Manhattan Prep GRE Blog

The Math Beast Challenge Problem of the Week – December 19th, 2011

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Math BeastEach week, we post a new Challenge Problem for you to attempt. If you submit the correct answer, you will be entered into that week’s drawing for two free Manhattan Prep GRE Strategy Guides.

challenge problem image 1

challenge problem image 2

If the pharmaceutical division spends $720,000 on legal expenses, and the chemicals division spends between a third and a half as much on legal expenses as the pharmaceuticals division does, which of the following could be the total expenses of the chemical division

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Visual Dictionary: Turgid

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tomatoIt’s been awhile since we’ve done a Visual Dictionary post, but let’s take on the word turgid:

Turgid (adj)
1. swollen; distended; tumid.
2. inflated, overblown, or pompous; bombastic: turgid language.

What would you describe as turgid (or its synonym, tumid)?

Reader Thomas M. writes:

“My withering tomato plants became turgid and vibrant after yesterday’s rain. An heirloom tomato becomes so turgid that it will split open with ripe juices … the best tomato you’ll ever taste. Isn’t it amazing how a succulent plant like the aloe vera plant stays turgid in the arid desert, while a plant native to our climate would wilt and wither in the desert?”
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2011 GRE FAQs

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As 2011 draws to a close, we thought it best to take a look back at the year. 2011 was a big year here at Manhattan GRE. On August, 1st the Revised GRE came out, and in preparation for that change we released our 2nd edition strategy guides. We also revamped our website and unveiled a new logo. With all of these changes going on we got a lot more student questions than normal, so I thought I’d recap some of the questions our students asked most often this past year.

1. What is the new 1000?

On the old GRE scale (400-1600) the score of 1000 was commonly thrown around as a cutoff score below which your chances of graduate school acceptance were severely impeded. Based on our research this score cutoff was something of a myth, but it was very widely believed. Sure, certain schools asked for it, but in reality, 1000 just sounded like a nice number and didn’t really say much about an applicant’s ability level. (For instance, a perfect 800 quant score and the worst possible verbal score of 200 added up to 1000, the same way two 500s do, but those candidates would be extremely different.)

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Facetiously Fatuous or Fatuously Facetious?

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dotThe English language has a lot of words for being less than serious.

Some of those words describe smart, sarcastic people (Dorothy Parker had a mordant wit), and some describe silly, foolish people (I find most of the humor in Everybody Loves Raymond to be unbearably fatuous).

Jocular, jocose, and jocund are three very similar-sounding synonyms that just mean “joking around.”

Waggish means “roguish in merriment and good humor; jocular.”

Facetious means “not meant to be taken seriously or literally.”

When I said that that burned grilled cheese you made me was the most sophisticated meal I’d ever eaten, I was being facetious. I mean, Kraft singles?

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Divisibility and Primes: Seeing Stars

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Divisibility and Primes is an important GRE issue that is covered extensively in our Number Properties Strategy Guide. Check out this fantastic video on the topic:

//www.youtube.com/watch?v=CfJzrmS9UfY

Incidentally, the video refers to the boredom you might experience from your teacher’s “soporific” voice. “Soporific” means “inducing sleep,” either in a medical sense or in the sense of not expressing why factoring is actually very exciting.

Here’s a related problem on Divisibility and Primes. Try to solve it yourself before clicking “More.”

If the greatest common factor of 27 and x is 9, which of the following could be x?

Select all that apply.

9
12
18
45
54
81

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The Math Beast Challenge Problem of the Week – December 5th, 2011

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Math BeastEach week, we post a new Challenge Problem for you to attempt. If you submit the correct answer, you will be entered into that week’s drawing for two free Manhattan Prep GRE Strategy Guides.

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Quantity A
abc

Quantity B
h(a2+b2)

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The Math Beast Challenge Problem of the Week – November 28th, 2011

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Math BeastEach week, we post a new Challenge Problem for you to attempt. If you submit the correct answer, you will be entered into that week’s drawing for two free Manhattan Prep GRE Strategy Guides.

Joseph has 8 friends. Some of these 8 friends know each other, as follows: Mary knows Dave and Edgar, who also know each other. Edgar, in addition to knowing Mary, knows Lea, Juan, and Greg, none of whom know each other. If Joseph would like to introduce each of his friends to all of his other friends whom that friend does not already know, how many introductions will Joseph have to make?

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3 Tips for Studying the GRE over Thanksgiving Break

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With most grad school applications due sometime between December and January, we hear about a lot of students who have to take the GRE soon after Thanksgiving weekend. I’m sure that a number of you reading this will have to spend your precious holiday break poring over GRE practice materials, only breaking to pour gravy over your Thanksgiving feast.

manhattan prep gre gravy

WARNING: Do not confuse poring with pouring

To help you with your studies we have come up with the three key tips for holiday studying (four if you count the sagacious caption above).

1.) Read the Recipes Aloud to the Chef

This is not just a ploy to force you to help in the kitchen, we swear. If you are lucky enough to have someone cooking for you, and they don’t mind having another body in their kitchen during prep time, offer to help read them the recipes they are using and to help measure out ingredients. A lot of the GRE word problems involve skills that are similar to recipe reading (manipulating numbers that are pulled out of a passage of text). Also, the simple numbers involved in recipe measurements are similar to the simple arithmetic that many GRE quant problems demand. The time spent adding, subtracting, and measuring food will help you hone your speed and comfort with simple calculations for the GRE.
GRE Quant? No big deal.

2.) Study Early on Thanksgiving

Martha Stewart

In a previous post we talked about how diet can impact your ability to retain information. While a Thanksgiving splurge isn’t going to derail your study ability long term, people often spend Thanksgiving consuming large amounts of food and possibly imbibing some alcohol. Whatever your holiday routine, you are probably going to be more able to study on Thanksgiving morning than you will be after your sixth slice of pumpkin pie. Instead of watching the Thanksgiving Day Parade, try to fit in your studying early so that you can spend the afternoon stuffing yourself with yams.

3.) Don’t Overdo It

The key to successful holiday studies might just be to take it easy. Studying on the holidays is a good idea, but we’d suggest that you try to follow your normal study patterns. Just as taking a few days off for the holidays would be a waste of study time, using the time off to cram could burn you out. Try to pretend that the holiday break is just a normal weekend, and study accordingly. I know that Thanksgiving is usually not a time for moderation, but try to allow your even-keeled study habits to act as a temperate middle ground between for your gluttonous eating and your post-feast state of torpor.

Pictured: the antonym of moderation

In closing, we advise that you do some studying in the morning, then help measure out flour in the kitchen, and after that, leave your books alone for the rest of the day. After all, the Cowboys are playing the Dolphins this Thanksgiving, and we all know that one of the most important lessons ever taught on Thanksgiving was when Leon Lett showed us all that it is sometimes best to just leave it alone.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

The Math Beast Challenge Problem of the Week – November 21th, 2011

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Math BeastEach week, we post a new Challenge Problem for you to attempt. If you submit the correct answer, you will be entered into that week’s drawing for two free Manhattan Prep GRE Strategy Guides.

An online bank verifies customers’ ownership of external bank accounts by making both a small deposit and a small debit from each customer’s external account, and asking the customer to verify the amounts. In 70% of these exchanges, the deposit and debit are within two cents of one another (for example, a deposit of $0.18 and a debit of $0.16, or a deposit of $0.37 and a debit of $0.38), and the deposit and debit are always within five cents of one another. During one week, the online bank attempts to verify 6,000 accounts in this manner, but 0.5% of the transactions do not go through, and thus no money is transferred. What is the maximum amount, in dollars, that the account verification system could have cost the bank that week?

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Video Games and GRE Prep

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We recently read a great article over at Gradhacker titled: Gaming Grad School. This article analyzes the question that plagues us all: why do we find it so easy to spend 14 straight hours launching plasma grenades at aliens (or birds at pigs, or batarangs at clowns, or Tetris blocks at other Tetris blocks), but so hard to spend the same amount of time on our studies?

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