Sample GRE Multiple Choice Math Problem – Way Too Many Variables

bond_villain

“I hope you’re not … under-prepared … Mr. Bond.”

On every GRE Math section, the test makers try to come up with a few extremely difficult problems that will leave even the cleverest students scratching their heads. The really evil part, though, is that even these problems can be solved in under a minute without a calculator – if you know what to do. This means that once you “figure out the trick,” these difficult problems become easy. So, while those test makers are busy cackling with sadistic glee, let’s see if we can’t beat them at their own game.

Consider the following problem:

In the correctly solved subtraction problems above, each of the seven letters represents a different single digit integer. What is the average (arithmetic mean) of DE and BG?

A) 32

B) 50

C) 68

D) 100

E) 137

DNJamesBond41

“Actually, I did take that Test Masters course.”

“How on Earth am I supposed to figure out the average of DE and BG if I have no idea what any of those seven numbers are?” Well, you could try the guess and check method, but that would waste a lot of time. If you think about it, you will realize that you don’t actually need to know what all seven integers are in order to solve this problem: you only need to figure out one.

What we have in the first subtraction problem is a three digit number that is the sum of two two digit numbers. A two digit number must be less than 100 by definition. 100 + 100 = 200, so the two two digit numbers added together must be less than 200, since each of them alone is less than 100. Thus, the three digit number must be between 99 and 200. Therefore, the letter A must be the number 1.

If A represents 1, then we can rewrite ABC as:

ABC = 100 + BC

The one other thing you need to realize is that we can get rid of DF. Write out each problem horizontally:

ABC – DE = DF

DF – BG = BC

In the second one, isolate DF:

DF = BC + BG

Now, it becomes clear that you can set the two equations equal to each other:

ABC – DE = DF = BC + BG

ABC – DE = BC + BG

Now substitute 100 + BC for ABC:

(100 + BC) – DE = BC +BG

100 + BC = BC + BG + DE

100 = BG + DE

The BC appears on both sides of the equation, so it cancels out, and you are left with the realization that the sum of BG and DE is 100. Finding their average is now elementary (as Sherlock Holmes might say):

Average of BG and DE = (BG + DE)/2 = 100/2 = 50

The answer must be 50, or choice B. You didn’t have to know the other variables at all. If you’re curious as to what they were, here is a solution (I believe the only solution) that works:

However, figuring that out would take way too much time on test day. If you know what to do, it takes only about 30 seconds to solve this problem. So you see, with practice, even the hardest problems on the GRE become easy. Check back here each week for more extra hard problems and the tricks you need to solve them! Also, remember that you can find out all the tricks from experts like me with a Test Masters course or private tutoring. Until  then, keep up the good work and happy studying!

Sample GRE Multiple Choice Math Problem – FOIL or Factor?

GRE test writers are always trying to find new ways to discombobulate students.

GRE test writers are always trying to find new ways to discombobulate students.

On every GRE Math section, the test makers try to come up with a few extremely difficult problems that will leave even the cleverest students scratching their heads. The really evil part, though, is that even these problems can be solved in under a minute without a calculator – if you know what to do. This means that once you “figure out the trick,” these difficult problems become easy. So, while those test makers are busy cackling with sadistic glee, let’s see if we can’t beat them at their own game.

Consider the following problem:

For all x and y where ,

A) 2(x – 2y)

B) 2y – x

C) 1

D) 0

E) -2

Well, as you know, you can’t add fractions unless their denominators are the same, so if you want to add these two fractions, then you would have to multiply the numerator and denominator of the first fraction by the denominator of the second fraction and the numerator and denominator of the second fraction by the denominator of the first fraction, like so:

So, the answer is E. But that’s the long way. By the time you get to the third line of all that awful math, you should realize that the numerator and denominator of each fraction are essentially the same, except that one has been multiplied by -1. In line 3 above, we factor out the -1 and realize that these fractions are just a glorified way of writing -1 + -1, but if we had stopped to think about it at the beginning, we could have realized it without multiplying all those binomials:

The canny student, however, can usually spot their tricks.

The canny student, however, can usually spot their tricks.

Granted, if you remember the FOIL method, multiplying the binomials shouldn’t take that long, but it’s still nice if you can do a 2 minute problem in 10 seconds, since that gives you more time for other questions you may need to think about. A method with fewer steps also leaves less room for careless errors. But how are you going to find these shortcuts on the day of the test? Ironically, if you are rushing through the test as fast as you can, you’re more likely to do problems the long way and miss the shortcuts. Before you dive into a problem and break out your calculator, pause and reflect: every GRE math problem can be solved in under a minute without a calculator. This means that for the harder problems, there is always some trick. If you ever find yourself scribbling down lines and lines of scratch work, that probably means that you’re doing a problem the long way. For this problem, just look at it. You will notice a lot of repetition: everything is made up of x and 2y. This is a red flag that there’s a trick to solving this problem. If everything is kind of the same, then if you arrange the expressions properly chances are things will start to cancel out. In this case, you have to factor out a -1 from either the numerators or the denominators. After that, it becomes clear that each fraction is equal to -1, and the problem becomes, as they say, easy as π!

So you see, with patience and practice, even the hardest problems on the GRE become easy. As you do more practice problems you will get better and better at spotting these shortcuts – the test makers tend to use the same tricks over and over again. Check back here each week for more extra hard problems and the tricks you need to solve them! Also, remember that you can find out all the tricks from experts like me with a Test Masters course or private tutoring. Until  then, keep up the good work and happy studying!

University of Houston Downtown Master’s Programs

UH DowntownUniversity of Houston-Downtown Master’s Programs

There are plenty of Top 5 lists for which school has the most successful graduates or the best undergraduate teachers, but for many people, going to the schools at the tops of those lists just isn’t feasible, either for distance, cost, or due to the high admission standards. For people who already have careers and are looking to go back to school to further their prospects, a local school with flexible schedules that specifically cater to career students may be the best option available to them.

One such institution is the University of Houston-Downtown (UHD), a university perched on the northern side of Downtown Houston. Many consider this school a stepping stone where one would go to complete basics or to conduct some small supplemental courses to improve their resume. However, UHD is a fully accredited university that issues both Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in a variety of subjects and fields. This specific blog post is geared towards detailing several very popular Master’s degrees UHD offers and the kind of career one might pursue following graduation form such a program.

1. Master of Science in Criminal Justice (available online)

In addition to offering a full time education, UHD also offers a police academy program and specializes in criminal justice courses and degrees. Having a Master’s in Criminal Justice does many things for a student. Along with improving any police officer or investigator’s skill set, this degree also fosters leadership abilities and analytical thinking, as well as team building. This is one route for anyone interested in Criminal Law to get a foundation in the field and then go on to law school, or perhaps pursue careers in the criminal justice field doing investigating or handling parolees.

Median salaries for these three careers are: probation officers $48,190/year, criminal court judge- $102,980/year, and criminalist technicians- $52,840/year.

2. Master of Arts in Rhetoric and Composition

Requirements for joining this program are the application, a short statement answering a question about your goals, a resume, two letters of recommendation, a 3.0 GPA, and a GRE score. The most important score from GRE is the writing section. A Master’s in this subject prepares students for careers in a myriad of opportunities, some of which may be working as a speech writer or even a professor in a related field. One would also be an expert at reading people and their expressions. Once a student completed this program, they would automatically be qualified to teach in any university in Texas.

Careers and median salaries you can pursue with an MA in Rhetoric and Composition: Postsecondary professors $68,970/year, public relations specialist $54,170/year.

3. Master of Science in Professional Writing and Technical Composition

Students who pursue this degree program are usually possess Bachelor’s in related fields, like English, Professional Writing, or even philosophy. A Master’s in this field enables students to pursue fairly diverse careers.  The requirements for admission into this degree program are a TOEFL (for students who receive their undergraduate degree from an institution where English is not the primary language) and GRE score, a resume, two letters of recommendation, and a one thousand word essay. Applicants with a 3.5 GPA or better could possibly have the GRE score requirement waived. There is always a demand for technical writers in many fails, with many engineering, technology, or even construction companies, among others, needing articulate professionals to write a myriad of materials. Additionally, this would prepare people for a job that includes writing proposals for research groups or universities, or journalism. The outlook for this field is fairly positive and it is growing at a steady rate.

Careers and median salaries you can pursue with an MS in Professional Writing and Technical Composition: technical writer $65,500/year, public relations and fundraising managers $95,450/year, advertising, marketing managers $115,750/year.

4. Master of Arts in Teaching, Master of Arts in Teaching with Texas Certification (available online)

This program has an emphasis on urban education and has four areas of specialization, which are bilingual education, curriculum and instruction, elementary education, and secondary education. The requirements for joining this program are a Bachelor’s degree, a minimum 2.5 GPA, a GRE score, official transcripts, a personal statement and three letters of recommendations. If you have at least a 3.56 GPA, the GRE requirement may be waived. If you pursue the Master of Arts in Teaching, you must also have a state certification. If you do not have a certification, you are able to join the degree program that will also certify you for the state of Texas. Students are often able to gain the requisite teaching experience for a teaching certification as a part of their master’s program.

Careers and median salaries you can pursue with an MA in Teaching: elementary school teachers $53,090/year, middle school teachers $53,430/year, high school teachers $55,050/year, postsecondary professors $68,970/year.

5. Master of Arts in Non Profit Management (available online)

Experience, practice, and team building are calling cards of UHD’s Masters of Arts in Non Profit Management. This program offers students the opportunity to work with professors from a huge variety of departments who all contribute to the nonprofit program. One benefit of working in this industry is that while you may learn exactly how to run a nonprofit, it also prepares you for running any successful business. This program can be completed entirely online, although it is also possible to have some classes taught in person if it is of high demand. In order to be considered for admission to this program you must have completed a bachelor’s degree program, have a 3.0 GPA for the last 60 hours of education, a resume, personal statement and your transcripts. A GRE score is also required, but if you have at least five years of experience with a nonprofit then you may be able to waive the GRE requirement.

Careers and median salaries you can pursue with an MA in Non Profit Management: public relations and fundraising managers $95,450/year, event planners $45,810/year, fundraiser $50,680/year.

Test Masters offers the most comprehensive and successful GRE course available; every Test Masters GRE course, whether it is online or in-class, comes with a 10 point Score Increase Guarantee.

 

Top 5 Bioengineering PhD Graduate Programs

Biomedical EngineeringProgram Profile – Top 5 Bioengineering PhD Graduate Programs

For anyone hoping to do original research in the field of Bioengineering (a.k.a. Biomedical Engineering), obtaining a PhD is often necessary. In the field of Bioengineering, unlike in many other engineering disciplines, undergraduate coursework alone does not fully prepare students for the research component of working in fields like tissue, cell, or biomaterial engineering, which are just a few subsets in the field of bioengineering. Obtaining a PhD in bioengineering will often consist of combining modern approaches in the experimental life sciences with theoretical and computational methods from engineering in order to find solutions to medical problems.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for bioengineers between 2012 and 2022 is expected to grow by 27%, which is much faster than average. Most bioengineers either conduct original research in academia or are employed by medical device or pharmaceutical companies. The starting salary for those with a PhD in Bioengineering ranges from $80,000-$100,000. It is clear by just looking at starting salary that a PhD in bioengineering can be extremely lucrative. In addition, if you are conducting original research it is possible to gain patents and start your own side company based on marketable discoveries. Many of the foremost bioengineers own multiple companies and/or patents based on their research.

The work done in the graduate program of your choosing can heavily influence the research you do throughout your career, so it is important to pick the right school and lab within the school. Below we have listed the top 5 Bioengineering graduate programs. These rankings are based on expert opinions about program excellence and statistical indicators that measure the quality of a school’s faculty, research, and students. Make sure you research the bioengineering labs and Principal Investigators (PI) within each school to make sure you find one that aligns with your interests. Choosing the right lab and PI that fits with your interests, personality, and work ethic can be more important than choosing the school. Remember this lab is where you will spend the vast majority of your time for the 4-7 years it takes to earn your PhD.

*Please note that many of the GRE scores provided for admitted students are according to the old GRE scoring scale.

TOP 5 Graduate Schools for Bioengineering/Biomedical Engineering[*]

#1 Johns Hopkins University (Whiting) Baltimore, MD

Johns Hopkins University is known for having one of the very best medical schools in the world, which is a great advantage for those wanting to study bioengineering. Johns Hopkins educates engineers alongside their medical students in the biological sciences and then expands their education in advanced mathematical and engineering sciences. As would be expected, admission to Johns Hopkins is extremely competitive, but those accepted receive a full fellowship which includes a yearly stipend, full tuition, matriculation fee, and individual medical and dental insurance. In 2012, 500 students applied to the Bioengineering PhD program and 70 were accepted. Admitted students featured:

  • Significant laboratory experience and published abstracts or papers
  • Undergraduate GPA: 3.81 ± 0.17
  • Quantitative GRE: 786 ± 21
  • Verbal GRE: 604 ± 68

The areas of study students are recruited for include Biomedical Imaging Science, Cell and Tissue Engineering/Technology, Computational Biology and Bioinformatics, Molecular Neural Cardiovascular Systems, and Neuroscience and Neuroengineering. To learn more about Johns Hopkins’s Graduate Program, visit www.bme.jhu.edu/graduate/phd/overview

#2 Georgia Institute of Technology Atlanta, GA

The Bioengineering PhD program at Georgia Institute of Technology (GIT) is a great choice for anyone looking to pursue interdisciplinary research for their dissertation. Students apply through one of 8 participating Georgia Tech engineering home schools or departments and can work with any of the 90+ participating faculty members. This gives graduate students the unique opportunity to have a wide range of options for choosing their dissertation and work across multiple disciplines if they choose to do so. For example, someone hoping to develop a unique medical device can complete coursework in electrical, mechanical, and biological engineering to further their research. The average scores for students entering engineering doctoral programs at GIT are as follow:

  • Average Undergraduate GPA: 3.70
  • Quantitative GRE: 777
  • Verbal GRE: 550

The areas of study include Biomaterials and Regenerative Medicine, Cardiovascular Biology and Biomechanics, Cellular and Biomolecular Engineering, Integrative Biosystems, and Neuroengineering.  To learn more about GIT’s Graduate Program, visit www.bioengineering.gatech.edu

#3 Massachusetts Institute of Technology Cambridge, MA

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is well known as one of the top technical schools in the world, and this holds true when speaking of their graduate Bioengineering program. Their PhD program offers two tracks, one in Bioengineering and one in Applied Biosciences, which allows students to choose from a wide range of research options. You may choose to follow one of these tracks or a combination of both. Note though that students in either track may pursue research projects in any area with approval by their research supervisor. Average GRE scores of students admitted to MIT’s doctoral engineering programs are as follow:

  • Quantitative GRE: 788
  • Verbal GRE: 607

Due to the presence of multiple tracks, research area options are too numerous to list here. Refer to www.web.mit.edu/be/programs/ to find a full list of research areas in the MIT Bioengineering PhD Program.

#3 University of California—San Diego (Jacobs) La Jolla, CA

University of California San Diego has fantastic bioengineering programs both at the undergraduate and graduate levels. California is an ideal place to be for those interested in pursuing bioengineering research (and those that enjoy beautiful weather) because of the concentration of biomedical companies and research institutions that focus on bioengineering. UC San Diego focuses their bioengineering PhD program on Integrative Bioengineering. This means they promote the integration of research at all levels of bioengineering design from genes and molecules to the whole organism. They also promote interactions between engineering and biomedical sciences, coordination of research and education (you must complete four quarters of teaching to earn a PhD), partnerships between neighboring institutions, and collaboration with industry and clinical medicine. In order to be accepted to UC San Diego’s bioengineering PhD program, you must have a GPA of at least 3.4. The average scores of admitted students to engineering PhD programs at UC San Diego are as follow:

  • Average GPA: 3.6
  • Quantitative GRE: 780
  • Verbal GRE: 543

Note that because UC San Diego’s bioengineering PhD is their highest ranking engineering doctoral program, the GPA and GRE scores of admitted students may be slightly higher than those listed. To learn more about UC San Diego’s Graduate Program, visit www.be.ucsd.edu/graduate

#5 Duke University (Pratt) Durham, NC

Duke’s Bioengineering PhD program is specifically tailored to those wishing to pursue specialized research in academia, industry, or a government lab. One great aspect of Duke’s approach to the Bioengineering PhD is their focus on mentorship. The process of finding the best fit between you and your research advisor starts before you are even admitted. After you submit your application, interested faculty may contact you and the best applicants are invited to Duke to interview with the group of research advisors that have identified you as a potential graduate student. This ensures that those accepted are placed in a lab that best fits the need of both the lab and student.  The average scores of admitted students to engineering PhD programs at UC San Diego are as follow:

  • Average GPA: 3.6
  • Quantitative GRE: 780
  • Verbal GRE: 599

To learn more about Duke’s Graduate Program, visit www.bme.duke.edu/grad

#5 Stanford University Stanford, CA

Stanford tied in ranking with Duke to give us the 6th school that makes the Top 5 Bioengineering Graduate Programs list. Like UC San Diego, Stanford’s location in California makes it a great place to build a network as well as earn a top degree. Stanford is ranked as having the 2nd best engineering school in the country overall, which means the caliber of interdisciplinary research is extremely high. Most of the top Bioengineering PhD programs offer a joint MD/PhD, but Stanford also offers a joint JD/MS/PhD. This is just one of the many benefits of attending a university that is top ranked in virtually every school they have. These joint programs are extremely competitive though, so expect to need a near perfect GPA and top scores in every qualifying exam to earn admission. The average scores of admitted students to engineering PhD programs at Stanford are as follow:

  • Quantitative GRE: 786
  • Verbal GRE: 605

To learn more about Stanford’s Graduate Program, visit www.bioengineering.stanford.edu/education/phd.html

[*] According to US News and World Report 2015

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Test Masters Wins Big, Takes Home 2014 BBB Pinnacle Award

Houston BBB Pinnacle Award Test MastersTest Masters, the fastest growing test preparation company in the country, has recently added another jewel to its crown. The Better Business Bureau of Houston awarded Test Masters the 2014 Pinnacle Award in Education Services. Though over 250 companies were recognized during the BBB’s May 7th Awards of Excellence ceremony, only a scant 33 companies were awarded the prestigious Pinnacle Award, each for being leaders in their respective fields. As this year marked Test Masters’ first every entry into the Awards of Excellence, we were extremely happy to not only be recognized for our commitment to excellence but to win the 2014 Pinnacle Award.

Test Masters was recognized for maintaining high standards of excellence in the workplace, giving back to our community, and for the high quality of our products and service.

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We pride ourselves on adapting to changes and advances with ease and professionalism, and we are thrilled at the opportunity to have been included in this awards process. We not only adhere to the Houston BBB’s code of conduct, but to our own strict quality assurances, which means we offer products and services that are unparalleled in the  test preparation industry.

Sample GRE Multiple Choice Math Problem – Combinations

timcurrycardinalrichelieuOn every GRE Math section, the test makers try to come up with a few extremely difficult problems that will leave even the cleverest students scratching their heads. The really evil part, though, is that even these problems can be solved in under a minute without a calculator – if you know what to do. This means that once you “figure out the trick,” these difficult problems become easy. So, while those test makers are busy cackling with sadistic glee, let’s see if we can’t beat them at their own game.

Consider the following problem:

King Louis XIII must pick a team of 5 musketeers to investigate one of Cardinal Richelieu’s nefarious schemes. If there are 10 musketeers to choose from, what is the probability that four of them (Athos, Porthos, Aramis, and d’Artangan, of course) will be selected?

A) 1/2

B) 1/10

C) 3/5

D) 1/42

E) 5/252

To solve this problem, we must first remember that the probability of any event is calculated by taking the number of desired outcomes over the number of possible outcomes. In this case, figuring out the number of desired outcomes is not too difficult. We know who four of the five musketeers should be, so the only variable is the remaining musketeer. We have already used 4 out of the 10 possible musketeers, so there are 6 possibilities left for the remaining musketeer. If we let P, Q, R, S, T, and U represent the unknown musketeers, then we could represent the desired outcomes like so:

Athos, Porthos, Aramis, d’Artangan, and P

Athos, Porthos, Aramis, d’Artangan, and Q

Athos, Porthos, Aramis, d’Artangan, and R

Athos, Porthos, Aramis, d’Artangan, and S

Athos, Porthos, Aramis, d’Artangan, and T

Athos, Porthos, Aramis, d’Artangan, and U

That leaves figuring out the total number of possible outcomes. You could try to write down all the possible combinations of five musketeers, but with 10 musketeers to choose from that’s going to take a long time, and there would be many opportunities for making mistakes. What we are trying to figure out here is how many possible combinations of 5 musketeers we could make from a group of 10. To calculate this, all we need is a little formula that you might remember from math class:

Where n is the number of items to choose from and r is the number of items to be selected. Combinations and permutations are occasionally tested on the GRE, so you would do well to memorize this formula and other relevant formulas before test day. Using the formula, we find that the total number of ways to select a group of 5 from a group of 10 is:

Thus, the number of desired outcomes over the number of possible outcomes is:

the-three-musketeers-6-1Thus 1/42, choice D, is correct. If you know what to do, it takes only about 30 seconds to solve this problem. So you see, with practice, even the hardest problems on the GRE become easy. Check back here each week for more extra hard problems and the tricks you need to solve them! Also, remember that you can find out all the tricks from experts like me with a Test Masters course or private tutoring. Until  then, keep up the good work and happy studying!

GRE Reading Comprehension Example Problem

In this passage you are presented with an unsupported hypothesis about the use of “wheeled utility vehicles” in 12th century Veracruz; namely, despite the lack of evidence, anthropologists hypothesize that the discovery of “wheeled ceramic toys” might indicate that “wheeled utility vehicles were used to carry materials needed for the monumental structures the Toltec produced.”

As you read through these potential answers, it is important that you determine what this question is actually asking. The passage says there is “no archeological evidence that the Toltec used wheels for anything but toys.” The correct answer must explain why archeologists haven’t found any non-toy wheels, or “wheeled utility vehicles.” Keep this in mind as we review the answers:

(A)   is incorrect. “Sometimes” is a weak word; “sometimes” is not enough to say that the wheel was necessarily one of tools “incorporated into (the Toltec’s) toys representations.” Additionally, this statement does not explain the lack of archaeological evidence for “wheeled utility vehicles.”

(B)   is correct because it offers a valid explanation that is consistent with the anthropologists’ hypothesis and also explains the lack of evidence for that hypothesis.

(C)   is incorrect. A discovery that the toy wheels had uses outside of being toys, such as decoration and sometimes in rituals does not “explain the lack of evidence” for wheeled utility vehicles.

(D)   is incorrect. “Areas outside of Veracruz” have nothing to do with the lack of archaeological evidence in Veracruz; this statement does not explain why no non-toy wheels have been found at Veracruz.

(E)    is incorrect. Again, this answer has nothing to do with the lack of archaeological evidence for non-toy wheels; finding toy wheels in a certain place does not explain the lack of evidence for non-toy wheels.

GRE reading comprehension questions will regularly feature subjects most students are not familiar with; you should expect to see questions relating to archaeology, anthropology, sociology, philosophy, theater, history, and English, as well as biology, physics, math, chemistry, economics, etc. You do not have to be an expert in these fields to answer these questions correctly! Don’t be intimidated by the verbiage or jargon used in these question types. If you feel overwhelmed by the subject matter, rest assured that the GRE is designed for you to be able to answer every question correctly based entirely on the information contained within the passage.

GRE Multiple Choice Math Problem – Speed Trap

Do you know how fast you were going on that problem?

Do you know how fast you were going on that problem?

On every GRE Math section, the test makers try to come up with a few extremely difficult problems that will leave even the cleverest students scratching their heads. The really evil part, though, is that even these problems can be solved in under a minute without a calculator – if you know what to do. This means that once you “figure out the trick,” these difficult problems become easy. So, while those test makers are busy cackling with sadistic glee, let’s see if we can’t beat them at their own game.

Consider the following problem:

If x and y are integers and y < 20, for exactly how many ordered pairs (xy) will x^2 = y?

A) 4

B) 5

C) 7

D) 8

E) 9

This one actually doesn’t seem so bad, does it?

1^2 = 1

2^2 = 4

3^2 = 9

4^2 = 16

5^2 = 25 > 20

So we’ve got (1,1), (2,4), (3,9), and (4,16). Answer choice A, right? Not so fast! You forgot that the square of a negative number is also positive, so for every y, there are two x values: one positive and one negative. So really our list should look like this:

(1,1) and (-1,1)

(2,4) and (-2,4)

(3,9) and (-3,9)

(4,16) and (-4,16)

So the answer is D, right? Wrong again! There’s one last square you forgot:

0^2 = 0

Thus, there are in fact 9 pairs: the eight already mentioned, plus (0,0). Thus, the correct answer is actually choice E.

On the GRE, sometimes slow and steady does win the race.

On the GRE, sometimes slow and steady does win the race.

Was there actually anything hard about this question? Not really. However, if you were going fast and running out of time, you might have easily made one of the careless errors above. Note that 4 and 8 are traps set for students who see this problem, think it’s easy, and then blow through it too fast without thinking carefully (if you forgot the negatives but remembered 0, there’s also choice B, 5). If you get toward the end of a math section and see a problem that looks really easy, be careful – there’s probably more to it than meets the eye. Sometimes it’s just as bad to spend too little time on a problem as it is to spend too much, so make sure you don’t go too fast through any “easy” problems at the end of a math section.

Check back here each week for more problems and the tricks you need to solve them! Also, remember that you can find out all the tricks from experts like me with a Test Masters course or private tutoring. Until  then, keep up the good work and happy studying!