## Articles published in February 2012

It turns out that the best way to read a passage on a standardized test is not the best way to read in the real world. So before I say anything else, I want to say this: use what we’re about to discuss for the GRE only. Don’t read this way once you actually get to grad school!

### Argument Structure Passages: Issues in Causality

Credit: XKCD

To succeed at Argument Structure Passages on the GRE — short “Reading Comp” passages that are really logic problems — it helps to know a bit about the study of logic, because most mistakes in logic have been made many times before, even over thousands of years.

Many of the logical mistakes made on the GRE are really just the same logical mistakes Aristotle (the founder of the study of logic) complained about in the 4th century, B.C.

### The Math Beast Challenge Problem of the Week – February 26th, 2012

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.

Identical blocks are stacked in rows to create a tower 24 rows tall. If the top row of the tower consists of four blocks, and each row below the top row consists of eight more blocks than the row directly above it, how many blocks are in the entire tower?

### Vocabulary in The Arizona Republican Presidential Debate

As a Manhattan GRE employee I tend to see GRE vocabulary everywhere.  When I’m reading a book, or watching TV, or listening to music, GRE vocabulary words just jump out at me.  It is sort of like in the movie They Live when Rowdy Roddy Piper puts on his magic sunglasses and suddenly all of the writing in advertisements is changed to the word OBEY… except for me everything would be saying ACCEDE

Just last night, during the Republican Presidential Debate in Arizona, I heard the candidates use a few great GRE vocabulary words.  While politicians will often use simple language in an attempt to reach the broadest possible segment of the electorate, last night’s candidates didn’t hesitate to throw in a few obscure talking points.

At different points in last night’s debate, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum each used the word feckless.  Here is Romney’s quote:

Romney: We have very bad news that’s come from the Middle East over the past several months, a lot of it in part because of the feckless leadership of our President.

### Flashcard Sneak Peek: Don’t Be a Sapskull?

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. Sap is one of those strange words that hardly anyone ever thinks to look up, but that actually has far more definitions than you’d think. Check it out:

### Japanese Multiplication Trick, and What It Has to Do With the GRE

Watch this silent video for a new (to most of us) visual way to multiply!

What does this have to do with the GRE? Note that the 3 at right (which ended up in the ones place) was completed before any of the “big” numbers at left. That is, we didn’t need to know what our answer started with to know what our answer ended with.

Regardless of the method of multiplication you use (even if that “method” is a calculator), you will want to remember this very important principle for the GRE:

### Over 800,000 Take the GRE in 2011

Last week, an ETS news release gave us some statistics on the 2011 administrations of the GRE. The big news was the huge increase over previous years in the number of test takers. ETS reports a roughly 13% increase in test takers over 2010 bringing the 2011 total to more than 800,000 tests “ an all-time record. Even considering the steady growth in the number GRE test takers over the past decade, this year stands out as a significant jump. Here is a chart of approximate GRE test takers for the past 9 years.

### In It to Win It

This is a little story of a crucial epiphany one of my students (and I) just had.

Recently, at the end of class, one of my students began asking questions about timing and guessing on test questions. He’s really struggling with the idea that he has to let some questions go and that he’s not going to be able to answer every last question correctly. I told him he’s not alone; most students have significant difficulty accepting this idea—and those who can’t accept it almost never reach their goal scores.

### Prime Explosion: Breaking Numbers Into Primes

This comic from XKCD is making a very nerdy joke:

The 70, upon opening a package, is “exploded” — into its prime factors.

### Flashcard Sneak Peek: “Patent” Is Not Just About Leather

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

Why does patent mean obvious but also is a way of legally protecting your ideas? Check it out: