Articles published in Math Basics

GRE Math for People Who Hate Math: Which of the Following is a Factor of x?

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Manhattan Prep GRE Blog - GRE Math for People Who Hate Math:  Which of the Following is a Factor of x? by Chelsey CooleyDid 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.


Did you know that you can solve ‘which of the following is a factor’ problems with hardly any math at all? It just takes a little basic arithmetic, logical reasoning, and creative thinking — skills that you already have.

Take a quick look at this problem: Read more

7 Ways to Avoid Careless GRE Math Errors

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Manhattan Prep GRE Blog - 7 Ways to Avoid Careless GRE Math Errors by Chelsey CooleyDid 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.


There’s nothing wrong with missing a GRE Quant problem because it’s too hard. That’s just the way that the test is designed — there are Quant questions on the GRE that will challenge even the mathematical geniuses among us. However, it’s much more frustrating to miss a problem that you could’ve gotten right, just because you made a silly mistake. Try out the following tips to cut down on careless math errors on the GRE. Read more

GRE Math for People Who Hate Math: A Gentle Introduction to GRE Divisibility Problems

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GRE Math for People Who Hate Math: A Gentle Introduction to GRE Divisibility Problems by Chelsey CooleyDid 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.


12 is divisible by 3. 24,700 is a multiple of 100. x/15 is an integer. 6 is a factor of 17k. All of this language — divisible, multiple, integer, factor — signals that you’re about to begin a divisibility problem. Do you find these problems intimidating? Do you sometimes have no idea where to start? If so, this article offers a simple, painless way of thinking about divisibility that you can use on a wide range of GRE problems. Read more

Let’s Have Fun with GRE Exponents

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blog-exponentsYou may already know the basic rules of exponents for the GRE. These rules tell you what to do if you want to multiply or divide two exponential numbers, or raise an exponent to another power. Once you’ve memorized them, exponent problems become exponentially easier (I’m so sorry). But there are two types of exponent problems that many students find intimidating, because the basic rules just don’t seem useful. In this article, we’ll go over those two problem types, how to recognize them, and what to do if you see one. Read more

Here’s How to Create Your Own GRE Quant Cheat Sheet

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Blog-cheatsheetDo you remember, when you took exams in high school or college, being allowed to bring a one-page ‘cheat sheet’? I always spent days putting those cheat sheets together in my tiniest handwriting, summarizing an entire semester’s notes on a single page. The funny thing is, by the time I took the exam, I almost never needed to look at the cheat sheet I’d created. After spending all of that time creating it, I had practically memorized my notes. So, even if you can’t bring a cheat sheet with you to the GRE, you can still benefit from creating one. Synthesizing your notes and thoughts on a single page will give you the ‘big picture’ view of a topic, and will teach you what you do and don’t know. Read more

Here’s how to always know what to do on any GRE problem

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Blog-GREAnyQuestion“When I see this, I will do this”: a GRE study tool

“I know all of the rules, but I’m nowhere close to my goal score.”

“When I study, I understand everything right away. But when I took the actual GRE, I couldn’t make it happen.”

“I never know what to do when I see a Quant problem for the first time. If somebody tells me how to set the problem up, I can do it perfectly, but I can’t get started on my own.”

“I get overwhelmed by Verbal questions. I’ll think that my answer makes sense, but then I’ll review the problem and realize that there were a dozen different things I didn’t notice.”

If any of those statements ring true for you, you’re not alone. You’ve probably been studying for a while, or you at least have a good grasp on the basic math, logic, and vocabulary. But getting a great GRE score isn’t just about knowing the content. It’s also about always knowing what to do next. That’s what the “When I see this, I will do this” technique is for.See_this_do_this_empty_table_-_12_8_2015 Read more

Here’s the safest way to handle GRE percentage problems

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Blog-PercentageWhen you take the GRE, you need a strategy for percentage problems that works every time. Here’s that strategy, in four easy steps.
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This simple approach will help you avoid mistakes on GRE algebra

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Blog-SimpleApproachGRE high-scorers might not be smarter than everyone else, but they do think about the test differently. One key difference is in how high-scorers do algebra. They make far fewer algebraic mistakes, because, either consciously or subconsciously, they use mathematical rules to check their work as they simplify. Here’s how to develop that habit yourself. Read more

The GRE’s not a math test – it’s a foreign language test!

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Blog-GRE-LanguageImagine that you asked a friend of yours what she got on the Quant section of the GRE. Instead of answering you directly, she said “let’s just say that 4 times my score is a multiple of 44, and 3 times my score is a multiple of 45.”

Could you tell what score she got? If not… you may need to work on your GRE translation skills!  Read more

The Fifteen-Minute Math Problem

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Editors’s Note: This is Manhattan Prep GRE instructor Jane Cassie‘s first post on our GRE blog! Welcome her in the comments below.15 minute GRE problem

If you’re a Manhattan GRE student, you’ve heard your instructor tell you over and over again to review your homework problems after you’ve completed them. Great. But what’s the best way to do that?

If you want to improve at the GRE, you have to find an effective way to review. The truth is that doing problems is an efficient way to test your skills, but it’s in the review that you actually improve your skills. Of course the time it takes to bleed a math problem dry varies from person to person and problem to problem, but ten or fifteen minutes is a reasonable expenditure on a tough problem.

While we’re all conditioned to think 1 GRE problem = 1.5 minutes, studying a GRE problem can take ten times that long. The good news is, that’s time well spent!

What does a good do-and-review process look like?

 

(1)   DO: Answer the problem in under one-and-a-half minutes.

Your first step with practice problems is to treat them like the real test. That means that once time is up, you should take a guess and move on if you don’t yet know the answer. In fact, you might even guess and move on after one minute if the problem seems like a bad time investment for you.

This is a crucial step to your success on the GRE. Guessing on problems you might be able to do in five minutes isn’t intuitive, and it takes a lot of concentrated practice to do this on the real test day.

I often find that giving six minutes for four questions gives a timing schedule rigid enough to mimic the real exam but flexible enough to allow you to choose where to invest your time.

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