Articles published in Life Hacks

GRE Quantitative Comparisons: The Equal-Different Method

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Manhattan Prep GRE Blog - GRE Quantitative Comparisons: The Equal-Different Method 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.


There are many different approaches to tackling GRE Quantitative Comparisons problems. One of my favorites is something that, in my opinion, generally doesn’t get talked about enough. This method is for people who feel very comfortable with the basics of quantitative comparisons, and have a decent handle on mental math. When executed properly, it can save you a great amount of time on the test, thus giving you the opportunity to solve other problems. It also can help avoid making silly errors by reducing the number of paper-and-pencil calculations you have to do. This method is called the Equal-Different, or E-D, method. 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

Causality on the GRE

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Manhattan Prep GRE Blog - Causality on the GRE by Neil Thornton

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.


You may have heard the maxim “correlation does not imply causation” before. It’s a common expression, but what does it mean for your GRE score? Lots. 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

Becoming a GRE Expert

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Manhattan Prep GRE Blog - Becoming a GRE Expert 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.


By virtue of being human, you are, in all likelihood, a Face Wizard.

You are incredibly good at identifying other people’s facial expressions. You can pick up on the curve of someone’s lip, or the furrow of a brow. You can detect the slightest blink, or the flare of someone’s nostrils. You notice the lightest intake of breath, or the dart of someone’s pupil.

From where do you derive this superhuman ability? Read more

Recommended Reading for the GRE

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Manhattan Prep GRE Blog - Recommended Reading for the GRE by Cat Powell

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.


When I was a kid, my mom read Don Quixote to me as a kind of cautionary tale: look at the crazy things you end up doing if you read too much fiction. I did read too much fiction—and I still do—and this probably does explain some of my major personality flaws. But it also turns out that one of the crazy things you can do if you read too much is answer most GRE vocabulary questions, because one great gift of reading is that you learn a lot of interesting words.  

The GRE favors words that are used broadly, across many disciplines, and that are appropriate for academic writing. This means that many of the words that show up on the GRE are rarely used in our everyday conversations, and I find that a lot of them I’ve seen used primarily in 19th-century fiction.

My colleagues have written some great posts about how to learn words effectively with flashcards and other toolsand so today I want offer an alternate strategy: read great fiction, preferably older stuff, but maybe some 20th-century books as well. It’s a fun antidote to study fatigue and a great way to find new words in their natural habitat. Here’s some recommended reading for picking up lots of GRE vocab. 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

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

How Much Do I Have to Learn to Beat the GRE?

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Manhattan Prep GRE Blog - How Much Do I Have to Learn to Beat the GRE? by Chelsey Cooley

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.


Not as much as you might think. However, it’ll still take time, hard work, and a change in mindset. A lot of the learning you have to do to beat the GRE won’t look like what you’re used to. Sure, you’ll spend some time reading books and taking notes. But you’ll also need to study and think in ways that go against what you may have learned in school.

The GRE isn’t a perfect test. For instance, the research is split on whether it predicts how well you’ll do in graduate school. However, people who say that the GRE “doesn’t test anything” or “only tests how well you take tests” aren’t quite right, either. There are certain skills that, if developed, will consistently help you do well on the GRE. And these skills are learnable. One of them is the ability to use your content knowledge under pressure. Read more

I Have a Perfect GRE Score, and My Cousin Just Asked Me How to Prep for the Test. Here’s What I Told Him.

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Manhattan Prep GRE Blog - I Have a Perfect GRE Score, and My Cousin Just Asked Me How to Prep for the Test. Here's What I Told Him. by Jonathan Schneider

I got an email from my cousin the other day—he told me that he’s interested in taking the GRE. Since I’m a GRE instructor with a perfect score on the test, he’d come to the right place. He wanted to know the basics: what first steps should he take? How much should he prep? How does the GRE even work? I gave him some pretty comprehensive advice, and my cousin found it so useful that I wanted to share it with you all. Read on below.


What is the GRE?

So, the GRE (Graduate Record Examination) is administered by ETS (Educational Testing Service), the same organization that administers the TOEFL and some other exams. The GRE is used by a lot of master’s programs, mostly in the sciences and humanities but also more recently for business school as well. It’s worth reading the overview here and here. While it costs $205 each time, I recommend planning to take the exam at least twice. Read more