Articles published in May 2017

Taking Distance from the GRE

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Manhattan Prep GRE Blog - Taking Distance from the GRE by Daniel Yudkin

You can attend the first session of any of our online or in-person GRE courses absolutely free. Ready to take the plunge? Check out our upcoming courses here.


Studying for the GRE can be challenging—both at an intellectual and a personal level. As you study, it’s easy to feel like your whole value as a person is on the line.

But taking the test too personally can be a bad thing—both for emotional and practical reasons.

On an emotional level, taking the results of the test personally can lead you to high levels of stress and anxiety. And it’s just not worth it to beat yourself up about it.

The GRE is only one factor in the whole picture of you as a grad school applicant. Admissions committees know this and keep this in mind as they evaluate candidates. They also look at your background, your interests, your grades, your recommendations, and your personal essay. A strong personal essay—one that reflects your unique personality and tells a convincing story about why you’re interested in graduate school—is often enough to put you at the top of the pile. A good essay counts for more than any GRE score.

But there are practical reasons to keep a good emotional distance from the GRE, too. Read more

MBA Admissions Myths Destroyed: No One Takes the GRE Seriously!

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Manhattan Prep GRE Blog - MBA Admissions Myths Destroyed: No One Takes the GRE Seriously! by mbaMission

What have you been told about applying to business school? With the advent of chat rooms, blogs and forums, armchair “experts” often unintentionally propagate MBA admissions myths, which can linger and undermine an applicant’s confidence. Some applicants are led to believe that schools want a specific “type” of candidate and expect certain GMAT scores and GPAs, for example. Others are led to believe that they need to know alumni from their target schools and/or get a letter of reference from the CEO of their firm in order to get in. In this series, mbaMission debunks these and other myths and strives to take the anxiety out of the admissions process.


A common theme in our MBA Admissions Myths Destroyed series is that applicants should not assume that admissions officers have “right” and “wrong” answers in mind and are trying to trick candidates in some way. Applicants often worry that admissions officers say one thing but really mean another. As a result, many assume that their interviews are worthless—that they essentially “do not count”—unless they are conducted by someone from the Admissions Office, or that they need to have a connection with a particularly successful or well-known alumnus/alumna from their target school to be admitted, or that they need to pander to a school’s stereotypes to get in. These days, an emerging myth—which assumes that admissions officers are up to their old (and candidates’ entirely imagined) tricks—asserts that the GMAT is taken far more seriously than the GRE and that the GRE is therefore of dubious value to applicants. Read more

More Fun with GRE Variables

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Manhattan Prep GRE Blog - More Fun with GRE Variables by Chelsey Cooley

You can attend the first session of any of our online or in-person GRE courses absolutely free. Crazy, right? Check out our upcoming courses here.


In my last blog post, we practiced using GRE variables to solve Quant word problems—and we solved some problems without using variables, too. The big takeaway: you don’t have to start every word problem with a tidy little list of variables and equations! It’s okay to focus on the numbers in the problem first. However, variables are sometimes the key ingredient to getting a GRE problem right. In this article, we’ll try using variables to solve some tougher GRE Quant word problems.

Here’s one of my favorite problems from the 5lb. Book of GRE Practice Problems. Give it a try before you keep reading: Read more

GRE Math for People Who Hate Math: Absolute Value

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Manhattan Prep GRE Blog - GRE Math for People Who Hate Math: Absolute Value by Chelsey Cooley

You can attend the first session of any of our online or in-person GRE courses absolutely free. Ready to take the plunge? Check out our upcoming courses here.


Think of an absolute value as a simple machine that looks like this: ||. You put a value into it, and the machine answers a single question for you: how far away from zero was the value that you put in?

The basic operation of the machine is simple. Take any number, put it into the machine, and find out how far from zero that number is. The absolute value of 12, |12|, is equal to 12. The absolute value of -10, |-10|, is equal to 10. That’s because -10 is 10 units away from zero.

It starts to get complicated when the GRE asks you to put things into the machine that are more complex than simple numbers. Imagine that somebody else is operating the machine. She puts values in, but she doesn’t tell you what those values are. All you can see is the answer that the machine gives when it receives those values. Read more

Revising Your Resume for Your MBA Application

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Manhattan Prep GRE Blog - Revising Your Resume for Your MBA Application by mbaMission

Taking the GRE for your business school application? You’re in luck. Each month, we are featuring a series of MBA admissions tips from our exclusive admissions consulting partner, mbaMission.


In revising your resume to be submitted with your MBA application, your overall goal is to create a document that showcases your major accomplishments and career progress for the admissions committee in an effective and compelling way. Your resume is an important opportunity to tell your professional story—and to some degree, even your personal one—in a concise form. We strongly caution you not to underestimate the value of this document. The admissions committees actually review applicants’ resumes carefully, so you want yours to be simple and consistent in style while being powerful in substance.

One of the most common errors that MBA candidates make is leaving their resume in an industry-specific format, full of jargon and acronyms recognizable only to an expert in their field. Remember, the schools are not hiring you for a job but are trying to develop an understanding of your progress, accomplishments, and even character. Each bullet point in your resume must highlight achievement over positional expertise. Read more

GRE Math for People Who Hate Math: What Is a Variable, Really?

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Manhattan Prep GRE Blog - GRE Math for People Who Hate Math: What is a Variable, Really? by Chelsey Cooley

You can attend the first session of any of our online or in-person GRE courses absolutely free. Crazy, right? Check out our upcoming courses here.


Imagine a world where every conversation went like this:

Student: When is our final project due?

Professor: Three days after the first Wednesday after your rough draft is due.

Student: What?

Professor: The rough draft is due 15 days after the date 6 days before May 14.

Solving a GRE math word problem is a little bit like having this kind of conversation. That’s why word problems can be so infuriating. The problem isn’t lying to you. It’s just telling you the truth in a really annoying, backwards way. (Reading Comprehension problems do that too—it’s not just a Quant thing.)

In the conversation above, how would you work out the due date of the final project? Personally, I’d start by getting out my calendar. I’d start at May 14, then count 6 days backwards. Then, I’d count 15 days forwards, put a star on the calendar, and mark it ‘rough draft.’ Then I’d find the first Wednesday after that date, and finally, I’d count three days forward from there. That would give me my answer. Read more

Solving GRE Problems in Multiple Ways to Build Flexibility

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Manhattan Prep GRE Blog - Solving GRE Problems in Multiple Ways to Build Flexibility by Cat Powell

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.


Recently, my colleague Tom and I decided that, since we were teaching in adjacent classrooms, it might be fun to combine our classes and co-teach a lesson. Tom and I have very different strengths, both as test-takers and teachers. I love algebra, and I’ll always seek out an algebraic solution to a problem (even when this might not be the most efficient method—my strength is also a weakness). Tom prefers non-algebraic methods, like drawing diagrams or picking numbers. And our strengths inform what we emphasize in class.

So, for our joint lesson, we chose a number of GRE problems that could be solved in more than one way, and then took turns demonstrating each method. First, we each used the method we preferred (algebra for me, picking numbers for Tom), and then we switched and demonstrated the method we were less comfortable with. Here’s one of the GRE problems we used: Read more