Articles published in July 2012

Pop Quiz: GRE Sentence Equivalence Problem “Team America: World Police”

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Try this GRE Sentence Equivalence problem! After the jump, you’ll see an explanation from one of our instructors.

The theme song from the film Team America: World Police is meant as a parody, sending up the _________ slogans and anthems that have recently become a disconcertingly ubiquitous aspect of American life.

Select two correct answers.

aggressive
arrogant
boosterish
jingoistic
blustery
bloodthirsty

(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.)

Make your selections before reading any further!

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How to Analyze a GRE Reading Comprehension Specific Detail Question

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In recent articles, we’ve talked about how to read RC passages and we’ve also discussed how to analyze an RC practice problem when we’re studying. (I recommend reading those articles before you read this, if you haven’t already.)

GRE powerToday, we’re going to do another question from the Language Power passage (follow the link for the passage!), 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. Give yourself roughly 3 minutes to read through the passage and take notes (not much time!), 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 (© ManhattanPrep).

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.

According to the passage, McGinty believes that ineffective communication can undermine which of the following power determinants?

(A) experience

(B) stature

(C) expertise

(D) an air of impersonality

(E) confidence

The first thing everybody does is check the answer “ but I’m not going to tell you what it is till later. : )

Now we’re going to analyze our work. I’ve reproduced the questions from the How To Analyze article below, but in a shorter form. I’ve followed the questions with italicized notes. These italics represent what I would think to myself when analyzing this problem.

Note: I’m going to pretend that I chose answer choice D (so I got it wrong!).

1. Did I know WHAT they were trying to test?

Questions: Was I able to categorize this question? Did I comprehend all the words, vocab, concepts, and answer choices? Do I know what I’m supposed to do for questions of this type?

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The Math Beast Challenge Problem of the Week – July 30th, 2012

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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.

x and y are positive integers such that 3x y2 = 432.

Quantity A
3x

Quantity B
y2

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In the News: Grad School Links Roundup

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Catch up on your graduate school tips and news with some of this week’s top articles:

How to Strengthen Your Graduate School Application (Happy Schools Blog)

Read about the various elements of the graduate school application and learn how to construct your best application package.

15 Essential Things To Do Before Starting Grad School (USA Today College)

Your summer before grad school should not be an intense one. USA Today College has 15 things you should do to fill the time.

What’s the Role of GPA in Graduate School Admissions? (About.com Graduate School)

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DailyMail Vocab Fail: That Pit Bull is “Viscous”!

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Check out the last sentence of this article about a pit bull attack:

viscous

Note that, in the top sentence captured above, the pit bull is “vicious.”

In the last line, it is “viscous.” NOT THE SAME WORD.

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The Math Beast Challenge Problem of the Week – July 23rd, 2012

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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.

A solid metal cylinder was dropped into a cylindrical glass originally holding 200Ï€ centimeters3 of water. If the metal cylinder has a radius of 3 centimeters and height of 7 centimeters, and is completely submerged in the water, by what percent did the water level in the glass rise? (Assume the metal is non-porous, so the resulting water and metal volume equals the original water volume plus the metal cylinder volume.)

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GRE Data Interpretation: Humor from XKCD

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If you’ve been feeling frustrated with the abstruse, opaque, even occult charts and tables on the GRE’s Data Interpretation section, you might find this amusing.

Click to enlarge.

To practice GRE charts and tables for real, see:

The Week in Review: Grad School Links Roundup

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Catch up on some  grad school news and application tips with some of this weeks top articles. Happy reading!

Why is an Admissions Essay Required in Graduate School Applications? (About.com, Education)

Find out why graduate program applications require admissions essays what the admissions committee considers when reading an applicant’s essay.

Grad Student Diversity at Risk? (Inside Higher Ed)

The U.S. Supreme Court considers a study released by the Civil Rights Project at the University of California Los Angeles to determine whether colleges can consider race and ethnicity in admissions decisions.
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How to Analyze a GRE Reading Comprehension Infer Question

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GRE reading compIn recent articles, we’ve talked about how to read RC passages and we’ve also discussed how to analyze an RC practice problem when we’re studying. (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 another 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 in the first sentence of this paragraph). 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 (© ManhattanPrep).

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.

The third paragraph suggests that McGinty would be most likely to agree with which of the following?

(A) Language from the center is more effective than language from the edge.

(B) Managers who use language from the edge are not authoritative.

(C) Powerful people are both authoritative and inclusive.

(D) A person using both language from the center and language from the edge will develop true power.

(E) People who use language from the center have difficulty building consensus.

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GRE News: POWERPREP II v 2.0, ScoreSelect, and the new Retake Policy

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manhattan prep gre

There is BIG NEWS  in GRE-land!

Late last week, ETS launched their POWERPREP II version 2.0 preparation software.  We were anticipating that this software would drop in August, so the 3-week advance is a nice surprise.  Unfortunately, the test still isn’t Mac compatible, but a number of other problems have been addressed.  Version 2.0 includes two timed practice GREs (rather than just one as was the case with the old version), and can now be used on 64-bit Windows 7 machines.  Most importantly, the software will now score your tests on the new 130-170 scale.  The older version was still giving those wide score estimates based on the 200-800 scale, so this new software is a huge improvement for students in terms of estimating performance.

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