Browsing articles tagged with ""
Jun
19
2013

# Learning Word Groups for the GRE

Learning word groups for the GRE is a smart way to increase your word power in leaps and bounds. Listen to this little tune (be careful, it might get stuck in your head!) and learn a list of words that are related to funny, including:

ludicrous

levity

jocular

flippant

droll

jibe

raillery

Then laugh your way to success on the GRE verbal section as you increase your vocabulary!

Listen here:

Jun
13
2013

# GRE Math Tip: Fraction Operations

This Vine video helps you remember how to deal with something you probably haven’t done in a while – division of fractions. The easy rhyme will stick with you: “When dividing fractions, and I don’t know why, just invert and multiply!”

Get it going on a repeating Vine loop, and you’ll remember this GRE math rule forever.

Apr
29
2013

# GRE FAQ: “How Much Should I Study?”

For many years, I didn’t know what to do when students asked me, “How much should I study?” I would cough and hem and always start some answer with, “Well, it depends …” Because it did depend! The population of GRE test takers is so diverse, and the range of ability they bring to the test so disparate, that a GRE test taker chosen at random might need anywhere between 0 and 200 hours of preparation to achieve her goal, and I say that without exaggeration.

But students would keep asking that question, class after class after class, and I realized that I needed to upgrade my answer. My hedging answers were technically true but not very helpful.

First of all, you should never study seven days a week. You need a day of rest to recharge, guard against burnout, and let your brain do some dot-connecting in the background. Once you’ve established your day of rest, study six days a week, 1-6 hours a day. If you study more than three hours at a stretch, take an extended break. And if you’re taking a class to prep for the GRE, remember that class time counts toward your daily limit!

This is a flexible framework that lets you ratchet anywhere between 6 and 36 hours a week. So what number of weekly hours should you reach for? I’d recommend 20. Consider the GRE a part-time job. However, while 20 hours is a good target to shoot for, you shouldn’t regard it as a ceiling. When you plan your study schedule for the week, add more or fewer than 20 hours as your professional and personal commitments allow (or don’t allow!).

Apr
10
2013

# Study-Planning for the GRE Once Your Class Has Ended

As teachers, my colleagues and I spend a lot of time discussing the importance of study plans with our students – specifically, how do you continue working once you’ve completed the class sessions and the accompanying assignments? The best study plan for you will vary depending on the specific topics on which you need to improve, but we do have a basic template that you can use to plan out your studies into two-week cycles:

Week One:

- Start every two week cycle with a full-length MST, to gauge your progress

- Spend the first three days after the test reviewing the answers and explanations to every problem, and doing the recommended assignments in the Smart Report. So doing the test, review, and recommended assignments can account for four days’ worth of work in each two-week cycle.

- Then spend the next two days reviewing anything else that you know you need to work on – it could be particular topics or question types, or it could be using Quiz Bank quizzes to work on pacing.  This piece will change every cycle, which is why I’m being deliberately vague.

- Take day seven off – you’d take rest days if you were training for a marathon, and this is no different.

Week Two:

- For the five out of the next six days (the first six days of week 2) you can organize your studying by topic or question-type – Monday could be algebra day, Tuesday reading comp day, etc.  Spend your time just building a 6-8-question quizzes in Quiz Bank and reviewing them thoroughly, and reviewing any book material or Lessons on Demand to review the content as necessary.

- Allot one day out of this six-day span to going back through the previous MST, to see if you remember how to solve the questions that you looked through on that test – it can be very easy to look at a problem a week after you did it and forget how to solve it.  Reviewing the problems twice will help ensure that you’re remembering approaches that will help you on the next test.

- Take day seven of week 2 off, then begin the cycle again with the next MST!

Simple but effective – lather, rinse, and repeat your way to GRE success. Do you have any questions about setting up study plans? Do you have trouble sticking to the plans that you’ve set? Let us know in the comments!

Mar
13
2013

Climate change is a very serious issue, but as a resident of Madison, Wisconsin, I sometimes grumble that global warming can’t come soon enough. It wouldn’t be a true Wisconsin winter if we didn’t get at least one blizzard in March, and I found myself last week shoveling desperately through a waist-high mound of heavy, densely packed snow deposited by snowplows at the foot of my driveway. My usual strategy in such situations is “stay in the house until the roommate has to go somewhere first.” Unfortunately, he was out of town, so I had to excavate the driveway myself if I wanted any shot of pulling my car out of the garage.

I get the feeling that many of you view the taking GRE the same way I view shoveling snow: as a chore. Something unpleasant that takes a lot of time and work, that you have no choice about, and that if you were king of the world, you’d never have to deal with.

You might expect that, as a professional GRE teacher, I’d be disappointed that so many of you are as excited to study for the GRE as you are to clean the bathroom. And in some respects, I am. As I wrote recently, I honestly believe that studying for the GRE is a valuable experience, and I’d like for more of my students to be excited by the prospect of becoming smarter and cleverer.

In another light, however, I actually wish that GRE students viewed the test more like a chore. Chores have something going for them: nobody doubts their ability to complete one. As much as I loathe shoveling snow, I knew after a set amount of unpleasant labor, my driveway would be clear and I could pull my car out and move on with my life. We all dread mowing the lawn, folding laundry, and unloading the dishwasher, but we never entertain for even a second the possibility that we won’t be able to bring any of these chores to a successful conclusion. Nobody approaches a loaded dishwasher thinking, “Oh man oh man oh man THIS MIGHT BE THE DISHWASHER THAT ENDS ME.

By contrast, a staggering number of GRE students fear exactly this: that the GRE will be the end of them. Some of you call the GRE a “chore,” but in actuality you don’t view it as a chore at all. You view it as a trial. You think that, maybe, you won’t succeed. And I know that on some days, the “maybe” tilts dangerously toward a “probably.” Watching my students suffer because they fear their own potential is the most heartbreaking aspect of my job.

Yesterday morning I was lucky enough to TA a practice test for Jesse Evans, one of the best teachers in the whole company. While talking about the despair that shrouds a lot of students who take their first practice test, Jesse uttered a line that I and the other TA’s promptly confessed to each other we were going to steal. The line was this:

“Don’t confuse being uncomfortable with being incapable.”

This was such a simple statement that I was simultaneously blown away by Jesse’s wisdom and stunned that I hadn’t come up with it myself. When you take the GRE, many things about it make you feel uncomfortable: using math you haven’t touched in eight years; reading prose full of words you don’t know; working with question formats you’ve never seen before, and the list goes on. But just because you’re uncomfortable with something doesn’t mean you’ll never be able to do it. If you knew the formulas once, you can learn them again. If you don’t know the meaning of a word, you can memorize it. If a question format seems weird now, it won’t seem weird after you’ve done a hundred problems that use it.

Outside, in the bitter cold, with my nose running and my muscles burning, I felt the keenest discomfort as I hacked through several feet of hard, nasty snow. But I never doubted for a second that someday my ordeal would be over and I’d be able to say, “I did that!” as I got in my car and caromed triumphantly through the gap in the snowdrift. Don’t read too much into your own discomfort on the GRE. Just because you’re uncomfortable doesn’t mean that you’re incapable.

Pages:123456»