Articles published in April 2012

GRE News: ScoreSelect (and How it Helps You)


Manhattan Prep GRE Blog - GRE News: ScoreSelect (and How It Helps You) by Taylor DearrDid you know that you can attend the first session of any of our online or in-person GRE courses absolutely free? We’re not kidding! Check out our upcoming courses here.

Yesterday, ETS announced a big change to the way GRE scores will be reported to admissions panels. Starting in July of this year, GRE test takers will be able to choose which test scores they send to their graduate institutions. You can now choose to send only your best GRE scores using the ScoreSelect option.

This is big news for GRE test takers, and we wanted to give you the full scoop on this new feature. We had a chance to talk to ETS officials yesterday and we got all the details on this new ScoreSelect option. Here are our top 3 thoughts on ScoreSelect. Read more

PopVocab: The Credible Hulk


This hilarious graphic has been making the rounds on Facebook:

The Credible Hulk! This, of course, is a play on the Incredible Hulk. But what does incredible really mean?

Today, we often use incredible to mean “amazing, awesome!” However, the actual meaning of incredible is not believable. For instance:

No one would have questioned the employee’s sick day if he hadn’t told such _________ story about an exotic illness that sent him to the hospital near-death at 8:30 a.m., and yet was cured completely by evening.

Select two answers.

an incredible a fabulous an incredulous a verisimilar a gullible a chintzy

(Note: When you see six answer choices and square checkboxes, that’s a clue that this is a GRE Sentence Equivalence problem, to which there will always be two correct answers.)

Of course, one of the answers to this question is incredible. But what about the other one?

Read more

Flashcard Sneak Peek: Propitious versus Auspicious (Oh, Those Crazy Romans!)


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

Why does propitiate mean conciliate, appease, but propitious means lucky? You’ll have to ask some superstitious Romans (or just read our flashcards). Check it out:

Want to adopt 1,000 new flashcards? Visit our store here.

How to Analyze a Reading Comprehension Problem on the GRE


Power TalkIn recent articles, we’ve discussed how to analyze practice problems when we’re studying, and we’ve also talked about how to read RC passages. (If you haven’t already read those articles, you may want to do so before you continue with this article.)

Today, we’re going to do a question from the Language Power passage that we reviewed in a previous article, and we’re going to analyze that question using the how to analyze a problem process. If you haven’t already read this passage (or if it has been a while since you read it), go take a look at the Language Power article first (linked above). Give yourself roughly 3 minutes to read through the passage and take notes, then read the rest of that article.

Okay, finally, you can get started on this article! Below is the full text of the passage followed by the question.

Sarah Meyers McGinty, in her new book Power Talk: Using Language to Build Authority and Influence, argues that while the simple lingual act of declaring power does not help a powerless person gain influence, well-considered linguistic techniques and maneuvers do. McGinty does not dispute the importance of factors such as expertise and ability in determining stature, but argues persuasively that these power determinants amount to little in a person unable to communicate effectively. Many surveys have shown that the ability to communicate effectively is the characteristic judged by managers to be most critical in determining promotability in the workplace or an academic environment.

McGinty divides speech into two categories: “language from the center” and “language from the edge”. In McGinty’s words, “Language from the center makes a speaker sound like a leader. McGinty suggests that language from the center is not only for those in high positions of power, but also for those of lower ranks who wish to gain more power and credibility. A speaker using language from the center exhibits the following characteristics: he directs rather than responds; he makes statements rather than asks questions; he contradicts, argues, and disagrees; he uses his experience persuasively; and he maintains an air of impersonality in the workplace. McGinty suggests that the use of language from the center can alter or create a new balance of power. These assertions are supported by studies that show that people accept leadership from those they perceive to be experts.

Language from the edge stands in stark contrast to language from the center. Language from the edge is careful, exploratory, and inquiring. It is inclusive, deferential, and collaborative. A speaker using language from the edge responds rather than directs; asks questions; strives to make others feel heard and protected; and avoids argument. The main purpose of language from the center is to claim authority for a speaker, while language from the edge strives to build consensus and trust. McGinty argues that true power comes from a deep understanding of when to use which style and the ability to use both as necessary.

What distinguishes McGinty’s discussion of effective communication is her focus on communication skills as a way of gaining power; this contrasts with most workplace communication theory, which focuses on communication skills as a way of preventing misunderstandings, avoiding conflict, and fostering interpersonal relationships. McGinty, however, holds that language not only helps maintain relationships but also lends authority. According to Power Talk, effective communication skill is an understanding of how situation shapes speech and how speech shapes situation and an understanding of how speech styles and the forces that affect those styles . . . can build your authority, and enhance your credibility and impact.

And here’s the problem; give yourself about 1 minute to answer it.

Read more

Cheesy Mnemonics for GRE Vocab: Georgic


Mnemonics or mnemonic devices are memory tricks to help us remember things like vocabulary words. However, many mnemonics are pretty cheesy — often involving the kind of jokes some people call “groaners.” For instance…

Georgic means agricultural, or can be a noun referring to a poem on rural life. (As such, the word has a positive connotation.)

Here’s the mnemonic:

Read more

The Math Beast Challenge Problem of the Week – April 16th, 2012


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.

Abe, Beata, Cruz, and Dion each collect a different type of condiment packet, and each person only collects one type. Twice the number of ketchup packets in Abe’s collection is 9 times the number of mustard packets Beata has, 7 times the number of soy sauce packets Cruz has, and 15 times the number of barbecue sauce packets possessed by Dion. If each collector owns at least one packet and only whole packets, what is the fewest possible number of packets owned by all four people?

Read more

From Ur Sec of State: #GRE Vocab in “Texts from Hillary”


The Texts from Hillary meme (explanation of “meme” here) began when Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was photographed sending a text, wearing sunglasses, while sitting in a G-6. Thus:

This one is an allusion to the Beyonce song Run The World (Girls):

If girls really did run the world, you could call it a matriarchy, of course. And then if you didn’t like it, you could carp about the distaff hegemony of our government.

Of course, girls aren’t really taking over the world. Or, if they are, they’ve been sworn to a code of omertà!

Finally, there’s this:
Read more

The Math Beast Challenge Problem of the Week – April 9th, 2012


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.

For Jack, income tax is between 15 and 35 percent of total income after an exclusion amount has been subtracted (that is, Jack does not have to pay any income tax on the exclusion amount, only on the remainder of his total income). If the exclusion amount is between $5200 and $9800, and Jack’s income tax was $8700, which of the following could have been Jack’s total income?

Read more

Vocab at the Movies: The Social Network


In our Vocab at the Movies posts, we write about movies with GRE vocab in the titles themselves (Insidious, Sanctum), movies in which vocab words play prominently (the “Derelicte!” fashion line in Zoolander, Flotsam and Jetsam in The Little Mermaid), and movies that just remind us of certain vocab words.

Check out this epic scene from The Social Network:

Gage: Mr. Zuckerberg, do I have your full attention?
Mark Zuckerberg: [stares out the window] No.
Gage: Do you think I deserve it?
Mark Zuckerberg: [looks at Gage] What?
Gage: Do you think I deserve your full attention?
Mark Zuckerberg: I had to swear an oath before we began this deposition, and I don’t want to perjure myself, so I have a legal obligation to say no.
Gage: Okay – no. You don’t think I deserve your attention.
Mark Zuckerberg: I think if your clients want to sit on my shoulders and call themselves tall, they have the right to give it a try – but there’s no requirement that I enjoy sitting here listening to people lie. You have part of my attention – you have the minimum amount. The rest of my attention is back at the offices of Facebook, where my colleagues and I are doing things that no one in this room, including and especially your clients, are intellectually or creatively capable of doing.
Mark Zuckerberg: Did I adequately answer your condescending question?

Oh, snap!

Here are a few Zuckerberg-worthy GRE words:
Read more

How To Use Your Strategy Guides


Manhattan Prep GRE Books

If you wanted to meet every neighbor on your block, how would you go about it? You wouldn’t re-introduce yourself to your best friends who live a few doors down, or to the busy-body who walks her dog up and down the street all day and knows everybody’s business (no thank you!). Rather, you’d make a list of the neighbors you don’t already know and go knock on their doors. The same is true for learning GRE content. You need to identify the material that you do not yet know, and the material that’s giving you trouble, and concentrate your efforts there.

Follow the Yellow-Brick Syllabus

If you’re taking a class right now or using one of the self-study packages, then we’ve already done a lot of the hard work for you. Your syllabus tells you what material to study from week to week. However, you should also prioritize based upon your own knowledge of your strengths and weaknesses. Don’t read every last sentence or do every last practice problem if you find a particular lesson really easy. Speed up! By the same token, take extra time, and possibly seek out extra resources or practice problems, in areas where you’re struggling.

If you’re taking a class right now, then you also have a teacher, so make sure to talk to him or her if you’re having any trouble prioritizing or want some ideas about additional resources.
Read more