GRE Test. Tips?

groy

Member
C++ Student
Fine on FOIL.

Issue may be a Q such as the following:

If square root of 3- 2x = 1, then what is the value of (3 – 2x) + (3 – 2x)2 ?
(A) 0
(B) 1
(C) 2
(D) 3
(E) 4

Whats the best way to answer this?

I tend to plug in numbers but that takes too long.
The square root of 3-2x = 1, so 3-2x=1^2=1
Solving for x you find x=1.
Plugging in 1 for x you get 1+2=3
I think you should be able to do this mentally. I'm assuming you know your order of operations. You can also see that (3-2x)+2(3-2x)=1+1(2)=3. However, I didn't bother looking for the trick. I noticed right after I posted it. It still only took me about 30 seconds to read and answer if that. A lot of the problems have little tricks. I tend to just do the math quickly instead of looking for them. I guess you could look at both sides of the equation and see what's similar before you start doing the math.
 

Andy Nguyen

Member
Fine on FOIL.

Issue may be a Q such as the following:

If square root of 3- 2x = 1, then what is the value of (3 – 2x) + (3 – 2x)2 ?
(A) 0
(B) 1
(C) 2
(D) 3
(E) 4

Whats the best way to answer this?

I tend to plug in numbers but that takes too long.
If the OP meant the square as in [tex](3-2x)+(3-2x)^2[/tex] then the answer is 2. Otherwise, it's 3.
This takes 5-10 seconds and it's high school math. What did I miss?
 

Andy Nguyen

Member
The square root of 3-2x = 1, so 3-2x=1^2=1
Solving for x you find x=1.
Plugging in 1 for x you get 1+2=3
Here is the problem. You are not asked to find x but both you and OP spent time calculating it.
The question is to evaluate (something)+(something)2. Once you know (something)=1, why would you bother with x?

This is the point that you both missed. For all they care, they could replace (something) with [tex](x^5+34x^4-25x)[/tex] and you should be able to ignore the value of x and still get the answer in a few seconds.

This is just mental math and there is no real calculation needed. Being able to do this does not say a lot but not being able to be quick on your feet, it just makes like much much harder for you in this line of work.
 

groy

Member
C++ Student
The only real problem I've had on the quant section is doubt. I tend to reread the question 3 times and triple check my answer, because I feel the question is too easy sometimes. Sometimes I look to calculate the area of something instead of the perimeter, even if it says perimeter, because I'm so used to calculating areas from calculus. Looking at the graphs takes the most time for me since I have to look for where the data is.

The GRE Verbal is a whole different animal. I'm an American and my score on the Powerprep II was 300-400. I feel like even if the verbal isn't considered a whole lot, that below average score still raises eyebrows. I don't know what many of the words mean in the sentence completion and I have a difficult time reading those awful passages about things I don't care about. When I get 2 sentences in I have already lost my focus. I don't know if there is a way to get myself to focus on the passage better. I tend to look for each part in the passage over and over again. I think the problem is that I stopped reading books after the 6th grade, started Sparknoting everything, and it's coming back to haunt me.
 

groy

Member
C++ Student
Here is the problem. You are not asked to find x but both you and OP spent time calculating it.
The question is to evaluate (something)+(something)2. Once you know (something)=1, why would you bother with x?

This is the point that you both missed. For all they care, they could replace (something) with [tex](x^5+34x^4-25x)[/tex] and you should be able to ignore the value of x and still get the answer in a few seconds.
I think that was the point of the OP's question. I didn't bother to look for the repitition of 3x+2. However, that part honestly took me 5 seconds so I didn't waste time. I can see where I would be wasting time on a more difficult problem. So the question is do I do the math or look for repition and easier roots? I think it depends on the problem. I feel like if I can do the quick math I should just do it quickly like I did for this problem. If it takes longer I feel like I should take a second or two and look for repetition as you described. If it was the example you gave I probably would have done what you did, because I would think I wouldn't have to foil out something like that.
 

Tom Maloney

Active Member
Sometimes the problems really are ridiculously easy. But I remember making mistakes caused by reading comprehension. It's not just a math test, it's a reading test! They can't test you on anything complicated, so they have to come up with ways to make it seem complicated.
 

Andy Nguyen

Member
The GRE Verbal is a whole different animal. I'm an American and my score on the Powerprep II was 300-400. I feel like even if the verbal isn't considered a whole lot, that below average score still raises eyebrows.
I'm no expert in the GRE exam. I took it once, have a week or two to prepare for it and got the score I need.
I got 4.5 in the essay which I thought a decent job given the preparation. There are just many words in the verbal list that I have never seen before and after the test. They just have no use in either daily or industry.
While I was young and poor, I had nothing to entertain except books so I read literally anything I can get my hands on. The Op-Ed columns on the mainstream newspapers (NYT, WSJ) help a lot in forming an argument and building solid case for it.
And having an online account on various forums do a wonderful job as it serves as a main outlet of expression for me.
 

KadeerQ

Member
If the OP meant the square as in [tex](3-2x)+(3-2x)^2[/tex] then the answer is 2. Otherwise, it's 3.
This takes 5-10 seconds and it's high school math. What did I miss?
Thanks a lot Andy. The issue for me was I got the answer right but it took me about approx minutes to do which i feel is too much. The purpose was that I post that and hopefully someone may have an easier method to solve with. I think I over-think things, i.e. I solved for x because I was always taught in class to solve for x so maybe I change that mindset.
 

KadeerQ

Member
Sometimes the problems really are ridiculously easy. But I remember making mistakes caused by reading comprehension. It's not just a math test, it's a reading test! They can't test you on anything complicated, so they have to come up with ways to make it seem complicated.
RC is my weakest point too. I just find the passages so boring but I guess they have to be. I find myself just going to the questions and referring back to the passage on occasions.
 

KadeerQ

Member
The only real problem I've had on the quant section is doubt. I tend to reread the question 3 times and triple check my answer, because I feel the question is too easy sometimes. Sometimes I look to calculate the area of something instead of the perimeter, even if it says perimeter, because I'm so used to calculating areas from calculus. Looking at the graphs takes the most time for me since I have to look for where the data is.

The GRE Verbal is a whole different animal. I'm an American and my score on the Powerprep II was 300-400. I feel like even if the verbal isn't considered a whole lot, that below average score still raises eyebrows. I don't know what many of the words mean in the sentence completion and I have a difficult time reading those awful passages about things I don't care about. When I get 2 sentences in I have already lost my focus. I don't know if there is a way to get myself to focus on the passage better. I tend to look for each part in the passage over and over again. I think the problem is that I stopped reading books after the 6th grade, started Sparknoting everything, and it's coming back to haunt me.
I feel the same. Doubt seems to be my issue. The math is easy enough but when I get one wrong and look back at it, I'm like 'how did I get that wrong?!' Hopefully it all goes well enough.

I think I need a minimum 770 to get into a top school i.e. Michigan or Columbia
 

Anbu

Member
As Andy noted, you shouldn't waste time backing out the x. In general, if a question is taking you too long to solve it usually means you're doing something wrong.
 

groy

Member
C++ Student
I'm no expert in the GRE exam. I took it once, have a week or two to prepare for it and got the score I need.
I got 4.5 in the essay which I thought a decent job given the preparation. There are just many words in the verbal list that I have never seen before and after the test. They just have no use in either daily or industry.
While I was young and poor, I had nothing to entertain except books so I read literally anything I can get my hands on. The Op-Ed columns on the mainstream newspapers (NYT, WSJ) help a lot in forming an argument and building solid case for it.
And having an online account on various forums do a wonderful job as it serves as a main outlet of expression for me.
I'll try to get a 4.5 on the essay. I plan on just looking at their structure and copying it. I'm fine with making up bs examples for that stuff. I grew up in a fairly affluent town in CT and English is my first language as well as my parents first language so I probably don't have a good excuse for my verbal score like kids who grew up in a crappy school system or non-natives do. Do you think top tier programs will look at 350-400 V as a sign of low intelligence even if I get an 800Q? I see that many non-native speakers are getting better scores. Or will they just completely ignore these scores? I'm wondering if it would just be a complete waste of time to work on my verbal score.
 
just go ahead and take a look at sample problems from GRE's website, and you'll find it much harder.

And they'll stop using adaptive testing (in which the exam starts out from easy question and gets harder if you get and easier ones right, so it's still possible to get 800 if you miss one or two hard question at the end) in the new format, so you'll basically get all questions right to get full score.
 

Tsotne

Well-Known Member
Good but a bit funny. I'd like such problems to be discussed here. It'd be interesting in accordance to time of completion.
 

KadeerQ

Member
Thanks everyone for the help. Just got back. Got a 65oQ 770V. Good not great. Probably need to do it again for MFE apps I guess. Got dragged down by a really messed up problem in data but algebra went surprisingly well.
 

vuze

Member
You definitely have to go again. Practice the math from the Barron's book and do all problems from the official guide if you have not already.
 

groy

Member
C++ Student
Thanks everyone for the help. Just got back. Got a 65oQ 770V. Good not great. Probably need to do it again for MFE apps I guess. Got dragged down by a really messed up problem in data but algebra went surprisingly well.
What was your secret to the verbal? When you get to the long reading passages how do you approach them?
 
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