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## GRE Blogs

Ready for a little riddle? Sure you are! I'm going to list seven phrases, three words each. Without looking it up, I want you to tell me what all twenty-one (7 times 3) of these words have in common. There is only one right answer. Ready? Piff! Paff! Puff! Knisper! Knasper! Knusper! Pim! Pam! Pum! Riks! Raks! Poks! Cric! Crac! Croc! Pif! Paf! Pof! Knap! Knetter! Knak! So what do you think? Any ideas? I'll give you a minute to think it over. You're giving up? Already? Wait, let me give you a hint. I left out one of the phrases: Snap! Crackle! Pop! Starting to get where I'm going with this? As it turns out, those phrases are the onomatopoetic sounds RICE KRISPIES cereal produces, according to its marketing in other countries, from Germany to Mexico to Finland. That's right, in Germany, pour some milk over your RICE KRISPIES and you hear "Knisper... read more

Standardized test math doesn't behave like normal math. On a normal math test, your knowledge of the concepts and material is being tested, using (hopefully) fair test questions. On a standardized test, though, they're looking for you to think outside the box, to apply math concepts and algorithms to unusual situations, and to really understand what they're looking for and find the quickest way to go about it. Let's take a question from a recent GRE student's lesson: If 4x – 5y = 10 and 6y – 3x = 22, then what is x + y? Now, this is a set of two equations with two variables each, so it looks to me like a perfect candidate for solving as a system. If I were solving this one on a regular math test, I'd start off trying the substitution method, since I'm more comfortable with that one. So let's explore that one first: I'll start by solving the first equation for y: 4x – 5y = 10 - 5y = 10 – 4x y = (-10/5) – (4/-5)x y = -2 + (4/5)x Then... read more

Normally, an equation has a single solution when it contains only one undefined variable.  For example, take the equation 3x + 7 = 19.   3x + 7 = 19     [original equation] 3x = 12     [subtracted 7 from both sides] x = 4     [divided both sides by 3]   This is one case of a larger trend in algebra.  As I've already said, you can solve an equation for one answer when it contains a single variable.  However, this is derived from the larger rule that you can solve a set of equations where there are as many distinct equations as there are variables.  These are called simultaneous equations, and occur any time that two equations are both true over a certain domain.  In the more practical sense, this is what you should do if an exam asks you to solve for a value and gives you two different equations to use.   To solve simultaneous equations, we can use three strategies. Addition... read more

The general form for a box-and-whisker plot is really easy. Let's take a simple data set.   8.2, 15.9, 12.8, 7.4, 24.7, 23.2, 9.6, 7.9, 8.3, 10.2   First, we need to take those data and put them in numerical order.  When we do that, this is what the data set looks like: 7.4, 7.9, 8.2, 8.3, 9.6, 10.2, 12.8, 15.9, 23.2, 24.7   [Note: Any computer program that runs spreadsheets or statistical analysis will probably accept the data in any sequence.  Ordering the data is only necessary when doing this process by hand.] Once ordered, we need to find the median of the set. The median means the "middle" value. In this case, the set has 10 values, so there's no singular "middle" value of the set when ordered least to greatest. To create one, we'll take the two middle values and average them. (9.6 + 10.2)/2 = 9.9 [The only reason we took an average is because there is not "middle"... read more

Having worked with hundreds of test-takers on standardized exams over the years, I have tutored students of all abilities and levels of commitment to their studies. Most students want to know how many hours of tutoring are necessary to achieve the results they desire. While there is no single number of hours uniformly required for all students, for all exams, I do recommend as a rule of thumb that you spend as many hours working on your own as you have spent working with your tutor. To maximize the benefit of working with a tutor for a standardized test, it is necessary to implement, and then practice, the strategies you've learned on your own. Ideally, a student matches the time spent studying independently hour for hour with the time spent tutoring (similarly, university courses typically advise a minimum of one hour of study for every hour spent in class). It is to your advantage to meet with your tutor frequently, and early, enough that the tools you acquire to succeed on your... read more

For anyone that is preparing or thinking about preparing for one of the standardized 'high stakes' tests (you know which ones) -- the SAT, GRE, GMAT, ISEE, SSAT, and so on -- there's something you really should know about test development.   But first consider this. Wouldn't it be sensible for tests to discover what your strengths are and what you do well in?  Of course! But who said these tests or the test developers are sensible?  In fact, why should they be?  Here are two things test developers don't want you to know   1) Test developers usually (meaning not EVERY test is created this way, although most are) try to trick students into providing the wrong answer. Huh?    2) Standardized tests are intentionally designed so that many or even most students will not complete them within the given time limit.   Now why would these nice testing companies engage in these practices?  Select the best choice... read more

ACT www.actstudent.org/testprep/ www.princetonreview.com/college/free-act-practice-test.aspx ; www.mhpracticeplus.com/act.php ; www.kaptest.com/College/Getting-into-College/free-practice-tests-workshops.html phone apps: ACTStudent, ACT Test Prep TestBank,  SAT http://sat.collegeboard.org/practice/sat-practice-test http://sat.collegeboard.org/practice/sat-practice-questions www.princetonreview.com/college/free-sat-practice-test.aspx http://www.kaptest.com/College/Getting-into-College/free-practice-tests-workshops.html phone apps: College Board The Official SAT Question of the Day, Ace the ACT, The Princeton Review SAT Lite, Mind Snacks SAT Vocab, SAT flashcard review, Intelli Power Vocab GRE www.princetonreview.com/grad/free-gre-practice-test.aspx www.ets.org/gre/revised_general/prepare/ www.kaptest.com/gre/study-resources/gre-free-practice-test ; http://www.greguide.com/gre-practice-tests.html ; phone... read more

Do the terms "preposition," "verb," "article," and "modal verb" sometimes stump you? Typically, students are taught the word "preposition" in 1st grade. I don't know about you, but I'm pretty sure that if I had seen that long word at the top of a worksheet in 1st grade, I would have skipped right over it, coding "preposition" as a long word that simply did not fit in my schema of the world. Fast forward to middle, high school, and college, and I see that many native speakers often find one or more grammatical device or structure challenging. Grammar lessons learned in elementary school can easily slip from one's mind, leaving students to struggle when applying their skills to essay writing, earning them phrases such as "wrong modifier!" "run-on!" and "awkward!" splattered in red ink all over their graded assignments.   It is one thing to not remember rules of grammar correctly,... read more

My name is Scott L. and I am one of the top graduate school entrance exam instructors in the nation. This is because I have a genuine understanding of the tests and how they are constructed. This blog will offer general guidance on how to proceed on a step-by-step basis. If you have any questions or would like to know more about how I can help you prepare for this challenge, please email me directly through WyzAnt. In this introductory entry, we will discuss the GRE and the GMAT. What are they and what is the purpose behind them. The GRE and GMAT are used by graduate schools to help sort through the hundreds of applications they receive each application cycle. Since most applicants are relatively equally qualified, the GRE and GMAT can serve as the great divide between applicants. Graduate programs use the score differently. Many programs use the GRE and GMAT score as part of a more holistic approach to application review. Other programs, particularly those which have a less... read more

The equation below is used for Covalent Bonds, Molecular geometry, electron geometry, and structural formulas to figure the number of bonds in a molecule. N-A = S equation to figure the number of bonds in a molecule N = needed: the sum of the number of valence electrons needed by each atom (2 for hydrogen, 8 for all other atoms) A = available: the sum of the number of valence electrons available for each atom S = shared: the number of electrons shared in the molecule S/2 = the number of covalent bonds in the molecule If you need any help with these concepts, please contact me for tutoring. Thank you very much, John M.

As you may know, I am a big fan of the well-known author and brain specialist, Dr. Daniel Amen. He mentions in several of his books that Physical Exercise is good for the brain. I have read of research studies that showed a clear correlation between IMPROVEMENT in students' test scores in math and science, and their level of physical activity (for example, when math class followed PE class, the students had significantly higher scores). Maybe we should schedule PE before all math classes in our schools. What do you think about that idea? This morning I read an online article on the myhealthnewsdaily site, entitled "6 Foods That Are Good for Your Brain," and another article about how Physical Exercise helps maintain healthy brain in older adults too. The second article, "For a Healthy Brain, Physical Exercise Trumps Mental Workout" was found under Yahoo News. The remainder of this note is quoted from that article: Regular physical exercise appears to... read more

I gave the GRE exam back in the year 2009. I secured 720 on verbal and 790 on the quantitative part. I messed up the analytical writing, but I now feel that was due to the nature of my writing and the fact that writing can be subjective. I will try and emphasize on a few points that anybody who is giving the GRE has to focus on in order to give it their best shot. We shall start with the verbal part. The verbal part is supposed to be the more difficult part in the GRE. This is true even for so called native speakers of the English language. Although my verbal score was lower than quants, in percentile I scored 98 on the verbal and 93 on the quants which means a lot of people got clean scores on the quantitative section. Statistics from countries where English is the native language also tend to show that people score more on the quantitative part than the verbal. Mastering the verbal part will require a change in mindset. Its not just about knowing and using English in daily life,... read more

The new school year beckons - be it middle or high school, college or post graduate study. Fall college visits, applications and essays are also just around the corner. Get a jump on what you or your child may need in terms of support for specific academic subjects, computer skills, standardized tests (SSAT, ISEE, PSAT, SAT, ACT, ASVAB, GRE, etc.). I look forward to continuing my track record of success with students to assist them in maximizing their potential and achievements. David

I was asked this question recently by several mothers about which book (singular, not plural) they should get for their sons for their upcoming tests. To both of them I replied: "Get the Princeton Review edition of the book." And while I believe this to be the CORRECT answer, this answer unfortunately is misleading because what I actually want to say is, "Get ALL editions of the book." For example if there is a Barron's version, a Kaplan version, a Princeton Review version, etc. etc. of AP Chemistry, then I would advise the moms to get ALL of these books for their sons (assuming of course that they'll read them). The reason is because one book doesn't have enough practice problems. From experience, after reading the first test preparation book or textbook, the student will have a rather hazy outline of the subject material. Books 2-5 make the outline clearer. Most students don't begin to really understand the subject until around Book 7. And that's the reason... read more