JumboTests GRE Blog
February 15, 2011
In six months, aspiring graduate school and business school students will face a vastly different, potentially more difficult, and longer GRE. A change, that according to Liza Weale, executive director of pre-business and pre-graduate programs at Kaplan Test Prep, should have students rushing to take the current exam while they still can – though not because the test could be harder.
ETS, the examâ€™s administrator, needs to collect a statistically significant sample size of test takers to ensure score accuracy of the new test, so test takers who take the exam in August, September and October wonâ€™t receive their official scores back until November â€“ meaning theyâ€™ll have to wait up to 3 months for their official scores, which may interfere with application deadlines.
â€œThis [wait] will force many to miss application deadlines, and create undue stress for scrambling to retest if theyâ€™re not happy with their scores. If you need your score before November, you must take the current GRE before July,â€ says Weale. â€œOur advice to students: if you can take the current GRE do so â€“ itâ€™s to your advantage.â€
Curious about what else the new GRE will bring? Here are some of the major changes to be featured on the GRE after August 1, 2011:
- The current 200 to 800 point scoring scale, in ten-point increments, will be replaced by a scoring scale of 130 to 170 points, in one-point increments.
- The Quantitative section will include more data analysis. It will also introduce Numeric Entry questions, where test takers must provide an answer without having a selection of choices from which to choose.
- An on-screen calculator will be available for test takers, which will likely mean more complex math problems.
- The new Verbal section wonâ€™t include antonym and analogy questions, but, in addition to vocabulary, will include in-context questions that test reasoning skills.
- The new GRE will also contain a new â€œstrengthen/weakenâ€ reading comprehension question type, similar to those on the GMAT â€“ the primary admissions exam for business schools.
- The new GRE will be adaptive at the section level: the better a test taker performs in one section, the more difficult the next section will be. This new format will also allow test takers to skip questions within a section and come back to them, a function not available on the current test.
November 23, 2010
- Never do more work than needed. The questions simply ask you to compare quantities; you do not need to know by how much one is bigger (or smaller).
- Visual estimates are not enough. Looks can be deceiving so ensure all of your conclusions are based on mathematical calculations and data from the question.
- When in doubt, manipulate the data. You may be able to combine numbers or other terms, do some factoring, or restate in equation in a slightly different form. Remember, if expressions contain the same term, you can remove that term by adding or subtracting it from both quantities.
- When manipulating data, only multiply or divide across columns when the quantity youâ€™re working with is positive. Multiplying or dividing two unequal terms by a negative value changes the inequality; and youâ€™ll have manipulated the data into the wrong answer.
- Check your answers with simple math â€“ if itâ€™s possible. There’s no sense in analyzing a problem entirely in the abstract if it only takes a few seconds to scratch some numbers down on paper. Plus, putting your though process to paper helps you see if you’re making a mistake along the way.
- Donâ€™t do too much math. None of these questions should require involved calculations â€“ that is not the point of this section. If you find yourself crunching complex equations, youâ€™ve likely missed something in the question. Put down the pencil and reread it!
- Never choose the relationship cannot be determined from the information given if a comparison does not involve variables or figures. If the comparison involves numbers only, you’ll always be able to calculate specific numerical values for both expressions, so the last (fourth) answer choice cannot possibly be the correct one!
- Consider all the possibilities for unknowns. Unless the centered information restricts their value, consider positive and negative values, as well as fractions and the numbers zero (0) and 1. Comparisons often depend on which sort of number is used so in these cases, you should strongly consider the relationship cannot be determined from the information given.
Time for you put these tips to the test.
November 02, 2010
While the new GRE format is on itâ€™s way, complete with less focus on out-of-context vocabulary, and the complete removal of the antonym questions, you canâ€™t halt the vocab studying yet. Acing antonyms questions will require a strong ability to: establish relationships between words; set up general relationships in a sentence; and identify/use relationship types.
While youâ€™re focusing on building those skills, here are 5 more quick and dirty tips you can use to help out on the analogy section of the GRE.
- Colons easily identify this section. Colons in each word pairing as used as a substitute for the phrase a is to b as is to . Saying this phrase aloud can help trigger your memory.
- Pick the strongest relationship. If you can narrow your options down to two answers, pick the option that is always true, or at least, most often true.
- Relationships, not definitions are paramount. Unlike many of the other verbal sections, what the words mean is not as important as how they relate to each other. Always evaluate the answers on the proper criteria!
- Correct answers will never reverse the relationship. While EYES:SIGHT is the same type of relationship as HEARING:EARS, the order of the relationship has been reversed, so we know it is an incorrect answer.
- Memorize types of relationships. If you can memorize the types of relationships you can save a great deal of time by quickly identifying which answers will be most appropriate. Types of relationships include: synonym/antonym; part/whole; cause/effect; degree/intensity; purpose/function; type/kind.
October 19, 2010
The GRE contains between 2 and 4 Reading Comprehension passages about which you will be asked between 6 and 10 questions. Most people feel confident about this section, but can get tripped up by rushing or not following details closely. Here are so tips so you can avoid this happening to you.
- Read the entire passive thoroughly instead of skimming it. Skimming the passage can seem like a good time saving device, but if youâ€™ve missed the point of the passage, youâ€™re certain to get answers wrong.
- Use the scrap paper to jot down important points, often highlighted by structural or transitional words (such as likewise, therefore, however, moreover, or hence).
- Correct answers will never be overtly negative, irrational, or irresponsible. Rule out those options immediately.
- Check your answer by finding it in the text. Often the test will try to trick you by providing an answer that fits with the themes, but was not mentioned in the reading passage. Donâ€™t let a frazzled memory bring your score down—check your work.
Are you ready to test out these tips? Take this Reading Comprehension Test now.
September 28, 2010
Antonyms, one of four basic formats covered in the GRE Verbal section, are worth a quarter of your mark in this section. As you know, your timing while writing the GRE is extremely important and in order to keep pace, you should aim to be answering these questions in 30 seconds – or less! Not that fast yet? These tips can help you reach that goal.
- Memorize as much as possible. The faster you can recall a word’s definition, the more time you have save for the harder questions.
- Work backwards. Look at the answer list and see you can recall the antonym of those words. [Bonus tip: If you cannot express the antonym in a single word (as opposed to a phrase), itâ€™s most likely the wrong answer.]
- Donâ€™t recognize the word? Brainstorm. If you come across vocabulary you donâ€™t know, take a moment to see if you can remember any words close to it. Do those words have the same root? If so, they likely have related meaning as well.
- Change the context. What would this word look like as a noun? As a verb? By substituting different forms of the word you may find you now recognize it.
- Pick the best fit. Test writers will try to trick you by provided multiple answers that look fine, or multiple answers that arenâ€™t quiet perfect. Be aware of this trap and donâ€™t waste time trying to find the exact fit.
Ready to put these tips to the test? Try to complete this practice test in under 3 minutes
September 14, 2010
We have received tremendously positive feedback from students and faculty about the changes that will be introduced in August 2011,” says David G. Payne, VP and COO of College and Graduate Programs at ETS. “The early announcement, the availability of … preparation materials for the GRE revised General Test, and the news about the special, limited-time 50-percent discount in August and September 2011 mean test takers have ample time to prepare at their own pace.
August 17, 2010
Welcome to the dog days of summer. Itâ€™s hot, humid, and chances are youâ€™d rather be on a patio then studying for your GRE. So today weâ€™re keeping it short and sweet with 7 GRE essay tips, so you can get in your study and go back to enjoying your summer.
- Always provide a reason or example to support any point you make. Consider this the cardinal rule of essay writing.
- Use transition words and phrases to help the reader follow the flow of your discussion.
- Try to include brief introductory and concluding paragraphs – these “bookends” will help your essay appear well-organized.
- Compose your introductory remarks last â€” after you’ve completed the rest of your essay. Why? Your essay might evolve somewhat from your initial thesis; if you’ve composed your introduction first, you might need to rewrite it.
- But don’t let writing mechanics (grammar, sentence construction and diction) slow you down. Content and organization are far more important to GRE readers.
- It’s fine to occasionally refer to yourself in your essays â€” but keep it occasional. Phrases such as I think, it is my opinion that and in my view are superfluous and a waste of your typing time.
- Donâ€™t overdo it on your vocabulary. There’s nothing wrong with demonstrating a strong vocabulary, but if your essay reads like a thesaurus, readers will suspect that you’re using big words as a smokescreen for poor content.
July 27, 2010
When preparing for any big exam, itâ€™s important to start your studying early, which can unfortunately mean study routines become a little too familiar after a while. To keep your study habits as effective as they can be, make sure to add a little change to your routine every month or so. Not sure what to change? Weâ€™ve got 5 suggestions for you.
- Time of day. Many choose to study at the end of the day with whatever â€œleftoverâ€ time we have, but did you know itâ€™s easier for your brain to complete tasks in the morning? Try rising 1 hour earlier each day to squeeze in a new study time.
- Rearrange your study room. A location change is ideal, but often free space (with power and Internet access) can be a hot commodity. So instead of moving, just rearrange your furniture. Put the desk along a new wall, move your bookshelves and get some plants to add colour to the room.
- Try a new test style. If youâ€™ve been studying by completing partial practice tests, try a full length test – or vice versa!
- Add music to the background. Choose music that doesnâ€™t have lyrics or words and keep it at a low volume. If youâ€™re already listening to music; try a new CD or artist.
- Review with a friend. This shakes up your routine, and gives you a chance to be social as well. Each week, meet with a friend to go over what you have studied that week. This will help diversify your perspective on what youâ€™ve been studying and give you someone to ask for help if you find yourself stuck on a problem.
July 13, 2010
Fantastic news for those of you looking to write the GRE in 2011. To promote the release of the GRE Revised General Test, ETS will be offering a 50% discount on the test fee to all those who take the test between August 1 and September 30, 2011.
This GRE revision has literally been years in the making and ETS officials are confident that it will be a success among students. “We know students are going to find the overall testing experience better with the introduction of the GRE revised General Test,” says David G. Payne, VP and COO for College and Graduate Programs at ETS. “The questions more closely reflect the kind of thinking they’ll need to do in graduate and business school, and the new test taker-friendly navigation features allow them to use more of their traditional test-taking strategies. These are really big changes that will appeal to test takers. In addition to these enhancements, we think the 50-percent discount will encourage more students to take the GRE revised General Test sooner, so students themselves can tell other students about their positive experiences.”
The GRE revised General Test will deliver many new features when it is introduced, including:
- More “real-life” scenario questions to better reflect the kind of thinking students will do in today’s demanding graduate and business school programs
- Less reliance on vocabulary out of context, more emphasis on reading, completely removing antonyms and analogies
- Many new navigation features, including the ability to skip questions and go back to them later within a section for a better test-taking experience
- New answer types, such as filling in a number or providing more than one response when asked, so students can better demonstrate what they know
- An on-screen calculator for the Quantitative Reasoning section*
“We are expecting the GRE revised General Test to be quite popular when it is introduced,” says Payne. “Registration for the GRE revised General Test will open on March 15, 2011, so individuals interested in receiving the 50-percent discount should register early for a testing date between August 1 and September 30, 2011, to ensure they can take advantage of the special limited-time offer. This is big news for test takers, so we expect word to spread quickly.”
There is, however, a word of caution delivered with this news. Individuals taking the GRE revised General Test in August or September 2011 will receive score reports starting in November 2011, as extra time will be needed for the statistical work necessary when launching a new test. Normal score reporting of 10 â€“ 15 days will resume in December 2011 and so any student who needs test scores before November 2011 should take the current GRE General Test.
June 29, 2010
Despite the need for an extensive vocabulary, sentence completion can be one of the easier sections of the GRE. Using the three tips below, you can see how you can use logic to narrow the list of possible answers and help eliminate your guess work.
- Answer the question before looking at the choices. Imagine reading this sentence: Frustrated by the failure of his first experiment the chemists confidence was
___________. Before even reading your options, take a look at the rest of the sentence. We know the first experiment was a failure, and the chemist is frustrated, so we can automatically eliminate any positive words (such as bolsters or strengthened) from out list of answers.
- Keep your eye peeled for indicator words. Indicator words will also provide clues as to what type of word you should be looking for from the potential answers.
- Contrast indicators (yet, although, but, however) – these indicate the answer will be opposite to the key parts of the sentence. For example: Although most indigenous people were thought to be hostile, many settlers report to have a
___________relationship with the tribe. Because the sentence starts with although, we know to look for a word meaning the opposite of hostile.
- Support indicators (and, likewise, furthermore) – these indicate the answer will continue along the tone already set. Be on the look out for synonymous!
- Contrast indicators (yet, although, but, however) – these indicate the answer will be opposite to the key parts of the sentence. For example: Although most indigenous people were thought to be hostile, many settlers report to have a
- Watch for Apposition; an advanced grammatical structure in which words or phrases are placed next to each other, and the first phrase is defined or clarified by the second phrase. Note: the second phrase is often set off from the first by comma, semicolon, hyphen, or parentheses. For example: His novels are
___________, using direct coupling of a simple subject and verb where many others would fall to verbosity. Whatever the missing word is, we know it means to be direct, clear, and succinct.
June 15, 2010
Quantitative Preparation: While some people are able to appreciate the unique challenge that comes from dealing with number problems, many of us struggle while studying for this section and getting our confidence in our abilities to ace this section. Here are five tips that will help you improve your performance on the GRE’s quantitative section and increase your confidence in your knowledge.
- Become familiar with the types of questions in this portion of the test. The GRE quantitative section consists of 28 questions divided between quantitative comparisons, discrete quantitative (multiple-choice) questions and data interpretation questions. One of the best ways to become fimilar with the question styles is to do a lot of practice tests.
- Study a list of facts and formulas regularly used in the GRE quantitative section. Memorizing these facts and formulas will help you save time during the test.
- Use the diagrams provided or draw your own to help clarify a question. Diagrams that are provided in this section are drawn to scale and can be trusted.
- Look for mathematical shortcuts. Math problems can be solved many different ways. If one method of problem solving has you stumped, try another.
- Keep track of units given in GRE quantitative questions. Some questions may ask for an answer to be given in different units than were used in the problem and may require a final step of conversion.
- Take practice tests and answer sample questions to become familiar with different question types found in the GRE quantitative section.
June 01, 2010
US News and World Report, publishers of America’s Best Business School rankings and one of the top US business school ranking organisations, is considering using GRE scores, as well as GMAT scores, when compiling its 2012 school ranking’s guide. If the publication decides to go ahead with this, it will be a real win for the GRE, as it increases both the profile of exam, and strengthens its position as a well received alternative to the GMAT for b-school applicants.
Some b-school have been accepting the GRE for years, as it allowed them to reach a wider and more diverse applicant pool. However, giving applicants to choice between GRE or GMAT is a trend that has seen much of its growth in the last two-to-three years. Currently, 50% of the top 20 ranked schools (from US News ranking) accept the GRE, and a total of 24 of the 99 schools ranked accept GRE scores from applicants.
In order to better understand the impact of the rapid growth of the GRE in M.B.A. admissions and programs, the US News fall survey of MBA program will include detailed question about GRE scores, and the number of current students enrolled who have submitted GRE scores. If the numbers are significant, US News will consider changing it’s ranking methodology to include both the GMAT and GE stest scores of all M.B.A students entering classrooms in the fall of 2010.
May 18, 2010
Everyone wants a high GRE score, but only a few manage to do it. Here are 5 tips that will help you score high on the GRE – and even help make studying easier.
- Get the first 10 questions right; even if it requires more time. The GRE questions become harder if you answer them correctly (and easier if you answer them incorrectly), so your performance on the first 10 questions matters significantly. According to Neill Seltzer, GRE content director for the Princeton Review, “If you keep getting the early questions right, eventually you’ll put yourself in such a high scoring bracket that no matter how well you do on the remainder of the test, your score can only go so low,”
- Stop trying to figure out if the questions are getting easier or harder. While this may seem contrary to the first tip, it’s important that you keep your focus on the test itself, and not allow yourself to panic or assume you’ve already failed the test since you’re getting a question you perceive as simple.
- Think back to high school. Many math skills needed for the GRE (like algebra or geometry) are considered background knowledge in most academic classes, but it’s probably been a number of years since you learnt Pythagoras’s theorem. If you kept any highschool texts, now would be the time to dust them off. If not, consider looking for the SAT prep tests to help refresh your memory.
- Take advantage of your college classes. If you are currently in school, consider taking an elective credit in English. Strong writing skills are essential to success on the GRE, so why not kill two birds with one stone? Taking a hard English or literary class will polish your analytical and writings skills, help you to study for the GRE, and put you one credit closer to graduating.
- Take a practice test. To preform well on the GRE, you’ll need to get used to the test format, working on a computer, and dealing with a ticking clock. Take advance of many online full length practice tests to not only see what sections of the GRE you need to study more for, but to familiarize yourself with the test format and head into the exam full prepared.
May 04, 2010
Waiting sucks. No matter how patient of a person you usually are, when it comes to waiting for graduate school decisions, you’d rather know sooner than later. As the weeks turn to months, you might start to feel like you’re driving yourself a bit crazy – all you want is an answer! Unfortunately, you can’t always get what you want. But, here are some ways you might be able to get what you need: peace.
- Step away from the phone – and from your e-mail too. Pestering the schools you’ve applied to won’t do you any good, as the majority of people you can reach will not be able to provide you with information beyond ‘decision letters go out between month x and month y’. Plus, it is never a good idea to annoy the gatekeepers of a department.
- Create a back up plan. Preparing for the worst can help give you a sense of control over the situation. Now, whenever the news does arrive, you’ll be prepare to move forward – even if you get bad news.
- Practice Mindfulness. There is no point in denying the nerves, but try not to let them overwhelm you. Take a moment, breath in deep, recognize that grad school is important to you, that waiting on a school’s decision is stressful, and that you cannot change this. Now breath out and get on with your day.
April 20, 2010
When you are preparing for the GRE one of the most important things you can do to increase your score is to learn vocabulary words that are likely to appear on the test. The GRE verbal section can be tricky, so you must be prepared to recognize difficult words; words you might not even know. First, know that you are not the only one facing this problem. Everyone who writes the GRE is working on their vocabulary too, and here are 5 tips to help you improve yours.
- Avoid flashcards to teach you new words; read instead. Except for exam, you rarely see a list of random words; usually words come with context. Gather words you don’t know from articles, but also take note of the context that word appears in – you’ll need to know it later.
- Try out each new word you learn with different suffixes and prefixes. Think about how the new prefix changes the meaning – but be careful, sometimes adding a prefeix doesn’t change anything. Flammable and inflammable, for example, both mean the same thing.
- Try a new learning style. Consider using mind maps to help you learn – place the new word in the centre of a page, along with the definition, around it places thing like examples sentences, compound options or prefix/suffixes (include definition there too), words with similar or opposite meaning – you can even create pictures to help you remember the meaning.
- Create multiple practice sentences using the word so you can learn to use the word properly in context. Does it seem like we’re hammering this context point a lot? We are. Context is key when learning new words.
- Treat every moment as a potential learning opportunity. Since we’re constantly bombarded with language (from advertising, news, even people on the street), so always keep your ears open. Carry around a notebook with you at all times and be aware. If you hear a word you aren’t sure how to spell, write down the phonetic spelling and investigate later.
April 06, 2010
On paper, it seems like a good solution. With the economy slumping and layoffs on the rise, it’s a great time (or frankly, a necessary time) to get back into the classroom, upgrade your education, and make yourself more desirable to employers. The problem though, is that you’re not the only person who has thought of this. The majority of schools, not only in North America, but also Europe have seen an increase in applicants; unfortunately the increase in applicants has not always equaled an increase in student space, making competition for existing spots fiercer then ever.
Here are three things you can do to improve your chances of scoring one of those spaces:
- Ace your Exam. Whether you’re taking the GRE or the GMAT, now is the time to knock it out of the park. If you’ve already written the exam once, but feel that you can improve, consider rewriting to boost your score
- Submit your application as soon as it’s ready. “Once your application is ready, don’t wait around” says Evan Bouffides, Assistant Dean and Director of M.B.A. Admissions at the Olin School of Business. “There’s a better chance of getting in earlier rather than later in the admissions cycle.”
- Increase your work experience – especially if you’re a recent graduate. Books smarts are good, but street smarts are even better. Showing the admissions committee that you’re coming into the program with working experience looks fantastic. If you can afford to work as an intern, even better. It won’t pay off your loans, but the experience you earn can be invaluable.
March 23, 2010
After experiencing great success with the GRE fee reduction program over the past year, Education Testing Services annoucned last week that they would be renewing the program for another year.
â€œWe launched the program last May and it was very successful,â€ said Jacqueline Briel, Executive Director of the GRE Program at ETS. â€œBecause of demand brought on by the current economic climate, we believed it was appropriate to renew the program.â€
Working in combination with existing GRE fee reduction options, this program allows a limited number of qualified aplicants to write the GRE general for only $80, or other version of the test for half the cost of the regular fees.
In order to be considered eligible for the program you must:
- Be a U.S. citizen or resident alien, age eighteen (18) or older.
- Be currently unemployed and become unemployed within the past six months.
- Be planning to take the computer-based GRE General Test in the United States, Puerto Rico, Guam or U.S. Virgin Islands.
- Submit a copy of an Unemployment Benefits Statement from the past 90 days as proof of unemployment.
March 09, 2010
2009 turned out to be a very good year for the GRE – record breaking in fact. Not only did overall test volumes rise by 1 percent, but exam registrations lept by over 9 (that’s over 675,000 people!), and in the biggest news of all, the number of business schools accepting GRE scores from applicants to MBA programs increased 68 percent.
“Clearly students across the globe are seeing the value of taking the GRE General Test to pursue a graduate degree or business degree like an MBA,” said David Payne, VP and COO for College and Graduate Programs at ETS. Furthermore, “MBA programs are telling us that they need to broaden and diversify their applicant pools to meet the demands of today’s global economy. And they see accepting GRE General Test scores as a great way to reach hundreds of thousands of potential candidates that they could miss if they accepted only the GMAT scores,” he continued.
Payne also expects to see further growth for the GRE over the coming years. Partially attributed to the continuging global economic crisis that has adults returning to graduate schools in droves, either seeking an edge in an increasing competitive job market, or simply to delay graduating in a recession; but also due to the fact that ets will soon begin launching the GRE Revised General Test. The Revised GRE, according to ETS, will offer a more user friendly test structure, along with changes to question types, and the elimination of some question types all together.
But remember, just because the number of test takers and applicants to post graduate programs is on the rise does not mean that seats in those programs are, meaning competition for these elite spaces will become even tougher. Better get back to studying!
February 23, 2010
We often talk alot about the GRE. How to best practice, tips for getting top marks; but what about the reason you’re taking the GRE? Graduate school. How do you know which school you to choose? Here are 5 things to help you make that decision.
- Location; what’s beyond the school? Keep in mind that in addition to attending this school, you’ll also be living in this community. You may want to chose a city you could see yourself working in after grad school is done, after all, you can make a lot of connections in four years.
- Job Placement; what comes next? One of the main reasons to attend graduate school is to create career opportunities, so make sure you factor in what kind of support you can expect from your school once you’ve graduated. Do they offer a mentoring program? What’s the graduate placement rate? Finding out this information will create a clearer picture of what you can expect once you’ve finished school.
- Cost – it’s not just tution. When creating your potential budget you’ll need consider cost of living in each city. For example, rent is always more expensive in larger cities than smaller ones. The potential for financial aid factors here as well. Can you afford to fund yourself with student loans, or do you need a scholarship as well? Which school will give you the largest amount of financial support?
- What degree will you get? People can get so caught up in the name of the school they attend that they forget to check if their preferred program of study is actually available at that school. Pick the program first, then find a school that offers it.
- What is the type and size of the institution? Public or private? Secular or religious? Large and researched focused, or small and instructional focused? What’s the average graduate class size? You’ll want to pick a school that not only suits your learning style, but also exemplifies at least some of your own personal values – after all, you’ll be spending a lot of time there, you want to be comfortable in that school.
February 09, 2010
It may seem like a costly investment right now, delaying your entry into the workforce during a recession by going to graduate school could earn you an extra $100,000.
Using the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, Yale School of Management economist Lisa Khan tracked wages of college graduates before, during, and after the last major recession of the 80s, and found that the impact of graduating during a recession can be extremely long lasting – up to 15 years. During her research Kahn found that those who graduated during a recession earned up to 8% less in their first year than similar workers who graduated in stronger economic times, and still earning up to 5% less by their 12th year out of college. To break it down to dollars, this means the average recession college graduate will earn $100,000 less over an 18 year period compared to those who graduate during strong economic times. Recession graduates also have a slower and more difficult climb up the career ladder, plus an increasing widening gap between the most successful and least successful grads. And the worst news from the study? There is very little you can do about it – except delay your entry into the workforce, increase your qualifications, and hope for better economic times.
A pretty compelling reason to consider graduate school now.