Tag Archive for 'free GRE resources'

The New GRE – Sentence Equivalence

test prepSentence equivalence problems are a new type of question on the Verbal Reasoning section of the new GRE. In this type of question, you will be given a sentence with an omitted word. You will choose two answers from a list of six answer choices that will give the sentence the same (or as close to the same as possible) meaning. No partial credit is given for partially correct answers.

Sentence equivalence may be new to the block, but actually, they’re a lot like another type of question with which you’re probably already familiar – sentence completion. You can (and will) use pretty much the same strategies to solve these problems. The most important of these strategies is context clues, which is using other words in the sentence to help you figure out what word should go in the blank.

Let’s look at an example.

Given the existence of so many factions in the field, it was unrealistic of Anna Freud to expect any kind of ——- of opinion.

(A) freedom
(B) homogeneity
(C) reassessment
(D) uniformity
(E) expression
(F) formation

In this problem, the most important piece of context is in the beginning of the sentence: “the existence of so many factions in the field.” The existence of many factions implies the existence of many opinions – therefore, wouldn’t it make sense to say that it would be unrealistic of Anna Freud to expect all these opinions to be exactly the same? Using this logic, we can identify (B) and (D) as the correct answer choices, because “homogeneity” and “uniformity” both mean “the same.”

It’s also important to remember with this type of question that, while another answer choice may fit well, there must be another answer choice that gives the sentence the same meaning. Even if you find an answer choice extremely attractive, if no other answer choice means the same thing, then it can’t be right.

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GRE Verbal Reasoning Problem: A judicious biography

Each week “It’s not GREek!” will present you with question types you are likely to see on the GRE, as well as a brief explanation on how to arrive at the answer for each question. We’ll start by examining a Verbal Reasoning question:

  1. A judicious biography must be (i) ____ representation that depicts both the strengths and the weaknesses of the subject, avoiding the two extremes of (ii) ____ and indictment.

Blank (i)                                                                            Blank (ii)

A. a complimentary D. censure
B. a polarized E. eulogy
C. an equitable F. vindication

 

Explanation: The key phrase to answering Blank (i) is “judicious” and “both the strengths and the weakness.” These phrases tells us that the correct answer choice will be the word that best corresponds to the conditions of depicting a person’s positive and negative characteristics equally; it must the answer choice that best corresponds to fair and balanced. Of the available answer choices only “equitable” means just and impartial; thus the answer choice to Blank (i) is (C).

The way to go about answering Blank (ii) is to begin by recognizing you are looking for an antonym. You should recognize the phrase “avoiding the two extremes of ____ and indictment” is telling you the answer to Blank (ii) is the word most opposite in meaning to indictment.  “To indict” someone is to accuse of wrongdoing, or to make a formal accusation. Of the three answer choices, “vindication” is most opposite in meaning; it is an argument in support or justification of something.

You can never have enough vocabulary words; here are the definitions of all the answer choices:

Complimentary: Expressing, using, or resembling a compliment.

Polarized: To cause to concentrate about two conflicting or contrasting positions.

Equitable: Marked by or having equity; just and impartial. Fair.

Censure: An expression of strong disapproval or harsh criticism; an official rebuke.

Eulogy: A laudatory speech or written tribute, especially one praising someone who has died; high praise or commendation.

Vindication: The act of vindicating or condition of being vindicated. The defense, such as evidence or argument, that serves to justify a claim or deed.

 

GRE Sample Math Problem: Pattern Problems

Doing GRE problems is kind of like lifting weights, except less sexy.

“It’s not GREek!” will present you with question types you are likely to see on the GRE, as well as a brief explanation on how to arrive at the answer for each question. This week we will turn our attention toward a sample GRE Math problem.

Remainder problems are word problems that always involve some sort of repeating pattern. Consider the following example:

“Arnold decides to start a new exercise regimen at his gym. He will devote the first day of his plan to exercising his upper body, the second day to his lower body, the third day to cardio, the fourth day to resting, and then the pattern will repeat: upper body, lower body, cardio, rest, repeat, ad infinitum.  Arnold continues this until he pulls a muscle and is forced to rest while it heals. If he pulled a muscle on lower body day, then which of the following could be the number of days he spent following his regimen? Select all possible answers.”

A) 243

B) 122

C) 567

D) 84

E) 370

F) 284

To solve this, we just need to think a little bit about the nature of the pattern. We know the last day he worked out was a lower body day, because that’s when he pulled the muscle, so the number of days he spent following the regimen would have to be such that the last day would be a lower body day. The first day that was a lower body day was the second day; the next was the sixth day, then the tenth, and so on. Because the pattern is four days long, every fourth day the pattern repeats. We can thus represent the lower body days like this:

LBD = 2 + 4N

Where N is the number of times the pattern has repeated and an LBD is a lower body day. We have to add two because the lower body day is the second day in the pattern. Thus, the first lower body day would be:

LBD = 2 + 4(0)

LBD = 2 + 0

LBD = day 2

The second lower body day would be:

LBD = 2 + 4(1)

LBD = day 6

The third would be:

LBD = 2 + 4(2)

LBD = day 10

And so on. The formula fits our earlier predictions, so we should be able to use it to work backwards to solve the problem; to answer the question, we just need to plug in each answer choice for LBD and solve for N. If N comes out as an integer, then that LBD was in fact a lower body day.

Consider choice A:

243 = 2 + 4N

241 = 4N

60.25 = N

N is not an integer, so A is incorrect. Consider B:

122 = 2 + 4N

120 = 4N

30 = N

N is an integer, so B works. Consider C:

567 = 2 + 4N

565 = 4N

141.25 = N

N is not an integer, so C is incorrect. Consider D:

84 = 2 + 4N

82 = 4N

20.5 = N

N is not an integer, so D is incorrect. Consider E:

370 = 2 + 4N

368 = 4N

92 = N

N is an integer, so E works. Consider F:

284 = 2 + 4N

282 = 4N

70.5 = N

N is not an integer, so F is incorrect. Thus, the two correct choices are B and E.

Remember, if you want, you can always get extra help studying for the GRE from the experts at Test Masters. Good luck!

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Sometimes it is Greek: Vicissitude

William Wordsworth famously defined poetry as “the spontaneous overflow of powerful emotions recollected in tranquility.”

In this post “It’s not GREek!” will discuss a new word likely to appear on the GRE.  We aim not only to give you a new word to memorize, but also to provide you with some background and etymological history to help you remember it.  At the end of the post, we will also give you a sentence with a few other new words to add to your flash cards.  By following this weekly series, you should be more prepared than ever to tackle the sentence completion, sentence equivalencies, and reading comprehension questions on test day.

This Week’s Word: Vicissitude

Life is full of vicissitudes, those unexpected challenges which arise during the course of a day. They are changes or unexpected deviations from normalcy. More often than not a vicissitude is associated with a hardship, but it may also refer to a beneficial happenstance; the chief characteristic of a vicissitude is that it is unintentional and simply a result of chance.

Vicissitude finds its etymological origins in the Latin word vicissitudo, which means “change.”

Vicissitude may also generally refer, not to specific troubles resulting from chance, but to the natural mutability that is characteristic of life and man. Coupled with its pleasant cadence and reference to unexpected hardships, this transcendental understanding of vicissitude makes it a favorite subject for writers and poets.

William Wordsworth’s publication Miscellaneous Sonnets includes a sonnet, titled “Surprised by Joy – impatient as the Wind,” with a quintuple introduction featuring an excellent reference to this week’s vocabulary word:

Surprised by joy — impatient as the Wind

I turned to share the transport — Oh! with whom

But Thee, deep buried in the silent tomb,

That spot which no vicissitude can find?

                                         Love, faithful love, recalled thee to my mind —

Sample Sentence:

Valiantly, Virginia vied to vanquish life’s vacuous vagaries and vicious vicissitudes.

Miss the last “Sometimes it is Greek?” Check it out here. Want more GRE vocabulary? Click here for the free Test Masters GRE vocabulary list with over 2,000 words!

 

GRE Verbal Reasoning Problem: An arduous hike

There is no reason to miss GRE sentence completion questions; it’s really all about vocabulary.

 

Each week “It’s not GREek!” will present you with question types you are likely to see on the GRE, as well as a brief explanation on how to arrive at the answer for each question. We’ll start by examining a few simple Verbal Reasoning questions and gradually move onto more complicated question types.

 

 

    1. By the end of the long, arduous hike, Chris was walking with a ­­­______ gait, limping slowly back to the campsite.
        a. halting
        b. robust
        c. constant
        d. prompt
        e. facile

Explanation: This question is asking you to describe Chris’ gait, or the way he walks, after an arduous, or difficult, hike. Of the available answer choices only haltingly describes the way one might walk after a long, arduous hike. The answer is thus (a) haltingly.

You can never have enough vocabulary words; here are the definitions of all the answer choices:

Halting: hesitant or wavering. Imperfect; defective. Limping; lame.

Robust: full of health and strength; vigorous. Powerfully built; sturdy. Requiring or suited to physical strength or endurance. Rough or crude; boisterous. Marked by richness and fullness; full-bodied.

Constant: continually occurring; persistent. Unchanging in nature, value, or extent; invariable. Steadfast in purpose, loyalty, or affection; faithful.

Prompt: being on time; punctual. Carried out or performed without delay.

Facile: done or achieved with little effort or difficulty; easy. Working, acting, or speaking with effortless ease and fluency. Arrived at without due care, effort, or examination; superficial. Readily manifested, together with an aura of insincerity and lack of depth.

Need more help? Visit Test Masters to learn more about how you can prepare for the GRE, and for more information about GRE courses in your area. Click here for a sample Critical Reading question!

Sometimes it is Greek: Polysemous

Many people would argue abstract art is polysemous because it is open to multiple interpretations.

Each week, “It’s not GREek!” will discuss a new word likely to appear on the GRE.  We aim not only to give you a new word to memorize, but also to provide you with some background and etymological history to help you remember it.  At the end of the post, we will also give you a sentence with a few other new words to add to your flash cards.  By following this weekly series, you should be more prepared than ever to tackle the sentence completion, sentence equivalencies, and reading comprehension questions on test day.

This Week’s Word: Polysemous

Have you ever felt overwhelmed by the variances of language or the myriad potential interpretations of a single word or sentence? Has a precise definition or explanation eluded you because of an intentionally opaque phrase or passage? Polysemous is an excellent descriptor when confronted with vague or abstract material.

Polysemous is the characterization of something as having many possible meanings; its etymological origins come from the Greek roots poly-, which means many, and sêma, which means signs.

Linguistically, a polysemous relationship is one in which a single word or phrase can be understood to have multiple meanings. Consider this example, “In my hands rests the only antidote ever developed, and the fate of the world.” In this example, the verb ‘rests’ refers not only to the antidote but also to the fate of the world, one resting physically and the other metaphorically, and is therefore polysemous.

More generally, polysemous may simply refer to a passage or word that is open to multiple explications; it is also a word that will surely wow any grader when used in the appropriate context. For example, when presented with a complicated or convoluted passage, one might argue the author has a polysemous relationship with his work or that the work itself is polysemous.

Sample Sentence:

Peter’s polysemous prose perplexed postmodernists with its potency.

Miss the last “Sometimes it is Greek?” Check it out here. Want more GRE vocabulary? Click here for the free Test Masters GRE vocabulary list with over 2,000 words!

 

 

 

 

Sometimes it is Greek: Bugaboo

Soaring oil prices are a real bugaboo for the average consumer.

Each week, “It’s not GREek!” will discuss a new word likely to appear on the GRE.  We aim not only to give you a new word to memorize, but also to provide you with some background and etymological history to help you remember it.  At the end of the post, we will also give you a sentence with a few other new words to add to your flash cards.  By following this weekly series, you should be more prepared than ever to tackle the sentence completion, sentence equivalencies, and reading comprehension questions on test day.

This Week’s Word:  Bugaboo Continue reading “Sometimes it is Greek: Bugaboo” »

Sometimes it is Greek: Concatenation

A Concatenation of Unfortunate Events = Lemony Snicket for vocabulary gurus

Each week, “It’s not GREek!” will discuss and define a new word likely to appear on the GRE.  We aim not only to give you a new word to memorize, but also to provide you with some background and etymological history to help you remember it.  At the end of the post, we will also give you a sentence with a few other new words to add to your flash cards.  By following this weekly series, you should be more prepared than ever to tackle the sentence completion, sentence equivalencies, and reading comprehension questions on test day.

This Week’s Word:  Concatenation Continue reading “Sometimes it is Greek: Concatenation” »