## Articles published in November 2011

### The Math Beast Challenge Problem of the Week – November 28th, 2011

Each 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.

Joseph has 8 friends. Some of these 8 friends know each other, as follows: Mary knows Dave and Edgar, who also know each other. Edgar, in addition to knowing Mary, knows Lea, Juan, and Greg, none of whom know each other. If Joseph would like to introduce each of his friends to all of his other friends whom that friend does not already know, how many introductions will Joseph have to make?

### 3 Tips for Studying the GRE over Thanksgiving Break

With most grad school applications due sometime between December and January, we hear about a lot of students who have to take the GRE soon after Thanksgiving weekend. I’m sure that a number of you reading this will have to spend your precious holiday break poring over GRE practice materials, only breaking to pour gravy over your Thanksgiving feast.

WARNING: Do not confuse poring with pouring

To help you with your studies we have come up with the three key tips for holiday studying (four if you count the sagacious caption above).

### 1.) Read the Recipes Aloud to the Chef

This is not just a ploy to force you to help in the kitchen, we swear. If you are lucky enough to have someone cooking for you, and they don’t mind having another body in their kitchen during prep time, offer to help read them the recipes they are using and to help measure out ingredients. A lot of the GRE word problems involve skills that are similar to recipe reading (manipulating numbers that are pulled out of a passage of text). Also, the simple numbers involved in recipe measurements are similar to the simple arithmetic that many GRE quant problems demand. The time spent adding, subtracting, and measuring food will help you hone your speed and comfort with simple calculations for the GRE.
GRE Quant? No big deal.

### 2.) Study Early on Thanksgiving

In a previous post we talked about how diet can impact your ability to retain information. While a Thanksgiving splurge isn’t going to derail your study ability long term, people often spend Thanksgiving consuming large amounts of food and possibly imbibing some alcohol. Whatever your holiday routine, you are probably going to be more able to study on Thanksgiving morning than you will be after your sixth slice of pumpkin pie. Instead of watching the Thanksgiving Day Parade, try to fit in your studying early so that you can spend the afternoon stuffing yourself with yams.

### 3.) Don’t Overdo It

The key to successful holiday studies might just be to take it easy. Studying on the holidays is a good idea, but we’d suggest that you try to follow your normal study patterns. Just as taking a few days off for the holidays would be a waste of study time, using the time off to cram could burn you out. Try to pretend that the holiday break is just a normal weekend, and study accordingly. I know that Thanksgiving is usually not a time for moderation, but try to allow your even-keeled study habits to act as a temperate middle ground between for your gluttonous eating and your post-feast state of torpor.

Pictured: the antonym of moderation

In closing, we advise that you do some studying in the morning, then help measure out flour in the kitchen, and after that, leave your books alone for the rest of the day. After all, the Cowboys are playing the Dolphins this Thanksgiving, and we all know that one of the most important lessons ever taught on Thanksgiving was when Leon Lett showed us all that it is sometimes best to just leave it alone.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

### The Math Beast Challenge Problem of the Week – November 21th, 2011

Each 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.

An online bank verifies customers’ ownership of external bank accounts by making both a small deposit and a small debit from each customer’s external account, and asking the customer to verify the amounts. In 70% of these exchanges, the deposit and debit are within two cents of one another (for example, a deposit of $0.18 and a debit of$0.16, or a deposit of $0.37 and a debit of$0.38), and the deposit and debit are always within five cents of one another. During one week, the online bank attempts to verify 6,000 accounts in this manner, but 0.5% of the transactions do not go through, and thus no money is transferred. What is the maximum amount, in dollars, that the account verification system could have cost the bank that week?

### Video Games and GRE Prep

We recently read a great article over at Gradhacker titled: Gaming Grad School. This article analyzes the question that plagues us all: why do we find it so easy to spend 14 straight hours launching plasma grenades at aliens (or birds at pigs, or batarangs at clowns, or Tetris blocks at other Tetris blocks), but so hard to spend the same amount of time on our studies?

### Flashcard Sneak Peek: What do you know about “whimsical”?

Take a sneak peek into Manhattan Prep’s 500 Essential Words and 500 Advanced Words GRE flashcard sets!

When writing these cards, we wanted to make sure that everyone could get something out of every card — even if you already know the word on the front. So, you may know whimsical, but do you know mercurial, capricious, and lark? Check it out:

### The Math Beast Challenge Problem of the Week – November 14th, 2011

Each 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.

Peopletown’s population increased by x% in 2008 and by 2x% in 2009, where x is a positive integer. By what percent, in terms of x, must the population have decreased in 2010 if the population at the end of 2010 was equal to the population at the end of 2007?

### The Math Beast’s Challenge Problem of the Week – November 7th

Each 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.

In the figure above, a circle is inscribed in a triangle.

Quantity A

Quantity B
The area of the circle

### New in NYC: November 2011 3-Day GRE Bootcamp

Manhattan GRE’s three-day boot camp is a program designed for students who have strong math backgrounds and/or have been studying for the GRE for at least 1 month. Taught by top-notch teachers and built on content-based learning, class sessions are interactive and challenging, building students’ proficiency and confidence for every question type on the exam.

The course includes a complete set of our 8 Strategy Guides, plus access to 6 online practice exams.

Course Details
Date: Friday, November 18th – Sunday, November 20th
Location: 138 W. 25th St (our NYC center)
Price: \$590

Detailed Schedule
11/18 – 3 hour session 5:30PM – 8:30 PM Online
11/19 – 3.75 hour Online Practice Exam 10am-1:45pm (online or in our center, space permitting)
11/19 – 3.5 Hour Session 2:30 PM – 6:00 PM
11/20 – 3.75 hour Online Practice Exam 10am-1:45pm (online or in our center, space permitting)
11/20 – 3.5 Hour Session 2:30 PM – 6:00 PM

Please note: The session on Friday November 18th will be held in a Live Online classroom. Saturday and Sunday sessions will be held at the Manhattan GRE center (138 W 25th Street, New York, NY 10001). Student should also set aside time to take two 3 hour and 45 minute practice exams, one prior to each of the two in-person sessions. These tests can be taken at home or in Manhattan GRE’s testing center (testing center availability limited).

### Meet the Instructor

Jennifer Dziura is Manhattan GRE’s Blog Editor and Lead Content Developer. She has scored perfectly on the GRE twice, has written or contributed to more than 10 published test prep books, and is the author of Manhattan GRE’s 500 Essential Words and 500 Advanced Words flashcard sets. In her M.S. in Education program, she worked on projects relating to using research into the brain to decrease stress and enhance learning and memory. She has helped over 2,000 people master the content for the GRE and other exams. Jennifer uses her obviously copious spare time to co-host an adult spelling bee.

Note: Images are from our favorite boot camp movie, GI Jane. Actual GRE bootcamp looks more like this (no pushups!)

### The Best Statistics Question EVER

Via Flowingdata via Raymond Johnson, credit to Ryan Grover.

If a multiple choice question has four answers, your chance of randomly guessing the right answer is 1 in 4, or 25% … right?

You’d think that — until you see that 25% is written twice.

So, since the correct answer appears twice, your chance of guessing correctly is 2 in 4, or 50% … right?

EXCEPT that if the correct answer is 50%, which only appears once, then the correct answer is actually 25% (since only one in four answers says “50%.”)

That’s sort of satisying — until you see that 25% is written twice.

So … (wait, this is hurting our heads!) since the correct answer appears twice, your chance of guessing correctly is 2 in 4, or 50% … right?

EXCEPT that if the correct answer is 50%, which only appears once, then the correct answer is actually 25% (since only one in four answers says “50%.”)

Whoa. (We’re nonplussed, flummoxed, addlepated, and just generally making a Keanu Reeves expression right now.)

Let’s stop here.

### What’s The Best Way to Study For The GRE?

This article from the Wall Street Journal analyzes the best and worst conditions in which you can study for tests, which got us thinking about how study practices can impact test scores. It makes sense that certain environmental factors can be detrimental to your studies. In college, I always found it difficult to study during neighbor’s marathon dubstep spinning sessions. Right now, I am writing this post in between bites of falafel, while listening to Super Bass on repeat, after I night where I lost about 4 hours of sleep in order to stay up and play Batman: Arkham City “ clearly, I am in no state to be studying for a test. But common sense alone won’t provide you with the perfect study setup.

I know many of you don’t want to tear yourselves away from your GRE flashcards for long enough to read that link, so here are the highlights.

### Food

Your brain, like most of your other vital organs, needs nutrients to run. During the GRE, your brain will be running a marathon, so you need to carbo-load for your mind “ and not just on test day. The Wall Street Journal suggests that for a full week before the test you should stop freebasing pixie stix (our advice, not theirs) and instead eat a diet of high-carb, high-fiber, slow digesting foods like oatmeal. Keep an eye out for a post, coming to our blog soon, with a full analysis of the role food and nutrition play in test taking.

### Music

Turn the stereo off while studying. Years of baby Mozart and Tom Lehrer have taught us the joys of musical learning. But, while listening to GWAR’s greatest hits might make you more relaxed, it will also make it harder for you to remember everything that you review. I can personally attest to this; my GRE scores improved dramatically when I started practice testing under real conditions without music. I used to run my vocab lists while listening to music, but I had a lot of difficult keeping lyrics out of my head when I was trying to commit definitions to memory. Also, I had a lot of trouble pacing myself on practice tests when I was listening to tunes I think music does strange things to the space time continuum.

### Sleep

It is a given that you should get plenty of sleep on the night before the test, but you should also try to line up your study schedule so that you are learning right before you go to bed. The things that you think about right before you go to sleep are easier to recall later on.

### Practice

Studying helps, but only if you are actively learning. Don’t just read through your flashcards, actually test yourself to recall the information before you flip a card over and check yourself. Repetition helps too.

These tips will help you maximize the benefit of your studies, but you still need to put in the hours. Oatmeal alone will not allow you to ace the GRE. When it comes right down to it, you have to learn the material. Now stop reading this and go run your flashcards one more time.