Articles tagged "Tips"

Build your GRE vocabulary with science: spaced retrieval


Blog-Spaced RetrievalThere’s a better way to learn GRE vocabulary, and it’s based on scientific principles that have been demonstrated by researchers since the 1800s. It’s called spaced retrieval, and the basic idea is this: Read more

Should I take the GRE or the GMAT?


GMAT or GREMost business schools now accept both the GRE and the GMAT, so which one should you take? I’ve written on the topic before but it’s been nearly a year and I’ve got some updates.

The conventional wisdom has been that the math is easier on the GRE. Though many schools do accept the GRE, rumors abound that students who take this test are at a bit of a disadvantage because they are expected to do better on the (easier) quant section. Anecdotally, we have heard a few admissions officers admit that they do think about this (strictly off the record, of course). Most admissions officers, though, have said this doesn’t matter to them at all, including several officers at the top 10 schools.

So we’ve come up with a series of decisions to help you make this choice. The first three questions are “deal-breakers”—that is, a certain answer will point you definitively to a specific test (the GMAT, as it happens). The fourth question is…murkier. We’ll address that in a little bit.

#1: Do all of “your” schools accept the GRE?

This one is obvious. All business schools (that ask for a standardized test score) accept the GMAT. Most—but not all—accept the GRE. If you want to apply to any schools that require the GMAT, such as London Business School MBA (at the time of this publication), then you’ll be taking the GMAT.

#2: Do any of “your” schools prefer the GMAT?

Most schools that accept both tests don’t express a preference between the two. Some schools, though, do say that the prefer the GMAT. They publish this preference right on their web site, so go look up all of your schools and see what they say about the GMAT / GRE requirement for admissions.

As of the date of this article, Columbia, Haas (Berkeley) and Anderson (UCLA) all state that they prefer the GMAT, even though they do accept the GRE. If you want to apply to one of these schools, I recommend that you take the GMAT. (Note: these aren’t the only three schools that prefer the GMAT; I just picked out the three most well-known ones that do. You still need to research your schools!)

#3: Do you want to go into banking or management consulting after b-school?

The major banks and consulting firms ask for GMAT scores when you apply. (Some of them even ask for undergraduate GPA and SAT scores. I think that data is irrelevant after someone has a b-school GPA and GMAT scores but I’m not the one making the hiring decisions!)
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Want a Better GRE Score? Go to Sleep!


2-12-Sleep-GREThis is going to be a short post. It will also possibly have the biggest impact on your study of anything you do all day (or all month!).

When people ramp up to study for the GRE, they typically find the time to study by cutting down on other activities—no more Thursday night happy hour with the gang or Sunday brunch with the family until the test is over.

There are two activities, though, that you should never cut—and, unfortunately, I talk to students every day who do cut these two activities. I hear this so much that I abandoned what I was going to cover today and wrote this instead. We’re not going to cover any problems or discuss specific test strategies in this article. We’re going to discuss something infinitely more important!

#1: You must get a full night’s sleep

Period. Never cut your sleep in order to study for this test. NEVER.

Your brain does not work as well when trying to function on less sleep than it needs. You know this already. Think back to those times that you pulled an all-nighter to study for a final or get a client presentation out the door. You may have felt as though you were flying high in the moment, adrenaline coursing through your veins. Afterwards, though, your brain felt fuzzy and slow. Worse, you don’t really have great memories of exactly what you did—maybe you did okay on the test that morning, but afterwards, it was as though you’d never studied the material at all.

There are two broad (and very negative) symptoms of this mental fatigue that you need to avoid when studying for the GRE (and doing other mentally-taxing things in life). First, when you are mentally fatigued, you can’t function as well as normal in the moment. You’re going to make more careless mistakes and you’re just going to think more slowly and painfully than usual.
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Text Completion and Sentence Equivalence: A Little Grammar Does a World of Good (Part 3)


2-19-Grammar-PtIII-2In a way, the environmental movement can still be said to be _________ movement, for while it has been around for decades, only recently has it become a serious organization associated with political parties and platforms.

The above sentence is a SE example from the 5Lb Book of GRE Practice Problems, #89.  Today’s discussion explores a third element of sentence structure that is easily overlooked – pronouns!  They can greatly help you clarify the meaning of a sentence.  (And if you didn’t notice already, do you see what I did in the previous sentence?  They – did this pronoun catch your eye?)

The challenge with pronouns isn’t that they are difficult to address, it’s that they are nearly invisible to us, because we have spent our entire adult lives ignoring them when we read and speak.  As a test, how many pronouns have I used just in this short paragraph?

Here’s one way I want you to ‘see’ the earlier SE example:

In a way, the environmental movement can still be said to be ________ movement, for while it has been around for decades, only recently has it become a serious organization associated with political parties and platforms.

Stop mid-sentence, and address those ‘it’s.  This mental exercise is not about finding the target, clues, and pivots, although you should be aware a pronoun could certainly be the target.  This is about making sure you understand the sentence.  Mentally, you should read the sentence as
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GRE Text Completion and Sentence Equivalence: A Little Grammar Does a World of Good (Part 2)


2-17-GrammarPtIISo, in my last post, I discussed finding the core sentence, using punctuation to help us break a sentence into manageable chunks.  We looked at two sentences; I’ve re-copied one of them below.

The director’s commercially-motivated attempts to (i)_______ the imperatives of the mass marketplace were (ii)_______, as evidenced by the critical acclaim but low attendance garnered by his film.

We focused on how the comma breaks the sentence in half: one half is the actual core sentence, and the other half describes how the director’s attempts were critically, but not commercially, successful.

This time, let’s dive into what’s happening with that first blank, and now I’ll give you the answer options:




Many, many students in my classes choose ‘secure’, and that really puzzled me.  If a class doesn’t know the answer, there’s usually a fairly even division among the choices.  What I saw wasn’t students guessing; they thought they had the correct choice in ‘secure’.  Somehow, the third option was a trap.  How?

I have a theory: ‘secure’ is a trap because students link the first blank to the wrong element, the wrong target.  I think many students link that first blank to the word ‘marketplace’, and then think about how someone would want to ‘secure’ a ‘market’ for a product (in this case, a film).
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Break Your “Good” Study Habits! What Learning Science Can Teach Us About Effective GRE Studying


2-6-HabitsDistractions are bad. Routine, concentration, and hard work are good. These all seem like common-sense rules for studying, right? Surprisingly (for many people, at least), learning science tells us that these “good habits” may actually be hurting your learning process!

When you were in college, your study process probably looked something like this: for a given class, you’d attend a lecture each week, do the readings (or at least most of them), and maybe turn in an assignment or problem set. Then, at the end of the semester, you’d spend a week furiously cramming all of that information to prepare for the test.

Since this is the way you’ve always studied, it’s probably how you’re approaching the GRE, too. But I have bad news: this is not an effective approach for the GRE!

Taking notes then cramming the night before the test is beneficial for tests that ask you to recite knowledge: “what were the major consequences of the Hawley-Smoot tariff” or “explain Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle.” You can hold a lot of facts  -for a brief time – in your short-term memory when cramming. You memorize facts, you spit them out for the test… and then, if you’re like me, you find that you’ve forgotten half of what you memorized by the next semester.

Why the GRE is Different

The GRE doesn’t reward this style of studying because it’s not simply a test of facts or knowledge. The GRE requires you to know a lot of rules, of course, but the main thing that it’s testing is your ability to apply those concepts to new problems, to adapt familiar patterns, and to use strategic decision-making. You’ll never see the same problem twice. Even with vocabulary, you need a robust understanding of words, not just memorized definitions.
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Friday Links: Career Planning in Grad School, Procrastination Tips, & More!


Stack of newspapersHere’s our weekly roundup of grad school tips and news links. Happy Friday and happy reading!

Graduate Students Can Study Law Without Earning a Juris Doctor (Graduate Guide)

For individuals looking to learn about the U.S. legal system but do not want to earn a Juris Doctor, a credential like a Master of Laws (LLM) may be ideal.

Beat Procrastination with (10+2)*5 ( Graduate School)

Here’s a cool technique for conquering your procrastination habits. Pull out your trusty timer and apply the (10+2)*5 formula.

Get a Head Start on Career Planning in Graduate School (U.S. News Education)

Graduate school is an ideal time to undergo mock interviews and prepare for finding employment after graduation.

Grad Schools Less Likely To Admit Applicants With High BMIs: Why People Unconsciously Correlate Weight With Success (Medical Daily)

A new study finds that applicants with higher BMIs are less likely to be admitted after in-person interviews with graduate schools.

Did we miss your favorite article from the week? Let us know what you’ve been reading in the comments or tweet @ManhattanPrep.

Friday Links: Online Graduate Classes, Productivity Tools, & More!


iStock_000012778309XSmallHappy Friday and happy Fourth of July Weekend! Here’s our weekly roundup of grad school news and tips:

Leverage International Roots for U.S. Grad School Applications (U.S. News Education)

Emphasizing cultural differences is a natural way prospective international graduate students can craft unique applications.

What is an Online Graduate Class Like? ( Graduate School)

Online classes hold some similarities with traditional on-ground courses, but there are also many differences.

6 Important Things Nobody Tells You About Grad School (Cracked)

If you’re considering or already in postgrad work, take some helpful advice from someone who already has two and a half postgraduate degrees under his belt.

Policing Your Productivity: 7 Tools to Help You Focus (Entrepreneur)

Are you easily distracted by social media and entertainment sites? Keep your focus, especially when it’s time to study, with these helpful programs.

Did we miss your favorite article from the week? Let us know what you’ve been reading in the comments or tweet @ManhattanPrep

Friday Links: International Applicants, Brain Training, and More!


LSAT GlassesHappy Friday! Here’s our weekly roundup of grad school tips and news links:

Should You Go to Graduate School? ( Graduate School)

In-depth soul-searching is unpleasant, but vital to making a choice you can live with for the next two to seven years. Consider the following questions from

How Grad School Officials Evaluate International Applicants (U.S. News Education)

Graduate school admissions officials have to consider enrollment goals when looking at international student applications.

Grad Student Lived on a Boat for 14 Months to Escape Student Loan Debt (Business Insider)

UK native Joe Pearce, 23, took extreme measures to stay debt-free while attending graduate school ” he lived on a boat.

Explanation: How Brain Training Can Make You Significantly Smarter (First To Know)

The brain needs exercise in much the same way our muscles do, and the right mental workouts can significantly improve our basic cognitive functions.

Lessons for Parents of International Grad Students (U.S. News Education)

Parents of prospective international students should involve their children in the graduate school selection process.

Did we miss your favorite article from the week? Let us know what you’ve been reading in the comments or tweet @ManhattanPrep

Friday Links: Sleep in Grad School, Tips for Productivity, and More!


Laptop with cloud of application iconsIt’s that time of the week to catch up on some of the top grad school tips and news links from the week. Happy reading!

Sleep in Graduate School: Why Depriving Yourself of Sleep is a Terrible Idea (Grad Hacker)

Cutting back on sleep is never a good solution to getting your work done. In fact the opposite is true: healthy, sound sleep can be your key to success in graduate school.

Overwhelmed with End-of-the Semester Tasks? ( Graduate Schol

Whether you’re already in grad school or finishing up the Spring Semester in college, these final weeks can be very overwhelming. Here are some tips to ease the stress.

The Impossible Decision (The New Yorker)

Now that it’s springtime, college students who received acceptance letters to graduate school need to answer the complicated, inevitable question: To go, or not to go?

12 Tips For Increasing Productivity (Forbes)

Forbes has some good news”productivity is something that can be continuously improved. Here are some great pointers to help you focus your efforts and plan intelligently.

Did we miss your favorite article from the week? Let us know what you’ve been reading in the comments or tweet @ManhattanPrep