Tuesday, February 06, 2007

GRE Test Practice

[Rerun post! From November 2004, when the ol' ex-girlfriend was studying for the GREs; but still useful, I think. Sharpen those pencils!]
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GRE Practice Questions.

1.) If I did not see myself so close to ______ , surely I would consider myself _____ .

A. recompense . . . elated
B. vindication . . . unencumbered
C. desolation . . . parsimonious
D. dancing gnomes . . . sober

2.) As I desire to be your _____ , please take me under _____ .

A. progeny . . . consideration
B. associate . . . advisory
C. contemporary . . . tutelage
D. child’s mother . . . the dining room table

3.) The houses struck during the storm were _____ , so I believe the tornado was ____ .

A. reconstructed . . . spontaneous
B. dilapidated . . . meager
C. recondite . . . vigorous
D. not mine . . . entertaining

4.) In 1998, _____ led the American League with _____ home runs.

A. Jose Canseco . . . 46
B. Mark McGwire . . . 70
C. Rafael Palmeiro . . . 47
D. Ken Griffey Jr. . . . 56

5.) I cannot believe that the _____ president won the ______ election.

A. incumbent . . . statutory
B. former . . . penultimate
C. redoubtable . . . felicitous
D. fucking . . . fucking

1. D 2. D 3. D 4. D 5. D

Study Tip: When taking the GRE, bear in mind that the answer is always D!

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[I sent these to Nate, too, and he posted the following reply.]
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Very helpful. I present my own insights into standardized-test taking below:

I embrace an "incorrectness buffer" theory of verbal question answering, which holds that selections in the middle of the answer range, e.g. B or C, are correct, since incorrectness can only penetrate as far as the "outside" answers, A and D. When present at all, E is never correct, unless it is "all of the above", in which case it is always correct.

For questions that consist of straight-up mathematical calculations, the "incorrectness buffer" theory holds: Incorrectness is absorbed by the highest and lowest answers and will not penetrate into the values in the middle. Of the middle answers, choose the highest, since larger values tend to contain more correctness. A special case is an answer of 0, which should never be selected, unless you can intuitively identify the problem as a "trick question", in which case 0 should always be selected.

Many so-called "comparison" questions present two quantities, and offer the following answer selections:

A. Quantity I is greater
B. Quantity II is greater
C. The quantities are equal
D. The information given is insufficient to determine which quantity is greater

A simple rule of thumb here is to improve your guess by ruling out one of the answers. For instance, if you can rule out Quantity I, then clearly Quantity II must be greater, and vice versa. Answer C will be correct for some number of "trick questions" which you should try to identify intuitively; be especially wary of any quantities stated in English, rather than with numbers and/or variables. Under no circumstances should you answer D: Enough information to make a judgment is always provided, whether or not you can recognize it, and your professed ignorance will be regarded with contempt by the professional mathematicians who manually score your test.

Some questions present quantitative information, then three statements related to that information, and ask which combination of those three statements are correct, for example:

A. I only
B. I and II only
C. I and III only
D. I, II, and III
E. None of the above

These questions are designed to fuck with your head and should not be answered under any circumstances.

Figures marked "not to scale" are, in fact, usually to scale, and only labelled to the contrary to discourage you from taking full advantage of them. In the break time before the test begins you should fashion a tiny ruler and protractor out of scratch paper.

Today's GRE general tests include the composition of two short essays. Although specific guidelines and expectations are given for both each, your answers will quickly devolve into a jumbled presentation of your own knowledge of and opinions on the topic. Focus instead on writing as much as possible in the time allowed. Write exactly five paragraphs.

Remember to back up your assertions. Because you will not have access to specific texts or publications you should make reference to any of the following sources:
  • "Research"
  • "Studies"
  • "Theories"
  • "Experts"
  • "Sources"
  • George Orwell's "1984"
  • Personal experience (real or fabricated)
Many test takers complete half of an essay, only to feel an overwhelming sensation that their argument is exactly opposite to the correct one. This feeling is perfectly normal and you should not allow it to slow you down. Continue to compose your response as though you believed it to be true.

Pepper your essay liberally with connecting words such as "although", "however", and "therefore". Such words are evidence of the critical sentence-linking skills expected of today's graduate students, and the impoverished Ph.D. candidate or high school English teacher evaluating your exam on a Saturday afternoon will pounce on them as reason to give you a better-than-average score and quickly move on to the next essay in their to-do box. Note that such connecting words should be placed at the beginning of the second sentence being connected, not the end of the first.

Although creativity could arguably demonstrate your well-rounded and holistic intellectual abilities, you should refrain from answering your essay question in the form of a short story, from the point of view of an animal, or as though you were looking back on today's world from 100 years in the future.

Remember to leave enough time to go back to your opening paragraph and delete any sentences that you did not restate in your concluding paragraph.

. . . That got a little bit out of control, but deleting it at this point would be stupid. --Nate

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[A lot of our emails back and forth tended to end like that last line there.]


Blogger Nate said...

Could you correct the "both each" in the second sentence under "WRITING"? That bugs me every time I reread it.

2/06/2007 11:47 PM  

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