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GRE Vocabulary Words that Change the Whole Sentence

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Manhattan Prep GRE Blog - GRE Vocabulary Words that Change the Whole Sentence 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.


Let’s take a look at some of the most useful GRE vocabulary words. These words don’t look that important on their own, but they can reverse the meaning of an entire phrase or sentence! Get started by trying out this GRE Text Completion question: Read more

How to Solve Any GRE Word Problem (Really)

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Manhattan Prep GRE Blog - How to Solve Any GRE Word Problem (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.


Word problems get a lot of hate from students. When you read the explanation for a tough GRE word problem, it’s easy to feel like the solution came out of nowhere. Maybe it makes sense now, but how were you supposed to figure it out on your own?

Fortunately, word problems really aren’t so bad—they’re just misunderstood. There’s a strategy for solving GRE word problems, just as there is for any other type of GRE Quant problem. Here’s a way to confidently solve any GRE word problem. Read more

GRE Math for People Who Hate Math: Average Speed

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Manhattan Prep GRE Blog - GRE Math for People Who Hate Math: Average Speed 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.


On the GRE, you will never, ever, ever, ever have to average two speeds together. If a GRE Quant problem gives you two speeds (say, 40 mph and 60 mph), and you average them (ending up with 50 mph), you’ve just gotten that problem wrong. Read more

GRE Math for People Who Hate Math: Ratios

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Manhattan Prep GRE Blog - GRE Math for People Who Hate Math 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.


I recently had a great conversation about ratios with one of our MPrep GRE classes. It’s a tiny class, and only two students were there that day (hey guys!). When I shared a tricky ratio problem with them, both students had totally different, but equally reasonable, reactions to it. Here’s the problem: Read more

Careless Mistakes on the GRE: Go Slow to Go Fast

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Manhattan Prep GRE Blog - Careless Mistakes on the GRE: Go Slow to Go Fast 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.


It’s okay to make mistakes on the GRE. You can miss plenty of problems and still get a great score. However, it matters why you make those mistakes. Miss a problem because you don’t know how to solve it? That’s totally okay (as long as you don’t waste too much time). Miss a problem because you added two and three and got six? That’s a problem, and here’s how to fix it: stop trying to go fast. Read more

The Last Week before Your GRE: What to Do

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Manhattan Prep GRE Blog - The Last Week before Your GRE: What to Do 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.


It’s the last week before your GRE! What should you do this week to maximize your odds of a great score? Read more

Your GRE Problem Log and the Myth of “Practice Makes Perfect”

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Manhattan Prep GRE Blog - Your GRE Problem Log and the Myth of

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.


If you’ve ever played a sport, learned a language, or played a musical instrument, you’ve heard the old saying: “practice makes perfect.” Unfortunately, that saying is misleading. It’s possible to practice something for years and never get any better. (Just ask my childhood piano teacher!) What actually matters, what actually makes you improve, is one specific thing that happens during practice: how you react to your mistakes. Read more

Two GRE Math Terms to Banish from Your Lexicon

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Manhattan Prep GRE Blog - Two GRE Math Terms to Banish from Your Lexicon 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.


There are a few math terms that are banned from my GRE classroom. “I’m not a math person” is a big one. So is “You either know it, or you don’t.” Both of those sentences are untrue—they don’t describe how the human brain really works—and they’re also dangerous.

The words that we choose are important. If we want to succeed on the GRE, we should talk about our learning in a way that reflects that. And if we want to do GRE Quant problems clearly and methodically, we should also talk about them clearly and methodically. That’s why, in addition to the “dangerous” math terms up there, there are a couple of other “dirty words” that I’ve banned from my classroom. If you cut these words and phrases out of your GRE Quant vocabulary, I promise that you’ll make fewer careless errors, understand problems more clearly, and feel more confident about your solutions. 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 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