Practice book gre_pb_revised_general_test


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Practice book gre_pb_revised_general_test

  1. 1. Practice Bookfor the Paper-basedGRE revised ®General TestFor tests administered beginning in August 2011
  2. 2. Note to Test Takers: Keep this practice book until you receive your score report. This book contains important information about scoring. Copyright © 2011 by Educational Testing Service. All rights reserved. ETS, the ETS logos, GRADUATE RECORD EXAMINATIONS, GRE, POWERPREP and e-rater are registered® trademarks of Educational Testing Service (ETS) in the United States and other countries. ScoreItNow! is a trademark of Educational Testing Service.
  3. 3. Table of Contents Overview of the Paper-basedOverview of the Paper-based GRE® revised GRE® revised General TestGeneral Test ........................................................ 3 Test Structure ......................................................... 3 The revised General Test measures verbal reasoning, Preparing for the GRE revised General Test .......... 4 quantitative reasoning, critical thinking and analyti- Test-taking Strategies ............................................. 4 cal writing skills, skills that have been identified as Breaks...................................................................... 5 critical for success in graduate and business school. Scoring and Score Reporting ................................. 5 This publication provides a comprehensive over- view of each measure of the test to help you get readyIntroduction to the Analytical Writing for test day. It is designed to help you:Measure ............................................................... 6 Analyze an Issue Task ............................................. 6 • understand what is being tested Analyze an Argument Task .................................. 10 • gain familiarity with the various question types • review test-taking strategiesIntroduction to the Verbal Reasoning • become familiar with the calculator that will beMeasure ............................................................. 15 distributed on test day Verbal Reasoning Question Types ........................ 15 • review scored Analytical Writing responses and Reading Comprehension Questions ..................... 15 reader commentary Text Completion Questions ................................. 18 • understand scoring Sentence Equivalence Questions ......................... 20 • practice taking the testIntroduction to the Quantitative Reasoning If you are planning to take the computer-basedMeasure ............................................................. 21 GRE® revised General Test, please visit Quantitative Reasoning Question Types ............. 21 for test preparation Quantitative Comparison Questions ................... 22 materials for the computer-based test. Multiple-choice Questions—Select One Answer If you have a disability and need special accom- Choice .................................................................. 25 modations, visit Multiple-choice Questions—Select One or More for test preparation materials. Answer Choices .................................................... 27 Numeric Entry Questions ..................................... 28 Test Structure Data Interpretation Questions ............................. 30 The paper-based GRE revised General Test contains Using the Calculator ............................................ 32 two Analytical Writing tasks, two Verbal ReasoningTaking the Practice Test ................................... 33 sections and two Quantitative Reasoning sections. Total testing time is approximately 3 hours andEvaluating Your Performance ........................... 33 30 minutes. The directions at the beginning of eachAdditional Test Preparation ............................. 34 section specify the total number of questions in thePractice GRE revised General Test .................. 35 section and the time allowed for the section. The Analytical Writing tasks are always presented first.Appendices A – Analytical Writing Scoring Guides and Score Level Descriptions.......................................... 92 Typical Paper-based GRE revised B – Sample Analytical Writing Topics, Scored General Test Sample Essay Responses and Reader Commentary .................................................. 97 Measure Number of Questions Time C – Practice Test Analytical Writing Topics, Analytical Writing Section 1 Analyze an Issue 30 minutes Scored Sample Essay Responses and Reader (2 sections) Section 2 Analyze an Argument per section Commentary ................................................ 106 Verbal Reasoning 25 questions per section 35 minutes D – Interpretive Information for the Verbal (2 sections) per section Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning Quantitative 25 questions per section 40 minutes Measures ....................................................... 116 Reasoning per section (2 sections) 3
  4. 4. Unlike the previous paper-based GRE General test center. It is important to understand the skills Test and the GRE Subject Tests, which use separate measured and how the tasks are scored. It is also use- answer sheets, the paper-based GRE revised General ful to review the scoring guides, sample topics, scored Test is self-contained: you will enter all responses for sample essay responses and reader commentary for the Analytical Writing tasks and the Verbal Reason- each task. ing and Quantitative Reasoning questions in the The tasks in the Analytical Writing measure test book itself. Also, you are allowed to use a basic relate to a broad range of subjects—from the fine arts hand-held calculator on the Quantitative Reasoning and humanities to the social and physical sciences— sections. The calculator will be provided to you at the but no task requires specific content knowledge. In test site; you may not use your own calculator. Infor- fact, each task has been tested by actual GRE test mation about using the calculator to help you answer takers to ensure that it possesses several important questions appears on page 32. characteristics, including the following: • GRE test takers, regardless of their field of study Preparing for the GRE revised or special interests, understood the task and General Test could easily respond to it. Preparation for the test will depend on the amount • The task elicited the kinds of complex thinking of time you have available and your personal prefer- and persuasive writing that university faculty ences for how to prepare. At a minimum, before you consider important for success in graduate take the paper-based GRE revised General Test, you school. should know what to expect from the test, including • The responses were varied in content and in the the administrative procedures, types of questions and way the writers developed their ideas. directions, number of questions and amount of time To help you prepare for the Analytical Writing mea- for each section. sure, the GRE Program has published the entire pool The administrative procedures include registra- of tasks from which your test tasks will be selected. tion and appointment scheduling, date, time, test You might find it helpful to review the Issue and center location, cost, score-reporting procedures and Argument pools. You can view the published pools at availability of special testing arrangements. You can find out about the administrative procedures for the Before taking the Analytical Writing measure, revised General Test in the GRE Information and review the strategies, sample topics, essay responses Registration Bulletin. Information is also available and reader commentary for each task contained in online at or by con- tacting ETS at 1-609-771-7670 or 1-866-473-4373 this document. Also review the scoring guides for (toll free for test takers in the U.S., American Samoa, each task. This will give you a deeper understanding Guam, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands and Canada). of how readers evaluate essays and the elements Before taking the practice revised General Test, it they’re looking for in an essay. is important to become familiar with the content of In the paper-based revised General Test, the topics each of the measures. In this publication, you’ll find in the Analytical Writing measure will be presented information specific to each measure of the test. You in the test book, and you will handwrite your essay can use this information to understand the type of responses in the test book in the space provided. material on which you will be tested and the question It is important to budget your time. Within the types within each measure. Determine which strate- 30-minute time limit for the Issue task, you will need gies work best for you. Remember—you can do very to allow sufficient time to consider the issue and the well on the test without answering every question in specific instructions, plan a response and compose each section correctly. your essay. Within the 30-minute time limit for the Argument task, you will need to allow sufficient time Test-taking Strategies to consider the argument and the specific instructions, plan a response and compose your essay. Although Analytical Writing Measure the GRE readers who score your essays understand Everyone—even the most practiced and confident of the time constraints under which you write and will writers—should spend some time preparing for the consider your response a first draft, you still want it to Analytical Writing measure before arriving at the be the best possible example of your writing that you4 can produce under the testing conditions.
  5. 5. Save a few minutes at the end of each section to Note: During the actual administration of the revisedcheck for obvious errors. Although an occasional General Test, you may work only on the section thespelling or grammatical error will not affect your test center supervisor designates and only for the timescore, severe and persistent errors will detract from allowed. You may not go back to an earlier section ofthe overall effectiveness of your writing and lower the test after the supervisor announces, “Please stopyour score accordingly. work” for that section. The supervisor is authorized toVerbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning dismiss you from the center for doing so. All answersMeasures must be recorded in the test book.The questions in the Verbal Reasoning and Quantita- Breakstive Reasoning measures have a variety of formats. There is a 10-minute break following the secondSome require you to select a single answer choice; Analytical Writing section.others require you to select one or more answerchoices, and yet others require you to enter a numeric Scoring and Score Reportinganswer. Make sure when answering a question thatyou understand what response is required. Complete Analytical Writing Measureinstructions for answering each question type are For the Analytical Writing measure, each essay re-included in the practice test after the two Analytical ceives a score from two readers using a six-pointWriting tasks. holistic scale. In holistic scoring, readers are trained When taking a Verbal Reasoning or Quantitative to assign scores based on the overall quality of anReasoning section, you are free, within that section, essay in response to the assigned task. If the twoto skip questions that you might have difficulty an- scores differ by more than one point on the scale, theswering and come back to them later during the time discrepancy is adjudicated by a third GRE reader.provided to work on that section. Also during that Otherwise, the two scores on each essay are aver-time you may change the answer to any question in aged. The final scores on the two essays are thenthat section by erasing it completely and filling in an averaged and rounded up to the nearest half-pointalternative answer. Be careful not to leave any stray interval. A single score is reported for the Analyticalmarks in the answer area, as they may be interpreted Writing incorrect responses. You can, however, safely make The primary emphasis in scoring the Analyticalnotes or perform calculations on other parts of the Writing measure is on your critical thinking andpage. No additional scratch paper will be provided. analytical writing skills. Scoring guides for the Issue Your Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reason- and Argument prompts are included in this publica-ing scores will be determined by the number of ques- tion in Appendix A on pages 92–95 and available attions for which you select or provide the best answer. for which you mark no answer or more Independent Intellectual Activityor fewer than the requested number of answers arenot counted in scoring. Nothing is subtracted from a During the scoring process for the GRE revisedscore if you answer a question incorrectly. Therefore, General Test, your essay responses on the Analyticalto maximize your scores on the Verbal Reasoning and Writing measure will be reviewed by ETSQuantitative Reasoning measures of the paper-based essay-similarity-detection software and by experi-test, it is best to answer every question. enced essay readers. In light of the high value placed Work as rapidly as you can without being careless. on independent intellectual activity within gradu-Since no question carries greater weight than any ate schools and universities, ETS reserves the rightother, do not waste time pondering individual ques- to cancel test scores of any test taker when an essaytions you find extremely difficult or unfamiliar. response includes any of the following: You may want to go through a section rapidly at • text that is unusually similar to that found infirst, stopping only to answer those questions you can one or more other GRE essay responsesdo so with certainty. Then go back and answer the • quoting or paraphrasing, without attribution,questions that require greater thought, concluding language that appears in published or unpub-with the difficult questions if you have time. lished sources 5
  6. 6. • unacknowledged use of work that has been Score-Reporting Timeframes produced through collaboration with others Scores on the paper-based GRE revised General Test without citation of the contribution of others are reported approximately six weeks after the test • essays submitted as work of the test taker that date. For specific information on score reporting appear to have been borrowed in whole or in dates for paper-based administrations, visit part from elsewhere or prepared by another person Score reporting is cumulative. Scores are report- When one or more of the above circumstances oc- able for five testing years following the testing year in curs, ETS may conclude, in its professional judgment, which you test. All scores earned during this time will that the essay response does not reflect the indepen- be reported to the institutions you designate. dent writing skills that this test seeks to measure. When ETS reaches that conclusion, it cancels the Analytical Writing score; because Analytical Writing Introduction to the scores are an integral part of the GRE General Test scores, those scores are canceled as well. Analytical Writing Measure Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning The Analytical Writing measure tests your critical Measures thinking and analytical writing skills. It assesses your ability to articulate and support complex ideas, con- Scoring of the Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative struct and evaluate arguments, and sustain a focused Reasoning measures is essentially a two-step process. and coherent discussion. It does not assess specific First a raw score is computed for each measure. The content knowledge. raw score for each measure is the number of questions The Analytical Writing measure consists of two answered correctly in the two sections for that separately timed analytical writing tasks: measure. The Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reason- • a 30-minute “Analyze an Issue” task ing raw scores are then converted to scaled scores • a 30-minute “Analyze an Argument” task through a process known as equating. The equating The Issue task presents an opinion on an issue of gen- process accounts for minor variations in difficulty eral interest followed by specific instructions on how among the different test editions. Thus, a given to respond to that issue. You are required to evaluate scaled score for a particular measure reflects the same the issue, consider its complexities and develop an level of performance regardless of which edition of argument with reasons and examples to support your the test that was taken. views. Score Reporting The Argument task requires you to evaluate a given argument according to specific instructions. The scores for the GRE revised General Test include: You will need to consider the logical soundness of the • a Verbal Reasoning score reported on a new argument rather than agree or disagree with the posi- 130–170 score scale, in one-point increments tion it presents. • a Quantitative Reasoning score reported on a The two tasks are complementary in that one new 130–170 score scale, in one-point incre- requires you to construct your own argument by ments taking a position and providing evidence supporting • an Analytical Writing score reported on a 0–6 your views on an issue, and the other requires you score scale, in half-point increments to evaluate someone else’s argument by assessing its If no questions are answered for a specific measure claims and evaluating the evidence it provides. (e.g., Verbal Reasoning), then you will receive a Analyze an Issue Task No Score (NS) for that measure. Descriptions of the analytical writing abilities The Analyze an Issue task assesses your ability to characteristic of particular score levels are available think critically about a topic of general interest and in Appendix A on page 96. to clearly express your thoughts about it in writing. Each Issue topic makes a claim that test takers can discuss from various perspectives and apply to many6
  7. 7. different situations or conditions. Your task is to pres- • Write a response in which you discuss your viewsent a compelling case for your own position on the on the policy and explain your reasoning for theissue. Before beginning your written response, be sure position you take. In developing and supportingto read the issue and the instructions that follow the your position, you should consider the possibleIssue statement. Think about the issue from several consequences of implementing the policy andpoints of view, considering the complexity of ideas explain how these consequences shape yourassociated with those views. Then, make notes about position.the position you want to develop and list the main The GRE readers scoring your response are not look-reasons and examples you could use to support that ing for a “right” answer—in fact, as far as they areposition. concerned, there is no correct position to take. In- It is important that you address the central issue stead, the readers are evaluating the skill with whichaccording to the specific instructions. Each Issue you address the specific instructions and articulateTopic is accompanied by one of the following sets of and develop an argument to support your evaluationinstructions: of the issue. • Write a response in which you discuss the extent Understanding the Context for Writing: Purpose to which you agree or disagree with the state- and Audience ment and explain your reasoning for the posi- tion you take. In developing and supporting your The Analyze an Issue task is an exercise in critical position, you should consider ways in which thinking and persuasive writing. The purpose of the statement might or might not hold true and this task is to determine how well you can develop a explain how these considerations shape your compelling argument supporting your own evaluation position. of an issue and then effectively communicate that • Write a response in which you discuss the extent argument in writing to an academic audience. Your to which you agree or disagree with the recom- audience consists of GRE readers who are carefully mendation and explain your reasoning for the trained to apply the scoring criteria identified in the position you take. In developing and supporting scoring guide for the Analyze an Issue task in your position, describe specific circumstances Appendix A on pages 92–93. in which adopting the recommendation would To get a clearer idea of how GRE readers apply the or would not be advantageous and explain how Issue scoring criteria to actual responses, you should these examples shape your position. review scored sample Issue essay responses and reader • Write a response in which you discuss the extent commentary. The sample responses, particularly at to which you agree or disagree with the claim. the 5 and 6 score levels, will show you a variety of In developing and supporting your position, be successful strategies for organizing, developing and sure to address the most compelling reasons communicating a persuasive argument. The reader and/or examples that could be used to challenge commentary discusses specific aspects of evaluation your position. and writing, such as the use of examples, develop- • Write a response in which you discuss which ment and support, organization, language fluency view more closely aligns with your own posi- and word choice. For each response, the commentary tion and explain your reasoning for the position points out aspects that are particularly persuasive as you take. In developing and supporting your well as any that detract from the overall effectiveness position, you should address both of the views of the essay. presented. • Write a response in which you discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the claim and the reason on which that claim is based. 7
  8. 8. Preparing for the Issue Task • Think about the claim and instructions in Since the Issue task is meant to assess the persuasive relation to your own ideas and experiences, to writing skills you have developed throughout your events you have read about or observed and to education, it has been designed neither to require any people you have known; this is the knowledge particular course of study nor to advantage students base from which you will develop compelling with a particular type of training. reasons and examples in your argument that re- Many college textbooks on composition offer inforce, negate or qualify the claim in some way. advice on persuasive writing and argumentation that • Decide what position on the issue you want to you might find useful, but even this advice might be take and defend. more technical and specialized than you need for the • Decide what compelling evidence (reasons and Issue task. You will not be expected to know specific examples) you can use to support your position. critical thinking or writing terms or strategies; in- Remember that this is a task in critical thinking and stead, you should be able to respond to the specific persuasive writing. The most successful responses will instructions and use reasons, evidence and examples explore the complexity of the claim and follow the to support your position on an issue. specific task instructions. As you prepare for the Issue Suppose, for instance, that an Issue topic asks you task, you might find it helpful to ask yourself the fol- to consider a policy that would require government lowing questions: financial support for art museums and the implica- • What, precisely, is the central issue? tions of implementing the policy. If your position is • What precisely are the instructions asking me to that government should fund art museums, you might do? support your position by discussing the reasons art • Do I agree with all or any part of the claim? is important and explain that government funding Why or why not? would make access to museums available to everyone. • Does the claim make certain assumptions? If so, On the other hand, if your position is that govern- are they reasonable? ment should not support museums, you might point • Is the claim valid only under certain conditions? out that art museums are not as deserving of limited If so, what are they? governmental funding as are other, more socially im- • Do I need to explain how I interpret certain portant institutions, which would suffer if the policy terms or concepts used in the claim? were implemented. Or, if you are in favor of govern- • If I take a certain position on the issue, what ment funding for art museums only under certain reasons support my position? conditions, you might focus on the artistic criteria, • What examples—either real or hypothetical cultural concerns or political conditions that you —could I use to illustrate those reasons and think should determine how, or whether, art muse- advance my point of view? Which examples are ums receive government funds. It is not your position most compelling? that matters as much as the critical thinking skills you display in developing your position. Once you have decided on a position to defend, con- An excellent way to prepare for the Issue task is sider the perspectives of others who might not agree to practice writing on some of the published topics. with your position. Ask yourself: There is no “best” approach: some people prefer to • What reasons might someone use to refute or start practicing without regard to the 30-minute time undermine my position? limit; others prefer to take a “timed test” first and • How should I acknowledge or defend against practice within the time limit. Regardless of which those views in my essay? approach you take, you should first review the task To plan your response, you might want to summarize directions and then follow these steps: your position and make notes about how you will • Carefully read the claim and the specific instruc- support it. When you’ve done this, look over your tions and make sure you understand them; if notes and decide how you will organize your response. they seem unclear, discuss them with a friend Then write a response developing your position on or teacher. the issue. Even if you don’t write a full response, you should find it helpful to practice with a few of the Issue topics and to sketch out your possible responses.8
  9. 9. After you have practiced with some of the top- Sample Issue Taskics, try writing responses to some of them within the Following is a sample Issue task of the sort that you30-minute time limit so that you have a good idea of might see on the test:how to use your time in the actual test. It would probably be helpful to get some feedback As people rely more and more on technology toon your response from an instructor who teaches solve problems, the ability of humans to think forcritical thinking or writing or to trade essays on themselves will surely deteriorate.the same topic with other students and discuss one Discuss the extent to which you agree or disagreeanother’s responses in relation to the scoring guide. with the statement and explain your reasoningTry to determine how each essay meets or misses the for the position you take. In developing and sup-criteria for each score point in the guide. Comparing porting your position, you should consider waysyour own response to the scoring guide will help you in which the statement might or might not holdsee how and where to improve. true and explain how these considerations shapeThe Form of Your Response your position.You are free to organize and develop your response Strategies for This Topicin any way you think will enable you to effectivelycommunicate your ideas about the issue. Your re- In this task, you are asked to discuss the extent tosponse may incorporate particular writing strategies which you agree or disagree with the statement.learned in English composition or writing-intensive Thus, responses may range from strong agreement orcollege courses. GRE readers will not be looking for a strong disagreement to qualified agreement or quali-particular developmental strategy or mode of writing; fied disagreement. You are also instructed to explainin fact, when GRE readers are trained, they review your reasoning and consider ways in which thehundreds of Issue responses that, although highly statement might or might not hold true. A successfuldiverse in content and form, display similar levels of response need not comment on all or any one of thecritical thinking and persuasive writing. points listed below and may well discuss other reasons Readers will see some Issue responses at the 6 or examples not mentioned here in support of thescore level that begin by briefly summarizing the position taken.writer’s position on the issue and then explicitly an- Although this topic is accessible to respondentsnouncing the main points to be argued. They will see of all levels of ability, for your response to receive aothers that lead into the writer’s position by making top score, it is particularly important that you remaina prediction, asking a series of questions, describing focused on the task and provide clearly relevanta scenario or defining critical terms in the quota- examples and/or reasons to support the point of viewtion. The readers know that a writer can earn a high you are expressing. Lower level responses may be longscore by giving multiple examples or by presenting a and full of examples of modern technology, but thosesingle, extended example. Look at the sample Issue examples may not be clearly related to a particularresponses, particularly at the 5 and 6 score levels, to position. For example, a respondent who stronglysee how other writers have successfully developed and disagrees with the statement may choose to useorganized their arguments. computer technology as proof that thinking ability You should use as many or as few paragraphs as is not deteriorating. However, the mere existence ofyou consider appropriate for your argument; e.g., computer technology does not adequately prove thisyou will probably need to create a new paragraph point; e.g., perhaps the ease of computer use inhibitswhenever your discussion shifts to a new cluster of our thinking ability. To receive a higher level score,ideas. What matters is not the number of examples, the respondent should explain in what ways comput-the number of paragraphs or the form your argument er technology may call for or require thinking ability.takes, but the cogency of your ideas about the issue This topic could elicit a wide variety of approaches,and the clarity and skill with which you communi- especially considering the different possiblecate those ideas to academic readers. interpretations of the phrase “the ability of humans to think for themselves.” Although most respondents may take it to mean problem solving, others could 9
  10. 10. interpret it as emotional and social intelligence; i.e., Again, it is important for you to avoid overly gen- the ability to communicate/connect with others. eral examples or lists of examples without expansion. With any approach, it is possible to discuss examples It is also essential to do more than paraphrase the such as calculators, word processing tools such as prompt. Please keep in mind that what counts is the spell/grammar check, tax preparation software, ability to clearly express a particular point of view in Internet research and a variety of other common relation to the issue and specific task instructions and household and business technologies. to support that position with relevant reasons and/or You may agree with the topic and argue that: examples. • reliance on technology leads to dependency; we To view scored sample essay responses and reader come to rely on problem-solving technologies commentary for this sample topic, see Appendix B on to such a degree that when they fail we are in pages 97–101. worse shape than if we didn’t have them Analyze an Argument Task • everyday technologies such as calculators and cash registers have decreased our ability to The Analyze an Argument task assesses your ability perform simple calculations, a “use it or lose it” to understand, analyze and evaluate arguments approach to thinking ability according to specific instructions and to convey your evaluation clearly in your writing. The task consists Or you may take issue with the topic and argue that of a brief passage in which the author makes a case technology facilitates and improves our thinking for some course of action or interpretation of events skills, arguing that: by presenting claims backed by reasons and evidence. • developing, implementing and using technology Your task is to discuss the logical soundness of the requires problem solving author’s case by critically examining the line of rea- • technology frees us from mundane problem solv- soning and the use of evidence. This task requires you ing (e.g., calculations) and allows us to engage to read the argument and instructions carefully. You in more complex thinking might want to read the argument more than once and • technology provides access to information oth- make brief notes about points you want to develop erwise unavailable more fully in your response. In reading the argument, • technology connects people at a distance and you should pay special attention to: allows them to share ideas • what is offered as evidence, support or proof • technology is dependent on the human ability • what is explicitly stated, claimed or concluded to think and make choices (every implementa- • what is assumed or supposed, perhaps without tion of and advance in technology is driven by justification or proof human intelligence and decision making) • what is not stated, but necessarily follows from On the other hand, you could decide to explore the what is stated middle ground in the debate and point out that while In addition, you should consider the structure of the technology may diminish some mental skill sets, it argument—the way in which these elements are enables other (perhaps more important) types of linked together to form a line of reasoning; i.e., you thinking to thrive. Such a response might distinguish should recognize the separate, sometimes implicit between complex problem solving and simple “data steps in the thinking process and consider whether maintenance” (i.e., performing calculations and orga- the movement from each step to the next is logically nizing information). sound. In tracing this line, look for transition words Other approaches could involve taking a histori- and phrases that suggest the author is attempting to cal, philosophical or sociological stance, or, with make a logical connection (e.g., however, thus, there- equal effectiveness, using personal experience to fore, evidently, hence, in conclusion). illustrate a position. One could argue that the value An important part of performing well on the or detriment of relying on technology is determined Argument task is remembering what you are not by the individual (or society) using it or that only being asked to do: those who develop technology (i.e., technical specialists) are maintaining their problem-solving • You are not being asked to discuss whether the skills, while the rest of us are losing them. statements in the argument are true or accurate.10
  11. 11. • You are not being asked to agree or disagree with • Write a response in which you discuss what the position stated. questions would need to be addressed in order to • You are not being asked to express your own decide whether the conclusion and the argu- views on the subject being discussed (as you ment on which it is based are reasonable. Be were in the Issue task). sure to explain how the answers to the questionsInstead, you are being asked to evaluate the logi- would help to evaluate the soundness of an argument of another writer and, • Write a response in which you discuss one orin doing so, to demonstrate the critical thinking, more alternative explanations that could rivalperceptive reading and analytical writing skills that the proposed explanation and explain how youruniversity faculty consider important for success in explanation(s) can plausibly account for thegraduate school. facts presented in the argument. It is important that you address the argument Analyze an Argument is a critical thinking taskaccording to the specific instructions. Each task is requiring a written response. Consequently, theaccompanied by one of the following sets of instruc- analytical skills displayed in your evaluation carrytions: great weight in determining your score; however, the • Write a response in which you discuss what clarity with which you convey ideas is also important specific evidence is needed to evaluate the to your overall score. argument and explain how the evidence would Understanding the Context for Writing: weaken or strengthen the argument. Purpose and Audience • Write a response in which you examine the stated The purpose of the task is to see how well equipped and/or unstated assumptions of the argument. you are to insightfully evaluate an argument written Be sure to explain how the argument depends by someone else and to effectively communicate your on these assumptions, and what the implications evaluation in writing to an academic audience. Your are for the argument if the assumptions prove audience consists of GRE readers carefully trained unwarranted. to apply the scoring criteria identified in the scoring • Write a response in which you discuss what guide for the Analyze an Argument task on pages questions would need to be answered in 94–95. order to decide whether the recommendation To get a clearer idea of how GRE readers apply the and the argument on which it is based are Argument scoring criteria to actual essays, you should reasonable. Be sure to explain how the answers review scored sample Argument essay responses and to these questions would help to evaluate the reader commentary. The sample responses, particu- recommendation. larly at the 5 and 6 score levels, will show you a • Write a response in which you discuss what variety of successful strategies for organizing and questions would need to be answered in order to developing an insightful evaluation. The reader decide whether the advice and the argument on commentary discusses specific aspects of analytical which it is based are reasonable. Be sure to ex- writing, such as cogency of ideas, development and plain how the answers to these questions would support, organization, syntactic variety and facility help to evaluate the advice. with language. For each response, the commentary • Write a response in which you discuss what points out aspects that are particularly effective and questions would need to be answered in order insightful as well as any that detract from the overall to decide whether the recommendation is likely effectiveness of the essay. to have the predicted result. Be sure to explain how the answers to these questions would help Preparing for the Argument Task to evaluate the recommendation. Since the Argument task is meant to assess analytical • Write a response in which you discuss what writing and informal reasoning skills that you have questions would need to be answered in order to developed throughout your education, it has been decide whether the prediction and the argument designed neither to require any specific course of on which it is based are reasonable. Be sure study nor to advantage students with a particular type to explain how the answers to these questions of training. would help to evaluate the prediction. 11
  12. 12. Many college textbooks on rhetoric and compo- An excellent way to prepare for the Analyze an sition have sections on informal logic and critical Argument task is to practice writing on some of the thinking that might prove helpful, but even these published Argument topics. There is no one way to might be more detailed and technical than the task practice that is best for everyone. Some prefer to start requires. You will not be expected to know specific practicing without adhering to the 30-minute time methods of analysis or technical terms. limit. If you follow this approach, take all the time For instance, in one topic an elementary school you need to evaluate the argument. Regardless of the principal might conclude that new playground equip- approach you take, consider the following steps: ment has improved student attendance because • Carefully read the argument and the specific absentee rates have declined since it was installed. instructions—you might want to read them You will not need to see that the principal has com- more than once. mitted the post hoc, ergo propter hoc fallacy; you will • Identify as many of the argument’s claims, con- simply need to see that there are other possible expla- clusions and underlying assumptions as possible nations for the improved attendance, to offer some and evaluate their quality. common-sense examples and to suggest what would • Think of as many alternative explanations and be necessary to verify the conclusion. For instance, counterexamples as you can. absentee rates might have decreased because the • Think of what specific additional evidence climate was mild. This would have to be ruled out in might weaken or lend support to the claims. order for the principal’s conclusion to be valid. • Ask yourself what changes in the argument Although you do not need to know special ana- would make the reasoning more sound. lytical techniques and terminology, you should be familiar with the directions for the Argument task and Write down each of these thoughts. When you’ve with certain key concepts, including the following: gone as far as you can with your evaluation, look over the notes and put them in a good order for discus- • alternative explanation—a competing version sion (perhaps by numbering them). Then write an of what might have caused the events in ques- evaluation according to the specific instructions by tion that undercuts or qualifies the original fully developing each point that is relevant to those explanation because it, too, can account for the instructions. Even if you choose not to write a full observed facts essay response, you should find it helpful to practice • analysis—the process of breaking something evaluating a few of the arguments and sketching out (e.g., an argument) down into its component your responses. parts in order to understand how they work When you become quicker and more confident, together to make up the whole you should practice writing some Argument responses • argument—a claim or a set of claims with within the 30-minute time limit so that you will have reasons and evidence offered as support; a line a good sense of how to pace yourself in the actual of reasoning meant to demonstrate the truth or test. For example, you will not want to discuss one falsehood of something point so exhaustively or to provide so many equiva- • assumption—a belief, often unstated or unex- lent examples that you run out of time to make your amined, that someone must hold in order to other main points. maintain a particular position; something that is You might want to get feedback on your taken for granted but that must be true in order response(s) from a writing instructor, philosophy for the conclusion to be true teacher or someone who emphasizes critical think- • conclusion—the end point reached by a line of ing in his or her course. It can also be informative reasoning, valid if the reasoning is sound; the to trade papers on the same topic with fellow stu- resulting assertion dents and discuss each other’s responses in terms of • counterexample—an example, real or hypothet- the scoring guide. Focus not so much on the “right ical, that refutes or disproves a statement in the scores” as on seeing how the responses meet or miss argument the performance standards for each score point and • evaluation—an assessment of the quality of what you need to do to improve. evidence and reasons in an argument and of the overall merit of an argument12
  13. 13. How to Interpret Numbers, Percentages and college courses. GRE readers will not be looking for aStatistics in Argument Topics particular developmental strategy or mode of writing.Some arguments contain numbers, percentages or In fact, when GRE readers are trained, they reviewstatistics that are offered as evidence in support of hundreds of Argument responses that, althoughthe argument’s conclusion. For example, an argument highly diverse in content and form, display similarmight claim that a certain community event is less levels of critical thinking and analytical writing.popular this year than it was last year because only For example, readers will see some essays at the100 people attended this year in comparison with 150 6 score level that begin by briefly summarizing thelast year, a 33 percent decline in attendance. argument and then explicitly stating and developing It is important to remember that you are not being the main points of the evaluation. The readers knowasked to do a mathematical task with the numbers, that a writer can earn a high score by developingpercentages or statistics. Instead you should evaluate several points in an evaluation or by identifying athese as evidence intended to support the conclusion. central feature in the argument and developing thatIn the example above, the conclusion is that a com- evaluation extensively. You might want to look at themunity event has become less popular. You should sample Argument responses, particularly at the 5 andask yourself, “Does the difference between 100 people 6 score levels, to see how other writers have success-and 150 people support that conclusion?” In this fully developed and organized their, there are other possible explanations; e.g., the You should make choices about format and organi-weather might have been much worse this year, this zation that you think support and enhance the over-year’s event might have been held at an inconvenient all effectiveness of your evaluation. This means usingtime, the cost of the event might have gone up this as many or as few paragraphs as you consider appro-year or there might have been another popular event priate for your response; e.g., create a new paragraphthis year at the same time. when your discussion shifts to a new point of evalu- Any one of these could explain the difference ation. You might want to organize your evaluationin attendance and weaken the conclusion that the around the structure of the argument itself, discussingevent was “less popular.” Similarly, percentages might it line by line. Or you might want to first point out asupport or weaken a conclusion depending on what central questionable assumption and then move onactual numbers the percentages represent. Consider to discuss related weaknesses in the argument’s line ofthe claim that the drama club at a school deserves reasoning.more funding because its membership has increased Similarly, you might want to use examples to helpby 100 percent. This 100 percent increase could be illustrate an important point in your evaluation orsignificant if there had been 100 members and now move your discussion forward. However, rememberthere are 200 members, whereas the increase would that it is your critical thinking and analytical writingbe much less significant if there had been five mem- that are being assessed, not your ability to come upbers and now there are 10. with examples. What matters is not the form your Remember that any numbers, percentages or sta- response takes, but how insightfully you evaluate thetistics in Argument tasks are used only as evidence in argument and how articulately you communicatesupport of a conclusion, and you should always con- your evaluation to academic readers within the con-sider whether they actually support the conclusion. text of the task.The Form of Your ResponseYou are free to organize and develop your responsein any way you think will effectively communicateyour evaluation of the argument. Your response may,but need not, incorporate particular writing strategieslearned in English composition or writing-intensive 13
  14. 14. Sample Argument Task after the state cleans up the Mason River and Following is a sample Argument task that you might that the city should for that reason devote more see on the test: money to riverside recreational facilities. • The assumption that what residents say in In surveys Mason City residents rank water sports surveys can be taken at face value. (It is pos- (swimming, boating and fishing) among their sible that survey results exaggerate the interest favorite recreational activities. The Mason River in water sports.) This assumption underlies the flowing through the city is rarely used for these claim that use of the river for water sports is sure pursuits, however, and the city park department to increase after the state cleans up the Mason devotes little of its budget to maintaining riverside River and that the city should for that reason recreational facilities. For years there have been devote more money to riverside recreational complaints from residents about the quality of the facilities. river’s water and the river’s smell. In response, the • The assumption that Mason City residents state has recently announced plans to clean up would actually want to do water sports in the Mason River. Use of the river for water sports is Mason River. (As recreational activities, it is therefore sure to increase. The city government possible that water sports are regarded as pursuits should for that reason devote more money in this for vacations and weekends away from the city.) year’s budget to riverside recreational facilities. This assumption underlies the claim that use of the river for water sports is sure to increase Write a response in which you examine the after the state cleans up the Mason River and stated and/or unstated assumptions of the argument. that the city should for that reason devote more Be sure to explain how the argument depends on money to riverside recreational facilities. these assumptions and what the implications are • The assumption that the park department’s if the assumptions prove unwarranted. devoting little of its budget to maintaining riverside recreational facilities means that these Strategies for This Topic facilities are inadequately maintained. This This argument cites a survey to support the pre- assumption underlies the claim that the city diction that the use of the Mason River is sure to should devote more money in this year’s bud- increase and thus recommends that the city govern- get to riverside recreational facilities. If cur- ment should devote more money in this year’s budget rent facilities are adequately maintained, then to the riverside recreational facilities. increased funding might not be needed even if In developing your evaluation, you are asked recreational use of the river does increase. to examine the argument’s stated and/or unstated • The assumption that the riverside recreational assumptions and discuss what the implications are facilities are facilities designed for people who if the assumptions prove unwarranted. A successful participate in water sports and not some other response must discuss both the argument’s assump- recreational pursuit. This assumption under- tions AND the implications of these assumptions for lies the claim that the city should devote more the argument. A response that does not address both money in this year’s budget to riverside recre- parts of the task is unlikely to receive an upper-half ational facilities. score. • The assumption that the dirtiness of the river is Though responses may well raise other points, the cause of its being little used and that clean- some assumptions of the argument, and some ways in ing up the river will be sufficient to increase which the argument depends on those assumptions, recreational use of the river. (Residents might include: have complained about the water quality and • The assumption that people who rank water smell even if they had no desire to boat, swim or sports “among their favorite recreational activi- fish in the river.) This assumption underlies the ties” are actually likely to participate in them. claim that the state’s plan to clean up the river (It is possible that they just like to watch them.) will result in increased use of the river for water This assumption underlies the claim that use sports. of the river for water sports is sure to increase14
  15. 15. • The assumption that the complaints about the The other half requires you to read, interpret and river are numerous and significant. This assump- complete existing sentences, groups of sentences or tion motivates the state’s plan to clean up the paragraphs. river and underlies the claim that use of the river for water sports is sure to increase. (Perhaps Verbal Reasoning Question Types the complaints are coming from a very small The Verbal Reasoning measure contains three types minority, in which case cleaning the river might of questions: be a misuse of state funds.) • Reading Comprehension questions • The assumption that the state’s clean-up will • Text Completion questions occur soon enough to require adjustments to • Sentence Equivalence questions this year’s budget. This assumption underlies the claim that the city should devote more money Reading Comprehension Questions in this year’s budget to riverside recreational facilities. Reading Comprehension questions are designed to • The assumption that the clean-up, when it hap- test a wide range of abilities that are required in order pens, will benefit those parts of the river acces- to read and understand the kinds of prose commonly sible from the city’s facilities. This assumption encountered in graduate school. Those abilities in- underlies the claim that the city should devote clude: more money to riverside recreational facilities. • understanding the meaning of individual words • The assumption that the city government ought and sentences to devote more attention to maintaining a • understanding the meaning of paragraphs and recreational facility if demand for that facility larger bodies of text increases. • distinguishing between minor and major points • The assumption that the city should finance the • summarizing a passage new project and not some other agency or group • drawing conclusions from the information (public or private). providedShould any of the above assumptions prove unwar- • reasoning from incomplete data to infer missingranted, the implications are: information • understanding the structure of a text in terms of • that the logic of the argument falls apart/is how the parts relate to one another invalid/is unsound • identifying the author’s assumptions and • that the state and city are spending their funds perspective unnecessarily • analyzing a text and reaching conclusions about itTo view scored sample essay responses and reader • identifying strengths and weaknesses of acommentary on this sample topic, see Appendix B on positionpages 97–105. • developing and considering alternative explanations As this list implies, reading and understanding a pieceIntroduction to the Verbal of text requires far more than a passive understandingReasoning Measure of the words and sentences it contains; it requires active engagement with the text, asking questions,The Verbal Reasoning measure assesses your ability to formulating and evaluating hypotheses and reflectinganalyze and evaluate written material and synthesize on the relationship of the particular text to otherinformation obtained from it, analyze relationships texts and information.among component parts of sentences and recognize Each Reading Comprehension question is basedrelationships among words and concepts. on a passage that may range in length from one para- Verbal Reasoning questions appear in several graph to several paragraphs. The test contains 12 toformats, each of which is discussed in detail below. 15 passages, the majority of which are one paragraphAbout half of the measure requires you to read pas- in length and only one or two of which are severalsages and answer questions on those passages. 15
  16. 16. paragraphs long. Passages are drawn from the physical • Read each question carefully and be certain that sciences, biological sciences, social sciences, arts and you understand exactly what is being asked. humanities and everyday topics and are based on • Answer each question on the basis of the infor- material found in books and periodicals, both mation provided in the passage and do not rely academic and nonacademic. on outside knowledge. Sometimes your own Typically, about half of the questions on the test views or opinions may conflict with those pre- will be based on passages, and the number of ques- sented in a passage; if this happens, take special tions based on a given passage can range from one care to work within the context provided by the to six. Questions can cover any of the topics listed passage. You should not expect to agree with above, from the meaning of a particular word to everything you encounter in the reading assessing evidence that might support or weaken passages. points made in the passage. Many, but not all, of the questions are standard multiple-choice questions, Reading Comprehension Multiple-choice in which you are required to select a single answer Questions—Select One Answer Choice choice, and others ask you to select multiple answer These questions are standard multiple-choice ques- choices. tions with five answer choices, of which you must General Advice select one. • Reading passages are drawn from many different Tips for Answering disciplines and sources, so you may encounter • Read all the answer choices before making your material with which you are not familiar. Do not selection, even if you think you know the cor- be discouraged if you encounter unfamiliar rect answer in advance. material; all the questions can be answered on • The correct answer choice is the one that most the basis of the information provided in the accurately and most completely answers the passage. However, if you encounter a passage question posed; be careful not to be misled that seems particularly hard or unfamiliar, you by choices that are only partially true or only may want to save it for last. partially answer the question. Also, be careful • Read and analyze the passage carefully before not to pick a choice simply because it is a true trying to answer any of the questions, and pay statement. attention to clues that help you understand less • When the question asks about the meaning of a explicit aspects of the passage. word in the passage, be sure the answer choice 0 Try to distinguish main ideas from supporting you select correctly represents the way the word ideas or evidence. is being used in the passage. Many words have 0 Try to distinguish ideas that the author is different meanings when used in different advancing from those he or she is merely contexts. reporting. 0 Try to distinguish ideas that the author is Reading Comprehension Multiple-choice strongly committed to from those he or she Questions—Select One or More Answer Choices advances as hypothetical or speculative. These questions provide three answer choices and ask 0 Try to identify the main transitions from one you to select all that are correct; one, two or all three idea to the next. of the answer choices may be correct. To gain credit 0 Try to identify the relationship between dif- for these questions, you must select all the correct ferent ideas. For example: choices, and only those; there is no credit for partially ▪ Are they contrasting? Are they consistent? correct answers. ▪ Does one support the other? ▪ Does one spell the other out in greater detail? ▪ Does one apply the other to a particular circumstance?16
  17. 17. Tips for Answering Directions: Select only one answer choice. • Evaluate each answer choice separately on its 1. The passage addresses which of the following own merits; when evaluating one choice, do not issues related to Glass’s use of popular elements take the others into account. in his classical compositions? • A correct answer choice accurately and com- pletely answers the question posed; be careful a How it is regarded by listeners who prefer not to be misled by choices that are only par- rock to the classics tially true or only partially answer the question. b How it has affected the commercial success Also, be careful not to pick a choice simply of Glass’s music because it is a true statement. c Whether it has contributed to a revival of • Do not be disturbed if you think all three answer interest among other composers in using choices are correct, since questions of this type popular elements in their compositions can have up to three correct answer choices. d Whether it has had a detrimental effect on Glass’s reputation as a composer of classicalImportant Note: In some test preparation materials, musicyou may see references to a third type of Reading e Whether it has caused certain of Glass’sComprehension question, “Select in Passage.” works to be derivative in qualityBecause these questions depend on the use of thecomputer, they do not appear on the paper-based test. Directions: Consider each of the choicesSimilar multiple-choice questions are used in their separately and select all that 2. The passage suggests that Glass’s work displaysSample Questions which of the following qualities? a A return to the use of popular music inQuestions 1 and 2 are based on this passage classical compositions Reviving the practice of using elements of popu- b An attempt to elevate rock music to an lar music in classical composition, an approach artistic status more closely approximating that had been in hibernation in the United that of classical music States during the 1960s, composer Philip Glass c A long-standing tendency to incorporate (born 1937) embraced the ethos of popular music elements from two apparently disparate without imitating it. Glass based two symphonies musical styles on music by rock musicians David Bowie and Explanation Brian Eno, but the symphonies’ sound is distinc- The passage describes in general terms how Philip tively his. Popular elements do not appear out Glass uses popular music in his classical compositions of place in Glass’s classical music, which from and explores how Glass can do this without being its early days has shared certain harmonies and imitative. Note that there are no opposing views rhythms with rock music. Yet this use of popular discussed; the author is simply presenting his or her elements has not made Glass a composer of popu- views. lar music. His music is not a version of popular Question 1: One of the important points that the music packaged to attract classical listeners; it is passage makes is that when Glass uses popular ele- high art for listeners steeped in rock rather than ments in his music, the result is very much his own the classics. creation (it is “distinctively his”). In other words, the music is far from being derivative. Thus one issue that the passage addresses is the one referred to in answer Choice E—it answers it in the negative. The passage does not discuss the impact of Glass’s use of popular elements on listeners, on the commercial success of his music, on other composers or on Glass’s reputa- tion, so none of Choices A through D is correct. The correct answer is Choice E. 17
  18. 18. Question 2: To answer this question, it is important Tips for Answering to assess each answer choice independently. Since Do not merely try to consider each possible combi- the passage says that Glass revived the use of popular nation of answers; doing so will take too long and is music in classical compositions, answer Choice A is open to error. Instead, try to analyze the passage in clearly correct. On the other hand, the passage also the following way: denies that Glass composes popular music or packages it in a way to elevate its status, so answer Choice B is • Read through the passage to get an overall sense incorrect. Finally, since Glass’s style has always mixed of it. elements of rock with classical elements, answer • Identify words or phrases that seem particularly Choice C is correct. significant, either because they emphasize the structure of the passage (words like although or Thus the correct answer is Choice A and Choice C. moreover) or because they are central to under- standing what the passage is about. Text Completion Questions • Try to fill in the blanks with words or phrases As mentioned earlier, skilled readers do not simply that seem to complete the sentence, then see absorb the information presented on the page; if similar words are offered among the answer instead, they maintain a constant attitude of inter- choices. pretation and evaluation, reasoning from what they • Do not assume that the first blank is the one have read so far to create a picture of the whole and that should be filled first; perhaps one of the revising that picture as they go. Text Completion other blanks is easier to fill first. Select your questions test this ability by omitting crucial words choice for that blank, and then see whether from short passages and asking the test taker to use you can complete another blank. If none of the the remaining information in the passage as a basis choices for the other blank seem to make sense, for selecting words or short phrases to fill the blanks go back and reconsider your first selection. and create a coherent, meaningful whole. • When you have made your selection for each Question Structure blank, check to make sure the passage is logi- cally, grammatically and stylistically coherent. • Passage composed of one to five sentences • One to three blanks • Three answer choices per blank (five answer choices in the case of a single blank) • The answer choices for different blanks func- tion independently; i.e., selecting one choice for one blank does not affect what choices you can select for another blank • Single correct answer, consisting of one choice for each blank; no credit for partially correct answers18
  19. 19. Sample QuestionsDirections: For each blank, select one entry from the corresponding column of choices. Fill all blanks in the way that best completes the text.1. It is refreshing to read a book about our planet by an author who does not allow facts to be (i)__________ by politics: well aware of the political disputes about the effects of human activities on climate and bio- diversity, this author does not permit them to (ii)__________ his comprehensive description of what we know about our biosphere. He emphasizes the enormous gaps in our knowledge, the sparseness of our observations, and the (iii)__________, calling attention to the many aspects of planetary evolution that must be better understood before we can accurately diagnose the condition of our planet. Blank (i) Blank (ii) Blank (iii) a overshadowed d enhance g plausibility of our hypotheses b invalidated e obscure h certainty of our entitlement c illuminated f underscore i superficiality of our theoriesExplanationThe overall tone of the passage is clearly complimentary. To understand what the author of the book is beingcomplimented on, it is useful to focus on the second blank. Here, we must determine what word would indicatesomething that the author is praised for not permitting. The only answer choice that fits the case is “obscure,”since enhancing and underscoring are generally good things to do, not things one should refrain from doing.Choosing “obscure” clarifies the choice for the first blank; the only choice that fits well with “obscure” is “over-shadowed.” Notice that trying to fill blank (i) without filling blank (ii) first is hard—each choice has at leastsome initial plausibility. Since the third blank requires a phrase that matches “enormous gaps” and “sparsenessof our observations,” the best choice is “superficiality of our theories.”Thus the correct answer is Choice A (overshadowed), Choice E (obscure) and Choice I (superficiality ofour theories).2. Vain and prone to violence, Caravaggio could not handle success: the more his (i)__________ as an artist increased, the more (ii)__________ his life became. Blank (i) Blank (ii) a temperance d tumultuous b notoriety e providential c eminence f dispassionateExplanationIn this sentence, what follows the colon must explain or spell out what precedes it. So, roughly, what the secondpart must say is that as Caravaggio became more successful, his life got more out of control. When one looksfor words to fill the blanks, it becomes clear that “tumultuous” is the best fit for blank (ii), since neither of theother choices suggests being out of control. And for blank (i), the best choice is “eminence,” since to increasein eminence is a consequence of becoming more successful. It is true that Caravaggio might also increase innotoriety, but an increase in notoriety as an artist is not as clear a sign of success as an increase in eminence.Thus the correct answer is Choice C (eminence) and Choice D (tumultuous). 19
  20. 20. 3. In parts of the Arctic, the land grades into the • Read the sentence to get an overall sense of it. landfast ice so _______ that you can walk off • Identify words or phrases that seem particularly the coast and not know you are over the hidden significant, either because they emphasize the sea. structure of the sentence (words like although or moreover) or because they are central to under- a permanently standing what the sentence is about. b imperceptibly • Try to fill in the blank with a word that seems c irregularly appropriate to you and then see if two similar d precariously words are offered among the answer choices. If e relentlessly you find some word that is similar to what you Explanation are expecting but cannot find a second one, do not become fixated on your interpretation; in- The word that fills the blank has to characterize how stead, see whether there are other words among the land grades into the ice in a way that explains the choices that can be used to fill the blank how you can walk off the coast and over the sea with- coherently. out knowing it. The word that does that is “impercep- • When you have selected your pair of answer tibly;” if the land grades imperceptibly into the ice, choices, check to make sure that each one you might well not know that you had left the land. produces a sentence that is logically, grammati- Describing the shift from land to ice as permanent, cally and stylistically coherent, and that the two irregular, precarious or relentless would not help to sentences mean the same thing. explain how you would fail to know. Thus the correct answer is Choice B Sample Question (imperceptibly). Directions: Select the two answer choices that, when used to complete the sentence, fit the Sentence Equivalence Questions meaning of the sentence as a whole and produce Like Text Completion questions, Sentence Equiva- completed sentences that are alike in meaning. lence questions test the ability to reach a conclusion about how a passage should be completed on the 1. Although it does contain some pioneering basis of partial information, but to a greater extent ideas, one would hardly characterize the work as they focus on the meaning of the completed whole. __________. Sentence Equivalence questions consist of a single a orthodox sentence with just one blank, and they ask you to find b eccentric two answer choices that lead to a complete, coherent c original sentence while producing sentences that mean the d trifling same thing. e conventional Question Structure f innovative • Consists of a single sentence, one blank, and six Explanation answer choices. The word “Although” is a crucial signpost here. The • Requires you to select two of the answer choices; work contains some pioneering ideas, but appar- no credit for partially correct answers. ently it is not overall a pioneering work. Thus the Tips for Answering two words that could fill the blank appropriately are “original” and “innovative.” Note that “orthodox” Do not simply look among the answer choices for two and “conventional” are two words that are very words that mean the same thing. This can be mislead- similar in meaning, but neither one completes the ing for two reasons. First, the choices may contain sentence sensibly. pairs of words that mean the same thing but do not fit coherently into the sentence. Second, the pair of Thus the correct answer is Choice C (original) and words that do constitute the correct answer may not Choice F (innovative). mean exactly the same thing, since all that matters is that the resultant sentences mean the same thing.20
  21. 21. Introduction to the ability distributions, including normal distribu- tions; and counting methods, such as combina-Quantitative Reasoning tions, permutations, and Venn diagrams. These topics are typically taught in high school algebraMeasure courses or introductory statistics courses. Infer-The Quantitative Reasoning measure assesses your: ential statistics is not tested. • basic mathematical skills The content in these areas includes high school • understanding of elementary mathematical mathematics and statistics at a level that is generally concepts no higher than a second course in algebra; it does not • ability to reason quantitatively and to model include trigonometry, calculus, or other higher-level and solve problems with quantitative methods mathematics. The publication Math Review for theSome of the questions in the measure are posed in GRE revised General Test, which is available atreal-life settings, while others are posed in purely, provides detailedmathematical settings. The skills, concepts, and abili- information about the content of the Quantitativeties are tested in the four content areas below. Reasoning measure. The mathematical symbols, terminology, and con- • Arithmetic topics include properties and types ventions used in the Quantitative Reasoning measure of integers, such as divisibility, factorization, are those that are standard at the high school level. prime numbers, remainders, and odd and even For example, the positive direction of a number line integers; arithmetic operations, exponents, is to the right, distances are nonnegative, and prime and radicals; and concepts such as estimation, numbers are greater than 1. Whenever nonstandard percent, ratio, rate, absolute value, the number notation is used in a question, it is explicitly intro- line, decimal representation and sequences of duced in the question. numbers. In addition to conventions, there are some as- • Algebra topics include operations with ex- sumptions about numbers and geometric figures that ponents; factoring and simplifying algebraic are used in the Quantitative Reasoning measure. Two expressions; relations, functions, equations and of these assumptions are (1) all numbers used are real inequalities; solving linear and quadratic equa- numbers and (2) geometric figures are not neces- tions and inequalities; solving simultaneous sarily drawn to scale. More about conventions and equations and inequalities; setting up equations assumptions appears in the publication Mathematical to solve word problems; and coordinate geom- Conventions for the GRE revised General Test, which is etry, including graphs of functions, equations, available at and inequalities, intercepts, and slopes of lines. • Geometry topics include parallel and perpendic- Quantitative Reasoning Question ular lines, circles, triangles—including isosceles, Types equilateral, and 30 - 60 - 90 triangles—quad- The Quantitative Reasoning measure has four types rilaterals, other polygons, congruent and similar of questions: figures, three-dimensional figures, area, perim- eter, volume, the Pythagorean theorem and • Quantitative Comparison questions angle measurement in degrees. The ability to • Multiple-choice questions—Select One Answer construct proofs is not tested. Choice • Data analysis topics include basic descriptive • Multiple-choice questions—Select One or More statistics, such as mean, median, mode, range, Answer Choices standard deviation, interquartile range, quar- • Numeric Entry questions tiles, and percentiles; interpretation of data Each question appears either independently as a dis- in tables and graphs, such as line graphs, bar crete question or as part of a set of questions called a graphs, circle graphs, boxplots, scatterplots and Data Interpretation set. All of the questions in a Data frequency distributions; elementary probability, Interpretation set are based on the same data presented such as probabilities of compound events and in tables, graphs, or other displays of data. independent events; random variables and prob- 21