## Articles published in July 2013

### The Math Beast Challenge Problem of the Week – July 29, 2013

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.

If abc, and d are non-negative integers and a(23) + b(22) + c(21) + d(20) = 17, which of the following could be the product abcd?

### What The GRE Really Tests

The GRE General Test is not a math test. Nor is it a vocabulary test. Well, okay, you do have to know about these topics in order to get a good score. But this test is really testing your executive reasoning skills.

The term might be unfamiliar, but you already have—and use—these skills every day. Here are some examples:

You arrive at work in the morning and think about all of the things that you could do that day. You can’t get it all done, so which things will have to wait until this afternoon, or tomorrow, or next week? Which one thing should you start working on first?

You are faced with a list of 20 unread emails (or, if your inbox is more like mine, about 80). Which ones do you read first? The oldest ones? The ones from your boss? The ones marked urgent? Are there some that you won’t even click on right now because you know, from the sender’s name or from the subject line, that those emails aren’t very important? (And how did that one spam message get through the filter?)

You have a choice between working on Product X or Project Y. Project Y will result in about 5% more revenue to the company, but Project Y will also take 50% longer. Which do you do?

None of those decisions are easy ones (and many would likely require more information than I gave in the little scenario). This complex decision making is exactly what a good executive needs to be able to do well—and this is what the test writers and graduate schools actually care about.

The math problems, vocab questions, and reading passages on the General Test are ultimately tools to allow the exam writers to test you on your decision-making ability. The Subject Tests are the ones that assess you more on your domain-specific expertise.

### Manhattan Prep Giving Back

It’s been a very busy 2013 here at Manhattan Prep! We’ve already worked with over a dozen non-profit organizations this year, supporting their programming and initiatives through in-kind donations, discount programs, and much more. We love to find new ways to team up with these organizations, connecting with pre-MBAs from all over the country who are striving to make a difference.

Below are some highlights from our giving so far this year. We encourage you to check out these organizations to see what awesome things they’ve been up to!

### Paranoia Runs Deep, Into Your Heart It Will Creep

“Many a true word is said in jest.”—I don’t know, but I heard it from my mother.

“I’ve never seen any of these words before, but I bet they all mean, ‘You’re a loser’.”

“Why is this question here? Why am I here?  When’s the civil service exam?  Garbage men still have a union. . .”

Have you lived that movie?  Paranoia is only human—and the old saying is true: “Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you.”  Paranoia is a primal reaction, developed to help protect humans from animals with sharp, pointy teeth.  Unfortunately, it is not helpful when one is facing questions with sharp, pointy teeth.  Even though the GRE is out to get you.  Failing to control your paranoia is a hidden reason for underperforming on the actual exam.

On this blog, I and others have discussed many factors crucial for success: foundation skills, strategies, timing, precision, and so forth.  And it’s like I say about L.A.—everything you ever read [here] about it is true.  However, after honing these skills, after achieving mastery, too many test takers succumb to their paranoia and thus revert when taking the actual exam, especially for the first time.  Even 99th percentile skills will crumble if undermined by irrational panic and the results will not be gratifying.  (Have you ever watched the Chicago Cubs play a post season series?)   To succeed, folks must understand the difference between dispassionate, objective analysis—“I’ve never gotten a surface area question right in life, why do I think I’ll have a divine inspiration today?”—and irrelevant fear—“They’re going to tattoo a scarlet “L” on my forehead.”  Just as folks plan question and timing strategies, they must develop tools to banish their internally generated negative visualizations.

How do you tell the difference?  Objective analysis responds to the stimuli on the monitor.  Paranoia is a response to internal doubts.  (Notice how this is parallel to the nature of the exam—search for the answer on the screen, not in the opinions in your head.)  Sometimes, after you’ve read a question twice (everyone has a sinking feeling the first time), you hear yourself singing, “I’ve got the ‘I don’t know where I’m going but I’m going nowhere in a hurry’ blues.”  That’s the truth, not paranoia.  Bail out.  As one of my acting coaches used to say, “Only schizophrenics don’t react to the reality around them.”  Conversely, paranoia is when your thoughts of impending disaster revolve around your supposed shortcomings rather than the material on the screen.  As I’ve said before, if while taking the exam you find yourself thinking about how big a dumb ass you are, check the question—if it doesn’t read, “Which of the following best describes how big a dumb ass you are?”, you’re thinking about the wrong thing.  That is paranoia.  No kidding—you knew that.

### Friday Links: Career Planning in Grad School, Procrastination Tips, & More!

Graduate Students Can Study Law Without Earning a Juris Doctor (Graduate Guide)

For individuals looking to learn about the U.S. legal system but do not want to earn a Juris Doctor, a credential like a Master of Laws (LLM) may be ideal.

Here’s a cool technique for conquering your procrastination habits. Pull out your trusty timer and apply the (10+2)*5 formula.

Get a Head Start on Career Planning in Graduate School (U.S. News Education)

Graduate school is an ideal time to undergo mock interviews and prepare for finding employment after graduation.

A new study finds that applicants with higher BMIs are less likely to be admitted after in-person interviews with graduate schools.

Did we miss your favorite article from the week? Let us know what you’ve been reading in the comments or tweet @ManhattanPrep.

### What to Expect on Test Day

Did 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.

I’ve talked to a ton of students recently who were surprised by some detail of test day—and that detail affected their performance. In most of these cases, the “surprising” detail was actually exactly what should have happened, according to the official rules. So let’s talk about what’s going to happen when you finally get in there to take the test. Read more

### The Math Beast Challenge Problem of the Week – July 22, 2013

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.

Which of the following is equivalent to ?

### Friday Links: Resume Tips, Challenges for International Students, & More!

If you’re thinking of rebooting your struggling career with a trip back to get another degree, consider these questions first.

Here are three things that you can do now to keep graduate admissions in mind and to prepare while you’re still earning your undergraduate degree.

How New Graduate Students Should Spend Their Summers (The Chronicle of Higher Education)

For graduate students, summer is often used for substantial research projects. But it’s almost August and many find they haven’t accomplished what they set out to do.

4 Challenges International Graduate Students May Face (U.S. News Education)

Many prospective international graduate students—even if they have obtained a bachelor’s degree from a U.S. college—do not know what to expect from U.S. graduate programs.

Did we miss your favorite article from the week? Let us know what you’ve been reading in the comments or tweet @ManhattanPrep.

### The Math Beast Challenge Problem of the Week – July 15, 2013

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.

If a > b > 0, what is the area of the quadrilateral with vertices at (ab), (-b,0), (0, -a), and (a, –b) on the coordinate plane?

### Free GRE Events This Week: July 15- July 21

Here are the free GRE events we’re holding this week (All times local unless otherwise specified):

7/18/13– Washington, DC- Free Trial Class– 6:30PM – 9:30PM

7/18/13– Online- Free Trial Class– 8:00PM – 11:00PM (EDT)

Looking for more free events? Check out our Free Events Listing Page.