Jan
11
2013

# GRE Answer Choice Tricks, Part 4

Today we wrap up the series that began here: a look at how the GRE test makers play possum and try to hide correct answers in plain sight. We’ll close on a simple but powerful note.

The test makers like for there to be as few negative signs as possible in their fractions. Take a look at this one:

This would never be the correct answer choice, since there’s a way to cut a negative sign. If you ever get a fraction with variables as your answer and don’t see it in the answer choices, don’t panic. Chances are, you just need to fiddle with the negative signs a bit. Multiply the top and bottom of the fraction by -1:

This is good to know in general: multiplying (b) by a negative sign causes the variables to flip around and make (a). You can tweak the order of terms around a minus sign to your heart’s content with negative multiplication.

If you’ve encountered other tricky answer choice situations, let us know in the comments!

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#### About the Author: Boris Dvorkin

After picking up degrees in English and computer science from Case Western, Boris Dvorkin worked for six unfortunate months as a computer programmer before finding a home at Kaplan in May 2008. He is now a full-time GRE faculty member on-site and online, and he's worked on Kaplan's curriculum for the recent GRE revision. Boris was named Kaplan's Teacher of the Year for 2010. When he's not gushing about standardized test trivia, Boris enjoys playing obscure strategy board games, and is the proud owner of no less than three different board games about Portuguese spice merchants.