GRE Playbook 2014
The one-stop resource for everything GRE.
Table of Contents
Ch. 1: Introduction
Introduction to BenchPrep’s GRE Test Prep
Program • BenchPrep Games, Flashcards,
Ch. 6: Analytical Writing Section
GRE Writing Basics • “Analyze an Issue” Task
• “Analyze an Argument” Task • Sample Essay
Adaptive Nature and Other Features • How
Prompts • 25 Tips for Analytical Writing • What
BenchPrep Can Improve Your Score
the GRE Graders are Looking For • How to Get a
6 • Writing Section General Strategies and Tips
Ch. 2: GRE 101
Overview of the GRE • Why You Should Take
the GRE • What the GRE Measures • What
Programs Accept the GRE • Infographics
Ch. 7: GRE Test Day
How to Manage Stress Before the GRE • Why
Staying Relaxed Will Help You Score Well on the
Comparing GMAT, MAT, and GRE • How the
GRE • Things to Bring on GRE Test Day • The 10
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 •
Ch. 8: GRE Resources
GRE Resources Overview • Online Self-Based
Learning • Group Classes and In-Person Tutor-
How to Register for the GRE • What’s the Dif-
ing • Free ETS Resources • GRE Apps • Physical
ference Between the Paper-Based and Com-
GRE Books and Flashcards • GRE Prep Books •
puter-Based GRE? • About the GRE Subject
GRE Prep Book Reviews and Recommendations
Tests • Should You Take the Subject Tests?
Ch. 4: Quantitative Section
GRE Quantitative Basics • Multiple Choice
Ch. 9: After the GRE
Understanding Your GRE Score Report • How
Do Schools Look a Multiple GRE Scores
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
Ch. 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
Ch. 10: Conclusion
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Chapter 2 – GRE 101
∞∞ 168.7 is 2 standard deviations above average, corresponds to the 97th or
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
Worldwide Averages By Field of Study as provided by ETS:
Humanities & Arts
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 exceptional 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-
BenchPrep | GRE Playbook 2014 | 27
When Should I Take The GRE?
Are you feeling
ready for the test?
Have you started studying?
the BenchPrep app
& start studying
Library & Information sciences
Facts to Consider
Are you ready now?
When do you want to
apply to graduate school?
The GRE is
3 hrs. 40 min.long
your score is good for ﬁve years
In August 2011, the
GRE was updated
to a new format
Receive your GRE results
10–15 days after you
take the exam
where you need to know
specialized content which
you might only learn in the
later years of college, you
already learned most of the
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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 apply relevant mathematics concepts in arithmetic, algebra, geometry, and data analysis. 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 important 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),
∞∞ 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— Select 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 select 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.
BenchPrep | GRE Playbook 2014 | 43
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 Interpretation 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.)
Q. If 5x - 6 = 14, then 8x =
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
Indicate all answer choices that apply.
B. Quantitative Comparison
Quantitative Comparison questions ask you to compare two quantities and determine 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 quantities that concerns one or both of the quantities. Quantitative Comparison questions
generally require more logic skills than math skills.
BenchPrep | GRE Playbook 2014 | 44
On the Quantitative
section, your ability to
apply reason and logic to
solving the quantitative
questions is more important than your ability to
recall mathematical formulas and principles.”
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.
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
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 approximately 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
BenchPrep | GRE Playbook 2014 | 56
Chapter 5 – Verbal Section
25 Things to Know: Verbal
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 require 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 finding 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 confusing 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.
BenchPrep | GRE Playbook 2014 | 60
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.
Thou shalt remember that every question is equal.
All questions are weighted equally. So you know that really tough question 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 remember 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
Don’t get caught in this trap! Heed the following 10 GRE Commandments to stay
focused during the exam.
choices, your probability of answering the question successfully will increase
from 20% to 50%.
Thou 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.
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Chapter 8 – GRE Resources
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BenchPrep | GRE Playbook 2014 | 90
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 University 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
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
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