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)

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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)

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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)

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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)

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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)

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GRE Quantitative Reasoning: A Glossary of Math Terms
Posted on
23
Nov 2022

GRE Quantitative Reasoning: A Glossary of Math Terms

Have you begun studying for the GRE quantitative reasoning sections? Are you being held up by the recurring appearance of math terms whose definitions you don’t fully understand? We are here to help! Read through our glossary of math terms to know for GRE quantitative reasoning.

If you really need help learning these terms, consider turning them into a flashcard deck. (We would provide you with one of these, too, but the act of making your own flashcards is half the benefit.) And if you really need help getting ready for the GRE quantitative reasoning sections, sign up for a free consultation call with one of our expert instructors.

GRE Geometry Terms

Acute angle – an angle of less than 90 degrees

Area – a measure of the two-dimensional space enclosed by a circle or polygon

Bisect – to divide into two equal lengths or areas

Complementary – of two angles with a sum of 90 degrees

Congruent – having the same shape and size (for polygons, sides, or angles)

Coordinate plane – the two-dimensional grid network formed by the X and Y axes

Cube – a regular rectangular prism (each of the six sides is a square)

Cylinder – a prism with circular ends

Equidistant – of two points, being the same distance from another point or line

Interior angle – an angle inside a polygon formed by two sides meeting at a vertex

Intersect(ion) – of two lines, to meet and cross, or the point at which two lines meet and cross

Obtuse angle – and angle more than 90 degrees and less than 180 degrees

Parallel – lines, segments, or sides that run exactly the same direction

Perimeter – the distance around a polygon, the sum of the lengths of its sides

Perpendicular –  lines, segments, or sides that meet or would meet at a 90-degree angle

Polygon – an enclosed shape of line segments (sides) meeting at angles

Prism – a solid made by adding height/depth to a circle or polygon

Regular – of a polygon, having sides of equal length and angles of equal measure

Rectangular prism – a box of six rectangular sides

Reflex angle – an angle greater than 180 degrees and less than 360 degrees

Right angle – a 90-degree angle

Similar – having the same shape but not necessarily the same size (for polygons)

Slope – the “steepness” of a line, its ratio of upward “motion” to rightward “motion”

Solid – a three-dimensional shape

Supplementary – of two angles with a sum of 180 degrees

Vertex – a point on a polygon where two sides meet

Volume – a measure of the three-dimensional space enclosed by or taken up by a solid

X-axis – the horizontal axis of the coordinate plane

X-intercept – a point at which a line or graph crosses the x-axis

Y-axis– the vertical axis of the coordinate plane

Y-intercept – a point at which a line or graph crosses the y-axis

Circles

Arc – a segment of a circle’s circumference

Central angle – an angle formed between a circle’s center and two points on its edge

Circumference – the distance around a circle

Diameter – the longest distance across a circle (through the center)

Radius –  the distance from a circle’s center to its edge

Sector – a “pie slice” of a circle created by a central angle

Quadrilaterals

Parallelogram – opposite sides parallel and of equal length

Rectangle – angles each 90 degrees, opposite sides of equal length

Square – angles each 90 degrees, sides of equal length

Trapezoid – one set of parallel sides

Triangles

30-60-90 – a right triangle with angle measures of 30, 60, and 90 degrees

45-45-90 – a right isosceles triangle (with angle measures of 45, 45, and 90 degrees)

Base – the length of a side perpendicular to a height

Equilateral – all sides are the same length

Height – the measure of perpendicular distance from a side designated as a base to the vertex opposite

Hypotenuse – the longest side of a right triangle, across from the 90-degree angle

Isosceles – two sides are the same length, and the third side is a different length

Legs – the two shorter sides of a right triangle, meeting at the 90-degree angle

Right – one angle is 90 degrees

Scalene – no sides are the same length

GRE Arithmetic/Algebra Terms

Absolute value – a value’s distance from zero (always positive)

Base – a value or variable being raised to a power by a notated exponent

Coefficient – in an expression or equation, a value in multiplication with a variable

Constant – in an expression or equation, a value not in multiplication or division with any variable

Denominator – the lower part of a fraction

Equation – a mathematical “statement” of the equivalent value of two expressions

Exponent – a superscripted value or variable indicating the power to which a given base is to be raised

Expression – mathematical notation of operations to be performed between values and variables

Index – a value or variable used in conjunction with a radical to indicate the root to be taken from a given value or variable

Inequality – a mathematical “statement” of the comparative values of two or more expressions

Numerator – the upper part of a fraction

Power – a number of times for a given value to be multiplied by itself

Radical – a symbol used to indicate a specified root of a given value or variable

Reciprocal – the “flip” of a fraction, or the fraction resulting when a value or variable is made the denominator of a fraction with a numerator of 1

Root – a value that, when raised to a specified power, equals a given value

Units digit – the digit in the “ones place,” the digit immediately to the left of the decimal

Variable – an “unknown” or “replaceable” value, represented by an italicized English or, sometimes, Greek letter

GRE Number Properties Terms

Arithmetic sequence – a sequence of values differing from one to the next by the same amount, equidistant on a number line (6, 8, 10, 12, 14) (27, 35, 43, 51, 59)

Divisible – able to be divided evenly into a given number of groups or pieces

Divisor – in integer by which a given integer is divisible (interchangeable with factor)

Even – an integer divisible by 2 (a multiple of 2, but 0 is also even)

Factor – an integer that, when multiplied by some integer, produces a given value (interchangeable with divisor)

Geometric sequence – a series of values changing by the same factor from one to the next (5, 15, 45, 135, 405) (8, 32, 128, 512, 2048)

Greatest common factor – the largest integer that is a factor of each integer in a given set

Integer – a whole number (whether positive, negative or 0)

Multiple – an integer that is divisible by a given integer (15, 84, and 321 are multiples of 3)

Least common multiple – the smallest integer that is a multiple of each integer in a given set

Odd – an integer nor divisible by 2 (not a multiple of 2)

Prime number – a number with no factors besides 1 and itself

Remainder – the number left over or left out when an integer does not divide evenly into a given number of groups (17 / 5 has remainder 2 because if 17 things are split into 5 equal groups (of 3), 2 things will be left over)

GRE Statistics Terms

Mean – the value that results from dividing the sum of the values in a data set by the number of values in the set (sometimes “arithmetic mean”)

Median – the “middle value” in a data set, or, in the case of an even number of values, the mean of the two middle values (1, 1, 2, 3, 5 has median 2;   1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21 has median 4)

Mode – the value with the most instances or occurrences in a data set

Percentile – a measure of the percentage of values in a data set that are equal to or less than a given value (in a data set comprising the integers from 1 through 100, inclusive, 34 is at the 34th percentile, 79 is at the 79th percentile)

Quartiles – the values at the 25th, 50th, 75, and 100th percentiles: Q1, Q2, Q3, and Q4, respectively (in a data set comprising the integers from 1 through 100, inclusive, Q1 is 25, Q2 is 50, Q3 is 75, and Q4 is 100)

Range – the difference between the highest and lowest values in a data set

Standard deviation – the average (positive) amount by which a value in a data set differs from the mean of the set.

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)

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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.

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GRE Test Dates 2022-2023
Posted on
12
Oct 2022

GRE Test Dates 2022-2023

If you’re thinking about taking the GRE, it’s important to know when the test is offered. The GRE is offered throughout the year, so there are plenty of test dates to choose from. 

GRE Test Dates: How often is the GRE offered?

The GRE has two testing options – at home or in a test center.

if you decide to take the GRE at home, 24/7 with testing dates available around the clock.

Things to consider:

  • The GRE at-home test option is not available in China and Iran.
  • You can take the GRE every 21 days if you need to. If you’re not happy with your GRE score, you can always retake the test.
  • The GRE at-home exam is identical to an exam that you would sit for at a testing center.

if you decide to take the GRE at a testing center, you can choose to take a paper-based exam or a computer-based one, which most people do. For computer-based exams, testing dates are widely available at your convenience, except on national holidays and weekends.

For a paper-based exam, there are select testing dates for 2022-2023. The registration started on July 1, 2022. All the dates are listed below.

Keep in mind that paper-based exam is not available in all test centers.

All dates shown are (MM/DD/YYYY).

For Paper-Based Testing in the United States and Puerto Rico:

Test Date Regular Deadline Late Deadline *
09/17/2022 08/12/2022 08/19/2022
10/29/2022 09/23/2022 09/30/2022
04/08/2023 03/03/2023 03/10/2023

*Late registration is available for online registration only for a fee of US$25.

For Paper-Based Testing in All Other Locations, Including U.S. Territories:

Test Date Regular Deadline Late Deadline *
09/17/2022 08/05/2022 08/12/2022
10/29/2022 09/16/2022 09/23/2022
04/08/2023 02/24/2023 03/03/2023

*Late registration is available for online registration only for a fee of US$25.

To register for the GRE you need to create an ETS account, and you need to provide a method of payment and a passport or an ID. You can choose to request ETS disability services.

If you are interested in speaking with one of our GRE 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: Cynthia Addoumieh

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GMAT or GRE
Posted on
28
Sep 2022

GMAT or GRE: What’s the difference?

If you are considering pursuing a graduate degree, you will likely need to take either the GMAT or GRE exam. While both exams are used for admission into graduate programs, there are some key differences between the two.

Both the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) and Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) are standardized tests that have a lot in common in terms of their purpose.  But GMAT is required for admission to most business schools while GRE is accepted by most graduate schools.  But how do they differ?

GMAT or GRE: How are they different?

GMAT GRE
What are they? A standardized test required by most business schools. A standardized test required by most graduate schools, including many business schools.
Format The GMAT has four sections. A 31-minute Quantitative Reasoning section, a 65-minute Verbal Reasoning section, a 30-minute Integrated Reasoning section, and a 30-minute Analytical Writing section.  The GRE has four sections. Two 35-minute Quantitative Reasoning sections, Two 35-minute Verbal Reasoning sections,  a 60- minute Analytical Writing, and one unscored section that could be verbal or quantitative.
Testing time 3.5 hrs 3.75 hrs
Scoring GMAT is scored on a scale of 200-800 in increments of 10.  GRE is scored on a scale of 130-170 in increments of 1. 
Cost The GMAT costs $250 with a $35 fee for each score report sent after the first five free reports. The GRE costs $205 with a $50 fee for each score report sent after the first four free reports.
Validity 5 years 5 years

GMAT or GRE: Which exam to take?

That depends on your future plans after you complete your degree. Most people choose to take the GMAT because it’s tailored specifically for business school applicants. But if you’re interested in other graduate programs as well, or you want a more comprehensive test that covers more topics, then the GRE might be a better option for you.

Also, it’s always best to check with the schools that you intend to attend and see which test they prefer. 

GMAT or GRE: Bottom line

Both tests are designed to measure a person’s ability to think critically and solve problems. The GMAT is specifically geared towards students who want to pursue a career in business, while the GRE is more general and can be used for admission into a variety of graduate programs.

If you need help deciding which exam to take or preparing for either of them, reach out to our tutors at ApexGRE or ApexGMAT for private personalized tutoring sessions. We offer 30-minute complimentary consultations with one of the top-scoring instructors.

Contributor: Cynthia Addoumieh

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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

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