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The GRE Revised Test

The GRE Revised Test

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The GRE Revised Test

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  1. The GRE Revised Test Introduction and Overview

  2. The GRE – Frequently asked questions* Q: What is on the GRE? A: The GRE consists of two subtests, one involving math skills and the other involving verbal skills, plus an analytical writing assessment. Q: How is the GRE scored? A: The math and verbal subtests each receive a score from 130-170, in one-point increments. The analytical writing assessment is given a separate score, on a scale of 0 to 6. *For answers to many other important questions concerning the GRE, or to register for the general test, visit

  3. The GRE – Frequently asked questions Q: How is the GRE structured? A: The analytical writing assessment comes first. It consists of two 30-minute sections, each requiring you to respond to a given prompt. Next comes the GRE proper - two verbal sections and two math sections. The verbal sections each consist of 25 items, with 35 minutes to complete them. The math sections also consist of 25 items, but you are given 40 minutes to complete each of these sections. The GRE is computer-based, but otherwise much like a paper-and-pencil exam – you may skip questions, leave questions blank, etc. The best way to become familiar with the interface of the computer-based GRE is to practice with PowerPrep software, which gives you the closest thing to the actual experience of taking the GRE.

  4. The GRE – Frequently asked questions Q: what are the math skills tested on the GRE? A: Virtually all of the math tested on the GRE was covered by most students by the end of ninth grade. A few specialized topics, such as standard deviation, are more advanced, but their mastery is not necessary for a high score. The GRE emphasizes problem solving, not math knowledge. GRE math items are hard not because the math skills themselves are difficult, but because the items that involve these skills require the test taker to analyze complex problems and implement multi-step solutions.

  5. The GRE – Frequently asked questions Q: How important is learning new vocabulary words to improving my GRE score? A: Not very. Clearly, the more English words one knows the better. But the revised GRE is designed to test vocabulary in context only, and so the emphasis is not on vocabulary per se but on critical reading skills such as recognizing the roles of key words such as “although” and “since,” and understanding the importance of surrounding words to determining the meaning of a missing word. Most test takers who plan to take the GRE within two to three months are better served by developing these critical reading skills than by trying to learn new vocabulary words.

  6. The GRE – Frequently asked questions Q: what kinds of questions are on the GRE? A: Each of these two subtests contains test items of a variety of different formats, some of which may be familiar from other tests (such as the ACT or SAT), but some of which are found on no other test and which probably are entirely new to you.

  7. GRE Math: item formats Quantitative comparison: • Four answer choices, select exactly one: 2 2 60° 60° 2 O is the center of the circle, and the perimeter of AOB is 6. Quantity AQuantity B The circumference of the circle 12 A B C D These Items require you to compare two expressions and determine the relation between their values, if a determinate relation exists.

  8. GRE Math: item formats Multiple choice items • Five options, select exactly one a = 23 14. If a is the smallest prime number greater than 21 and b is the largest prime number less than 16, then ab = A 299 B 323 C 330 D 345 E 351 b = 13 ab = 299 These are the standard multiple choice items with which most test takers are familiar.

  9. C A B GRE Math: item formats Multiple choice items • Three or more options, select more than one 11. In triangle ABC, the measure of angle A is 25° and The measure of angle B is greater than 90°. Which of the following could be the measure of angle C ? Indicate all such measures. A 12° B 15° C 45° D 50° E 70° <65° 25° >90° Some of these items require you to select exactly two answer choices; other instruct you to select all that apply, from one answer choice up. The number of answer choicesavailable with these items ranges from three to more than five. Answer choices appear insquares to distinguish these items from “select only one” items

  10. GRE Math: item formats Numeric entry: • Answer is keyed into provided space, or spaces (for fractions) 23. The average (arithmetic mean) of the 11 numbers in a list is 14. If the average of 9 of the numbers in the list is 9, what is the average of the other 2 numbers? 36.5 Each space will accommodate a single numeral or decimal expression (only numerals for fractions); negations are keyed as hyphens. Fractions need not be in reduced form.

  11. GRE Verbal: item formats Reading comprehension: • Five answer choices, select exactly one • 25. In the context in which it appears, “accorded” • (line 9) most nearly means • A reconciled • B revealed • C granted • D verified • E maintained

  12. GRE Verbal: item formats Reading comprehension: • three answer choices, select all that apply • For the following question, consider each of the choices separately and select all that apply. • Which of the following statements is supported by • the passage? • A The pull theory is not universally accepted by scientists. • B The pull theory depends on one of water’s physical properties. • C The pull theory originated earlier than did the push theory. A tall tree can transport a hundred gallons of water a day from its roots deep underground to the treetop. Is this movement propelled by pulling the water from above or pushing it from below? The pull mechanism has long been favored by most scientists. First proposed in the late 1800s, the theory relies on a property of water not commonly associated with fluids: its tensile strength. Instead of making a clean break, water evaporating from treetops tugs on the remaining water molecules, with that tug extending from molecule to molecule all the way down to the roots. The tree itself does not actually push or pull; all the energy for lifting water comes from the sun’s evaporative power.

  13. GRE Verbal: item formats Reading comprehension: • Select-in-passage: highlight the sentence from the passage that best meets the given description In Raisin in the Sun, Lorraine Hansberry does not reject integration or the economic and moral promise of the American dream; rather, she remains loyal to this dream while looking, realistically, at its incomplete realization. Once we recognize this dual vision, we can accept the play’s ironic nuances as deliberate social commentaries by Hansberry rather than as the “unintentional” irony that Bigsby attributes to the work. Indeed, a curiously persistent refusal to credit Hansberry with a capacity for intentional irony has led some critics to interpret the play’s thematic conflicts as mere confusion, contradiction, or eclecticism. Isaacs, for example, cannot easily reconcile Hansberry’s intense concern for her race with her ideal of human reconciliation. But the play’s complex view of Black self-esteem and human solidarity as compatible is no more “contradictory” than Du Bois’ famous, well-considered ideal of ethnic self-awareness coexisting with human unity, or Fanon’s emphasis on an ideal internationalism that also accommodates national identities and roles. 10. In which sentence of the passage does the author provide examples that reinforce an argument against a critical response cited earlier in the passage?

  14. GRE Verbal: item formats Text completion: • One-to-three blanks per item, three answer choices per blank. Select exactly one answer choice per blank. similarity 6. To the untutored eye the tightly forested Ardennes hills around Sedan look quite (i)_____, (ii)_____ place through which to advance a modern army; even with today’s more numerous and better roads and bridges, the woods and river Meuse form a significant (iii)_____. contrast contrast A impenetrable B inconsiderable C uncultivated D a makeshift E an unpropitious F an unremarkable G resource H impediment I passage

  15. GRE Verbal: item formats Sentence equivalence: • One blank per item, six answer choices per blank. Select exactlytwo answer choices per blank. similarity 17. The macromolecule RNA is common to all living beings, and DNA, which is found in all organisms except some bacteria, is almost as _____ . A comprehensive B fundamental C inclusive D universal E significant F ubiquitous

  16. Quantitative comparison items nicely illustrate the importance of critical reasoning to the math section of the GRE. Most generally, the challenge is to recognize what makes comparing the values of the two expressions difficult, and then to remove this obstacle by implementing the relevant steps to simplify the problem. The item itself will offer strong clues as to which steps should be taken to accomplish this goal. The following are examples of common tactics for simplifying quantitative comparison problems.

  17. Simplify one side or another: Quantity AQuantity B 64% of (50)(40) 1200 (.64)(2000) 1280 A B C D A B C D

  18. Add/subtract, multiply/divide* same thing on both sides: 40y Subtract 39x: x + 39y y Subtract 39y: x (930)(420) + 420 (930)(420) + 930 A B C D A B C D 420 930 * Multiplying or dividing by positive numbers preserves relationship between expressions

  19. Collect together occurrences of a variable found on one or both sides: 2 2x - 2 4 2x A B C D A B C D 2(3x+3) 3(6x-2) 6x+6 18x-6 6 12x-6 12 12x

  20. Use any given information to solve for one side or the other: (x - 5)(x + 1) = 0 x = 5; x = -1 x + y+ z= 3y x + z = 2y A B C D A B C D

  21. Quantitative Comparison Items • The Basic Approach to Quantitative Comparison Items: • First step - check to see if one, the other, or both expressions are indeterminate. • indeterminate – answer choice could be D. (Simplify as above, pick numbers) • not indeterminate – answer choice could not be D. (Simplify as above)

  22. Q: What do we mean by indeterminate? A: An expression is indeterminate if it can have more than one value. Examples: “x,” “a prime factor of 15,” and “the base of a triangle with area 10 square meters” are all indeterminate expressions. By contrast, “4,” “The average of 12 and 13,” and “the greatest prime factor of 15” are all determinate expressions. Only if at least one of the two expressions is indeterminate can the relation between the two expressions change, and thus can the correct answer be D.

  23. Items with indeterminacy: A B C D A B C D

  24. Items with indeterminacy: A B C D A B C D

  25. Items without indeterminacy: Quantity AQuantity B 64% of (50)(40) 1200 A B C D A B C D

  26. Items without indeterminacy: A B C D A B C D

  27. Once one finds indeterminacy in a quantitative comparison item, the next step is to find out if the answer actually is D. With many items, the best way to do this is to try out different values for the indeterminate expressions, trying to make the relation between the expressions change. This technique, picking numbers, is the most important technique to master for quantitative comparison items.

  28. Example: (pg. 148 #4) -1 0 -1 0 A B C D

  29. Example: 2 A B C D

  30. Tips for picking numbers, Quantitative Comparison Items: • Try simple numbers first; 0 and 1 often work best. • Try the same number for more than one variable at a time, if possible. • After plugging in one set of numbers, think about which new numbers will make the relation between expressions change. • Don’t forget negative numbers, and numbers between 0 and 1 (especially if exponents are involved). • Usually if the answer is not D, after plugging in a few sets of numbers you will understand why the relation does not change. • If you’ve tried several numbers from all the important categories and the relation still hasn’t changed, it is probably safe to guess.

  31. Case study: 1 2 8 16 A B C D

  32. Case study: 6 -6 A B C D

  33. Case study: Alice’s salary is greater than Bill’s salary. At the end of the year they each receive a bonus of $4000 dollars. Quantity AQuantity B Alice’s bonus, as a Bill’s bonus, as a percentage of her percentage of his salary salary A B C D