Articles published in Verbal

Causality on the GRE

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

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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

Recommended Reading for the GRE

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

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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

GRE Sentence Equivalence: Theme Traps

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Manhattan Prep GRE Blog - GRE Sentence Equivalence: Theme Traps by Chelsey Cooley

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There are four reasons to miss a GRE Sentence Equivalence problem. Here are three of them:

  • You misread the sentence.
  • You didn’t know all of the vocabulary words (or remembered a word incorrectly).
  • You were short on time and the problem looked tough, so you guessed and got unlucky.

These are all things that you can address with practice. (Check out our Text Completion & Sentence Equivalence Strategy Guide for ideas!) However, we won’t be talking about them here. Instead, let’s look at a fourth reason to miss a GRE Sentence Equivalence problem:

  • You fell for a trap.

Read more

How to Really Remember a GRE Vocabulary Word

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Manhattan Prep GRE Blog - How to Really Remember a GRE Vocabulary Word by Chelsey CooleyYou 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.


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

How to Hack GRE Reading Comprehension: Think Like a Lawyer!

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Manhattan Prep GRE Blog - How to Hack GRE Reading Comprehension: Think Like a Lawyer! by Ceilidh Erickson

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After working with thousands of students, I’ll admit: Reading Comprehension is my least favorite subject to teach. Why? Because unlike Quant, it doesn’t have concrete rules to apply, so it can be harder to find ways to help when students are struggling.

I have found, though, that many students who struggle with GRE Reading Comprehension aren’t actually struggling with the “reading” or the “comprehension” part (unless they struggle with English skills generally). No, the passages – though dense and often boring – are mostly ok. It’s answering the questions that’s a struggle!

RC questions can seem vague, and the answer choices can feel like a sphinx’s riddle. Often 2 or 3 answers choices may seem equally right, or maybe none of them seem right! So what should you do? Read more

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

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Manhattan Prep GRE Blog - GRE Vocab Words You Think You Know...But Don't 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.


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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Manhattan Prep GRE Blog - Are GRE Verbal Questions Subjective? 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.


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

Here’s How to Study with the Manhattan Prep—GRE® App

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Manhattan Prep GRE Blog - Here's How to Study with the Manhattan Prep GRE App by Chelsey CooleyDownload now for free!


The Manhattan Prep—GRE® app isn’t just for vocabulary — although it can certainly help you with that! Think of the app as a way to turn down time into study time. When you have time for a longer study session, use the Manhattan Prep Strategy Guides and the 5lb. Book of GRE Practice Problems. But, when you only have a few minutes, use the app to target a particular GRE® skill quickly. Read more

The GRE Verbal Golden Rule: No Stories

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Manhattan Prep GRE Blog - The GRE Verbal Golden Rule: No Stories by Ryan HopsonDid 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 is a very simple rule that I try hard to instill in all of my students. It will serve you well on all parts of the verbal section. It will help you in that most dire of text completion conundrums — the two words that both seem to make the sentence make sense. It will help you in sentence equivalence, when there are two oh-so-tempting pairs of answers, and you just can’t seem to judge between them. And most importantly, it will help you in reading comprehension, particularly in identifying the traps the test makers have so diabolically hidden for you. My verbal golden rule:

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Why Isn’t My Vocabulary Knowledge Helping Me on the GRE?

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Manhattan Prep GRE Blog - Why Isn't My Vocabulary Knowledge Helping Me on the GRE? 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.


You’re up to your ears in flashcards. You know the meanings of ‘nostrum’, ‘pelf’, and ‘maculated’. Maybe you’ve even used the spaced retrieval technique; here’s a piece that I wrote on this technique, and here’s another from my colleague, Céilidh Erickson. But when you take practice tests, your hard work with vocabulary doesn’t seem to be paying off. Why are you still missing GRE Text Completion and Sentence Equivalence problems? Read more