### More Fun with GRE Variables

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**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: What Is a Variable, Really?

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**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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**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

### GRE Percent Change Questions

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**One of the most common mistakes many students make on the Quant section of the GRE is to misread percent questions, especially ones that ask you to calculate percent change (i.e. increase, decrease, more, less, greater, discount, or profit). You can fix this issue with a bit of practice, but it requires some careful reading on your part. Read more**

### How to Really Remember a GRE Vocabulary Word

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**Think about your least favorite GRE vocabulary word. You know the one—every time you see it in your flashcards, you get that sinking feeling of dread. You ***always* get this one wrong. You know it’s important, but for some reason, it just won’t stick in your head.

Okay, do you have a word in mind? Let’s conquer it—right here and now. Read more

### GRE Prime Factorization and Divisibility Problems

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**Here’s a hard problem that I used to teach in session 1 of our GRE course (my poor students! This was a rough intro to GRE math.)**

If you’d like to, give yourself a minute or two to try this (but don’t bang your head against it for too long). If you’re thinking *wow, I have no idea what’s going on here*—well, it’s a good thing you’re reading this. And even if you do feel comfortable with this problem, it might be worth reading further to see how the techniques used to solve this are more broadly applicable in GRE Quant. Read more

### Tackling GRE Word Problems: One Thing at a Time

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“The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.” -Confucius

Recently, one of my students emailed me the following question. I imagine at some point in your GRE practice you’ve run into the same issue: Read more

### GRE Math for People Who Hate Math: Backsolving

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**You know what I love about GRE Discrete Quant problems? Specifically, multiple-choice Discrete Quant? ***The answer choices*. Think about it: out of the infinite number of numbers in the universe, the GRE has already narrowed it down to just *five possibilities*. They’ve done almost all of the work for you. And that makes Discrete Quant a huge opportunity for People Who Hate Math. Read more

### GRE Vocab Words You Think You Know…But Don’t

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Some researchers estimate that there are as many as a million words in the English language. However, you won’t see words like *mylohyoid*, *ekphrasis*, or *cotyledon *on the GRE. In fact, even though English has a huge number of extremely rare words, the GRE almost never tests them. Instead, it focuses on a set of words we’ll call *rare but reasonable.* Read more

### Are GRE Verbal Questions Subjective?

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A lot of people think that GRE Verbal questions can have more than one right answer. The GRE itself doesn’t do anything to dispel this myth, since Verbal questions often include wording like *which of the following is best supported? *or *with which statement would the author most likely agree?*. These questions make it sound as if you’re supposed to read five pretty good answers and pick the best one, even if the other ones are okay, too. However, **this mindset will hurt you on test day. ** Read more