How much did you study for the GRE this past week-end? For how many hours? Over how many sittings? What did you study and how did you study it?

Most importantly: how many breaks did you take and how long were they?

Time Magazine just published a fascinating little article: To Boost Memory, Shut Your Eyes and Relax. Go take a look at it. Don’t worry, I’ll wait. : )

gre memoryHas this happened to you? You have ambitious plans to study a ton of things this week-end. You get tired, but you’re determined to push through, so you keep studying. You begin to get a bit anxious because you feel you aren’t learning well (and you’re not!), so you study even more. You get even more tired, and that makes it even harder to learn. By the end of the week-end, you’re exhausted, frustrated, and demoralized.

You may have already heard me say this (many times on various forums or in blog posts!), but I’m saying it again because it’s so important: your brain makes better memories when it’s not tired.

The Time article quotes Michaela Dewar, the lead author of a new research study on this topic. She notes that we are at a very early stage of memory formation when we first start to study new information, and further neural processes have to occur after this stage for us to be able to remember this information at a later point in time.

The italics are mine. Note what Ms. Dewar has said: more stuff has to happen in our brains after we have studied this info in order for us to be able to recall that information later on.

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Take a break from your prep work and check out some of this week’s top grad school-related stories:

5 Ways to Prepare for Graduate School, Reduce Stress (The Collegian)

Here are 5 great tips to help ease your nerves and to get you ready for your first semester of graduate school.

Balance Your Coursework, Maintain Your Sanity ( Graduate School)

If you’re heading to grad school this fall and have already registered for classes, remember that your schedule isn’t set in stone. You still have time to adjust your schedule to better suit your needs.
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According to the Huffington Post:

The U.S. population has reached a nerdy and delightful milestone.

Shortly after 2:29 p.m. on Tuesday, August 14, 2012, the U.S. population was exactly 314,159,265, or pi (Ï€) times 100 million, the U.S. Census Bureau reports.

Here’s a little GRE question about this nerdtastic matter!

If the US population is equivalent to 100 million π (rounded to the nearest person), the average member of the population is 5.5 feet tall, and every member of the US population is arranged, head-to-foot, to form a circle, which is closest to the radius of this circle, in feet?

A. 2,750,000
B. 2,750,000π
C. 275,000,000
D. 275,000,000π
E. 550,000,000

Choose an answer before proceeding!

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Mariah Carey

This incredible post on Gawker catalogues the rather prodigious vocabulary displayed in Mariah Carey’s oeuvre.

The post does seem to be making fun of Carey a bit:

Her lyrics are littered with, as she might say, peculiar words that suggest she is a vocabulary booster enthusiast. She loves her some adverbs. The result is a body of words that are rarely, if ever, heard in pop music.

(What’s a “booster enthusiast”? Considering that one definition of booster — and the only definition that really applies to a person — is “enthusiast,” I think “booster enthusiast” is a bit redundant.)

In any case, I read over the entire list of lyrics, lyrics like:

“I can’t be elusive with you honey / ‘Cause it’s blatant that I’m feeling you”

“Do you care for me beyond idolization?”

“I had a crush on you / Painstakingly I would conceal the truth”

“Keep pressing on steadfastly”

“Thoughts run wild as I sit and rhapsodize”

“After so much suffering I finally found unvarnished truth”

“My defenses start to wane”

… and Mariah Carey is basically using those words correctly.

We think she’d do pretty well on the GRE! At least the verbal part.

Check out the entire list here.

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Math BeastEach week, we post a new Challenge Problem for you to attempt. If you submit the correct answer, you will be entered into that week’s drawing for two free Manhattan Prep GRE Strategy Guides.

The constant rate at which machines A works is  of the constant rate at which machine B works. Under normal conditions, machine A would complete x lots in 2 days. However, when a technician attempts to use machines A and B simultaneously, there is not enough electrical power to run both machines at full power. As a result, running the machines simultaneously reduces the work rate of each machine by 20%.

How long will it take the machines to complete 3x lots, working simultaneously?

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