Master the GRE Reading Comprehension Section
Posted on
01
Feb 2023

Master the GRE Reading Comprehension Section

Reading comprehension accounts for half of the questions on the GRE verbal reasoning section. To do well on these questions, you need a framework for understanding the purpose and structure of the passages.

Some passages are very short – really more accurately termed “prompts” than “passages” – and present isolated scenarios followed by a single question about the scenario. For those familiar with the GMAT verbal reasoning section, these are roughly equivalent to critical reasoning questions. But these account for only 4 of the 20 scored reading comprehension questions on a GRE.

The remaining 16 questions are attached to longer passages, and you must accurately comprehend these passages at the “wide angle” level in order to answer most of their questions correctly. 

Reading comprehension: understanding the purpose and structure of the passages

The “wide angle” level means that you understand what the passage is doing, or what the author is trying to do in the passage. To understand the author’s purpose, always think in terms of what the author would like you, the reader, (1) to know/understand, (2) to believe/agree with, or (3) to do. Passages of this third variety – the kind that call for action – are rare on the GRE. Even so, you should understand the existence of the category. Let’s call these degrees of purpose. A passage may exhibit more than one of these three degrees of purpose. But any passage – especially one short enough to be a GRE reading comprehension passage – will conform mainly to one of the three.

This is your starting point for understanding not only the passage’s main idea or purpose, but also how the various references and details contribute to achieving the purpose. In other words, this is your key to correctly answering almost every reading comprehension question on the GRE.

However, you need something more. In order to clearly and accurately express the author’s purpose as a useful key to the passage, you need the Levels of Engagement paradigm.

Levels of engagement

The best way to explain this paradigm is to define each of the three levels of engagement:

Level 1: The author/passage interacts directly with the topic.

Level 2: The author/passage interacts with another treatment of the topic, presenting it, critiquing it, or commending it.

Level 3: The author/passage interacts with the scholarly conversation on the topic, perhaps taking a side but mainly presenting the record of discovery or opinion.

To help clarify these three levels, let’s practice with some examples:

Practice Problem 1

Passage: In a plausible but speculative scenario, oceanographer Douglas Martinson suggests that temperature increase caused by global warming would not significantly affect the stability of the Antarctic environment, where sea ice forms on the periphery of the continent in the autumn and winter and mostly disappears in the summer. True, less sea ice would form in the winter because global warming would cause temperatures to rise. However, Martinson argues, the effect of a warmer atmosphere may be offset as follows. The formation of sea ice causes the concentration of salt in surface waters to increase; less sea ice would mean a smaller increase in the concentration of salt. Less salty surface waters would be less dense and therefore less likely to sink and stir up deep water. The deep water, with all its stored heat, would rise to the surface at a slower rate. Thus, although the winter sea-ice cover might decrease, the surface waters would remain cold enough so that the decrease would not be excessive. 

Is this a first-level, second-level, or third-level passage? It is quite clearly a second-level passage. Right off the bat, the passage mentions Douglas Martinson’s suggestion and deems it “plausible but speculative.” This is mainly a presentation of Martinson’s theory, but the author does offer his assessment of the theory. So this passage occupies the second level of engagement and the second degree of purpose.

Purpose statement: The author wants me, the reader, to agree that Martinson’s theory regarding global warming and the antarctic environment’s stability is plausible but speculative.

Let’s try another one:

 Practice Problem 2

Passage: Scientists formerly believed that the rocky planets – Earth, Mercury, Venus, and Mars – were created by the rapid gravitational collapse of a dust cloud, a deflation giving rise to a dense orb. That view was challenged in the 1960s, when studies of Moon craters revealed that these craters were caused by the impact of objects that were in great abundance about 4.5 billion years ago but whose number appeared to have quickly decreased shortly thereafter. This observation rejuvenated Otto Schmidt’s 1944 theory of accretion. According to this theory, cosmic dust gradually lumped into ever-larger conglomerates: particulates, gravel, small and then larger balls, planetesimals (tiny planets), and, ultimately, planets. As the planetesimals became larger, their numbers decreased. Consequently, the number of collisions between planetesimals decreased.(Separate Paragraphs)

First-level, second-level, or third-level? This is a textbook example of a third-level passage. It is tracing the history of scientific discoveries and scientific opinion regarding the formation of the rocky planets. Third-level passages generally have a first-degree (knowing/understanding) rather than a second-degree (believing/agreeing) purpose.

Purpose statement: The author wants me, the reader, to understand why 1960s observations of moon craters swayed scientific opinion about the formation of the rocky planets away from the then-popular deflation theory and towards Otto Schmidt’s 1944 accretion theory.

This is probably more specific about the science than you really need to get, but it is good practice to write such detailed statements in your preparation.

Now that you’ve seen some good examples of second-level and third-level passages, let’s try reading and classifying two passages at once!

Practice Problem 3

Passage: Was Felix Mendelssohn(1809-1847) a great composer? On its face, the question seems absurd. One of the most gifted prodigies in the history of music, he produced his first masterpiece at sixteen. From then on, he was recognized as an artist of preternatural abilities, not only as a composer but also as a pianist and conductor. But Mendelssohn’s enduring popularity has often been at odds – sometimes quite sharply – with his critical standing. Despite general acknowledgement of his genius, there has been a noticeable reluctance to rank him with, say, Schumann or Brahms. As Haggin put it, Mendelssohn, as a composer, was a “minor master . . . working on a small scale of emotion and texture.”

Historians credit repeated locust invasions in the nineteenth century with reshaping United States agriculture west of the Mississippi River. Admonished by government entomologists, farmers began to diversify. Wheat had come to nearly monopolize the region, but it was particularly vulnerable to the locusts. In 1873, just before the locusts’ most withering offensive, nearly two-thirds of Minnesota farmland was producing wheat; by the invasions’ last year, that fraction had dropped to less than one-sixth. Farmers learned that peas and beans were far less vulnerable to the insects, and corn was a more robust grain than wheat. In addition to planting alternative crops, many farmers turned to dairy and beef production. Although pastures were often damaged by the locusts, these lands were almost always left in better shape than the crops were.

Make your decisions before reading on. Although both passages mention some other view (Haggin’s view in the Mendelssohn passage and historians’ view in the locusts passage), neither passage is second-level! The Mendelssohn passage is third level. Here’s the key line: “there has been a noticeable reluctance to rank [Mendelssohn] with, say, Schumann or Brahms.” The author is presenting the scholarly verdict on Mendelssohn; Haggin is merely an example provided for this verdict. Notice that the author does not weigh in himself or react to Haggin or the prevailing view. If you were given a question about the purpose of this passage and you chose an answer choice saying either “Mendelssohn was a great composer” or “Mendelssohn was not a great composer,” you would be wrong. The correct answer must mention the scholars who hold the view on Mendelssohn. 

Purpose statement: The author wants me, the reader, to know that scholars are generally reluctant to rank Mendelssohn among the greatest composers.

How about the second passage? Again, it might be mistaken for a second-level passage, but it is actually first-level. The author mentions “historians” but gives no opinion on whether these historians are right or wrong to credit locusts as they do. Instead, the passage just starts telling us the history. It seems that the historians were right to give credit to the locusts, but that’s not the point of the passage. It’s about events themselves.

Purpose statement: The author wants me, the reader, to understand how locust invasions in the nineteenth century reshaped United States agriculture west of the Mississippi.

Sometimes when writing a purpose statement, you simply copy a key line that functions more or less as the passage’s thesis, framing it in terms of the author’s purpose.

Now you’re ready to “plot” GRE reading comprehension passages in terms of degrees of purpose and levels of engagement, creating the key to correctly answering every kind of RC question.

If you are interested in speaking with one of our GRE private tutors, you can sign-up for a complimentary, 30-minute consultation call. You can also learn more from our past clients who were able to achieve their cumulative 325+ score with us!

Contributor: Elijah Mize (Apex GRE Instructor)

Read more
Posted on
18
Jan 2023

Anatomy of the GRE Verbal Reasoning Section

Types of Questions on the GRE Verbal Reasoning Section 

There are only three types of questions on the GRE verbal reasoning section: text completion, sentence equivalence, and reading comprehension.

Question Order on the GRE Verbal Reasoning Section 

Let’s get right to it: there is a standard “flow” to every GRE verbal reasoning section:

  • Questions 1 – 6: Text Completion
  • Questions 7 – 11: Reading Comprehension
  • Questions 12 – 15: Sentence Equivalence
  • Questions 16 – 20: Reading Comprehension

The two types of vocabulary-based questions stay neatly separated, not jumbled, and the reading comprehension (RC) questions tend to come in equal blocks of 5. Rarely, the two “blocks” of RC questions are 4 questions and 6 questions, or 6 questions and 4 questions, respectively, shifting the numbering of the sentence equivalence questions accordingly.

Timing and Difficulty

The main benefit of knowing this flow is to help you make timing-related decisions. On each verbal reasoning section, you have just 30 minutes for 20 questions, for a brisk pace of 90 seconds per question. Some test-takers who studied their vocab flashcards like to fly through the vocabulary-based questions in order to know how to pace themselves on reading comprehension.

Test-takers who struggle with sentence equivalence (SE, which can be tricky) may prioritize everything else and then make quick decisions on the SE questions before time expires.

Another note: the text completion (TC) questions increase in difficulty and complexity from question 1 through question 6. Generally, expect questions 1 and 2 to be single blanks, questions 3 and 4 to be double blanks, and questions 5 and 6 to be triple blanks.

Since the difficulty of your second scored verbal reasoning section is determined by your performance on the first scored verbal section, a second section with more double and triple blanks is a sign that you did well on the first section.

Reading Comprehension Breakdown

Perhaps even more important than knowing the “flow” of the sections is knowing the breakdown of reading comprehension passages and questions. This is important for allocating your time wisely.

GRE reading comprehension passages may be accompanied by anywhere from 1 to 4 questions. The longer the passage, the more questions accompany it:

  • 4q passage: about 400-450 words
  • 3q passage: about 150-200 words
  • 2q passage: about 125-150 words
  • 1q passage: about 50-125 words

The ETS (Educational Testing Service, the administrators of the GRE) has an established pattern not only for how many passages of each length appear, but for the sections in which those passages appear.

GRE Verbal Reasoning Reading Comprehension

Reading Comprehension Section Breakdown

Section 1:

  • 4q passage
  • 3q passage
  • 1q passages (3)

Section 2:

  • 3q passage
  • 1q passage
  • 2q passages (3)

The best news is that the majority of reading comprehension passages you will encounter on GRE verbal are very short. Even the 3q passages are capped at around 200 words; the biggest jump in length is from these 3q passages to the single 4q passage, which always comes in the first, medium-difficulty section.

More good news: you’ll never get stuck with a long 4q passage that is measurably more difficult than anyone else’s! The GRE doesn’t like to leave these things up to chance. They call it a standardized test for a reason.

Timing on Reading Comprehension

Let’s talk timing: 7 of the 10 RC passages on GRE verbal are less than 150 words and are accompanied by only one or two questions. There’s no reason to think of these passages as a big time drain. Comprehending and retaining such a short passage well enough to answer one or two questions about it is a fairly basic and easily-practiced skill, even though the passages may complicate the matter somewhat by being dense or technical. Bottom line: these passages are nothing to be afraid of.

In a way, the 3q passages provide the most “bang for your buck.” The passages are, on average, hardly longer than a 2q passage, so you get one question for every 50-70 words of passage read. These represent your best opportunity for knocking out a few questions in very little time, and there is one on each verbal section.

The 4q passage has the most potential for derailing your timing strategy. It can be intimidating because of its beefed-up length compared to all other RC passages. The most important thing is to avoid getting lost in the details. You don’t have to remember everything. After all, the passage isn’t going anywhere; if you get a question about a certain detail, you should be able to find that detail in a reasonable amount of time.

Instead of sweating every detail, focus on understanding the overall structure and purpose of the passage. This is the kind of comprehension that RC is built around. This “zoomed out” comprehension can even provide you with a mental map of the passage for finding the details when you need them.

In our next article, we’ll introduce the most powerful tool for understanding the big picture of reading comprehension passages on GRE verbal.

If you are looking for professional help to boost your GRE performance, you book your 30 minutes complimentary assessment session now! You can also learn more from our past clients who were able to achieve their cumulative 325+ score with us!

Contributor: Elijah Mize (Apex GRE Instructor)

Read more
What Kind of Math is on the GRE? A breakdown of the quant section
Posted on
04
Jan 2023

What Kind of Math is on the GRE?

Unless you’re a math major, chances are that when you start preparing for the GRE, it’s been a while since you took a math class. Your algebra skills, once sharp and shiny, are rusty. Formulas you once knew are getting mixed up and mixed around. Your times tables have been tabled indefinitely. If you are to regain your mathematical form, you must begin by surveying the range of content to be (re)learned.

Thankfully, the GRE quantitative sections are built entirely from concepts and topics that you probably learned in high school at some point, even if your exposure to them was brief. Very few, if any, of the concepts will be completely new.

Below is a categorized list of topics you should expect to encounter. Think of this as the table of contents to a rather thorough GRE math syllabus.

GRE Math Topics

Arithmetic

Basic operations/order of operations

Exponents and radicals/powers and roots

Units digit cycles

Fractions, decimals, percents, ratios

Absolute Value

Place value

Estimation/approximation

Number Properties

Even and odd properties

Integers

Factors/Divisors

Divisibility

Least Common Multiple (LCM) and Greatest Common Factor (GCF)

Remainders

Prime numbers/prime factors/prime factorization

Arithmetic series properties

Algebra

Linear (first-degree) equations

Quadratic (second-degree) equations

Foiling and factoring quadratics

Inequalities

Functions

Sequences and series

Applied Problems

Probability

Combinatorics (combinations and permutations)

Percentage change and profit/loss

Interest

Age problems

Averages/mixtures

Rate/work /time

Speed/distance/time

Geometry

Polygons and sum of interior angles: 180(n – 2)

Quadrilateral types (parallelogram, trapezoid, rectangle, square) and area formulas

Triangles types (equilateral, isosceles, scalene, right) and area formulas

Pythagorean theorem

Special right triangles and Pythagorean triples

Circles and formulas for area and circumference

Arcs and sectors

Cylinders

Rectangular prisms

Area and perimeter

Volume and surface area

Similarity and congruence

Angles at intersections of lines

Coordinate Geometry

Slope

X and Y intercepts

Line equations and slope-intercept form (y = mx + b)

Graphs of functions

Midpoint and distance between points

Statistics

Mean, median, and mode

Standard deviation

Range

Quartiles and interquartile range

Normal distributions

You can use this list as a starting point to gauge how much learning (and relearning) you’ll have to do on the quantitative side of your GRE preparation. If any of these topics are only half-remembered or only vaguely familiar, you’ll have to do a fair bit of studying. If you are still well-versed in the majority of these topics, you may have a good head start on GRE quant. But note that this is simply a list of topics, not an exhaustive list of terms and formulas you must know.

A cheat sheet of formulas – without accompanying explanations – is actually less helpful than you might think, and the explanations of all the formulas you should know for GRE quant are too lengthy for these articles. We provide you with a handy glossary of terms to know as you begin your preparation for the GRE quantitative sections.

If you are interested in speaking with one of our GRE private tutors, you can sign-up for a complimentary, 30-minute free consultation callYou can also learn more from our past clients who were able to achieve their cumulative 325+ score with us!

Contributor: Elijah Mize (Apex GRE Instructor)

Read more
Anatomy of GRE Quantitative Reasoning Section
Posted on
21
Dec 2022

Anatomy of GRE Quantitative Reasoning Section

Unlike GMAT quant, each GRE quantitative reasoning section is non-adaptive and can be navigated – you can visit and revisit any of the twenty questions for the duration of the thirty-five minute time limit. Each GRE quantitative section is also predictable in terms of the locations of different question types. This opens the door for a high level of strategizing. When the section isn’t adapting to you, you can adapt to the section.

First, let’s get familiar with the question types. There are five types of questions on the GRE quantitative section:

Types of questions on the GRE quantitative section:

Quantitative Comparisons (QC): The test-taker must identify the greater of two expressions, labeled “Quantity A” and “Quantity B.” Each QC question has the same answer choice set:

(A) Quantity A is greater

(B) Quantity B is greater

(C) The quantities are equal

(D) The relationship cannot be determined

Answer choice D means that either quantity may be greater depending on the scenario, or the value supplied to a variable. In some cases, quantity A is greater, and in other cases, Quantity B is greater.

Multiple Choice (MC): These are standard, five-answer-choice problems.

Select All (SA): A twist on multiple choice questions where there may be more than five answer choices in the set, with one or more (and potentially even all) choices being correct. These have square boxes instead of round bubbles and are always preceded by the instruction to “select all that apply.”

Numeric Entry (NE): Non-multiple choice questions that require the calculation of a precise value, to be typed into a text entry box. Sometimes these have specific instructions to “enter your answer as a fraction” or to “round your answer to the nearest tenth.” 

Data Interpretation (DI): The four question types mentioned so far differ in terms of answer choice format, but Data Interpretation questions do not represent a fifth such format. They may be multiple choice, select all, or numeric entry (never quantitative comparisons) but are distinct from these question types because of the difference in the tasks required to answer them. On a GRE quant section, there are always three consecutive DI questions that ask about the same set of text, graphs, and tables. Hence the name “Data Interpretation.”

Now that we’ve overviewed the five question types, let’s take a look at how they work together to form a complete GRE quantitative reasoning section:

Question Number Question Type
1 – 7 or 1 – 8 QC
8 – 13 or 9 – 13 MC, SA, and NE (jumbled)
14 – 16 DI
17 – 20 MC, SA, and NE (jumbled)

There are 7 or 8 QC questions per section and a total of 15 QC questions between the two scored quantitative sections on the GRE. If one quantitative section has 7 of them, the other section will have 8, and vice versa. If you’re a by-the-book kind of test-taker, you can do these questions first. But if you tend to be more confident on the traditional multiple choice questions, you can start with those and come back to the QC questions later.

For what it’s worth, the DI questions are always numbers 14 through 16. If you want to start here, just use the “review” screen to navigate right to question 14.

The standard MC questions are much more heavily represented than the SA and NE questions. There is a kind of balance between QC and MC questions so that each quantitative section contains a total of 14 questions between these two types. If a section has 8 QC questions, it will have 6 MC questions (for a total of 14). And if a section has 7 QC questions, it will have 7 MC questions (again, for a total of 14). If you’ve been keeping track, this leaves only 3 questions per section for SA and NE.

The SA and NE questions also maintain a balance. You won’t get 3 SA questions on one section and then 3 NE questions on the other section; you’ll get one section with 2 SA and 1 NE and another section with 1 SA and 2 NE.

Question Types by Section:

QC: 7 or 8

MC: 6 or 7

DI: 3

SA: 1 or 2

NE: 1 or 2

Total: 20

Question Types for both Sections:

QC: 15

MC: 13

DI: 6

SA: 3

NE: 3

Total: 40

Knowing all this helps you know what to expect on test day. Familiarity tends to increase comfort. And most importantly, you can use your practice tests to try out different approaches to the quantitative sections.

Are open-ended QC questions giving you a headache? Flag them and go take a break with the more concrete DI questions.

Struggling to finish the section on time? Prioritize the question types you’re most comfortable with, and use the remaining time on the harder ones.

You can develop a personalized approach to the GRE quantitative section that plays to your strengths.

Now that we know how the GRE quantitative section is put together, we’ll turn to overviewing the actual math content of the questions in our next article.

If you are interested in speaking with one of our GRE private tutors, you can sign-up for a complimentary, 30-minute consultation call. You can also learn more from our past clients who were able to achieve their cumulative 325+ score with us!

Contributor: Elijah Mize (Apex GRE Instructor)

Read more
Posted on
07
Dec 2022

GRE Analytical Writing Measure: What to Expect and How to Prepare

Before you begin your battery of Quantitative Reasoning and Verbal Reasoning sections on the GRE, you will have to complete the GRE Analytical Writing measure. Read on to learn about this important section of the test and for useful preparation tips.

The GRE Analytical Writing measure has two tasks timed at thirty minutes each. The first task asks you to “analyze an issue” by taking a position on a brief statement. For this task, you will have to construct your own argument in support of your position. Here is a sample Analyze an Issue task:

As people rely more and more on technology to solve problems, the ability of humans to think for themselves will surely deteriorate.

Discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the statement and explain your reasoning for the position you take. In developing and supporting your position, you should consider ways in which the statement might or might not hold true and explain how these considerations shape your position.

While the instructions following the prompt provide a general direction for your essay, this task is very open-ended. You can probably imagine many ways to address the issue and many points on both sides. The best way to sort through all this is to be authentic about your opinion. Don’t search for what you are supposed to write; write your actual thoughts and views about the issue, and then explain and defend them. Remember, you will not be scored on whether you have a certain “correct” opinion or analysis – you will be scored on how well you explain and defend your position. So take the position you actually believe and for which you can make the best case.

Some writers fall into the trap of remaining ambivalent about the issue. You should never simply discuss the points on both sides as an impartial observer. The instructions in this sample did tell you to “consider ways in which the statement might or might not hold true,” but they began by telling you to “discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the statement.” You will have to come down on one side or the other, even if the extent to which you agree (or disagree) is not especially far from the “center” of neither agreeing nor disagreeing. Take a side. Remember, you won’t be penalized for doing so. You will be penalized if you fail to do so.

The second task of the GRE Analytical Writing measure asks you to “analyze an argument,” providing you with a short paragraph in which an author supports their own position on an issue. For this task, you will not construct your own argument but critique the argument in the prompt, identifying the assumptions and facts upon which it relies for strength and validity. Here is a sample Analyze an Argument task:

In surveys Mason City residents rank water sports (swimming, boating, and fishing) among their favorite recreational activities. The Mason River flowing through the city is rarely used for these pursuits, however, and the city park department devotes little of its budget to maintaining riverside recreational facilities. For years there have been complaints from residents about the quality of the river’s water and the river’s smell. In response, the state has recently announced plans to clean up Mason River. Use of the river for water sports is, therefore, sure to increase. The city government should for that reason devote more money in this year’s budget to riverside recreational facilities.

Write a response in which you examine the stated and/or unstated assumptions of the argument. Be sure to explain how the argument depends on the assumptions and what the implications are if the assumptions prove unwarranted.

You can probably see some of the assumptions behind this argument’s assertion that use of the river for water sports is “sure to increase” (“sure” is such a strong word!) and its recommendation that the city government “devote more money in this year’s budget to riverside recreational facilities.” This argument is plagued by “what ifs.” First of all, what if the state doesn’t follow through on its plans to “clean up” Mason River? Anyone who assumes that state governments always follow through on their plans probably doesn’t live in the real world. What if the state follows through on its plans, but the “clean up” project improves neither the river’s water quality nor its smell? What if these things improve, but the residents of Mason City don’t increase their use of the river for water sports because they prefer to swim, boat, and fish in a more rural setting? What if the residents increase their use of the river for water sports but do so without increasing their use of the riverside recreational facilities? Are the facilities in question even connected to water sports? Or are they parks or amphitheaters or walking/cycling paths? Even if these facilities are connected to water sports, what if an increase in the use of these facilities doesn’t lead to an increase in the cost of maintaining them?

A list of “what ifs” like this one is not a good essay, but it’s a good demonstration of the assumptions that the instructions asked you to identify. You would want to write an essay about how the argument simply assumes that all of these loosely-connected logical dominoes will fall, explaining the consequences in the event that one of them doesn’t fall (or, as the instructions put it, “the implications if the assumptions prove unwarranted”).

Official prompts available as practice/prep material for the GRE Analytical Writing measure are few and far between, but don’t despair – you can practice by writing essays on any issue or any argument you come across! The exact nature of the prompts and instructions is less important than the core skills of clearly expressing your well-reasoned view (Analyze an Issue) and clearly discussing the assumptions or weaknesses of an argument (Analyze an Argument). In the age of media and social media, arguments are everywhere. You can’t avoid them. If you are watching a show or reading an article about sports, politics, entertainment, food, or virtually anything else, you will encounter opinions backed up, with varying degrees of skill and success, by arguments. Superhero movies are canned experiences that have long since passed their sell-by date. Sushi is the best food. The Jacksonville Jaguars will be a top-five team in the NFL within five years. That one candidate representing that one party should not be running for office again. For one or more of these statements, you can probably say immediately whether you agree or disagree with it, and to what extent. If you clearly express the reasons why you agree or disagree, you’re analyzing an issue. If you critique the points and premises used by the speaker or writer in support of the statement, you’re analyzing an argument. You will never run out of practice material.

Each writing task will be scored on a range from 0 to 6 in half-point increments, both by a person and by a program, with the two scores being averaged. If the scores given by the person and by the program are significantly different, another person will take the place of the program, and the two human-generated scores will be averaged. (This person/program scoring approach is the same as on the GMAT). Once each of the two tasks has its averaged score, those two scores are in turn averaged into your final Analytical Writing score.

If you are uncertain about your writing skills and concerned about how your essays would be scored, the official GRE prep platform on the ETS website offers services for having your Analytical Writing essays scored by the program used in the scoring process described above. You can purchase this service a la carte or along with a full official practice test. Don’t write essays before purchasing this service, either alone or as part of a practice test; you will be provided with prompts and timed as you write essays responding to them.

Your goal should be to become so skilled in writing these essays that the act doesn’t tire you out mentally. You still have five sections of Quantitative Reasoning and Verbal Reasoning (the “real” GRE) after your one-hour Analytical Writing measure! Even if the Analytical Writing score is less important than the quant and verbal scores, you should practice writing enough to still be at your sharpest for the more important sections of the test.

If you are interested in speaking with one of our GRE private tutors, you can sign-up for a complimentary, 30-minute consultation call. You can also learn more from our past clients who were able to achieve their cumulative 325+ score with us!

Contributor: Elijah Mize (Apex GRE Instructor)

Read more
Taking the GRE in New York: Everything You Need to Know
Posted on
26
Oct 2022

Taking the GRE in New York: Everything You Need to Know

About ¾ of the way through your extensive GRE prep you should begin to start planning your test day, including scheduling the test, preparing your trip to the test center, and even pre-visiting the test center so that you know exactly where it is. This guide is here to offer you all the required information related to taking the GRE in New York.

Who administers the GRE in New York?

The GRE is administered by Prometric. They have many test centers located throughout New York, so you should have no problem finding a convenient location.

What does the GRE test center look like in New York?

The GRE is a computer-based test, so you will be taking the test on a computer. The test center will include individual testing areas for each test taker with a separation screen between each taker.

Where are the GRE test centers located in New York?

Center 1:

1250 Broadway, #2500

New York, NY 10001

+1 646-690-0303

Directions to the test center

Center 2:

80 Broad St #3400

New York, NY 10004

+1 212-785-0359

Directions to the test center

Center 3:

384 Bridge St

Brooklyn, NY 11201

+1 718-797-4061

Directions to the test center

Top MBA programs in New York

There are many top MBA programs in New York. Some of the most popular programs include: 

Tips

Here are some tips to help you prepare for the GRE: 

  • Get started early – give yourself time to prepare and increase your chances of success.
  • Create a study plan and stick to it for the most effective preparation.
  • Familiarize yourself with the GRE format.
  • Hire a personal GRE tutor who will guide you through the exam. You will get one-on-one attention and they can help guide your studies according to what’s needed for success.

GRE test Day FAQs

Here are some answers to common questions about taking the GRE

How long is the GRE?

The GRE is a 3-hour 45-minute computer adaptive test that has three sections: an analytical writing assessment, a quantitative section, and a verbal one.

Am I allowed to bring a calculator?

You will not be able to bring your personal calculator to the GRE exam. You should also leave any unnecessary electronic devices at home.

If you are looking for professional help to boost your GRE performance, head to our official website and book your 30 minutes complimentary assessment session now.

Read more
The GRE in Dubai Everything You Need to Know
Posted on
14
Sep 2022

The GRE in Dubai: Everything You Need to Know

If you’re thinking of pursuing an MBA, then you’ll likely need to take the GRE. The GRE is a standardized test that is used by many business schools as part of the admissions process. If you’re wondering where to take the GRE in Dubai, don’t worry – we’ve got you covered! In this blog post, we will discuss everything you need to know about taking the GRE in Dubai, including information on test centers and top MBA programs. We’ll also provide some tips for preparing for the exam, and answer some common questions. 

Who administers the GRE test?

The GRE is administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS). ETS is a nonprofit organization that provides educational testing and assessment services. 

Where are GRE test centers located in Dubai?

There are two GRE test centers located in Dubai: 

Dubai, United Arab Emirates — APCU-8733 / APCU-8137

AMIDEAST Dubai

Office G01, Block 2B Knowledge Village

Al Burouj Road, Al Sufouh

Dubai 0000 – United Arab Emirates

Directions To The Testing Center

 

Society of Engineers — STN14384A

Street 46, Al Wuheida Road Al Mamzar, Deira

(Beside Automobile & Touring Club or Behind Bowling Center)

Dubai 04484 – United Arab Emirates

Directions To The Testing Center

The GRE is not offered on the following holidays: 

Top MBA programs in Dubai

There are many top MBA programs located in Dubai. Some of the most popular programs include: 

Tips

Here are some tips to help you prepare for the GRE: 

  • The GRE is a challenging exam, so it’s important to give yourself enough time to prepare. We recommend starting your studies at least three months in advance. 
  • Make a study plan and stick to it. 
  • Familiarize yourself with the GRE format by taking practice tests. 
  • Hire a personal GRE tutor who will guide you through the exam. You will get one-on-one attention and they can help guide your studies according to what’s needed for success.

Test Day FAQs

Here are some answers to common questions about taking the GRE

How long is the GRE? 

The GRE is a 3-hour 45-minute computer-adaptive test (CAT) that has three sections: an Analytical Writing Assessment, a Quantitative Section, and a Verbal Section.

What is the GRE score range? 

The GRE score range is 130-170 for both the Verbal and Quantitative Reasoning sections. 

What is a good GRE score? 

A good GRE score depends on the programs you are applying to. We recommend checking with your schools of interest to see what their GRE requirements are. 

At Apex, we’re more than happy to help you get to your dream school. We offer a 30-minute free complimentary consultation call with one of our top instructors, who can design an individualized GRE prep schedule just for you.

Contributor: Cynthia Addoumieh

Read more

LSAT or GRE: What’s the difference?

Are you applying or thinking about applying to graduate school but can’t decide which standardized entrance exam fits your desired program best?

The answer depends on what you’re planning to do after you complete your degree. If you’re not sure, it’s best to check with the schools that you are interested in attending to see which test they prefer. In the meantime, here is a breakdown of the LSAT and GRE so you can start comparing which suits your skill set and future goals best.

LSAT or GRE: What are they?

Both the GRE and LSAT are standardized tests that have a lot in common in terms of their purpose but differ when it comes to their content.

The Law School Admission Test (LSAT) is a standardized test that law school applicants must take in order to be admitted to law school. The GRE, or Graduate Record Examination, is a general test that many graduate programs require as part of the admission process. But how do they differ?

LSAT or GRE: Format

The GRE has three multiple-choice sections, Quantitative Reasoning, Verbal Reasoning, Analytical Writing, and one unscored section that could be verbal or quantitative.

The LSAT exam sections are Reading Comprehension, Analytical Reasoning, and Logical Reasoning. The LSAT also contains an experimental section in addition to five multiple-choice sections (one of which is an unscored writing sample).

LSAT or GRE: Scoring system

LSAT is scored on a scale of 120-180, while the GRE uses 130-170 for their verbal and quantitative sections and 0-60 for analytical writing.

LSAT or GRE: The skills

Both exams measure skills that are important for success in graduate school, but they focus on different areas.

LSAT tests your ability to read, analyze and draw conclusions on complex texts under strict time constraints. LSAT is a logic test that will measure your logical reasoning and analytical thinking abilities.

The GRE, on the other hand, tests a wider range of skills. In addition to your ability to reason and analyze, the GRE also measures your quantitative abilities (math skills), verbal abilities, and critical thinking skills.

LSAT or GRE: Cost

LSAT costs $200 to take without the additional fees such as the Credential Assembly Service (CAS) ($195), and Law School Reports ($45). The cost of taking the LSAT can add up quickly if you decide to retake the LSAT.

GRE costs $205 with a $50 fee for each score report sent after the first four free reports.

LSAT or GRE: Which schools accept them?

You may have heard that the LSAT is the only test that law schools accept, but that’s not always the case. The GRE is also accepted by some law schools (see the list below). If you’re interested in going to law school, then the LSAT is the obvious choice. But LSAT is a test that is also accepted at some business schools, especially for JD/MBA.

Programs that accept both GRE and LSAT

University LSAT score GRE score
Harvard Law School 173 332
Yale Law School 173 332
Columbia Law School 172 329
Cornell Law School 171 324
University of Pennsylvania Penn Law 171 328

MBA programs that accept LSAT

Ross School of Business: GRE score: 320
Emory University’s Goizueta Business School: GRE score: 317

LSAT or GRE: Which graduate program do people choose?

The people who take the LSAT are more likely to go into law school while the people who take the GRE are more likely to go into other graduate programs. However, there is no one-size-fits-all answer and you should consider your skills and future goals when making your decision.

LSAT or GRE: The bottom line

Both the LSAT and the GRE can be challenging and have many similarities, but they’re not alike. Understanding the difference between these two exams can help you make an informed decision about which one to take. If you want a test that’s specifically designed for law school admissions, then go with the LSAT; if you need something more widely accepted or with year-round testing opportunities, take the GRE instead. But keep in mind that the GRE is not accepted by all law schools. Which test you choose depends on your own strengths and weaknesses. So, if you’re confident in your math skills and want to focus on your verbal abilities, the LSAT may be a better fit.

If you’re interested in taking a prep course for either exam, reach out to our tutors at ApexGRE or ApexLSAT. We offer 30-minute complimentary consultation calls where you can speak directly to a top-scoring instructor for the best and most comprehensive preparation courses. Still not sure? Read our comparison article between the GMAT and GRE.

So which is it? LSAT or GRE? Let us help you. Get in touch now.

Contributor: Cynthia Addoumieh

Read more
Posted on
20
Jul 2022

How to Get the Most Out of Private GRE Tutoring

Working with a private tutor is one of the best ways to prepare for standardized tests. The success of this journey is heavily dependent on both the tutor and the student. They should work collaboratively the whole time and do their best to get the most out of it. Here are some GRE tutoring tips to make this happen.

1. Hire the Right Tutor

Obviously, before even starting anything, you need to hire a professional. This is the first and one of the most important steps because they will be the person you’ll work with and rely on during your GRE prep. Make sure that you conduct research appropriately and choose an experienced and qualified professional. Also, check if you can find some testimonials about them, as well as their background information. You might want to find a few options and then filter them out according to some factors that are important for you, such as price, qualifications, etc.

2. Build the Relationship with the Tutor Right

Another useful GRE tutoring tip for you is having a good relationship with your tutor. Once you’ve already hired a tutor, it is time to get the communication with them right. As you will be working closely with the whole team, it is important for you two to have mutual trust and respect towards each other. Another important step is for you to be fully transparent and honest with your background, target score, weaknesses and strengths. A professional tutor will never judge you based on how much knowledge you have, and this is something you always need to remember. You need to be understanding towards each other and also have some flexibility when working.

3. Constantly Ask for Feedback

Being open to feedback is another important thing you need during the whole preparation process. Do not be limited to how often you will usually be provided with feedback from your tutor – ask for it yourself as needed. The best way to learn and progress is to constantly be aware of your weaknesses and work on them. Moreover, although receiving positive feedback is also important and it feels very nice, you should be even more open to the negative ones. Those are the types of feedback that will indicate your weaknesses and make you concentrate on them.

4. Allocate Enough Time to Your GRE Prep

Last but not least, our last GRE tutoring tip for you is to spend as much time as needed on your materials. Make sure you talk to your tutor and form a study schedule that will reflect your busyness, and then follow it regularly. You might skip some lessons sometimes, but you need to make sure that it doesn’t happen too often. Concentrate on the preparation fully, as this is one of the most important steps towards getting the education that you want to get so much. Challenge yourself and unleash the hardworking persona that’s inside you and get the most of this journey!

Conclusion

To conclude, we discussed some GRE tutoring tips that can help you get the most out of your GRE prep. First of all, you need to choose the right tutor to work with. Secondly, you need to build a strong and honest relationship with your tutor to make the preparation process effective. Another tip is to ask for feedback frequently and learn from your mistakes. Finally, you need to work as much as needed. The feedback and practice test results will also help you understand how much time you need.

Finally, here at Apex, we are more than happy to support you on your GMAT journey and assist you in every step of the process. You can sign-up for a 30-minute complimentary consultation call with one of our instructors who can help you develop your personalized GMAT prep schedule!

Read more
GRE Verbal Questions
Posted on
13
May 2022

GRE Verbal Questions – Expert Tips On How To Solve Them

The Graduate Record Examinations, also known as the GRE, is a standardized exam done for the purpose to assess the test taker’s ability to think outside the box when it comes to analytical writing, mathematics, and vocabulary. The majority of GRE test takers are students looking into Business Schools and in some cases Law Schools and also students considering  Master’s ( M.A., M.S., M.Ed.), MBA’s, or Doctorate (Ph.D., Ed.D.).

Now, what is the GRE made up of? The GRE consists of three main sections: Analytical Writing Assessment, Quantitative, and Verbal. All these sections sum up to a total score of a minimum of 260 and a maximum of 340. To break it up, each section of the GRE takes up a specific percentage out of the total score. Both the Verbal and the Quantitative Reasoning scorer lay on a 130-170 score scale, in 1-point increments. The Analytical Writing, however, lays on a 0-6 score scale, in half-point increments. 

In today’s read, our main focus will be on the GRE’s Verbal Section and questions.

The GRE Verbal Section

The GRE Verbal section consists of around 20 questions that need to be completed within 30 minutes. This leaves you with approximately between one minute to four minutes per question, depending on the question type. The order in which the question types appear is as follows:

  • Text Completion
  • Reading Comprehension
  • Sentence Equivalence

1. GRE Verbal – Text Completion Questions

For these GRE Verbal questions, you are provided with a small passage made up of one to six sentences, with one to three blank spaces to fill in. It is asked of you to fill in the blank space with the most suitable option provided to you. When it comes to the forms in which these questions can come in, there are two distinctive forms. In that passage, you might have three blank spaces to fill in, and for that, there is a list of three options to choose from per blank space. You can also come across questions that have one blank space per passage. To fill it in, you are given a list of five options. In both cases, there is only one right answer.

Here, your ability to interpret and understand the full picture is tested. You are expected to fully comprehend what you are given so that you can put the missing pieces together and still get a harmonious passage.

Example

In parts of the Arctic, the land grades into the landfast ice so _______ that you can walk off the coast and not know you are over the hidden sea.

(A) permanently
(B) imperceptibly
(C) irregularly
(D) precariously
(E) relentlessly

Correct Answer:  B

Apex’s Expert Tips

  • Before anything, take a step back and make sure that the whole passage’s idea makes sense to you. Do you feel like all the points are clear to you? Do you feel confident in completing the sentence? This is important because your answers are fully based on your understanding of the passage. If you missed the passage’s main purpose, chances are, you missed the points to its questions too. 
  • While reading, in your own words, try to predict what might come next in the passage. Try to complete the text while reading and see if the harmony is still there. When you’re done with that, move on to the next step, and try to link your predictions for the text completion with the options given. If you could not find the exact same completion, choose the option with the closest concept. Trust your gut. 

2. GRE Verbal – Reading Comprehension Questions

These types of questions come in three different forms, which are:

a. Select-in-Passage: This form of question requires your referral back to the given passage for the reason of direct extraction. That means you have to select a sentence directly from the given passage that best suits a certain description that you are asked to substitute.

b. Multiple-Choice Questions – Select One Answer: The classical and traditional multiple-choice questions you are used to with five answer options for you to choose from.

c. Multiple-Choice Questions – Select One or More Answers: This last form of Reading Comprehension questions gives you a list of three answer options, and you are asked to select all the answers that you think are correct and suitable. This means that your selected answers can be one, two, or even three.

All these questions are there to evaluate your ability to summarize, identify writers’ points of view, understand larger pieces of text, draw conclusions, and to be able to reason from given information.

Example

Questions 1 to 3 are based on this passage

Reviving the practice of using elements of popular music in classical composition, an approach that had been in hibernation in the United States during the 1960s, composer Philip Glass (born 1937) embraced the ethos of popular music in his compositions. Glass based two symphonies on music by rock musicians David Bowie and Brian Eno, but the symphonies’ sound is distinctively his. Popular elements do not appear out of place in Glass’s classical music, which from its early days has shared certain harmonies and rhythms with rock music. Yet this use of popular elements has not made Glass a composer of popular music. His music is not a version of popular music packaged to attract classical listeners; it is high art for listeners steeped in rock rather than the classics.

Select only one answer choice.

1. The passage addresses which of the following issues related to Glass’s use of popular elements in his classical compositions?

A. How it is regarded by listeners who prefer rock to the classics
B. How it has affected the commercial success of Glass’s music

C. Whether it has contributed to a revival of interest among other composers in using popular elements in their compositions
D. Whether it has had a detrimental effect on Glass’s reputation as a composer of classical music
E. Whether it has caused certain of Glass’s works to be derivative in quality

Consider each of the three choices separately and select all that apply. 

2. The passage suggests that Glass’s work displays which of the following qualities?

A. A return to the use of popular music in classical compositions
B. An attempt to elevate rock music to an artistic status more closely approximating that of classical music
C. A long-standing tendency to incorporate elements from two apparently disparate musical styles

3. Select the sentence that distinguishes two ways of integrating rock and classical music.

Correct Answers:
1. E
2. A and C

3. The correct answer is the last sentence of the passage.

Apex’s Expert Tips

  • When answering, try to derive the answer from the basis of the information given. This means that no outside knowledge is needed nor accepted.  Make sure that you try to find the answers from the provided information. You might feel like the presented views in the passage are the exact opposite of yours, and for that reason, go into the exam with an open mind and expect to encounter different points of view.
  • These types of questions revolve around different and variant topics like sciences, business, art and humanities, and/ or recent topics that can be academic or nonacademic. If by any chance you were unfamiliar with the material provided, don’t panic! All the questions asked can be answered nonetheless. Keep in mind, though, if you feel like the passage is too difficult for you, save it for last and move on to the next question.

3. GRE Verbal – Sentence Equivalence Questions

These types of questions can seem a little similar to the Sentence Equivalence questions. That being said, these two question types assess your ability to draw conclusions and test your capabilities to be able to complete passages while being given only partial information.  

Sentence Equivalence Questions include a single sentence, accompanied by one blank to fill. You are asked to choose the best two options that would complete the sentence’s coherence and main point from a list of six options.

 These types of questions examine your capability when it comes to conclusion making, and your ability to focus on the sentence’s meaning as a whole. They train you to look at the bigger picture but still keep an eye out for smaller details. 

Example

It was her view that the country’s problems had been _______ by foreign technocrats, so that to ask for such assistance again would be counterproductive.

A. ameliorated
B. ascertained
C. diagnosed
D. exacerbated
E. overlooked
F. worsened

Correct Answers: D and F

Apex’s Expert Tips

  • Try your best to understand the main ideas mentioned in the sentences. However, here it is mostly important to understand the whole idea at hand, by making out bullet points that can summarize the whole idea provided. Through that, the right answer will become clearer. 
  • Make sure that the pair of words you have selected makes sense and can still produce harmony and coherence in that sentence. Substitute both words in the sentence before making your final decision. Don’t rush.

To Conclude

All the information mentioned above might seem overwhelming and you might be getting ahead of yourself, but with practice and dedication, everything is possible. Stay grounded and get to know your strengths and weaknesses and get ready with your GRE preparation schedule accordingly. Do not miss any chance you get to learn and grow even more.

Here at ApexGMAT, we understand how this journey can get a little challenging and sometimes frustrating. That is why we stand by our students and support them each step of the way. 

Do not miss the chance to talk to our instructors in a 30-minute complimentary call now!

 

Contirbutor: Lilas Al-Sammak

Read more