GRE Prep 2023 For Dummies with Online Practice book cover

GRE Prep 2023 For Dummies with Online Practice

Published: June 21, 2022

Overview

Prepare efficiently and effectively for the Graduate Record Examination

The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is the most widely accepted graduate-school admissions test in the world. Over half a million people take the test every year. GRE Prep 2023 For Dummies with Online Practice is filled with useful, hands-on practice materials to help you reach your goals on this standardized test. The book teaches the verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, critical thinking, and analytical writing skills required in graduate school and on the exam, so that you can get into the school of your choice — even with a scholarship — and start your journey towards the career that you want.

In the book, you’ll find:

  • Updated strategies for acing text completion questions and learning words with common roots
  • Practice for finding synonyms in sentence equivalence questions and argument analysis deconstructions
  • Advanced techniques for reading comprehension questions
  • Proven strategies for acing the math sections
  • Step-by-step instructions for writing killer issue and argument essays

Perfect for prospective graduate students seeking to take the GRE, GRE Prep 2023 For Dummies with Online Practice is a must-read handbook containing detailed content information, strategies for improving your score and testing well, along with plenty of opportunities to practice what you’ve learned.

Prepare efficiently and effectively for the Graduate Record Examination

The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is the most widely accepted graduate-school admissions test in the world. Over half a million people take the test every year. GRE Prep 2023 For Dummies with Online Practice is filled with useful, hands-on practice materials to help you reach your goals on this standardized test. The book teaches the verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, critical thinking, and analytical writing skills required in graduate school and on the exam, so that you can get into the school of your choice — even with a scholarship — and start your journey towards the career that you want.

In the book, you’ll find:

  • Updated strategies for acing text completion questions and learning words with common roots
  • Practice for finding synonyms in sentence equivalence questions and argument analysis deconstructions
  • Advanced techniques for reading comprehension questions
  • Proven strategies for acing the math sections
  • Step-by-step instructions for writing killer issue and argument essays
  • Perfect for prospective graduate students seeking to take the GRE, GRE Prep 2023 For Dummies with Online Practice is a must-read handbook containing detailed content information, strategies for improving your score and testing well, along with plenty of opportunities to practice what you’ve learned.

    GRE 2023 For Dummies Cheat Sheet

    The Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) is your gateway to getting into the graduate school of your choice, maybe even with a scholarship, and then the doors to your career path are open wide. This Cheat Sheet is a collection of tips and key information that can help you score well on the GRE, get into graduate school, and further your career goals.

    Articles From The Book

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    GRE Articles

    Lines and Angles on the GRE Test

    Geometry is all about shapes: lines, angles, triangles, rectangles, squares, circles, cubes, and more. This article introduces you to the many basic shapes you’re likely to encounter on the graduate record examination (GRE) along with the strategies and equations that you’ll need to answer the questions. You also get hands-on practice answering a few example questions. The main parts of most of these shapes are lines and angles, so start with these.

    GRE images are typically drawn close to scale, well enough for you to get a sense of what’s going on in the drawing. The drawing or the description will always tell you everything that you need (such as side lengths, parallel sides, right-angle boxes), so whether it’s drawn to scale really doesn’t factor in. You wouldn’t eyeball the answer anyway, so always look in the description for clues to unravel the drawing. On that note, if the drawing has a label that reads, “Figure not drawn to scale,” then it’s way off.

    Lines

    You’ve probably heard the term straight line, but in geometry, that’s redundant. By definition, a line is straight. If it curves, it’s not a line. Once in a while the GRE splits lines — er, hairs — and forces you to consider whether the line goes on forever in both directions, is a line segment, or has one endpoint and an arrow at the other end, making it a ray that goes on in one direction. But most of the time, don’t worry about it: You can usually solve the problem without worrying about how far the line goes. Parallel lines don’t cross and are represented by the symbol, Ρ. Perpendicular lines cross at right angles and are represented by the symbol . A perpendicular bisector is a line that both passes through the midpoint of a line segment and is perpendicular to it.

    Angles

    Angles are a common part of GRE geometry problems. An angle is the space between two lines or segments that cross or share an endpoint. Fortunately, there’s not much to understanding angles when you know the different types of angles and a few key concepts. Finding an angle is usually a matter of simple addition or subtraction. Besides the rules in the following sections, these three rules apply to the angles on the GRE:
    • Angles can’t be negative.
    • Angles can’t be 0 degrees or 180 degrees.
    • Fractional angles, such as degrees or 179.5 degrees, are rare on the GRE. Angles are typically whole numbers, rounded to be easy to work with. If you’re plugging in a number for an angle, plug in a whole number, such as 30, 45, or 90.

    Right angle

    Right angles equal 90 degrees and are represented by perpendicular lines with a small box where the two lines meet.

    Watch out for lines that appear to be perpendicular but really aren’t. An angle is a right angle only if the description reads, “the lines (or segments) are perpendicular” or you see the box in the angle (which is the most common). Otherwise, you can’t assume the angle is 90 degrees.

    Other than the words “right angle” and “bisect,” you will probably not see the following terms, so don’t worry about memorizing words such as “obtuse” or “supplementary.” But, review the definitions so that you understand how the angles work, because that’s the key to solving almost any GRE angle problem.

    Acute angle

    An acute angle is any angle greater than 0 degrees but less than 90 degrees.

    Obtuse angle

    An obtuse angle is any angle greater than 90 degrees but less than 180 degrees.

    Complementary angles

    Together, complementary angles form a right angle: 90 degrees.

    Supplementary angles

    Together, supplementary angles form a straight line: 180 degrees.

    Vertical angles

    Vertical angles are formed when two lines cross, and they always have equal measures.

    Bisectors

    A bisector, or line that bisects, cuts directly down the middle, and this is a term that you need to know. Yes, more vocab. If a line (or segment) bisects an angle, it divides that angle into two equal angles; if a first segment bisects a second segment, the first one cuts the second one perfectly in half. And if the first segment bisects the second segment at 90°, then it is a perpendicular bisector as mentioned previously, and yes, the GRE will expect you to know what that is. Don’t worry though — there will almost always be a drawing.

    Other key points

    Angles around a point total 360 degrees, just as in a circle. A line that cuts through two parallel lines forms two sets of four equal angles. In this drawing, all the x’s are the same, and all the y’s are the same.

    See also, "GRE Sample Math-Test Questions: Geometry," for some practice questions dealing with these concepts.

    GRE Articles

    Brush Up on Prefixes, Suffixes, and Roots for the GRE Test

    You can’t get around it: You absolutely must know vocabulary to do well on the graduate record examination (GRE). The GRE tests your grasp of commonly used academic and intellectual vocabulary words. Mastering prefixes, suffixes, and word roots can bump up your Verbal score significantly. Although prefixes and suffixes abound, the ones discussed here are the most common. Take the time to memorize them.

    If English isn’t your first language, vocabulary may be the hardest part of the exam for you. Using roots, prefixes, and suffixes to tell a word’s meaning can help you.

    Prefixes to know when taking the GRE

    A prefix is one or more letters at the beginning of a word that alters its meaning. For example, if a feat is possible, then you can do it. With a simple prefix, you can change that feat to impossible, meaning you can’t do it. Knowing that in this case im- means not, you can narrow down the possible meanings of a word starting with im-, such as impermeable. Whatever the word is, the im- usually stands for not. (Because permeate means to pass through, impermeable means not capable of being passed through.) Following are the most common prefixes you need to know with several related examples:
    • a-/an- = not or without: Someone amoral is without morals or conscience; someone atypical isn’t typical or normal. Someone apathetic is uncaring or without feeling. Similarly, an anaerobic environment is without oxygen, and anarchy is without rule or government.
    • ambi- = dual: Someone ambidextrous uses both left and right hands equally well; an ambivert is both introverted and extroverted. Something ambiguous has dual meanings, but that word typically refers to something that’s unclear.
    • ante- = before: When the clock reads 5 a.m., the m. stands for ante meridiem, which means before the middle of the day. Antebellum means before the war. Tara in Gone with the Wind was an antebellum mansion, built before the Civil War.
    • ben-/bon- = good: A benefit is something that has a good result, an advantage. Someone benevolent is good and kind. Bon voyage means have a good voyage; a bon vivant is a person who lives the good life.
    • contra- = against: A medical treatment that’s contraindicated for a certain condition is something that would make the condition worse, not better. Contravene means to deny or oppose.
    • de- = down from, away from (to put down): To descend or depart is to go down from or away from. To denounce is to put down or to speak badly of, and demote means to reduce in rank or stature.

    Many unknown words on the GRE that start with de- mean to put down in the sense of to criticize or bad-mouth. Here are a few more: demean, denounce, denigrate, derogate, deprecate, and decry.

    • eu- = good: A eulogy is a good speech, usually given for the dearly departed at a funeral. A euphemism is a good way of saying something or a polite expression, like saying, “Oh, dang!” instead of using certain other words.
    • ex- = out of, away from: An exit is literally out of or away from it — ex-it. (The word exit is probably one of the most logical words around.) To extricate is to get out of something. To exculpate is to let off the hook — literally to make away from guilt, as culp means guilt.
    • im-/in- = not: Something impossible isn’t possible — it just can’t happen. Someone immortal isn’t going to die but will live forever, because mortal means able to die. Someone implacable can’t be calmed down, because placate means to ease one’s anger. Similarly, something inappropriate isn’t appropriate, and someone inept isn’t adept, meaning he’s not skillful. Someone who’s insolvent has no money and is bankrupt, like most students after four years of college.

    Note that im- and in- can also mean into — (immerse means to put into), inside (innate means something born inside of you), or beginning (as in initial) — but these meanings are less common.

    • ne-/mal- = bad: Something negative is bad, like a negative attitude. Someone nefarious is full of bad, or wicked and evil; you may read about a nefarious wizard in a fantasy novel. Something malicious also is full of bad, or wicked and harmful, such as a malicious rumor.
    • post- = after: When the clock reads 5 p.m., the m. stands for post meridiem, which means after the middle of the day. Something postmortem occurs after death.

    There’s an exception to every prefix. For example, a-/an- may mean the opposite in most contexts, but with the word aver, it does not refer to the opposite of ver, which means truth. The prefix ambi- may refer to dual, but someone ambitious doesn’t necessarily have dual goals.

    Suffixes you should know before taking the GRE

    A suffix is usually three or four letters at the end of a word that give the word a specific inflection or change its type, such as from a verb to an adjective; for example, to transform the verb study into the adjective studious, you change the y to i and add the suffix -ous. Following are some common suffixes along with related examples:
    • -ate = to make: To duplicate is to make double. To renovate is to make new again (nov means new). To placate is to make peaceful or calm (plac means peace or calm).
    • -ette = little: A cigarette is a little cigar. A dinette table is a little dining table. A coquette is a little flirt (literally, a little chicken, but that doesn’t sound as pretty).
    • -illo = little: An armadillo is a little armored animal. A peccadillo is a little sin. (You might know that pecar means “to sin.”)
    • -ify (-efy) = to make: To beautify is to make beautiful. To ossify is to become rigid or make bone. (If you break your wrist, it takes weeks to ossify again, or for the bone to regenerate.) To deify is to make into a deity, a god. To liquefy is to turn a solid into a liquid.
    • -ist = a person: A typist is a person who types. A pugilist is a person who fights, a boxer (pug means war or fight). A pacifist is a person who believes in peace, a noncombatant (pac means peace or calm).
    • -ity = a noun suffix that doesn’t actually mean anything; it just turns a word into a noun: Anxiety is the noun form of anxious. Serenity is the noun form of serene. Timidity is the noun form of timid.
    • -ize = to make: To alphabetize is to make alphabetical. To immunize is to make immune. To ostracize is to make separate from the group, or to shun.
    • -ous = full of (very): Someone joyous is full of joy. Someone amorous is full of amour, or love. Someone pulchritudinous is full of beauty and, therefore, beautiful. Try saying that to your loved one.

    Word roots to know for the GRE test

    The root of a word is the core part of a word that gives the word its basic meaning. Recognizing a common root helps you discern the meaning of an unfamiliar word. For example, knowing that ver means truth, as in verify, you can recognize that the unfamiliar word aver has something to do with truth. Aver means to hold true or affirm the truth. Following are some common roots along with related examples:
    • ambu = walk, move: In a hospital, patients are either bedridden (they can’t move) or ambulatory (they can walk and move about). A somnambulist is a sleepwalker. Som- means sleep, -ist is a person, and ambu is to walk or move.
    • andro = man: An android is a robot shaped like a man. Someone androgynous exhibits both male (andro) and female (gyn)
    • anthro = human or mankind: Anthropology is the study of humans, and a misanthrope hates humans.
    • bellu, belli = war, fight: If you’re belligerent, you’re ready to fight — and an antebellum mansion, mentioned above with prefixes, was created before the Civil War. (Remember that ante- means before.)
    • cred = trust or belief: Something incredible is unbelievable, such as the excuse “I would’ve picked you up on time, but there was a 15-car pileup on the freeway. I barely got out of there!” Saying something is incredible is like saying it’s unbelievable, and if you’re credulous, you’re trusting and naive (literally, full of trust).

    Be careful not to confuse the words credible and credulous. Something credible is trustable or believable. A credible excuse can get you out of trouble if you turn a paper in late. Credulous, on the other hand, means full of trust, naive, or gullible. The more credulous your professor is, the less credible that excuse needs to be. Furthermore, if you’re incredulous, then you doubt something is true.

    • gnos = knowledge: A doctor shows his or her knowledge by making a diagnosis (analysis of the situation) or a prognosis (prediction about the future of the illness). An agnostic is a person who doesn’t know whether a god exists. Differentiate an agnostic from an atheist: An atheist is literally without god, a person who believes there’s no god. An agnostic hasn’t decided yet.
    • greg = group, herd: A congregation is a group of people. A gregarious person likes to be part of a group — he or she is sociable. To segregate is literally to make away from the group. (Se- means apart or away from, as in separate, sever, sequester, and )
    • gyn = woman: A gynecologist is a physician who treats conditions and ailments specific to women. A misogynist is a person who hates women.
    • loq, log, loc, lix = speech or talk: Someone prolix or loquacious talks a lot. A dialogue is talk or conversation between two or more people. Elocution is proper speech.
    • luc, lum, lus = light, clear: Something luminous is shiny and full of light. Ask the teacher to elucidate something you don’t understand (literally, to make clear). Lustrous hair reflects the light and is sleek and glossy.
    • meta = beyond, after: A metamorphosis is a change of shape beyond the present shape.
    • morph = shape: Something amorphous is without shape, while morphology is the study of shape.
    • mut = change: Something mutates from one state to the next, and something immutable isn’t changeable; it remains constant. Don’t confuse mut (change) with mute (silent).
    • pac = peace, calm: Why do you give a baby a pacifier? To calm him or her down. To get its name, the Pacific Ocean must have appeared calm at the time it was discovered.
    • path = feeling: Something pathetic arouses feeling or pity. To sympathize is to share the feelings (literally, to make the same feeling). Antipathy is a dislike — literally, a feeling against.
    • phon = sound: Phonics helps you to sound out words. Cacophony is bad sound; euphony is good sound. Homophones are words that sound the same, such as red and And of course, there’s the phone you use to talk to someone.
    • plac = peace, calm: To placate someone is to calm him or her down or to make peace with that person. Someone implacable can’t be calmed down.
    • pro = big, much: Profuse apologies are big, or much — in essence, a lot of apologies. A prolific writer produces a great deal of material.

    Pro has two additional meanings less commonly used on the GRE. It can mean before, as in “A prologue comes before a play.” Similarly, to prognosticate is to make knowledge before, or to predict. A prognosticator is a fortune-teller. Pro can also mean for. Someone who is pro freedom of speech is in favor of freedom of speech. Someone with a proclivity toward a certain activity is for that activity or has a natural tendency toward it.

    • pug = war, fight: Someone pugnacious is ready to fight. A pugilist is a person who likes to fight, such as a professional boxer. Also, the large sticks that marines train with in hand-to-hand combat are called pugil sticks.
    • scien = knowledge: A scientist is a person with knowledge. Someone prescient has forethought or knowledge ahead of time — for example, a prognosticator. (A fortune-teller, remember?) One who is omniscient is all-knowing.
    • somn = sleep: If you have insomnia, you can’t sleep. (The prefix in- means not.)
    • son = sound: A sonic boom breaks the sound barrier. Dissonance is clashing sounds. A sonorous voice has a good sound.

    GRE Articles

    The 3 Reading Comprehension Question Formats on the GRE Test

    Reading Comprehension questions on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) comprise about half of the Verbal questions and therefore about half of your Verbal score. Each question concerns a single passage that is sort of like a graduate-level journal article on a science, social sciences, or humanities topic that you’ve probably never considered before and never will again. Being familiar with the question formats for the Reading Comprehension section helps you field the questions more confidently, because you know what to expect. The GRE presents each question in one of the following three formats:

    • Multiple-choice: Choose one answer.
    • Multiple-choice: Select all correct answers.
    • Sentence-selection: Choose a sentence from the passage.
    The following sections describe each question format in greater detail and provide an example of each format based on the following short passage from Food Allergies For Dummies by Robert A. Wood, MD, with Joe Kraynak (Wiley): Anaphylaxis resulting in death is relatively uncommon among children and young adults, because their cardiovascular systems are so resilient. This does not mean, however, that younger people are immune to severe anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis in younger people typically results in breathing difficulty — a constricted or blocked airway that causes a fatal or near fatal reaction.

    Multiple-choice questions: Choose one answer

    The following format is the traditional multiple-choice question. You get five answers to choose from, and only one is correct. Based on the passage, how common is anaphylaxis that results in death in children and young adults?
    • Very common
    • Relatively uncommon
    • Practically nonexistent
    • In theory only
    • Not stated in the passage
    You pick one and only one answer. In this case, the correct answer is Choice (B), because the first sentence directly answers the question.

    Multiple-choice questions: Choose one or more answers

    The next question format is a spin on the traditional multiple-choice question. Three choices follow the question, and one, two, or all three of them are correct. You must pick all of the correct choices and no incorrect choices to receive credit for your answer. You don’t receive partial credit for picking only some of the correct answers. The GRE treats a partially answered question as a wrong answer. When anaphylaxis occurs in a child or young adult, what happens? Consider each of the three choices separately and select all that apply.
    • Breathing difficulty
    • Blocked airway
    • Result of a bee sting
    You pick all answers that are correct. In this case, Choices (A) and (B) are correct.

    You can quickly tell whether to select only one answer or more than one answer by looking at the instruction that accompanies the question: The GRE always instructs you to choose either one or all answers that apply. Also, the selection bubbles near the answer choices are ovals to select one answer or squares to select multiple answers.

    Sentence-selection questions: Choose a sentence from the passage

    In sentence-selection questions, the GRE presents a description or question followed by instructions to click the sentence in the passage that most closely matches the description or answers the question. Clicking any part of the sentence selects the entire sentence.
    Choose the sentence in the passage that parents of young children are likely to find most reassuring.
    In the passage, you click the answer sentence, and it highlights on the screen, like this: The other sentences in the passage may not be so reassuring to parents of young children.

    Strategies for success on the Reading Comprehension questions

    Reading Comprehension questions on the GRE test can be the most time-consuming questions of the Verbal section. The best way to ace these questions is to master and use strategies for quickly reading the passages, identifying key facts called for in the questions, and drawing inferences based on subtle implications. Ask yourself the purpose of the passage — why is the author writing this? The following sections explain four useful strategies for effectively and efficiently arriving at the correct answers (and avoiding incorrect answers).

    The best way to master reading comprehension — meaning you can read the passage quickly and understand it on all its levels — is through practice. Make these graduate-level paragraphs something you read before breakfast, not something you force yourself through every few weeks. They don’t have to be GRE examples, but mobile clips from Instagram and LinkedIn don’t bring your reading skills up to par. Instead, read The Economist, Financial Times, or any number of intellectual publications on a topic you’re interested in, maybe even in your field of study.

    Use the context as your road map

    Read the passage lightly and get a general idea of where the key information is and what is going on in the passage. This helps you figure out where to find the information as you begin to answer questions.

    Don’t sweat the details (yet). After reading a question, you can quickly revisit the passage to locate the details for answering the question correctly.

    Usually the first paragraph or sentence and/or the last paragraph or sentence tells you what the passage is about (the main idea). The rest of the passage supports or develops this idea. As you read each body paragraph, pay attention to its purpose and how it supports the main idea. This is a key strategy to understanding the passage, and it becomes almost a habit with practice.

    Sometimes the entire passage is one giant paragraph. Don’t let that deter you from using this strategy. Look for where one idea ends and another begins and treat that as where the paragraphs should be separated. This can help you map the details as you would for a passage that is actually in separate paragraphs.

    Grasp the gist of the passage

    Understanding the main idea of the passage is the key to establishing the context of the paragraphs within. The main idea is typically the basis of one of the questions. If you can briefly sum up why the author is writing the passage, then you’ve not only developed a contextual understanding of the passage, but also answered one of the questions ahead of time.