Tag Archive for 'test day'

Ask Test Masters: Which Study Book Should I Use for the GRE?

ASK TM“Ask Test Masters” is a free informational service offered by Test Masters, the fastest growing professional exam preparation company in the United States. You ask, we answer. KJ, a graduate school hopeful, wants to know which GRE study book to use in the preparatory process.

KJ writes, “Which GRE study book is most effective for doing well on the test overall?”

Dear KJ,

This is an excellent question; the materials you use to prepare for the GRE will have a significant impact on how well you do on the exam. A study guide is no substitute for taking a preparatory course; however, when you are operating on a budget, studying on your own can sometimes be necessary. Test Masters prides itself on using only the best and most accurate course materials; included with every Test Masters GRE course is an Official GRE Study Guide (2nd edition). This guide is the most up to date and comprehensive independent study guide available, and if you intend to prepare for the GRE on your own, it is a must-have. The Official GRE Study Guide is available for purchase at the Test Masters book store.

Hope this helps! Let us know if you have any more questions.

ASK TM

Have a question, ask the experts at Test Masters!

 

Want more? Check out the last “Ask Test Masters” post here!

 

 

GRE Analytical Writing Overview Part II: Analysis of an Argument

Analyze the following Argument: "If the glove doesn't fit, you must acquit."

Analyze the following Argument: “If the glove doesn’t fit, you must acquit.”

The GRE Analytical Writing section can be a stumbling block for many students. However, with practice it can become one of the easiest sections on the test. Scoring on the GRE Analytical Writing  section is based on a 6 point scale that is broken down into half-point increments. The highest possible score would be a perfect 6, and the lowest would be a 0 (reserved for blank or completely off-topic essays). This score is determined based on your performance on the two essays that make up the Analytical Writing section: the Analysis of an Issue essay and the Analysis of an Argument essay. Today, we will focus on the Analysis of an Argument essay.

In the Analysis of an Argument essay, you are presented with a short paragraph in which an argument in favor of a certain point of view is made. A typical paragraph of this sort might resemble the following prompt (which was indeed used on the GRE exam in the past):

“Woven baskets characterized by a particular distinctive pattern have previously been found only in the immediate vicinity of the prehistoric village of Palea and therefore were believed to have been made only by the Palean people. Recently, however, archaeologists discovered such a “Palean” basket in Lithos, an ancient village across the Brim River from Palea. The Brim River is very deep and broad, and so the ancient Paleans could have crossed it only by boat, and no Palean boats have been found. Thus it follows that the so-called Palean baskets were not uniquely Palean.”

Success in responding to these prompts is dependent both on one’s general writing skills and on strategies specific to this kind of essay. With regard to general writing skills, it is important to try to maximize both your idea count per sentence and the variety of your diction and sentence structure. Essentially, this means you should avoid diffuse, wordy writing and try to make use of all the vocabulary words you have been studying for the Verbal section of the exam. At the same time, attempt to create a pleasing variety of simple, compound, and complex sentences so that the writing flows nicely.

Turning to strategies specific to the GRE Analysis of an Argument essay, the most important strategy is to memorize and practice all of the possible kinds of prompts you could be given. These prompt types are listed on the official GRE website, and are reproduced here:

  • Write a response in which you discuss what specific evidence is needed to evaluate the argument and explain how the evidence would weaken or strengthen the argument.
  • Write a response in which you examine the stated and/or unstated assumptions of the argument. Be sure to explain how the argument depends on these assumptions, and what the implications are for the argument if the assumptions prove unwarranted.
  • Write a response in which you discuss what questions would need to be answered in order to decide whether the recommendation and the argument on which it is based are reasonable. Be sure to explain how the answers to these questions would help to evaluate the recommendation.
  • Write a response in which you discuss what questions would need to be answered in order to decide whether the advice and the argument on which it is based are reasonable. Be sure to explain how the answers to these questions would help to evaluate the advice.
  • Write a response in which you discuss what questions would need to be answered in order to decide whether the recommendation is likely to have the predicted result. Be sure to explain how the answers to these questions would help to evaluate the recommendation.
  • Write a response in which you discuss what questions would need to be answered in order to decide whether the prediction and the argument on which it is based are reasonable. Be sure to explain how the answers to these questions would help to evaluate the prediction.
  • Write a response in which you discuss one or more alternative explanations that could rival the proposed explanation and explain how your explanation(s) can plausibly account for the facts presented in the argument.
  • Write a response in which you discuss what questions would need to be addressed in order to decide whether the conclusion and the argument on which it is based are reasonable. Be sure to explain how the answers to the questions would help to evaluate the conclusion.

Essentially, you are being asked to determine the validity of the argument made in the paragraph in one way or another (note that this means the argument will always be logically flawed in some way: your goal is to find and explain these lapses in reasoning). Remember, the most successful essays are those that most directly address the specific task indicated by the prompt; less successful responses may be on topic but fail to address the specific task at hand. The official GRE website also lists past Analysis of an Argument essay topics that you can use to write practice essays. Remember, practice makes perfect, so you would do well to take advantage of these resources. For additional help, resources, and strategies that will prepare you for the Analysis of an Issue essay, consider studying with the experts at Test Masters. Until then, best of luck and happy studying!

Should I cancel my GRE scores?

Taking the GRE is a scary enough experience, but even after you have finished the exam, you will be left with one major decision: do you want to see your scores or cancel them?

No matter how badly you thought you did on the test, you never want to cancel your score. Continue reading “Should I cancel my GRE scores?” »

4 Hours of Incarceration at the GRE Testing Center: My GRE Test Taking Experience

When I signed up to take the GRE at a testing center, they provided me with a list of dos and don’ts, but I don’t think they adequately portrayed the list of testing regulations that could easily overwhelm  the unexpected test taker.  Of course, I knew that I wouldn’t have access to my cell phone and that I would put my belongings in a locker, but I didn’t realize that I would be suspected of cheating the second I walked through the door.

Continue reading “4 Hours of Incarceration at the GRE Testing Center: My GRE Test Taking Experience” »

The GRE: Looking Back at Test Day, Part 2

Taking the GRE is fun!

Continuing from Part 1

The room is spartan. There are about twenty computers, but only about ten of them are being used right now. Nobody so much as flinches as I enter the room; everyone is totally submerged beneath a thick layer of concentration. The proctor shows me to my seat in the corner, and I take my seat.

Continue reading “The GRE: Looking Back at Test Day, Part 2” »

No GRE Test Dates in July! (UPDATED)

Hey! Listen! No GRE in July! UPDATE: Just kidding!

IMPORTANT UPDATE: read below!

The nice folks over at HappySchoolsBlog were kind enough to tweet this announcement. Apparently several students were trying to sign up for tests during July and found that they couldn’t. moseyed on over to the ETS website myself and tried to register for a July exam, and, indeed, the dates are all grayed out.

Continue reading “No GRE Test Dates in July! (UPDATED)” »

Preparing for the GRE: Psych Student Psyches Himself Up for the GRE

The key to success...is your mind. That's deep.

Three thousand vocabulary flashcards, hundreds of hours of practice, a Testmasters GRE prep-course, private tutoring, and a trip to the psychiatrist- this is what it took for me to get the competitive GRE score I needed. English is not my second language, I do not have a learning disability, and I did not take the test drunk. My friends, I suffered from a serious case of TEST ANXIETY! My hope is that readers may benefit from my story and potentially avoid the self-induced suffering I experienced.

Continue reading “Preparing for the GRE: Psych Student Psyches Himself Up for the GRE” »

The GRE Experience: Looking Back at Test Day

It's hard to find a picture of people taking a test on a computer!

I breathe a sigh of relief as I pull into the parking lot, happy that I found the Prometric testing center so easily.  “Maybe I should have gone for a dry run last week,” I think to myself.  Probably would have been smart.  I find a parking spot, haphazardly swerve in, and glance at the clock.  3:35.  Twenty-five minutes until the GRE.  The vocabulary list in the passenger seat is screaming for my attention, but I ignore it, knowing that cramming last second won’t help me.  Instead, I turn up the radio and close my eyes for a bit, trying to force relaxation (paradox check).

After about five minutes of sitting in my car staring into the back of my eyelids, the mellifluous tones of Pink Floyd washing over me, it occurs to me that I may want to head in a little early in case I need to fill out some paperwork.  Exiting my car, I catch my reflection in the window and notice that my incorrigible bedhead has risen from its watery grave.  “How stupid it is to care about what my hair looks at this particular moment,” I think.  Still, I poke at it a bit, knowing that anything that could be a distraction can only be detrimental to my concentration.