Learnist: How to Achieve Perfect Pacing on the GRE

Finishing all sections is essential to a high GRE score. Even if you come to the end of a section and realize you have more questions than you have time to work on, make sure to click an answer for each one before the time runs out. This discipline on your GRE practice tests will set the right habit for Test Day, even if it’s painful at first to answer questions you can’t solve quickly. You can download TWO FREE GRE practice tests at gre.org!

For each Verbal section, you will have approx. 20 questions to answer in 30 minutes. This is approx. 1.5 minutes per question. But remember, that you’ll need a few extra minutes for Reading, so try to do the Text Completion and Sentence Equivalence questions in less than that time. Try to do pacing drills where you work on doing them in 1 minute each. Don’t rush and lose accuracy, but remember the importance of finishing the entire section. If you feel up to the challenge, Major Tests.com offers 7 free GRE reading comprehension practice tests with explanations.

The Quant sections of the GRE will each contain approx. 20 questions and you will have 35 minutes to answer them. That works out to 1.75 minutes a question. Divide the section into 4 parts:

Around 9 minutes, you should be on question #5.
Around 18 minutes, you should be on question #10.
Around 26 minutes you should be on question #15.
Around 34 minutes, you should be around question #20

Review some basic Quant tops on this blog before you attempt you next full-length exam. A combo of great benchmarks and strong content knowledge will help you move quickly and confidently through each section.

Check out more tips for GRE pacing on this Learnboard!

Where to Find Challenging Text for Non-Native Speakers

If you’re studying for the GRE or GMAT and English is your second (or third) language, you’ll definitely want to get some extra reading in by looking for challenging, high-quality GMAT-like publications.

Here’s a few suggestions free online suggestions!:

– NY Times book review (I really like this article’s description of how to use these articles for practice: http://smartestprep.wordpress.com/2010/08/27/the-new-york-times-exercise-reading-comprehension/)

– Scientific American: http://www.scientificamerican.com/

– The Economist: http://www.economist.com/

– The Spectator: http://www.spectator.co.uk/

– Forbes: http://www.forbes.com/

Keep in mind that the GMAT and GRE RC is not “hard” because of it’s incredibly advanced language. Most of it is readily comprehensible, although it may occasionally use unfamiliar scientific or business terminology. The challenge of RC lies in breaking down the rhetoric of the passage, and grasping not only what the author’s argument is, but HOW he/she makes it. Absolutely seek out tougher study materials, but make sure to apply your RC method to new passages as well!

How to Get Every Vocab-in-Context Question Correct on the GRE

Every day, we learn something new – from the discovery of the supergiant amphipod to the latest innovative cancer treatments, humans are constantly discovering that there is more to our world than meets the eye. Your GRE test prep might not feel as exciting as some of these other breakthroughs, but Vocab-in-Context questions are good opportunities to discover new vocabulary in your GRE test prep, and like these discoveries, there is also more to this question type than meets the eye. V-in-C questions look simple, but can be deceptively challenging. Don’t you just have to know the definition of the word? Nope! In fact, the common definition is often wrong (but usually one of the answer choices).
Let’s look at how a question might appear on the GRE test.

In line 19, the word fathom means?

You may see this question and think, I know what “fathom” means. It’s like to be able to understand or comprehend. Scanning the answer choices, you’d see the following options:

A. plaintive
B. secondary
C. understandable
D. measure
E. florid

If you did not go back to the context of the word in the passage, you’d likely choose C quickly and move on to the next question, only to find out later that C was incorrect! This is because many words on the GRE have multiple meanings. You don’t have to know all of them, but you DO have to check to make sure the meaning you think is truly how the word is used in context. Remember, the question-type isn’t called “Vocab Definitions,” it’s called “Vocab-in-Context!”

English words often have many meanings, and can change meaning based on what part of speech they are. For example, “a fathom,” used as a noun, is a measurement of six feet. But “to fathom,” used as a verb, means to comprehend or understand. If the word “fathom” was not being used as a verb in the context, then you could guess C was incorrect, even if you did not know another definition for “fathom.”

When you practice GRE reading passages, always be out the look out for the part of speech of vocabulary words, and memorize words that have multiple or uncommon meanings! You may want to keep a notebook to help you organize these new words – add to it every time you practice!