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Prepare for the GRE® with proven tools that bring learning into focus and provide exam practice for exam success. The GRE® Exam Cram includes:
The GRE® Exam Cram provides the most targeted, concise method of studying for the GRE® exam. Our proven exam training and preparation tools can help you be better prepared for your GRE® exam.
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Steve Dulan is founder and president of Advantage Education, a company offering courses on PSAT, ACT, SAT, GRE, GMAT, LSAT, Law School and Bar Review. Steve's background in teaching standardized testing classes is extensive, dating back to 1989 when he was an area director and master instructor for Kaplan, Inc. He has taught at various colleges on topics including all of the standardized tests taken by high school and college students. In addition to teaching, Steve has developed course material for Kaplan, Renaissance Learning, and Thomson-Peterson.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
Introduction: Getting Started
Introduction: Getting Started
This book includes general information about the GRE General Test and chapters with specific information on each of the test sections, as well as paper versions of two simulated tests.
In an ideal situation, you will be reading this at least 3 to 4 weeks before you take the actual GRE General Test. If that is not the case, even just a few hours of study and practice can have a positive impact on your GRE score.
The practice exams found in this book are reasonably accurate simulations written by GRE experts. They contain basically the same mix of question types as a real GRE. If you work through all the material provided, you can rest assured that there won't be any surprises on test day. The biggest difference between these exams and your real GRE is the fact that these are paper exams and you will take your GRE using a computer. We've tried to mimic the computer exam as much as possible. But, you should definitely plan to do some practicing with POWERPREP®, the free software from the author of the GRE that is made available at http://www.gre.org. Generally, students tend to score a little better on each successive practice exam. But, GRE tests are sensitive to individual conditions, such as fatigue and stress. Therefore, the time of day that you take your practice exams, your environment, and other things that might be going on in your life can have an impact on your scores. Don't get worried if you see some score fluctuation because of a bad day or because the practice exam reveals weaknesses in your knowledge or skills. Simply use this information to help you improve.
In our experience, the students who see the largest increases in their scores are those who put in consistent effort over several weeks. Try to keep your frustration to a minimum if you are struggling. In addition, try to keep from becoming overconfident when everything is going your way.
What This Book Will Not Do
This book will not prepare you for the GRE Subject Tests. This book is not a substitute for regular textbooks or course work. It will not teach you everything you need to know about the subject matter tested on the GRE General Test. Although the GRE is primarily considered a skills-based test, you will be required to have a basic understanding of certain mathematical concepts and standard written English. This book introduces you to some of those concepts, but it does not provide an in-depth review.
The focus of this book is on helping you to maximize your GRE General Test score. Each chapter includes specific test-taking strategies, some content area review, and practice questions.
About the GRE General Test
The GRE General Test is required by most institutions and programs granting Masters or Doctorate degrees (Ph.D.). It is not required by all programs. More competitive programs generally have higher score requirements. Some programs also require Subject Tests, which are beyond the scope of this volume. The GRE General Test is a computer-based test in four sections, including an experimental section, called the "pretest" section, which will be mixed in with the other sections as you take your test. It will appear as either a Verbal or Quantitative section. There might also be a "research" section, which will always be the final section presented if you have one included in your test. The answers on the pretest and research sections will not count toward your GRE score. The questions are meant to help ETS (Educational Testing Service) refine their methods and try out new material that may be included in future GRE tests. The pretest is not identified. It will seem like just another test section as you work through it. So, you have to do your best on all sections. The research section, if you have one on your test, will be identified as such.
The whole testing process will take at least 3 hours, and might be a bit longer if you have a research section. The first section is always the Analytical Writing Section, which consists of two tasks: the Issue task and the Argument task. On the Issue task, you get to choose one of two topics on which to write. On the Argument task, you do not get a choice. There is only one argument presented and you must respond to it in writing using the word processor that is built in to the GRE software.
The basic time breakdown is as follows (note that all sections after Analytical Writing can appear in any order on your test):
Issue Task—45 minutes
Argument Task—30 minutes
30 Questions—30 minutes
Quantitative (Math) Section:
28 Questions—45 minutes
Pretest (experimental Verbal or Quantitative): Time and number of questions vary, but you will be told both as you begin the section.
Research: Time and number of questions vary. Your GRE might not include this section.
Caution - Your GRE may include questions that are the same or similar to released GRE questions that appear on POWERPREP® or in official GRE publications, such as Practicing to Take the General Test, 10th Edition (ETS, 2002). Be very careful when responding to these questions because they might be slightly different from the questions that you may remember. There might be different facts in the stimuli and there might be different answer choices.
The GRE is a Computer Adaptive Test (CAT). The software starts you off with a medium-difficulty question and then adapts to you for the second and all subsequent questions. Essentially, the exam chooses an easier question, which is worth fewer points, if you get the first question wrong. If you get the first one right, the second question will be harder and worth more points, and so on. If you keep answering questions correctly, the software will continue to present questions that are in the more difficult range and your score will reflect that fact.
Because the computer program chooses questions based on your previous responses, you have to answer each question as it is presented before you are allowed to move on. You cannot skip around through the section, or change answers after you have left a question.
The questions are very well documented, in terms of their difficulty level, before they are included in your test. For this reason, GRE feels confident in assigning scores to students that can be compared to one another even though the students answered different questions on their respective tests. In fact, ETS reports that scores for students taking the computer-based test and the paper-based test are comparable to one another.
Our experience has shown that test takers need a bit of time to get used to answering the questions in order. Many test takers are used to other standardized tests, such as the ACT and SAT, which allow the test taker to skip around and come back to answer more difficult questions if time allows. As mentioned previously, the GRE General Test requires that you answer a question before you are allowed to move on to the next question. Therefore, we strongly recommend practicing with POWERPREP® before taking your actual GRE.
Although there is still a paper-based GRE test, it is generally not available to students within the United States. If you are going to be taking the GRE General Test outside the United States, visit the GRE website at http://www.gre.org for detailed information on test dates and locations.
Registering for the GRE General Test
You can register to take the GRE on the World Wide Web, by telephone, or by U.S. mail. You will schedule your GRE test on a first-come, first-served basis at a testing location near you. The test is offered throughout the year at many locations around the United States. The GRE is also given in many countries. The full list, and other registration details, can be found online at http://www.gre.org. You can register via telephone by calling 1-800-GRE-CALL (1-800-473-2255). Registrations sent by mail can take up to four weeks to process and can only be done by sending the appropriate forms, either printed from the GRE website or found in the GRE Bulletin. The latter is available at many college counseling offices.
After you register you will receive detailed information about your testing center and you will receive free test prep materials, including the POWERPREP® software mentioned previously.
Note - There is a limit of one GRE per calendar month and a maximum of five tests within any 12-month period. When you send your GRE scores to schools, they see all scores from all GREs you have taken within the past five years. You cannot choose to only reveal scores from a certain test date.
Scoring the GRE General Test
The process for scoring the CAT version of the GRE is similar to the process for scoring the traditional paper-based GRE: The number of questions answered correctly is adjusted according to the difficulty level of the questions on each particular test. However, with adaptive testing, the scoring process incorporates the statistical properties of the questions, the test taker's performance on the questions, and the number of questions that are answered. Depending on how you progress through the exam, you might be presented with fewer questions than another test taker might be presented with.
You can select up to four institutions to receive your score report. Score reports will be sent to you and the institutions selected within 10 to 15 days after you complete the test.
A Note on Scoring the Practice Exams
Because actual GRE tests are scored with scales that are unique to each test form, we have not included specific scoring information for the simulated practice tests in this book. After you work through this book, we suggest that you take additional practice exams with the official POWERPREP® software. It contains the same scoring "engine" as the real GRE exam and can give you a very good idea of how you should expect to do on test day. At this stage, and throughout most of your practice, you should not get overly worried about your test scores; your goal should be to learn something from every practice experience and to get used to the format and types of questions on the GRE.
The General Test Analytical Writing Section
Each essay receives a score from two highly trained readers using a six-point holistic scale. This means that the readers are trained to assign a score based on the overall quality of an essay in response to a specific task. If the two scores differ by more than one point on the scale, a third reader steps in to resolve the discrepancy. In this case, the first two scores are dropped and the score given by the third reader is used. Otherwise, the scores from the two readers are averaged so that a single score from 0 to 6 (in half-point increments) is reported. If no essay response is given, a No Score (NS) is reported for this section. If an essay response is provided for one of the two writing tasks, the task for which no response is written receives a score of zero. Scoring guides are available at http://www.gre.org.
The General Test Verbal and Quantitative Sections
These scores will depend on your specific performance on the questions given as well as the number of questions answered in the allotted time. The Verbal and Quantitative scores are reported on a 200–800 score scale, in 10-point increments. Each section receives a separate score. If you answer no questions at all in either section, a No Score (NS) is reported.
Preparing for the GRE
When using this book for GRE preparation, the Self-Assessment should be your first step. It will help you to focus on areas of strength and weakness in your knowledge base and skill set. Using what you learned from your initial self-assessment, you should then work through each chapter noting the examples and answering all practice questions you encounter.
There is a detailed explanation for each of the practice questions in this book. You will probably not need to read each and every one of them. Sometimes, when you look back over a practice exam that you took, you can tell right away why you got a particular question wrong. We have heard many students call these errors "stupid mistakes." We suggest that you refer to these errors as "concentration errors." Everyone makes them from time to time, and you should not get overly upset or concerned when they occur. There is a good chance that your focus will be much better on the real test as long as you train yourself properly using this book.
Pay close attention to any questions that you get wrong because of a lack of understanding or holes in your knowledge base. If you have the time, it is probably worth reading the explanations for any of these questions you got wrong due to a lack of understanding. In fact, it is worth your time to read the explanation to any questions that were at all difficult for you—even questions you might have answered correctly. Sometimes students get questions correct but for the wrong reasons, or because they simply guessed correctly. While you are practicing, you should mark any questions that you want to recheck and be sure...
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