nature, and Other Features How BenchPrep Can Improve Your Score
  • 5. BenchPrep | GRE Playbook 2014 | 5 Chapter 1 – Introduction The BenchPrep GRE Prep Course Online GRE prep courses have become especially popular in recent years, and BenchPrep is the leading option. With BenchPrep, you can take your lessons any- where you go with unlimited mobile access and the ability to sync your progress across all devices. The BenchPrep GRE Prep Course combines four first-class study courses into a one- of-a-kind digital resource. These courses include GRE Prep by McGraw Hill, GRE Prep by Nova, GRE Math Prep by Nova, and GRE Math Practice Questions by Allen Prep. Together the BenchPrep course comprises seven full-length practice tests, 900+ lessons, and over 4,100 practice questions. The course contains detailed ex- planations for answers, time-tested success strategies, and top-tier review material for the GRE Revised General Test. You can choose if you’d like to have access to just one of the courses (if, for exam- ple, you want to focus on improving your Quantitative score) or you can purchase access to all four of the courses. Either way, by using BenchPrep you’ll be ready to study anytime, anywhere with 24/7 access. Your material will be all in one place, available on all of your devices. With BenchPrep, you’ll have multiple courses from the world’s best publishers, and customized study plans to track your progress and find your strengths and weak- nesses. Learn more at www.benchprep.com/gre
  • 6. BenchPrep | GRE Playbook 2014 | 6 Chapter 1 – Introduction Available Study Units There are four courses available from first-rate education publishers when your sign up for the BenchPrep GRE online study program. 1. GRE Prep by McGraw Hill This course includes excellent content for the revised General Test, including hun- dreds of lessons and practice questions, provided by the reputable publishing com- pany McGraw-Hill. Activate a study plan to keep yourself organized and receive frequent reports and analysis of your progress. This course includes: ∞∞ 317 Lessons ∞∞ 105 Practice Questions ∞∞ 6 Full-length Exams & 4 Quizzes ∞∞ 470 Flashcards, including vocabulary flashcards 2. GRE Prep by Nova This online GRE Prep Course covers every topic tested on the updated version of the Revised General Test, including Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, and Ana- lytical Writing. Upon completing this course, you will be ready to tackle your transi- tion to graduate or business school. Access course material across devices, activate a study plan, and receive frequent reports and analysis regarding your course progress. ∞∞ 120 Lessons ∞∞ 257 Practice Questions ∞∞ 23 Quizzes ∞∞ 4364 Flashcards, including vocabulary flashcards 3. GRE Math Prep by Nova This online GRE Math prep course by Nova presents a comprehensive review of each math topic tested on the GRE. Featuring hundreds of lessons and practice questions, you’ll be ready to achieve your desired score on the GRE Math section. Enjoy a per- sonalized study plan to keep yourself organized, and receive detailed reports and analysis every step of the way. Access your personalized course information any- where, anytime.
  • 7. BenchPrep | GRE Playbook 2014 | 7 Chapter 1 – Introduction ∞∞ 108 Lessons ∞∞ 510 Practice Questions ∞∞ 7 Quizzes 4. GRE Math Practice Questions by Allen Prep Allen Prep’s online GRE Math Prep course offers over a thousand practice questions to help you ace the Quantitative Reasoning section. Get a handle on the basic math skills and elementary concepts you’ll need to know before the test, and enhance your ability to reason quantitatively and to solve problems with proper quantitative methods. ∞∞ 1045 Practice Questions
  • 8. BenchPrep | GRE Playbook 2014 | 8 Chapter 1 – Introduction The BenchPrep GRE Course is Smart and Adaptive At BenchPrep, we think test preparation technology should move off the page and into the 21st Century! Because we are an online service, we are able to collect and analyze millions of data points every week to identify techniques and learning pat- terns that can help you get a better score. We use these learnings to create a person- alized study plan that lays out step-by-step weekly tasks for you. The plan adapts to your schedule and goals and will tell you exactly what to do next. Unlike most cook- ie-cutter, one-size-fits-all programs, we personalize the entire course around you! Select a date, and BenchPrep will figure out what you need to do. After you select a date, BenchPrep’s algorithm will calculate what the important con- cepts you need to learn before your test date. Whether you have one month or one year to prepare for the GRE, BenchPrep can adapt to suit your needs.
  • 9. BenchPrep | GRE Playbook 2014 | 9 Chapter 1 – Introduction The BenchPrep GRE Course Makes Learning Fun At BenchPrep, we also know that studying for a test can get boring at times. That’s why we created a full-scale game center packed with fun, addictive games built on a foundation of spaced-repetition strategies that help you learn things like vocab fast- er and enhance memory retention. We make sure your hard work doesn’t go unre- warded either. That’s why we’ve added leaderboards to show you how your scores compare against your peers. The BenchPrep GRE Course Gives You Unrivalled Data about Your Progress When you work your way through the GRE Course, BenchPrep will automatically compile information about your performance. For example, after taking of the GRE Practice Tests, you can see data about: ∞∞ how you performed on each question, ∞∞ how you performed each question type, ∞∞ the time spent on each question,
  • 10. BenchPrep | GRE Playbook 2014 | 10 Chapter 1 – Introduction ∞∞ the time spent on each question type, ∞∞ your estimated percentile rankings, ∞∞ your progress across tests, and ∞∞ solutions and detailed explanations for every question. You can use this data to find areas where it’s most smart to focus your effort in or- der to boost your score with minimal effort. We make sure your hard work doesn’t go unrewarded. We’ve added leaderboards to show you how your scores compare against your peers, and achievements to acknowledge your skill and progress as you work through your test.
  • 11. At BenchPrep, we think test prep should move off the page and into the 21st Century!
  • 12. BenchPrep | GRE Playbook 2014 | 12 Chapter 1 – Introduction Even More Features Connections Instantly jump to related lessons while reviewing solu- tions to practice questions so that you can understand the concept better. Discussions Start a conversation with thousands of other students studying for the same test and are ready to help. Ask-an-expert Ask any question to our army of experts and expect a de- tailed answer within 24 hours. Rest assured that help is always just a click away. Confidence Levels Personalize the course by marking lessons and questions with confidence levels so that you can focus on parts that re- quire most attention. Notes & Bookmarks Create bookmarks and write custom notes to remind yourself of tips, questions, or concepts that you want to revisit later. How BenchPrep’s Subscription Can Improve Your Score At BenchPrep we firmly believe in listening to you, the student, when we make changes to our platform. And, we listen in different ways. Sometimes we get written and verbal feedback and other times we dig into data to better understand what you like and what you don’t. Data not only helps students and educators gain insight into performance, it also guides us in making decisions that will make studying easier, more efficient and more productive for you.
  • 13. BenchPrep | GRE Playbook 2014 | 13 Chapter 1 – Introduction Last year, we introduced a subscription model. With this new model, a student can access all courses related to a test in our library and pay a monthly or yearly fee, rather than having to purchase them one at a time. We wanted students to explore more courses and do more without worrying about paying every time they wanted to try a course. We have found that with this new model, students enroll in more courses and scores improve by over 20%. We measured score improvement by comparing performance on test of students who finished more than 60% of a course vs students who finished less that 20%. With more engagement and en- rollment in courses, BenchPrep subscription users have the highest score improvement at 20.5%. This is by far the most ex- citing finding for us of offering the new subscription model. So sign up now!
  • 14. Chapter 2 GRE 101 Overview of the GRE Why You Should Take the GRE What the GRE Measures What Programs Accept the GRE Infographics Comparing GMAT, MAT, and GRE How the GRE is Scored What the “Adaptive” GRE Means What is a Good GRE Score?
  • 15. BenchPrep | GRE Playbook 2014 | 15 Chapter 2 – GRE 101 What is the GRE? Summary The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General Test is required by most institu- tions and programs granting Master or Doctorate degrees. Not surprisingly, the most competitive programs generally have higher score requirements. Some programs also require Subject Tests, which are beyond the scope of this volume. You should speak to the admissions department at the school to which you are applying to con- firm whether you will need to take one or more of the subject tests. The GRE does not measure your knowledge of business procedures or law, or any specific content area. In addition, it does not measure your value as a person, nor does it predict your success in life. However, the GRE does a fairly good job of pre- dicting how hard you will have to work to understand the material in your chosen program. If you prepare for this test seriously now, you’ll sharpen your comprehen- sion, math, and reasoning skills, and be able to focus on the relevant information in your course work much more easily once you start graduate school. Format The GRE General Test is a computer-based (or, in some locations, paper-based) test that includes five scored sections: one Analytical Writing section (with two scored writing tasks), two Quantitative sections, and two Verbal sections. Your test will also include an experimental section, called the “pretest” section, which is mixed in with the other sections of the test and appears as either a Verbal or a Quantitative sec- tion. There might also be a “research” section, which will always be the final section presented if you have one included in your test. The answers on the pretest and research sections will not count toward your GRE score. The questions are meant to help the test writers at Educational Testing Service (ETS) refine their methods and try out new material that may be included in future GRE tests. The pretest is not identi- fied and will seem like just another test section as you work through it. The research section, if you have one on your test, will be identified as such. The GRE always begins with the two Analytical Writing tasks: the Issue Task and the Argument Task. For both tasks, if you are taking the computer-based GRE, you will
  • 16. BenchPrep | GRE Playbook 2014 | 16 Chapter 2 – GRE 101 write your response using the word processor that is built into the GRE software. The Verbal and Quantitative Sections may appear in any order on your test. When working on these sections, you may skip around, first answering questions that you find less challenging, then coming back to the more difficult questions. Once you have completed a section, you may not go back to it. You are allowed a total of 3 hours and 45 minutes for the computer-based GRE, including the unscored section, and a total of 4 hours and 5 minutes for the paper-based GRE, including the un- scored section. Why Should I Take the GRE? “Why am I here?” Big question! You’re likely here because you’re interested in taking the Graduate Records Examination (GRE) to get into Graduate School . . . woo hoo! The GRE is a standardized test required for admissions to over 60% of the graduate schools in the US, and there’s really only two reasons why anyone would take the GRE: Reason #1 : You know you want to pursue a Graduate Degree, and it’s a require- ment for admission. You’ve got this bold vision of yourself heading back to Grad School to study X, Y, or Z. Great! It’s a smart move: on average, advanced degree-holders earn higher salaries. Masters degree-holders make 22% more than workers with only a Bachelor degree. And workers with Doctorate degrees make a whopping 52% more than Bachelor degree holders. If you’re trying to go to Grad School programs that aren’t medical school or law school, then it’s likely that you’ll have to take the GRE for admission. So, if you’re planning on the Grad School route, then the GRE should be on your to-do list. Reason #2: You might want to pursue a Graduate Degree in the future, so it’s a smart move to get it out of the way.
  • 17. BenchPrep | GRE Playbook 2014 | 17 Chapter 2 – GRE 101 Unlike other standardized tests where you need to know specialized content which you might only learn in the later years of college, you already learned most of the content on the GRE in high school (hopefully!). So, if you’re in college now, there’s no real advantage to waiting to take the GRE later. If you think Grad School might be in your medium-term future, it might be a smart move to go ahead and take the GRE, because the scores are valid for 5 years after you take the test. In fact, studies have even shown that performance on the GRE decreases as you get older. Taking the GRE when you’re already in in academic-mode, when high-school math and ACT and SAT preparation is still fresh, might be a smart strategy to get your best score and to hedge your bets about your future. This is espe- cially true because in 2012 the GRE introduced the ScoreSelect option, which means that even if you don’t do as well as you hoped the first time around, you have the option to take the GRE again, and only report only your best test results. With this new option, there’s no real risk in taking the GRE early. Either way, the decision you make about going to Graduate School is a tough one and ultimately a personal choice. While there are plenty of unknowns, taking the GRE early can only help your odds of succeeding in your personal and professional goals. What Does the GRE Measure? According to ETS, the organization which designs and administers the GRE, the GRE “General Test features question types that closely reflect the kind of thinking you’ll do — and the skills you need to succeed — in today’s demanding graduate and business school programs.” That ETS-lingo sounds so intimidating! But it shouldn’t be. The GRE boils down three pretty simple concepts: it tries to test how well you can (1) read, (2) do math, and (3) write.
  • 18. BenchPrep | GRE Playbook 2014 | 18 Chapter 2 – GRE 101 The three sections of the the GRE—Verbal, Quantitative, and Analytical Writing—try to measure just this. In the list below, I’ll look some of the main things that ETS claims the GRE measures, along with a much simpler translation of what you need to know for the test. #1 The ability to “analyze and draw conclusions from discourse” Translation = can you read and understand arguments in text? In the Verbal Section, the GRE features a number of multiple-choice ques- tions following a short passage that makes some sort of argument. The ques- tions ask you to identify the overall logical flow of the passage. #2 The ability to “understand the meanings of words, sentences and entire texts” Translation = how good is your vocabulary? The GRE has variety of fill-in-the-blank questions (sometimes called “Text Completion” questions) asking you to identify the correct words to use in a given sentence or short passage. “Sentence Equivalence” questions are simi- lar: they basically ask you to identify synonyms. #3 The ability to “interpret and analyze quantitative information” Translation = can you understand charts and graphs? In the Quantitative Section, you’ll be presented with various forms of quanti- tative information, including graphs, charts, shapes, and tables. You will need to know how to analyze this information quickly and effectively to get to the right answer. #4 The ability to “solve problems using mathematical models” Translation = can you apply formulas correctly? Distance = rate * time. Remember?! Many questions in the Quantitative Sec- tion will ask you to apply a mathematical formula to get a correct answer.
  • 19. BenchPrep | GRE Playbook 2014 | 19 Chapter 2 – GRE 101 #5 The ability to “apply basic mathematical skills and elementary mathematical concepts of arithmetic, algebra, geometry and data interpretation” Translation = can you do high school math? Throughout the Quantitative Section, you’ll face questions where a basic understanding of high school math properties will apply. Oh yes, dear reader, PEMDAS is back. #6 The ability to “support ideas with relevant reasons and examples” Translation = can you write and analyze a logical argument? The final part of the GRE is the Analytical Writing Section. The Writing section will ask you to write two essays, one on an Issue and one on an Argument. While these tasks are slightly different, both will ask you to present an orderly response to an essay prompt. #7 The ability to “control the elements of standard written English” Translation= can you write well? Where “well” is pretty broad: how well-chosen are your words? Do you vary your sentence structure? Do you use transitions to usher the reader along your argument? All of this matters to score well in the Analytical Writing Section. The GRE is a general test: it tries to get a lot of information about your intellectual horsepower in a mere three hours. And so, it covers a lot of ground. Or course, the GRE has its flaws, but by understanding what the GRE tries to measure, you can bet- ter prepare yourself to get the score you want. What Types of Programs Accept the GRE? There is a huge variety of Graduate Programs out there, just waiting for eager stu- dents like yourself to apply! Taking the GRE opens you up to a truly inspiring list of different opportunities for professional and personal development. It’s likely that there’s some program out there tailored just right for your interests and personality. In particular, the GRE can prepare you for a number of different programs:
  • 20. BenchPrep | GRE Playbook 2014 | 20 Chapter 2 – GRE 101 #1 Master of Arts Programs (MA) Name a Master of Arts Program, and it’s likely that the GRE is the required standardized test. Master of Arts in History? GRE. Master of Arts in Interna- tional Development? GRE. For MA programs, it’s likely that the admission of- ficers reviewing your application will look at your performance on the Verbal and Analytical Writing requirements with more scrutiny than your score on the Quantitative section. #2 Master of Science Programs (MS) Most Master of Science Programs also require the GRE. Masters of Science in Nursing (MSN)? GRE. Master of Science in Information Technology? GRE. It’s more likely that a Master of Science program will weigh more heavily the Quantitative Section of the test, though it’s always wise to check with the program you’ll be applying to. #3 Master of Business Administration Programs (MBA) Most MBA Programs will accept both the GRE and the GMAT for admissions, though some MBA programs prefer that you take the GMAT. For more infor- mation on the distinction between the GMAT and the GRE, check out our handy GMAT-GRE infographic in this chapter. #4 Other Masters Programs and Joint Masters Programs Yep, you guessed it. Even Masters Programs which aren’t strictly an MA or MS program accept the GRE. For example, the MPA or MPP (Master of Public Af- fairs or Public Policy) both accept the GRE. So does a Masters in Architecture. Joint masters programs, like an MPA/MBA, also accept the GRE. #5 Doctorate Programs (PhD) If getting that “Dr.” in front of your name is in the works, then the GRE will likely be too. Most PhD Programs require the GRE. #6 Graduate Certificates and other Grad School Programs There really are just a multitude of Graduate Programs offered nowadays, including distance-learning courses, Graduate Certificates, and other online options. Some Certificate programs will require that you have taken the GRE, as do Grad School Programs that we haven’t even heard of yet!
  • 21. BenchPrep | GRE Playbook 2014 | 21 Chapter 2 – GRE 101 #7 Job Opportunities! Even if you don’t end up going to Grad School, many employers, like con- sulting firms and investment banks, will ask for your standardized test scores. Having a knock-out score can only help you land that big-time job. As you can see, if you take the GRE, it opens the door to a huge number of oppor- tunities. By understanding your options and how the GRE can help you reach those goals, the next step is to start improving your chances at acing that GRE test! Comparing the GRE to the GMAT and MAT When applying to Grad school you’re force-fed large spoonfuls of alphabet soup: LSAT, MCAT, General GRE, GRE Subject Tests, GMAT, MAT… We know, we know! Information overload! It’s okay; here at BenchPrep we’ve drawn up some handy infographics to help you understand the differences between: (1) the GRE and the GMAT, and (2) the GRE and the MAT.
  • 22. GMATGMAT GREGREvs Which test is right for you?Which test is right for you? All MBA Programs Over +1000 MBA Programs Grad School Programs business school business school Show business schools that you are serious about getting an MBA GRAD School & MBA GRAD School & MBA Investment banks and recruiters review scores for employment Generally easier for most students than the GMAT Time Section 30 min. 30 min. 75 min. 75 min. Analytical + 1 essay Integrated Reasoning Quantitative Verbal Time Section 30 min. × 2 30 min. × 2 35 min. × 2 30 min. Analytical Writing Verbal Quantitative Experimental (math or verbal) $250$250 $185$185 0 . = + - ×÷±c 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 ! Excruciatingly difficult math ! More emphasis on grammar ! Greater emphasis on writing ! Harder verbal and vocabulary It is common to spend hundreds of hours preparing The grading curve is easier Economics Programs Computer adaptive tests Scores are both valid for yrs www.800score.com/gmat-and-gre.html www.princetonreview.com/gmatvsgre.aspx www.ets.org/gre/revised_general/about/mba/programs/ http://benchprep.com GMAT GRE If you are applying to MBA and/or graduate school programs. 3 HRS. 45 MIN. 3 HRS. 45 MIN. 3 HRS. 30 MIN. 3 HRS. 30 MIN.
  • 23. MATMATGREGRE vs Which test is right for you?Which test is right for you? Over +1000 MBA Programs Grad School Programs Grad School Programs If you are applying to MBA and/or graduate school programs Time Section 30 min. × 2 30 min. × 2 35 min. × 2 30 min. Analytical Writing Verbal Quantitative Experimental (math or verbal) or http://psychcorp.pearsonassessments.com/haiweb/Cultures/en-US/site/Community/PostSecondary/Products/MAT http://www.ets.org/gre http://benchprep.com 5 yrs score valid 1 yr score valid Can be taken anywhere and anytime of year 120 questions 100 will count towards your score 20 experimental items You won't know which are experimental. ? ! MAT ONLY has one question type - analogies. The test has a broad range.! There are math, verbal, AND essay sections to study for. avg 400 600200130 Verbal Quantitative Writing 170 130 170 0 6 If your program accepts it and if you are weaker in math and strong in reading comprehension 0 . = + - ×÷±c 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1 hr1 hr3 HRS. 45 MIN. 3 HRS. 45 MIN.
  • 24. BenchPrep | GRE Playbook 2014 | 24 Chapter 2 – GRE 101 How is the GRE Scored? When you take the GRE, you’ll get three scores reported back to you: (1) your Verbal Reasoning score; (2) your Quantitative Reasoning Score; and (3) your Analytical Writ- ing score. The Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning scores are based on the number of correct responses you answer, called the “raw score.” As you may remember, all questions on the GRE are equally weighted within sections. However, the GRE is section-adaptive, meaning that the second Verbal or Quantitative Reasoning section you see may be more difficult than the first, and may be more difficult than another test-taker’s second section. To adjust for these differences, ETS converts the raw score into a “scaled” score using a process called “equating.” This process attempts to ensure that no matter the diffi- culty of your specific test or sections you saw, the same scaled scores should identify the same performances across time and place. Scaled scores on the Verbal and Quantitative Reasoning Sections range from 130- 170, graded in 1-point increments. The statistics listed below are based on the re- vised GRE general test taken by 417,000 students between August 1, 2011 and April 30, 2012. For the Verbal Section, the worldwide average score is 150.8. A score of 159.3 places you in the 80th percentile, while a score of 167.8 places you in the 97th or 98th percentile. For the Quantitative Section, the worldwide average score is 151.3. A score of 160 corresponds to the 81st percentile, while a score of 168.7 places you in the 97th or 98th percentile. The Analytical Writing Section is scored differently, on a scale from 0-6, in half-point intervals. These essays are first graded by humans, who assess the essays on overall quality. The essay score is then reviewed by a computer- ized program to monitor the human reader. If there is a discrepancy between
  • 25. BenchPrep | GRE Playbook 2014 | 25 Chapter 2 – GRE 101 the two grades, then a second human reader will be brought in, and the final score will be an average of the two human readers. Then, the scores on the two essays are averaged, and a single score is reported. What Does it Mean that the GRE is Adaptive? “Adaptive” testing means that the content of the test changes based on how well you performed in previous sections. The computer-based GRE has always been adaptive, but the current Revised GRE (introduced in 2011) is adaptive in a different way from the “Old” computer-based GRE. Here’s a primer on the distinction. #1 The old GRE was “question adaptive.” The pre-2011 GRE had only one Verbal section and one Quantitative section. This “old” GRE changed its questions within these sections based on how well you did on previous questions. So, if you got previous questions incor- rect, then the test would adapt to present you relatively easier questions. If you got previous questions correct, then the test would adapt to present you relatively more difficult questions. #2 The new GRE is “section adaptive.” Since there are now two sections on the Verbal section and two sections on the Quantitative section, the Revised GRE no longer adjusts its questions based on your performance within a section. Rather, the GRE only adjusts difficulty between sections. So, your second graded Quantitative or Verbal section (Remember: there will be one experimental section, and you won’t know which section that is.) could be more or less difficult than your first section, depending on how well you do. #3 Within sections, questions are of random difficulty. It’s important to note that within each section, the questions are of random difficulty, regardless of the overall level of difficulty of the section. So on both the first and second sections of the test, the first question is no more likely to be easy or difficult than the last question. This is important to consider when thinking about test-taking strategies.
  • 26. BenchPrep | GRE Playbook 2014 | 26 Chapter 2 – GRE 101 #4 “Adaptive” tests are supposed to measure performance better. The reason ETS, the organization which designs and administers the GRE, uses adaptive testing is because it better allows the test-makers pinpoint how well you do on the GRE, by getting to questions which suit your apti- tude quicker. So, if you do well on the Quantitative sections, for example, the adaptive GRE can get to more difficult questions which can better determine how well you do compared with other test-takers of similar aptitude. #5 What this means for the test-taker. What does this mean for you in practice? Not too much. One things to con- sider is that because the content of the second section depends on how well you do on the first section, then you may want to be careful to do well on the first section. While each question is still weighted the same within sections, it could be the case that your second Verbal or Quantitative sec- tion might be more difficult (or easier) than the first. That’s it. Either way, you should try to do your best and answer every question. As computers tend to be used more and more in the classroom, it’s likely that “adap- tive” testing technology will be used increasingly more in the future. For the test-tak- er, it doesn’t make too much difference, but it’s helpful to be aware of how the tech- nology works for each test. What is a Good GRE Score? A lot of students ask us – “What is a good GRE score?” Taking a quick look at the sta- tistics informs our perspective on the GRE score and what you should aim for. The statistics are based on the revised GRE general test taken by 417,000 students between August 1, 2011 and April 30, 2012. Quantitative worldwide average as provided by ETS. ∞∞ 151.3, with standard deviation 8.7 ∞∞ 160 is one standard deviation above mean/average, corresponds to the 81st percentile
  • 27. BenchPrep | GRE Playbook 2014 | 27 Chapter 2 – GRE 101 ∞∞ 168.7 is 2 standard deviations above average, corresponds to the 97th or 98th percentile Verbal worldwide average as provided by ETS. ∞∞ 150.8, with standard deviation 8.5 ∞∞ 159.3 is 1 standard deviation above average, corresponds to approximately the 80th percentile ∞∞ 167.8 is 2 standard deviations above average, corresponds to the 97th or 98th percentile. Worldwide Averages By Field of Study as provided by ETS: Analysis As you can see, anything at least one standard deviation above the average is a solid score, and anything at least two standard deviations above the average is an excep- tional score. Also note that students pursuing graduate degrees in Physical sciences and Engineering might look more favorable with a higher Quantitative Score than a Verbal score as shown by the results. A score that is one or two standard deviation above the average could be considered a good score, depending on your own indi- Intended Grraduate Major Verbal Score (Mean) Verbal (sd) Quantitative Score (Mean) Quantitative (sd) Analytical Writing (Mean) Analytical Writing (sd) Life Sciences 151 7 151 7 3.8 0.7 Physical Sciences 153 9 158 7 3.8 0.8 Engineering 150 9 159 6 3.6 0.8 Social Sciences 153 7 150 8 4.0 0.7 Humanities & Arts 157 7 149 7 4.2 0.8 Education 157 7 149 7 4.2 0.8 Business 150 7 152 8 3.7 0.8
  • 28. BenchPrep | GRE Playbook 2014 | 28 Chapter 2 – GRE 101 vidual situation. In fact, some schools simply recommend a GRE score that’s “above the average.” But how do you interpret all of this in terms of your own personal circumstances? Let’s look at the Yale School of Forestry to help put things in context. The school’s “2012 Incoming Student Profile.” states that accepted applicants had an “average of 2-4 years of professional experience prior to enrollment.” This tells us that profes- sional “real world” experience seems to be a factor taken into account during the admissions process. We can probably generalize a bit. If you have a great deal of professional, real world experience, it may very well offset a GRE score lower than the average accepted by a program. On the other hand, if you have an exceptionally high GRE score, it could help to compensate for a lack of professional experience; say, if you’re looking to go straight from finishing a bachelor’s degree straight into tackling a master’s degree. Of course, we have to remember we’re generalizing. It’s possible that some schools/ programs expect or require a combination of extensive professional experience AND high GRE scores. Always get your information “straight from the horse’s mouth” by referring to the information provided by the school/program you wish to apply to. That being said, it’s still pretty safe to say that, generally speaking, schools/programs consider lots of other things besides your GRE scores when making admissions deci- sions. Professional experience, recommendation letters, academic record, co-curric- ular activities, community involvement, leadership achievements, publications, port- folios, personal interviews: these are all ways in which you can put your best qualities and qualifications on display to help you impress those making the admission deci- sion that you are a candidate worth pursuing. It really all comes down to your own unique set of circumstances. To find out what is a good GRE score, first determine the minimum GRE requirements of the schools you’re interested in. Search and you will find: you may even find that your target school/program doesn’t require a GRE score, or even if it does, does not specify a minimum GRE score to be considered for admission.
  • 29. BenchPrep | GRE Playbook 2014 | 29 Chapter 2 – GRE 101 Keep in mind, however, that even if you don’t have to achieve a minimum score, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t set a target score and strive hard to reach it. To help determine your target score when no minimum score is given, check to see if the school provides information on average GRE scores of successful applicants, as well as other information that paints a profile of the qualifications/backgrounds of suc- cessful applicants. That information will help you to determine your target “Good GRE Score,” and also help you to determine what you need to do to make your over- all application as solid and well-rounded as possible--something that will stand out from the crowd. Of course, the higher your GRE score is, the better it will make the rest of your ap- plication look, so set goals and pay attention to details when prepping for GRE and when preparing your other application components.
  • 30. The GRE boils down three pretty simple concepts: it tries to test how well you can (1) read, (2) do math, and (3) write”
  • 31. Chapter 3 Taking the GRE When Shoud You Take the GRE Infographic How to Register for the GRE What’s the Difference Between the Paper-Based and Computer-Based GRE? About the GRE Subject Tests Should You Take the Subject Tests?
  • 32. BenchPrep | GRE Playbook 2014 | 32 Chapter 3 – Taking the GRE When Should I Take the GRE? Whether you’re a college student or college graduate, you should try to take the GRE so that it makes sense for your schedule. When thinking about when you should take the GRE, it’s smart to take the following factors into consideration. #1 Application deadlines. First and foremost, you certainly will want to check the application deadlines for the Universities and programs you plan to apply to: this is why you’re studying for this thing after all! Many American Masters and PhD programs with start dates in the Fall have deadlines for application some time from January-March. Other programs have rolling admissions deadlines. Either way, it’s generally best to submit your application early to have the best chances of getting accepted. You’ll definitely want to make sure your schools have your GRE scores in time to consider your application, which brings us to point #2. #2 Test processing times. Because the Writing Section is now part of the GRE, you will not receive your results immediately after the test, though you will receive your unoffi- cial scores on the Verbal and Quantitative sections. Your official scores will be available approximately 10-15 days after your test, and are sent out to schools you specified then. Some schools may not actually need your GRE scores exactly on the application deadline, but this is something you’d defi- nitely want to check with your individual program. #3 Your schedule. If you’re in college, your Senior year is going to be chock-full of work or fun or both, and so it may be best to try to get the GRE out of the way during your Junior year, or in the summer or early fall, when you’ll be stress-free and best able to focus. If you’re out of college and working, then you’ll want to schedule the GRE so that you’ll have time to prepare and be calm :)
  • 33. BenchPrep | GRE Playbook 2014 | 33 Chapter 3 – Taking the GRE #4 Your confidence in achieving the score you want. If you aren’t sure if you’ll achieve the score you want on your first try, then you may want to schedule the GRE so that you can take it again if you score poorly. You can take the GRE revised General Test once every 21 days, up to five times within any continuous rolling 12-month period. With the new ScoreSelect option (we’ll explain that later), you can choose exactly what scores you want to send to your grad school program. Of course, the GRE is an expensive test, so you won’t want to take it more times than you have to, but it might be a safe move to take it early anyway. #5 Whether your college coursework will prepare you for the GRE. Unlike other standardized tests where you need to know specialized content which you might only learn in the later years of college, you already learned most of the content on the GRE in high school (hopefully!). So, if you’re in college now, there’s no real advantage to waiting to take the GRE later. Then again, if you’re taking some coursework which might benefit you on the GRE (like Algebra or Geometry classes), then it could be smart to learn from these courses before you take the GRE. In fact, the ETS notes that statistically, per- formance on the GRE tends to decline with age. So, if you think Grad School might be in your medium-term future, it might be a smart move to go ahead and take the GRE, because the scores are valid for 5 years after you take the test. #6 The most popular time to take the test is in October, November, and December. It’s possible to take the GRE on short notice, but keep in mind that many people choose to take the GRE in the late fall to meet application deadlines, so it may be harder to find a time slot you want during these months. No matter what, if you want to perform your best on the GRE, it’s best not to put it off to until the last minute. Of course, everyone’s situation is different, so even if you decided to apply to grad school late and must take the GRE in a hurry, then you can make the best of it. Whenever you decide to take the GRE, BenchPrep has study plans to suit your needs.
  • 34. 212121 When Should ITakeThe GRE?When Should ITakeThe GRE? Sources 2013 Have you started studying? Are you feeling ready for the test? Download the BenchPrep app & start studying Are you ready now? YES NO YES NOT YET AugustApril 2 2 Take in February Take in February June 4 4 Take in April Take in April 6 6 Take in June Take in June October 8 8 Take in August Take in August Business Education Engineering Law Medical Science Library & Information sciences Social Sciences Health Public Affairs BenchPrep Presents Facts to ConsiderFacts to Consider When do you want to apply to graduate school? http://ets.org/gre http://gradschool.about.com/cs/aboutthegre/a/gre.htm http://www.igrad.com/articles/taking-the-gre http://www.happyschoolsblog.com/average-revised-gre-scores-universities/ TOP GRAD SCHOOL PROGRAMS In August 2011, the GRE was updated to a new format PERFECTSCORE THE GRE your score is good for five years The GRE is 3 hrs. 40 min.long There are 3 sections. Verbal, Writing, & Quantitative EVERY UP TO YEARDAYS RETAKE THE YOU CAN IN A Receive your GRE results 10–15 days after you take the exam 185
  • 35. BenchPrep | GRE Playbook 2014 | 35 Chapter 3 – Taking the GRE How to Register for the GRE All right, you’ve made the big decision: time to the take the GRE! Great, but now what? Luckily, registering for the GRE is as easy as 1-2-3. Check out these easy steps below to get some more information on the registration process. #1 Go to the ETS website and create an account. ETS is the organization that designs and administers the GRE. The first step to registering for the GRE is to go to the ETS website and create an account with your name, address, and email. After that, click on the ”Register for a General Test” on the my GRE Home Page. You can register via phone, mail, and fax. However, test-takers with disabil- ities or health-related needs who are requesting special accommodations may not register online. You can also not register online if you’re applying for fee reduction or stand-by testing. #2 Select your testing date, time, and place. You can register for the GRE way far in advance, and if you’re taking the test during a busy testing time (October, November, and December, for example) then it’s a smart move to register early, as many testing times will be filled. As you select your testing location, you will be redirected to the Prometric website to select a date, time, and place to take the GRE. This is what’s sup- posed to happen: Prometric is the testing center company who will actually administer the test. Make sure you select a location that is close to where you live, and where you will feel comfortable taking the test. Also, you should register for the GRE with a name that matches your Identi- fication (drivers license, passport, etc.) exactly. You might not be allowed to take the test if your name doesn’t match exactly. #3 Pay, plan, and prepare. As of July, 2013, the Revised General GRE costs $185. After paying this fee and completing your registration, the final step is to plan and prepare! For
  • 36. BenchPrep | GRE Playbook 2014 | 36 Chapter 3 – Taking the GRE example, it would be smart to scout out the location ahead of time, because some GRE testing locations are in places you wouldn’t really notice other- wise. Plan to be at the testing center for about four and half hours, and know what to take with you. There is a $50 fee to change your testing location or your date, and these changes must be made four days in advance. Finally, after registration, now is a great time to assess how much time you have to prepare, and budget a sensible study plan. BenchPrep offers a num- ber different study plans, depending on how much time you have. What is the Difference between the Paper-Based and Computer-Based GRE? Okay, you’re taking the GRE, but you see there’s both a computer-based test and a paper-based test. What’s the difference, and which one should I take? I’ll break down the differences into four main reasons, and provide a little more background info on the test. #1 The computer-based GRE is much, much more common. Let’s start here: if you are located in the United States, you will take the computer-based GRE. The paper-based test isn’t offered in the same places where the computer-based test is offered. The paper-based test is offered for the GRE subject tests, but that’s a different story. If you are located outside the US, there is a chance you may take the paper-based test, but it’s still most likely that you will take the computer-based test. In 2012, ETS begin to phase out the paper-based test, so it’s not really offered as much anymore. The GRE is offered year-round as a computer-based test in most locations around the world. Paper-based tests, on the other hand, are offered only up to three times per year. #2 The computer-based test is way more convenient. With the computer-based test, you will get your unofficial Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning scores at the test center, but not your Analytical
  • 37. BenchPrep | GRE Playbook 2014 | 37 Chapter 3 – Taking the GRE Writing score. About 10-15 days after your your test date, your official scores and your Analyztical Writing score will become available. With the paper-based test, on the other hand, you won’t get your score back for SIX weeks! #3 The computer-based test is “adpative.” The computer-based GRE has always been adaptive, but the current Revised GRE (introduced in 2011) is adaptive in a different way from the “Old” com- puter-based GRE. The pre-2011 GRE changed its questions based on your how well you did on previous questions. Since there are now two sections on the Verbal section and two sections on the Quantitative section, the Revised GRE no longer adjusts its questions based on your performance during a sec- tion. Rather, the GRE only adjusts difficulty between sections. What does this mean for you in practice? Not too much. Each question is still weighted the same within your section, but it could be the case that your second Verbal or Quantitative section might be more difficult than the first, and so a correct answer on a more difficult section might be “worth” more than a correct answer on an easier section. #4 The Computer-based test means you’ll have to prepare differently. It’s a different experience taking a standardized test on a computer: you can’t scratch out answers or scribble all over a reading passage. So if you’ve never taken a standardized test on a computer before, it’s wise to prepare a little differently. Familiarize yourself with how the testing screen will look, and how you answer a question. An online resource like BenchPrep is the perfect tool to help you prepare for this new interface, making you comfortable as you approach test day and maximizing your score. Most likely, the computer-based exam will be the way you take the test. With this in mind, it’s smart to take steps to make sure you’re as prepared as possible for test day.
  • 38. Unlike other standardized tests where you need to know specialized content which you might only learn in the later years of college, you already learned most of the content on the GRE in high school (hopefully!).”
  • 39. BenchPrep | GRE Playbook 2014 | 39 Chapter 3 – Taking the GRE About the GRE Subject Tests The General GRE is to the GRE Subject Tests are much like SAT is to the SAT Subject tests. Just as the SAT assess more general skills, and the SAT Subject Tests measure more specific knowledge about a particular subject, the General GRE and the GRE Subjects act in the same way. The GRE Subject Tests are used by Grad Schools as a measure of how much you know about a specific field of study. There are some key ways that the GRE Subject Tests differ from the General GRE, and I’ll outline some of these differences below. #1: The GRE Subject Tests are more specific. The GRE Subject Tests are more specific than the GRE General Tests, and test your knowledge in a specific field of study. #2 There are 7 GRE Subject Tests. There is only one General GRE (though of course there are different versions). There are, in contrast, 7 GRE Subject Tests: Biochemistry, Cell, and Molecular Biology; Biology; Chemistry; Literature in English; Mathematics; Physics; and Psychology. #3 GRE Subject Tests are paper-based. It’s very likely that you will take the General GRE on a computer, while the Subject Tests are only given in paper-based format. #4 GRE Subject Tests are only offered three times per year. The General GRE is offered year-round, but the GRE Subject Tests are only offered three times per year: in September, October, and April. #5 Not all Grad School Programs require GRE Subject Tests Most Grad School Programs (that aren’t medical school or law school) require the General GRE, but not all Grad Programs require the GRE Subject Tests. #6 GRE Subject Tests are one section, of 2 hours and 50 minutes. The structure of the GRE Subject Test depends on the specific test you need
  • 40. BenchPrep | GRE Playbook 2014 | 40 Chapter 3 – Taking the GRE to take. For example, the Biology GRE Subject test consists of 194 five-choice questions. The test is split into three major content categories: cellular and molecular biology, organismal biology and ecology and evolution. However, each GRE Subject Test is 2 hours and 50 minutes of continuous examination. #7 You get your scores back later. With the General GRE Test, you get your unofficial scores immediately after you take the test, and your official scores approximately 10-15 days after you take the test. With the Subject Tests, you don’t get your scores back until one month after you take the test. You might have to take the GRE Subject Test to complement your application to Grad School. Be sure to check the requirements for each school you’re planning on applying to. Should I Take the GRE Subject Tests? Just as the SAT assess more general skills, and the SAT Subject Tests measure more specific knowledge about a particular subject, the General GRE and the GRE Subjects act in the same way. The GRE Subject are used by Grad Schools as a measure of how much you know about a specific field of study. If you are applying to a Grad School Program related to the topics of the seven GRE Subject Tests, then there’s a chance you might have to take the GRE Subject Tests. The seven GRE Subject Tests are: ∞∞ Biochemistry, Cell, and Molecular Biology, ∞∞ Biology, ∞∞ Chemistry, ∞∞ Literature in English, ∞∞ Mathematics, ∞∞ Physics, and ∞∞ Psychology
  • 41. BenchPrep | GRE Playbook 2014 | 41 Chapter 3 – Taking the GRE But just because there’s a GRE Subject Test in the area which is your intended field of study doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll have to take that test: some Grad School programs in areas where there are GRE Subject Tests don’t even require GRE Subject Tests. For example, if you Google the list of Graduate Programs and Test Requirements listed at the University of California, Berkeley, you’ll see that if you’re applying to get a PhD in Applied Mathematics, Astrophysics, Chemistry, English, Integrative Biology, Mathematics, or Physics, then they recommend you take the Subject Test relating to those areas. However, even if you’re applying for a PhD in Psychology, the Psycholo- gy Subject Test is not required. So, what does this mean for me? If the Subject Test is a requirement for admission, then of course you must take it. But even where the Subject Test is not required, if you have a strong background in a related subject to which your Graduate major will be, then it might be a good idea to take a Subject Test to showcase this specific knowledge and stand out from other applicants. Solid performance on a subject test vividly demonstrates your competence and acumen in your subject area, and can help you to present yourself as an applicant who stands out from the pack!
  • 42. Chapter 4 Quantitative Section GRE Quantitative Basics Multiple Choice Questions Quantitative Comparison Questions Numeric Entry Questions 25 Things to Know for the Quantitative Section Quantitative Section General Strategies and Tips A Special Note on the Quantitative Section
  • 43. BenchPrep | GRE Playbook 2014 | 43 Chapter 4 – Quantitative Section GRE Quantitative Section The GRE Quantitative section (the “math” section) is designed to test your ability to reason mathematically, to understand basic math terminology, and to recall basic mathematical formulas and principles. You should be able to solve problems and ap- ply relevant mathematics concepts in arithmetic, algebra, geometry, and data anal- ysis. Keep in mind, though, that the GRE is primarily a critical thinking test, so your ability to apply reason and logic to solving the quantitative questions is more import- ant than your ability to recall mathematical formulas and principles. The GRE Quantitative question types include: ∞∞ Two kinds of Multiple-choice questions, each with several answer choices from which to choose, ∞∞ Quantitative Comparison questions, each with four possible answers (A−D), and ∞∞ Numeric Entry questions, for which you must come up with an answer on your own. Some of the Multiple-choice and Numeric Entry questions are part of question sets based on the data in charts or graphs. In this section, we will discuss the format of each question type and provide you with specific strategies for successfully answering the GRE quantitative questions. A. Quantitative- Multiple Choice Questions The GRE includes two kinds of multiple-choice questions: (1) Multiple-choice— Se- lect One Answer and (2) Multiple-choice—Select One or More Answers. ∞∞ Multiple-choice—Select One Answer questions each have five answer choices. Your task is to select the one correct choice. ∞∞ Multiple-choice—Select One or More Answers questions can have fewer than five answer choices or more than five answer choices. Your task is to se- lect all the choices that answer the question correctly. The directions may tell you how many choices to select. If you are told how many, you should select exactly that number of choices.
  • 44. BenchPrep | GRE Playbook 2014 | 44 Chapter 4 – Quantitative Section Some GRE multiple-choice questions involve straightforward calculations, while others require you to evaluate a word-problem in a real-life setting. Still others may be part of question sets called Data Interpretation sets. All of the questions in a Data Interpreta- tion set are based on the same data presented in tables, graphs, charts, or figures. To solve GRE Multiple-choice questions, you typically will not be required to perform complex calculations. However, you will be given scratch paper for whatever figuring you wish to do, and you will also be provided with a calculator to assist you when necessary. (In the computer-based test, the calculator will appear on screen.) Example: B. Quantitative Comparison Quantitative Comparison questions ask you to compare two quantities and deter- mine whether: (1) one is larger than the other, (2) the quantities are equal, or (3) there is not enough information to determine a relationship between the two quantities. Some questions include additional information that is centered above the two quan- tities that concerns one or both of the quantities. Quantitative Comparison questions generally require more logic skills than math skills. Q. If 5x - 6 = 14, then 8x = A. B. C. D. E. 4 20 32 8 5 64 5 Q.The ratio of two quantities is 4 to 5. If each of the quantities is increased by 3, which of the following could be the fraction of theses two new quantities? Indicate all answer choices that apply. A. B. C. 7 8 23 28 11 13
  • 45. BenchPrep | GRE Playbook 2014 | 45 Chapter 4 – Quantitative Section You will be asked to select from answer choices A through D. ∞∞ If you decide that Quantity A is greater than Quantity B, select answer choice A. ∞∞ If you decide that Quantity B is greater than Quantity A, select answer choice B. ∞∞ If you decide that the quantities are equal, select answer choice C. ∞∞ If there is not enough information to determine a relationship between the two quantities, select answer choice D. It’s smart to memorize the order of these answer choices before the test, as they will always be the same. In each Quantitative section, the Quantitative Comparison questions always come first. The other question types do not appear in any predetermined order, nor is there any set number of each question type on every GRE General Test. The best way to handle the Quantitative Comparison questions is to simply determine the value of each quantity. It is often better to estimate values because you are really just trying to decide if one value is greater than the other. After you have calculated the values, you can easily determine the relationship, if one exists. If one quantity is sometimes greater than or sometimes less than the other quanti- ty, the relationship cannot be determined from the information, and so you should select answer D. Example: This question gives you two quantities, Quantity A and Quantity B. Compare the two quan- tities and choose one of the following answer choices: Q. A $25 CD was bought on sale for $17.50. A. B. C. D. if Quantity A is greater; if Quantity B is greater; if the two quantities are equal; if you cannot determine the relationship based on the given information. Quantity A Quantity B The difference between the original price and the price of the CD during the sale 75% of the original price
  • 46. BenchPrep | GRE Playbook 2014 | 46 Chapter 4 – Quantitative Section C. Numeric Entry Questions of this type require you to enter your answer as an integer in a single an- swer box or as a fraction in two separate answer boxes. You will use the computer mouse and keyboard to make your entry. Once you’ve calculated your answer, click on the answer box(es) to activate, then type your answer. To erase, simply backspace. For a negative sign, type a hyphen, and for a decimal point, type a period. You should apply the standard rules of round- ing if the question asks for an approximate answer; otherwise, type in the exact an- swer. It is not necessary to reduce fractions to their lowest terms. Example: Q. Solve the equation for x:2(x-3) + 9 = 4x - 7 x = ?
  • 47. BenchPrep | GRE Playbook 2014 | 47 Chapter 4 – Quantitative Section 25 Things to Know: Quantitative The Quantitative section of the GRE (the “math” section) doesn’t really have many complicated math concepts. But there are a lot of concepts that you might have learned in high school that are handy to catch up on. Try to memorize as many of the math tricks below to make your GRE Quantitative section a breeze! 1 2 3 4 5 6 3:4:5 Triangle is a “Pythagorean triple” with a 90° angle and sides lengths of 3:4:5 or 6:8:10 or 12:16:20 . . . you get the picture. 30°-60°-90° triangle has sides of lengths of s - s√3 - 2s. 45°-90°-45° triangle has sides of lengths s - s√2 - s. (n-2 =180) = The sum of all interior angles of any polygon a²+b²=c² = the Pythagorean Theorem 1/2(base × height) = area of a triangle
  • 48. BenchPrep | GRE Playbook 2014 | 48 Chapter 4 – Quantitative Section 13Πr³ = volume of a sphere 12Πr² = area of a circle 11C=2Πr = circumference of a circle 8 10 9 7length×width = area of a rectangle base×height = area of a parallelogram 1/2(base1 + base2) × height = area of a trapezoid side² = area of a square
  • 49. BenchPrep | GRE Playbook 2014 | 49 Chapter 4 – Quantitative Section 14 16 17 18 19 15 length × width × height = volume of a rectangular solid (1/3)³ = (1³/3³) = 1/27 Distance between two points = √[(X2-X1)²+(Y2-Y1)²] Fraction tip: 1/y + 1/x = x + y /xy. Example: 1/2 +1/3 = 2 +3 / 3 × 2 = 5/6 Simple interest = P[(1 + rt)/100], where P= Principal, r=rate, and t=time. So the interest on $100 at 5% for two years = 100[(1 + .05×2)/100] = $11 edge³ = Volume of a cube
  • 50. BenchPrep | GRE Playbook 2014 | 50 Chapter 4 – Quantitative Section 20 21 22 23 24 25 Compound interest = P[(1 + r/100n]^nt, where P= Princi- pal, r=rate, n=number of periods, and t=time. So the com- pound interest on $100 at 5% for two years, compounded monthly = 100[(1 + .05/100×12]^12×2 = $110.49 Work rate formula = (1/time taken by both) = (1/time taken by person A) + (1/ time taken by person B) Distance = rate × time Order of operations = PEMDAS = Parentheses, Exponents, Multiplication, Division, Addition, Subratction Solving an inequality: when multiply- ing both sides by a negative number, always switch the direction of the in- equality sign. So -2x > 6 yields x<-3. Standard deviation: the greater the standard deviation, the more spread out a set of values is. The small the standard deviation, the more closely the values are to the mode.
  • 51. On the Quantitative section, your ability to apply reason and logic to solving the quantitative questions is more import- ant than your ability to recall mathematical for- mulas and principles.”
  • 52. BenchPrep | GRE Playbook 2014 | 52 Chapter 4 – Quantitative Section GRE Quantitative Strategies General Math Strategies The following strategies can be applied to all of the GRE math sections: ∞∞ Draw pictures on your scratch paper as necessary to help you figure out problems. ∞∞ Look for a way to reason through the problem. Use your on-screen calculator only if you really need it. ∞∞ When reading word problems, translate them into mathematical equations. (“Carrie has 3 more CDs than Amy” is equivalent to C = A + 3) ∞∞ Remember to estimate or “ball-park” answers when you can. It is often possible to eliminate all but the correct answer choice without doing any actual math. Multiple-Choice Questions ∞∞ Make sure that you understand what information is given and what question is being asked. Paraphrase if necessary. ∞∞ Many questions will allow you to “reason” your way to find an answer by per- forming only a few or even no calculations. Avoid lengthy and complicated calculations when possible. ∞∞ Remember that some questions call for more than one correct answer. For these questions, be sure to carefully analyze ALL of the answer choices. Don’t just select the first correct answer you see and move on. Data Analysis Questions ∞∞ Before answering each question, scan the given data. ∞∞ Many of the questions will allow you to approximate an answer by making a visual comparison only. Avoid performing calculations when possible. ∞∞ Do not base your answer to any question on an assumption or any outside in- formation. Use only the data given. ∞∞ You might be asked to select more than one correct answer, so pay close atten- tion to the format of the question.
  • 53. BenchPrep | GRE Playbook 2014 | 53 Chapter 4 – Quantitative Section Quantitative Comparison Questions ∞∞ Many comparisons require estimation only. Avoid lengthy and complicated calculations. ∞∞ Be sure to take into account any information given that applies to both quantities. ∞∞ If one quantity is sometimes greater or sometimes less than the other quanti- ty, then the relationship cannot be determined from the information (Answer choice D means that no one can determine the answer, not just that you can’t determine the answer.) Numeric Entry Questions ∞∞ Read the question carefully and be sure to provide the type of answer indicated. ∞∞ You will not have any answer choices to course you, so check your answer and make sure it is logical based on the information provided in the question. A Final Note on the Quantitative Section The GRE Quantitative Section is pretty broad in scope: it tests you on your knowledge of math that you learned in first grade all the way to high school algebra and geometry. That’s a lot! And it’s way too much to even scratch the surface with this Playbook. By searching around on the web, you can find information on all of the topics covered by the GRE, but the resources will be shoddy and inconsistent. By studying with an online course like the BenchPrep GRE Prep Course you can be assured that you’ll cover all the important topics for the Quantitative Section, so that you can get your highest score. BenchPrep’s GRE Course even has two units specially designed for Math review: GRE Math Prep by Nova and GRE Math Practice Questions by Allen Prep. These units present a comprehensive review of each math topic tested on the GRE. Featuring hundreds of lessons and practice questions, you’ll be ready to achieve your desired score on the GRE Math section. The Quantitative Section is definitely a section where studying can improve your score!
  • 54. Chapter 5 Verbal Section GRE Verbal Basics Sentence Equivalence Questions Reading Comprehension Questions Text Completion Questions A Special Note about Vocabulary 25 Things to Know for the Verbal Section Verbal Section General Strategies and Tips
  • 55. BenchPrep | GRE Playbook 2014 | 55 Chapter 5 – Verbal Section GRE Verbal The GRE Verbal section is designed to measure the skills required to carefully read and understand sentences and passages in standard written English, skills vital to success in graduate school. A GRE Verbal section includes questions of the following types: Sentence Equivalence, Reading Comprehension, and Text Completion. The questions appear in random order. This section provides you with useful strategies and techniques, an overview of the question types, and a breakdown of the critical reading skills that will be tested. This section also includes some sample practice questions. Types of Questions Sentence Equivalence The Sentence Equivalence questions on the GRE Verbal section are designed to test vocabulary in context as well as your ability to understand relationships among words and concepts. You should be able to answer many questions with only a gen- eral knowledge of vocabulary; however, some challenging questions might require you to make distinctions between more subtle meanings. Questions in this section are composed of a sentence with one blank, followed by six answer choices. You must select the two choices that, when independently inserted in place of the blank, best fit the meaning of the sentence as a whole and produce two completed sentences that are alike in meaning. In other words, the two answer choices should be synonyms that perform equivalent roles in the sentence. Because this section of the exam tests your ability to determine the relationship be- tween words, both answer choices are equally important. There is no partial credit given if only one word is chosen or if only one choice is correct. In general, the words that appear in Sentence Equivalence questions are limited to nouns, verbs, and adjectives. Answer choices will be either single words or short
  • 56. BenchPrep | GRE Playbook 2014 | 56 Chapter 5 – Verbal Section phrases. Some of the answer choices might be very similar to one another. Your job is to select the two best choices from among the six options. Keep in mind that a complete sentence is clear and concise, conveys a logical meaning, and is uniform in grammar and style. Example: Reading Comprehension Questions GRE Reading Comprehension questions are designed to measure your ability to read, understand, and analyze a written passage. Correctly answering a question requires you to recognize both what is stated and what is implied within the passage, and to establish the relationships and ideas expressed in the passage. The GRE includes a balance of reading passages across different subject matter areas, such as humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences. Each passage will be ap- proximately 150 words in length and will be followed by one to three questions. You should select the best possible answer, or combination of answers, for each question. In the revised GRE, Reading Comprehension questions have three formats: 1. Multiple-choice Questions—Select One Answer Choice Question Stem: It comes as no surprise that different cultures have certain behavioral norms; however, to an outsider, the specifics of these behaviors can often be . Answer Choices: A. B. C. D. E. F. explicit startling predictable unexpected derisive admirable
  • 57. BenchPrep | GRE Playbook 2014 | 57 Chapter 5 – Verbal Section 2. Multiple-choice Questions—Select One or More Answer Choices 3. Select-in-Passage Questions While these variants add some complexity to the Reading Comprehension section, you will use essentially the same strategies to tackle questions in all three formats. Familiarity through practice will help you tremendously. Students who possess two key skills—paraphrasing and skimming— usually earn the best scores on this section. These skills, along with techniques on how to determine the main idea, read and an- swer the questions, and use the process of elimination, are discussed in more detail in the following sections. Example: Text Completion Questions This question type includes a short passage, usually one or two sentences in length, containing one, two, or three numbered blanks. The blanks indicate that something has been omitted from the text. You are required to select words or phrases from corresponding columns of choices to fill all the blanks in a way that best completes the text. For questions with one blank, you will be given five answer choices. Otherwise, you will be given a choice of three answers per blank, each of which functions inde- pendently. Selecting an answer choice for one blank does not affect your choice for the second or third blanks. A correct answer must include one choice for each blank, and you will not be given partial credit. Q. The main purpose of the passage is to A. B. C. D. E. explore biological and physiological similarities between humans and chimpanzees. examine the hunting behavior and diet of chimpanzees and compare them to human activity. discuss the health benefits of eating and hunting meat while simultaneously predicting the effect of this behaviors on chimpanzee offspring. bring attention to the pioneering research of Dr. Jane Goodall in Tanzania. educate the public on the impact that tool use had in early human societies.
  • 58. BenchPrep | GRE Playbook 2014 | 58 Chapter 5 – Verbal Section Example: A Special Note about Vocabulary A special note about vocabulary is appropriate. While the GRE Verbal sections require different types of analytical skills from the reader, a critical element in each of these questions is vocabulary. The GRE and SAT have always been vocabulary intensive, and GRE vocabulary on the revised GRE is no different. It may seem easier because the vocabulary all appears in context, but learning lots of new vocabulary can still improve your score significantly. There are several resources to find the most often used GRE vocabulary words. An- other strategy is to write down words you do not know while you are practicing for the GRE and memorize those. Unlike math skills, vocabulary skills are more difficult to increase in a short period of time. You must start several weeks before the test and continuously learn new words before the test. Once a word is learned, continue to review with your new words. Vocabulary should be a key element of your study plan throughout your preparation process. Experts believe that humans have 10 trillion cells in their bodies that (i) any number of essential genetic elements; scientists often marvel at what incredible (ii) would ensure should the cells become jumbled or misunderstand their purpose. Blank (i) Blank (ii) A - govern D - order B - organize E - method C - dislocate F- chaos
  • 59. The GRE Verbal section is designed to measure the skills required to carefully read and understand sentences and passages in standard written English, skills vital to success in graduate school.”
  • 60. BenchPrep | GRE Playbook 2014 | 60 Chapter 5 – Verbal Section 25 Things to Know: Verbal 1 2 3 4 5 6 Use roots, prefixes, and suffixes to determine the meaning of words you don’t know. Vocabulary is essential. When it comes to the GRE Verbal section, that’s the bottom line. Be proactive: look up words you don’t know! On definition questions, guess quickly! Many questions re- quire you to know the definition, and because it’s likely that you can’t use much logic to get to a better answer, select one and move on. You can always come back if you have time. Find your personal reading passage strategy. If you read the questions first, when you read the passages, you can focus on find- ing the right answers most quickly. However, some students find that reading the passage first helps them understand the argument more generally first, before delving into the specific questions. Pay special attention to the first and last sentences. They provide important clues to the meaning of each passage. Questions with Roman numeral answers are often confus- ing and difficult. They ask you choose one more more or to find an exception. If you’re running low on time, mark down a guess and move to the next question.
  • 61. BenchPrep | GRE Playbook 2014 | 61 Chapter 5 – Verbal Section 8 10 11 12 9 7 On Reading Comprehension, make sure your answer actually answers the question, and isn’t just a true statement. On sentence completion questions, find connector words like “although” or “but” that may change the meaning of the sentence. Think about connotation. On sentence completion ques- tions, ask if the required word needs to have a positive or negative connotation. Many times you can eliminate answer choices because the connotations don’t fit. Read, read read! News magazines with well-written articles will boost your vocab. 13 Keep on pace. On the GRE, every question is worth the same, so keep trucking through those questions and don’t get hung up on one or two. With analogy questions, create a sentence in your head that shows the relationship between the two words and then use that sentence on each answer choice. Think of an obvious opposite word in your head on Ant- onym questions first, before you look at the answers.
  • 62. BenchPrep | GRE Playbook 2014 | 62 Chapter 5 – Verbal Section 16 17 18 19 On the sentence completion, fill in the easiest blank first. It doesn’t have to be the first blank. When you have made your selection for each blank, check to make sure the passage is coherent: logi- cally, grammatically and stylistically. Most often, answers on the Reading Comprehension sections will not be negative answers, but rather be neu- tral or positive. Again: vocab, vocab, vocab! We’ve said it once al- ready, but it’s the truth: improving your vocab is key to improving your score on the Verbal section. 15 On sentence completion, don’t just look among the answer choices for two words that mean the same thing. Remember, the goal is to make the whole sentence mean the same thing 14 On reading comprehension, distinguish ideas that the author is advancing from those the author is only reporting.
  • 63. BenchPrep | GRE Playbook 2014 | 63 Chapter 5 – Verbal Section 20 21 22 23 24 25 On Reading Comprehension, answer each question only on the basis of the information provided in the passage. Try to distinguish main ideas from supporting ideas or evidence. Remember that some Reading Comprehension and Sen- tence Equivalence questions ask you to select more than one answer choice. Carefully consider ALL of the answer choices before making your selections. Paraphrase when you need to. Putting the question and answer choices into your own words often makes them easier to understand. Consider slight variations in the meaning of each word. Start with the blank that seems the most simple to fill, and then work on the others.
  • 64. BenchPrep | GRE Playbook 2014 | 64 Chapter 5 – Verbal Section More GRE Verbal Strategies Reading Comprehension ∞∞ Read the questions first and make a mental note when the questions refer to specific lines, words, or boldfaced text. Do not try to memorize — just get an idea of what you should be looking for. ∞∞ Read each passage for Topic, Scope, and Purpose. Then skim for structure. Try to isolate one topic word or sentence for each paragraph. Don’t spend precious time trying to “learn” details. ∞∞ Try to distinguish between details that are factual and details that are the opinions of the author. ∞∞ Try to predict an answer before looking at the answer choices. If an answer choice matches your predicted answer, it is most likely correct. ∞∞ Paraphrase when you need to. Putting the question and answer choices into your own words often makes them easier to understand. ∞∞ Remember that some Reading Comprehension questions ask you to select more than one answer choice. Carefully consider ALL of the answer choices before making your selections. Sentence Equivalence ∞∞ Remember that for Sentence Equivalence questions, you must select two answer choices. Always consider ALL of the answer choices before you make your selections. ∞∞ Use the Latin roots, prefixes, and suffixes to figure out what hard words mean. ∞∞ Try to look for “clue” words and phrases in the sentence that might suggest a contrast or comparison. ∞∞ Try filling in the blank with your own words before you look at the answer choices. If you find answer choices that are similar to yours, they are most likely correct. ∞∞ When you think that you have the correct answers, read the entire sentence to yourself, using your choices in the blank. If it makes sense, then mark your answers on the computer screen. ∞∞ Consider slight variations in the meaning of each word.
  • 65. BenchPrep | GRE Playbook 2014 | 65 Chapter 5 – Verbal Section Text Completions ∞∞ Read through the text once to get an idea of context. ∞∞ Pay attention to “clue” words in the text, such as transition words, that will help you to identify the structure of the text. ∞∞ Start with the blank that seems the most simple to fill, and then work on the others. ∞∞ Once you’ve made your selections, check the text for logic and grammar.
  • 66. Chapter 6 Analytical Writing Section GRE Writing Basics “Analyze an Issue” Task “Analyze an Argument” Task Sample Essay Prompts 25 Tips for Analytical Writing What the GRE Graders are Looking For How to Get a 6 Writing Section General Strategies and Tips
  • 67. BenchPrep | GRE Playbook 2014 | 67 Chapter 6 – Analytical Writing Section Analytical Writing Section The Analytical Writing section of the GRE is purely a skills test. This means that you are not tested on any knowledge whatsoever. Instead, you are given an opportunity to demonstrate your ability to reason clearly and write coherently and concisely. The GRE Writing Section is also perhaps the hardest section to study for. As with writing in general, there isn’t any magic formula for success. Nonetheless, some dili- gent study and practice can improve your score dramatically. ETS says that the Writ- ing Section will measure how the test-taker can: ∞∞ articulate complex ideas clearly and effectively ∞∞ support ideas with relevant reasons and examples ∞∞ examine claims and accompanying evidence ∞∞ sustain a well-focused, coherent discussion ∞∞ control the elements of standard written English There are two separate tasks within this section: 1. “Analyze an Issue” (which we’ll call the Issue Task) 2. “Analyze an Argument” (which we’ll call the Argument Task) You are allowed 30 minutes for the Issue Task, and 30 minutes for the Argument Task, including reading and prewriting. Note that the essays are generally weighted equally by department admissions boards. No specialized knowledge is required to complete either writing exercise. You are not tested on what you might know about a particular subject. Instead, you are given the opportunity to demonstrate your ability to reason clearly and write coherently and concisely. Graduate schools are looking for logical reasoning, clarity, organiza- tion, writing mechanics, and proper usage of the language.
  • 68. BenchPrep | GRE Playbook 2014 | 68 Chapter 6 – Analytical Writing Section In addition, how well you write is much more important than how much you write. The GRE software provides more “space” than you will ever be able to use. You should write enough to clearly support your position or analyze the given argument within the allotted time. It’s very important to note that the Argument Task has a very different purpose than the Issue Task; you’re not being asked to write the same type of essay twice. If, after practicing, you still have trouble separating the two in your mind, consider how they might be used in graduate school. The Issue Task is similar to the writing you have done and will continue to do in greater depth: to propose a thesis and de- fend it. The Argument Task, however, reflects the processes used during research. As an undergraduate, you have probably had most of your academic resources vet- ted by your professors. As you will discover in graduate school, if you haven’t already, not everything published is solid scholarship. Some theses are simply false. Others are justifiable, but are poorly defended by their authors. You will have to be able to evaluate published work and identify any logical flaws, if only to avoid introducing the same mistakes into your own papers. The Argument Task measures your readi- ness to perform this important part of academic research. “Analyze an Issue” Task The purpose of the “Analyze an Issue” task is to form an argument or a position and express it clearly. The writing prompt will make a claim, and the instructions will ask for your response to address the degree to which you agree or disagree with the claim, as well as to provide compelling support for your position. There is no such thing as a “right” or “wrong” position to take on the GRE, and the position you take should not influence your score. Your score will instead be based on the quality of the evidence or support you provide, the soundness with which you reason, and the clarity with which you express the position you have chosen. What you say is less important than how you say it. The best way to approach this writing task is to consider the issue carefully from multiple points of view, and choose one that makes sense and for which you can
  • 69. BenchPrep | GRE Playbook 2014 | 69 Chapter 6 – Analytical Writing Section think of multiple sources of support. Then outline the main points of your position, and write your response in the form of an introduction, body, and conclusion, mak- ing sure your body contains at least three main supporting points. “Analyze an Argument” Task Rather than constructing an argument for the position of your choice, for the “Ana- lyze an Argument” task you are provided with a writing prompt that states a position and provides a supporting argument, and your instructions are to analyze and evalu- ate the argument. You are expected to critically evaluate the logical soundness of the reasoning the author uses to support his or her position as well as the strength of the evidence given. Note that you are not being asked to determine the truth or accuracy of the given position, or to agree or disagree with it. What is instead being tested is your ability to discern the structure of the argument and follow its line of reasoning. Your GRE score is based on your ability to accurately understand, represent, and analyze the argument you are presented with. The best way to approach this GRE practice writing task is to read the position careful- ly, paying special attention to the author’s use of evidence. In addition to noticing what is offered as evidence, you should also notice the author’s explicit and implicit prem- ises, as well as conclusions stated and implied. Write a brief outline for your response, addressing the points in the order they are raised, and follow the instructions in formu- lating your response, taking all of the points listed in your outline into account. Sample Essay Prompts “Issue” Task Issues are carefully chosen so that they aren’t biased toward any one college ma- jor or profession. However, luck is a bit of a factor on this section of the GRE. If you happen to be presented with an issue that you know something about, you will probably feel more comfortable writing about it. But, be careful to respond to the issue presented. Don’t answer a question that wasn’t asked just because you happen
  • 70. BenchPrep | GRE Playbook 2014 | 70 Chapter 6 – Analytical Writing Section to know something about the subject matter. Finally, don’t assume your reader is an expert in the subject; if you use specialized examples, always explain their signifi- cance. Here are some sample Issue Prompts. 1. Prompt: “In raising a child, love is important, but discipline is most important of all.” Discuss whether you agree or disagree with the statement. Use relevant rea- sons and examples to support your point of view. In developing and support- ing your position, consider ways in which the statement might or might not hold true. Explain how those considerations affect your point of view. 2. Prompt: “Health care in the United States should be free for all citizens, fully financed by the government.” Discuss whether you agree or disagree with the statement. Use relevant rea- sons and examples to support your point of view. In developing and support- ing your position, consider ways in which the statement might or might not hold true. Explain how those considerations affect your point of view. “Argument” Task On the argument section, if you happen to be presented with a topic that you know something about, you will probably feel more comfortable in writing about it. In these situations, be careful not to focus too much on facts themselves. Your job is to criticize the way the facts are organized and presented. For example, you may dis- agree with your prompt, and think that public libraries are an excellent use of public funds. This is not the time to make that argument. Instead, focus on the ways the au- thor has failed to be convincing. No matter what the topic, the argument will always have multiple flaws. 1. Prompt: “Funding for space exploration and colonization needs to be greatly expanded. At present, Earth is the only planet known to support life. A cataclysmic event
  • 71. BenchPrep | GRE Playbook 2014 | 71 Chapter 6 – Analytical Writing Section could result in the extinction not only of human life, but of all life in the known universe. Moreover, as human society continues to progress, it will seek new frontiers to expand to and to gather resources from. For both of these reasons, we must ensure that humanity establishes a foothold on other worlds.” Critique the reasoning used in the argument above. You are not being asked to discuss your point of view on the argument. You should identify and ana- lyze the central elements of the argument, the underlying assumptions that are being made, and any supporting information that is given. Your critique can also discuss other information that would strengthen or weaken the ar- gument or make it more logical. 2. Prompt: The following appeared in a letter to the editor of a local newspaper: ‘Too much emphasis is placed on the development of math skills in high school. Many students who are discouraged by the difficulty of the content turn away from schoolwork merely because they lack basic math skills. But prac- tice questions and content review on the Internet provide an important alter- native for students at this crucial stage in their education, an alternative that the school board should not reject merely because of the expense involved. After all, many studies attest to the value of using Internet-based math re- view. Thus, allowing students to practice basic math skills and review relevant math content on the Internet can only make students more eager to study and learn math. Therefore, the school board should encourage schools to purchase computers and permit high school students to access the Internet.’ In your assessment, analyze the line of reasoning used in the argument. Con- sider what, if any, questionable assumptions underlie the reasoning and how well any evidence given supports the conclusion. You can also discuss what sort of additional evidence would strengthen or refute the argument, what changes would make the conclusion more logically sound, and what addi- tional information might be needed to better evaluate the argument.
  • 72. BenchPrep | GRE Playbook 2014 | 72 Chapter 6 – Analytical Writing Section 25 Tips: Analytical Writing Keep these tips in mind when you’re thinking about how to get a top score: 1Plan first. Spend five minutes and outline what your position will be, and how you will say it. You don’t want to get caught changing your mind halfway through. 2There’s no “right” answer, only well-argued and poorly argued. 3 You don’t have to get too fancy. The GRE Writing Sec- tion tries to measure basic writing ability. You don’t have to write with the flair of Mart Twain to get a great score, but rather just display a general control of writing ability. 4 Write 3-5 paragraphs. Use all 45 minutes. 6 Make an argument and stick with it! The essay prompts are often really open-ended and vague, and tt’s easy to waste time waffling on the es- says, but that’s not your job! Be 80% in favor of one opinion, especially on the Argument task. Be disciplined about sticking with your plan. 5 Use topic sentences to organize your paragraphs. 7Provide specific evidence.
  • 73. BenchPrep | GRE Playbook 2014 | 73 Chapter 6 – Analytical Writing Section 8 10 11 12 13 9 Think about assumptions. On the “Argument” essay, there will likely be a number of assumptions made, which can weaken the Argu- ment. These may be generalizations, problems with statistics, false causes, and assumptions. Your task: find and attack! Use transition words and phrases. Words and phrases like “However”, “On the one hand”, “Sec- ondly”, “For instance”, “Nevertheless”, “While”, “Even though”, and “Indeed” are your friends. Use them! An easy “Issue” section structure = (1) Introduction, (2) Body, (3) Qual- ification (a paragraph that starts with “However” explaining how you could possibly be wrong), and (4) Conclusion An easy “Argument” section structure = (1) Introduction, (2) Body, and (3) Qualification and Conclusion (what oth- er information is needed to persuade you one way or the other?) Keep the big picture argument in mind. While it’s important to provide specific examples, it’s perhaps just as important tot keep your big-picture argument in mind as you write your essay. Use varied sentence structure. Start your sentences with prepositional phrases and transitions to vary your sentence structure and improve essay flow. One way to check if your sentence structure is varied is to check if your sentences are all of the same length: if they are, then it’s likely that your structure is too similar as well.
  • 74. BenchPrep | GRE Playbook 2014 | 74 Chapter 6 – Analytical Writing Section 14 16 17 18 19 15 Proofread. While minor errors and misspellings are okay, it’s always smart to spend minute or to checking for silly typos. Don’t repeat yourself in the conclusion. There’s a fine line between summarizing and being repetitive, but in your conclusion, make a conscious effort to expand and deepen your argument, rather than just repeat yourself. Use the active voice. Why say “Hamlet was written by Shakespeare,” when you can say “Shakespeare wrote Hamlet”? Active voice generally sounds better. Avoid slang and cliches. Nothing says “I am not a creative writer” than using cliches and slang. Keep on track. You only have 30 minutes for each essay; make sure you keep on pace. Good grammar is a must.
  • 75. BenchPrep | GRE Playbook 2014 | 75 Chapter 6 – Analytical Writing Section 21 22 23 24 25 Keep the introduction short. Get to the meat of your argument and don’t rehash that prompt in your intro. Get expert help. If writing is not your strongest subject, then ask other writers to help you out. Study sample essays. The best way to un- derstand what is expected of you on the essay section is to look at essays that are already graded. Can you understand why some got high scores and others did not? Read sample prompts so that you know what types of Issues and Arguments to expect. Practice! You won’t become a better writer if you don’t write! 20 Go for breadth. It’s easy to spend your time analyzing the nuances of one particular point or piece of evidence. However, it’s a better strategy to cover multiple angles than focusing too much on one particular angle.
  • 76. The GRE Writing Section is perhaps the hardest sec- tion to study for. As with writing in general, there isn’t any magic formula for success. Nonetheless, dil- igent study and practice can improve your score dramatically.”
  • 77. BenchPrep | GRE Playbook 2014 | 77 Chapter 6 – Analytical Writing Section What the GRE Readers Are Looking For Logical structure is far more important than mechanics such as spelling and gram- mar. However, you shouldn’t take any chances with mechanics. If you aren’t abso- lutely certain how to use a semicolon properly, don’t use one. If you are unsure of the meaning of a word, do not use it. Instead, think of a simpler term with the same meaning and use it. Here is a description of how the essays are scored at each level on both tasks. Essays that receive the following scores exhibit one or more of the characteristics listed: Score of 0: Response does not address the assigned task, is in a foreign lan- guage, is indecipherable, or contains no text (not attempted). Score of 1: Fundamentally deficient. The essay is extremely confusing or most- ly irrelevant. There is little or no development of ideas. Contains severe and pervasive errors. Does not present a logical analysis of the argument. Score of 2: Seriously weak. Contains frequent problems in sentence structure or use of language. Errors obscure meaning. The essay lacks analysis or de- velopment of ideas. Score of 3: Shows some competence. Contains some analysis and develop- ment of ideas. The essay has limited organization with flawed control or nu- merous sentence structure or language errors. It is vague and lacks clarity. Score of 4: Competent. Main ideas are supported with relevant evidence and examples. The essay shows adequate organization and is reasonably clear. The argument is identified and important features are analyzed. There is ade- quate control of sentences and language, but the essay might include some errors that reduce overall clarity. Score of 5: Generally thoughtful analysis of complex ideas. Sound reasoning and well-chosen examples support conclusions. The essay is well-organized and
  • 78. BenchPrep | GRE Playbook 2014 | 78 Chapter 6 – Analytical Writing Section focused, and includes sentences of varying length and complexity. Any errors are minor and do not affect the meaning of the essay. Score of 6: Insightful, in-depth analysis of complex ideas. Compelling logic and very persuasive examples. Essay is well organized and focused and displays skill in structuring sentences; vocabulary is precise and relevant. If there are any errors, they do not affect the logic or meaning of the essay. GRE Analytical Writing Strategies Issue Task ∞∞ Discuss the issue from any perspective. Remember, there is no correct posi- tion. Choose the position that you can most strongly support. ∞∞ No matter which position you take, make sure you have compelling reasons and examples to support it. Make sure you consider how someone might challenge or question your position. ∞∞ Do not worry about the number of examples included in your essay or the length of your essay; focus on the quality of your ideas. Argument Task ∞∞ Carefully read the given argument. Pay attention to the structure of the argu- ment and the statements or claims, assumptions, implications, and support- ing evidence given or left out. ∞∞ Remember, your task is to find flaws in the logic of the argument, NOT agree with, disagree with, prove, or disprove the argument. ∞∞ Do not worry about the number of examples or the length of your essay; fo- cus on the quality of your critique.
  • 79. Chapter 7 GRE Test Day How to Manage Stress Before the GRE Why Staying Relaxed Will Help You Score Well on the GRE Things to Bring on GRE Test Day The 10 GRE Commandments
  • 80. BenchPrep | GRE Playbook 2014 | 80 Chapter 7 – GRE Test Day GRE Test Day Now that we’ve covered the content of the test, it’s time to consider some practical information about taking the test, along with some meta-strategies to help you suc- ceed on the day of the test. These strategies include taking steps to make sure that your relaxed, healthy, and confident when you walk into the testing room! How to Manage Stress Before the GRE You’re stressed about the test. Okay, but guess what? So are thousands of other stu- dents, at this very minute! It’s okay to be stressed about the GRE: it is stressful! You’ve got tight time con- straints; it means a lot; you’ve spent a lot of time on it: it’s super-stressful! But hey, stress is a part of life, and as with all difficulties in life, it’s smart to be proactive in ad- dressing the difficulties head-on with steps that you can take right now. There’s lots of ways you can manage stress: #1 Exercise! You don’t have to be Lance Armstrong to enjoy the benefits of exercise. Whether it’s going for a walk or a run, Zumba, pumping some iron, or Richard Simmons Dance Party 4, working out the stress is always worth it. We know it’s hard to get out of the computer chair sometimes… but do it! Your body and mind will thank you after. #2 Distract yourself with play. Taking time for some purposeful distraction and fantasy time—and accepting this as part of your study regimen—will keep your brain healthy, fresh, and ready to learn. Go to the movies, play ping pong, or read a whimsical book— anything that takes your mind off that-test-which-shall-not-be-named :) #3 Eat right. “You are what you eat” is pretty true, isn’t it? We know it’s tough to focus on food when you’re doing a million things + studying for the GRE. But you can
  • 81. BenchPrep | GRE Playbook 2014 | 81 Chapter 7 – GRE Test Day take smart moves to incorporate eating well into your study plans. For exam- ple, join together a few study buddies for study dinners, where one person cooks for the others. Or cook in bulk on the weekends and refrigerate your leftovers for meals during the week. #4 Talk about your stress. Sometimes simply talking about the stress, even if you don’t really get “an- swers”, can be an effective strategy to manage stress. Stress is a part of ev- eryone’s life, and more than likely you’ll find a kind ear from a family member or friend who you can talk to to ease your mind. #5 Stop, and dream a little! You’re taking the GRE because you’ve got some ambition of improving your- self personally and professionally. So first, congratulate yourself on taking steps for self-improvement! You should feel proud that you’ve taken this step: your work ethic will pay off, no matter what happens on test day. But even more, try to visualize the person you’re trying to become. When you can truly envision yourself as a successful, confident person, it’s much easier to take real and concrete steps to become that person. Hey, you might even get an awesome GRE score too :) #6. Sleep Everyone’s different, but with your busy schedule it’s not smart to cut out on sleep on a Tuesday night just to get through “one more” practice section. Try to be disciplined about taking care of your body. Oh, and nap! #7. Don’t, Don’t Compare Yourself with Other People! This may sound crazy coming from a test preparation blog, where everything seems to be about percentiles and comparing yourself to other people. But it’s true: you’re an individual, and trying to compare yourself with other peo- ple simply won’t work out well. Trust us. Do your best; control what you can control; be yourself; and remember that your GRE score is not reflective of your worth as a person!
  • 82. The First GRE Command- ment: Thou shalt remember that every question is equal. This above all else is your most important piece of instruction.
  • 83. BenchPrep | GRE Playbook 2014 | 83 Chapter 7 – GRE Test Day Why Staying Relaxed Will Help You Score Well on the GRE Managing stress and staying relaxed is just good as a goal of its own, it will also help you get a higher score on the test! Here’s some reasons why this is true. 1. Relaxed people have clearer heads. When you’re uptight and stressed out, for some reason the synapses in your brain don’t fire correctly. Staying relaxed can help you your mind process all of the little tricks that standardized test-makers like to throw in their ques- tions when you’re taking the test. 2. Relaxed people can plan better. When you’re relaxed, you can assess all of your time commitments and plan your life better. Taking time to visualize your day, responsibilities, and sched- ule can help you use your time much more efficiently. 3. Relaxed people have better relationships. If you’re studying for something that’s as potentially stressful like the GRE, you certainly don’t want to be having relationship troubles as well, whether that’s with your boyfriend or girlfriend, friends, siblings, or whomever. Saying relaxed will help you deal better with the ups and downs of these relationships. 4. Relaxed people remember things better. When there’s a lot of unease on your mind, it’s hard for your brain to process and file away new information; too much of your brainpower is being spent on stress. With a relaxed and open mind, it will be much easier to remember those vocab words and math shortcuts. 5. Relaxed people are better at strategic thinking. Relaxed people can see the the big picture a lot better. On the GRE, taking a big picture, composed approach to the test is really important. Caught up on a math question? Skip it! Don’t like the looks of reading section? Come back to it! Got three of five answers eliminated? Pick one and move on! There’s no question about it: staying cool, composed, and sharp will help maximize your score.
  • 84. BenchPrep | GRE Playbook 2014 | 84 Chapter 7 – GRE Test Day Things to Bring on GRE Test Day On test day, you want to be as comfortable as possible. Unfortunately, strict test proctors have a tendency to make test-takers really uncomfortable. Make sure you come to the test center prepared, and knowing what to expect. Here’s what to take with you: 1. Comfortable clothes You’re not going to want to be shivering or sweating when trying to remem- ber geometry properties. Make sure you bring some layers of long-sleeved clothes. Testing centers are often chilly. 2. Directions to the testing center If you have a smartphone, put the address in the night before. Sometimes GRE testing centers don’t really look like much on the outside. So it might even be smart just to drive past beforehand just so you know exactly where the testing center is, and where you’ll need to park. 3. Photo ID A driver’s license or passport should do the trick in the US. 4. A snack and a drink. You’ll have a 10-minute break during the test, to use the restroom, drink something, and eat a snack. Some testing centers will allow you to access your locker (where’s you’ll store your personal belongings) and others will not. Either way, you’ll be able to have access to you snack and drink. 5. Your confirmation email. You shouldn’t need it, but just in case! 6. A positive attitude! You have already learned most of what you need to learn to do well on the GRE. You’ve practiced and studied for countless hours. You’ve got the vocab of Shakespeare. So all thats left for you to do is go in there knowing your go- ing to knock it out of the park, and do it! Oh, and PS: Do NOT bring your phone to the testing center! Not allowed!
  • 85. BenchPrep | GRE Playbook 2014 | 85 Chapter 7 – GRE Test Day The 10 GRE Commandments Test day. It’s here. It’s all too easy to lose your composure and get caught up on one question. The test-makers throw in all sorts of convoluted wording and unnecessary information to make you get confused, take up time, and throw you off. Don’t get caught in this trap! Heed the following 10 GRE Commandments to stay focused during the exam. COMMANDMENT 22 COMMANDMENT 11Thou shalt remember that every question is equal. All questions are weighted equally. So you know that really tough ques- tion you’ve been staring at blankly for three minutes? Worth the same as the “2x=6” question. So, get your points on the easy stuff, and remem- ber that every question is weighted the same. This above all else is your most important piece of instruction. Thou shalt use process of elimination. Pssst! Guess what? You don’t really have to know the correct answer on the GRE; all you have to do is select the right answer. Process of elimination is your friend; use it! Usually only two attractive answer-choices are offered, out of five total. One is correct; the other is either intentionally misleading or only partially correct. The other three answer-choices are usually fluff. This makes educated guessing on the GRE very effective. If you can dismiss the three fluff choices, your probability of answering the question successfully will increase from 20% to 50%. COMMANDMENT 33Thou shalt not get flustered. The GRE is definitely too short to lose focus after getting flustered. Train yourself to keep your composure and stay on track through taking practice tests and monitoring how you react to the time pressure.
  • 86. BenchPrep | GRE Playbook 2014 | 86 Chapter 7 – GRE Test Day COMMANDMENT 77 COMMANDMENT 66 COMMANDMENT 55 COMMANDMENT 44 Thou shalt not make mistakes when marking answers. “The answer is X, so I am marking this bubble.” It’s helpful to repeat this mantra to avoid making silly mistakes when marking your answer. ETS won’t know you really knew the answer if you mark the wrong one by accident . . Thou shalt know thy strengths and weaknesses. Knowing your strengths and weaknesses allows you to enter the testing room with confidence and assurance. If you know you are weaker on Verbal, for example, you will be more able to keep composed if you have trouble with Verbal on the test, and know how to strategize accordingly. Always trust thy instinct, and guess on the first pass. When you’re going through the test and find a particular ques- tion difficult, mark down the first answer that caught you, flag the question, and come back to it if you have time. You can change your answer later, duh! Honor thy clock. Remember that you only have about 1.5 minutes on each question on the Verbal section, and 1 minute and 45 seconds on the Quantitative Section. So if you’re halfway through the Verbal (15 out of 30 questions completed) and you only have 13 minutes to complete the section, you’re a little behind. Practicing with online resources like BenchPrep allows you to get acquainted with the feeling of having a ticking clock always on your screen.
  • 87. BenchPrep | GRE Playbook 2014 | 87 Chapter 7 – GRE Test Day COMMANDMENT 1010 COMMANDMENT 99 COMMANDMENT 88Thou shalt read the questions first on the Reading passages. A reading passage in the Verbal Sec- tion may be anywhere from one to three paragraphs long. That passage could contain a lot of information, but only a fraction of that information is useful for you to mark the correct answer. By reading the questions first, you’ll know what to look for when reading the passages. Know thy test to do thy best! The more you educate yourself about the GRE, the more review of the math, and vocab words studied, and timed tests taken, the more comfortable you’ll feel come test day. You and the GRE should feel like old friends by test day, and hopefully you can never see that friend again afterwards :) Keep a “next question” attitude. Much like the First GRE Command- ment, when you’re taking the test you should try to keep a “next question” attitude. If you have a string of tough questions, it’s ok: forget about them and move on to the next question. The test is too short to get hung up some questions at the exclusion of putting forth your best effort on the others.
  • 88. Chapter 8 GRE Resources GRE Resources Overview Group Classes and In-Person Tutoring Free ETS Resources GRE Apps Physical GRE Books and Flashcards GRE Prep Books GRE Prep Book Reviews and Recommendations
  • 89. BenchPrep | GRE Playbook 2014 | 89 Chapter 8 – GRE Resources GRE Resources There is no shortage of GRE practice materials and GRE practice exams that contain all of the information on the test. The hard part is not finding resources, but rath- er finding the most useful resources to you, and then putting in the time to learn it, which is a matter of scheduling and managing your attention. Resources for GRE practice and prep include books, flash cards, and software, in- cluding mobile apps. Each resource has its own specific advantages. Between books, online test prep resources, even private tutoring, everything you need to know for the GRE is accessible and available to you. Group Classes and In-Person Tutoring When prepping for the GRE, you can also choose to enroll in in-person classes and private tutoring. The in-person teaching obviously has its advan- tages, and will generally also provide you access to the online material as well. But they’re expensive: 8 classroom sessions with Kaplan will cost around $1,300. With Princeton Review, you can take 8 classroom sessions (for a total of about 24 hours of class time) for $1,000-$1,300. You can also hire a tutor to work with you on a one-on-one basis. There are many individuals and companies which specialize in this type of tutoring. For example, Kaplan offers 15, 25, and 35 hour tutoring plans. However, for the vast majority for students, this will cost way too much. For students in the Chicago area, for example, private tutoring lessons from Kaplan run from $2,400 to $4,600! Free ETS Resources While there is a lot of free GRE prep material out there, most of it is not a complete or reputable study tool. However, the free resources on the ETS website are top-notch. ETS is the organization which designs and administers the GRE. The ETS Website (www.ets.org/gre/) features a number of free re- sources and is the definitive source for information about the test. The
  • 90. The hard part is not finding GRE resources, but rather finding the most useful resources to you, and then putting in the time to learn it, which is a matter of scheduling and managing your attention.”
  • 91. BenchPrep | GRE Playbook 2014 | 91 Chapter 8 – GRE Resources best free resource is the POWERPREP II software which ETS offers for free download after registering at the official website of Educational Testing Ser- vices. This software offers two complete, timed full practice tests and one untimed test. These tests are written and designed by the people who make the actual test, and the interface looks just like how the real GRE interface will look. So, in your study plan, combined with your use of other resources like BenchPrep, it’s a no-brainer to take advantage of these two free POWERPREP II tests. Downloading this software is a great first step to beginning your GRE study program. After taking the first test, then spend time prepping with review exercises and practice tests available in other prep software, apps, and/or books. Once you feel you’ve improved and are hitting at or near your target score, take the second official practice test. That will allow you to confirm whether you’re reaching your target score. GRE Apps Mobile apps can replicate much of the look and feel of flashcards and books. Apps that are playable on a smartphone or tablet are as convenient for prac- ticing on the go as conventional flashcards. The only limitations of apps are the technical limitations (such as battery life) of the mobile device on which they’re played, and the typically more linear navigation patterns (compared to physical books or flashcards). BenchPrep offers a number of Games, Flash- cards, and Apps that you can use on your mobile devices. Besides mobile apps, there are plenty of other types of test prep software available for the GRE. Some are included on a CD as a bonus feature when you purchase a physical test prep book. Others may be downloaded directly. Physical GRE Books and Flashcards A set of flashcards contains a more limited amount of information than most test prep books, but is more portable. Flashcards provide a unique feedback mechanism for refreshing and reinforcing important concepts.
  • 92. BenchPrep | GRE Playbook 2014 | 92 Chapter 8 – GRE Resources Although physical books and flashcards are excellent learning tools for the GRE, they cannot fully replicate the experience of taking the real GRE com- puter-based test. In order to approximate as closely as possible the feel of the real computer-based test, it’s important to practice with electronic simu- lations available as mobile apps or other types of software. This is of course why a service like BenchPrep provides the strongest combi- nation of learning, flash cards, real-time tests, and with the same feel as the actual GRE. Many students who are preparing for the GRE use a GRE Prep Book, whether they choose to take a GRE Prep Course or not. In some ways, books are the most flexible resource, because they contain a large amount of information, typically including chapters of content review for each test section, more chapters of example test questions, one or more practice tests, and general information about the test and process of taking the test. In a prep book, you can cover the information in any order that you want. However, in our opinion, books are limiting when preparing for the GRE. GRE Prep Books don’t offer interaction, or analytics to help you with your preparation. Most importantly, books can’t simulate the test day experience, since you’ll most likely be taking the computer-based GRE. For these reasons, it is important to consider online prep options to get the best preparation for test day. Regardless, there is some great information is test prep books, and so here are a few things to consider when choosing your GRE Prep Book. First, you should try to get your hands on the latest edition of the book. The latest edition will have the most up-to-date content for the GRE. Another thing to consider when looking for a GRE Prep Book is the amount of content. In particular, you should look for books with both a lot of lessons, or concept review, as well as practice questions and practice tests. In addition to looking for a book with a lot of practice questions, your GRE Prep Book should have difficult questions to challenge you as you study. Achieving your target score is well worth investing some money in test prep resources.
  • 93. BenchPrep | GRE Playbook 2014 | 93 Chapter 8 – GRE Resources Typically, we at BenchPrep recommend the following GRE Prep Books: 1. Kaplan GRE Book Review Premier 2014 with 6 Practice Tests: book + online + DVD + mobile Kaplan GRE® Premier 2014 with 6 Practice Tests contains 1,800+ total prac- tice questions with detailed explanations, covering the revised and expand- ed Verbal, Quantitative, and Analytical Writing Assessment Test sections, and strategies for all the question types you’ll encounter on Test Day. It also comes with a digital copy of the book and study plans to help you make the most of your time preparing for the GRE. Overall, this book is well organized, clear, and concise. 2. Barron’s GRE Book Review, 20th Edition This newly revised and updated manual gives you a test overview plus test-taking advice and a timetable for a typical computer-based GRE test. Added features include a verbal reasoning review with practice questions in sentence completion and reading comprehension, an analytical writing re- view with scoring guidelines and practice exercises, a quantitative reasoning review that includes general math strategies, discrete quantitative questions, quantitative comparison questions, and data interpretation questions, and two full-length model GRE tests with answer keys and answer explanations. This book offers complete material for a good price, and is an overall good GRE prep resource. 3. McGraw-Hill’s GRE Book Review, 2014 Edition This book will give you the essential skill-building techniques and strategies developed by a team of renowned test-prep tutors. You’ll get all the facts about the exam, hundreds of practice questions, and six full-length prac- tice tests. With McGraw-Hill’s GRE, you will be guided step by step through your preparation program--and receive the tools you need to succeed. Mc- Graw-Hill is one of the more well-known test prep companies in the world, and this book is particularly inexpensive.
  • 94. BenchPrep | GRE Playbook 2014 | 94 Chapter 8 – GRE Resources 4. Manhattan Prep 5 lb. Book of GRE Book Review Practice Problems Manhattan Prep’s 5 lb. Book of GRE Practice Problems is an essential re- source for students of any level who are preparing for the Revised GRE Gen- eral Exam. With 33 chapters and over 1,800 practice problems, students can build fundamental skills in math and verbal through targeted practice. Plus, with easy-to-follow explanations and step-by-step applications, each ques- tion will help students cement their understanding of those concepts tested on the GRE. This is a very comprehensive book, especially for its price. Once you start studying, you should begin to gauge how hard the GRE will be for you and where you need to focus. You will also start to pick up on how much time you will we need to actually prepare for the test. Ask yourself if you are able to ded- icate a couple hours a day for a couple months. If not, you may want to start study- ing earlier than most. Sometimes the scariest part of the exam, and inevitably what seems like the most difficult, is setting enough time aside for studying and preparing.
  • 95. Chapter 9 After the GRE Understanding Your GRE Score Report How Do Schools Look a Multiple GRE Scores
  • 96. BenchPrep | GRE Playbook 2014 | 96 Chapter 9 – After the GRE After the GRE Taking the GRE is just one step in your Grad School application process. After you’ve taken the GRE—and after you’ve taken some time to relax!—now’s a good time to assess where your are in your application process. Understanding Your GRE Score Report Immediately after you take the computer-based GRE, you’ll be able to view your un- official Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning scores. You’ll receive your An- alytical Writing score, and your official Quantitative and Verbal scores, approximately 10-15 days after your test date in your My GRE Account. At that time your scores will also be sent to the schools you designate. When taking a look at your “examinee” GRE Score report, you’ll be able to see: ∞∞ Personal information like your name and intended graduate major. ∞∞ Your GRE test scores and your associated percentile ranks. ∞∞ Authorized score recipients and the scores reported to those institutions. ∞∞ Record of ALL scores reported within the last five years Regardless of which scores you choose to send to your schools, all scores of GRE tests you have take can be found in your “examinee” GRE score report. Although the Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning sections are scored on the same scale, they should not be compared to one another, because they are scaled differently. The most relevant piece of information related to your score on each of the GRE’s three measures (Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, and Analytical Writing) is your GRE percentile rank. The percentile rank gives the best comparison of your performance on the three different measures, as well as the best indicator of your overall performance on the test. Your percentile rank measures how well you do relative to everyone else who took the test within the most recent three year period. More information about the scores and how they are calculated can be found on the ETS website.
  • 97. BenchPrep | GRE Playbook 2014 | 97 Chapter 9 – After the GRE Official score reports are the reports that are sent to the schools you designate, will only include the score(s) which you have selected to send to these organizations. They will include your: ∞∞ Contact information ∞∞ Intended graduate major ∞∞ GRE test score(s) of only SELECTED tests and the associated percentile ranks Score reports sent to institutions will not include any information concerning the other score recipients you have chosen (so if you’re sending your scores to Universi- ty A and University B, University A won’t know about B and B won’t know about A). How do Schools Look at Multiple GRE Scores? It might happen that you have to take the GRE two or more times to get the score you want. Luckily, with the new ScoreSelect option, you have more freedom than ever to select which of these scores you send on to the programs you’re applying to. With ScoreSelect, you can send any single score, or any combination of scores, that you want. When selecting which scores to send to which universities, it’s helpful to know how the admissions committee consider scores from multiple GRE tests. Most programs and Grad Schools provide details on their website about how they look at multiple GRE scores. Practices vary widely, and a school can use one of many approaches: Approach #1 “All scores considered” Some schools may simply consider all of your scores, with no further details provided.
  • 98. BenchPrep | GRE Playbook 2014 | 98 Chapter 9 – After the GRE Approach #2 “All scores considered, but taking into account score increases.” Some schools may simply consider all of your scores, but will take into account improvements. Approach #3 “Mix ‘n match” Some schools may take the highest section scores from different testing dates. So, for example, say that on GRE #1, you scored a 150 on Verbal, a 160 on Quantitative, and a 4 on the Writing; and on GRE #2, you scored a 160 on Ver- bal, a 150 on Quantitative and a 5 on the Writing. In this case, then the school will take both 160 scores and the 5 into consideration. Approach #4 “Mix, match, and weight” Some schools may take the highest section scores from different testing dates, but also weight more heavily more recent scores. Approach #5 “Most recent scores.” The school could simply take your most recent GRE score. Approach #6 “Average scores.” The school could also average all of your test scores that you provide. What this means for you: From our research, #2 and #3 are the most common approaches: considering all scores and taking the highest individual scores from different sections. Depending on how many Grad Schools you plan to apply to, you may be able to see how keeping track of all the schools’ GRE policies could get confusing. In practice, though, a lot of these distinctions aren’t as important now that ETS has started the ScoreSelect option. Now, you can select your top score and only report that. But, of course, it might be advantageous to report more than one score if, for example, the school adopts a “Mix ‘n match” approach to considering GRE scores, and you did better on one section on one test, and another section on another test. There isn’t one really cut-and-dry way to explain how this might work in your situation. It’ll just take a little thinking and strategy to figure out how to put your best foot for- ward on your applications!
  • 99. Luckily, with the new ScoreSelect option, you have more freedom than ever to select which of these scores you send on to the programs you’re applying to.”
  • 100. Conclusion Dear Student, We hope you’ve found this GRE Playbook useful as an intro- duction to the test and the strategies that can help you earn your target score. Feel free to print this Playbook out, give it to friends and teachers, and use it in any way that’s helpful for your study plan. As with any Playbook, it’s up to you to call the shots, but we’re here to try to coach you as best we can. Taking the GRE can be intimidating, but with the proper prepa- ration, you can ensure that your give your very best effort. As always, if you have questions, comments, or suggestions, feel free to reach out to us 24/7 at 855-BENCHPREP (855- 236-2477) or support@benchprep.com. Happy Studying! The Team at BenchPrep Click the Voucher Code a year-long BenchPrep GRE Subscription GREPLAYBOOK14 for $50 off or enter the code at benchprep.com/voucher
  • 101. Feel free to print this Playbook out, give it to friends and teachers, and use it in any way that’s helpful for your study plan. 600 W. Chicago Ave., Suite 775, Chicago, IL 60654 855-BENCHPREP (236-2477) benchprep.com | support@benchprep.com

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