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Unformatted text preview: 0071700528pp110 10/13/10 4:32 PM 1 Page 1 Introducing the GRE®
revised General Test
Your goals
for this
chapter g Learn how the test has been been revised
g Review basic information on the structure of the
test, test preparation, and scoring What Are the Main Features of the Revised Test? T he GRE® revised General Test is composed of revised Analytical Writing, Verbal
Reasoning, and Quantitative Reasoning measures. Each of the measures has
been revised to better focus on skills that are necessary for success in graduate school. b The Analytical Writing measure asks you to provide more focused responses to questions, to more accurately demonstrate your skill in directly responding to
the task presented. b The Verbal Reasoning measure places a greater emphasis on higher cognitive skills, as a truer, deeper assessment of your ability to understand what you read
and how to apply your reasoning skills. b The Quantitative Reasoning measure tests the same basic mathematical concepts, but includes more data analysis and more reallife scenarios, to better
gauge your skills. The revised General Test delivers a friendlier, more flexible testtaking experience.
Now you will be able to edit or change your answers, and skip questions, all within a
section, and more — giving you the freedom to use your own personal testtaking
strategies. In addition, a calculator is available on the Quantitative Reasoning measure
to reduce the emphasis on computation.
The GRE revised General Test is offered on computer throughout the year on a
continuous basis in the United States, Canada, and other regions of the world. Paperbased administrations are offered in areas of the world where computerbased testing
is not available.
For the most uptodate information about the GRE revised General Test, visit the
GRE website at www.ets.org/gre. 1 0071700528pp110 10/13/10 4:32 PM Page 2 Introducing the GRE revised General Test Structure of the Test
ComputerBased revised General Test
The computerbased GRE® revised General Test contains six sections: b
b
b
b an Analytical Writing section with two tasks, which always comes first in
the test
two Verbal Reasoning sections
two Quantitative Reasoning sections
one unscored section, typically a Verbal Reasoning or Quantitative Reasoning
section, that may appear at any point in the test Questions in the unscored section are being tried out either for possible use in
future tests or to ensure that scores on new editions of the test are comparable to
scores on earlier editions.
An identified research section may be included in place of the unscored section.
The research section will always appear at the end of the test. Questions in this section
are included for the purpose of ETS research and will not count toward your score.
The Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, and unidentified/unscored sections
may appear in any order; therefore, you should treat each section as if it counts toward
your score.
The Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning measures are sectionlevel adaptive. The computer selects the second section of a measure based on your performance
on the first.
The Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning measures allow you to preview
other questions within the specific section on which you’re working, review questions
you’ve already answered, and change your answers. Typical ComputerBased revised General Test
Total testing time is 3 hours and 45 minutes, including the unscored section. The directions at the beginning of each Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning section
specify the total number of questions in the section and the time allowed for the section. For the Analytical Writing section, the timing for each task is shown when the
task is presented. Section Number of Questions Time Analytical Writing
(1 section) 2 separately timed writing
tasks 30 min. per task Verbal Reasoning
(2 sections) Approximately 20 questions
per section 30 min. per section Quantitative Reasoning Approximately 20 questions
(2 sections)
per section 35 min. per section Unscored* Approximately 20 questions 30–35 min. per section Research ** Varies Varies *An unidentified unscored section that does not count toward a score may be included and may
appear in any order.
**An identified research section that is not scored may be included, and it will always be at the
end of the test. 2 0071700528pp110 10/13/10 4:32 PM Page 3 Introducing the GRE revised General Test PaperBased revised General Test
The paperbased GRE® revised General Test contains six sections:
b two Analytical Writing sections, which always come first and second in the test
b two Verbal Reasoning sections
b two Quantitative Reasoning sections. Typical PaperBased revised General Test
Total testing time is approximately 3 hours and 30 minutes. The directions at the beginning of each section specify the total number of questions in the section and the time
allowed for the section. Section Number of Questions Time Analytical Writing
(2 sections) 1 writing task per section 30 min. per section Verbal Reasoning
(2 sections) Approximately 25 questions
per section 35 min. per section Quantitative Reasoning
(2 sections) Approximately 25 questions
per section 40 min. per section Unlike the previous paperbased GRE General Test and the GRE Subject Tests,
which use separate answer sheets, the paperbased GRE revised General Test is selfcontained: you will enter all responses for the Analytical Writing tasks and the Verbal
Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning sections in the test book itself. Also, you are
allowed to use a basic handheld calculator on the Quantitative Reasoning sections.
The calculator will be provided to you at the test site; you may not use your own calculator. Information about using the calculator to help you answer questions appears in
the free Practice Book for the Paperbased GRE revised General Test, which is available at
www.ets.org/gre/revised/prepare. Preparing for the Test
Preparation for the test will depend on the amount of time you have available and your
personal preferences for how to prepare. At a minimum, before you take the GRE®
revised General Test, you should know what to expect from the test, including the
administrative procedures, types of questions and directions, approximate number of
questions, and amount of time for each section.
The administrative procedures include registration and appointment scheduling,
date, time, test center location, cost, scorereporting procedures, and availability of
special testing arrangements. You can find out about the administrative procedures for
the revised General Test in the GRE® Information and Registration Bulletin. Information is also available online at www.ets.org/gre/revised/bulletinandforms.
Before taking the revised General Test, it is important to become familiar with the
content of each of the measures. In this publication, you’ll find information specific to
each measure of the test. You can use this information to understand the type of material on which you’ll be tested and the question types within each measure.
It is also important to spend some time preparing for the Analytical Writing section
by reviewing the skills measured, scoring guides and score level descriptions, sample
topics, scored sample essay responses, and reader commentary.
3 0071700528pp110 10/13/10 4:32 PM Page 4 Introducing the GRE revised General Test Testtaking Strategies for the Computerbased Test
Analytical Writing Section
The Analytical Writing measure of the computerbased revised General Test uses an elementary word processor developed by ETS so that individuals familiar with a specific
commercial word processing software do not have an advantage or disadvantage. This
software contains the following functionality: insert text, delete text, cut and paste, and
undo the previous action. Tools such as a spelling checker and grammar checker are
not available in the ETS software, in large part to maintain fairness with those examinees who must handwrite their essays at paperbased administrations.
It is important to budget your time. Within the 30minute time limit for each task,
you’ll need to allow sufficient time to think about the topic, plan a response, and compose your essay. Although GRE readers understand the time constraints under which
you write and will consider your response a first draft, you will still want to produce
the best possible example of your writing.
Save a few minutes at the end of each timed task to check for obvious errors.
Although an occasional typographical, spelling, or grammatical error will not affect
your score, severe or persistent errors will detract from the overall effectiveness of your
writing and lower your score. Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning Sections
The questions in the Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning measures have a
variety of formats. Some require you to select a single answer choice; others require
you to select one or more answer choices, and yet others require you to enter a
numeric answer. Make sure when answering a question that you understand what
response is required. An onscreen calculator will be provided at the test center for use
during the Quantitative Reasoning sections.
When taking the computerbased GRE revised General Test, you are free to skip
questions that you might have difficulty answering. The testing software has a “mark
and review” feature that enables you to mark questions you would like to revisit during
the time provided to work on that section. The testing software also lets you view a
complete list of all the questions in the section on which you’re working, indicates
whether you’ve answered each question and identifies the questions you’ve marked for
review. Additionally, you can review questions you’ve already answered and change
your answers, provided you still have time remaining to work on that section.
A sample review screen appears at the top of the facing page. The review screen is
intended to help you keep track of your progress on the test. Do not spend too much
time on the review screen, as this will take away from the time allotted to read and
answer the questions on the test.
Your Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning scores will be determined by
the number of questions you answer correctly. Nothing is subtracted from a score if
you answer a question incorrectly. Therefore, to maximize your scores on the Verbal
Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning measures, it is best to answer every question.
Work as rapidly as you can without being careless. Since no question carries
greater weight than any other, do not waste time pondering individual questions you
find extremely difficult or unfamiliar.
You may want to go through each of the Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Rea 4 0071700528pp110 10/13/10 4:32 PM Page 5 Introducing the GRE revised General Test soning sections rapidly first, stopping only to answer questions you can answer with
certainty. Then go back and answer the questions that require greater thought, concluding with the difficult questions if you have time.
During the actual administration of the revised General Test, you may work only
on one section at a time and only for the time allowed. Once you have completed a
section, you may not go back to it. Scratch Paper
You will receive a supply of scratch paper before you begin the test. You can replenish
your supply of scratch paper as necessary throughout the test by asking the test administrator. Breaks
There is a 10minute break following the third section and a oneminute break between
the other test sections. You might want to replenish your supply of scratch paper during each scheduled break. Section timing will not stop if you take an unscheduled
break, so you should proceed with your test without interruption once it begins. Testtaking Strategies for the Paperbased Test
Analytical Writing Sections
In the paperbased revised General Test, the topics in the Analytical Writing measure
will be presented in the test book, and you will handwrite your essay responses in the
test book in the space provided.
It is important to budget your time. Within the 30minute time limit for each section, you’ll need to allow sufficient time to think about the topic, plan a response, and 5 0071700528pp110 10/13/10 4:32 PM Page 6 Introducing the GRE revised General Test
compose your essay. Although GRE readers understand the time constraints under
which you write and will consider your response a first draft, you will still want to produce the best possible example of your writing.
Save a few minutes at the end of each timed section to check for obvious errors.
Although an occasional spelling or grammatical error will not affect your score, severe
and persistent errors will detract from the overall effectiveness of your writing and
lower your score.
During the actual administration of the revised General Test, you may work only on
the particular writing section the test center supervisor designates and only for the
time allowed. You may not go back to an earlier section of the test after the supervisor
announces, “Please stop work” for that section. The supervisor is authorized to dismiss
you from the center for doing so. Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning Sections
The questions in the Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning measures have a
variety of formats. Some require you to select a single answer choice; others require
you to select one or more answer choices, and yet others require you to enter a
numeric answer. Make sure when answering a question that you understand what
response is required. A calculator will be provided at the test center for use during the
Quantitative Reasoning sections.
When taking a Verbal Reasoning or Quantitative Reasoning section, you are free,
within that section, to skip questions that you might have difficulty answering and
come back to them later during the time provided to work on that section. Also during
that time you may change the answer to any question in that section by erasing it completely and filling in an alternative answer. Be careful not to leave any stray marks in
the answer area, as they may be interpreted as incorrect responses. You can, however,
safely make notes or perform calculations on other parts of the page. No additional
scratch paper will be provided.
Your Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning scores will be determined by
the number of questions you answer correctly. Nothing is subtracted from a score if
you answer a question incorrectly. Therefore, to maximize your scores on the Verbal
Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning measures, it is best to answer every question.
Work as rapidly as you can without being careless. Since no question carries
greater weight than any other, do not waste time pondering individual questions you
find extremely difficult or unfamiliar.
You may want to go through each of the Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning sections rapidly first, stopping only to answer questions you can answer with
certainty. Then go back and answer the questions that require greater thought, concluding with the difficult questions if you have time.
During the actual administration of the revised General Test, you may work only on
the section the test center supervisor designates and only for the time allowed. You
may not go back to an earlier section of the test after the supervisor announces, “Please
stop work” for that section. The supervisor is authorized to dismiss you from the center for doing so. All answers must be recorded in the test book. Breaks
There is a 10minute break following the second Analytical Writing section. 6 0071700528pp110 10/13/10 4:32 PM Page 7 Introducing the GRE revised General Test Understanding GRE Scoring
Analytical Writing Measure
For the Analytical Writing measure, each essay receives a score from two readers using
a sixpoint holistic scale. In holistic scoring, readers are trained to assign scores based
on the overall quality of an essay in response to the assigned task. If the two scores differ by more than one point on the scale, the discrepancy is adjudicated by a third
GRE® reader.
Otherwise, the two scores on each essay are averaged. The final scores on the two
essays are then averaged and rounded up to the nearest halfpoint interval. A single
score is reported for the Analytical Writing measure.
The primary emphasis in scoring the Analytical Writing section is on your critical
thinking and analytical writing skills. Scoring guides for the Issue and Argument
prompts are included in this publication, and they are available on the GRE website at
www.ets.org/gre/revised/scoreguides.
In 2012, the GRE Program expects to implement erater® scoring technology in the
scoring process for the computerbased Analytical Writing measure of the GRE®
revised General Test. The erater scoring engine is a computerized natural language–
processing program developed by ETS. After the erater program is implemented, information about it will be available on the GRE website at www.ets.org/gre. Independent Intellectual Activity
During the scoring process for the revised General Test, your essay responses on the
Analytical Writing section will be reviewed by ETS essaysimilaritydetection software
and by experienced essay readers. In light of the high value placed on independent
intellectual activity within graduate schools and universities, ETS reserves the right to
cancel test scores of any test taker when there is substantial evidence that an essay
response includes, but is not limited to, any of the following: b Text that is similar to that found in one or more other GRE essay responses b Quoting or paraphrasing, without attribution, language that appears in published or unpublished sources b Unacknowledged use of work that has been produced through collaboration
with others without citation of the contribution of others b Essays that are submitted as work of the examinee when the words have, in
fact, been borrowed from elsewhere or prepared by another person When one or more of the above circumstances occurs, your essay text, in ETS’s
professional judgment, does not reflect the independent, analytical writing skills that
this test seeks to measure. Therefore, ETS must cancel the Analytical Writing score as
invalid and cannot report the GRE General Test scores of which the Analytical Writing
score is an indispensable part.
Test takers whose scores are canceled will forfeit their test fees and must pay to
take the entire GRE General Test again at a future administration. No record of the
score cancellations, or the reason for cancellation, will appear on their future score
reports sent to colleges and universities. 7 0071700528pp110 10/13/10 4:32 PM Page 8 Introducing the GRE revised General Test Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning Measures
of the Computerbased Test
Your scores on the Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning measures depend on
your performance on the questions given.
The Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning measures are sectionlevel adaptive. This means the computer selects the second section of a measure based on your
performance on the first. Within each section, all questions contribute equally to the
final score. For each of the two measures, a raw score is computed. The raw score is
the number of questions you answered correctly.
The raw score is then converted to a scaled score through a process known as
equating. The equating process accounts for minor variations in difficulty from test to
test as well as differences in difficulty among individuals’ tests introduced by the sectionlevel adaptation. Thus, a given scaled score reflects the same level of performance
regardless of which section was administered and when the test was taken. Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning Measures
of the Paperbased Test
Scoring of the Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning measures is essentially a
twostep process. First a raw score is computed for each measure. The raw score for
each measure is the number of questions answered correctly in the two sections for
that measure.
The Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning raw scores are then converted to
scaled scores through a process known as equating. The equating process accounts for
minor variations in difficulty among the different test editions. Thus, a given scaled
score for a particular measure reflects the same level of performance regardless of
which edition of the test was taken. Score Reporting
Three scores will be reported on the revised General Test: b a Verbal Reasoning score reported on a new 130–170 score scale, in 1point
increments b a Quantitative Reasoning score reported on a new 130–170 score scale, in
1point increments b an Analytical Writing score reported on a 0–6 score scale, in halfpoint increments If you do not answer any questions at all for a measure (Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, or Analytical Writing), you receive a No Score (NS) for that measure.
Descriptions of the analytical writing abilities characteristic of particular score
levels are available in this publication on page 41, and on the GRE website at www.
ets.org/gre/revised/scoreguides. 8 0071700528pp110 10/13/10 4:32 PM Page 9 Introducing the GRE revised General Test Score Reporting Timeframes
Typically, scores on the computerbased GRE revised General Test are reported 10 to 15
days after the test date. However, due to the statistical processes that must take place
after the revised test is introduced in August 2011, scores from tests taken from August
through October 2011 will be reported beginning in November 2011. If you are applying to a graduate program, be sure to review the appropriate admissions deadlines and
plan to take the test in time for your scores to reach the institution.
For specific information on score reporting dates for tests administered from August through October 2011, visit the GRE website at www.ets.org/gre/scoreschedule.
Scores from paperbased revised General Test administrations will be reported up
to six weeks after the administration.
Score reporting is cumulative. Scores are reportable for five testing years following
the testing year in which you test. All scores earned during this time will be reported to
the institutions you designate. 9 0071700528pp110 10/13/10 4:32 PM Page 10 0071700528pp1142:Layout 1 10/13/10 2 4:45 PM Page 11 GRE®
Analytical Writing
Your goals
for this
chapter g Recognize the two types of Analytical Writing
tasks
g Study examples of each type of writing task
g Learn strategies for responding to the writing
tasks
g Review actual student responses and ETS reader
commentary Overview of the Analytical Writing Measure T he Analytical Writing measure assesses your critical thinking and analytical
writing skills. It assesses your ability to articulate and support complex ideas,
construct and evaluate arguments, and sustain a focused and coherent discussion. It does not assess specific content knowledge.
The Analytical Writing measure consists of two separately timed analytical writing
tasks: b a 30minute “Analyze an Issue” task b a 30minute “Analyze an Argument” task The Issue task presents an opinion on an issue of broad interest followed by specific instructions on how to respond to that issue. You are required to evaluate the
issue, considering its complexities, and develop an argument with reasons and examples to support your views.
The Argument task presents a different challenge from that of the Issue task: it
requires you to evaluate a given argument according to specific instructions. You will
need to consider the logical soundness of the argument rather than to agree or disagree
with the position it presents.
The two tasks are complementary in that one requires you to construct your own
argument by taking a position and providing evidence supporting your views on the
issue, whereas the other requires you to evaluate someone else’s argument by assessing
its claims and evaluating the evidence it provides. 11 0071700528pp1142:Layout 1 10/13/10 4:45 PM Page 12 GRE Analytical Writing Preparing for the Analytical Writing Measure
Everyone — even the most practiced and confident of writers — should spend some
time preparing for the Analytical Writing measure before arriving at the test center. It
is important to review the skills measured and how the section is scored. It is also useful to review the scoring guides and score level descriptions, sample topics, scored sample essay responses, and reader commentary for each task.
The tasks in the Analytical Writing measure relate to a broad range of subjects —
from the fine arts and humanities to the social and physical sciences — but no task
requires specific content knowledge. In fact, each task has been fieldtested to ensure
that it possesses several important characteristics, including the following: b GRE test takers, regardless of their field of study or special interests, understood the task and could easily respond to it. b The task elicited the kinds of complex thinking and persuasive writing that university faculty consider important for success at the graduate level. b The responses were varied in content and in the way the writers developed
their ideas. To help you prepare for the Analytical Writing measure, the GRE Program has published the entire pool of tasks from which your test tasks will be selected. You might
find it helpful to review the Issue and Argument pools. You can view the published
pools at www.ets.org/gre/revised/awtopics. General Strategies
b It is important to budget your time. Within the 30minute time limit for the Issue task, you will need to allow sufficient time to consider the issue and
the specific instructions, plan a response, and compose your essay. Within the
30minute time limit for the Argument task, you will need to allow sufficient
time to consider the argument and the specific instructions, plan a response,
and compose your essay. Although GRE readers understand the time constraints under which you write and will consider your response a first draft,
you still want it to be the best possible example of your writing that you can
produce under the testing conditions. b Save a few minutes at the end of each timed task to check for obvious errors. Although an occasional spelling or grammatical error will not affect your score,
severe and persistent errors will detract from the overall effectiveness of your
writing and thus lower your score. 12 0071700528pp1142:Layout 1 10/13/10 4:45 PM Page 13 GRE Analytical Writing Analyze an Issue Task
Understanding the Issue Task
The Analyze an Issue task assesses your ability to think critically about a topic of general interest according to specific instructions and to clearly express your thoughts
about it in writing. Each issue topic makes a claim that test takers can discuss from
various perspectives and apply to many different situations or conditions. The issue
statement is followed by specific instructions. Your task is to present a compelling case
for your own position on the issue according to the specific instructions. Before beginning your written response, be sure to read the issue and instructions carefully and
think about the issue from several points of view, considering the complexity of ideas
associated with those views. Then, make notes about the position you want to develop
and list the main reasons and examples that you could use to support that position.
It is important that you address the central issue according to the specific instructions. Each task is accompanied by one of the following sets of instructions. b Write a response in which you discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the statement and explain your reasoning for the position you take.
In developing and supporting your position, you should consider ways in which
the statement might or might not hold true and explain how these considerations shape your position. b Write a response in which you discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the recommendation and explain your reasoning for the position
you take. In developing and supporting your position, describe specific circumstances in which adopting the recommendation would or would not be
advantageous and explain how these examples shape your position. b Write a response in which you discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the claim. In developing and supporting your position, be sure to
address the most compelling reasons and/or examples that could be used to
challenge your position. b Write a response in which you discuss which view more closely aligns with
your own position and explain your reasoning for the position you take. In
developing and supporting your position, you should address both of the views
presented. b Write a response in which you discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the claim and the reason on which that claim is based. b Write a response in which you discuss your views on the policy and explain
your reasoning for the position you take. In developing and supporting your
position, you should consider the possible consequences of implementing the
policy and explain how these consequences shape your position. The GRE readers scoring your response are not looking for a “right” answer — in
fact, there is no correct position to take. Instead, the readers are evaluating the skill
with which you address the specific instructions and articulate and develop an argument to support your evaluation of the issue. 13 0071700528pp1142:Layout 1 10/13/10 4:45 PM Page 14 GRE Analytical Writing Understanding the Context for Writing: Purpose and Audience
The Issue task is an exercise in critical thinking and persuasive writing. The purpose of
this task is to determine how well you can develop a compelling argument supporting
your own evaluation of an issue and to effectively communicate that argument in writing to an academic audience. Your audience consists of GRE readers who are carefully
trained to apply the scoring criteria identified in the scoring guide for the Analyze an
Issue task (see pages 37–38).
To get a clearer idea of how GRE readers apply the Issue scoring criteria to actual
responses, you should review scored sample Issue essay responses and reader commentary. The sample responses, particularly at the 5 and 6 score levels, will show you a
variety of successful strategies for organizing, developing, and communicating a persuasive argument. The reader commentary discusses specific aspects of evaluation and
writing, such as the use of examples, development and support, organization, language
fluency, and word choice. For each response, the reader commentary points out aspects
that are particularly persuasive as well as any that detract from the overall effectiveness
of the essay. Preparing for the Issue Task
Because the Issue task is meant to assess the persuasive writing skills that you have
developed throughout your education, it has been designed neither to require any particular course of study nor to advantage students with a particular type of training.
Many college textbooks on composition offer advice on persuasive writing and
argumentation that you might find useful, but even this advice might be more technical and specialized than you need for the Issue task. You will not be expected to know
specific critical thinking or writing terms or strategies; instead, you should be able to
respond to the specific instructions and use reasons, evidence, and examples to support
your position on an issue. Suppose, for instance, that an Issue topic asks you to consider a policy that would require government financial support for art museums and
the implications of implementing the policy. If your position is that government should
fund art museums, you might support your position by discussing the reasons art is
important and explain that government funding would make access to museums available to everyone. On the other hand, if your position is that government should not
support museums, you might point out that, given limited governmental funds, art
museums are not as deserving of governmental funding as are other, more socially
important, institutions, which would suffer if the policy were implemented. Or, if you
are in favor of government funding for art museums only under certain conditions, you
might focus on the artistic criteria, cultural concerns, or political conditions that you
think should determine how — or whether — art museums receive government funds.
It is not your position that matters so much as the critical thinking skills you display in
developing your position.
An excellent way to prepare for the Issue task is to practice writing on some of the
published topics. There is no “best” approach: some people prefer to start practicing
without regard to the 30minute time limit; others prefer to take a “timed test” first and
practice within the time limit. No matter which approach you take when you practice
the Issue task, you should review the task directions, then b 14 carefully read the claim and the specific instructions and make sure you understand them; if they seem unclear, discuss them with a friend or teacher 0071700528pp1142:Layout 1 10/13/10 4:45 PM Page 15 GRE Analytical Writing
b think about the claim and instructions in relation to your own ideas and experiences, to events you have read about or observed, and to people you have
known; this is the knowledge base from which you will develop compelling reasons and examples in your argument that reinforce, negate, or qualify the claim
in some way b decide what position on the issue you want to take and defend b decide what compelling evidence (reasons and examples) you can use to support your position Remember that this is a task in critical thinking and persuasive writing. The most
successful responses will explore the complexity of the claim and instructions. As you
prepare for the Issue task, you might find it helpful to ask yourself the following questions: b What precisely is the central issue? b What precisely are the instructions asking me to do? b Do I agree with all or with any part of the claim? Why or why not? b Does the claim make certain assumptions? If so, are they reasonable? b Is the claim valid only under certain conditions? If so, what are they? b Do I need to explain how I interpret certain terms or concepts used in the
claim? b If I take a certain position on the issue, what reasons support my position? b What examples — either real or hypothetical — could I use to illustrate those
reasons and advance my point of view? Which examples are most compelling? Once you have decided on a position to defend, consider the perspective of others
who might not agree with your position. Ask yourself: b What reasons might someone use to refute or undermine my position? b How should I acknowledge or defend against those views in my essay? To plan your response, you might want to summarize your position and make brief
notes about how you will support the position you’re going to take. When you’ve done
this, look over your notes and decide how you will organize your response. Then write
a response developing your position on the issue. Even if you don’t write a full
response, you should find it helpful to practice with a few of the Issue topics and to
sketch out your possible responses. After you have practiced with some of the topics,
try writing responses to some of the topics within the 30minute time limit so that you
have a good idea of how to use your time in the actual test.
It would probably be helpful to get some feedback on your response from an
instructor who teaches critical thinking or writing or to trade papers on the same topic
with other students and discuss one another’s responses in relation to the scoring
guide. Try to determine how each paper meets or misses the criteria for each score
point in the guide. Comparing your own response to the scoring guide will help you see
how and where you might need to improve. 15 0071700528pp1142:Layout 1 10/13/10 4:45 PM Page 16 GRE Analytical Writing The Form of Your Response
You are free to organize and develop your response in any way that you think will effectively communicate your ideas about the issue and the instructions. Your response
may, but need not, incorporate particular writing strategies learned in English composition or writingintensive college courses. GRE readers will not be looking for a particular developmental strategy or mode of writing; in fact, when GRE readers are
trained, they review hundreds of Issue responses that, although highly diverse in content and form, display similar levels of critical thinking and persuasive writing. Readers will see, for example, some Issue responses at the 6 score level that begin by briefly
summarizing the writer’s position on the issue and then explicitly announcing the main
points to be argued. They will see others that lead into the writer’s position by making
a prediction, asking a series of questions, describing a scenario, or defining critical
terms in the quotation. The readers know that a writer can earn a high score by giving
multiple examples or by presenting a single, extended example. Look at the sample
Issue responses, particularly at the 5 and 6 score levels, to see how other writers have
successfully developed and organized their arguments.
You should use as many or as few paragraphs as you consider appropriate for your
argument — for example, you will probably need to create a new paragraph whenever
your discussion shifts to a new cluster of ideas. What matters is not the number of
examples, the number of paragraphs, or the form your argument takes but, rather, the
cogency of your ideas about the issue and the clarity and skill with which you communicate those ideas to academic readers. Sample Issue Task
As people rely more and more on technology to solve problems, the ability of
humans to think for themselves will surely deteriorate.
Discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the statement and explain
your reasoning for the position you take. In developing and supporting your
position, you should consider ways in which the statement might or might not
hold true and explain how these considerations shape your position. Strategies for This Topic
In this task, you are asked to discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the
statement. Thus, responses may range from strong agreement or strong disagreement,
to qualified agreement or qualified disagreement. You are also instructed to explain
your reasoning and consider ways in which the statement might or might not hold
true. A successful response need not comment on all or any one of the points listed
below and may well discuss other reasons or examples not mentioned here in support
of its position.
Although this topic is accessible to respondents of all levels of ability, for any
response to receive a top score, it is particularly important that you remain focused on
the task and provide clearly relevant examples and/or reasons to support the point of
view you are expressing. Lower level responses may be long and full of examples of
modern technology, but those examples may not be clearly related to a particular position. For example, a respondent who strongly disagrees with the statement may choose
16 0071700528pp1142:Layout 1 10/13/10 4:45 PM Page 17 GRE Analytical Writing
to use computer technology as proof that thinking ability is not deteriorating. The mere
existence of computer technology, however, does not adequately prove this point (perhaps the ease of computer use inhibits our thinking ability). To receive a higherlevel
score, the respondent should explain in what ways computer technology may call for or
require thinking ability.
This topic could elicit a wide variety of approaches, especially considering the different possible interpretations of the phrase “the ability of humans to think for themselves.” Although most respondents may take it to mean problem solving, others, with
equal effectiveness, could interpret it as emotional and social intelligence (i.e., the ability to communicate/connect with others). With any approach, it is possible to discuss
examples such as calculators, word processing tools such as spell and grammar check,
tax return software, Internet research, and a variety of other common household and
business technologies.
You may agree with the prompt and argue that: b reliance on technology leads to dependency; we come to rely on problem solving technologies to such a degree that when they fail, we are in worse shape
than if we didn’t have them in the first place b everyday technologies such as calculators and cash registers have decreased
our ability to perform simple calculations, a “use it or lose it” approach to
thinking ability Or you may take issue with the prompt and argue that technology facilitates and
improves our thinking skills, arguing that: b developing, implementing, and using technology requires problem solving b technology frees us from mundane problem solving (e.g., calculations), and
allows us to engage in more complex thinking b technology provides access to information otherwise unavailable b technology connects people at a distance and allows them to share ideas b technology is dependent on the human ability to think and make choices (every
implementation of and advance in technology is driven by human intelligence
and decision making) On the other hand, you could decide to explore the middle ground in the debate
and point out that while technology may diminish some mental skill sets, it enables
other (perhaps more important) types of thinking to thrive. Such a response might distinguish between complex problem solving and simple “data maintenance” (i.e., performing calculations and organizing information). Other approaches could include
taking a historical, philosophical, or sociological stance, or, with equal effectiveness,
using personal examples to illustrate a position. One could argue that the value or
detriment of relying on technology is determined by the individual (or society) using it
or that only those who develop technology (i.e., technical specialists) are maintaining
their problem solving skills, while the rest of us are losing them.
Again, it is important for you to avoid overly general examples, or lists of examples
without expansion. It is also essential to do more than paraphrase the prompt. Please
keep in mind that what counts is the ability to clearly express a particular point of view
in relation to the issue and specific task instructions and to support that position with
relevant reasons and/or examples. 17 0071700528pp1142:Layout 1 10/13/10 4:45 PM Page 18 GRE Analytical Writing
Essay Responses and Reader Commentary
Score 6 Response *
The statement linking technology negatively with free thinking plays on recent human
experience over the past century. Surely there has been no time in history where the
lived lives of people have changed more dramatically. A quick reflection on a typical
day reveals how technology has revolutionized the world. Most people commute to
work in an automobile that runs on an internal combustion engine. During the
workday, chances are high that the employee will interact with a computer that
processes information on silicon bridges that are .09 microns wide. Upon leaving
home, family members will be reached through wireless networks that utilize satellites
orbiting the earth. Each of these common occurences would have been inconceivable
at the turn of the 19th century.
The statement attempts to bridge these dramatic changes to a reduction in the
ability for humans to think for themselves. The assumption is that an increased reliance
on technology negates the need for people to think creatively to solve previous
quandaries. Looking back at the introduction, one could argue that without a car,
computer, or mobile phone, the hypothetical worker would need to find alternate
methods of transport, information processing, and communication. Technology short
circuits this thinking by making the problems obsolete.
However, this reliance on technology does not necessarily preclude the creativity
that marks the human species. The prior examples reveal that technology allows for
convenience. The car, computer, and phone all release additional time for people to live
more efficiently. This efficiency does not preclude the need for humans to think for
themselves. In fact, technology frees humanity to not only tackle new problems, but
may itself create new issues that did not exist without technology. For example, the
proliferation of automobiles has introduced a need for fuel conservation on a global
scale. With increasing energy demands from emerging markets, global warming
becomes a concern inconceivable to the horseandbuggy generation. Likewise
dependence on oil has created nationstates that are not dependent on taxation,
allowing ruling parties to oppress minority groups such as women. Solutions to these
complex problems require the unfettered imaginations of maverick scientists and
politicians.
In contrast to the statement, we can even see how technology frees the human
imagination. Consider how the digital revolution and the advent of the internet has
allowed for an unprecedented exchange of ideas. WebMD, a popular internet portal for
medical information, permits patients to self research symptoms for a more informed
doctor visit. This exercise opens pathways of thinking that were previously closed off
to the medical layman. With increased interdisciplinary interactions, inspiration can
arrive from the most surprising corners. Jeffrey Sachs, one of the architects of the UN
Millenium Development Goals, based his ideas on emergency care triage techniques.
The unlikely marriage of economics and medicine has healed tense, hyperinflation
environments from South America to Eastern Europe.
This last example provides the most hope in how technology actually provides hope
to the future of humanity. By increasing our reliance on technology, impossible goals
can now be achieved. Consider how the late 20th century witnessed the complete
elimination of smallpox. This disease had ravaged the human race since prehistorical
days, and yet with the technology of vaccines, free thinking humans dared to imagine a
*All responses in this publication are reproduced exactly as written, including errors, misspellings, etc., if any. 18 0071700528pp1142:Layout 1 10/13/10 4:45 PM Page 19 GRE Analytical Writing
world free of smallpox. Using technology, battle plans were drawn out, and smallpox
was systematically targeted and eradicated.
Technology will always mark the human experience, from the discovery of fire to the
implementation of nanotechnology. Given the history of the human race, there will be
no limit to the number of problems, both new and old, for us to tackle. There is no
need to retreat to a Luddite attitude to new things, but rather embrace a hopeful
posture to the possibilities that technology provides for new avenues of human
imagination. Reader Commentary
The author of this essay stakes out a clear and insightful position on the issue and follows the specific instructions by discussing ways in which the statement might or
might not hold true, using specific reasons and examples to support that position. The
essay cogently argues that technology does not decrease our ability to think for ourselves. It merely provides “additional time for people to live more efficiently.” In fact,
the problems that have developed alongside the growth of technology (pollution, political unrest in oil producing nations) actually call for more creative thinking, not less. In
further examples, the essay shows how technology allows for the linking of ideas that
may never have been connected in the past (like medicine and economic models),
pushing people to think in new ways. Examples are persuasive and fully developed; reasoning is logically sound and wellsupported.
Ideas in the essay are connected logically, with effective transitions used both
between paragraphs (“However,” or “In contrast to the statement”) and within paragraphs. Sentence structure is varied and complex, and the essay clearly demonstrates
facility with the “conventions of standard written English (i.e., grammar, usage, and
mechanics)” (see Issue Scoring Guide, pages 37–38), with only minor errors appearing.
Thus, this essay meets all the requirements for receiving a top score, a 6. Score 5 Response
Surely many of us have expressed the following sentiment, or some variation on it,
during our daily commutes to work: “People are getting so stupid these days!”
Surrounded as we are by striding and strident automatons with cell phones glued to
their ears, PDA’s gripped in their palms, and omniscient, omnipresent CNN gleaming
in their eyeballs, it’s tempting to believe that technology has isolated and infantilized
us, essentally transforming us into dependent, conformist morons best equipped to
sideswip one another in our SUV’s.
Furthermore, hanging around with the younger, precommute generation, whom
techsavviness seems to have rendered lethal, is even less reassuring. With “Teen
People” style trends shooting through the air from tigerstriped PDA to zebrastriped
PDA, and with the latest starlet gossip zipping from juicy Blackberry to teeny, turbocharged cell phone, technology seems to support young people’s worst tendencies to
follow the crowd. Indeed, they have seemingly evolved into intergalactic conformity
police. After all, today’s techaided teens are, courtesy of authentic, handson video
games, literally trained to kill; courtesy of chat and instant text messaging, they have
their own language; they even have tiny cameras to efficiently photodocument your
fashion blunders! Is this adolescence, or paparazzi terrorist training camp?
With all this evidence, it’s easy to believe that tech trends and the incorporation 19 0071700528pp1142:Layout 1 10/13/10 4:45 PM Page 20 GRE Analytical Writing
of technological wizardry into our everyday lives have served mostly to enforce
conformity, promote dependence, heighten comsumerism and materialism, and
generally create a culture that values selfabsorption and personal entitlement over
cooperation and collaboration. However, I argue that we are merely in the inchoate
stages of learning to live with technology while still loving one another. After all, even
given the examples provided earlier in this essay, it seems clear that technology hasn’t
impaired our thinking and problemsolving capacities. Certainly it has incapacitated our
behavior and manners; certainly our values have taken a severe blow. However, we are
inarguably more efficient in our badness these days. We’re effective worker bees of
ineffectiveness!
If technology has so increased our senses of selfefficacy that we can become
veritable agents of the awful, virtual CEO’s of selfishness, certainly it can be beneficial.
Harnessed correctly, technology can improve our ability to think and act for ourselves.
The first challenge is to figure out how to provide technology users with some direlyneeded direction. Reader Commentary
The language of this essay clearly illustrates both its strengths and weaknesses. The
flowery and sometimes uncannily keen descriptions are often used to powerful effect,
but at other times, this descriptive language results in errors in syntax. See, for example, the problems of parallelism in the second to last sentence of paragraph 2 (“After
all, today’s techaided teens . . . ”).
There is consistent evidence of facility with syntax and complex vocabulary (“Surrounded as we are by striding and strident automatons with cell phones glued to their
ears, PDA’s gripped in their palms, and omniscient, omnipresent CNN gleaming in their
eyeballs, it’s tempting to believe . . . ”). Such lucid prose, however, is often countered
with an overreliance upon abstractions and tangential reasoning (what does the fact
that video games “literally train [teens] to kill” have to do with the use or deterioration
of thinking abilities, for example?).
Because this essay takes a complex approach to the issue (arguing, in effect, that
technology neither enhances nor reduces our ability to think for ourselves, but can be
used to do one or the other depending on the user) and because the author makes use
of “appropriate vocabulary and sentence variety” (see Issue Scoring Guide, pages
3738), a score of 5 is appropriate. Score 4 Response
In all actuality, I think it is more probable that our bodies will surely deteriorate long
before our minds do in any significant amount. Who can’t say that technology has
made us lazier, but that’s the key word, lazy, not stupid. The ever increasing amount of
technology that we incorporate into our daily lives makes people think and learn every
day, possibly more than ever before. Our abilities to think, learn, philosophize, etc. may
even reach limits never dreamed of before by average people. Using technology to
solve problems will continue to help us realize our potential as a human race.
If you think about it, using technology to solve more complicating problems gives
humans a chance to expand their thinking and learning, opening up whole new worlds
for many people. Many of these people are glad for the chance to expand their
horizons by learning more, going to new places, and trying new things. If it wasn’t for 20 0071700528pp1142:Layout 1 10/13/10 4:45 PM Page 21 GRE Analytical Writing
the invention of new technological devices, I wouldn’t be sitting at this computer trying
to philosophize about technology. It would be extremely hard for children in much
poorer countries to learn and think for themselves with out the invention of the
internet. Think what an impact the printing press, a technologically superior mackine at
the time, had on the ability of the human race to learn and think.
Right now we are seeing a golden age of technology, using it all the time during our
every day lives. When we get up there’s instant coffee and the microwave and all these
great things that help us get ready for our day. But we aren’t allowing our minds to
deteriorate by using them, we are only making things easier for ourselves and saving
time for other important things in our days. Going off to school or work in our cars
instead of a horse and buggy. Think of the brain power and genius that was used to
come up with that single invention that has changed the way we move across this
globe.
Using technology to solve our continually more complicated problems as a human
race is definately a good thing. Our ability to think for ourselves isn’t deteriorating, it’s
continuing to grow, moving on to higher though functions and more ingenious ideas.
The ability to use what technology we have is an example Reader Commentary
This essay meets all the criteria of a 4level essay. The writer develops a clear position
(“Using technology to solve problems will continue to help us realize our potential as a
human race”). The position is then developed with relevant reasons (“using technology
to solve more complicat[ed] problems gives humans a chance to expand their thinking
and learning . . . ” and “we are seeing a golden age of technology”). Point 1, “Using technology,” is supported with the simple, but relevant notions that technology allows us
access to information and abilities to which we would not normally have access. Similarly, point 2, “the golden age,” is supported by the basic description of our technologically saturated social condition. Though the development and organization of the essay
does suffer from an occasional misstep (see paragraph 3’s abrupt progression from coffee pots to the benefits of technology to cars), the essay as a whole flows smoothly and
logically from one idea to the next.
It is useful to compare this essay to the 3 level essay presented next. Though they
both utilize some very superficial discussion and often fail to probe deeply into the
issue, this writer does, however, take the analysis a step further. In paragraph 2, the distinction between this essay and the next one (the 3 level response) can most clearly be
seen. To support the notion that advances in technology actually help increase thinking
ability, the writer draws a clever parallel between the promise of modern, sophisticated
technology (computer) and the equally substantial/pervasive technology of the past
(printing press).
Like the analysis, the language in this essay clearly meets the requirements for a
score of 4. The writer displays sufficient control of language and the conventions of
standard written English. The preponderance of mistakes are of a cosmetic nature
(“using technology to solve more complicating problems”). There is a sentence fragment (“Going off . . . ”) along with a comma splice (“Our ability . . . isn’t deteriorating,
it’s continuing to grow . . . ”) in paragraph 4. These errors, though, are minor and do
not interfere with the clarity of the ideas being presented. 21 0071700528pp1142:Layout 1 10/13/10 4:45 PM Page 22 GRE Analytical Writing
Score 3 Response
There is no current proof that advancing technology will deteriorate the ability of
humans to think. On the contrary, advancements in technology had advanced our vast
knowledge in many fields, opening opportunities for further understanding and
achievement. For example, the problem of dibilitating illnesses and diseases such as
alzheimer’s disease is slowing being solved by the technological advancements in stem
cell research. The future ability of growing new brain cells and the possibility to reverse
the onset of alzheimer’s is now becoming a reality. This shows our initiative as humans
to better our health demonstrates greater ability of humans to think.
One aspect where the ability of humans may initially be seen as an example of
deteriorating minds is the use of internet and cell phones. In the past humans had to
seek out information in many different enviroments and aspects of life. Now humans
can sit in a chair and type anything into a computer and get an answer. Our reliance on
this type of technology can be detrimental if not regulated and regularily substituted
for other information sources such as human interactions and hands on learning. I
think if humans understand that we should not have such a reliance on computer
technology, that we as a species will advance further by utilizing the opportunity of
computer technology as well as the other sources of information outside of a
computer. Supplementing our knowledge with internet access is surely a way for
technology to solve problems while continually advancing the human race. Reader Commentary
This essay never moves beyond a superficial discussion of the issue. The writer
attempts to develop two points: that advancements in technology have progressed our
knowledge in many fields and that supplementing rather than relying on technology is
“surely a way for technology to solve problems while continually advancing the human
race.” Each point, then, is developed with relevant but insufficient evidence. In discussing the ability of technology to advance knowledge in many fields (a broad subject
rife with possible examples), the writer uses only one limited and very brief example
from a specific field (medicine and stemcell research).
Development of the second point is hindered by a lack of specificity and organization. The writer creates what might most be comparable to an outline. The writer cites
a need for regulation/supplementation and warns of the detriment of overreliance
upon technology. However, the explanation of both the problem and the solution is
vague and limited (“Our reliance . . . can be detrimental . . . If humans understand that
we should not have such a reliance . . . we will advance further”). There is neither
explanation of consequences nor clarification of what is meant by “supplementing.”
This second paragraph is a series of generalizations, which are loosely connected and
lack a much needed grounding.
In the essay, there are some minor language errors and a few more serious flaws
(e.g., “The future ability of growing new brain cells” or “One aspect where the ability of
humans may initially be seen as an example of deteriorating minds…”). Despite the
accumulation of such flaws, though, meaning is generally clear. This essay earns a
score of 3, then, primarily for its limited development. 22 0071700528pp1142:Layout 1 10/13/10 4:45 PM Page 23 GRE Analytical Writing
Score 2 Response
In recent centuries, humans have developed the technology very rapidly, and you may
accept some merit of it, and you may see a distortion in society occured by it. To be
lazy for human in some meaning is one of the fashion issues in thesedays. There are
many symptoms and resons of it. However, I can not agree with the statement that the
technology make humans to be reluctant to thinkng thoroughly.
Of course, you can see the phenomena of human laziness along with developed
technology in some place. However, they would happen in specific condition, not
general. What makes human to be laze of thinking is not merely technology, but the
the tendency of human that they treat them as a magic stick and a black box. Not
understanding the aims and theory of them couses the disapproval problems.
The most important thing to use the thechnology, regardless the new or old, is to
comprehend the fundamental idea of them, and to adapt suit tech to tasks in need.
Even if you recognize a method as a allmighty and it is extremely overspec to your
needs, you can not see the result you want. In this procedure, humans have to consider
as long as possible to acquire adequate functions. Therefore, humans can not escape
from using their brain.
In addition, the technology as it is do not vain automatically, the is created by
humans. Thus, the more developed tech and the more you want a convenient life, the
more you think and emmit your creativity to breakthrough some banal method
sarcastically.
Consequently, if you are not passive to the new tech, but offensive to it, you would
not lose your ability to think deeply. Furthermore, you may improve the ability by
adopting it. Reader Commentary
The language of this essay is what most clearly links it to the score point of 2. Amidst
sporadic moments of clarity, this essay is marred by serious errors in grammar, usage
and mechanics that often interfere with meaning. It is unclear what the writer means
when he/she states, “To be lazy for human in some meaning is one of the fashion issues
in thesedays,” or “ . . . to adapt suit tech to tasks in need.” Despite such severe flaws, the
writer has made an obvious attempt to respond to the prompt (“I can not agree with
the statement that the technology make humans to be reluctant to thinking thoroughly”) as well as an unclear attempt to support such an assertion (“Not understanding the aims and theory of them [technology] couses the disapproval problems” and
“The most important thing to use the thechnology . . . is to comprehend the fundamental idea of them”). Holistically, the essay displays a seriously flawed but not fundamentally deficient attempt to develop and support its claims.
(Note: In this SPECIFIC case, the analysis is tied directly to the language. As the
language falters, so too does the analysis.) 23 0071700528pp1142:Layout 1 10/13/10 4:45 PM Page 24 GRE Analytical Writing
Score 1 Response
Humans have invented machines but they have forgot it and have started everything
technically so clearly their thinking process is deterioating. Reader Commentary
The essay is clearly on topic, as evidenced by the writer’s usage of the more significant
terms from the prompt: “technically” (technologically), “humans”, “thinking” (think)
and “deterioating” (deteriorate). Such usage is the only clear evidence of understanding. Meaning aside, the brevity of the essay (1 sentence) clearly indicates the writer’s
inability to develop a response that addresses the specific instructions given (“Discuss
the extent to which you agree or disagree with the statement above and explain your
reasoning for the position you take”).
The language, too, is clearly 1level, as the sentence fails to achieve coherence. The
coherent phrases in this onesentence response are those tied to the prompt: “Humans
have invented machines” and “their thinking process is deterioating.” Otherwise, the
point being made is unclear. 24 0071700528pp1142:Layout 1 10/13/10 4:45 PM Page 25 GRE Analytical Writing Analyze an Argument Task
Understanding the Argument Task
The Analyze an Argument task assesses your ability to understand, analyze, and evaluate arguments according to specific instructions and to clearly convey your evaluation
in writing. The task consists of a brief passage in which the author makes a case for
some course of action or interpretation of events by presenting claims backed by reasons and evidence. Your task is to discuss the logical soundness of the author’s case
according to the specific instructions by critically examining the line of reasoning. This
task requires you to read the argument and instructions very carefully. You might want
to read them more than once and possibly make brief notes about points you want to
develop more fully in your response. In reading the argument, you should pay special
attention to b
b
b
b what is offered as evidence, support, or proof
what is explicitly stated, claimed, or concluded
what is assumed or supposed, perhaps without justification or proof
what is not stated, but necessarily follows from what is stated In addition, you should consider the structure of the argument — the way in which
these elements are linked together to form a line of reasoning; that is, you should recognize the separate, sometimes implicit steps in the thinking process and consider
whether the movement from each one to the next is logically sound. In tracing this line,
look for transition words and phrases that suggest that the author is attempting to
make a logical connection (e.g., however, thus, therefore, evidently, hence, in conclusion).
An important part of performing well on the Argument task is remembering what
you are not being asked to do. You are not being asked to discuss whether the statements in the argument are true or accurate. You are not being asked to agree or disagree with the position stated. You are not being asked to express your own views on
the subject being discussed (as you were in the Issue task). Instead, you are being asked
to evaluate the logical soundness of an argument of another writer according to specific instructions and, in doing so, to demonstrate the critical thinking, perceptive reading, and analytical writing skills that university faculty consider important for success
in graduate school.
It is important that you address the argument according to the specific instructions. Each task is accompanied by one of the following sets of instructions. b Write a response in which you discuss what specific evidence is needed to evaluate the argument and explain how the evidence would weaken or strengthen
the argument. b Write a response in which you examine the stated and/or unstated assumptions
of the argument. Be sure to explain how the argument depends on these
assumptions and what the implications are for the argument if the assumptions
prove unwarranted. b Write a response in which you discuss what questions would need to be
answered in order to decide whether the recommendation and the argument on
which it is based are reasonable. Be sure to explain how the answers to these
questions would help to evaluate the recommendation. 25 0071700528pp1142:Layout 1 10/13/10 4:45 PM Page 26 GRE Analytical Writing
b Write a response in which you discuss what questions would need to be
answered in order to decide whether the advice and the argument on which it
is based are reasonable. Be sure to explain how the answers to these questions
would help to evaluate the advice. b Write a response in which you discuss what questions would need to be
answered in order to decide whether the recommendation is likely to have the
predicted result. Be sure to explain how the answers to these questions would
help to evaluate the recommendation. b Write a response in which you discuss what questions would need to be
answered in order to decide whether the prediction and the argument on which
it is based are reasonable. Be sure to explain how the answers to these questions would help to evaluate the prediction. b Write a response in which you discuss one or more alternative explanations
that could rival the proposed explanation and explain how your explanation(s)
can plausibly account for the facts presented in the argument. b Write a response in which you discuss what questions would need to be
addressed in order to decide whether the conclusion and the argument on
which it is based are reasonable. Be sure to explain how the answers to the
questions would help to evaluate the conclusion. “Analyze an Argument” is primarily a critical thinking task requiring a written
response. Consequently, the analytical skills displayed in your evaluation carry great
weight in determining your score; however, the clarity with which you convey ideas is
also important to your overall score. Understanding the Context for Writing: Purpose and Audience
The purpose of the task is to see how well equipped you are to insightfully evaluate an
argument written by someone else and to effectively communicate your evaluation in
writing to an academic audience. Your audience consists of GRE readers carefully
trained to apply the scoring criteria identified in the scoring guide for the Analyze an
Argument task (see page 39–40).
To get a clearer idea of how GRE readers apply the Argument scoring criteria to
actual essays, you should review scored sample Argument essay responses and reader
commentary. The sample responses, particularly at the 5 and 6 score levels, will show
you a variety of successful strategies for organizing and developing an insightful evaluation. The reader commentary discusses specific aspects of analytical writing, such as
cogency of ideas, development and support, organization, syntactic variety, and facility
with language. For each response, the reader commentary will point out aspects that
are particularly effective and insightful as well as any that detract from the overall
effectiveness of the responses. Preparing for the Argument Task
Because the Argument task is meant to assess analytical writing and informal reasoning skills that you have developed throughout your education, it has been designed so
as not to require any specific course of study or to advantage students with a particular
type of training. Many college textbooks on rhetoric and composition have sections on
informal logic and critical thinking that might prove helpful, but even these might be
26 0071700528pp1142:Layout 1 10/13/10 4:45 PM Page 27 GRE Analytical Writing
more detailed and technical than the task requires. You will not be expected to know
methods of analysis or technical terms. For instance, in one topic an elementary school
principal might conclude that the new playground equipment has improved student
attendance because absentee rates have declined since it was installed. You will not
need to see that the principal has committed the post hoc, ergo propter hoc fallacy; you
will simply need to see that there are other possible explanations for the improved
attendance, to offer some commonsense examples, and perhaps to suggest what would
be necessary to verify the conclusion. For instance, absentee rates might have decreased because the climate was mild. This would have to be ruled out in order for the
principal’s conclusion to be valid.
Although you do not need to know special analytical techniques and terminology,
you should be familiar with the directions for the Argument task and with certain key
concepts, including the following: b alternative explanation: a possible competing version of what might have caused the events in question; an alternative explanation undercuts or qualifies
the original explanation because it too can account for the observed facts b analysis: the process of breaking something (e.g., an argument) down into its
component parts in order to understand how they work together to make up
the whole b argument: a claim or a set of claims with reasons and evidence offered as sup port; a line of reasoning meant to demonstrate the truth or falsehood of something b assumption: a belief, often unstated or unexamined, that someone must hold in order to maintain a particular position; something that is taken for granted but
that must be true in order for the conclusion to be true b conclusion: the end point reached by a line of reasoning, valid if the reasoning
is sound; the resulting assertion b counterexample: an example, real or hypothetical, that refutes or disproves a
statement in the argument b evaluation: an assessment of the quality of evidence and reasons in an argu ment and of the overall merit of an argument
An excellent way to prepare for the Analyze an Argument task is to practice writing
on some of the published Argument topics. There is no one way to practice that is best
for everyone. Some prefer to start practicing without adhering to the 30minute time
limit. If you follow this approach, take all the time you need to evaluate the argument.
No matter which approach you take, you should b carefully read the argument and the specific instructions — you might want to
read them over more than once b identify as many of the argument’s claims, conclusions, and underlying
assumptions as possible and evaluate their quality b think of as many alternative explanations and counterexamples as you can b think of what specific additional evidence might weaken or lend support to the
claims b ask yourself what changes in the argument would make the reasoning more
sound
27 0071700528pp1142:Layout 1 10/13/10 4:45 PM Page 28 GRE Analytical Writing
Write down each of these thoughts as a brief note. When you’ve gone as far as you
can with your evaluation, look over the notes and put them in a good order for discussion (perhaps by numbering them). Then write an evaluation according to the specific
instructions by fully developing each point that is relevant to those instructions. Even
if you choose not to write a full essay response, you should find it very helpful to practice evaluating a few of the arguments and sketching out your responses. When you
become quicker and more confident, you should practice writing some Argument
responses within the 30minute time limit so that you will have a good sense of how to
pace yourself in the actual test. For example, you will not want to discuss one point so
exhaustively or to provide so many equivalent examples that you run out of time to
make your other main points.
You might want to get feedback on your response(s) from a writing instructor, a
philosophy teacher, or someone who emphasizes critical thinking in his or her course.
It can also be very informative to trade papers on the same topic with fellow students
and discuss one another’s responses in terms of the scoring guide. Focus not so much
on giving the “right scores” as on seeing how the papers meet or miss the performance
standards for each score point and what you therefore need to do in order to improve. How to Interpret Numbers, Percentages, and Statistics in Argument Topics
Some arguments contain numbers, percentages, or statistics that are offered as evidence in support of the argument’s conclusion. For example, an argument might claim
that a certain community event is less popular this year than it was last year because
only 100 people attended this year in comparison with 150 last year, a 33 percent
decline in attendance. It is important to remember that you are not being asked to do a
mathematical task with the numbers, percentages, or statistics. Instead you should
evaluate these as evidence intended to support the conclusion. In the example above,
the conclusion is that a community event has become less popular. You should ask
yourself: does the difference between 100 people and 150 people support that conclusion? Note that, in this case, there are other possible explanations; for example, the
weather might have been much worse this year, this year’s event might have been held
at an inconvenient time, the cost of the event might have gone up this year, or there
might have been another popular event this year at the same time. Each of these could
explain the difference in attendance, and thus would weaken the conclusion that the
event was “less popular.” Similarly, percentages might support or weaken a conclusion
depending on what actual numbers the percentages represent. Consider the claim that
the drama club at a school deserves more funding because its membership has
increased by 100 percent. This 100 percent increase could be significant if there had
been 100 members and now there are 200 members, whereas the increase would be
much less significant if there had been 5 members and now there are 10. Remember
that any numbers, percentages, or statistics in Argument tasks are used only as evidence in support of a conclusion, and you should always consider whether they actually support the conclusion. The Form of Your Response
You are free to organize and develop your response in any way that you think will effectively communicate your evaluation of the argument. Your response may, but need not,
incorporate particular writing strategies learned in English composition or writingintensive college courses. GRE readers will not be looking for a particular develop28 0071700528pp1142:Layout 1 10/13/10 4:45 PM Page 29 GRE Analytical Writing
mental strategy or mode of writing. In fact, when GRE readers are trained, they review
hundreds of Argument responses that, although highly diverse in content and form,
display similar levels of critical thinking and analytical writing. Readers will see, for
example, some essays at the 6 score level that begin by briefly summarizing the argument and then explicitly stating and developing the main points of the evaluation. The
readers know that a writer can earn a high score by developing several points in an
evaluation or by identifying a central feature in the argument and developing that evaluation extensively. You might want to look at the sample Argument responses, particularly at the 5 and 6 score levels, to see how other writers have successfully developed
and organized their responses.
You should make choices about format and organization that you think support
and enhance the overall effectiveness of your evaluation. This means using as many
or as few paragraphs as you consider appropriate for your response — for example,
creating a new paragraph when your discussion shifts to a new point of evaluation. You
might want to organize your evaluation around the structure of the argument itself,
discussing the argument line by line. Or you might want to first point out a central
problem and then move on to discuss related weaknesses in the argument’s line of reasoning. Similarly, you might want to use examples if they help illustrate an important
point in your evaluation or move your discussion forward (remember, however, that, in
terms of your ability to perform the Argument task effectively, it is your critical thinking and analytical writing, not your ability to come up with examples, that is being
assessed). What matters is not the form the response takes, but how insightfully you
evaluate the argument and how articulately you communicate your evaluation to academic readers within the context of the task. Sample Argument Task
In surveys Mason City residents rank water sports (swimming, boating, and fishing) among their favorite recreational activities. The Mason River flowing through
the city is rarely used for these pursuits, however, and the city park department
devotes little of its budget to maintaining riverside recreational facilities. For years
there have been complaints from residents about the quality of the river’s water
and the river’s smell. In response, the state has recently announced plans to clean
up Mason River. Use of the river for water sports is, therefore, sure to increase. The
city government should for that reason devote more money in this year’s budget to
riverside recreational facilities.
Write a response in which you examine the stated and/or unstated assumptions of
the argument. Be sure to explain how the argument depends on the assumptions
and what the implications are if the assumptions prove unwarranted. Strategies for This Topic
This argument cites a survey to support the prediction that the use of the Mason River
is sure to increase and thus recommends that the city government should devote more
money in this year’s budget to the riverside recreational facilities.
In developing your evaluation, you are asked to examine the argument’s stated
and/or unstated assumptions and discuss what the implications are if the assumptions
29 0071700528pp1142:Layout 1 10/13/10 4:45 PM Page 30 GRE Analytical Writing
prove unwarranted. A successful response, then, must discuss both the argument’s
assumptions AND the implications of these assumptions for the argument. A response
that does not address these aspects of the task will not receive a score of 4 or higher,
regardless of the quality of its other features.
Though responses may well raise other points not mentioned here and need not
mention all of these points, some assumptions of the argument, and some ways in
which the argument depends on those assumptions, include: b b The assumption that what residents say in surveys can be taken at face value.
(It is possible that survey results exaggerate the interest in water sports.) This
assumption underlies the claim that use of the river for water sports is sure to
increase after the state cleans up the Mason River and that the city should for
that reason devote more money to riverside recreational facilities. b The assumption that Mason City residents would actually want to do water
sports in the Mason River. (As recreational activities, it is possible that water
sports are regarded as pursuits for vacations and weekends away from the city.)
This assumption underlies the claim that use of the river for water sports is
sure to increase after the state cleans up the Mason River and that the city
should for that reason devote more money to riverside recreational facilities. b The assumption that the park department devoting little of its budget to maintaining riverside recreational facilities means that these facilities are inadequately maintained. This assumption underlies the claim that the city should
devote more money in this year’s budget to riverside recreational facilities. If
current facilities are adequately maintained, then increased funding might not
be needed even if recreational use of the river does increase. b The assumption that the riverside recreational facilities are facilities designed
for people who participate in water sports and not some other recreational pursuit. This assumption underlies the claim that the city should devote more
money in this year’s budget to riverside recreational facilities. b The assumption that the dirtiness of the river is the cause of its being little used
and that cleaning up the river will be sufficient to increase recreational use of
the river. (Residents might have complained about the water quality and smell
even if they had no desire to boat, swim, or fish in the river.) This assumption
underlies the claim that the state’s plan to clean up the river will result in
increased use of the river for water sports. b The assumption that the complaints about the river are numerous and significant. This assumption motivates the state’s plan to clean up the river and
underlies the claim that use of the river for water sports is sure to increase.
(Perhaps the complaints are coming from a very small minority; in which case
cleaning the river might be a misuse of state funds.) b 30 The assumption that people who rank water sports “among their favorite recreational activities” are actually likely to participate in them. (It is possible that
they just like to watch them.) This assumption underlies the claim that use of
the river for water sports is sure to increase after the state cleans up the Mason
River and that the city should for that reason devote more money to riverside
recreational facilities. The assumption that the state’s clean up will occur soon enough to require
adjustments to this year’s budget. This assumption underlies the claim that the 0071700528pp1142:Layout 1 10/13/10 4:45 PM Page 31 GRE Analytical Writing
city should devote more money in this year’s budget to riverside recreational
facilities. b The assumption that the clean up, when it happens, will benefit those parts of
the river accessible from the city’s facilities. This assumption underlies the
claim that the city should devote more money to riverside recreational facilities b The assumption that the city government ought to devote more attention to
maintaining a recreational facility if demand for that facility increases. b The assumption that the city should finance the new project and not some
other agency or group (public or private).
Should any of the above assumptions prove unwarranted, the implications are: b That the logic of the argument falls apart/ is invalid/ is unsound. b That the state and city are spending their funds unnecessarily. Essay Responses and Reader Commentary
Score 6 Response *
While it may be true that the Mason City government ought to devote more money to
riverside recreational facilities, this author’s argument does not make a cogent case
for increased resources based on river use. It is easy to understand why city residents
would want a cleaner river, but this argument is rife with holes and assumptions, and
thus, not strong enough to lead to increased funding.
Citing surveys of city residents, the author reports city resident’s love of water
sports. It is not clear, however, the scope and validity of that survey. For example, the
survey could have asked residents if they prefer using the river for water sports or
would like to see a hydroelectric dam built, which may have swayed residents toward
river sports. The sample may not have been representative of city residents, asking
only those residents who live upon the river. The survey may have been 10 pages long,
with 2 questions dedicated to river sports. We just do not know. Unless the survey is
fully representative, valid, and reliable, it can not be used to effectively back the
author’s argument.
Additionally, the author implies that residents do not use the river for swimming,
boating, and fishing, despite their professed interest, because the water is polluted and
smelly. While a polluted, smelly river would likely cut down on river sports, a concrete
connection between the resident’s lack of river use and the river’s current state is not
effectively made. Though there have been complaints, we do not know if there have
been numerous complaints from a wide range of people, or perhaps from one or two
individuals who made numerous complaints. To strengthen his/her argument, the
author would benefit from implementing a normed survey asking a wide range of
residents why they do not currently use the river.
Building upon the implication that residents do not use the river due to the quality
of the river’s water and the smell, the author suggests that a river clean up will result in
increased river usage. If the river’s water quality and smell result from problems which
can be cleaned, this may be true. For example, if the decreased water quality and
*All responses in this publication are reproduced exactly as written, including errors, misspellings, etc., if any. 31 0071700528pp1142:Layout 1 10/13/10 4:45 PM Page 32 GRE Analytical Writing
aroma is caused by pollution by factories along the river, this conceivably could be
remedied. But if the quality and aroma results from the natural mineral deposits in the
water or surrounding rock, this may not be true. There are some bodies of water which
emit a strong smell of sulphur due to the geography of the area. This is not something
likely to be afffected by a cleanup. Consequently, a river clean up may have no impact
upon river usage. Regardless of whether the river’s quality is able to be improved or
not, the author does not effectively show a connection between water quality and river
usage.
A clean, beautiful, safe river often adds to a city’s property values, leads to increased
tourism and revenue from those who come to take advantage of the river, and a better
overall quality of life for residents. For these reasons, city government may decide to
invest in improving riverside recreational facilities. However, this author’s argument is
not likely significantly persuade the city goverment to allocate increased funding. Reader Commentary
This insightful response identifies important assumptions and thoroughly examines
their implications. The proposal to spend more on riverside recreational facilities rests
on a number of questionable assumptions, namely that: b
b
b The survey provides a reliable basis for budget planning;
The river’s pollution and odor are the only reasons for its limited recreational
use;
Efforts to clean the water and remove the odor will be successful. By showing that each assumption is highly suspect, this essay demonstrates the
weakness of the entire argument. For example, paragraph 2 points out that the survey
might not have used a representative sample, might have offered limited choices, and
might have contained very few questions on water sports. Paragraph 3 examines the
tenuous connection between complaints and limited use of the river for recreation.
Complaints about water quality and odor may be coming from only a few people, and
even if such complaints are numerous, other completely different factors may be much
more significant in reducing river usage. Finally, paragraph 4 explains that certain geologic features may prevent effective river clean up. Details such as these provide compelling support.
In addition, careful organization insures that each new point builds upon the previous ones. Note, for example, the clear transitions at the beginning of paragraphs 3
and 4, as well as the logical sequence of sentences within paragraphs (specifically paragraph 4).
Although this essay does contain minor errors, it still conveys ideas fluently. Note
the effective word choices (e.g., “rife with . . . assumptions” and “may have swayed residents”). In addition, sentences are not merely varied; they also display skillful embedding of subordinate elements. Note, for example, the sustained parallelism in the first
sentence of the concluding paragraph.
Since this response offers a cogent examination of the argument and also conveys
meaning skillfully, it earns a score of 6. 32 0071700528pp1142:Layout 1 10/13/10 4:45 PM Page 33 GRE Analytical Writing
Score 5 Response
The author of this proposal to increase the budget for Mason City riverside recreational
facilities offers an interesting argument but to move forward on the proposal would
definitely require more information and thought. While the correlations stated are
logical and probable, there may be hidden factors that prevent the City from diverting
resources to this project.
For example, consider the survey rankings among Mason City residents. The
thought is that such high regard for water sports will translate into usage. But, survey
responses can hardly be used as indicators of actual behavior. Many surveys conducted after the winter holidays reveal people who list exercise and weight loss as a
top priority. Yet every profession does not equal a new gym membership. Even the
wording of the survey results remain ambiguous and vague. While water sports may
be among the residents’ favorite activities, this allows for many other favorites. What
remains unknown is the priorities of the general public. Do they favor these water
sports above a softball field or soccer field? Are they willing to sacrifice the municipal
golf course for better riverside facilities? Indeed the survey hardly provides enough
information to discern future use of improved facilities.
Closely linked to the surveys is the bold assumption that a cleaner river will result
in increased usage. While it is not illogical to expect some increase, at what level will
people begin to use the river? The answer to this question requires a survey to find out
the reasons our residents use or do not use the river. Is river water quality the primary
limiting factor to usage or the lack of docks and piers? Are people more interested in
water sports than the recreational activities that they are already engaged in? These
questions will help the city government forecast how much river usage will increase
and to assign a proportional increase to the budget.
Likewise, the author is optimistic regarding the state promise to clean the river.
We need to hear the source of the voices and consider any ulterior motives. Is this a
campaign year and the plans a campaign promise from the state representative? What
is the timeline for the cleanup effort? Will the state fully fund this project? We can
imagine the misuse of funds in renovating the riverside facilities only to watch the
new buildings fall into dilapidation while the state drags the river cleanup.
Last, the author does not consider where these additional funds will be diverted
from. The current budget situation must be assessed to determine if this increase can
be afforded. In a sense, the City may not be willing to draw money away from other
key projects from road improvements to schools and education. The author naively
assumes that the money can simply appear without forethought on where it will come
from.
Examining all the various angles and factors involved with improving riverside
recreational facilities, the argument does not justify increasing the budget. While the
proposal does highlight a possibility, more information is required to warrant any
action. Reader Commentary
Each paragraph in the body of this perceptive essay identifies and examines an unstated assumption that is crucial to the argument. The major assumptions discussed are: b
b
b
b That a survey can accurately predict behavior,
That cleaning the river will, in itself, increase recreational usage,
That state plans to clean the river will actually be realized,
That Mason City can afford to spend more on riverside recreational facilities.
33 0071700528pp1142:Layout 1 10/13/10 4:45 PM Page 34 GRE Analytical Writing
Support within each paragraph is both thoughtful and thorough. Paragraph 2, for
example, points out vagueness in the wording of the survey: Even if water sports rank
among the favorite recreational activities of Mason City residents, other sports may still
be much more popular. Thus, if the first assumption proves unwarranted, the argument
to fund riverside facilities — rather than soccer fields or golf courses — becomes much
weaker. Paragraph 4 considers several reasons why river clean up plans may not be successful (the plans may be nothing more than campaign promises, or funding may not be
adequate). Thus, the weakness of the third assumption undermines the argument that
river recreation will increase and riverside improvements will be needed at all.
Instead of dismissing each assumption in isolation, this response places them in a
logical order and considers their connections. Note the appropriate transitions between
and within paragraphs, clarifying the links among the assumptions (e.g., “Closely
linked to the surveys . . . ” or “The answer to this question requires . . . ”).
Along with strong development, this response also displays facility with language.
Minor errors in punctuation are present, but word choices are apt and sentences suitably varied in pattern and length. The response uses a number of rhetorical questions,
but the implied answers are always clear enough to support the points being made.
Thus, the response satisfies all requirements for a score of 5, but its development is
not thorough or compelling enough for a 6. Score 4 Response
The problem with the arguement is the assumption that if the Mason River were
cleaned up, that people would use it for water sports and recreation. This is not
necessarily true, as people may rank water sports among their favorite recreational
activities, but that does not mean that those same people have the financial ability,
time or equipment to pursue those interests.
However, even if the writer of the arguement is correct in assuming that the Mason
River will be used more by the city’s residents, the arguement does not say why the
recreational facilities need more money. If recreational facilities already exist along the
Mason River, why should the city allot more money to fund them? If the recreational
facilities already in existence will be used more in the coming years, then they will be
making more money for themselves, eliminating the need for the city government to
devote more money to them.
According to the arguement, the reason people are not using the Mason River for
water sports is because of the smell and the quality of water, not because the
recreational facilities are unacceptable.
If the city government alloted more money to the recreational facilities, then the
budget is being cut from some other important city project. Also, if the assumptions
proved unwarranted, and more people did not use the river for recreation, then much
money has been wasted, not only the money for the recreational facilities, but also the
money that was used to clean up the river to attract more people in the first place. Reader Commentary
This competent response identifies some important unstated assumptions: b
b 34 That cleaning up the Mason River will lead to increased recreational use,
That existing facilities along the river need more funding. 0071700528pp1142:Layout 1 10/13/10 4:45 PM Page 35 GRE Analytical Writing
Paragraph 1 offers reasons why the first assumption is questionable (e.g. residents
may not have the necessary time or money for water sports). Similarly, paragraphs 2
and 3 explain that riverside recreational facilities may already be adequate and may, in
fact, produce additional income if usage increases. Thus, the response is adequately
developed and satisfactorily organized to show how the argument depends on questionable assumptions.
This essay does not, however, rise to a score of 5 because it fails to consider several
other unstated assumptions (e.g. that the survey is reliable or that the efforts to clean
the river will be successful). Furthermore, the final paragraph makes some extraneous,
unsupported assertions of its own. Mason City may actually have a budget surplus so
that cuts to other projects will not be necessary, and cleaning the river may provide
other real benefits even if it is not used more for water sports.
This response is generally free of errors in grammar and usage and displays sufficient control of language to support a score of 4. Score 3 Response
Surveys are created to speak for the people; however, surveys do not always speak
for the whole community. A survey completed by Mason City residents concluded that
the residents enjoy water sports as a form of recreation. If that is so evident, why has
the river not been used? The blame can not be soley be placed on the city park
department. The city park department can only do as much as they observe. The real
issue is not the residents use of the river, but their desire for a more pleasant smell and
a more pleasant sight. If the city government cleans the river, it might take years for the
smell to go away. If the budget is changed to accomodate the clean up of the Mason
River, other problems will arise. The residents will then begin to complain about other
issues in their city that will be ignored because of the great emphasis being placed on
Mason River. If more money is taken out of the budget to clean the river an assumption
can be made. This assumption is that the budget for another part of city maintenance
or building will be tapped into to. In addition, to the budget being used to clean up
Mason River, it will also be allocated in increasing riverside recreational facilites. The
government is trying to appease its residents, and one can warrant that the role of
the government is to please the people. There are many assumptions being made;
however, the government can not make the assumption that people want the river to
be cleaned so that they can use it for recreational water activities. The government has
to realize the long term effects that their decision will have on the monetary value of
their budget. Reader Commentary
Even though much of this essay is tangential, it offers some relevant examination of the
argument’s assumptions. The early sentences mention a questionable assumption (that
the survey results are reliable) but do not explain how the survey might have been
flawed. Then the response drifts to irrelevant matters — a defense of the city park department, a prediction of budget problems, and the problem of pleasing city residents.
Some statements even introduce unwarranted assumptions that are not part of the original argument (e.g., “The residents will then begin to complain about other issues,” and
“This assumption is that the budget for another part of city maintenance or building will
be tapped into.”). Near the end, the response does correctly note that city government 35 0071700528pp1142:Layout 1 10/13/10 4:45 PM Page 36 GRE Analytical Writing
should not assume that residents want to use the river for recreation. Hence, the proposal to increase funding for riverside recreational facilities may not be justified.
In summary, the language in this response is reasonably clear, but its examination
of unstated assumptions remains limited, and therefore the essay earns a score of 3. Score 2 Response
This statement looks like logical, but there are some wrong sentences in it which is not
logical.
First, this statement mentions raking water sports as their favorite recreational
activities at the first sentence. However, it seems to have a ralation between the first
sentence and the setence which mentions that increase the quality of the river’s water
and the river’s smell. This is a wrong cause and result to solve the problem.
Second, as a reponse to the complaints from residents, the state plan to clean up the
river. As a result, the state expects that water sports will increase. When you look at
two sentences, the result is not appropriate for the cause.
Third, the last statement is the conclusion. However, even though residents rank
water sports, the city government might devote the budget to another issue. This
statement is also a wrong cause and result.
In summary, the statement is not logical because there are some errors in it. The
supporting setences are not strong enough to support this issue. Reader Commentary
Although this essay appears to be carefully organized, it does not follow the directions
for the assigned task. In his/her vague references to causal fallacies, the writer attempts
logical analysis but never refers explicitly or implicitly to any unusual assumptions.
Furthermore, several errors in grammar and sentence structure interfere with meaning
(e.g., “This statement looks like logical, but there are some wrong sentences in it which
is not logical.”).
Because this response “does not follow the directions for the assigned task” (see the
Argument Scoring Guide, pages 39–40) and contains errors in sentence structure and
logical development, it earns a score of 2. Score 1 Response
The statement assumes that everyone in Mason City enjoys some sort of recreational
activity, which may not be necessarily true. They statement also assumes that if the
state cleans up the river, the use of the river for water sports will definitely increase. Reader Commentary
The brevity of this twosentence response makes it fundamentally deficient. Sentence
one states an assumption that is actually not present in the argument, and sentence
two correctly states an assumption but provides no discussion of its implications.
Although the response may begin to address the assigned task, it offers no development. As such, it clearly “provides little evidence of the ability to develop an organized
response (i.e., is disorganized and/or extremely brief)” (see Argument Scoring Guide,
pages 39–40) and should earn a score of 1. 36 0071700528pp1142:Layout 1 10/13/10 4:45 PM Page 37 GRE Analytical Writing GRE Scoring Guide: Analyze an Issue
Score 6
In addressing the specific task directions, a 6 response presents a cogent, wellarticulated analysis of the issue and conveys meaning skillfully.
A typical response in this category
b articulates a clear and insightful position on the issue in accordance with the
assigned task
b develops the position fully with compelling reasons and/or persuasive examples
b sustains a wellfocused, wellorganized analysis, connecting ideas logically
b conveys ideas fluently and precisely, using effective vocabulary and sentence
variety
b demonstrates superior facility with the conventions of standard written English
(i.e., grammar, usage, and mechanics) but may have minor errors Score 5
In addressing the specific task directions, a 5 response presents a generally thoughtful,
welldeveloped analysis of the issue and conveys meaning clearly.
A typical response in this category
b presents a clear and wellconsidered position on the issue in accordance with
the assigned task
b develops the position with logically sound reasons and/or wellchosen examples
b is focused and generally well organized, connecting ideas appropriately
b conveys ideas clearly and well, using appropriate vocabulary and sentence variety
b demonstrates facility with the conventions of standard written English but may
have minor errors Score 4
In addressing the specific task directions, a 4 response presents a competent analysis of
the issue and conveys meaning with acceptable clarity.
A typical response in this category
b presents a clear position on the issue in accordance with the assigned task
b develops the position with relevant reasons and/or examples
b is adequately focused and organized
b demonstrates sufficient control of language to express ideas with acceptable
clarity
b generally demonstrates control of the conventions of standard written English
but may have some errors 37 0071700528pp1142:Layout 1 10/13/10 4:45 PM Page 38 GRE Analytical Writing Score 3
A 3 response demonstrates some competence in addressing the specific task directions,
in analyzing the issue, and in conveying meaning but is obviously flawed.
A typical response in this category exhibits ONE OR MORE of the following characteristics:
b is vague or limited in addressing the specific task directions and/or in presenting or developing a position on the issue
b is weak in the use of relevant reasons or examples or relies largely on unsupported claims
b is limited in focus and/or organization
b has problems in language and sentence structure that result in a lack of clarity
b contains occasional major errors or frequent minor errors in grammar, usage,
or mechanics that can interfere with meaning Score 2
A 2 response largely disregards the specific task directions and/or demonstrates serious
weaknesses in analytical writing.
A typical response in this category exhibits ONE OR MORE of the following characteristics:
b is unclear or seriously limited in addressing the specific task directions and/or
in presenting or developing a position on the issue
b provides few, if any, relevant reasons or examples in support of its claims
b is poorly focused and/or poorly organized
b has serious problems in language and sentence structure that frequently interfere with meaning
b contains serious errors in grammar, usage, or mechanics that frequently obscure
meaning Score 1
A 1 response demonstrates fundamental deficiencies in analytical writing.
A typical response in this category exhibits ONE OR MORE of the following characteristics:
b provides little or no evidence of understanding the issue
b provides little evidence of the ability to develop an organized response (e.g., is
disorganized and/or extremely brief)
b has severe problems in language and sentence structure that persistently interfere with meaning
b contains pervasive errors in grammar, usage, or mechanics that result in incoherence Score 0
Off topic (i.e., provides no evidence of an attempt to respond to the assigned topic), is
in a foreign language, merely copies the topic, consists of only keystroke characters, or
is illegible or nonverbal.
38 0071700528pp1142:Layout 1 10/13/10 4:45 PM Page 39 GRE Analytical Writing GRE Scoring Guide: Analyze an Argument
Score 6
In addressing the specific task directions, a 6 response presents a cogent, wellarticulated examination of the argument and conveys meaning skillfully.
A typical response in this category
b clearly identifies aspects of the argument relevant to the assigned task and
examines them insightfully
b develops ideas cogently, organizes them logically, and connects them with clear
transitions
b provides compelling and thorough support for its main points
b conveys ideas fluently and precisely, using effective vocabulary and sentence
variety
b demonstrates superior facility with the conventions of standard written English
(i.e., grammar, usage, and mechanics) but may have minor errors Score 5
In addressing the specific task directions, a 5 response presents a generally thoughtful,
welldeveloped examination of the argument and conveys meaning clearly.
A typical response in this category
b clearly identifies aspects of the argument relevant to the assigned task and
examines them in a generally perceptive way
b develops ideas clearly, organizes them logically, and connects them with appropriate transitions
b offers generally thoughtful and thorough support for its main points
b conveys ideas clearly and well, using appropriate vocabulary and sentence variety
b demonstrates facility with the conventions of standard written English but may
have minor errors Score 4
In addressing the specific task directions, a 4 response presents a competent examination of the argument and conveys meaning with acceptable clarity.
A typical response in this category
b identifies and examines aspects of the argument relevant to the assigned task
but may also discuss some extraneous points
b develops and organizes ideas satisfactorily but may not connect them with
transitions
b supports its main points adequately but may be uneven in its support
b demonstrates sufficient control of language to convey ideas with acceptable
clarity
b generally demonstrates control of the conventions of standard written English
but may have some errors 39 0071700528pp1142:Layout 1 10/13/10 4:45 PM Page 40 GRE Analytical Writing Score 3
A 3 response demonstrates some competence in addressing the specific task directions,
in examining the argument, and in conveying meaning but is obviously flawed.
A typical response in this category exhibits ONE OR MORE of the following characteristics:
b does not identify or examine most of the aspects of the argument relevant to the
assigned task, although some relevant examination of the argument is present
b mainly discusses tangential or irrelevant matters, or reasons poorly
b is limited in the logical development and organization of ideas b
b
b offers support of little relevance and value for its main points
has problems in language and sentence structure that result in a lack of clarity
contains occasional major errors or frequent minor errors in grammar, usage,
or mechanics that can interfere with meaning Score 2
A 2 response largely disregards the specific task directions and/or demonstrates serious
weaknesses in analytical writing.
A typical response in this category exhibits ONE OR MORE of the following characteristics:
b does not present an examination based on logical analysis, but may instead
present the writer’s own views on the subject
b does not follow the directions for the assigned task
b does not develop ideas, or is poorly organized and illogical
b provides little, if any, relevant or reasonable support for its main points
b has serious problems in language and sentence structure that frequently interfere with meaning
b contains serious errors in grammar, usage, or mechanics that frequently obscure
meaning Score 1
A 1 response demonstrates fundamental deficiencies in analytical writing.
A typical response in this category exhibits ONE OR MORE of the following characteristics:
b provides little or no evidence of understanding the argument
b provides little evidence of the ability to develop an organized response (e.g., is
disorganized and/or extremely brief)
b has severe problems in language and sentence structure that persistently interfere with meaning
b contains pervasive errors in grammar, usage, or mechanics that result in incoherence Score 0
Off topic (i.e., provides no evidence of an attempt to respond to the assigned topic), is
in a foreign language, merely copies the topic, consists of only keystroke characters, or
is illegible, or nonverbal.
40 0071700528pp1142:Layout 1 10/13/10 4:45 PM Page 41 GRE Analytical Writing Score Level Descriptions
Although the GRE Analytical Writing measure contains two discrete analytical writing
tasks, a single combined score is reported because it is more reliable than is a score for
either task alone. The reported score, the average of the scores for the two tasks, ranges
from 0 to 6, in halfpoint increments.
The statements below describe, for each score level, the overall quality of critical
thinking and analytical writing demonstrated across both the Issue and Argument
tasks. The Analytical Writing section is designed to assess both critical thinking skills
and writing ability. Thus, many aspects of analytical writing, including reasoning skills,
organization, and degree of control of the conventions of standard written English are
taken into consideration in the determination of a final score. For a full description of
how these criteria are used to assess essay responses, please refer to the scoring guides
for the Issue and Argument tasks, which are available on the GRE website at
www.ets.org/gre/revised/scoreguides.
Scores 6 and 5.5: Sustains insightful, indepth analysis of complex ideas; develops and
supports main points with logically compelling reasons and/or highly persuasive examples; is well focused and well organized; skillfully uses sentence variety and precise
vocabulary to convey meaning effectively; demonstrates superior facility with sentence
structure and language usage but may have minor errors that do not interfere with
meaning.
Scores 5 and 4.5: Provides generally thoughtful analysis of complex ideas; develops and supports main points with logically sound reasons and/or wellchosen examples; is generally focused and well organized; uses sentence variety and vocabulary to convey
meaning clearly; demonstrates good control of sentence structure and language usage
but may have minor errors that do not interfere with meaning.
Scores 4 and 3.5: Provides competent analysis of ideas; develops and supports main
points with relevant reasons and/or examples; is adequately organized; conveys meaning with reasonable clarity; demonstrates satisfactory control of sentence structure and
language usage but may have some errors that affect clarity.
Scores 3 and 2.5: Displays some competence in analytical writing, although the writing
is flawed in at least one of the following ways: limited analysis or development; weak
organization; weak control of sentence structure or language usage, with errors that
often result in vagueness or lack of clarity.
Scores 2 and 1.5: Displays serious weaknesses in analytical writing. The writing is seri ously flawed in at least one of the following ways: serious lack of analysis or development; lack of organization; serious and frequent problems in sentence structure or
language usage, with errors that obscure meaning.
Scores 1 and 0.5: Displays fundamental deficiencies in analytical writing. The writing is
fundamentally flawed in at least one of the following ways: content that is extremely
confusing or mostly irrelevant to the assigned tasks; little or no development; severe
and pervasive errors that result in incoherence. 41 0071700528pp1142:Layout 1 10/13/10 4:45 PM Page 42 GRE Analytical Writing
Score 0: The examinee’s analytical writing skills cannot be evaluated because the responses do not address any part of the assigned tasks, are merely attempts to copy
the assignments, are in a foreign language, or display only indecipherable text.
Score NS: The examinee produced no text whatsoever. 42 0071700528pp4352 10/13/10 3 4:49 PM Page 43 GRE®
Verbal Reasoning
Your goals
for this
chapter g Learn the three types of GRE Verbal Reasoning
questions
g Get tips for answering each question type
g Study examples of GRE Verbal Reasoning
questions Overview of the Verbal Reasoning Measure T he Verbal Reasoning measure assesses your ability to analyze and evaluate written material and synthesize information obtained from it, to analyze relationships among component parts of sentences, and to recognize relationships
among words and concepts.
Verbal Reasoning questions appear in several formats, each of which is discussed
in detail below. About half of the measure requires you to read passages and answer
questions on those passages. The other half requires you to read, interpret, and complete existing sentences, groups of sentences, or paragraphs. Many, but not all, of the
questions are standard multiplechoice questions, in which you are required to select a
single correct answer; others ask you to select multiple correct answers, and still others
ask you to select a sentence from the passage. The number of choices varies depending
on the type of question. Verbal Reasoning Question Types
The Verbal Reasoning measure contains three types of questions: b
b
b Reading Comprehension
Text Completion
Sentence Equivalence In this section you will study each of these question types one by one, and you’ll
learn valuable strategies for answering each type. Turn the page to begin. 43 0071700528pp4352 10/13/10 4:49 PM Page 44 GRE Verbal Reasoning Reading Comprehension Questions
Reading Comprehension questions are designed to test a wide range of abilities
required to read and understand the kinds of prose commonly encountered in graduate
school. Those abilities include b
b
b
b
b
b
b
b
b
b
b
b
b understanding the meaning of individual words
understanding the meaning of individual sentences
understanding the meaning of paragraphs and larger bodies of text
distinguishing between minor and major points
summarizing a passage
drawing conclusions from the information provided
reasoning from incomplete data, inferring missing information
understanding the structure of a text, how the parts relate to one another
identifying the author’s perspective
identifying the author’s assumptions
analyzing a text and reaching conclusions about it
identifying strengths and weaknesses
developing and considering alternative explanations As this list implies, reading and understanding a piece of text requires far more
than a passive understanding of the words and sentences it contains — it requires active
engagement with the text, asking questions, formulating and evaluating hypotheses,
and reflecting on the relationship of the particular text to other texts and information.
Each Reading Comprehension question is based on a passage, which may range in
length from one paragraph to several paragraphs. The test contains approximately ten
passages; the majority of the passages in the test are one paragraph in length, and only
one or two are several paragraphs long. Passages are drawn from the physical sciences,
the biological sciences, the social sciences, the arts and humanities, and everyday topics, and are based on material found in books and periodicals, both academic and
nonacademic.
Typically, about half of the questions on the test will be based on passages, and the
number of questions based on a given passage can range from one to six. Questions
can cover any of the topics listed above, from the meaning of a particular word to
assessing evidence that might support or weaken points made in the passage. Many,
but not all, of the questions are standard multiplechoice questions, in which you are
required to select a single correct answer; others ask you to select multiple correct
answers, and still others ask you to select a sentence from the passage. These question
types are presented in more detail below, and you should make sure that you are familiar with the differences between them. General Advice
Reading passages are drawn from many different disciplines and sources, so you may
encounter material with which you are not familiar. Do not be discouraged when this
happens; all the questions can be answered on the basis of the information provided in
the passage, and you are not expected to rely on any outside knowledge. If, however,
you encounter a passage that seems particularly hard or unfamiliar, you may want to
save it for last. 44 0071700528pp4352 10/13/10 4:49 PM Page 45 GRE Verbal Reasoning
b Read and analyze the passage carefully before trying to answer any of the questions and pay attention to clues that help you understand less explicit aspects
of the passage. b Try to distinguish main ideas from supporting ideas or evidence.
b Try to distinguish ideas that the author is advancing from those he or she is
merely reporting.
b Similarly, try to distinguish ideas that the author is strongly committed to
from those he or she advances as hypothetical or speculative.
b Try to identify the main transitions from one idea to the next.
b Try to identify the relationship between different ideas. For example:
— Are they contrasting? Are they consistent?
— Does one support the other?
— Does one spell another out in greater detail?
— Is one an application of another to a particular circumstance? b Read each question carefully and be certain that you understand exactly what
is being asked. b Answer each question on the basis of the information provided in the passage
and do not rely on outside knowledge. Sometimes your own views or opinions
may conflict with those presented in a passage; if this happens, take special
care to work within the context provided by the passage. You should not expect
to agree with everything you encounter in the reading passages. Reading Comprehension MultipleChoice Questions:
Select One Answer Choice
Description
These are the traditional multiplechoice questions with five answer choices of which
you must select one. Tips for Answering
b Read all the answer choices before making your selection, even if you think
you know what the answer is in advance.
b Don’t be misled by answer choices that are only partially true or only partially
answer the question. The correct answer is the one that most accurately and
most completely answers the question posed. Be careful also not to pick an
answer choice simply because it is a true statement.
b Pay attention to context. When the question asks about the meaning of a
word in the passage, be sure that the answer choice you select correctly
represents the way the word is being used in the passage. Many words have
quite different meanings in different contexts. 45 0071700528pp4352 10/13/10 4:49 PM Page 46 GRE Verbal Reasoning Reading Comprehension MultipleChoice Questions:
Select One or More Answer Choices
Description
These provide three answer choices and ask you to select all that are correct; one, two,
or all three of the answer choices may be correct. To gain credit for these questions,
you must select all the correct answers, and only those; there is no credit for partially
correct answers. These questions are marked with square boxes beside the answer
choices, not circles or ovals. Tips for Answering
b Evaluate each answer choice separately on its own merits. When evaluating
one answer choice, do not take the others into account.
b Make sure the answer choice you pick accurately and completely answers the
question posed. Be careful not to be misled by answer choices that are only
partially true or only partially answer the question. Be careful also not to pick
an answer choice simply because it is a true statement.
Do not be disturbed if you think all three answer choices are correct.
b
Questions of this type can have three correct answer choices. Reading Comprehension Questions: SelectinPassage
Description
The question asks you to click on the sentence in the passage that meets a certain
description. To answer the question, choose one of the sentences and click on it; clicking anywhere on a sentence will highlight it. In longer passages, the question will usually apply to only one or two specified paragraphs, marked by an arrow (>); clicking
on a sentence elsewhere in the passage will not highlight it.
Note. Because this type of question requires the use of the computer, it does not appear
in the paperbased General Test. Similar multiplechoice questions are used in its place. Tips for Answering
b Be careful to evaluate each of the relevant sentences in the passage
separately before selecting your answer. Do not evaluate any sentences that
are outside the paragraphs under consideration.
b Do not select a sentence if the description given in the question only partially
applies. A correct answer choice must accurately match the description in the
question. Note, however, that the description need not be complete, that is,
there may be aspects of the sentence that are not fully described in the
question. 46 0071700528pp4352 10/13/10 4:49 PM Page 47 GRE Verbal Reasoning Sample Question Set
Questions 1 to 3 are based on the following reading passage. line
5 10 Reviving the practice of using elements of popular music in classical composition, an
approach that had been in hibernation in the United States during the 1960s, composer
Philip Glass (born 1937) embraced the ethos of popular music without imitating it.
Glass based two symphonies on music by rock musicians David Bowie and Brian Eno,
but the symphonies’ sound is distinctively his. Popular elements do not appear out of
place in Glass’s classical music, which from its early days has shared certain harmonies
and rhythms with rock music. Yet this use of popular elements has not made Glass a
composer of popular music. His music is not a version of popular music packaged to
attract classical listeners; it is high art for listeners steeped in rock rather than the
classics.
Select only one answer choice. 1. The passage addresses which of the following issues related to Glass’s use of
popular elements in his classical compositions?
A
B
C
D
E How it is regarded by listeners who prefer rock to the classics
How it has affected the commercial success of Glass’s music
Whether it has contributed to a revival of interest among other composers
in using popular elements in their compositions
Whether it has had a detrimental effect on Glass’s reputation as a
composer of classical music
Whether it has caused certain of Glass’s works to be derivative in quality Consider each of the three choices separately and select all that apply. 2. The passage suggests that Glass’s work displays which of the following qualities?
A A return to the use of popular music in classical compositions
B An attempt to elevate rock music to an artistic status more closely
approximating that of classical music
C A longstanding tendency to incorporate elements from two apparently
disparate musical styles
3. Select the sentence that distinguishes two ways of integrating rock and classical
music. Explanation
The passage describes in general terms how Philip Glass uses popular music in his
classical compositions and explores how Glass can do this without being imitative.
Note that there are no opposing views discussed; the author is simply presenting his or
her views.
Question 1: One of the important points that the passage makes is that when Glass
uses popular elements in his music, the result is very much his own creation (it is “distinctively his”). In other words, the music is far from being derivative. Thus one issue 47 0071700528pp4352 10/13/10 4:49 PM Page 48 GRE Verbal Reasoning
that the passage addresses is the one referred to in answer Choice E—it answers it in
the negative. The passage does not discuss the impact of Glass’s use of popular elements on listeners, on the commercial success of his music, on other composers, nor
on Glass’s reputation, so none of Choices A through D is correct.
The correct answer is Choice E.
Question 2: To answer this question, it is important to assess each answer choice
independently. Since the passage says that Glass revived the use of popular music in
classical compositions, answer Choice A is clearly correct. On the other hand, the passage also denies that Glass composes popular music or packages it in a way to elevate
its status, so answer Choice B is incorrect. Finally, since Glass’s style has always mixed
elements of rock with classical elements, Choice C is correct.
Thus the correct answer is Choice A and Choice C.
Question 3: Almost every sentence in the passage refers to incorporating rock
music in classical compositions, but only the last sentence distinguishes two ways of
doing so. It distinguishes between writing rock music in a way that will make it attractive to classical listeners and writing classical music that will be attractive to listeners
familiar with rock.
Thus the correct answer is the last sentence of the passage. Text Completion Questions
Description
As mentioned above, skilled readers do not simply absorb the information presented on
the page; instead, they maintain a constant attitude of interpretation and evaluation,
reasoning from what they have read so far to create a picture of the whole and revising
that picture as they go. Text Completion questions test this ability by omitting crucial
words from short passages and asking the test taker to use the remaining information
in the passage as a basis for selecting words or short phrases to fill the blanks and create a coherent, meaningful whole. Question Structure
b
b One to three blanks b Three answer choices per blank (five answer choices in the case of a single
blank) b The answer choices for different blanks function independently; that is, selecting one answer choice for one blank does not affect what answer choices you
can select for another blank b 48 Passage composed of one to five sentences Single correct answer, consisting of one choice for each blank; no credit for
partially correct answers 0071700528pp4352 10/13/10 4:49 PM Page 49 GRE Verbal Reasoning
Tips for Answering
Do not merely try to consider each possible combination of answers; doing so
will take too long and is open to error. Instead, try to analyze the passage in the
following way: b Read through the passage to get an overall sense of it.
b Identify words or phrases that seem particularly significant, either because
they emphasize the structure of the passage (words like although or
moreover ) or because they are central to understanding what the passage
is about.
b Think up your own words for the blanks. Try to fill in the blanks with words
or phrases that seem to you to fit and then see if similar words are offered
among the answer choices.
b Do not assume that the first blank is the one that should be filled first.
Perhaps one of the other blanks is easier to fill first. Select your choice for that
blank, and then see whether you can complete another blank. If none of the
choices for the other blank seem to make sense, go back and reconsider your
first selection.
b Double check your answers. When you have made your selection for each
blank, check to make sure that the passage is logically, grammatically, and
stylistically coherent. Sample Questions
For each blank select one entry from the corresponding column of choices. Fill all
blanks in the way that best completes the text. 1. It is refreshing to read a book about our planet by an author who does not allow
facts to be (i)__________ by politics: well aware of the political disputes about
the effects of human activities on climate and biodiversity, this author does not
permit them to (ii)__________ his comprehensive description of what we know
about our biosphere. He emphasizes the enormous gaps in our knowledge, the
sparseness of our observations, and the (iii)__________, calling attention to the
many aspects of planetary evolution that must be better understood before we
can accurately diagnose the condition of our planet.
Blank (i)
A overshadowed Blank (ii)
D enhance Blank (iii)
G plausibility of our hypotheses
B invalidated E obscure H certainty of our entitlement
C illuminated F underscore I superficiality of
our theories Explanation
The overall tone of the passage is clearly complimentary. To understand what the
author of the book is being complimented on, it is useful to focus on the second blank.
49 0071700528pp4352 10/13/10 4:49 PM Page 50 GRE Verbal Reasoning
Here, we must determine what word would indicate something that the author is
praised for not permitting. The only answer choice that fits the case is “obscure,” since
enhancing and underscoring are generally good things to do, not things one should
refrain from doing. Choosing “obscure” clarifies the choice for the first blank; the only
choice that fits well with “obscure” is “overshadowed.” Notice that trying to fill blank
(i) without filling blank (ii) first is very hard—each choice has at least some initial plausibility. Since the third blank requires a phrase that matches “enormous gaps” and
“sparseness of our observations,” the best choice is “superficiality of our theories.”
Thus the correct answer is overshadowed (Choice A), obscure (Choice E), and
superficiality of our theories (Choice I).
2. Vain and prone to violence, Caravaggio could not handle success: the more his
(i)__________ as an artist increased, the more (ii)__________ his life became.
Blank (i)
A Blank (ii)
D tumultuous B notoriety E providential C F dispassionate temperance
eminence Explanation
In this sentence, what follows the colon must explain or spell out what precedes it. So
roughly what the second part must say is that as Caravaggio became more successful,
his life got more out of control. When one looks for words to fill the blanks, it becomes
clear that “tumultuous” is the best fit for blank (ii), since neither of the other choices
suggests being out of control. And for blank (i), the best choice is “eminence,” since
to increase in eminence is a consequence of becoming more successful. It is true that
Caravaggio might also increase in notoriety, but an increase in notoriety as an artist is
not as clear a sign of success as an increase in eminence.
Thus the correct answer is eminence (Choice C) and tumultuous (Choice D).
3. In parts of the Arctic, the land grades into the landfast ice so _______ that you
can walk off the coast and not know you are over the hidden sea.
A permanently B imperceptibly
C irregularly D precariously
E relentlessly Explanation
The word that fills the blank has to characterize how the land grades into the ice in a
way that explains how you can walk off the coast and over the sea without knowing it.
The word that does that is “imperceptibly”; if the land grades imperceptibly into the
ice, you might well not know that you had left the land. Describing the shift from land
to ice as permanent, irregular, precarious, or relentless would not help to explain how
you would fail to know.
Thus the correct answer is imperceptibly (Choice B). 50 0071700528pp4352 10/13/10 4:49 PM Page 51 GRE Verbal Reasoning Sentence Equivalence Questions
Description
Like Text Completion questions, Sentence Equivalence questions test the ability to
reach a conclusion about how a passage should be completed on the basis of partial
information, but to a greater extent they focus on the meaning of the completed whole.
Sentence Equivalence questions consist of a single sentence with just one blank, and
they ask you to find two choices that both lead to a complete, coherent sentence and
that produce sentences that mean the same thing. Question Structure
b Consists of:
b a single sentence
b one blank
b six answer choices b Requires you to select two of the answer choices; no credit for partially correct
answers. These questions are marked with square boxes beside the answer choices, not circles or
ovals. Tips for Answering
Do not simply look among the answer choices for two words that mean the
same thing. This can be misleading for two reasons. First, the answer choices
may contain pairs of words that mean the same thing but do not fit coherently
into the sentence, and thus do not constitute a correct answer. Second, the pair
of words that do constitute the correct answer may not mean exactly the same
thing, since all that matters is that the resultant sentences mean the same thing. b Read the sentence to get an overall sense of it.
b Identify words or phrases that seem particularly significant, either because
they emphasize the structure of the sentence (words like although or
moreover) or because they are central to understanding what the sentence
is about.
b Think up your own words for the blanks. Try to fill in the blank with a word
that seems to you to fit and then see if two similar words are offered among
the answer choices. If you find some word that is similar to what you are
expecting but cannot find a second one, do not become fixated on your
interpretation; instead, see whether there are other words among the answer
choices that can be used to fill the blank coherently.
b Double check your answers. When you have selected your pair of answer
choices for the blank, check to make sure that each one produces a sentence
that is logically, grammatically, and stylistically coherent, and that the two
sentences mean the same thing. 51 0071700528pp4352 10/13/10 4:49 PM Page 52 GRE Verbal Reasoning Sample Questions
Select the two answer choices that, when used to complete the sentence, fit the
meaning of the sentence as a whole and produce completed sentences that are alike
in meaning. 1. Although it does contain some pioneering ideas, one would hardly characterize
the work as __________.
A orthodox
B eccentric
C original
D trifling
E conventional
F innovative Explanation
The word “Although” is a crucial signpost here. The work contains some pioneering
ideas, but apparently it is not overall a pioneering work. Thus the two words that could
fill the blank appropriately are “original” and “innovative.” Note that “orthodox” and
“conventional” are two words that are very similar in meaning, but neither one completes the sentence sensibly.
Thus the correct answer is original (Choice C) and innovative (Choice F).
2. It was her view that the country’s problems had been _______ by foreign
technocrats, so that to ask for such assistance again would be counterproductive.
A ameliorated
ascertained
C diagnosed
D exacerbated
E overlooked
F worsened
B Explanation
The sentence relates a piece of reasoning, as indicated by the presence of “so that”:
asking for the assistance of foreign technocrats would be counterproductive because of
the effects such technocrats have had already. This means that the technocrats must
have bad effects; that is, they must have “exacerbated” or “worsened” the country’s
problems.
Thus the correct answer is exacerbated (Choice D) and worsened (Choice F). 52 0071700528pp53106 10/13/10 4 4:51 PM Page 53 GRE®
Verbal Reasoning
Practice Questions
Your goals
for this
chapter g Practice answering GRE Verbal Reasoning
questions on your own
g Study answer explanations, particularly for
questions you answered incorrectly T his chapter contains six sets of GRE Verbal Reasoning practice questions. Three
of the practice sets consist of examples of the discrete question types, Text Completion and Sentence Equivalence; and the other three sets consist of Reading
Comprehension questions. The sets are arranged in order of increasing difficulty. The
first two are easy, the next two are medium, and the final two are hard.
Following the last set are Answer Keys for quick reference. Then, at the end of the
chapter, you will find complete explanations for every question. Each explanation is
presented with the corresponding question, so that you can easily see what was asked
and what the various answer choices were.
Sharpen your GRE Verbal Reasoning skills by working your way through these
question sets. Begin with the easy sets and then move on to the mediumdifficulty and
hard sets. Review the answer explanations carefully, paying particular attention to the
explanations for questions that you answered incorrectly. Turn the page to begin. 53 0071700528pp53106 10/13/10 4:51 PM Page 54 GRE Verbal Reasoning Practice Questions SET 1. Discrete Questions: Easy
For Questions 1 to 5, select one entry for each blank from the corresponding column
of choices. Fill all blanks in the way that best completes the text. 1. Dominant interests often benefit most from _________ of governmental
interference in business, since they are able to take care of themselves if left
alone.
A intensification B authorization
C centralization D improvisation
E elimination 2. Kagan maintains that an infant’s reactions to its first stressful experiences are
part of a natural process of development, not harbingers of childhood
unhappiness or _________ signs of adolescent anxiety.
A prophetic B normal
C monotonous D virtual
E typical 3. An investigation that is _________ can occasionally yield new facts, even notable
ones, but typically the appearance of such facts is the result of a search in a
definite direction.
A timely B unguided
C consistent D uncomplicated
E subjective 4. It is (i)_________ that so many portrait paintings hang in art museums, since the
subject matter seems to dictate a status closer to pictures in the family photograph album than to high art. But perhaps it is the artistic skill with which the
portraits are painted that (ii)_________ their presence in art museums.
Blank (i)
A Blank (ii)
challenges B understandable E justifies C 54 D F changes surprising
irrelevant 0071700528pp53106 10/13/10 4:51 PM Page 55 GRE Verbal Reasoning Practice Questions
5. In stark contrast to his later (i)_________, Simpson was largely (ii)_________
politics during his college years, despite the fact that the campus he attended was
rife with political activity.
Blank (i)
A Blank (ii)
D devoted to B apathy E indifferent to C F shaped by activism
affability For Questions 6 to 8, select the two answer choices that, when used to complete
the sentence, fit the meaning of the sentence as a whole and produce completed
sentences that are alike in meaning. 6. As my eyesight began to _________, I spent a lot of time writing about it — both
poems and “eye journals” — describing what I saw as I looked out through
damaged eyes.
A deteriorate
B sharpen
C improve
D decline
E recover
F adjust
7. The judge’s standing in the legal community, though shaken by phony allegations
of wrongdoing, emerged, at long last, _________ .
A unqualified
undiminished
C undecided
D undamaged
E unresolved
F unprincipled
B 8. Modern agricultural practices have been extremely successful in increasing the
productivity of major food crops, yet despite heavy use of pesticides, _________
losses to diseases and insect pests are sustained each year.
A incongruous
B reasonable
C significant
D considerable
E equitable
F fortuitous 55 0071700528pp53106 10/13/10 4:51 PM Page 56 GRE Verbal Reasoning Practice Questions SET 2. Reading Comprehension Questions: Easy
For each of Questions 1 to 9, select one answer choice unless otherwise instructed. 1. A person who agrees to serve as mediator between two warring factions at the
request of both abandons by so agreeing the right to take sides later. To take sides
at a later point would be to suggest that the earlier presumptive impartiality was
a sham.
The passage above emphasizes which of the following points about mediators?
A
B
C
D
E 56 They should try to form no opinions of their own about any issue that is
related to the dispute.
They should not agree to serve unless they are committed to maintaining
a stance of impartiality.
They should not agree to serve unless they are equally acceptable to all
parties to a dispute.
They should feel free to take sides in the dispute right from the start,
provided that they make their biases publicly known.
They should reserve the right to abandon their impartiality so as not to be
open to the charge of having been deceitful. 0071700528pp53106 10/13/10 4:51 PM Page 57 GRE Verbal Reasoning Practice Questions
Questions 2 to 5 are based on the following reading passage.
Was Felix Mendelssohn (1809–1847) a great composer? On its face, the question seems
absurd. One of the most gifted prodigies in the history of music, he produced his first
masterpiece at sixteen. From then on, he was recognized as an artist of preternatural
abilities, not only as a composer but also as a pianist and conductor. But Mendelssohn’s
enduring popularity has often been at odds — sometimes quite sharply — with his
critical standing. Despite general acknowledgment of his genius, there has been a
noticeable reluctance to rank him with, say, Schumann or Brahms. As Haggin put it,
Mendelssohn, as a composer, was a “minor master . . . working on a small scale of emotion and texture.” 2. Select a sentence in the passage whose function is to indicate the range of
Mendelssohn’s musical talents. 3. The passage suggests that anyone attempting to evaluate Mendelssohn’s career
must confront which of the following dichotomies?
A The tension between Mendelssohn’s career as a composer and his career
as a pianist and conductor
B The contrast between Mendelssohn’s popularity and that of Schumann
and Brahms
C The discrepancy between Mendelssohn’s popularity and his standing
among critics
D The inconsistency between Mendelssohn’s reputation during his lifetime
and his reputation since his death
E The gap between Mendelssohn’s prodigious musical beginnings and his decline in later years
4. It can be inferred that the “reluctance” mentioned in the passage is being
ascribed to
A most composers since Mendelssohn B Schumann and Brahms
C the musiclistening public
D music critics generally
E Haggin exclusively
5. The author mentions Schumann and Brahms primarily in order to
A provide examples of composers who are often compared with
Mendelssohn B identify certain composers who are more popular than Mendelssohn
C identify composers whom Mendelssohn influenced D establish the milieu in which Mendelssohn worked
E establish a standard of comparison for Mendelssohn as a composer 57 0071700528pp53106 10/13/10 4:51 PM Page 58 GRE Verbal Reasoning Practice Questions
Questions 6 and 7 are based on the following reading passage.
While most scholarship on women’s employment in the United States recognizes that
the Second World War (1939–1945) dramatically changed the role of women in the
workforce, these studies also acknowledge that few women remained in manufacturing
jobs once men returned from the war. But in agriculture, unlike other industries where
women were viewed as temporary workers, women’s employment did not end with the
war. Instead, the expansion of agriculture and a steady decrease in the number of male
farmworkers combined to cause the industry to hire more women in the postwar years.
Consequently, the 1950s saw a growing number of women engaged in farm labor, even
though rhetoric in the popular media called for the return of women to domestic life. 6. It can be inferred from the passage that the manufacturing and agricultural
sectors in the United States following the Second World War differed in which of
the following respects?
A The rate of expansion in each sector
B The percentage of employees in each sector who were men
C The trend in the wages of men employed in each sector
D The attitude of the popular media toward the employment of women in
each sector
E The extent to which women in each sector were satisfied with their jobs 7. Which of the following statements about women’s employment in the United
States during and after the Second World War is most clearly supported by the
passage?
A Most women who joined the workforce during the Second World War
wanted to return to domestic life when the war ended. B The great majority of women who joined the workforce during the Second
C World War were employed in manufacturing jobs.
The end of the Second World War was followed by a largescale transfer of
women workers from manufacturing to agriculture. D The increase in women’s employment that accompanied the Second World War was longer lasting in agriculture than it was in manufacturing.
E The popular media were more forceful in calling for women to join the workforce during the Second World War than in calling for women to
return to domestic life after the war. 58 0071700528pp53106 10/13/10 4:51 PM Page 59 GRE Verbal Reasoning Practice Questions
Questions 8 and 9 are based on the following reading passage. line
5 10 Since the Hawaiian Islands have never been connected to other land masses, the great
variety of plants in Hawaii must be a result of the longdistance dispersal of seeds, a
process that requires both a method of transport and an equivalence between the ecology of the source area and that of the recipient area.
There is some dispute about the method of transport involved. Some biologists
argue that ocean and air currents are responsible for the transport of plant seeds to
Hawaii. Yet the results of flotation experiments and the low temperatures of air currents cast doubt on these hypotheses. More probable is bird transport, either externally,
by accidental attachment of the seeds to feathers, or internally, by the swallowing of
fruit and subsequent excretion of the seeds. While it is likely that fewer varieties of
plant seeds have reached Hawaii externally than internally, more varieties are known
to be adapted to external than to internal transport.
8. The author of the passage is primarily concerned with
A discussing different approaches biologists have taken to testing theories
about the distribution of plants in Hawaii B discussing different theories about the transport of plant seeds to Hawaii
C discussing the extent to which air currents are responsible for the
dispersal of plant seeds to Hawaii
D resolving a dispute about the adaptability of plant seeds to bird transport
E resolving a dispute about the ability of birds to carry plant seeds long
distances
9. The author mentions the results of flotation experiments on plant seeds (lines
7–8) most probably in order to
A support the claim that the distribution of plants in Hawaii is the result of
the longdistance dispersal of seeds
B lend credibility to the thesis that air currents provide a method of
transport for plant seeds to Hawaii
C suggest that the longdistance dispersal of seeds is a process that requires
long periods of time
D challenge the claim that ocean currents are responsible for the transport
of plant seeds to Hawaii
E refute the claim that Hawaiian flora evolved independently from flora in other parts of the world 59 0071700528pp53106 10/13/10 4:51 PM Page 60 GRE Verbal Reasoning Practice Questions SET 3. Discrete Questions: Medium
For Questions 1 to 5, select one entry for each blank from the corresponding column
of choices. Fill all blanks in the way that best completes the text. 1. It comes as no surprise that societies have codes of behavior; the character of the
codes, on the other hand, can often be _________ .
A predictable B unexpected
C admirable D explicit
E confusing 2. Like Béla Bartók, Ruth Crawford not only brought a composer’s acumen to the
notation of folk music, she also had a marked (i)_________ the task. This was
clear in her agonizing over how far to try to represent the minute details of a
performance in a written text, and this (ii)_________ makes her work a landmark
in ethnomusicology.
Blank (i)
A Blank (ii)
D fastidiousness B detachment from E didacticism C 3. reverence for F iconoclasm curiosity about Political advertising may well be the most (i)_________ kind of advertising:
political candidates are usually quite (ii)_________, yet their campaign
advertisements often hide important differences behind smoke screens of smiles
and empty slogans.
Blank (i)
A Blank (ii)
interchangeable B effective E dissimilar C 60 D F vocal polemical
deceptive 0071700528pp53106 10/13/10 4:51 PM Page 61 GRE Verbal Reasoning Practice Questions
4. Richard M. Russell said 52 percent of the nation’s growth since the Second World
War had (i)_________ invention. He said, (ii)_________ research, the government’s
greatest role in assuring continuing innovation is promoting a strong, modern
patent office. “Unless we can (iii)_________ original ideas, we will not have
invention,” Mr. Russell said. Speculating on the state of innovation over the next
century, several inventors agreed that the future lay in giving children the tools to
think creatively and the motivation to invent.
Blank (i)
A
B Blank (ii) been at the
expense of D in addition to no bearing on E aside from Blank (iii)
G evaluate restricting
H protect supporting
C come through F far from I disseminate exaggerating
5. Statements presented as fact in a patent application are (i)_________ unless a
good reason for doubt is found. The invention has only to be deemed “more likely
than not” to work in order to receive initial approval. And, although thousands of
patents are challenged in court for other reasons, no incentive exists for anyone
to expend effort (ii)_________ the science of an erroneous patent. For this reason
the endless stream of (iii)_________ devices will continue to yield occasional
patents.
Blank (i) Blank (ii) Blank (iii) A presumed
verifiable D corroborating G novel B carefully
scrutinized E advancing H bogus C considered
capricious F debunking I obsolete 61 0071700528pp53106 10/13/10 4:51 PM Page 62 GRE Verbal Reasoning Practice Questions
For Questions 6 to 8, select the two answer choices that, when used to complete
the sentence, fit the meaning of the sentence as a whole and produce completed
sentences that are alike in meaning. 6. Ever a demanding reader of the fiction of others, the novelist Chase was likewise
often the object of _________ analyses by his contemporaries.
A exacting
B copious
C respectful
D acerbic
E scathing
F meticulous
7. Her _________ should not be confused with miserliness; as long as I have known
her, she has always been willing to assist those who are in need.
A stinginess
B diffidence
C frugality
D illiberality
E intolerance
F thrift
8. A misconception frequently held by novice writers is that sentence structure
mirrors thought: the more convoluted the structure, the more _________ the
ideas.
A complicated
B engaged
C essential
D fanciful
E inconsequential
F involved 62 0071700528pp53106 10/13/10 4:51 PM Page 63 GRE Verbal Reasoning Practice Questions SET 4. Reading Comprehension Questions: Medium
For each of Questions 1 to 9, select one answer choice unless otherwise instructed. Questions 1 and 2 are based on the following reading passage. line
5 10 I enjoyed A Dream of Light & Shadow: Portraits of Latin American Women Writers for
the same reasons that, as a child, I avidly consumed women’s biographies: the fascination with how the biographical details of another female’s life are represented and
interpreted.
A Dream offers a rich read, varied in both the lives and texts of the women portrayed, and the perspectives and styles of the sixteen essayists. Yet, as an adult, I have
come to demand of any really “great” book a selfconsciousness about the tenuous
nature of representations of reality, a critical contextualization of florid detail, and a
selfawareness of the role of ideology in our lives. In these critical senses, A Dream is
inadequate. For the following question, consider each of the choices separately and select all that
apply. 1. The author of the passage suggests that A Dream falls short in which of the
following respects?
A
B
C 2. It does not appear to recognize that representations of reality can be
unreliable.
It seems to focus on stylistic variety at the expense of accuracy of detail.
It offers a wealth of detail without sufficient critical examination of that
detail. Which of the following best describes the function of the second sentence
(“A Dream . . . essayists”) in the context of the passage as a whole?
A
B
C
D
E To give examples of how A Dream presents fascinating portraits that
display awareness of the tenuous nature of representations of reality
To elaborate on how A Dream fulfills the author’s childhood criteria for a
pleasurable book
To suggest that the author enjoyed A Dream for reasons more
sophisticated than the reasons she enjoyed certain books as a child
To illustrate ways in which the author finds A Dream to be inadequate in
certain critical senses
To imply that A Dream is too varied in focus to provide a proper
contextualization of the biographical details it offers 63 0071700528pp53106 10/13/10 4:51 PM Page 64 GRE Verbal Reasoning Practice Questions
3. During the day in Lake Constance, the zooplankton D. hyalina departs for the
depths where food is scarce and the water cold. D. galeata remains near the
warm surface where food is abundant. Even though D. galeata grows and
reproduces much faster, its population is often outnumbered by D. hyalina.
Which of the following, if true, would help resolve the apparent paradox
presented above?
A The number of species of zooplankton living at the bottom of the lake is
twice that of species living at the surface. B Predators of zooplankton, such as whitefish and perch, live and feed near
C the surface of the lake during the day.
In order to make the most of scarce food resources, D. hyalina matures
more slowly than D. galeata. D D. galeata clusters under vegetation during the hottest part of the day to avoid the Sun’s rays.
E D. galeata produces twice as many offspring per individual in any given period of time as does D. hyalina. 64 0071700528pp53106 10/13/10 4:51 PM Page 65 GRE Verbal Reasoning Practice Questions
Questions 4 and 5 are based on the following reading passage. line
5 10 Tocqueville, apparently, was wrong. Jacksonian America was not a fluid, egalitarian
society where individual wealth and poverty were ephemeral conditions. At least so
argues E. Pessen in his iconoclastic study of the very rich in the United States between
1825 and 1850.
Pessen does present a quantity of examples, together with some refreshingly intelligible statistics, to establish the existence of an inordinately wealthy class. Though
active in commerce or the professions, most of the wealthy were not selfmade but had
inherited family fortunes. In no sense mercurial, these great fortunes survived the
financial panics that destroyed lesser ones. Indeed, in several cities the wealthiest one
percent constantly increased its share until by 1850 it owned half of the community’s
wealth. Although these observations are true, Pessen overestimates their importance by
concluding from them that the undoubted progress toward inequality in the late eighteenth century continued in the Jacksonian period and that the United States was a
classridden, plutocratic society even before industrialization.
4. According to the passage, Pessen indicates that all of the following were true of
the very wealthy in the United States between 1825 and 1850 EXCEPT:
A They formed a distinct upper class. B Many of them were able to increase their holdings.
C Some of them worked as professionals or in business.
D Most of them accumulated their own fortunes.
E Many of them retained their wealth in spite of financial upheavals.
5. Which of the following best states the author’s main point?
A Pessen’s study has overturned the previously established view of the social
and economic structure of earlynineteenthcentury America.
B Tocqueville’s analysis of the United States in the Jacksonian era remains
the definitive account of this period.
C Pessen’s study is valuable primarily because it shows the continuity of the
social system in the United States throughout the nineteenth century.
D The social patterns and political power of the extremely wealthy in the United States between 1825 and 1850 are well documented.
E Pessen challenges a view of the social and economic systems in the United
States from 1825 to 1850, but he draws conclusions that are incorrect. 65 0071700528pp53106 10/13/10 4:51 PM Page 66 GRE Verbal Reasoning Practice Questions
Questions 6 to 9 are based on the following reading passage. line
5 10 15 20 25 30 35 The evolution of intelligence among early large mammals of the grasslands was due in
great measure to the interaction between two ecologically synchronized groups of
these animals, the hunting carnivores and the herbivores that they hunted. The interaction resulting from the differences between predator and prey led to a general
improvement in brain functions; however, certain components of intelligence were
improved far more than others.
The kind of intelligence favored by the interplay of increasingly smarter catchers
and increasingly keener escapers is defined by attention — that aspect of mind carrying consciousness forward from one moment to the next. It ranges from a passive, freefloating awareness to a highly focused, active fixation. The range through these states
is mediated by the arousal system, a network of tracts converging from sensory systems
to integrating centers in the brain stem. From the more relaxed to the more vigorous
levels, sensitivity to novelty is increased. The organism is more awake, more vigilant;
this increased vigilance results in the apprehension of ever more subtle signals as the
organism becomes more sensitive to its surroundings. The processes of arousal and
concentration give attention its direction. Arousal is at first general, with a flooding of
impulses in the brain stem; then gradually the activation is channeled. Thus begins
concentration, the holding of consistent images. One meaning of intelligence is the way
in which these images and other alertly searched information are used in the context of
previous experience. Consciousness links past attention to the present and permits the
integration of details with perceived ends and purposes.
The elements of intelligence and consciousness come together marvelously to produce different styles in predator and prey. Herbivores and carnivores develop different
kinds of attention related to escaping or chasing. Although in both kinds of animal,
arousal stimulates the production of adrenaline and norepinephrine by the adrenal
glands, the effect in herbivores is primarily fear, whereas in carnivores the effect is
primarily aggression. For both, arousal attunes the animal to what is ahead. Perhaps it
does not experience forethought as we know it, but the animal does experience something like it. The predator is searchingly aggressive, innerdirected, tuned by the
nervous system and the adrenal hormones, but aware in a sense closer to human consciousness than, say, a hungry lizard’s instinctive snap at a passing beetle. Using past
events as a framework, the large mammal predator is working out a relationship
between movement and food, sensitive to possibilities in cold trails and distant sounds
— and yesterday’s unforgotten lessons. The herbivore prey is of a different mind. Its
mood of wariness rather than searching and its attitude of general expectancy instead
of anticipating are silkthin veils of tranquillity over an explosive endocrine system.
6. The author refers to a hungry lizard (line 31) primarily in order to
A demonstrate the similarity between the hunting methods of mammals and
those of nonmammals B broaden the application of the argument by including an insectivore as an example
C make a distinction between higher and lower levels of consciousness
D provide an additional illustration of the brutality characteristic of
predators
E offer an objection to suggestions that all animals lack consciousness 66 0071700528pp53106 10/13/10 4:51 PM Page 67 GRE Verbal Reasoning Practice Questions
7. It can be inferred from the passage that in animals less intelligent than the
mammals discussed in the passage
A
B
C
D
E 8. According to the passage, improvement in brain function among early large
mammals resulted primarily from which of the following?
A
B
C
D
E 9. past experience is less helpful in ensuring survival
attention is more highly focused
muscular coordination is less highly developed
there is less need for competition among species
environment is more important in establishing the proper ratio of prey
to predator Interplay of predator and prey
Persistence of freefloating awareness in animals of the grasslands
Gradual dominance of warmblooded mammals over coldblooded reptiles
Interaction of early large mammals with less intelligent species
Improvement of the capacity for memory among herbivores and
carnivores According to the passage, as the process of arousal in an organism continues,
all of the following may occur EXCEPT
A
B
C
D
E the production of adrenaline
the production of norepinephrine
a heightening of sensitivity to stimuli
an increase in selectivity with respect to stimuli
an expansion of the range of states mediated by the brain stem 67 0071700528pp53106 10/13/10 4:51 PM Page 68 GRE Verbal Reasoning Practice Questions SET 5. Discrete Questions: Hard
For Questions 1 to 6, select one entry for each blank from the corresponding column
of choices. Fill all blanks in the way that best completes the text. 1. For some time now, _________ has been presumed not to exist: the cynical
conviction that everybody has an angle is considered wisdom.
A rationality B flexibility
C diffidence D disinterestedness
E insincerity 2. Human nature and long distances have made exceeding the speed limit a
(i)_________ in the state, so the legislators surprised no one when, acceding to
public demand, they (ii)_________ increased penalties for speeding.
Blank (i) Blank (ii) A controversial habit endorsed B cherished tradition E considered C disquieting ritual 3. D F rejected Serling’s account of his employer’s reckless decision making (i)_________ that
company’s image as (ii)_________ bureaucracy full of wary managers.
Blank (i) Blank (ii) A belies an injudicious B exposes E a disorganized C overshadows 68 D F a cautious 0071700528pp53106 10/13/10 4:51 PM Page 69 GRE Verbal Reasoning Practice Questions
4. No other contemporary poet’s work has such a wellearned reputation for
(i)_________, and there are few whose moral vision is so imperiously unsparing.
Of late, however, the almost belligerent demands of his severe and densely
forbidding poetry have taken an improbable turn. This new collection is the
poet’s fourth book in six years — an ample output even for poets of sunny
disposition, let alone for one of such (ii)_________ over the previous 50 years.
Yet for all his newfound (iii)_________, his poetry is as thorny as ever.
Blank (i)
A
B Blank (ii) patent
accessibility D penitential intrinsic frivolity E intractable Blank (iii)
G taciturnity austerity
H volubility prolixity
C 5. near
impenetrability F impetuous I pellucidity prodigality Managers who think that strong environmental performance will (i)_________
their company’s financial performance often (ii)_________ claims that systems
designed to help them manage environmental concerns are valuable tools. By
contrast, managers who perceive environmental performance to be (iii)_________
to financial success may view an environmental management system as
extraneous. In either situation, and whatever their perceptions, it is a manager’s
commitment to achieving environmental improvement rather than the mere
presence of a system that determines environmental performance.
Blank (i)
A eclipse Blank (ii)
D uncritically Blank (iii)
G complementary accept
B bolster E appropriately H intrinsic acknowledge
C 6. degrade F hotly dispute I peripheral Philosophy, unlike most other subjects, does not try to extend our knowledge by
discovering new information about the world. Instead it tries to deepen our
understanding through (i)_________ what is already closest to us — the
experiences, thoughts, concepts, and activities that make up our lives but that
ordinarily escape our notice precisely because they are so familiar. Philosophy
begins by finding (ii)_________ the things that are (iii) _________.
Blank (i)
A attainment of Blank (ii)
D essentially Blank (iii)
G most prosaic irrelevant
B rumination on E utterly H somewhat mysterious
C detachment from F thoroughly commonplace hackneyed
I refreshingly
novel 69 0071700528pp53106 10/13/10 4:51 PM Page 70 GRE Verbal Reasoning Practice Questions
For Questions 7 to 9, select the two answer choices that, when used to complete
the sentence, fit the meaning of the sentence as a whole and produce completed
sentences that are alike in meaning. 7. The government’s implementation of a new code of ethics appeared intended to
shore up the ruling party’s standing with an increasingly _________ electorate at a
time when the party is besieged by charges that it trades favors for campaign
money.
A
B
C
D
E
F 8. aloof
placid
restive
skittish
tranquil
vociferous Overlarge, uneven, and ultimately disappointing, the retrospective exhibition
seems too much like special pleading for a forgotten painter of real but _________
talents.
A limited
partial
C undiscovered
D circumscribed
E prosaic
F hidden
B 9. Newspapers report that the former executive has been trying to keep a low profile
since his _________ exit from the company.
A celebrated
B mysterious
C longawaited
D fortuitous
E indecorous
F unseemly 70 0071700528pp53106 10/13/10 4:51 PM Page 71 GRE Verbal Reasoning Practice Questions SET 6. Reading Comprehension Questions: Hard
For each of Questions 1 to 8, select one answer choice unless otherwise instructed. 1. In the United States between 1850 and 1880, the number of farmers continued to
increase, but at a rate lower than that of the general population.
Which of the following statements directly contradicts the information presented
above?
A
B C
D
E 2. The number of farmers in the general population increased slightly in the
30 years between 1850 and 1880.
The rate of growth of the United States labor force and the rate of growth
of the general population rose simultaneously in the 30 years between
1850 and 1880.
The proportion of farmers in the United States labor force remained
constant in the 30 years between 1850 and 1880.
The proportion of farmers in the United States labor force decreased from
64 percent in 1850 to 49 percent in 1880.
The proportion of farmers in the general population increased from 68
percent in 1850 to 72 percent in 1880. A tenyear comparison between the United States and the Soviet Union in terms
of crop yields per acre revealed that when only planted acreage is compared,
Soviet yields were equal to 68 percent of United States yields. When total
agricultural acreage (planted acreage plus fallow acreage) is compared, however,
Soviet yield was 114 percent of United States yield.
From the information above, which of the following can be most reliably inferred
about United States and Soviet agriculture during the tenyear period?
A
B
C
D
E A higher percentage of total agricultural acreage was fallow in the United
States than in the Soviet Union.
The United States had more fallow acreage than planted acreage.
Fewer total acres of available agricultural land were fallow in the Soviet
Union than in the United States.
The Soviet Union had more planted acreage than fallow acreage.
The Soviet Union produced a greater volume of crops than the United
States produced. 71 0071700528pp53106 10/13/10 4:51 PM Page 72 GRE Verbal Reasoning Practice Questions
Questions 3 and 4 are based on the following reading passage. line
5 10 For hot desert locations with access to seawater, a new greenhouse design generates
freshwater and cool air. Oriented to the prevailing wind, the front wall of perforated
cardboard, moistened and cooled by a trickle of seawater pumped in, cools and moistens hot air blowing in. This cool, humidified air accelerates plant growth; little water
evaporates from leaves. Though greenhouses normally capture the heat of sunlight,
a doublelayered roof, the inner layer coated to reflect infrared light outward, allows
visible sunlight in but traps solar heat between the two layers. This heated air, drawn
down from the roof, then mixes with the greenhouse air as it reaches a second seawatermoistened cardboard wall at the back of the greenhouse. There the air absorbs
more moisture, which then condenses on a metal wall cooled by seawater, and thus
distilled water for irrigating the plants collects.
For the following question, consider each of the choices separately and select all that
apply. 3. It can be inferred that the process described in the passage makes use of which of
the following?
A
B
C The tendency of hot air to rise
The directional movement of wind
The temperature differential between the sea and the desert For the following question, consider each of the choices separately and select all that
apply. 4. It can be inferred that the greenhouse roof is designed to allow for which of the
following?
A
B
C 72 The avoidance of intense solar heat inside the greenhouse
The entry of sunlight into the greenhouse to make the plants grow
The mixture of heated air with greenhouse air to enhance the collection of
moisture 0071700528pp53106 10/13/10 4:51 PM Page 73 GRE Verbal Reasoning Practice Questions
Questions 5 to 8 are based on the following reading passage. line
5 10 Many critics of Emily Brontë’s novel Wuthering Heights see its second part as a counterpoint that comments on, if it does not reverse, the first part, where a romantic reading receives more confirmation. Seeing the two parts as a whole is encouraged by the
novel’s sophisticated structure, revealed in its complex use of narrators and time shifts.
Granted that the presence of these elements need not argue for an authorial awareness
of novelistic construction comparable to that of Henry James, their presence does
encourage attempts to unify the novel’s heterogeneous parts. However, any interpretation that seeks to unify all of the novel’s diverse elements is bound to be somewhat
unconvincing. This is not because such an interpretation necessarily stiffens into a thesis (although rigidity in any interpretation of this or of any novel is always a danger),
but because Wuthering Heights has recalcitrant elements of undeniable power that, ultimately, resist inclusion in an allencompassing interpretation. In this respect, Wuthering Heights shares a feature of Hamlet.
5. According to the passage, which of the following is a true statement about the
first and second parts of Wuthering Heights?
A The second part has received more attention from critics. B The second part has little relation to the first part.
C The second part annuls the force of the first part.
D The second part provides less substantiation for a romantic reading.
E The second part is better because it is more realistic.
6. Which of the following inferences about Henry James’s awareness of novelistic
construction is best supported by the passage?
A James, more than any other novelist, was aware of the difficulties of
novelistic construction.
B James was very aware of the details of novelistic construction.
C James’s awareness of novelistic construction derived from his reading of
Brontë.
D James’s awareness of novelistic construction has led most commentators to see unity in his individual novels.
E James’s awareness of novelistic construction precluded him from violating
the unity of his novels.
7. The author of the passage would be most likely to agree that an interpretation
of a novel should
A not try to unite heterogeneous elements in the novel B not be inflexible in its treatment of the elements in the novel
C not argue that the complex use of narrators or of time shifts indicates a
sophisticated structure
D concentrate on those recalcitrant elements of the novel that are outside
the novel’s main structure
E primarily consider those elements of novelistic construction of which the author of the novel was aware 73 0071700528pp53106 10/13/10 4:51 PM Page 74 GRE Verbal Reasoning Practice Questions
For the following question, consider each of the choices separately and select all that
apply. 8. The author of the passage suggests which of the following about Hamlet?
A
B
C 74 Hamlet has usually attracted critical interpretations that tend to stiffen
into theses.
Hamlet has elements that are not amenable to an allencompassing critical
interpretation.
Hamlet is less open to an allencompassing critical interpretation than is
Wuthering Heights. 0071700528pp53106 10/13/10 4:51 PM Page 75 GRE Verbal Reasoning Practice Questions ANSWER KEYS
SET 1. Discrete Questions: Easy
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8. Choice
Choice
Choice
Choice
Choice
Choice
Choice
Choice E: elimination
A: prophetic
B: unguided
A: surprising; Choice E: justifies
A: activism; Choice E: indifferent to
A: deteriorate; AND Choice D: decline
B: undiminished; AND Choice D: undamaged
C: significant; AND Choice D: considerable SET 2. Reading Comprehension Questions: Easy
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9. Choice B: They should not agree to serve unless they are committed to
maintaining a stance of impartiality.
Sentence 4: From then on, he was recognized as an artist of preternatural
abilities, not only as a composer but also as a pianist and conductor.
Choice C: The discrepancy between Mendelssohn’s popularity and his standing
among critics
Choice D: music critics generally
Choice E: establish a standard of comparison for Mendelssohn as a composer
Choice B: The percentage of employees in each sector who were men
Choice D: The increase in women’s employment that accompanied the Second
World War was longer lasting in agriculture than it was in manufacturing.
Choice B: discussing different theories about the transport of plant seeds to
Hawaii
Choice D: challenge the claim that ocean currents are responsible for the
transport of plant seeds to Hawaii SET 3. Discrete Questions: Medium
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8. Choice
Choice
Choice
Choice
Choice
Choice
Choice
Choice B: unexpected
A: reverence for; Choice D: fastidiousness
C: deceptive; Choice E: dissimilar
C: come through; Choice E: aside from supporting; Choice H: protect
A: presumed verifiable; Choice F: debunking; Choice H: bogus
A: exacting; AND Choice F: meticulous
C: frugality; AND Choice F: thrift
A: complicated; Choice F: involved 75 0071700528pp53106 10/13/10 4:51 PM Page 76 GRE Verbal Reasoning Practice Questions SET 4. Reading Comprehension Questions: Medium
1. 2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9. Choice A: It does not appear to recognize that representations of reality can be
unreliable; AND Choice C: It offers a wealth of detail without sufficient critical
examination of that detail.
Choice B: To elaborate on how A Dream fulfills the author’s childhood criteria for
a pleasurable book
Choice B: Predators of zooplankton, such as whitefish and perch, live and feed
near the surface of the lake during the day.
Choice D: Most of them accumulated their own fortunes.
Choice E: Pessen challenges a view of the social and economic systems in the
United States from 1825 to 1850, but he draws conclusions that are incorrect.
Choice C: make a distinction between higher and lower levels of consciousness
Choice A: past experience is less helpful in ensuring survival
Choice A: Interplay of predator and prey
Choice E: an expansion of the range of states mediated by the brain stem SET 5. Discrete Questions: Hard
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9. Choice D: disinterestedness
Choice B: cherished tradition; Choice F: rejected
Choice A: belies; Choice F: a cautious
Choice C: near impenetrability; Choice D: penitential austerity; Choice H:
volubility
Choice B: bolster; Choice D: uncritically accept; Choice I: peripheral
Choice B: rumination on; Choice E: utterly mysterious; Choice G: most prosaic
Choice C: restive; AND Choice D: skittish
Choice A: limited; AND Choice D: circumscribed
Choice E: indecorous; AND Choice F: unseemly SET 6. Reading Comprehension Questions: Hard
1.
2.
3.
4. 5.
6.
7.
8. 76 Choice E: The proportion of farmers in the general population increased from
68 percent in 1850 to 72 percent in 1880.
Choice A: A higher percentage of total agricultural acreage was fallow in the
United States than in the Soviet Union.
Choice B: The directional movement of wind; AND Choice C: The temperature
differential between the sea and the desert.
Choice A: The avoidance of intense solar heat inside the greenhouse; AND
Choice B: The entry of sunlight into the greenhouse to make the plants grow;
AND Choice C: The mixture of heated air with greenhouse air to enhance the
collection of moisture.
Choice D: The second part provides less substantiation for a romantic reading.
Choice B: James was very aware of the details of novelistic construction.
Choice B: not be inflexible in its treatment of the elements in the novel
Choice B: Hamlet has elements that are not amenable to an allencompassing
critical interpretation. 0071700528pp53106 10/13/10 4:51 PM Page 77 GRE Verbal Reasoning Practice Questions Answers and Explanations
SET 1. Discrete Questions: Easy
For Questions 1 to 5, select one entry for each blank from the corresponding column
of choices. Fill all blanks in the way that best completes the text. 1. Dominant interests often benefit most from _________ of governmental
interference in business, since they are able to take care of themselves if left
alone.
A intensification B authorization
C centralization D improvisation
E elimination Explanation
The sentence explains why dominant interests often benefit from a certain condition.
Since the explanation is that they are able to take care of themselves if left alone, it
follows that the condition is one in which interference is absent. Thus the best answer
is “elimination.” None of the other answer choices suggests an absence of interference
— indeed “intensification,” “authorization,” and “centralization” suggest quite the
opposite.
Thus the correct answer is elimination (Choice E).
2. Kagan maintains that an infant’s reactions to its first stressful experiences are
part of a natural process of development, not harbingers of childhood
unhappiness or _________ signs of adolescent anxiety.
A prophetic B normal
C monotonous D virtual
E typical Explanation
The sentence contrasts the infant’s reactions, part of a normal developmental process,
with future unhappiness and anxiety. The missing word describes signs of adolescent
anxiety as they relate to the infant. Choice A is correct: “prophetic” signs, like harbingers, foretell future occurrences, and for the infant, adolescent anxiety is a future
occurrence. Since an infant cannot literally display signs of adolescent anxiety, “normal,” “monotonous,” and “typical” are all incorrect. And “virtual” is incorrect, because
virtual signs are not real signs, and what Kagan is denying is that the infant’s reactions
are not real signs of later unhappiness.
Thus the correct answer is prophetic (Choice A). 77 0071700528pp53106 10/13/10 4:51 PM Page 78 GRE Verbal Reasoning Practice Questions
3. An investigation that is _________ can occasionally yield new facts, even notable
ones, but typically the appearance of such facts is the result of a search in a
definite direction.
A timely B unguided
C consistent D uncomplicated
E subjective Explanation
As the words “can occasionally” and “but typically” indicate, the missing word describes an investigation that contrasts with a “search in a definite direction.” Among
the answer choices, only “unguided” provides a contrasting description; none of the
other choices suggests an appropriate contrast.
Thus the correct answer is unguided (Choice B).
4. It is (i)_________ that so many portrait paintings hang in art museums, since the
subject matter seems to dictate a status closer to pictures in the family photograph album than to high art. But perhaps it is the artistic skill with which the
portraits are painted that (ii)_________ their presence in art museums.
Blank (i)
A Blank (ii)
D challenges B understandable E justifies C F changes surprising
irrelevant Explanation
In the part following “since,” the first sentence of the paragraph suggests that the subject matter of portraits might not seem to fit with the idea of “high art.” So the suggestion is that the presence of portrait paintings in art museums is in that sense odd or
unfitting. Of the choices available for Blank (i), “surprising” is the one that expresses
this sense. The second sentence, in contrast to the first, offers a point in favor of portraits — “artistic skill.” So the second sentence is offering a reason why portraits should
be in art museums. Of the choices for Blank (ii), “justifies” is the one that completes
that thought.
Thus the correct answer is surprising (Choice A) and justifies (Choice E).
5. In stark contrast to his later (i)_________, Simpson was largely (ii)_________
politics during his college years, despite the fact that the campus he attended was
rife with political activity.
Blank (i)
A Blank (ii)
devoted to B apathy E indifferent to C 78 D F shaped by activism
affability 0071700528pp53106 10/13/10 4:51 PM Page 79 GRE Verbal Reasoning Practice Questions
Explanation
The sentence tells us that there is a contrast between the way Simpson related to politics in his college years and how he related to politics later in life. So the choices that
complete the blanks must contrast with each other. The part of the sentence beginning
with “despite” indicates that Simpson’s relation to politics in his college years did not
involve engagement in the political activity that was “rife.” Of the choices for Blank (ii),
only “indifferent to” conveys that nonengagement. And of the choices for Blank (i), only
“activism” supplies the required contrast with “indifferent to.”
Thus the correct answer is activism (Choice A) and indifferent to (Choice E).
For Questions 6 to 8, select the two answer choices that, when used to complete
the sentence, fit the meaning of the sentence as a whole and produce completed
sentences that are alike in meaning. 6. As my eyesight began to _________, I spent a lot of time writing about it — both
poems and “eye journals” — describing what I saw as I looked out through
damaged eyes.
A
B
C
D
E
F deteriorate
sharpen
improve
decline
recover
adjust Explanation
The author has “damaged” eyes, and any word that fills the blank must reflect that fact.
The words that best do so are “deteriorate” and “decline” (Choices A and D), which generate sentences alike in meaning. “Sharpen” and “improve” produce sentences alike in
meaning, but neither word makes sense when inserted into the blank. Though “adjust”
makes some sense when inserted into the blank, no other option produces a sentence
similar in meaning.
Thus the correct answer is deteriorate (Choice A) and decline (Choice D).
7. The judge’s standing in the legal community, though shaken by phony allegations
of wrongdoing, emerged, at long last, _________ .
A unqualified
B undiminished
C undecided
D undamaged
E unresolved
F unprincipled Explanation
The use of the word “though” establishes a contrast between the blank, which requires
a description of the judge’s standing, and “phony allegations of wrongdoing.” Thus the
words that best complete the blank must indicate that the judge’s reputation was not 79 0071700528pp53106 10/13/10 4:51 PM Page 80 GRE Verbal Reasoning Practice Questions
adversely affected by these allegations. The only words that do so are “undiminished”
and “undamaged” (Choices B and D), which produce sentences alike in meaning.
“Undecided” and “unresolved” also produce sentences alike in meaning, but neither
word makes sense when inserted into the blank.
Thus the correct answer is undiminished (Choice B) and undamaged (Choice D).
8. Modern agricultural practices have been extremely successful in increasing the
productivity of major food crops, yet despite heavy use of pesticides, _________
losses to diseases and insect pests are sustained each year.
A
B incongruous
reasonable C significant
D considerable
E equitable
F fortuitous Explanation
The word “despite” suggests the level of losses is somehow surprising given the heavy
use of pesticides. The only words that describe an appropriate level of losses are “significant” and “considerable” (Choices C and D), which produce sentences alike in
meaning. “Reasonable” and “equitable” also produce sentences alike in meaning, but
neither word generates the contrast necessary for the sentence to make sense.
Thus the correct answer is significant (Choice C) and considerable (Choice D). SET 2. Reading Comprehension Questions: Easy
For each of Questions 1 to 9, select one answer choice unless otherwise instructed. 1. A person who agrees to serve as mediator between two warring factions at the
request of both abandons by so agreeing the right to take sides later. To take sides
at a later point would be to suggest that the earlier presumptive impartiality was
a sham.
The passage above emphasizes which of the following points about mediators?
A They should try to form no opinions of their own about any issue that is
related to the dispute.
B They should not agree to serve unless they are committed to maintaining
a stance of impartiality.
C They should not agree to serve unless they are equally acceptable to all
parties to a dispute.
D They should feel free to take sides in the dispute right from the start,
provided that they make their biases publicly known.
E They should reserve the right to abandon their impartiality so as not to be
open to the charge of having been deceitful. 80 0071700528pp53106 10/13/10 4:51 PM Page 81 GRE Verbal Reasoning Practice Questions
Explanation
By pointing out the consequences of abandoning impartiality, the paragraph points out
the importance for mediators of maintaining impartiality at all times. This is the point
made in Choice B, which is therefore the correct answer. Choice A is incorrect,
because it goes further than anything asserted in the passage. The passage does not
rule out the possibility that one can have an opinion about issues related to a dispute
without taking sides in the actual dispute. Choice C is incorrect because it is a presupposition on which the passage is based rather than the point of the passage; that is, the
fact that the mediator is acceptable to both parties is a given, since they both ask the
mediator to serve. Choices D and E are both inconsistent with the main point of the
passage, the importance of impartiality at all times, so both are incorrect. Questions 2 to 5 are based on the following reading passage.
Was Felix Mendelssohn (1809–1847) a great composer? On its face, the question seems
absurd. One of the most gifted prodigies in the history of music, he produced his first
masterpiece at sixteen. From then on, he was recognized as an artist of preternatural
abilities, not only as a composer but also as a pianist and conductor. But Mendelssohn’s
enduring popularity has often been at odds — sometimes quite sharply — with his
critical standing. Despite general acknowledgment of his genius, there has been a
noticeable reluctance to rank him with, say, Schumann or Brahms. As Haggin put it,
Mendelssohn, as a composer, was a “minor master . . . working on a small scale of emotion and texture.” Description
The passage starts by outlining the popular view that Mendelssohn was a great composer and then points out that critics do not generally accord him that status.
2. Select a sentence in the passage whose function is to indicate the range of
Mendelssohn’s musical talents. Explanation
This question asks which sentence in the passage serves to indicate the range of
Mendelssohn’s musical talents. The correct answer is the fourth sentence (“From then
. . . conductor”), the only sentence in the passage that mentions Mendelssohn’s achievements across three different realms: composing, piano performance, and conducting.
All the other sentences can be eliminated because, while they consider the question of
Mendelssohn’s claim to greatness, they do not specifically discuss the broad range of
his musical talents. 81 0071700528pp53106 10/13/10 4:51 PM Page 82 GRE Verbal Reasoning Practice Questions
3. The passage suggests that anyone attempting to evaluate Mendelssohn’s career
must confront which of the following dichotomies?
A The tension between Mendelssohn’s career as a composer and his career
as a pianist and conductor
B The contrast between Mendelssohn’s popularity and that of Schumann
and Brahms
C The discrepancy between Mendelssohn’s popularity and his standing
among critics
D The inconsistency between Mendelssohn’s reputation during his lifetime and his reputation since his death
E The gap between Mendelssohn’s prodigious musical beginnings and his
decline in later years Explanation
The passage clearly presents the discrepancy between Mendelssohn’s popularity and
his critical standing as an interpretive problem. Therefore, Choice C is correct. The
other answer choices are incorrect because the passage never indicates that there was
any conflict among the different aspects of Mendelssohn’s professional life; never discusses Schumann’s and Brahms’s popularity; does not discuss any differences between
Mendelssohn’s reputation during his lifetime and after his death; and makes no mention of a decline in Mendelssohn’s later life.
4. It can be inferred that the “reluctance” mentioned in the passage is being
ascribed to
A most composers since Mendelssohn
B Schumann and Brahms
C the musiclistening public
D music critics generally
E Haggin exclusively Explanation
Choice D is correct. The “reluctance” is mentioned in the context of a discussion about
Mendelssohn’s critical standing and thus is being ascribed to music critics generally.
Choices A and B can be eliminated because the passage does not discuss any composers’ views of Mendelssohn. Choice C is incorrect because the word “reluctance” is
mentioned only after the passage turns from discussing the popular view of
Mendelssohn to the critical view. Choice E is incorrect because the words “As Haggin
put it” indicate that Haggin is only one example of critics who have this reluctance.
5. The author mentions Schumann and Brahms primarily in order to
A provide examples of composers who are often compared with
Mendelssohn B identify certain composers who are more popular than Mendelssohn
C identify composers whom Mendelssohn influenced D establish the milieu in which Mendelssohn worked
E establish a standard of comparison for Mendelssohn as a composer 82 0071700528pp53106 10/13/10 4:51 PM Page 83 GRE Verbal Reasoning Practice Questions
Explanation
Schumann and Brahms are mentioned as a way of explaining how critics rank
Mendelssohn — that is, as less accomplished than some other composers who are
widely acknowledged as major. Therefore, Choice E is correct. Choice A might look
like a correct answer at first glance. However, careful consideration reveals that the
point the author is making when Schumann and Brahms are mentioned is not the frequency of that comparison but the results of it. Therefore, Choice A can be eliminated.
Choices B, C, and D are incorrect because the passage does not discuss Schumann’s
and Brahms’s popularity, Mendelssohn’s influence on other composers, or the milieu in
which Mendelssohn worked.
Questions 6 and 7 are based on the following reading passage.
While most scholarship on women’s employment in the United States recognizes that
the Second World War (1939–1945) dramatically changed the role of women in the
workforce, these studies also acknowledge that few women remained in manufacturing
jobs once men returned from the war. But in agriculture, unlike other industries where
women were viewed as temporary workers, women’s employment did not end with the
war. Instead, the expansion of agriculture and a steady decrease in the number of male
farmworkers combined to cause the industry to hire more women in the postwar years.
Consequently, the 1950s saw a growing number of women engaged in farm labor, even
though rhetoric in the popular media called for the return of women to domestic life. Description
The first sentence states that the Second World War led to significant changes in
women’s employment, but that these changes were largely reversed in manufacturing
after the war. The second sentence discusses the fact that unlike in other industries,
employment of women in agriculture was more permanent; the third provides more
detail regarding the trend in agriculture and the reasons for it; and the fourth summarizes the consequences of the trend.
6. It can be inferred from the passage that the manufacturing and agricultural
sectors in the United States following the Second World War differed in which of
the following respects?
A
B
C
D
E The rate of expansion in each sector
The percentage of employees in each sector who were men
The trend in the wages of men employed in each sector
The attitude of the popular media toward the employment of women in
each sector
The extent to which women in each sector were satisfied with their jobs Explanation
The correct choice for this question is Choice B. We are told that few women remained
in the manufacturing sector once men returned from the war, while the number of
women who worked in agriculture increased after the war as the number of men in
agriculture decreased. It is therefore inferable that the percentage of employees working in manufacturing who were men increased while the percentage of employees
working in agriculture who were men decreased. Choices A, C, and E are incorrect 83 0071700528pp53106 10/13/10 4:51 PM Page 84 GRE Verbal Reasoning Practice Questions
because the passage provides no information about rates of expansion, wage trends, or
women’s job satisfaction. Choice D is incorrect because the only mention of the popular media occurs in the final sentence, and no distinction is made between the sectors
there.
7. Which of the following statements about women’s employment in the United
States during and after the Second World War is most clearly supported by the
passage?
A
B
C
D
E Most women who joined the workforce during the Second World War
wanted to return to domestic life when the war ended.
The great majority of women who joined the workforce during the Second
World War were employed in manufacturing jobs.
The end of the Second World War was followed by a largescale transfer of
women workers from manufacturing to agriculture.
The increase in women’s employment that accompanied the Second World
War was longer lasting in agriculture than it was in manufacturing.
The popular media were more forceful in calling for women to join the
workforce during the Second World War than in calling for women to
return to domestic life after the war. Explanation
The correct choice for this question is Choice D. We are told in the passage that
women’s employment in manufacturing fell quickly after men returned from the war.
However, not only did women’s employment in agriculture not decline after the end of
the war, it actually increased. The other choices are incorrect because the passage provides no information about what women who joined the workforce wanted to do; about
the distribution of women across industries; about what happened to women who left
manufacturing; nor about media appeals for women to join the wartime workforce. Questions 8 and 9 are based on the following reading passage. line
5 10 Since the Hawaiian Islands have never been connected to other land masses, the great
variety of plants in Hawaii must be a result of the longdistance dispersal of seeds, a
process that requires both a method of transport and an equivalence between the ecology of the source area and that of the recipient area.
There is some dispute about the method of transport involved. Some biologists
argue that ocean and air currents are responsible for the transport of plant seeds to
Hawaii. Yet the results of flotation experiments and the low temperatures of air currents cast doubt on these hypotheses. More probable is bird transport, either externally,
by accidental attachment of the seeds to feathers, or internally, by the swallowing of
fruit and subsequent excretion of the seeds. While it is likely that fewer varieties of
plant seeds have reached Hawaii externally than internally, more varieties are known
to be adapted to external than to internal transport. Description
The passage raises the question of how seeds reached the Hawaiian Islands. It introduces one possible method — ocean and air currents — but refers to evidence that
casts doubt on that method. It then introduces a second method — bird transport —
and discusses two ways in which that might occur. 84 0071700528pp53106 10/13/10 4:51 PM Page 85 GRE Verbal Reasoning Practice Questions
8. The author of the passage is primarily concerned with
A
B
C
D
E discussing different approaches biologists have taken to testing theories
about the distribution of plants in Hawaii
discussing different theories about the transport of plant seeds to Hawaii
discussing the extent to which air currents are responsible for the
dispersal of plant seeds to Hawaii
resolving a dispute about the adaptability of plant seeds to bird transport
resolving a dispute about the ability of birds to carry plant seeds long
distances Explanation
Given the description of the passage above, it is clear that Choice B is correct: the passage focuses on “different theories about the transport of plant seeds to Hawaii.”
Choice A can be eliminated: while the passage does refer to flotation experiments, it
does not elaborate on experimental methods. Choice C identifies an idea that is part of
the passage’s main concern, but since this is only one of the competing theories discussed in the passage, not the primary focus, Choice C is incorrect. Choices D and E
are incorrect because the passage does not resolve any disputes.
9. The author mentions the results of flotation experiments on plant seeds (lines
7–8) most probably in order to
A support the claim that the distribution of plants in Hawaii is the result of
the longdistance dispersal of seeds
B lend credibility to the thesis that air currents provide a method of
transport for plant seeds to Hawaii
C suggest that the longdistance dispersal of seeds is a process that requires
long periods of time
D challenge the claim that ocean currents are responsible for the transport
of plant seeds to Hawaii
E refute the claim that Hawaiian flora evolved independently from flora in other parts of the world Explanation
This question asks why the author mentions flotation experiments. Flotation experiments are mentioned in the passage in order to show that some evidence casts doubt
on the claim that ocean currents were the means by which seeds were transported to
Hawaii. Thus, Choice D is correct. Choice A is incorrect since the claim that plant distribution in Hawaii is the result of longdistance dispersal of seeds is a given in the passage, not an idea that the author feels a need to substantiate. Choice B is eliminable
since the flotation experiments are introduced at a point where the author is challenging, rather than lending credibility to, the air current hypothesis and because flotation
experiments would more likely reflect on ocean currents than air currents. Choice C is
eliminable since the passage does not address the length of time required for longdistance seed dispersal. Finally, Choice E is eliminable since it too describes an idea
that is not discussed in the passage. 85 0071700528pp53106 10/13/10 4:51 PM Page 86 GRE Verbal Reasoning Practice Questions SET 3. Discrete Questions: Medium
For Questions 1 to 5, select one entry for each blank from the corresponding column
of choices. Fill all blanks in the way that best completes the text. 1. It comes as no surprise that societies have codes of behavior; the character of the
codes, on the other hand, can often be _________ .
A predictable B unexpected
C admirable D explicit
E confusing Explanation
The words “on the other hand” indicate that while the existence of societal codes of
behavior is no surprise, their character may be quite surprising. Thus the correct
answer is Choice B, unexpected, which means the same as surprising. “Predictable” is
the very opposite of surprising, and none of the other answer choices means “surprising.”
Thus the correct answer is unexpected (Choice B).
2. Like Béla Bartók, Ruth Crawford not only brought a composer’s acumen to the
notation of folk music, she also had a marked (i)_________ the task. This was
clear in her agonizing over how far to try to represent the minute details of a
performance in a written text, and this (ii)_________ makes her work a landmark
in ethnomusicology.
Blank (i)
A Blank (ii) reverence for D fastidiousness B detachment from E didacticism C F iconoclasm curiosity about Explanation
In this example, both blanks can be filled by focusing on the statement that Crawford
agonized over the details in her representations of folk music performances. The only
choice for blank (ii) that matches this description is “fastidiousness”; neither “didacticism” nor “iconoclasm” reflects the notion of agonizing over details. Similarly, only
“reverence for” fits in Blank (i), since neither “detachment from” nor “curiosity about”
reflects the degree of care Crawford took.
Thus the correct answer is reverence for (Choice A) and fastidiousness (Choice D). 86 0071700528pp53106 10/13/10 4:51 PM Page 87 GRE Verbal Reasoning Practice Questions
3. Political advertising may well be the most (i)_________ kind of advertising:
political candidates are usually quite (ii)_________, yet their campaign
advertisements often hide important differences behind smoke screens of smiles
and empty slogans.
Blank (i)
A Blank (ii)
D interchangeable B effective E dissimilar C F vocal polemical
deceptive Explanation
Looking at Blank (i), it is hard to select a correct answer, since all three answer choices
fit the immediate context well. Looking to the second part of the sentence, however, we
can see such expressions as “hide” and “smoke screens,” both of which suggest that the
correct answer for Blank (i) is “deceptive.” Making that assumption, we can go on to
see that the answer for Blank (ii) is “dissimilar,” since what is deceptive about political
advertisements is that they hide important differences. Reading the sentence again
with “deceptive” and “dissimilar” in place confirms those choices.
Thus the correct answer is deceptive (Choice C) and dissimilar (Choice E).
4. Richard M. Russell said 52 percent of the nation’s growth since the Second World
War had (i)_________ invention. He said, (ii)_________ research, the government’s
greatest role in assuring continuing innovation is promoting a strong, modern
patent office. “Unless we can (iii)_________ original ideas, we will not have
invention,” Mr. Russell said. Speculating on the state of innovation over the next
century, several inventors agreed that the future lay in giving children the tools to
think creatively and the motivation to invent.
Blank (i)
A been at the expense of
B no bearing on Blank (ii)
D in addition to Blank (iii)
G evaluate restricting
E aside from H protect supporting
C come through F far from I disseminate exaggerating Explanation
A quick overview of the paragraph shows that its topic is the encouragement of invention and innovation. This implies that Blank (i) should be filled with “come through,”
which emphasizes the importance of invention; the other choices suggest that invention is irrelevant or somehow harmed by growth. Again, the only one of the choices for
Blank (ii) that continues the theme of encouraging invention is “aside from supporting.” Finally, the second sentence emphasizes the importance for innovation of a strong
patent office, and this thought is reaffirmed in the following quotation from Mr. Russell, which requires “protect” in Blank (iii).
Thus the correct answer is come through (Choice C), aside from supporting
(Choice E), and protect (Choice H). 87 0071700528pp53106 10/13/10 4:51 PM Page 88 GRE Verbal Reasoning Practice Questions
5. Statements presented as fact in a patent application are (i)_________ unless a
good reason for doubt is found. The invention has only to be deemed “more likely
than not” to work in order to receive initial approval. And, although thousands of
patents are challenged in court for other reasons, no incentive exists for anyone
to expend effort (ii)_________ the science of an erroneous patent. For this reason
the endless stream of (iii)_________ devices will continue to yield occasional
patents.
Blank (i)
A presumed Blank (ii) Blank (iii) D corroborating G novel E advancing H bogus F debunking I verifiable
B carefully scrutinized
C considered obsolete capricious Explanation
The paragraph appears to be explaining some odd or unexpected aspect of the patent
process. The third sentence helps to clarify what this aspect is; it discusses challenges
to patents. The only choice for Blank (ii) that is concerned with challenging a patent is
“debunking,” since “corroborating” and “advancing” suggest support instead. This in
turn provides the answer for the third blank, since the preceding sentence does explain
how “bogus” devices may nonetheless get a patent. And we can also now better understand the first sentence — it too must help explain how bogus devices get patents,
which it can do only if the blank is filled with “presumed verifiable,” suggesting that
patent applications are taken at face value and not dismissed out of hand nor subjected
to careful scrutiny.
Thus the correct answer is presumed verifiable (Choice A), debunking (Choice
F), and bogus (Choice H). For Questions 6 to 8, select the two answer choices that, when used to complete
the sentence, fit the meaning of the sentence as a whole and produce completed
sentences that are alike in meaning. 6. Ever a demanding reader of the fiction of others, the novelist Chase was likewise
often the object of _________ analyses by his contemporaries.
A exacting
copious
C respectful
D acerbic
E scathing
F meticulous
B Explanation
The use of the word “likewise” indicates that the analyses of Chase’s work by contemporaries were like the readings he gave the fiction of others. Since he is described as a
“demanding reader,” the words that best fit the blank will be similar in meaning to
88 0071700528pp53106 10/13/10 4:51 PM Page 89 GRE Verbal Reasoning Practice Questions
“demanding.” The words that meet this requirement are “exacting” (Choice A) and
“meticulous” (Choice F), and they produce sentences that are alike in meaning.
Although “acerbic analyses” means close to the same thing as “scathing analyses,” both
“acerbic” and “scathing” have meanings that are quite different from “demanding,” so
neither fits well in the blank.
Thus the correct answer is exacting (Choice A) and meticulous (Choice F).
7. Her _________ should not be confused with miserliness; as long as I have known
her, she has always been willing to assist those who are in need.
A
B stinginess
diffidence C frugality
D illiberality
E intolerance
F thrift Explanation
The sentence explains that the person spoken of is not miserly, since she is quite prepared to be generous. So for the sentence to make sense, the word filling the blank has
to be something that is consistent with generosity and yet might, by those without a
full understanding of her behavior, be mistaken for miserliness. The words “frugality”
and “thrift” fulfill this requirement and yield two sentences that are alike in meaning,
so that pair forms the correct answer. Neither “stinginess” nor “illiberality” makes
sense in the sentence, since they are synonymous with “miserliness” and inconsistent
with generosity. Other choices, such as “diffidence,” might perhaps make a sensible
sentence if placed in the blank but do not form part of the correct answer since they
have no companion word that would make a sentence of similar meaning.
Thus the correct answer is frugality (Choice C) and thrift (Choice F).
8. A misconception frequently held by novice writers is that sentence structure
mirrors thought: the more convoluted the structure, the more _________ the
ideas.
A complicated
engaged
C essential
D fanciful
E inconsequential
F involved
B Explanation
Because the second half of the sentence illustrates the idea that “structure mirrors
thought,” any word that fills the blank must be similar in meaning to “convoluted.” The
two words that are similar to “convoluted” are “complicated” and “involved” (Choices
A and F), which produce sentences alike in meaning. “Fanciful,” while somewhat similar in meaning to “convoluted,” is not as similar to either “complicated” or “involved”
as those words are to each other. The other answer choices are not similar in meaning
to “convoluted,” and thus do not produce coherent sentences.
Thus the correct answer is complicated (Choice A) and involved (Choice F).
89 0071700528pp53106 10/13/10 4:51 PM Page 90 GRE Verbal Reasoning Practice Questions SET 4. Reading Comprehension Questions: Medium
For each of Questions 1 to 9, select one answer choice unless otherwise instructed. Questions 1 and 2 are based on the following reading passage. line
5 10 I enjoyed A Dream of Light & Shadow: Portraits of Latin American Women Writers for
the same reasons that, as a child, I avidly consumed women’s biographies: the fascination with how the biographical details of another female’s life are represented and
interpreted.
A Dream offers a rich read, varied in both the lives and texts of the women portrayed, and the perspectives and styles of the sixteen essayists. Yet, as an adult, I have
come to demand of any really “great” book a selfconsciousness about the tenuous
nature of representations of reality, a critical contextualization of florid detail, and a
selfawareness of the role of ideology in our lives. In these critical senses, A Dream is
inadequate. Description
The passage follows the following structure: the first sentence discusses a collection of
biographical sketches and what the author found particularly appealing about similar
works as a child; the second sentence describes several positive aspects of this particular collection and how it satisfies the author’s early interests; the third sentence
describes a demanding set of criteria that the author now applies when assessing such
work; and in the fourth sentence the author says the collection being discussed does
not meet those criteria.
For the following question, consider each of the choices separately and select all that
apply. 1. The author of the passage suggests that A Dream falls short in which of the
following respects?
A
B
C It does not appear to recognize that representations of reality can be
unreliable.
It seems to focus on stylistic variety at the expense of accuracy of detail.
It offers a wealth of detail without sufficient critical examination of that
detail. Explanation
Choices A and C are correct. We know from the final sentence that the collection falls
short of several criteria established by the author.
Choice A is correct: the book does not demonstrate sufficient awareness of the
“tenuous nature of representations of reality.”
Choice B is incorrect: there is no mention in the passage of any concern on the part
of the author about the accuracy of detail.
Choice C is correct: the book does not offer an adequate “critical contextualization
of florid detail.” 90 0071700528pp53106 10/13/10 4:51 PM Page 91 GRE Verbal Reasoning Practice Questions
2. Which of the following best describes the function of the second sentence
(“A Dream . . . essayists”) in the context of the passage as a whole?
A To give examples of how A Dream presents fascinating portraits that
display awareness of the tenuous nature of representations of reality
B To elaborate on how A Dream fulfills the author’s childhood criteria for a
pleasurable book
C To suggest that the author enjoyed A Dream for reasons more
sophisticated than the reasons she enjoyed certain books as a child
D To illustrate ways in which the author finds A Dream to be inadequate in certain critical senses
E To imply that A Dream is too varied in focus to provide a proper
contextualization of the biographical details it offers Explanation
This question asks about the function of the second sentence. The correct choice is
Choice B. As discussed in the description of the passage, that sentence describes what
is appealing about the collection in the context of the author’s childhood tastes. Choice
A is incorrect both because the sentence does not provide examples and because the collection does not display an awareness of the tenuous nature of representations of reality. Choice C is not correct: although one might suspect that the author’s enjoyment of
collections as an adult would be on a more sophisticated level than when she was young,
there is no discussion or even suggestion of that in the passage. Choice D is incorrect because the sentence describes the virtues of the collection. The aspects of the collection
that the author finds inadequate are not addressed until later. Choice E is incorrect because, according to the passage, the fact that the collection is varied makes it a “rich”
read. There is no suggestion that the variety hinders proper contextualization.
3. During the day in Lake Constance, the zooplankton D. hyalina departs for the
depths where food is scarce and the water cold. D. galeata remains near the
warm surface where food is abundant. Even though D. galeata grows and
reproduces much faster, its population is often outnumbered by D. hyalina.
Which of the following, if true, would help resolve the apparent paradox
presented above?
A The number of species of zooplankton living at the bottom of the lake is
twice that of species living at the surface.
B Predators of zooplankton, such as whitefish and perch, live and feed near
the surface of the lake during the day.
C In order to make the most of scarce food resources, D. hyalina matures
more slowly than D. galeata.
D D. galeata clusters under vegetation during the hottest part of the day to avoid the Sun’s rays.
E D. galeata produces twice as many offspring per individual in any given
period of time as does D. hyalina. Description
The paragraph presents an apparent paradox: the zooplankton that spends the day in
less hospitable conditions often outnumbers the one that stays in more hospitable conditions. 91 0071700528pp53106 10/13/10 4:52 PM Page 92 GRE Verbal Reasoning Practice Questions
Explanation
The presence of predators of zooplankton feeding near the surface during the day
would suggest that D. galeata is consumed at a higher rate than D. hyalina: this would
explain why D. hyalina is often more numerous, so Choice B is correct. Choices C and
E are incorrect because although they help to explain why the two zooplankton reproduce at different rates, they do not help to resolve the apparent paradox. Choices A and
D are incorrect because nothing is said in the paragraph to show the relevance of the
presence of other species of zooplankton, nor of the habit of clustering under vegetation, to the relative population size of the two species.
Questions 4 and 5 are based on the following reading passage. line
5 10 Tocqueville, apparently, was wrong. Jacksonian America was not a fluid, egalitarian
society where individual wealth and poverty were ephemeral conditions. At least so
argues E. Pessen in his iconoclastic study of the very rich in the United States between
1825 and 1850.
Pessen does present a quantity of examples, together with some refreshingly intelligible statistics, to establish the existence of an inordinately wealthy class. Though
active in commerce or the professions, most of the wealthy were not selfmade but had
inherited family fortunes. In no sense mercurial, these great fortunes survived the
financial panics that destroyed lesser ones. Indeed, in several cities the wealthiest one
percent constantly increased its share until by 1850 it owned half of the community’s
wealth. Although these observations are true, Pessen overestimates their importance by
concluding from them that the undoubted progress toward inequality in the late eighteenth century continued in the Jacksonian period and that the United States was a
classridden, plutocratic society even before industrialization. Description
The passage describes Pessen’s argument that Jacksonian America was not fluid and
egalitarian but classridden and plutocratic, and criticizes it for leaping to an unjustified conclusion.
4. According to the passage, Pessen indicates that all of the following were true of
the very wealthy in the United States between 1825 and 1850 EXCEPT:
A
B
C
D
E They formed a distinct upper class.
Many of them were able to increase their holdings.
Some of them worked as professionals or in business.
Most of them accumulated their own fortunes.
Many of them retained their wealth in spite of financial upheavals. Explanation
For this question, you are to identify the one statement that CANNOT be correctly
attributed to Pessen. Therefore, you must first determine which of the statements given
can be attributed to Pessen. According to the passage, Pessen maintains all of the following: there was a class of “inordinately wealthy” Americans (Choice A); in some
places that class “constantly increased its share” (Choice B); its members were “active
in commerce or the professions” (Choice C); and “these great fortunes survived the
financial panics that destroyed lesser ones” (Choice E). However, Pessen also maintains, in contradiction to Choice D, that “most of the wealthy were not selfmade but
had inherited family fortunes.” Therefore, Choice D is correct.
92 0071700528pp53106 10/13/10 4:52 PM Page 93 GRE Verbal Reasoning Practice Questions
5. Which of the following best states the author’s main point?
A Pessen’s study has overturned the previously established view of the social
and economic structure of earlynineteenthcentury America.
B Tocqueville’s analysis of the United States in the Jacksonian era remains
the definitive account of this period.
C Pessen’s study is valuable primarily because it shows the continuity of the
social system in the United States throughout the nineteenth century.
D The social patterns and political power of the extremely wealthy in the
United States between 1825 and 1850 are well documented.
E Pessen challenges a view of the social and economic systems in the United States from 1825 to 1850, but he draws conclusions that are incorrect. Explanation
It is important to realize that although most of the passage is devoted to describing
Pessen’s study, the author’s main point is to criticize the conclusion Pessen draws.
Choices A, C, and D omit any reference to the author’s critical evaluation of Pessen’s
study, and hence are not statements of the author’s main point. Choice B is also incorrect. Because Pessen criticizes Tocqueville and the author criticizes Pessen, it might
seem that the author’s main point is to defend Tocqueville’s analysis. However, the passage does not indicate that Tocqueville’s analysis is definitive. Choice E is correct.
According to the first paragraph, Pessen challenges Tocqueville’s view, but according to
the second paragraph, Pessen’s conclusions are incorrect.
Questions 6 to 9 are based on the following reading passage. line
5 10 15 20 25 The evolution of intelligence among early large mammals of the grasslands was due in
great measure to the interaction between two ecologically synchronized groups of
these animals, the hunting carnivores and the herbivores that they hunted. The interaction resulting from the differences between predator and prey led to a general
improvement in brain functions; however, certain components of intelligence were
improved far more than others.
The kind of intelligence favored by the interplay of increasingly smarter catchers
and increasingly keener escapers is defined by attention — that aspect of mind carrying consciousness forward from one moment to the next. It ranges from a passive, freefloating awareness to a highly focused, active fixation. The range through these states
is mediated by the arousal system, a network of tracts converging from sensory systems
to integrating centers in the brain stem. From the more relaxed to the more vigorous
levels, sensitivity to novelty is increased. The organism is more awake, more vigilant;
this increased vigilance results in the apprehension of ever more subtle signals as the
organism becomes more sensitive to its surroundings. The processes of arousal and
concentration give attention its direction. Arousal is at first general, with a flooding of
impulses in the brain stem; then gradually the activation is channeled. Thus begins
concentration, the holding of consistent images. One meaning of intelligence is the way
in which these images and other alertly searched information are used in the context of
previous experience. Consciousness links past attention to the present and permits the
integration of details with perceived ends and purposes.
The elements of intelligence and consciousness come together marvelously to produce different styles in predator and prey. Herbivores and carnivores develop different
kinds of attention related to escaping or chasing. Although in both kinds of animal,
arousal stimulates the production of adrenaline and norepinephrine by the adrenal
93 0071700528pp53106 10/13/10 4:52 PM Page 94 GRE Verbal Reasoning Practice Questions line
30 35 glands, the effect in herbivores is primarily fear, whereas in carnivores the effect is
primarily aggression. For both, arousal attunes the animal to what is ahead. Perhaps it
does not experience forethought as we know it, but the animal does experience something like it. The predator is searchingly aggressive, innerdirected, tuned by the
nervous system and the adrenal hormones, but aware in a sense closer to human consciousness than, say, a hungry lizard’s instinctive snap at a passing beetle. Using past
events as a framework, the large mammal predator is working out a relationship
between movement and food, sensitive to possibilities in cold trails and distant sounds
— and yesterday’s unforgotten lessons. The herbivore prey is of a different mind. Its
mood of wariness rather than searching and its attitude of general expectancy instead
of anticipating are silkthin veils of tranquillity over an explosive endocrine system. Description
The passage describes improvements in certain components of intelligence among
early large mammals of the grasslands. The second paragraph focuses on attention as
a primary area of improvement, and the third paragraph outlines how attention differs
in predator and prey species.
6. The author refers to a hungry lizard (line 31) primarily in order to
A demonstrate the similarity between the hunting methods of mammals and
those of nonmammals
B broaden the application of the argument by including an insectivore as an
example
C make a distinction between higher and lower levels of consciousness
D provide an additional illustration of the brutality characteristic of
predators
E offer an objection to suggestions that all animals lack consciousness Explanation
Choice C is correct. The “hungry lizard’s instinctive snap” is contrasted with the mammal’s higher level of awareness. Choices A and B are incorrect. The example of the hungry lizard provides a contrast; it does not demonstrate a similarity or extend the
author’s argument. Choices D and E are incorrect. Brutality is not mentioned in the
passage as a characteristic of predators, and there is no suggestion that all animals lack
consciousness.
7. It can be inferred from the passage that in animals less intelligent than the
mammals discussed in the passage
A past experience is less helpful in ensuring survival B attention is more highly focused
C muscular coordination is less highly developed
D there is less need for competition among species
E environment is more important in establishing the proper ratio of prey
to predator Explanation
Choice A is correct. In lines 18–20, the author defines intelligence in terms of an animal’s use of past experience. In the context of the entire passage, it can be inferred that 94 0071700528pp53106 10/13/10 4:52 PM Page 95 GRE Verbal Reasoning Practice Questions
more intelligent animals, such as the grassland mammals discussed, are better able to
use past experience to help them survive than less intelligent animals are. Choice B is
incorrect. The second paragraph of the passage indicates that attention is more highly
focused in animals of greater, rather than less, intelligence. Choices C, D, and E are
incorrect. The author does not discuss muscular coordination as an element in intelligence, gives no indication that in less intelligent species there is less need for competition, and does not discuss how a proper ratio of prey to predator is established.
8. According to the passage, improvement in brain function among early large
mammals resulted primarily from which of the following?
A Interplay of predator and prey B Persistence of freefloating awareness in animals of the grasslands
C Gradual dominance of warmblooded mammals over coldblooded reptiles
D Interaction of early large mammals with less intelligent species
E Improvement of the capacity for memory among herbivores and
carnivores Explanation
Choice A is correct. It directly paraphrases the statement in lines 3–5, which describes
the author’s view of the development of improved brain function in early mammals.
Choice B is incorrect. It is likely that the persistence of “freefloating awareness” played
a part in the animals’ survival, but there is no indication in the passage that brain function improved because of it. Choices C and D are incorrect: the passage does not discuss the relationship between mammals and reptiles or the interaction between large
mammals and less intelligent species. Choice E is incorrect. Improved capacity for
memory is an improvement in brain function, rather than a reason for improved brain
function.
9. According to the passage, as the process of arousal in an organism continues,
all of the following may occur EXCEPT
A the production of adrenaline B the production of norepinephrine
C a heightening of sensitivity to stimuli
D an increase in selectivity with respect to stimuli
E an expansion of the range of states mediated by the brain stem Explanation
This question asks you what does NOT occur during arousal. To answer the question,
you must first determine what does occur. According to the passage, arousal does stimulate the production of adrenaline and norepinephrine (lines 24–26); does increase sensitivity to stimuli (lines 12–13); and does increase concentration on specific stimuli
(lines 16–18). Thus Choices A through D all describe consequences of arousal. Only
Choice E is correct. There is no indication in the passage that the range of states mediated by the brain stem expands during arousal. 95 0071700528pp53106 10/13/10 4:52 PM Page 96 GRE Verbal Reasoning Practice Questions SET 5. Discrete Questions: Hard
For Questions 1 to 6, select one entry for each blank from the corresponding column
of choices. Fill all blanks in the way that best completes the text. 1. For some time now, _________ has been presumed not to exist: the cynical
conviction that everybody has an angle is considered wisdom.
A rationality B flexibility
C diffidence D disinterestedness
E insincerity Explanation
The colon indicates that the second part of the sentence will explain the first part. The
missing word will describe the opposite of the cynical conviction that “everybody has
an angle,” that is, that each person is concerned primarily with his or her own interests. Since “disinterestedness” means lack of selfinterest, Choice D is correct. None of
the other answer choices means something that is contrasted with or opposed to being
primarily concerned with one’s own interests.
Thus the correct answer is disinterestedness (Choice D).
2. Human nature and long distances have made exceeding the speed limit a
(i)_________ in the state, so the legislators surprised no one when, acceding to
public demand, they (ii)_________ increased penalties for speeding.
Blank (i) Blank (ii) A controversial habit D endorsed B cherished tradition E considered C disquieting ritual F rejected Explanation
The reference to human nature and long distances suggest that it is rather routine for
drivers to exceed the speed limit in this state. “Cherished tradition” best fits this context for Blank (i), since there is nothing in the sentence to suggest that speeding here is
“controversial” or “disquieting.” In Blank (ii) we need to consider what the legislature
would do that would surprise no one with regard to increased penalties for speeding.
Given what we have learned so far, “rejected” is the best answer; it would be surprising
if the legislature “endorsed” or even “considered” increased penalties for speeding.
Thus the correct answer is cherished tradition (Choice B) and rejected (Choice F). 96 0071700528pp53106 10/13/10 4:52 PM Page 97 GRE Verbal Reasoning Practice Questions
3. Serling’s account of his employer’s reckless decision making (i)_________ that
company’s image as (ii)_________ bureaucracy full of wary managers.
Blank (i) Blank (ii) A belies D an injudicious B exposes E a disorganized C overshadows F a cautious Explanation
The correct answer for Blank (i) must support, or at least be consistent with, the contrast between Serling’s account, which emphasizes the recklessness of the company’s
decision making, and the company’s image, that of a bureaucracy full of wary managers. For Blank (i), “belies” is the best choice since Serling’s account would certainly
belie or contradict the company’s image. “Exposes” makes little sense since the image
presumably is already out in the open, and there is nothing in the sentence that suggests Serling’s account “overshadows” the company’s image. As for Blank (ii), “a cautious” is the most logical choice. Neither “an injudicious” nor “a disorganized” makes
sense in Blank (ii) as they both go against the notion of wariness.
Thus the correct answer is belies (Choice A) and a cautious (Choice F).
4. No other contemporary poet’s work has such a wellearned reputation for
(i)_________, and there are few whose moral vision is so imperiously unsparing.
Of late, however, the almost belligerent demands of his severe and densely
forbidding poetry have taken an improbable turn. This new collection is the
poet’s fourth book in six years — an ample output even for poets of sunny
disposition, let alone for one of such (ii)_________ over the previous 50 years.
Yet for all his newfound (iii)_________, his poetry is as thorny as ever.
Blank (i)
A patent accessibility
B intrinsic frivolity Blank (ii)
D penitential Blank (iii)
G taciturnity austerity
E intractable H volubility prolixity
C near impenetrability F impetuous I pellucidity prodigality Explanation
Since the author of the paragraph has described the poet’s reputation as “wellearned,”
the correct completion for Blank (i) must be something that is consistent with what the
rest of the passage says about the poet’s work. Only “near impenetrability” fulfills this
requirement, since the next sentence tells us that the poet’s work is “severe” and
“densely forbidding,” which rule out both accessibility and frivolity. The Blank (ii) completion must contrast with “ample output,” and of the available options, only “penitential austerity” does so. Finally, the word in Blank (iii), since it is preceded by
“newfound,” must refer to the change that has occurred in the poet’s work. The change
the paragraph has described is an increase in output, so “volubility” is the correct
choice. 97 0071700528pp53106 10/13/10 4:52 PM Page 98 GRE Verbal Reasoning Practice Questions
Thus the correct answer is near impenetrability (Choice C), penitential austerity
(Choice D), and volubility (Choice H).
5. Managers who think that strong environmental performance will (i)_________
their company’s financial performance often (ii)_________ claims that systems
designed to help them manage environmental concerns are valuable tools. By
contrast, managers who perceive environmental performance to be (iii)_________
to financial success may view an environmental management system as
extraneous. In either situation, and whatever their perceptions, it is a manager’s
commitment to achieving environmental improvement rather than the mere
presence of a system that determines environmental performance.
Blank (i)
A eclipse Blank (ii)
D uncritically Blank (iii)
G complementary accept
B bolster E appropriately H intrinsic acknowledge
C degrade F hotly I peripheral dispute Explanation
The first two sentences introduce two contrasting sets of managers. The managers
identified in the second sentence view systems designed to help manage environmental
concerns as “extraneous,” suggesting that they would view environmental performance
to be “peripheral” (Choice I) to financial performance. The other options for Blank (iii)
— “complementary” and “intrinsic” — are not consistent with the idea that environmental management systems are extraneous. With Blank (iii) filled in, we can go back
to Blanks (i) and (ii) with greater confidence: “bolster” works best in Blank (i), since
the two sets of managers have contrasting views. Blank (ii) is not straightforward —
clearly these managers would not “hotly dispute” this claim, but “appropriately
acknowledge” is less easily ruled out. “Uncritically accept” makes sense and is confirmed when we look at the final sentence in which the author warns that, in either
situation, “the mere presence of a system” is not enough to achieve environmental
improvement. In fact, a system is not even necessary. Thus the author of the paragraph
does not regard the systems as particularly valuable, ruling out “appropriately acknowledge.”
Thus the correct answer is bolster (Choice B), uncritically accept (Choice D), and
peripheral (Choice I). 98 0071700528pp53106 10/13/10 4:52 PM Page 99 GRE Verbal Reasoning Practice Questions
6. Philosophy, unlike most other subjects, does not try to extend our knowledge by
discovering new information about the world. Instead it tries to deepen our
understanding through (i)_________ what is already closest to us — the
experiences, thoughts, concepts, and activities that make up our lives but that
ordinarily escape our notice precisely because they are so familiar. Philosophy
begins by finding (ii)_________ the things that are (iii) _________.
Blank (i)
A attainment of Blank (ii)
D essentially Blank (iii)
G most prosaic irrelevant
B rumination on E utterly H somewhat mysterious
C detachment from F thoroughly commonplace hackneyed
I refreshingly
novel Explanation
The first two sentences present a contrast between extending our knowledge by discovering “new information about the world” — which we are told philosophy does not do
— and extending knowledge through some activity involving “things that are closest to
us.” The first blank asks us to identify that activity, and although “attainment” makes
little sense in context, both “rumination on” and “detachment from” have some appeal.
However, the clear implication that philosophy attends to things that ordinarily escape
our notice eliminates “detachment from” as a correct answer. Blank (ii) requires something that suggests the importance of familiar things as subjects of philosophical rumination, and “utterly mysterious” does just that. “Essentially irrelevant” and “thoroughly
commonplace” do not fit logically since they suggest that these “familiar” things are
unimportant. Similarly, Blank (iii) needs to be consistent with the description of those
things as familiar and close. “Most prosaic” fits that idea while “refreshingly novel”
goes in the other direction. “Somewhat hackneyed” has some plausibility but is too
negative given the overall tone of the sentence; there is no indication that those things
are in any way trite.
Thus the correct answer is rumination on (Choice B), utterly mysterious (Choice
E), and most prosaic (Choice G).
For Questions 7 to 9, select the two answer choices that, when used to complete
the sentence, fit the meaning of the sentence as a whole and produce completed
sentences that are alike in meaning. 7. The government’s implementation of a new code of ethics appeared intended to
shore up the ruling party’s standing with an increasingly _________ electorate at a
time when the party is besieged by charges that it trades favors for campaign
money.
A aloof
B placid
C restive
D skittish
E tranquil
F vociferous
99 0071700528pp53106 10/13/10 4:52 PM Page 100 GRE Verbal Reasoning Practice Questions
Explanation
The words filling the blank must be consistent with the idea that the ruling party
needs to “shore up” its standing with the electorate. In their own way, Choices A,
C, D, and F are consistent with that idea, but only two of these when taken
together — “restive” and “skittish” — produce sentences that are alike in meaning.
“Aloof” fits the blank reasonably well, but there is no other word offered that is
nearly alike in meaning. The same holds for “vociferous.” “Placid” and “tranquil”
are similar in meaning but do not fit the context of the sentence.
Thus the correct answer is restive (Choice C) and skittish (Choice D).
8. Overlarge, uneven, and ultimately disappointing, the retrospective exhibition
seems too much like special pleading for a forgotten painter of real but
_________ talents.
A limited
B partial
C undiscovered
D circumscribed
E prosaic
F hidden Explanation
The sentence is explaining why the exhibition of the painter’s work was unsatisfactory, and since it says that the painter’s talents were real, the word in the blank
has to indicate why those talents were not, in the opinion of the author of the sentence, good enough. The words “limited” and “circumscribed” do so and also produce sentences that are alike in meaning, so this pair forms the correct answer.
Although “undiscovered” and “hidden” are similar in meaning, they do not make
sense in the context of the sentence, since they do not indicate why the painter’s
talents were not adequate. Other choices, such as “partial” and “prosaic” might
make sense in context, but none of the other choices that meets that criterion also
has a companion choice that would produce another sentence alike in meaning.
Thus the correct answer is limited (Choice A) and circumscribed (Choice D).
9. Newspapers report that the former executive has been trying to keep a low
profile since his _________ exit from the company.
A celebrated
mysterious
C longawaited
D fortuitous
D indecorous
F unseemly
B Explanation
The sentence needs to be completed with a word that suggests a reason for the
executive to wish to keep a low profile. The words “indecorous” and “unseemly”
both suggest such a reason, and the sentences completed with those two choices 100 0071700528pp53106 10/13/10 4:52 PM Page 101 GRE Verbal Reasoning Practice Questions
are alike in meaning. Therefore, that pair forms the correct answer. Although one
might get a sensible sentence by filling the blank with another choice, such as “longawaited,” none of the other choices that meets that criterion also has a companion
choice that would produce another sentence alike in meaning.
Thus the correct answer is indecorous (Choice E) and unseemly (Choice F). SET 6. Reading Comprehension Questions: Hard
For each of Questions 1 to 8, select one answer choice unless otherwise instructed. 1. In the United States between 1850 and 1880, the number of farmers continued to
increase, but at a rate lower than that of the general population.
Which of the following statements directly contradicts the information presented
above?
A The number of farmers in the general population increased slightly in the
30 years between 1850 and 1880.
B The rate of growth of the United States labor force and the rate of growth
of the general population rose simultaneously in the 30 years between
1850 and 1880.
C The proportion of farmers in the United States labor force remained
constant in the 30 years between 1850 and 1880.
D The proportion of farmers in the United States labor force decreased from
64 percent in 1850 to 49 percent in 1880.
E The proportion of farmers in the general population increased from 68
percent in 1850 to 72 percent in 1880. Explanation
The given sentence indicates that the proportion of farmers in the general population
decreased from 1850 to 1880. Choice E says exactly the opposite — that this proportion increased — and therefore it contradicts the passage and is the correct response.
Choice A is incorrect because it agrees with the given sentence, and Choices B, C, and
D are all incorrect because they refer to the labor force, about which the given sentence
says nothing. 101 0071700528pp53106 10/13/10 4:52 PM Page 102 GRE Verbal Reasoning Practice Questions
2. A tenyear comparison between the United States and the Soviet Union in terms
of crop yields per acre revealed that when only planted acreage is compared,
Soviet yields were equal to 68 percent of United States yields. When total
agricultural acreage (planted acreage plus fallow acreage) is compared, however,
Soviet yield was 114 percent of United States yield.
From the information above, which of the following can be most reliably inferred
about United States and Soviet agriculture during the tenyear period?
A A higher percentage of total agricultural acreage was fallow in the United
States than in the Soviet Union. B The United States had more fallow acreage than planted acreage.
C Fewer total acres of available agricultural land were fallow in the Soviet
Union than in the United States. D The Soviet Union had more planted acreage than fallow acreage.
E The Soviet Union produced a greater volume of crops than the United States produced. Explanation
If crop yield per planted acre was less in the Soviet Union than it was in the United
States, yet crop yield per total (planted plus fallow) agricultural acreage was greater in
the Soviet Union than it was in the United States, the percentage of the total acreage
that was left fallow must have been lower in the Soviet Union than in the United States.
Therefore, Choice A is the correct answer. Since the information provided in the paragraph is given in terms of yield per acre, no conclusion can be drawn about actual
acreage, so Choices B, C, and D are all incorrect. Similarly, it is impossible to determine the total volume of crops produced in the Soviet Union, so Choice E is incorrect. Questions 3 and 4 are based on the following reading passage. line
5 10 For hot desert locations with access to seawater, a new greenhouse design generates
freshwater and cool air. Oriented to the prevailing wind, the front wall of perforated
cardboard, moistened and cooled by a trickle of seawater pumped in, cools and moistens hot air blowing in. This cool, humidified air accelerates plant growth; little water
evaporates from leaves. Though greenhouses normally capture the heat of sunlight,
a doublelayered roof, the inner layer coated to reflect infrared light outward, allows
visible sunlight in but traps solar heat between the two layers. This heated air, drawn
down from the roof, then mixes with the greenhouse air as it reaches a second seawatermoistened cardboard wall at the back of the greenhouse. There the air absorbs
more moisture, which then condenses on a metal wall cooled by seawater, and thus
distilled water for irrigating the plants collects. Description
The passage describes a greenhouse design and the process by which the design generates freshwater and cool air in a desert environment lacking in these things. 102 0071700528pp53106 10/13/10 4:52 PM Page 103 GRE Verbal Reasoning Practice Questions
For the following question, consider each of the choices separately and select all that
apply. 3. It can be inferred that the process described in the passage makes use of which of
the following?
A
B
C The tendency of hot air to rise
The directional movement of wind
The temperature differential between the sea and the desert Explanation
Choices B and C are correct. This question asks the reader which of the three phenomena listed in the answer choices is used in the process described in the passage.
Choice A is incorrect: the passage does not indicate that the tendency of hot air to
rise is used in the process, and in fact says that heated air is drawn down, not up, as
part of the greenhouse design.
Choice B is correct: the second sentence describes the orientation of a perforated
cardboard wall toward the prevailing wind so that hot air blows in and is moistened.
Choice C is correct: the passage describes the use of seawater to cool hot desert air
and to provide moisture that is absorbed by heated air and then condensed on a seawatercooled surface for the purpose of irrigating the plants. For the following question, consider each of the choices separately and select all that
apply. 4. It can be inferred that the greenhouse roof is designed to allow for which of the
following?
A
B
C The avoidance of intense solar heat inside the greenhouse
The entry of sunlight into the greenhouse to make the plants grow
The mixture of heated air with greenhouse air to enhance the collection of
moisture Explanation
All three choices are correct. This question asks the reader which of the three effects
listed in the answer choices are intended as part of the design of the greenhouse roof.
Choice A is correct: the purpose of the doublelayered roof is to trap solar heat
before it gets inside the greenhouse proper.
Choice B is correct: the coating on the inner layer of the roof allows visible sunlight into the greenhouse.
Choice C is correct: the last two sentences of the passage describe how heated air
from the roof is drawn down to mix with greenhouse air, resulting in the collection of
distilled water for irrigation purposes. 103 0071700528pp53106 10/13/10 4:52 PM Page 104 GRE Verbal Reasoning Practice Questions
Questions 5 to 8 are based on the following reading passage. line
5 10 Many critics of Emily Brontë’s novel Wuthering Heights see its second part as a counterpoint that comments on, if it does not reverse, the first part, where a romantic reading receives more confirmation. Seeing the two parts as a whole is encouraged by the
novel’s sophisticated structure, revealed in its complex use of narrators and time shifts.
Granted that the presence of these elements need not argue for an authorial awareness
of novelistic construction comparable to that of Henry James, their presence does
encourage attempts to unify the novel’s heterogeneous parts. However, any interpretation that seeks to unify all of the novel’s diverse elements is bound to be somewhat
unconvincing. This is not because such an interpretation necessarily stiffens into a thesis (although rigidity in any interpretation of this or of any novel is always a danger),
but because Wuthering Heights has recalcitrant elements of undeniable power that, ultimately, resist inclusion in an allencompassing interpretation. In this respect, Wuthering Heights shares a feature of Hamlet. Description
The passage discusses a critical view concerning the unity of structure of Wuthering
Heights, then, following the use of “However,” expresses a reservation about that view.
5. According to the passage, which of the following is a true statement about the
first and second parts of Wuthering Heights?
A The second part has received more attention from critics. B The second part has little relation to the first part.
C The second part annuls the force of the first part.
D The second part provides less substantiation for a romantic reading.
E The second part is better because it is more realistic. Explanation
This question requires the reader to identify which of the given relationships between
the novel’s first and second parts is one that is described in the passage. According to
the first sentence, the first part of the novel tends to confirm the “romantic” reading
more strongly than the second. Therefore, Choice D is correct. Nothing in the passage
suggests that critics have paid more attention to the second part, that the two parts
have little relation, or that the second part is better. Therefore, Choices A, B, and E are
incorrect. Choice C is a more extreme statement than any found in the passage, and
therefore it is incorrect.
6. Which of the following inferences about Henry James’s awareness of novelistic
construction is best supported by the passage?
A James, more than any other novelist, was aware of the difficulties of
novelistic construction.
B James was very aware of the details of novelistic construction.
C James’s awareness of novelistic construction derived from his reading of
Brontë.
D James’s awareness of novelistic construction has led most commentators
to see unity in his individual novels.
E James’s awareness of novelistic construction precluded him from violating the unity of his novels.
104 0071700528pp53106 10/13/10 4:52 PM Page 105 GRE Verbal Reasoning Practice Questions
Explanation
This question focuses on the passage’s mention of Henry James and asks what can be
inferred from it. The third sentence implies that James represents a very high degree of
authorial awareness of novelistic construction and that no such claim is necessarily
being made for Brontë. Thus, Choice B is the correct answer. Choice A is incorrect,
since the passage does not imply that there are particular difficulties that James understood uniquely among novelists. Choice C is incorrect because the passage does not
state or imply that James read Brontë. The passage also does not say anything about
commentators’ opinions of the unity of James’s works; therefore Choice D is incorrect.
Choice E is incorrect because the passage itself offers no information about the unity
of James’s novels.
7. The author of the passage would be most likely to agree that an interpretation
of a novel should
A not try to unite heterogeneous elements in the novel B not be inflexible in its treatment of the elements in the novel
C not argue that the complex use of narrators or of time shifts indicates a
sophisticated structure
D concentrate on those recalcitrant elements of the novel that are outside
the novel’s main structure
E primarily consider those elements of novelistic construction of which the
author of the novel was aware Explanation
This question requires the reader to determine what can be inferred from the passage
about its author’s view of the interpretation of novels. Choice A may seem attractive
because in the passage the author says that Wuthering Heights has heterogeneous elements that resist inclusion in a unifying interpretive scheme. Choice A is incorrect,
however, because the author does not indicate that the unification of different elements
is to be avoided in interpretation generally. By contrast, the author’s parenthetical
statement about rigidity does present a general warning against inflexibility of interpretation, and it is this that supports Choice B as the correct answer. Choice C is incorrect, as the author actually suggests the contrary of this view in the second sentence of
the passage. Although the author mentions recalcitrant elements of Wuthering Heights,
there is no suggestion by the author that such elements deserve a special focus in interpretation. Therefore Choice D is incorrect. The author of the passage does not indicate
which elements, if any, of novelistic construction are most worthy of consideration.
Therefore Choice E is incorrect. 105 0071700528pp53106 10/13/10 4:52 PM Page 106 GRE Verbal Reasoning Practice Questions
For the following question, consider each of the choices separately and select all that
apply. 8. The author of the passage suggests which of the following about Hamlet?
A
B
C Hamlet has usually attracted critical interpretations that tend to stiffen
into theses.
Hamlet has elements that are not amenable to an allencompassing critical
interpretation.
Hamlet is less open to an allencompassing critical interpretation than is
Wuthering Heights. Explanation
Choice B is correct. This question asks the reader which of the three statements about
Hamlet listed in the answer choices are suggested by the author of the passage.
Choice A is incorrect: the passage does not provide information about the characteristics of the usual critical interpretations of Hamlet.
Choice B is correct: Hamlet is mentioned only in the final sentence of the passage,
which refers to “this respect” in which Hamlet and Wuthering Heights are similar. The
previous sentence reveals the point of similarity referred to: Wuthering Heights has
elements that resist inclusion in an allencompassing interpretive framework.
Choice C is incorrect: the passage mentions only a feature shared between Hamlet
and Wuthering Heights. It does not suggest anything about a difference in their openness to a particular critical interpretation. 106 5 GRE®
Quantitative Reasoning
Your goals
for this
chapter b Learn the four types of GRE Quantitative Reasoning
questions
b Get tips for answering each question type
b Study sample Quantitative Reasoning questions
with solutions
b Learn how to use the onscreen calculator Overview of the Quantitative Reasoning Measure
The Quantitative Reasoning measure of the GRE revised General Test assesses your:
¼
¼
¼ basic mathematical skills
understanding of elementary mathematical concepts
ability to reason quantitatively and to model and solve problems with
quantitative methods Some of the questions in the measure are posed in reallife settings, while others
are posed in purely mathematical settings. The skills, concepts, and abilities are
tested in the four content areas below.
Arithmetic topics include properties and types of integers, such as divisibility,
factorization, prime numbers, remainders, and odd and even integers; arithmetic
operations, exponents, and radicals; and concepts such as estimation, percent, ratio,
rate, absolute value, the number line, decimal representation, and sequences of numbers.
Algebra topics include operations with exponents; factoring and simplifying algebraic expressions; relations, functions, equations, and inequalities; solving linear
and quadratic equations and inequalities; solving simultaneous equations and inequalities; setting up equations to solve word problems; and coordinate geometry, including graphs of functions, equations, and inequalities, intercepts, and slopes of
lines.
Geometry topics include parallel and perpendicular lines, circles, triangles—including isosceles, equilateral, and 30 60 90 triangles—quadrilaterals, other polygons, congruent and similar ﬁgures, threedimensional ﬁgures, area, perimeter, volume, the Pythagorean theorem, and angle measurement in degrees. The ability to
construct proofs is not tested.
Data analysis topics include basic descriptive statistics, such as mean, median,
mode, range, standard deviation, interquartile range, quartiles, and percentiles; interpretation of data in tables and graphs, such as line graphs, bar graphs, circle graphs,
boxplots, scatterplots, and frequency distributions; elementary probability, such as
probabilities of compound events and independent events; random variables and 107 GRE Quantitative Reasoning
probability distributions, including normal distributions; and counting methods,
such as combinations, permutations, and Venn diagrams. These topics are typically
taught in high school algebra courses or introductory statistics courses. Inferential
statistics is not tested.
The content in these areas includes high school mathematics and statistics at a
level that is generally no higher than a second course in algebra; it does not include
trigonometry, calculus, or other higherlevel mathematics. The publication Math Review for the GRE revised General Test, which is available at www.ets.org/gre/revised/
prepare, provides detailed information about the content of the Quantitative Reasoning measure. The Math Review is Chapter 7 in this book.
The mathematical symbols, terminology, and conventions used in the Quantitative Reasoning measure are those that are standard at the high school level. For example, the positive direction of a number line is to the right, distances are nonnegative, and prime numbers are greater than 1. Whenever nonstandard notation is used
in a question, it is explicitly introduced in the question.
In addition to conventions, there are some assumptions about numbers and geometric ﬁgures that are used in the Quantitative Reasoning measure. Two of these assumptions are (i) all numbers used are real numbers and (ii) geometric ﬁgures are
not necessarily drawn to scale. More about conventions and assumptions appears in
the publication Mathematical Conventions for the GRE revised General Test, which is
available at www.ets.org/gre/revised/prepare and at the end of this chapter. Quantitative Reasoning Question Types
The Quantitative Reasoning measure has four types of questions:
¼ Quantitative Comparison questions
¼ Multiplechoice questions—Select One Answer Choice
¼ Multiplechoice questions—Select One or More Answer Choices
¼ Numeric Entry questions
Each question appears either independently as a discrete question or as part of a
set of questions called a Data Interpretation set. All of the questions in a Data Interpretation set are based on the same data presented in tables, graphs, or other displays of data.
In the computerbased test, you are allowed to use a basic calculator—provided
onscreen—on the Quantitative Reasoning measure. Information about using the calculator appears later in this chapter. For those taking the paperbased test, calculators will be provided at the test center for use during the test. Information about using the calculator to help you answer questions appears in the free Practice Book for
the Paperbased GRE revised General Test, which is available at www.ets.org/gre/
revised/prepare. Quantitative Comparison Questions
Description
Questions of this type ask you to compare two quantities—Quantity A and Quantity
B—and then determine which of the following statements describes the comparison.
¼ Quantity A is greater.
¼ Quantity B is greater.
¼ The two quantities are equal.
¼ The relationship cannot be determined from the information given.
108 GRE Quantitative Reasoning
Tips for Answering
¼ Become familiar with the answer choices. Quantitative Comparison questions
always have the same answer choices, so get to know them, especially the last
answer choice, “The relationship cannot be determined from the information
given.” Never select this last choice if it is clear that the values of the two
quantities can be determined by computation. Also, if you determine that one
quantity is greater than the other, make sure you carefully select the
corresponding choice so as not to reverse the ﬁrst two choices.
¼ Avoid unnecessary computations. Don’t waste time performing needless
computations in order to compare the two quantities. Simplify, transform, or
estimate one or both of the given quantities only as much as is necessary to
compare them.
¼ Remember that geometric ﬁgures are not necessarily drawn to scale. If any
aspect of a given geometric ﬁgure is not fully determined, try to redraw the
ﬁgure, keeping those aspects that are completely determined by the given
information ﬁxed but changing the aspects of the ﬁgure that are not
determined. Examine the results. What variations are possible in the relative
lengths of line segments or measures of angles?
¼ Plug in numbers. If one or both of the quantities are algebraic expressions, you
can substitute easy numbers for the variables and compare the resulting
quantities in your analysis. Consider all kinds of appropriate numbers before
you give an answer: e.g., zero, positive and negative numbers, small and large
numbers, fractions and decimals. If you see that Quantity A is greater than
Quantity B in one case and Quantity B is greater than Quantity A in another
case, choose “The relationship cannot be determined from the information
given.”
¼ Simplify the comparison. If both quantities are algebraic or arithmetic
expressions and you cannot easily see a relationship between them, you can try
to simplify the comparison. Try a stepbystep simpliﬁcation that is similar to the
steps involved when you solve the equation 5 4x 3 for x, or similar to the
3y 2
steps involved when you determine that the inequality
y is equivalent
5
to the simpler inequality 1 y. Begin by setting up a comparison involving the
two quantities, as follows:  Quantity A ? Quantity B  where ? is a “placeholder” that could represent the relationship greater than
( ), less than ( ), or equal to ( ) or could represent the fact that the
relationship cannot be determined from the information given. Then try to
simplify the comparison, step by step, until you can determine a relationship
between simpliﬁed quantities. For example, you may conclude after the last step
that ? represents equal to ( ). Based on this conclusion, you may be able to  compare Quantities A and B. To understand this strategy more fully, see sample
questions 6 to 9. 109 GRE Quantitative Reasoning Sample Questions
Compare Quantity A and Quantity B, using additional information centered
above the two quantities if such information is given, and select one of the
following four answer choices:
A
B
C
D Quantity A is greater.
Quantity B is greater.
The two quantities are equal.
The relationship cannot be determined from the information given. A symbol that appears more than once in a question has the same meaning
throughout the question.
Quantity A
1. (2)(6) Quantity B
2 6 A Quantity A is greater. B Quantity B is greater. C The two quantities are equal. D The relationship cannot be determined from the information given. Explanation
Since 12 is greater than 8, Quantity A is greater than Quantity B. Thus, the
correct answer is Choice A, Quantity A is greater.
Lionel is younger than Maria.
Quantity A
Twice Lionel’s age 2. Quantity B
Maria’s age A Quantity A is greater. B Quantity B is greater. C The two quantities are equal. D The relationship cannot be determined from the information given. Explanation
If Lionel’s age is 6 years and Maria’s age is 10 years, then Quantity A is greater,
but if Lionel’s age is 4 years and Maria’s age is 10 years, then Quantity B is
greater. Thus, the relationship cannot be determined.
The correct answer is Choice D, the relationship cannot be determined
from the information given. 110 GRE Quantitative Reasoning
Quantity A
54% of 360 3. Quantity B
150 A Quantity A is greater. B Quantity B is greater. C The two quantities are equal. D The relationship cannot be determined from the information given. Explanation
Without doing the exact computation, you can see that 54 percent of 360 is
1
greater than of 360, which is 180, and 180 is greater than Quantity B, 150.
2
Thus, the correct answer is Choice A, Quantity A is greater.
Figure 1 Q P S
PQ = PR R Quantity A
PS 4. Quantity B
SR A Quantity A is greater. B Quantity B is greater. C The two quantities are equal. D The relationship cannot be determined from the information given. Explanation
From Figure 1, you know that PQR is a triangle and that point S is between
points P and R, so PS PR and SR PR. You are also given that PQ PR.
However, this information is not sufﬁcient to compare PS and SR. Furthermore,
because the ﬁgure is not necessarily drawn to scale, you cannot determine the
relative sizes of PS and SR visually from the ﬁgure, though they may appear to
be equal. The position of S can vary alongside PR anywhere between P and R.
Following are two possible variations of Figure 1, each of which is drawn to be
consistent with the information PQ PR. 111 GRE Quantitative Reasoning
Figure 2 Figure 3 Q P Q R S P R S PQ = PR PQ = PR Note that Quantity A is greater in Figure 2 and Quantity B is greater in Figure 3.
Thus, the correct answer is Choice D, the relationship cannot be
determined from the information given. y 2x2 7x – 3 Quantity A
x 5. Quantity B
y A Quantity A is greater. B Quantity B is greater. C The two quantities are equal. D The relationship cannot be determined from the information given. Explanation
If x 0, then y 2(02) 7(0) – 3 – 3, so in this case, x y; but if x 1, then
y 2(12) 7(1) – 3 6, so in that case, y x.
Thus, the correct answer is Choice D, the relationship cannot be
determined from the information given.
Note that plugging numbers into expressions may not be conclusive. It is conclusive,
however, if you get different results after plugging in different numbers: the conclusion is that the relationship cannot be determined from the information given. It is
also conclusive if there are only a small number of possible numbers to plug in and
all of them yield the same result, say, that Quantity B is greater.
Now suppose that there are an inﬁnite number of possible numbers to plug in. If
you plug many of them in and each time the result is, for example, that Quantity A
is greater, you still cannot conclude that Quantity A is greater for every possible
number that could be plugged in. Further analysis would be necessary and should
focus on whether Quantity A is greater for all possible numbers or whether there are
numbers for which Quantity A is not greater. 112 GRE Quantitative Reasoning
The following sample questions focus on simplifying the comparison.
y 4
Quantity B Quantity A
3y 6. y 2
5 A Quantity A is greater. B Quantity B is greater. C The two quantities are equal. D The relationship cannot be determined from the information given. Explanation
Set up the initial comparison:
3y 2
5 ? y Then simplify:
Step 1: Multiply both sides by 5 to get
3y  2 ? 5y Step 2: Subtract 3y from both sides to get  2 ? 2y
Step 3: Divide both sides by 2 to get  1?y
The comparison is now simpliﬁed as much as possible. In order to compare 1
and y, note that you are given the information y 4 (above Quantities A and B).
It follows from y 4 that y 1, or 1 y, so that in the comparison 1 ? y, the   placeholder ? represents less than ( ): 1 y. However, the problem asks for a comparison between Quantity A and
Quantity B, not a comparison between 1 and y. To go from the comparison
between 1 and y to a comparison between Quantities A and B, start with the last
comparison, 1 y, and carefully consider each simpliﬁcation step in reverse
order to determine what each comparison implies about the preceding
comparison, all the way back to the comparison between Quantities A and B if
possible. Since step 3 was “divide both sides by 2,” multiplying both sides of the
comparison 1 y by 2 implies the preceding comparison 2 2y, thus reversing
step 3. Each simpliﬁcation step can be reversed as follows:
¼
¼
¼ Reverse step 3: multiply both sides by 2.
Reverse step 2: add 3y to both sides.
Reverse step 1: divide both sides by 5. When each step is reversed, the relationship remains less than ( ), so
Quantity A is less than Quantity B.
Thus, the correct answer is Choice B, Quantity B is greater.
113 GRE Quantitative Reasoning
While some simpliﬁcation steps like subtracting 3 from both sides or dividing both
sides by 10 are always reversible, it is important to note that some steps, like squaring both sides, may not be reversible.
Also, note that when you simplify an inequality, the steps of multiplying or dividing both sides by a negative number change the direction of the inequality; for example, if x y, then – x – y. So the relationship in the ﬁnal, simpliﬁed inequality
may be the opposite of the relationship between Quantities A and B. This is another
reason to consider the impact of each step carefully. Quantity A
230 – 229
2 7. Quantity B
228 A Quantity A is greater. B Quantity B is greater. C The two quantities are equal. D The relationship cannot be determined from the information given. Explanation
Set up the initial comparison:
230 – 229
? 228
2  Then simplify:
Step 1: Multiply both sides by 2 to get  230 – 229 ? 229
Step 2: Add 229 to both sides to get  230 ? 229 229 Step 3: Simplify the righthand side using the fact that (2)(229) 230 to get  230 ? 230
The resulting relationship is equal to ( ). In reverse order, each simpliﬁcation
step implies equal to in the preceding comparison. So Quantities A and B are
also equal.
Thus, the correct answer is Choice C, the two quantities are equal. 114 GRE Quantitative Reasoning
Quantity B Quantity A
x2 8. 1 2x – 1 A Quantity A is greater. B Quantity B is greater. C The two quantities are equal. D The relationship cannot be determined from the information given. Explanation
Set up the initial comparison:
x2  1 ? 2x – 1 Then simplify by noting that the quadratic polynomial x2 – 2x
factored: 1 can be Step 1: Subtract 2x from both sides to get
x2 – 2x  1 ? –1 Step 2: Factor the lefthand side to get  (x – 1)2 ? – 1
The lefthand side of the comparison is the square of a number. Since the square
of a number is always greater than or equal to 0, and 0 is greater than – 1, the
simpliﬁed comparison is the inequality (x – 1)2 – 1 and the resulting
relationship is greater than ( ). In reverse order, each simpliﬁcation step implies
the inequality greater than ( ) in the preceding comparison. Therefore, Quantity
A is greater than Quantity B.
The correct answer is Choice A, Quantity A is greater. w
Quantity A
9. 7w – 4 1
Quantity B
2w 5 A Quantity A is greater. B Quantity B is greater. C The two quantities are equal. D The relationship cannot be determined from the information given. 115 GRE Quantitative Reasoning
Explanation
Set up the initial comparison:  7w – 4 ? 2w 5 Then simplify:
Step 1: Subtract 2w from both sides and add 4 to both sides to get  5w ? 9
Step 2: Divide both sides by 5 to get
9  5 w? The comparison cannot be simpliﬁed any further. Although you are given that
9
w 1, you still don’t know how w compares to , or 1.8. For example, if w 1.5,
5
then w 1.8, but if w 2, then w 1.8. In other words, the relationship between
9
w and cannot be determined. Note that each of these simpliﬁcation steps is
5
reversible, so in reverse order, each simpliﬁcation step implies that the
relationship cannot be determined in the preceding comparison. Thus, the
relationship between Quantities A and B cannot be determined.
The correct answer is Choice D, the relationship cannot be determined
from the information given. The strategy of simplifying the comparison works most efﬁciently when you note
that a simpliﬁcation step is reversible while actually taking the step. Here are some
common steps that are always reversible:
¼
¼
¼
¼ Adding any number or expression to both sides of a comparison
Subtracting any number or expression from both sides
Multiplying both sides by any nonzero number or expression
Dividing both sides by any nonzero number or expression Remember that if the relationship is an inequality, multiplying or dividing both
sides by any negative number or expression will yield the opposite inequality. Be
aware that some common operations like squaring both sides are generally not reversible and may require further analysis using other information given in the question in order to justify reversing such steps. 116 GRE Quantitative Reasoning Multiplechoice Questions—Select One Answer Choice
Description
These questions are multiplechoice questions that ask you to select only one answer
choice from a list of ﬁve choices. Tips for Answering
¼ Use the fact that the answer is there. If your answer is not one of the ﬁve
answer choices given, you should assume that your answer is incorrect and do
the following:
¼ Reread the question carefully—you may have missed an important detail or
misinterpreted some information.
¼ Check your computations—you may have made a mistake, such as miskeying
a number on the calculator.
¼ Reevaluate your solution method—you may have a ﬂaw in your reasoning.
¼ Examine the answer choices. In some questions you are asked explicitly which
of the choices has a certain property. You may have to consider each choice
separately, or you may be able to see a relationship between the choices that
will help you ﬁnd the answer more quickly. In other questions, it may be helpful
to work backward from the choices, say, by substituting the choices in an
equation or inequality to see which one works. However, be careful, as that
method may take more time than using reasoning.
¼ For questions that require approximations, scan the answer choices to see how
close an approximation is needed. In other questions, too, it may be helpful to
scan the choices brieﬂy before solving the problem to get a better sense of
what the question is asking. If computations are involved in the solution, it may
be necessary to carry out all computations exactly and round only your ﬁnal
answer in order to get the required degree of accuracy. In other questions, you
may ﬁnd that estimation is sufﬁcient and will help you avoid spending time on
long computations. Sample Questions
Select a single answer choice.
1. If 5x 32 A –4 B –3 C 4 D 7 E 4 – 2x, what is the value of x ? 12 Explanation
Solving the equation for x, you get 7x
is Choice A, – 4. – 28, and so x – 4. The correct answer 117 GRE Quantitative Reasoning
2. Which of the following numbers is farthest from the number 1 on the
number line?
A – 10 B –5 C 0 D 5 E 10 Explanation
Circling each of the answer choices in a sketch of the number line (Figure 4)
shows that of the given numbers, – 10 is the greatest distance from 1. –11 –10 – 9 –8 –7 –6 –5 – 4 –3 –2 –1 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 Figure 4
Another way to answer the question is to remember that the distance
between two numbers on the number line is equal to the absolute value of the
difference of the two numbers. For example, the distance between – 10 and 1 is
⎪ – 10 – 1⎪ 11, and the distance between 10 and 1 is ⎪10 – 1⎪ ⎪9⎪ 9. The
correct answer is Choice A, – 10. y
y = f (x) 1
O 1 x Figure 5
3. The ﬁgure above shows the graph of a function f, deﬁned by f(x) ⎪2x⎪
for all numbers x. For which of the following functions g deﬁned for all
numbers x does the graph of g intersect the graph of f ?
A x–2 B g(x) x C g(x) 2x – 2 D g(x) 2x E 118 g(x) g(x) 3x – 2 3
3 4 GRE Quantitative Reasoning
Explanation
You can see that all ﬁve choices are linear functions whose graphs are lines with
various slopes and yintercepts. The graph of Choice A is a line with slope 1 and
yintercept – 2, shown in Figure 6. y
y = f (x) 1
O1 x Figure 6
It is clear that this line will not intersect the graph of f to the left of the yaxis.
To the right of the yaxis, the graph of f is a line with slope 2, which is greater
than slope 1. Consequently, as the value of x increases, the value of y increases
faster for f than for g, and therefore the graphs do not intersect to the right of
the yaxis. Choice B is similarly ruled out. Note that if the yintercept of either of
the lines in Choices A and B were greater than or equal to 4 instead of less than
4, they would intersect the graph of f.
Choices C and D are lines with slope 2 and yintercepts less than 4. Hence,
they are parallel to the graph of f (to the right of the yaxis) and therefore will
not intersect it. Any line with a slope greater than 2 and a yintercept less than 4,
like the line in Choice E, will intersect the graph of f (to the right of the yaxis).
The correct answer is Choice E, g(x) 3x – 2.
4. A car got 33 miles per gallon using gasoline that cost $2.95 per gallon.
What was the approximate cost, in dollars, of the gasoline used in driving
the car 350 miles?
A $10 B $20 C $30 D $40 E $50 Explanation
Scanning the answer choices indicates that you can do at least some estimation
350
and still answer conﬁdently. The car used
gallons of gasoline, so the cost was
33
350
350
350
(2.95) dollars. You can estimate the product
(2.95) by estimating
33
33
33
a little low, 10, and estimating 2.95 a little high, 3, to get approximately
(10)(3) 30 dollars. You can also use the calculator to compute a more exact 119 GRE Quantitative Reasoning
answer and then round the answer to the nearest 10 dollars, as suggested by the
answer choices. The calculator yields the decimal 31.287. . . , which rounds to 30
dollars.
Thus, the correct answer is Choice C, $30.
5. A certain jar contains 60 jelly beans—22 white, 18 green, 11 yellow, 5 red,
and 4 purple. If a jelly bean is to be chosen at random, what is the
probability that the jelly bean will be neither red nor purple?
A 0.09 B 0.15 C 0.54
D 0.85 E 0.91 Explanation
Since there are 5 red and 4 purple jelly beans in the jar, there are 51 that are
51
neither red nor purple, and the probability of selecting one of these is
. Since
60
all of the answer choices are decimals, you must convert the fraction to its
decimal equivalent, 0.85.
Thus, the correct answer is Choice D, 0.85. Multiplechoice Questions—Select One or More Answer Choices
Description
These questions are multiplechoice questions that ask you to select one or more answer choices from a list of choices. A question may or may not specify the number
of choices to select. These questions are marked with square boxes beside the answer choices, not circles or ovals. Tips for Answering
¼ Note whether you are asked to indicate a speciﬁc number of answer choices or
all choices that apply. In the latter case, be sure to consider all of the choices,
determine which ones are correct, and select all of those and only those
choices. Note that there may be only one correct choice.
¼ In some questions that involve inequalities that limit the possible values of the
answer choices, it may be efﬁcient to determine the least and/or the greatest
possible value. Knowing the least and/or greatest possible value may enable
you to quickly determine all of the choices that are correct.
¼ Avoid lengthy calculations by recognizing and continuing numerical patterns. 120 GRE Quantitative Reasoning Sample Questions
Select one or more answer choices according to the speciﬁc question directions.
If the question does not specify how many answer choices to select, select all
that apply.
¼
¼ The correct answer may be just one of the choices or may be as many as all
of the choices, depending on the question.
No credit is given unless you select all of the correct choices and no others. If the question speciﬁes how many answer choices to select, select exactly that
number of choices.
1. Which two of the following numbers have a product that is greater than 60 ?
A –9 B –7 C 6 D 8 Explanation
For this type of question, it is often possible to exclude some pairs of answer
choices. In this question, the product must be positive, so the only possible
products are either ( – 7)( – 9) 63 or (6)(8) 48.
The correct answer consists of Choices A ( – 9) and B ( – 7).
2. Which of the following integers are multiples of both 2 and 3 ?
Indicate all such integers.
A 8 B 9 C 12 D 18 E 21 F 36 Explanation
You can ﬁrst identify the multiples of 2, which are 8, 12, 18, and 36, and then
among the multiples of 2 identify the multiples of 3, which are 12, 18, and 36.
Alternatively, if you realize that every number that is a multiple of 2 and 3 is also
a multiple of 6, you can check which choices are multiples of 6.
The correct answer consists of Choices C (12), D (18), and F (36). 121 GRE Quantitative Reasoning
3. Each employee of a certain company is in either Department X or
Department Y, and there are more than twice as many employees in
Department X as in Department Y. The average (arithmetic mean) salary
is $25,000 for the employees in Department X and is $35,000 for the
employees in Department Y. Which of the following amounts could be
the average salary for all of the employees in the company?
Indicate all such amounts.
A $26,000 B $28,000 C $29,000 D $30,000 E $31,000 F $32,000 G $34,000 Explanation
One strategy for answering this kind of question is to ﬁnd the least and/or
greatest possible value. Clearly the average salary is between $25,000 and
$35,000, and all of the answer choices are in this interval. Since you are told that
there are more employees with the lower average salary, the average salary of all
employees must be less than the average of $25,000 and $35,000, which is
$30,000. If there were exactly twice as many employees in Department X as in
Department Y, then the average salary for all employees would be, to the nearest
dollar, the following weighted mean,
(2)(25,000)
2 (1)(35,000)
1 28,333 dollars where the weight for $25,000 is 2 and the weight for $35,000 is 1. Since there
are more than twice as many employees in Department X as in Department Y,
the actual average salary must be even closer to $25,000 because the weight for
$25,000 is greater than 2. This means that $28,333 is the greatest possible
average. Among the choices given, the possible values of the average are
therefore $26,000 and $28,000.
Thus, the correct answer consists of Choices A ($26,000) and B
($28,000).
Intuitively, you might expect that any amount between $25,000 and $28,333
is a possible value of the average salary. To see that $26,000 is possible, in the
weighted mean above, use the respective weights 9 and 1 instead of 2 and 1. To
see that $28,000 is possible, use the respective weights 7 and 3. 122 GRE Quantitative Reasoning
4. Which of the following could be the units digit of 57n, where n is a positive
integer?
Indicate all such digits.
A 0 B 1 C 2 D 3 E 4 F 5 G 6 H 7 I 8 J 9 Explanation
The units digit of 57n is the same as the units digit of 7n for all positive integers
n. To see why this is true for n 2, compute 572 by hand and observe how its
units digit results from the units digit of 72. Because this is true for every
positive integer n, you need to consider only powers of 7. Beginning with n 1
and proceeding consecutively, the units digits of 7, 72, 73, 74, and 75 are 7, 9, 3, 1,
and 7, respectively. In this sequence, the ﬁrst digit, 7, appears again, and the
pattern of four digits, 7, 9, 3, 1, repeats without end. Hence, these four digits are
the only possible units digits of 7n and therefore of 57n.
The correct answer consists of Choices B (1), D (3), H (7), and J (9). Numeric Entry Questions
Description
Questions of this type ask you either to enter your answer as an integer or a decimal
in a single answer box or to enter it as a fraction in two separate boxes—one for the
numerator and one for the denominator. In the computerbased test, use the computer mouse and keyboard to enter your answer. Tips for Answering
¼ Make sure you answer the question that is asked. Since there are no answer
choices to guide you, read the question carefully and make sure you provide
the type of answer required. Sometimes there will be labels before or after the
answer box to indicate the appropriate type of answer. Pay special attention to
units such as feet or miles, to orders of magnitude such as millions or billions,
and to percents as compared with decimals.
¼ If you are asked to round your answer, make sure you round to the required
degree of accuracy. For example, if an answer of 46.7 is to be rounded to the
nearest integer, you need to enter the number 47. If your solution strategy
involves intermediate computations, you should carry out all computations
exactly and round only your ﬁnal answer in order to get the required degree of
accuracy. If no rounding instructions are given, enter the exact answer.
123 GRE Quantitative Reasoning
¼ Examine your answer to see if it is reasonable with respect to the information
given. You may want to use estimation or another solution path to doublecheck
your answer. Sample Questions
Enter your answer as an integer or a decimal if there is a single answer box OR as a
fraction if there are two separate boxes—one for the numerator and one for the
denominator.
To enter an integer or a decimal, either type the number in the answer box using the
keyboard or use the Transfer Display button on the calculator.
¼
¼
¼
¼
¼
¼
¼ First, click on the answer box—a cursor will appear in the box—and then type the
number.
To erase a number, use the Backspace key.
For a negative sign, type a hyphen. For a decimal point, type a period.
To remove a negative sign, type the hyphen again and it will disappear; the
number will remain.
The Transfer Display button on the calculator will transfer the calculator display to
the answer box.
Equivalent forms of the correct answer, such as 2.5 and 2.50, are all correct.
Enter the exact answer unless the question asks you to round your answer. To enter a fraction, type the numerator and the denominator in the respective boxes
using the keyboard.
¼
¼
¼ For a negative sign, type a hyphen. A decimal point cannot be used in the fraction.
The Transfer Display button on the calculator cannot be used for a fraction.
Fractions do not need to be reduced to lowest terms, though you may need to
reduce your fraction to ﬁt in the boxes.
1. One pen costs $0.25 and one marker costs $0.35. At those prices, what is the total
cost of 18 pens and 100 markers?
$ Explanation
Multiplying $0.25 by 18 yields $4.50, which is the cost of the 18 pens; and
multiplying $0.35 by 100 yields $35.00, which is the cost of the 100 markers. The
total cost is therefore $4.50 $35.00 $39.50. Equivalent decimals, such as $39.5
or $39.500, are considered correct.
Thus, the correct answer is $39.50 (or equivalent).
Note that the dollar symbol is in front of the answer box, so the symbol $
does not need to be entered in the box. In fact, only numbers, a decimal point,
and a negative sign can be entered in the answer box. 124 GRE Quantitative Reasoning
2. Rectangle R has length 30 and width 10, and square S has length 5. The
perimeter of S is what fraction of the perimeter of R ? Explanation
The perimeter of R is 30 30 10 80, and the perimeter of S is (4)(5) 20.
20
Therefore, the perimeter of S is
of the perimeter of R. To enter the answer
80
20
, you should enter the numerator 20 in the top box and the denominator 80
80
in the bottom box. Because the fraction does not need to be reduced to lowest
20
terms, any fraction that is equivalent to
is also considered correct, as long as
80
2
1
it ﬁts in the boxes. For example, both of the fractions and are considered
8
4
correct.
20
Thus, the correct answer is
(or any equivalent fraction).
80
10 RESULTS OF A USEDCAR AUCTION
Small Cars Large Cars Number of cars offered 32 23 Number of cars sold 16 20 Projected sales total for cars offered (in thousands) $70 $150 Actual sales total (in thousands) $41 $120 Figure 7
3. For the large cars sold at an auction that is summarized in the table above,
what was the average sale price per car?
$ Explanation
From Figure 7, you see that the number of large cars sold was 20 and the sales
total for large cars was $120,000 (not $120). Thus the average sale price per car
$120,000
was
$6,000.
20
The correct answer is $6,000 (or equivalent).
(Note that the comma in 6,000 will appear automatically in the answer box
in the computerbased test.) 125 GRE Quantitative Reasoning
4. A merchant made a proﬁt of $5 on the sale of a sweater that cost the
merchant $15. What is the proﬁt expressed as a percent of the merchant’s
cost?
Give your answer to the nearest whole percent.
% Explanation
5
(100) 33.333. . . 33.3 percent, which is 33%, to the
15
nearest whole percent.
Thus, the correct answer is 33% (or equivalent).
If you use the calculator and the Transfer Display button, the number that
will be transferred to the answer box is 33.333333, which is incorrect since it is
not given to the nearest whole percent. You will need to adjust the number in
the answer box by deleting all of the digits to the right of the decimal point
(using the Backspace key).
Also, since you are asked to give the answer as a percent, the decimal
equivalent of 33 percent, which is 0.33, is incorrect. The percent symbol next to
the answer box indicates that the form of the answer must be a percent.
Entering 0.33 in the box would give the erroneous answer 0.33%. The percent proﬁt is 5. Working alone at its constant rate, machine A produces k car parts in 10
minutes. Working alone at its constant rate, machine B produces k car parts
in 15 minutes. How many minutes does it take machines A and B, working
simultaneously at their respective constant rates, to produce k car parts?
minutes Explanation
k
k
parts per minute, and machine B produces
parts per
10
15
minute. So when the machines work simultaneously, the rate at which the parts
k
k
1
1
are produced is the sum of these two rates, which is
k
10 15
10 15
25
k
parts per minute. To compute the time required to produce k parts at
k
150
6
k
k
this rate, divide the amount k by the rate to get
6.
6
k
6
Therefore, the correct answer is 6 minutes (or equivalent).
One way to check that the answer of 6 minutes is reasonable is to observe
that if the slower rate of machine B were the same as machine A’s faster rate of
k parts in 10 minutes, then the two machines, working simultaneously, would
take half the time, or 5 minutes, to produce the k parts. So the answer has to be
greater than 5 minutes. Similarly, if the faster rate of machine A were the same as
machine B’s slower rate of k parts in 15 minutes, then the two machines, would
take half the time, or 7.5 minutes, to produce the k parts. So the answer has to
be less than 7.5 minutes. Thus, the answer of 6 minutes is reasonable compared
to the lower estimate of 5 minutes and the upper estimate of 7.5 minutes.
Machine A produces 126 GRE Quantitative Reasoning Data Interpretation Sets
Description
Data Interpretation questions are grouped together and refer to the same table,
graph, or other data presentation. These questions ask you to interpret or analyze
the given data. The types of questions may be Multiplechoice (both types) or
Numeric Entry. Tips for Answering
¼ Scan the data presentation brieﬂy to see what it is about, but do not spend
time studying all of the information in detail. Focus on those aspects of the
data that are necessary to answer the questions. Pay attention to the axes and
scales of graphs; to the units of measurement or orders of magnitude (such as
billions) that are given in the titles, labels, and legends; and to any notes that
clarify the data.
¼ Bar graphs and circle graphs, as well as other graphical displays of data, are
drawn to scale, so you can read or estimate data visually from such graphs.
For example, you can use the relative sizes of bars or sectors to compare the
quantities that they represent, but be aware of broken scales and of bars that do
not start at 0.
¼ The questions are to be answered only on the basis of the data presented,
everyday facts (such as the number of days in a year), and your knowledge of
mathematics. Do not make use of specialized information you may recall from
other sources about the particular context on which the questions are based
unless the information can be derived from the data presented. Sample Questions
Questions 1 to 3 are based on the following data.
ANNUAL PERCENT CHANGE IN DOLLAR AMOUNT OF
SALES AT FIVE RETAIL STORES FROM 2006 TO 2008
Percent Change
from 2006 to 2007 Store
P
Q
R
S
T 10
20
5
7
17 Percent Change
from 2007 to 2008
10
9
12
15
8 Figure 8
1. If the dollar amount of sales at Store P was $800,000 for 2006, what was
the dollar amount of sales at that store for 2008 ?
A $727,200 B $792,000 C $800,000 D $880,000 E $968,000
127 GRE Quantitative Reasoning
Explanation
According to Figure 8, if the dollar amount of sales at Store P was $800,000 for
2006, then it was 10 percent greater for 2007, which is 110 percent of that
amount, or $880,000. For 2008 the amount was 90 percent of $880,000, which is
$792,000.
The correct answer is Choice B, $792,000.
Note that an increase of 10 percent for one year and a decrease of 10 percent
for the following year does not result in the same dollar amount as the original
dollar amount because the base that is used in computing the percents is
$800,000 for the ﬁrst change but $880,000 for the second change.
2. At Store T, the dollar amount of sales for 2007 was what percent of the
dollar amount of sales for 2008 ?
Give your answer to the nearest 0.1 percent.
% Explanation
If A is the dollar amount of sales at Store T for 2007, then 8 percent of A, or
0.08A, is the amount of decrease from 2007 to 2008. Thus A – 0.08A 0.92A is
the dollar amount for 2008. Therefore, the desired percent can be obtained by
A
1
dividing A by 0.92A, which equals
1.0869565. . . . Expressed as a
0.92A 0.92
percent and rounded to the nearest 0.1 percent, this number is 108.7%.
Thus, the correct answer is 108.7% (or equivalent).
3. Which of the following statements must be true?
Indicate all such statements.
A For 2008 the dollar amount of sales at Store R was greater than that at
each of the other four stores. B The dollar amount of sales at Store S for 2008 was 22 percent less
than that for 2006. C The dollar amount of sales at Store R for 2008 was more than 17
percent greater than that for 2006. Explanation
For Choice A, since the only data given in Figure 8 are percent changes from
year to year, there is no way to compare the actual dollar amount of sales at the
stores for 2008 or for any other year. Even though Store R had the greatest
percent increase from 2006 to 2008, its actual dollar amount of sales for 2008
may have been much smaller than that for any of the other four stores, and
therefore Choice A is not necessarily true.
For Choice B, even though the sum of the two percent decreases would
suggest a 22 percent decrease, the bases of the percents are different. If B is the
dollar amount of sales at Store S for 2006, then the dollar amount for 2007 is 93
percent of B, or 0.93B, and the dollar amount for 2008 is given by (0.85)(0.93)B,
which is 0.7905B. Note that this represents a percent decrease of
100 – 79.05 20.95 percent, which is less than 22 percent, and so Choice B is
not true.
128 GRE Quantitative Reasoning
For Choice C, if C is the dollar amount of sales at Store R for 2006, then the
dollar amount for 2007 is given by 1.05C and the dollar amount for 2008 is given
by (1.12)(1.05)C, which is 1.176C. Note that this represents a 17.6 percent
increase, which is greater than 17 percent, so Choice C must be true.
Therefore, the correct answer consists of only Choice C (The dollar
amount of sales at Store R for 2008 was more than 17 percent greater than
that for 2006). Using the Calculator
Sometimes the computations you need to do in order to answer a question in the
Quantitative Reasoning measure are somewhat tedious or timeconsuming, like long
division or square roots. For such computations, you can use the onscreen calculator
provided in the computerbased test. The onscreen calculator is shown in Figure 9. Figure 9
Although the calculator can shorten the time it takes to perform computations,
keep in mind that the calculator provides results that supplement, but do not replace, your knowledge of mathematics. You must use your mathematical knowledge
to determine whether the calculator’s results are reasonable and how the results can
be used to answer a question.
Here are some general guidelines for calculator use in the Quantitative Reasoning measure:
¼
¼ ¼ ¼
¼ Most of the questions don’t require difﬁcult computations, so don’t use the
calculator just because it’s available.
Use it for calculations that you know are tedious, such as long division, square
roots, and addition, subtraction, or multiplication of numbers that have several
digits.
Avoid using it for simple computations that are quicker to do mentally, such as
4,300
10 – 490, (4)(70),
, 25, and 302.
10
Avoid using it to introduce decimals if you are asked to give an answer as a
fraction.
Some questions can be answered more quickly by reasoning and estimating than
by using the calculator.
129 GRE Quantitative Reasoning
¼ If you use the calculator, estimate the answer beforehand so that you can
determine whether the calculator’s answer is “in the ballpark.” This may help
you avoid keyentry errors. The following guidelines are speciﬁc to the onscreen calculator in the computerbased test:
¼
¼
¼ ¼ When you use the computer mouse or the keyboard to operate the calculator,
take care not to miskey a number or operation.
Note all of the calculator’s buttons, including Transfer Display.
The Transfer Display button can be used on Numeric Entry questions with a
single answer box. This button will transfer the calculator display to the answer
box. You should check that the transferred number has the correct form to
answer the question. For example, if a question requires you to round your
answer or convert your answer to a percent, make sure that you adjust the
transferred number accordingly.
Take note that the calculator respects order of operations, as explained below. A mathematical convention called order of operations establishes which operations are performed before others in a mathematical expression that has more than
one operation. The order is as follows: parentheses, exponentiation (including square
roots), multiplications and divisions (from left to right), additions and subtractions
(from left to right). With respect to order of operations, the value of the expression
1 2 4 is 9 because the expression is evaluated by ﬁrst multiplying 2 and 4 and
then by adding 1 to the result. This is how the onscreen calculator in the Quantitative Reasoning measure performs the operations. (Note that many basic calculators
follow a different convention, whereby they perform multiple operations in the order
that they are entered into the calculator. For such calculators, the result of entering
1 2 4 is 12. To get this result, the calculator adds 1 and 2, displays a result of 3,
then multiplies 3 and 4, and displays a result of 12.)
¼ In addition to parentheses, the onscreen calculator has one memory location
and three memory buttons that govern it: memory recall MR , memory clear      MC , and memory sum M . These buttons function as they normally do on ¼ most basic calculators.
Some computations are not deﬁned for real numbers; for example, division by
zero or taking the square root of a negative number. If you enter 6
0 , the  word Error will be displayed. Similarly, if you enter 1    , then Error will be  displayed. To clear the display, you must press the clear button C .
¼ The calculator displays up to eight digits. If a computation results in a number
larger than 99,999,999, then Error will be displayed. For example, the
calculation 10,000,000
results in Error. The clear button C must be
10   used to clear the display. 130  GRE Quantitative Reasoning
Below are some examples of computations using the calculator.
6.73
.
1.
Compute 4
2 Explanation   6.73   2   to get 7.365. Alternatively, enter
3.365, and then enter   4   to get 7.365.
Enter 4 2. 8.4
Compute – 70 6.73   2   to get 9.3
. Explanation
Since division takes precedence over addition in the order of operations, you
need to override that precedence in order to compute this fraction. Here are two
ways to do that. You can use the parentheses for the addition in the numerator,
entering ( 8.4
to get – 0.2528571. Or you can use the equals
9.3 )
70        
  9.3     70     to get the same result. In the
second way, note that pressing the ﬁrst   is essential, because without it,
9.3
8.4   9.3   70     would erroneously compute – 8.4
instead.
70
sign after 9.3, entering 8.4 8.4
Incidentally, the exact value of the expression – 9.3
is the repeating
70
decimal – 0.25285714, where the digits 285714 repeat without end, but the
calculator rounds the decimal to – 0.2528571.
3. Find the length, to the nearest 0.01, of the hypotenuse of a right triangle
with legs of length 21 and 54; that is, use the Pythagorean theorem to
calculate 212 542. Explanation   21   54   54    to get 57.939624. Again, pressing the   before
the   is essential because 21   21   54   54     would erroneously
Enter 21 compute 212 54 54. This is because the square root would take precedence
over the multiplication in the order of operations. Note that parentheses could
be used, as in ( 21
but they are not necessary
21 )
( 54
54 )               because the multiplications already take precedence over the addition.
Incidentally, the exact answer is a nonterminating, nonrepeating decimal, or an
irrational number, but the calculator rounds the decimal to 57.939624. Finally,
note that the problem asks for the answer to the nearest 0.01, so the correct
answer is 57.94.
4. Compute ( – 15)3. Explanation
Enter 15     15     15     to get – 3,375. 131 GRE Quantitative Reasoning
5. Convert 6 miles per hour to feet per second. Explanation
The solution to this problem uses the conversion factors 1 mile
1 hour 3,600 seconds as follows:
6 miles 5,280 feet
1 hour
1 hour
1 mile
3,600 seconds ? 5,280 feet and feet
second   5280   3600   to get 8.8. Alternatively, enter 6   5280   to get the
result 31,680, and then enter   3600   to get 8.8 feet per second.
Enter 6 6. At a fundraising event, 43 participants donated $60 each, 21 participants
donated $80 each, and 16 participants donated $100 each. What was the
average (arithmetic mean) donation per participant, in dollars? Explanation
The solution to this problem is to compute the weighted mean
(43)(60) (21)(80) (16)(100)
. You can use the memory buttons and
43 21 16
parentheses for this computation, as follows:
Enter 43
60
M 21
80
M 16
100
M MR                 
( 43   21   16 )   to get 73.25, or $73.25 per participant.
When the M  button is ﬁrst used, the number in the calculator display is
stored in memory and an M appears to the left of the display to show that the
memory function is in use. Each subsequent use of the M button adds the   number in the current display to the number stored in memory and replaces the
number stored in memory by the sum. When the MR button is pressed in the   computation above, the current value in memory, 5,860, is displayed. To clear the
memory, use the MC button, and the M next to the display disappears.  132 GRE Quantitative Reasoning Mathematics Conventions for the Quantitative
Reasoning Measure of the GRE revised General Test
The mathematical symbols and terminology used in the Quantitative Reasoning measure of the test are conventional at the high school level, and most of these appear
in the Math Review (Chapter 7). Whenever nonstandard or special notation or terminology is used in a test question, it is explicitly introduced in the question. However,
there are some assumptions about numbers and geometric ﬁgures that are particular
to the test. These assumptions appear in the test at the beginning of the Quantitative
Reasoning sections, and they are elaborated below.
Also, some notation and terminology, while standard at the high school level in
many countries, may be different from those used in other countries or from those
used at higher or lower levels of mathematics. Such notation and terminology are
clariﬁed below. Because it is impossible to ascertain which notation and terminology
should be clariﬁed for an individual test taker, more material than necessary may be
included.
Finally, there are some guidelines for how certain information given in test questions should be interpreted and used in the context of answering the questions—information such as certain words, phrases, quantities, mathematical expressions, and
displays of data. These guidelines appear at the end. Numbers and Quantities
¼ ¼ ¼ ¼ ¼ ¼
¼ All numbers used in the test questions are real numbers. In particular, integers
and both rational and irrational numbers are to be considered, but imaginary
numbers are not. This is the main assumption regarding numbers. Also, all
quantities are real numbers, although quantities may involve units of
measurement.
Numbers are expressed in base 10 unless otherwise noted, using the 10 digits 0
through 9 and a period to the right of the ones digit, or units digit, for the
decimal point. Also, in numbers that are 1,000 or greater, commas are used to
separate groups of three digits to the left of the decimal point.
When a positive integer is described by the number of its digits, e.g., a twodigit
integer, the digits that are counted include the ones digit and all the digits
further to the left, where the leftmost digit is not 0. For example, 5,000 is a fourdigit integer, whereas 031 is not considered to be a three–digit integer.
Some other conventions involving numbers: one billion means 1,000,000,000, or
109 (not 1012, as in some countries); one dozen means 12; the Greek letter p
represents the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter and is
approximately 3.14.
When a positive number is to be rounded to a certain decimal place and the
number is halfway between the two nearest possibilities, the number should be
rounded to the greater possibility. For example, 23.5 rounded to the nearest
integer is 24, and 123.985 rounded to the nearest 0.01 is 123.99. When the
number to be rounded is negative, the number should be rounded to the lesser
possibility. For example, – 36.5 rounded to the nearest integer is – 37.
Repeating decimals are sometimes written with a bar over the digits that repeat,
25
1
2.083 and
0.142857.
as in
12
7
If r, s, and t are integers and rs t, then r and s are factors, or divisors, of t; also,
t is a multiple of r (and of s) and t is divisible by r (and by s). The factors of an
integer include positive and negative integers. For example, – 7 is a factor of
133 GRE Quantitative Reasoning ¼ ¼ ¼ ¼
¼ 35, 8 is a factor of – 40, and the integer 4 has six factors: – 4, – 2, – 1, 1, 2, and 4.
The terms factor, divisor, and divisible are used only when r, s, and t are integers.
However, the term multiple can be used with any real numbers s and t provided r
is an integer. For example, 1.2 is a multiple of 0.4, and – 2p is a multiple of p.
The least common multiple of two nonzero integers a and b is the least positive
integer that is a multiple of both a and b. The greatest common divisor (or greatest
common factor) of a and b is the greatest positive integer that is a divisor of both a
and b.
When an integer n is divided by a nonzero integer d resulting in a quotient q with
remainder r, then n qd r, where 0 r ⎪d⎪. Furthermore, r 0 if and only if
n is a multiple of d. For example, when 20 is divided by 7, the quotient is 2 and
the remainder is 6; when 21 is divided by 7, the quotient is 3 and the remainder is
0; and when – 17 is divided by 7, the quotient is – 3 and the remainder is 4.
A prime number is an integer greater than 1 that has only two positive divisors: 1
and itself. The ﬁrst ﬁve prime numbers are 2, 3, 5, 7, and 11. A composite number
is an integer greater than 1 that is not a prime number. The ﬁrst ﬁve composite
numbers are 4, 6, 8, 9, and 10.
Odd and even integers are not necessarily positive; for example, – 7 is odd, and
– 18 and 0 are even.
The integer 0 is neither positive nor negative. Mathematical Expressions, Symbols, and Variables
¼ ¼ ¼ ¼ 134 As is common in algebra, italic letters like x are used to denote numbers,
constants, and variables. Letters are also used to label various objects, such as line
, point P, function f, set S, list T, event E, random variable X, Brand X, City Y,
and Company Z. The meaning of a letter is determined by the context.
When numbers, constants, or variables are given, their possible values are all real
numbers unless otherwise restricted. It is common to restrict the possible values
in various ways. Here are some examples: n is a nonzero integer; 1 x p; and T
is the tens digits of a two–digit positive integer, so T is an integer from 1 to 9.
Standard mathematical symbols at the high school level are used. These include
the arithmetic operations , – , , and , though multiplication is usually denoted
by juxtaposition, often with parentheses, e.g., 2y and (3)(4.5); and division is
w
usually denoted with a horizontal fraction bar, e.g., . Sometimes mixed
3
3
1
numbers, or mixed fractions, are used, like 4 and – 10 . These two
8
2
35
21
numbers are equal to
and – , respectively. Exponents are also used, e.g.,
8
2
1
–2
10
0
2
1,024, 10
, and x
1 for all nonzero numbers x.
100
Mathematical expressions are to be interpreted with respect to order of operations,
which establishes which operations are performed before others in an expression.
The order is as follows: parentheses; exponentiation; negation; multiplication and
division (from left to right); addition and subtraction (from left to right). For
example, the value of the expression 1 2 4 is 9, because the expression is
evaluated by ﬁrst multiplying 2 and 4 and then adding 1 to the result. Also, – 32
means “the negative of ‘3 squared’ ” because exponentiation takes precedence over
negation. Therefore, – 32 – 9, but ( – 3)2 9 because parentheses take precedence
over exponentiation. GRE Quantitative Reasoning
¼ Here are examples of other standard symbols with their meanings:
x
x
x y
y
y
⎪x⎪
x
–x
n!
m
m ¼ ¼ ¼ ¼ x is less than or equal to y
x and y are not equal
x and y are approximately equal
the absolute value of x
the nonnegative square root of x, where x 0
the nonpositive square root of x, where x 0
the product of all positive integers less than or equal to n, where n is any
positive integer and, as a special deﬁnition, 0! 1.
lines and m are parallel
lines and m are perpendicular Because all numbers are assumed to be real, some expressions are not deﬁned.
x
For example, for every number x, the expression is not deﬁned; if x 0, then x
0
is not deﬁned; and 00 is not deﬁned.
Sometimes special symbols or notation are introduced in a question. Here are two
examples:
rs
The operation is deﬁned for all integers r and s by r s
.
1 r2
1
The operation is deﬁned for all nonzero numbers x by x – .
x
Sometimes juxtaposition of letters does not denote multiplication, as in “consider
a three–digit integer denoted by XYZ, where X, Y, and Z are digits.” The meaning
is taken from the context.
Standard function notation is used in the test. For example, “the function g is
deﬁned for all x 0 by g(x) 2x
x.” If the domain of a function f is not given
explicitly, it is assumed to be the set of all real numbers x for which f (x) is a real
number. If f and g are two functions, then the composition of g with f is denoted
by g( f (x)). Geometry
¼ ¼
¼
¼ In questions involving geometry, the conventions of plane (or Euclidean) geometry
are followed, including the assumption that the sum of the measures of the
interior angles of a triangle is 180 degrees.
Lines are assumed to be “straight” lines that extend in both directions without
end.
Angle measures are in degrees and are assumed to be positive and less than or
equal to 360 degrees.
When a square, circle, polygon, or other closed geometric ﬁgure is described in
words but not shown, the ﬁgure is assumed to enclose a convex region. It is also
assumed that such a closed geometric ﬁgure is not just a single point or a line
segment. For example, a quadrilateral cannot be any of the following: Not closed Not convex
135 GRE Quantitative Reasoning
¼ ¼ ¼ The phrase area of a rectangle means the area of the region enclosed by the
rectangle. The same terminology applies to circles, triangles, and other closed
ﬁgures.
The distance between a point and a line is the length of the perpendicular line
segment from the point to the line, which is the shortest distance between the
point and the line. Similarly, the distance between two parallel lines is the distance
between a point on one line and the other line.
In a geometric context, the phrase similar triangles (or other ﬁgures) means that
the ﬁgures have the same shape. See the Geometry section of the Math Review for
further explanation of the terms similar and congruent. Geometric Figures
¼ ¼ Geometric ﬁgures consist of points, lines, line segments, curves (such as circles),
angles, and regions; also included are labels, and markings or shadings that
identify these objects or their sizes. A point is indicated by a dot, a label, or the
intersection of two or more lines or curves. All ﬁgures are assumed to lie in a
plane unless otherwise indicated.
If points A, B, and C do not lie on the same line, then line segments AB and BC
form two angles with vertex B —one angle with measure less than 180 and the
other with measure greater than 180 , as shown below. Unless otherwise
indicated, angle ABC, also denoted by angle B, refers to the smaller of the two
angles. C
Less than
180°
B Greater than
180° A
¼ ¼ ¼ The notation AB may mean the line segment with endpoints A and B, or it may
mean the length of the line segment. The meaning can be determined from the
usage.
Geometric ﬁgures are not necessarily drawn to scale. That is, you should not
assume that quantities such as lengths and angle measures are as they appear in a
ﬁgure. However, you should assume that lines shown as straight are actually
straight, and when curves are shown, you should assume they are not straight.
Also, assume that points on a line or a curve are in the order shown, points shown
to be on opposite sides of a line or curve are so oriented, and more generally,
assume all geometric objects are in the relative positions shown. For questions
with geometric ﬁgures, you should base your answers on geometric reasoning, not
on estimating or comparing quantities by sight or by measurement.
To illustrate some of these conventions, consider the geometric ﬁgure below. S
m B
x° 9 R T
A 136 E
D 35°
6 C GRE Quantitative Reasoning
The following can be determined from the ﬁgure.
ABD and DBC are triangles, and points R, S, and T lie on the closed curve.
Points A, D, and C lie on a straight line, so ABC is a triangle with sides AB,
BC, and AC.
Point D is a distinct point between points A and C.
Points A and S are on opposite sides of line m.
Point E is on BD.
AD AC
ST 9, DC 6, and the measure of angle C is 35 degrees.
Angle ABC is a right angle, as indicated by the small square symbol at
point B.
The measure of angle ABD is x degrees, and x 90.
Line intersects the closed curve at points S and T, and the curve is
tangent to AB at T.
The area of the region enclosed by the curve is greater than the area of
triangle RST.
The following cannot be determined from the ﬁgure.
AD DC
The measures of angles BAD and BDA are equal.
The measure of angle DBC is less than x degrees.
The area of triangle ABD is greater than the area of triangle DBC.
Angle SRT is a right angle.
Line m is parallel to line AC. Coordinate Systems
¼ ¼
¼
¼ Coordinate systems, such as xyplanes and number lines, are drawn to scale.
Therefore, you can read, estimate, or compare quantities in such ﬁgures by sight
or by measurement, including geometric ﬁgures that appear in coordinate
systems.
The positive direction of a number line is to the right.
As in geometry, distances in a coordinate system are nonnegative.
The rectangular coordinate plane, or rectangular coordinate system, commonly
known as the xyplane, is shown below. The xaxis and yaxis intersect at the
origin O, and they partition the plane into four quadrants. Each point in the xyplane has coordinates (x, y) that give its location with respect to the axes; for
example, the point P(2, – 8) is located 2 units to the right of the yaxis and 8 units
below the xaxis. The units on the xaxis have the same length as the units on the
yaxis, unless otherwise noted. y
10
Quadrant II 5 –10 O –5 Quadrant III –5 Quadrant I 5 10 x Quadrant IV
P (2, –8) –10
137 GRE Quantitative Reasoning
¼
¼ Intermediate grid lines or tick marks in a coordinate system are evenly spaced
unless otherwise noted.
The term xintercept refers to the xcoordinate of the point at which a graph in the
xyplane intersects the xaxis; it does not refer to the point itself. The term yintercept is used analogously. Sets, Lists, and Sequences
¼ ¼ ¼ ¼ ¼ Sets of numbers or other elements appear in some questions. Some sets are
inﬁnite, such as the set of integers; other sets are ﬁnite and may have all of their
elements listed within curly brackets, such as the set {2, 4, 6, 8}. When the
elements of a set are given, repetitions are not counted as additional elements and
the order of the elements is not relevant. Elements are also called members. A set
with one or more members is called nonempty; there is a set with no members,
called the empty set and denoted by . If A and B are sets, then the intersection of
A and B, denoted by A B, is the set of elements that are in both A and B, and the
union of A and B, denoted by A B, is the set of elements that are in either A or B
or both. If all of the elements in A are also in B, then A is a subset of B. By
convention, the empty set is a subset of every set. If A and B have no elements in
common, they are called disjoint sets or mutually exclusive sets.
Lists of numbers or other elements are also used in the test. When the elements of
a list are given, repetitions are counted as additional elements and the order of the
elements is relevant. For example, the list 3, 1, 2, 3, 3 contains ﬁve numbers, and
the ﬁrst, fourth, and last numbers in the list are each 3.
The terms data set and set of data are not sets in the mathematical sense given
above. Rather they refer to a list of data because there may be repetitions in the
data, and if there are repetitions, they would be relevant.
Sequences are lists that often have an inﬁnite number of elements, or terms. The
terms of a sequence are often represented by a ﬁxed letter along with a subscript
that indicates the order of a term in the sequence. For example, a1, a2, a3, . . . , an, . . .
represents an inﬁnite sequence in which the ﬁrst term is a1, the second term is a2,
and more generally, the nth term is an for every positive integer n. Sometimes the
nth term of a sequence is given by a formula, such as bn 2n 1. Sometimes the
ﬁrst few terms of a sequence are given explicitly, as in the following sequence of
consecutive even negative integers: – 2, – 4, – 6, – 8, – 10, . . . .
Sets of consecutive integers are sometimes described by indicating the ﬁrst and
last integer, as in “the integers from 0 to 9, inclusive.” This phrase refers to 10
integers, with or without “inclusive” at the end. Thus, the phrase “during the years
from 1985 to 2005” refers to 21 years. Data and Statistics
¼ ¼ 138 Numerical data are sometimes given in lists and sometimes displayed in other
ways, such as in tables, bar graphs, or circle graphs. Various statistics, or
measures of data, appear in questions: measures of central tendency—mean,
median, and mode; measures of position—quartiles and percentiles; and
measures of dispersion—standard deviation, range, and interquartile range.
The term average is used in two ways, with and without the qualiﬁcation
“(arithmetic mean).” For a list of data, the average (arithmetic mean) of the data is GRE Quantitative Reasoning ¼
¼ ¼
¼ ¼ ¼ ¼ the sum of the data divided by the number of data. The term average does not
refer to either median or mode in the test. Without the qualiﬁcation of “arithmetic
mean,” average can refer to a rate or the ratio of one quantity to another, as in
“average number of miles per hour” or “average weight per truckload.”
When mean is used in the context of data, it means arithmetic mean.
The median of an odd number of data is the middle number when the data are
listed in increasing order; the median of an even number of data is the arithmetic
mean of the two middle numbers when the data are listed in increasing order.
For a list of data, the mode of the data is the most frequently occurring number in
the list. Thus, there may be more than one mode for a list of data.
For data listed in increasing order, the ﬁrst quartile, second quartile, and third
quartile of the data are three numbers that divide the data into four groups that
are roughly equal in size. The ﬁrst group of numbers is from the least number up
to the ﬁrst quartile. The second group is from the ﬁrst quartile up to the second
quartile, which is also the median of the data. The third group is from the second
quartile up to the third quartile, and the fourth group is from the third quartile up
to the greatest number. Note that the four groups themselves are sometimes
referred to as quartiles— ﬁrst quartile, second quartile, third quartile, and fourth
quartile. The latter usage is clariﬁed by the word “in” as in the phrase “the cow’s
weight is in the third quartile of the herd.”
For data listed in increasing order, the percentiles of the data are 99 numbers that
divide the data into 100 groups that are roughly equal in size. The 25th percentile
equals the ﬁrst quartile; the 50th percentile equals the second quartile, or median;
and the 75th percentile equals the third quartile.
For a list of data, where the arithmetic mean is denoted by m, the standard
deviation of the data refers to the nonnegative square root of the mean of the
squared differences between m and each of the data. This statistic is also known
as the population standard deviation and is not to be confused with the sample
standard deviation.
For a list of data, the range of the data is the greatest number in the list minus the
least number. The interquartile range of the data is the third quartile minus the
ﬁrst quartile. Data Distributions and Probability Distributions
¼ ¼ Some questions display data in frequency distributions, where discrete data values
are repeated with various frequencies, or where preestablished intervals of
possible values are assigned frequencies corresponding to the numbers of data in
the intervals. For example, the lifetimes, rounded to the nearest hour, of 300
lightbulbs could be in the following 10 intervals: 501–550 hours, 551–600 hours,
601–650 hours, . . . , 951–1,000 hours; consequently, each of the intervals would
have a number, or frequency, of lifetimes, and the sum of the 10 frequencies is
300.
Questions may involve relative frequency distributions, where each frequency of a
frequency distribution is divided by the total number of data in the distribution,
resulting in a relative frequency. In the example above, the 10 frequencies of the
10 intervals would each be divided by 300, yielding 10 relative frequencies. 139 GRE Quantitative Reasoning
¼ Some questions describe probability experiments, or random experiments, that have
a ﬁnite number of possible outcomes. In a random experiment, any particular set
of outcomes is called an event, and every event E has a probability, denoted by
P(E), where 0 P(E) 1. If each outcome of an experiment is equally likely, then
the probability of an event E is deﬁned as the following ratio:
P(E) ¼ ¼
¼ ¼ ¼ ¼ ¼
¼ ¼ ¼ ¼ 140 The number of outcomes in the event E
The number of possible outcomes in the experiment If E and F are two events in an experiment, then “E and F ” is an event, which is
the set of outcomes that are in the intersection of events E and F. Another event is
“E or F, ” which is the set of outcomes that are in the union of events E and F.
If E and F are two events and E and F are mutually exclusive, then P(E and F) 0.
If E and F are two events such that the occurrence of either event does not affect
the occurrence of the other, then E and F are said to be independent events. Events
E and F are independent if and only if P(E and F) P(E)P(F).
A random variable is a variable that represents values resulting from a random
experiment. The values of the random variable may be the actual outcomes of the
experiment if the outcomes are numerical, or the random variable may be related
to the outcomes more indirectly. In either case, random variables can be used to
describe events in terms of numbers.
A random variable from an experiment with only a ﬁnite number of possible
outcomes also has only a ﬁnite number of values and is called a discrete random
variable. When the values of a random variable form a continuous interval of real
numbers, such as all of the numbers between 0 and 2, the random variable is
called a continuous random variable.
Every value of a discrete random variable X, say X a, has a probability denoted
by P(a). A histogram (or a table) showing all of the values of X and their
probabilities P(X) is called the probability distribution of X. The mean of the
random variable X is the sum of the products XP(X) for all values of X.
The mean of a random variable X is also called the expected value of X or the mean
of the probability distribution of X.
For a continuous random variable X, every interval of values, say a X b, has a
probability, which is denoted by P(a X b). The probability distribution of X can
be described by a curve in the xy–plane that mimics the tops of the bars of a
histogram, only smoother. The curve is the graph of a function f whose values are
nonnegative and whose graph is therefore above the Xaxis. The curve y f (X) is
related to the probability of each interval a X b in the following way:
P(a X b) is equal to the area of the region that is below the curve, above the
Xaxis, and between the vertical lines X a and X b. The area of the entire
region under the curve is 1.
The mean of a continuous random variable X is the point m on the Xaxis at which
region under the distribution curve would perfectly balance if a fulcrum were
placed at X m. The median of X is the point M on the Xaxis at which the line
X M divides the region under the distribution curve into two regions of equal
area.
The standard deviation of a random variable X is a measure of dispersion, which
indicates how spread out the probability distribution of X is from its mean. It is
also called the standard deviation of the probability distribution of X.
The most important probability distribution is the normal distribution, whose
distribution curve is shaped like a bell. A random variable X with this distribution GRE Quantitative Reasoning ¼ is called normally distributed. The curve is symmetric about the line X m, where
m is the mean as well as the median. The right and left tails of the distribution
become ever closer to the Xaxis but never touch it.
The standard normal distribution has mean 0 and standard deviation 1. The
following ﬁgure shows the distribution, including approximate probabilities
corresponding to the six intervals shown. 0.34 0.02 0.34 0.14
–2 –1 0.02 0.14
0 1 2 Graphical Representations of Data
¼ ¼ ¼ Graphical data presentations, such as bar graphs, circles graphs, and line graphs,
are drawn to scale; therefore, you can read, estimate, or compare data values by
sight or by measurement.
Standard conventions apply to graphs of data unless otherwise indicated. For
example, a circle graph represents 100 percent of the data indicated in the graph‘s
title, and the areas of the individual sectors are proportional to the percents they
represent. Scales, grid lines, dots, bars, shadings, solid and dashed lines, legends,
etc., are used on graphs to indicate the data. Sometimes, scales that do not begin
at 0 are used, and sometimes broken scales are used.
In Venn diagrams, various sets of objects are represented by circular regions and
by regions formed by intersections of the circles. In some Venn diagrams, all of
the circles are inside a rectangular region that represents a universal set. A
number placed in a region is the number of elements in the subset represented by
the smallest region containing the number, unless otherwise noted. Sometimes a
number is placed above a circle to indicate the number of elements in the entire
circle. Miscellaneous Guidelines for Interpreting and Using Information in Test
Questions
¼ ¼ Numbers given in a question are to be used as exact numbers, even though in
some reallife settings they are likely to have been rounded. For example, if a
question states that “30 percent of the company‘s proﬁt was from health
products,” then 30 is to be used as an exact number; it is not to be used as a
rounded number obtained from, say, 29 or 30.1.
An integer that is given as the number of certain objects, whether in a reallife or
puremath setting, is to be taken as the total number of such objects. For example,
if a question states that “a bag contains 50 marbles, and 23 of the marbles are
red,” then 50 is to be taken as the total number of marbles in the bag and 23 is to
be taken as the total number of red marbles in the bag, so that the other 27
marbles are not red. Fractions and percents are understood in a similar way, so
“oneﬁfth, or 20 percent, of the 50 marbles in the bag are green” means 10
marbles in the bag are green and 40 marbles are not green. 141 GRE Quantitative Reasoning
¼ ¼ ¼ ¼
¼ ¼ ¼
¼ ¼ ¼ ¼ 142 When a multiplechoice question asks for an approximate quantity without
stipulating a degree of approximation, the correct answer is the choice that is
closest in value to the quantity that can be computed from the information given.
Unless otherwise indicated, the phrase “difference between two quantities” is
assumed to mean “positive difference,” that is, the greater quantity minus the
lesser quantity. For example, “for which two consecutive years was the difference
in annual rainfall least?” means “for which two consecutive years was the absolute
value of the difference in annual rainfall least?”
When the term proﬁt is used in a question, it refers to gross proﬁt, which is the
sales revenue minus the cost of production. The proﬁt does not involve any other
amounts unless they are explicitly given.
The common meaning of terms such as months and years and other everyday
terms are assumed in questions where the terms appear.
In questions involving reallife scenarios in which a variable is given to represent
a number of existing objects or another nonnegative amount, the context implies
that the variable is greater than 0. For example, “Jane sold x rugs and deposited
her proﬁt of y dollars into her savings account” implies that x and y are greater
than 0.
Some quantities may involve units, such as inches, pounds, and Celsius degrees,
while other quantities are pure numbers. Any units of measurement, such as
English units or metric units, may be used. However, if an answer to a question
requires converting one unit of measurement to another, then the relationship
between the units is given in the question, unless the relationship is a common
one, such as the relationships between minutes and hours, dollars and cents, and
metric units like centimeters and meters.
In any question, there may be some information that is not needed for obtaining
the correct answer.
When reading questions, do not introduce unwarranted assumptions. For
example, if a question describes a trip that begins and ends at certain times, the
intended answer will assume that the times are unaffected by crossing time zones
or by changes to the local time for daylight savings, unless those matters are
explicitly mentioned. As another example, do not consider sales taxes on
purchases unless explicitly mentioned.
The display of data in a Data Interpretation set of questions is the same for each
question in the set. Also, the display may contain more than one graph or table.
Each question will refer to some of the data, but it may happen that some part of
the data will have no question that refers to it.
In a Data Interpretation set of questions, each question should be considered
separately from the others. No information except what is given in the display of
data should be carried over from one question to another.
In many questions, mathematical expressions and words appear together in a
phrase. In such a phrase, each mathematical expression should be interpreted
separately from the words before it is interpreted along with the words. For
example, if n is an integer, then the phrase “the sum of the ﬁrst two consecutive
integers greater than n 6” means (n 7) (n 8); it does not mean “the sum
of the ﬁrst two consecutive integers greater than n” plus 6, or
(n 1) (n 2) 6. That is, the expression n 6 should be interpreted ﬁrst,
separately from the words. However, in a phrase like “the function g is deﬁned for
all x 0,” the phrase “for all x 0” is a mathematical shorthand for “for all
numbers x such that x 0.” GRE
Quantitative Reasoning
Practice Questions
® 6 Your goals
for this
chapter b Practice answering GRE Quantitative Reasoning
questions on your own
b Study answers and explanations, particularly for
questions you answered incorrectly T his chapter contains four sets of GRE Quantitative Reasoning practice questions. Each of the ﬁrst three practice sets consists of Quantitative Comparison
questions, both types of Multiplechoice questions, and Numeric Entry questions. These three sets are arranged in order of increasing difﬁculty. The ﬁrst is easy,
the second is medium, and the third is hard. The fourth practice set consists of Data
Interpretation questions of varying levels of difﬁculty.
Following the last set is an Answer Key for quick reference. Then, at the end of
the chapter, you will ﬁnd complete explanations for every question. Each explanation
is presented with the corresponding question, so that you can easily see what was
asked and what the various answer choices or Numeric Entry answer boxes were.
Sharpen your GRE Quantitative Reasoning skills by working your way through
these question sets. For the Discrete question sets, begin with the easy sets and then
move on to the medium and hard sets. Review the answers and explanations carefully, paying particular attention to explanations for questions that you answered incorrectly.
For the practice questions in this chapter, use the directions that begin on the
following page. 143 GRE Quantitative Reasoning Practice Questions General Directions
For each question, indicate the best answer, using the directions given.
Notes: All numbers used are real numbers.
All ﬁgures are assumed to lie in a plane unless otherwise indicated.
Geometric ﬁgures, such as lines, circles, triangles, and quadrilaterals, are not
necessarily drawn to scale. That is, you should not assume that quantities
such as lengths and angle measures are as they appear in a ﬁgure. You
should assume, however, that lines shown as straight are actually straight,
points on a line are in the order shown, and more generally, all geometric
objects are in the relative positions shown. For questions with geometric ﬁgures, you should base your answers on geometric reasoning, not on estimating or comparing quantities by sight or by measurement.
Coordinate systems, such as xyplanes and number lines, are drawn to scale;
therefore, you can read, estimate, or compare quantities in such ﬁgures by
sight or by measurement.
Graphical data presentations, such as bar graphs, circles graphs, and line
graphs, are drawn to scale; therefore, you can read, estimate, or compare
data values by sight or by measurement. Directions for Quantitative Comparison questions
Compare Quantity A and Quantity B, using additional information centered
above the two quantities if such information is given. Select one of the
following four answer choices and ﬁll in the corresponding oval to the right of
the question.
A
B
C
D Quantity A is greater.
Quantity B is greater.
The two quantities are equal.
The relationship cannot be determined from the information given. A symbol that appears more than once in a question has the same meaning
throughout the question.
Quantity A Quantity B Correct Answer Example 1:
(2)(6)
26
A
B
C
D
––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
Q P S R Quantity A
Example 2: Quantity B PS SR Correct Answer
A B C D (since equal lengths cannot
be assumed, even though
PS and SR appear equal)
144 GRE Quantitative Reasoning Practice Questions Directions for Numeric Entry questions
Enter your answer in the answer box(es) below the question.
¼
¼
¼
¼ Your answer may be an integer, a decimal, or a fraction, and it may be
negative.
If a question asks for a fraction, there will be two boxes—one for the
numerator and one for the denominator.
Equivalent forms of the correct answer, such as 2.5 and 2.50, are all correct.
Fractions do not need to be reduced to lowest terms.
Enter the exact answer unless the question asks you to round your answer. SET 1. Discrete Questions: Easy
Quantitative Comparison
For Questions 1 to 6, compare Quantity A and Quantity B, using additional
information centered above the two quantities if such information is given.
Select one of the following four answer choices and ﬁll in the corresponding
oval to the right of the question.
A Quantity A is greater. B Quantity B is greater. C The two quantities are equal. D The relationship cannot be determined from the information given. A symbol that appears more than once in a question has the same meaning
throughout the question.
Emma spent $75 buying a used bicycle and $27
repairing it. Then she sold the bicycle for 40 percent
more than the total amount she spent buying and
repairing it.
Quantity A
1. The price at which Emma
sold the bicycle Quantity B
$140 A B C D 145 GRE Quantitative Reasoning Practice Questions
R Q P S T V In the ﬁgure above, squares PQRV and VRST have
sides of length 6.
Quantity A
2. Quantity B The area of the shaded
region 36 A B C D A B C D A B C D A B C D In 2009 the property tax on each home in Town X
was p percent of the assessed value of the home,
where p is a constant. The property tax in 2009 on a
home in Town X that had an assessed value of
$125,000 was $2,500.
Quantity A
3. Quantity B The property tax in 2009 on
a home in Town X that had
an assessed value of
$160,000 $3,000 x y –1 Quantity A Quantity B x y 4. r, s, and t are three consecutive odd integers such
that r s t.
Quantity A
5. 146 r s 1 Quantity B
s t–1 GRE Quantitative Reasoning Practice Questions
y
k x O
P
Quantity A Quantity B The slope of line k 6. The slope of line A B C D Multiplechoice Questions—Select One Answer Choice
For Questions 7 to 11, select a single answer choice. y°
x°
7. In the ﬁgure above, what is the value of
A ? 5 E z 4 D y
45 3 C x 2 B 8. z° 6 A certain store sells two types of pens: one type for $2 per pen and the
other type for $3 per pen. If a customer can spend up to $25 to buy pens at
the store and there is no sales tax, what is the greatest number of pens the
customer can buy?
A 9 B 10 C 11 D 12 E 20 147 GRE Quantitative Reasoning Practice Questions
9. If y 3x and z A 6x E 10. 8x D 5x A certain shipping service charges an insurance fee of $0.75 when shipping
any package with contents worth $25.00 or less and an insurance fee of
$1.00 when shipping any package with contents worth over $25.00. If Dan
uses the shipping company to ship three packages with contents worth
$18.25, $25.00, and $127.50, respectively, what is the total insurance fee
that the company charges Dan to ship the three packages?
A $1.75 B $2.25 C $2.50 D $2.75 E 11. z in terms of x ? 9x C y 10x B 2y, what is x $3.00 If 55 percent of the people who purchase a certain product are female,
what is the ratio of the number of females who purchase the product to the
number of males who purchase the product?
A 11 to 9 B 10 to 9 C 9 to 10 D 9 to 11 E 5 to 9 Numeric Entry
For Questions 12 and 13, enter your answer in the answer box(es) below the
question.
¼
¼
¼
¼ 148 Your answer may be an integer, a decimal, or a fraction, and it may be
negative.
If a question asks for a fraction, there will be two boxes—one for the
numerator and one for the denominator.
Equivalent forms of the correct answer, such as 2.5 and 2.50, are all correct.
Fractions do not need to be reduced to lowest terms.
Enter the exact answer unless the question asks you to round your answer. GRE Quantitative Reasoning Practice Questions
S
T R
U V
12. In the rectangular solid above, TU 3, UV
area of the shaded rectangular region? 4, and VR 13. A list of numbers has a mean of 8 and a standard deviation of 2.5. If x is a
number in the list that is 2 standard deviations above the mean, what is the
value of x ? 2. What is the x Multiplechoice Questions—Select One or More Answer Choices
For Question 14, select all the answer choices that apply. Radiology
3%
Pathology
3% Other Pediatrics
21%
15% Psychiatry
6%
Anesthesiology
3% 14. Surgery
24% Internal
Medicine
25% The circle graph above shows the distribution of 200,000 physicians by
specialty. Which of the following sectors of the circle graph represent more
than 40,000 physicians?
Indicate all such sectors.
A Pediatrics B Internal Medicine C Surgery D Anesthesiology E Psychiatry 149 GRE Quantitative Reasoning Practice Questions SET 2. Discrete Questions: Medium
Quantitative Comparison
For Questions 1 to 5, compare Quantity A and Quantity B, using additional
information centered above the two quantities if such information is given.
Select one of the following four answer choices and ﬁll in the corresponding
oval to the right of the question.
A Quantity A is greater.
Quantity B is greater.
The two quantities are equal.
The relationship cannot be determined from the information given. B
C
D A symbol that appears more than once in a question has the same meaning
throughout the question.
Machine R, working alone at a constant rate,
produces x units of a product in 30 minutes, and
machine S, working alone at a constant rate,
produces x units of the product in 48 minutes, where
x is a positive integer.
Quantity A
1. Quantity B The number of units of
the product that machine
R, working alone at its
constant rate, produces
in 3 hours The number of units of
the product that machine
S, working alone at its
constant rate, produces
in 4 hours A B C D A B C D Frequency Distribution for List X
Number 1 2 3 5 Frequency 10 20 18 12 Frequency Distribution for List Y
Number 6 7 8 9 Frequency 24 17 10 9 List X and list Y each contain 60 numbers. Frequency
distributions for each list are given above. The
average (arithmetic mean) of the numbers in list X is
2.7, and the average of the numbers in list Y is 7.1.
List Z contains 120 numbers: the 60 numbers in list
X and the 60 numbers in list Y.
Quantity A
2. 150 Quantity B The average of the 120
numbers in list Z The median of the 120
numbers in list Z GRE Quantitative Reasoning Practice Questions
C
B D A
In the ﬁgure above, the diameter of the circle is 10.
Quantity B Quantity A
3. The area of quadrilateral
ABCD x2y
xy2 40 B C D A B C D A B C D 0
0 Quantity A Quantity B x 4. A y Among the 9,000 people attending a football game at
College C, there were x students from College C and y
students who were not from College C.
Quantity A
5. Quantity B The number of people
attending the game who
were not students 9,000 – x – y Multiplechoice Questions—Select One Answer Choice
For Questions 6 to 10, select a single answer choice.
6. If x 0, which of the following is equivalent to A x2 B x3 C x4 D x5 E x(x2)3
?
x2 x6 151 GRE Quantitative Reasoning Practice Questions
y 1
O 7. –1 C 0 D 1 E 2 If d – 3n
7n – d 1, which of the following statements describes d in terms of n ? A d is 4 less than n. B
C d is 4 more than n.
3
d is of n.
7 D d is 2 times n. E 9. d is 5 times n. By weight, liquid A makes up 8 percent of solution R and 18 percent of
solution S. If 3 grams of solution R are mixed with 7 grams of solution S,
then liquid A accounts for what percent of the weight of the resulting
solution?
A 10% B 13% C 15% D 19% E 10. 26% Of the 700 members of a certain organization, 120 are lawyers. Two
members of the organization will be selected at random. Which of the
following is closest to the probability that neither of the members selected
will be a lawyer?
A 0.5 B 0.6 C 0.7 D 0.8 E 152 x The ﬁgure above shows the graph of the function f in the xyplane. What is
the value of f ( f ( – 1)) ?
A –2
B 8. 1 0.9 GRE Quantitative Reasoning Practice Questions Numeric Entry
For Questions 11 and 12, enter your answer in the answer box(es) below the
question.
¼
¼
¼
¼ Your answer may be an integer, a decimal, or a fraction, and it may be
negative.
If a question asks for a fraction, there will be two boxes—one for the
numerator and one for the denominator.
Equivalent forms of the correct answer, such as 2.5 and 2.50, are all correct.
Fractions do not need to be reduced to lowest terms.
Enter the exact answer unless the question asks you to round your answer. Garden 11. Walkway The ﬁgure above represents a rectangular garden with a walkway around it.
The garden is 18 feet long and 12 feet wide. The walkway is uniformly 3
feet wide, and its edges meet at right angles. What is the area of the
walkway?
square feet 12. Line k lies in the xyplane. The xintercept of line k is – 4, and line k passes
through the midpoint of the line segment whose endpoints are (2, 9) and
(2, 0). What is the slope of line k ?
Give your answer as a fraction. 153 GRE Quantitative Reasoning Practice Questions Multiplechoice Questions—Select One or More Answer Choices
For Questions 13 and 14, select all the answer choices that apply.
13. If the lengths of two sides of a triangle are 5 and 9, respectively, which of
the following could be the length of the third side of the triangle?
Indicate all such lengths.
A 3 B 5 C 8 D 15 x
14. y z On the number line shown above, the tick marks are equally spaced. Which
of the following statements about the numbers x, y, and z must be true?
Indicate all such statements.
A xyz B x C 154 0 z( y – x) 0
z y
0 GRE Quantitative Reasoning Practice Questions SET 3. Discrete Questions: Hard
Quantitative Comparison
For Questions 1 to 6, compare Quantity A and Quantity B, using additional
information centered above the two quantities if such information is given.
Select one of the following four answer choices and ﬁll in the corresponding
oval to the right of the question.
A Quantity A is greater.
Quantity B is greater.
The two quantities are equal.
The relationship cannot be determined from the information given. B
C
D A symbol that appears more than once in a question has the same meaning
throughout the question.
B
125° C 6
A 4 D In the ﬁgure above, ABCD is a parallelogram.
Quantity A
1. Quantity B The area of ABCD 24 A B C D A B C D Frequency 40 30 20 10 0 1–5 6 –10 11–15 16 –20 21–25 26–30 31–35 Measurement Intervals
In the course of an experiment, 95 measurements
were recorded, and all of the measurements were
integers. The 95 measurements were then grouped
into 7 measurement intervals. The graph above
shows the frequency distribution of the 95
measurements by measurement interval.
Quantity A
2. Quantity B The average (arithmetic
mean) of the 95
measurements The median of the 95
measurements 155 GRE Quantitative Reasoning Practice Questions
x is an integer greater than 1.
Quantity A
3. 3x 1 Quantity B
4x A B C D A B C D A B C D A B C D A, B, and C are three rectangles. The length and width
of rectangle A are 10 percent greater and 10 percent
less, respectively, than the length and width of
rectangle C. The length and width of rectangle B are
20 percent greater and 20 percent less, respectively,
than the length and width of rectangle C.
Quantity A
4. Quantity B The area of rectangle A The area of rectangle B The random variable X is normally distributed. The
values 650 and 850 are at the 60th and 90th
percentiles of the distribution of X, respectively.
Quantity A
5. Quantity B The value at the 75th
percentile of the
distribution of X 750 Set S consists of all positive integers less than 81 that
are not equal to the square of an integer.
Quantity A
6. 156 The number of integers in
set S Quantity B
72 GRE Quantitative Reasoning Practice Questions Multiplechoice Questions—Select One Answer Choice
For Questions 7 to 12, select a single answer choice.
7. A manager is forming a 6person team to work on a certain project. From
the 11 candidates available for the team, the manager has already chosen 3
to be on the team. In selecting the other 3 team members, how many
different combinations of 3 of the remaining candidates does the manager
have to choose from?
A
B 24 C 56 D 120 E 8. 6 462 Which of the following could be the graph of all values of x that satisfy the
6x – 5
inequality 2 – 5x –
?
3
A 0 B 0 C 0 D 0 E 9. 0 If 1 x x2 x3 60, then the average (arithmetic mean) of x, x2, x3, and
x4 is equal to which of the following?
A 12x B 15x C 20x D 30x E 60x 157 GRE Quantitative Reasoning Practice Questions
y
Q
P
R
x O 10. Parallelogram OPQR lies in the xyplane, as shown in the ﬁgure above. The
coordinates of point P are (2, 4) and the coordinates of point Q are (8, 6).
What are the coordinates of point R ?
A
B (3, 3) C (4, 4) D (5, 2) E 11. (3, 2) (6, 2) The relationship between the area A of a circle and its circumference C is
given by the formula A kC 2, where k is a constant. What is the value
of k ?
1
A
4p
1
B
2p
1
C
4
D
E 12. 2p
4p2
1– 1
for
nn2
1. What is the sum of the ﬁrst 20 terms of this sequence? The sequence of numbers a1, a2, a3, . . . , an, . . . is deﬁned by an
each integer n
A 1–1
2
20 B 1 1– 1
2
21 C 1– D 1– E 158 1 1–1
20 22 1
20
1
22 1
22 1
22 GRE Quantitative Reasoning Practice Questions Numeric Entry
For Question 13, enter your answer in the answer box(es) below the question.
¼
¼
¼
¼ Your answer may be an integer, a decimal, or a fraction, and it may be
negative.
If a question asks for a fraction, there will be two boxes—one for the
numerator and one for the denominator.
Equivalent forms of the correct answer, such as 2.5 and 2.50, are all correct.
Fractions do not need to be reduced to lowest terms.
Enter the exact answer unless the question asks you to round your answer.
Y
1
2 2 3
4 7 5
4 8 3
2 8 7
4
13. Frequency 9 The table above shows the frequency distribution of the values of a variable
Y. What is the mean of the distribution?
Give your answer to the nearest 0.01. Multiplechoice Questions—Select One or More Answer Choices
For Questions 14 and 15, select all the answer choices that apply.
14. Let S be the set of all positive integers n such that n2 is a multiple of both
24 and 108. Which of the following integers are divisors of every integer n
in S ?
Indicate all such integers.
A 12 B 24 C 36 D 72 159 GRE Quantitative Reasoning Practice Questions
15. The range of the heights of the female students in a certain class is 13.2
inches, and the range of the heights of the male students in the class is 15.4
inches.
Which of the following statements individually provide(s) sufﬁcient
additional information to determine the range of the heights of all the
students in the class?
Indicate all such statements.
A
B The median height of the male students in the class is 1.1 inches
greater than the median height of the female students in the class. C 160 The tallest male student in the class is 5.8 inches taller than the tallest
female student in the class. The average (arithmetic mean) height of the male students in the class
is 4.6 inches greater than the average height of the female students in
the class. GRE Quantitative Reasoning Practice Questions SET 4. Data Interpretation Sets
For Questions 1 to 7, select a single answer choice unless otherwise directed.
Questions 1 to 3 are based on the following data.
PERCENT OF FEMALE FACULTY AND PERCENT OF MALE FACULTY
AT UNIVERSITY X, BY FIELD
Total female faculty: 200
Total male faculty: 250
Biological Sciences
Business
Education
Engineering Female
Male Field Fine Arts
Health Sciences
Humanities
Physical Sciences
Social Sciences
Other
0 5 10
15
Percent 20 25 Medium Question
1. There are 275 students in the ﬁeld of engineering at University X.
Approximately what is the ratio of the number of students in engineering to
the number of faculty in engineering?
A 8 to 1 B 10 to 1 C 12 to 1 D 14 to 1 E 20 to 1 Medium Question
2. Approximately what percent of the faculty in humanities are male?
A 35% B 38% C 41% D 45% E 51% 161 GRE Quantitative Reasoning Practice Questions
For Question 3, use the directions for Numeric Entry questions. Hard Question
3. For the biological sciences and health sciences faculty combined, 1
of the
3 2
of the male faculty members are tenured professors. What
9
fraction of all the faculty members in those two ﬁelds combined are tenured
professors?
female and Questions 4 to 7 are based on the following data.
VALUE OF IMPORTS TO AND EXPORTS FROM COUNTRY T, 2000 –2009
(in United States dollars)
16 Billions* of Dollars 14
12
Exports
Imports 10
8
6
4
2
0 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 Year
*1 billion = 1,000,000,000 For Question 4, select all the answer choices that apply. Easy Question
4. For which of the eight years from 2001 to 2008 did exports exceed imports
by more than $5 billion?
Indicate all such years.
A
B
C
D
E
F
G
H 162 2001
2002
2003
2004
2005
2006
2007
2008 GRE Quantitative Reasoning Practice Questions Medium Question
5. Which of the following is closest to the average (arithmetic mean) of the 9
changes in the value of imports between consecutive years from 2000 to
2009 ?
A $260 million B $320 million C $400 million D $480 million E $640 million Medium Question
6. In 2008 the value of exports was approximately what percent greater than
the value of imports?
A 40% B 60% C 70% D 120% E 140% Hard Question
7. If it were discovered that the value of imports shown for 2007 was incorrect
and should have been $5 billion instead, then the average (arithmetic mean)
value of imports per year for the 10 years shown would have been
approximately how much less?
A $200 million B $50 million C $20 million D $7 million E $5 million 163 GRE Quantitative Reasoning Practice Questions ANSWER KEYS
SET 1. Discrete Questions: Easy
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.
11.
12.
13.
14. Choice
Choice
Choice
Choice
given.
Choice
Choice
Choice
Choice
Choice
Choice
Choice
10
13
Choice
AND
Choice
AND
Choice A: Quantity A is greater.
C: The two quantities are equal.
A: Quantity A is greater.
D: The relationship cannot be determined from the information
B: Quantity B is greater.
A: Quantity A is greater.
C: 4
D: 12
A: 10x
C: $2.50
A: 11 to 9 A: Pediatrics
B: Internal Medicine
C: Surgery SET 2. Discrete Questions: Medium
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.
11.
12.
13. 14. 164 Choice A: Quantity A is greater.
Choice B: Quantity B is greater.
Choice D: The relationship cannot be determined from the information
given.
Choice B: Quantity B is greater.
Choice C: The two quantities are equal.
Choice D: x5
Choice D: 1
Choice E: d is 5 times n.
Choice C: 15%
Choice C: 0.7
216
3
(or any equivalent fraction)
4
Choice B: 5
AND
Choice C: 8
Choice A: xyz 0
AND
Choice B: x z y
AND
Choice C: z( y – x) 0 GRE Quantitative Reasoning Practice Questions ANSWER KEYS
SET 3. Discrete Questions: Hard
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.
11.
12.
13.
14. 15. Choice
Choice
Choice
given.
Choice
Choice
Choice
Choice
Choice
Choice
Choice B: Quantity B is greater.
A: Quantity A is greater.
D: The relationship cannot be determined from the information A: Quantity A is greater.
B: Quantity B is greater.
C: The two quantities are equal.
C: 56
C:
0
B: 15x
E: (6, 2)
1
Choice A:
4p
1– 1
1
Choice B: 1
2
21 22
1.29
Choice A: 12
AND
Choice C: 36
Choice A: The tallest male student in the class is 5.8 inches taller than the
tallest female student in the class. SET 4. Data Interpretation Sets
1.
2.
3.
4. 5.
6.
7. Choice A: 8 to 1
Choice E: 51%
24
(or any equivalent fraction)
87
Choice
AND
Choice
AND
Choice
AND
Choice
AND
Choice
AND
Choice
Choice
Choice
Choice A: 2001
B: 2002
C: 2003
F: 2006
G: 2007
H: 2008
E: $640 million
E: 140%
A: $200 million 165 GRE Quantitative Reasoning Practice Questions Answers and Explanations
For the practice questions in this chapter, use the following directions. General Directions
For each question, indicate the best answer, using the directions given.
Notes: All numbers used are real numbers.
All ﬁgures are assumed to lie in a plane unless otherwise indicated.
Geometric ﬁgures, such as lines, circles, triangles, and quadrilaterals, are not
necessarily drawn to scale. That is, you should not assume that quantities
such as lengths and angle measures are as they appear in a ﬁgure. You
should assume, however, that lines shown as straight are actually straight,
points on a line are in the order shown, and more generally, all geometric
objects are in the relative positions shown. For questions with geometric ﬁgures, you should base your answers on geometric reasoning, not on estimating or comparing quantities by sight or by measurement.
Coordinate systems, such as xyplanes and number lines, are drawn to scale;
therefore, you can read, estimate, or compare quantities in such ﬁgures by
sight or by measurement.
Graphical data presentations, such as bar graphs, circles graphs, and line
graphs, are drawn to scale; therefore, you can read, estimate, or compare
data values by sight or by measurement. Directions for Quantitative Comparison questions
Compare Quantity A and Quantity B, using additional information centered
above the two quantities if such information is given. Select one of the
following four answer choices and ﬁll in the corresponding oval to the right of
the question.
A Quantity A is greater. B Quantity B is greater. C The two quantities are equal. D The relationship cannot be determined from the information given. A symbol that appears more than once in a question has the same meaning
throughout the question.
Quantity A Quantity B Correct Answer Example 1:
(2)(6)
26
A
B
C
D
–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– 166 GRE Quantitative Reasoning Practice Questions
Q P S R Quantity A
Example 2: Quantity B PS Correct Answer SR A B C D (since equal lengths cannot
be assumed, even though
PS and SR appear equal) Directions for Numeric Entry questions
Enter your answer in the answer box(es) below the question.
¼
¼
¼
¼ Your answer may be an integer, a decimal, or a fraction, and it may be
negative.
If a question asks for a fraction, there will be two boxes—one for the
numerator and one for the denominator.
Equivalent forms of the correct answer, such as 2.5 and 2.50, are all correct.
Fractions do not need to be reduced to lowest terms.
Enter the exact answer unless the question asks you to round your answer. SET 1. Discrete Questions: Easy
Quantitative Comparison
For Questions 1 to 6, use the directions for Quantitative Comparison questions.
Emma spent $75 buying a used bicycle and $27
repairing it. Then she sold the bicycle for 40 percent
more than the total amount she spent buying and
repairing it.
Quantity A
1. The price at which Emma
sold the bicycle Quantity B
$140 A B C D Explanation
In this question you are asked to compare the price at which Emma sold the
bicycle with $140. From the information given, you can conclude that Emma
spent a total of 75 27 102 dollars buying and repairing the bicycle and that
she sold it for 40 percent more than the $102 she spent buying and repairing it.
If you notice that 140 is 40 percent more than 100, you can conclude that 40
percent more than 102 is greater than 40 percent more than 100, and therefore,
167 GRE Quantitative Reasoning Practice Questions
Quantity A is greater than Quantity B. The correct answer is Choice A. (If you
solve the problem in this way, you do not have to calculate the value of Quantity A.)
Another way to solve the problem is by explicitly calculating the value of
Quantity A and comparing the result with $140 directly. Since 40 percent of 102
is (0.4)(102) 40.8, it follows that Quantity A, the price at which Emma sold the
bicycle, is 102.00 40.80 142.80 dollars. Thus Quantity A, $142.80, is greater
than Quantity B, $140, and the correct answer is Choice A. Q P R V S T In the ﬁgure above, squares PQRV and VRST have
sides of length 6.
Quantity A
2. The area of the shaded
region Quantity B
36 A B C D Explanation
In this question you are asked to compare the area of the shaded region with 36.
You are given that both PQRV and VRST are squares with sides of length 6.
Therefore, you can conclude that the length of QS is 12, and the area of the
1
shaded right triangle PQS is (12)(6), or 36. Thus Quantity A is equal to Quantity
2
B, and the correct answer is Choice C.
In 2009 the property tax on each home in Town X
was p percent of the assessed value of the home,
where p is a constant. The property tax in 2009 on a
home in Town X that had an assessed value of
$125,000 was $2,500.
Quantity A
3. Quantity B The property tax in 2009 on
a home in Town X that had
an assessed value of
$160,000 $3,000 A B C D Explanation
Before making the comparison in this problem, you need to analyze the
information given to see what it tells you about the value of Quantity A, the
property tax in 2009 on a home in Town X that had an assessed value of
$160,000. One way of doing this is to determine the value of the constant p and
then use that value to calculate the tax on the home that had an assessed value
of $160,000.
Since it is given that a home that had an assessed value of $125,000 had a
2,500
property tax of $2,500, you can conclude that p is equal to
, or 2%. Once
125,000
you know that the property tax is 2% of the assessed value, you can determine
that tax on the home that had an assessed value of $160,000 was 2% of 160,000,
or 3,200. The correct answer is Choice A.
168 GRE Quantitative Reasoning Practice Questions
Another way to calculate the property tax on a home with an assessed value
of $160,000 is by setting up a proportion. Because the tax rate is the same for
each home in Town X, you can let the variable x represent the tax for the home
assessed at $160,000 and solve for x as follows.
x
160,000
125,000x
x
x 2,500
125,000
(160,000)(2,500)
(160,000)(2,500)
125,000
3,200 The correct answer is Choice A.
x y –1 Quantity A Quantity B x y 4. A B C D Explanation
One way to approach this question is to plug in values for one of the variables
and determine the corresponding value for the other variable.
One way to plug in: Plug in easy values. For example, you can plug in x 0
and ﬁnd that the corresponding value of y is – 1; then you can plug in y 0 and
ﬁnd that the corresponding value of x is – 1. Since in the ﬁrst case x is greater
than y and in the second case y is greater than x, the correct answer is Choice D,
the relationship cannot be determined from the information given.
A second way to plug in: If you prefer to always plug in values of x to
determine corresponding values of y, you can begin by writing the equation
x y – 1 as y – x – 1. Writing it in this form makes it easier to ﬁnd the
corresponding values of y.
You can start by plugging in the value x 0. For this value of x, the
corresponding value of y is y – 1, and therefore, x is greater than y. If you
continue plugging in a variety of values of x, some negative and some positive,
you will see that sometimes x is greater than y and sometimes y is greater than x.
If you inspect the equation y – x – 1, you can conclude that since there is a
negative sign in front of the x but not in front of the y, for each value of x that is
greater than 0, the corresponding value of y is less than 0; therefore, for each
x 0, x is greater than y.
What about negative values of x? A quick inspection of the equation
– x – 1 allows you to conclude that if x – 1, then y 0, so y is greater
y
than x.
So for some values of x and y that satisfy the equation, x is greater than y;
and for other values, y is greater than x. Therefore, the relationship between the
two quantities x and y cannot be determined from the information given, and the
correct answer is Choice D.
r, s, and t are three consecutive odd integers such
that r s t.
Quantity A
5. r s 1 Quantity B
s t–1 A B C D 169 GRE Quantitative Reasoning Practice Questions
Explanation
You are given that three numbers, r, s, and t, are consecutive odd integers and
that r s t. This means that if you express the three consecutive odd integers
in terms of r, they are r, r 2, and r 4.
One way to approach this problem is to set up a placeholder relationship
between the two quantities and simplify it to see what conclusions you can draw.
Simpliﬁcation 1: Begin simplifying by expressing s and t in terms of r. The
steps in this simpliﬁcation can be done as follows.
r
r (r 
1 ? (r
3 ? 2r
3 ? 5 s t–1 1?s 2)
2r 2) (r 4) – 1 5 In the last step of the simpliﬁcation, you can easily see that 3 5. If you follow
the simpliﬁcation steps in reverse, you can see that the placeholder in each step
remains unchanged, so you can conclude that Quantity B is greater than
Quantity A, and the correct answer is Choice B.
Simpliﬁcation 2: Since the number s appears in both quantities, you can
begin the simpliﬁcation by subtracting s from both sides of the relationship and
then express t in terms of r. The steps in this simpliﬁcation can be done as
follows.
r s
r
r
r   t–1
1 ? t – 1
1 ? (r 4) – 1
1 ? r 3
1 ? 3 1?s In the last step of the simpliﬁcation, you can easily see that 1 3. If you follow
the simpliﬁcation steps in reverse, you can see that the placeholder in each step
remains unchanged, so you can conclude that Quantity B is greater than
Quantity A, and the correct answer is Choice B.
Note that in this solution, the fact that r is odd is not used; what is used is
the fact that the consecutive odd integers differ by 2. y
k x O
P
Quantity A
6. 170 The slope of line k Quantity B
The slope of line A B C D GRE Quantitative Reasoning Practice Questions
Explanation
Note that the slope of each of the lines is positive, since each line rises as it goes
to the right. Since the slopes of both lines are positive and line k rises faster (or
is steeper) than line , line k has the greater slope, and the correct answer is
Choice A.
You can also use the deﬁnition of the slope to arrive at the correct answer.
Slope can be deﬁned as the ratio of “rise” to “run” between any two points on a
line, where the rise is the vertical distance between the points and the run is the
horizontal distance, and the slope is respectively positive or negative depending
on whether the line rises or falls when viewed from left to right. Because both
lines pass through point P on the yaxis, they have the same rise from P to the
xaxis. However, line intersects the xaxis at a greater value than line k. Thus,
the run of line from the yaxis to the xintercept is greater than the run of line
k. When the slope is expressed as a ratio, both lines have the same numerator
(rise), but line has a greater denominator (run). The greater denominator
results in a lesser fraction and a lesser slope for line . Therefore, the correct
answer is Choice A. Multiplechoice Questions—Select One Answer Choice
For Questions 7 to 11, select a single answer choice. y°
x°
7. z° In the ﬁgure above, what is the value of
A 5 E ? 4 D z 3 C y
45 2 B x 6 Explanation
The sum of the measures, in degrees, of the three interior angles of any triangle
is 180 . As shown in the ﬁgure, the three angles of the triangle have measures of
x y z 180
x , y , and z , so x y z 180. Therefore,
4, and the correct
45
45
answer is Choice C. 171 GRE Quantitative Reasoning Practice Questions
8. A certain store sells two types of pens: one type for $2 per pen and the
other type for $3 per pen. If a customer can spend up to $25 to buy pens at
the store and there is no sales tax, what is the greatest number of pens the
customer can buy?
A 9 B 10 C 11 D 12 E 20 Explanation
It is fairly clear that the greatest number of pens that can be bought for $25 will
consist mostly, if not entirely, of $2 pens. In fact, it is reasonable to begin by
looking at how many of the $2 pens the customer can buy if the customer does
not buy any $3 pens. It is easy to see that the customer could buy 12 of the $2
pens, with $1 left over.
If the customer bought 11 of the $2 pens, there would be $3 left over with
which to buy a $3 pen. In this case, the customer could still buy 12 pens.
If the customer bought 10 of the $2 pens, there would be $5 left over. Only 1
of the $3 pens could be bought with the $5, so in this case, the customer could
buy only 11 pens.
As the number of $2 pens decreases, the total number of pens that the
customer can buy with $25 decreases as well. Thus the greatest number of pens
the customer can buy with $25 is 12. The correct answer is Choice D.
9. If y 3x and z A 8x D 6x E z in terms of x ? 9x C y 10x B 2y, what is x 5x Explanation
It is not necessary to ﬁnd the individual values of x, y, and z to answer the
question. You are asked to rewrite the expression x y z as an equivalent
expression in terms of x. This means that you need to use the information
provided about y and z to express them in terms of the variable x. The variable y
is already given in terms of x; that is, y 3x; and because z 2y, it follows that
z (2)(3x) 6x. Using substitution, you can rewrite the expression as follows.
x y The correct answer is Choice A. 172 z x (3x) (6x)
(1 3 6)x
10x GRE Quantitative Reasoning Practice Questions
10. A certain shipping service charges an insurance fee of $0.75 when shipping
any package with contents worth $25.00 or less and an insurance fee of
$1.00 when shipping any package with contents worth over $25.00. If Dan
uses the shipping company to ship three packages with contents worth
$18.25, $25.00, and $127.50, respectively, what is the total insurance fee
that the company charges Dan to ship the three packages?
A $1.75 B $2.25 C $2.50 D $2.75 E $3.00 Explanation
Note that two of the packages being shipped have contents that are worth $25.00
or less. Therefore, each of them has an insurance fee of $0.75, for a total of
$1.50. The third package has contents worth over $25.00, and it has an insurance
fee of $1.00. Therefore, the total insurance fee for the three packages is
$1.50 $1.00 $2.50, and the correct answer is Choice C.
11. If 55 percent of the people who purchase a certain product are female,
what is the ratio of the number of females who purchase the product to the
number of males who purchase the product?
A 11 to 9 B 10 to 9 C 9 to 10 D 9 to 11 E 5 to 9 Explanation
Note that because 55 percent of the people who purchase the product are
females, it follows that 45 percent of the people who purchase the product are
males. Therefore, the ratio of the number of females who purchase the product
to the number of males who purchase the product is 55 to 45, or 11 to 9, and
the correct answer is Choice A. 173 GRE Quantitative Reasoning Practice Questions Numeric Entry
For Questions 12 and 13, use the directions for Numeric Entry questions. S
T R
V
12. In the rectangular solid above, TU 3, UV
area of the shaded rectangular region? U
4, and VR 2. What is the Explanation
To ﬁnd the area of the shaded rectangular region, you need to multiply the
length of the rectangular region by its width. In this question you are given
the lengths of three edges: TU 3, UV 4, and VR 2. Note that VR is the
length of the shaded rectangle. To ﬁnd the width of the shaded rectangle, you
need to ﬁnd either RS or VT. Note that VT lies on the front face of the
rectangular solid. It is the hypotenuse of right triangle VUT. You know that
UV 4 and TU 3, so by the Pythagorean theorem you can conclude that
VT
32 42
9 16
25 5. Therefore, the area of the shaded
rectangular region is (5)(2) 10. The correct answer is 10.
13. A list of numbers has a mean of 8 and a standard deviation of 2.5. If x is a
number in the list that is 2 standard deviations above the mean, what is the
value of x ?
x Explanation
You are given that x is 2 standard deviations above the mean, 8. Because the
standard deviation of the numbers in the list is 2.5, it follows that x is (2)(2.5),
or 5 units above the mean 8. Therefore, x 8 5 13, and the correct answer
is 13. 174 GRE Quantitative Reasoning Practice Questions Multiplechoice Questions—Select One or More Answer Choices
For Question 14, select all the answer choices that apply. Radiology
3%
Pathology
3% Other Pediatrics
21%
15% Psychiatry
6%
Anesthesiology
3% 14. Surgery
24% Internal
Medicine
25% The circle graph above shows the distribution of 200,000 physicians by
specialty. Which of the following sectors of the circle graph represent more
than 40,000 physicians?
Indicate all such sectors.
A Pediatrics B Internal Medicine C Surgery D Anesthesiology E Psychiatry Explanation
One approach to solve this problem is to ﬁnd out what percent of 200,000 is
40,000 and then compare this percent with the percents given in the circle
40,000
graph. Because
0.2, it follows that 40,000 is 20% of 200,000, and any
200,000
specialty that has more than 20% of the distribution has more than 40,000
physicians. This is true for the specialties of pediatrics, internal medicine, and
surgery. The correct answer consists of Choices A, B, and C. 175 GRE Quantitative Reasoning Practice Questions SET 2. Discrete Questions: Medium
Quantitative Comparison
For Questions 1 to 5, use the directions for Quantitative Comparison questions.
Machine R, working alone at a constant rate,
produces x units of a product in 30 minutes, and
machine S, working alone at a constant rate,
produces x units of the product in 48 minutes, where
x is a positive integer.
Quantity A
1. Quantity B The number of units of
the product that machine
R, working alone at its
constant rate, produces
in 3 hours The number of units of
the product that machine
S, working alone at its
constant rate, produces
in 4 hours A B C D Explanation
In this question you are given that machine R, working alone at its constant rate,
produces x units of a product in 30 minutes. Since it is easy to see that 3 hours
is 6 times 30 minutes, you can conclude that Quantity A is 6x.
You can compare 6x with Quantity B in two ways.
One: In the additional information centered above the quantities, you are
given that machine S, working alone at its constant rate, produces x units of the
product in 48 minutes, so you can conclude that machine S can produce 6x units
of the product in (6)(48) minutes, or 4.8 hours. So in 4 hours, machine S
produces less than 6x units, and Quantity B is less than 6x.
4
Two: First, convert 48 minutes to hour, then ﬁnd the number of 48minute
5
4
5
(4)
5. Thus, Quantity B
periods there are in 4 hours by computing
4
4
5
is 5x.
Either way, Quantity A is greater than Quantity B, and the correct answer is
Choice A. 176 GRE Quantitative Reasoning Practice Questions
Frequency Distribution for List X
Number 1 2 3 5 Frequency 10 20 18 12 Frequency Distribution for List Y
Number 6 7 8 9 Frequency 24 17 10 9 List X and list Y each contain 60 numbers. Frequency
distributions for each list are given above. The
average (arithmetic mean) of the numbers in list X is
2.7, and the average of the numbers in list Y is 7.1.
List Z contains 120 numbers: the 60 numbers in list
X and the 60 numbers in list Y.
Quantity A
2. Quantity B The average of the 120
numbers in list Z The median of the 120
numbers in list Z A B C D Explanation
In this problem you are asked to compare the average with the median of the
120 numbers in list Z. Since list Z consists of the numbers in lists X and Y
combined, it is reasonable to try to use the information about lists X and Y to
calculate the average and the median of the numbers in list Z.
To determine the average of the 120 numbers in list Z, you can use the
information given about the individual averages of the numbers in lists X and Y.
Because lists X and Y each contain 60 numbers, the average of the numbers in
list Z is the average of the individual averages of the numbers in lists X and Y.
2.7 7.1
Thus, the average of the numbers in list Z is
, or 4.9.
2
To determine the median of the 120 numbers in list Z, ﬁrst note that list Z
contains an even number of numbers, so the median of the numbers in list Z is
the average of the middle two numbers when the numbers are listed in
increasing order. If you look at the numbers in the two lists, you will see that the
60 numbers in list X are all less than or equal to 5, and the 60 numbers in list Y
are all greater than or equal to 6. Thus, the two middle numbers in list Z are 5
56
and 6, and the average of these numbers is
, or 5.5. Therefore, the median
2
of the numbers in list Z is 5.5, and this is greater than the average of 4.9. The
correct answer is Choice B. 177 GRE Quantitative Reasoning Practice Questions
C
B D A
In the ﬁgure above, the diameter of the circle is 10.
Quantity A
3. Quantity B The area of quadrilateral
ABCD 40 A B C D Explanation
You are given that the circle has a diameter of 10, and from the ﬁgure you can
assume that points A, B, C, and D lie on the circle in the order shown. However,
because ﬁgures are not necessarily drawn to scale, you cannot assume anything
else about the positions of points A, B, C, and D on the circle. Therefore, to get
an idea of how various possible positions of these four points could affect the
area of quadrilateral ABCD, it is a good idea to see how the ﬁgure can vary but
still have points A, B, C, and D in the same order as in the ﬁgure above.
One way that you might vary the ﬁgure is to evenly space the four points
along the circle, as shown below. C B D A
Another way is to draw points A and C opposite each other, with points B
and D close to point C, as shown below. BC D A
From these ﬁgures you can draw some basic conclusions about the area of
ABCD.
If points A and C are opposite each other, with points B and D very close to
point C, the area of quadrilateral ABCD is very close to 0. Clearly, the area can
be less than 40 (Quantity B).
If points A, B, C, and D are evenly spaced, the area is not close to 0. How
does the area compare with 40? To calculate the area of ABCD, draw the 178 GRE Quantitative Reasoning Practice Questions
diameters AC and BD in the ﬁgure. The two diameters are perpendicular
bisectors of each other, so they divide ABCD into 4 right triangles, as shown. C
5
5 B 5 D 5
A
The area of each of the right triangles is 1
(5)(5), or 12.5. Thus, the area of
2 ABCD is (4)(12.5), or 50.
Since the area of the quadrilateral in the ﬁrst ﬁgure is less than 40 and the
area of the quadrilateral in the second ﬁgure is greater than 40, the relationship
cannot be determined from the information given. The correct answer is Choice D.
x2y
xy2 0
0 Quantity A
x 4. Quantity B
y A B C D Explanation
You are given that x2y 0, which means that the product of the two numbers x2
and y is positive. Recall that the product of two numbers is positive only if both
numbers are positive or both numbers are negative. The square of a number is
always greater than or equal to 0. In this case, x2 cannot equal 0 because the
product x2y is not 0. Thus, x2 is positive and it follows that y is also positive.
You are also given that xy2 0, which means that the product of the two
numbers x and y2 is negative. The product of two numbers is negative only if one
of the numbers is negative and the other number is positive. In this case, y2
cannot be negative because it is the square of a number, and it cannot be 0
because the product x2y is not 0. Thus, y2 is positive and so x must be negative.
Because x is negative and y is positive, y must be greater than x, and the
correct answer is Choice B.
Among the 9,000 people attending a football game at
College C, there were x students from College C and y
students who were not from College C.
Quantity A
5. Quantity B The number of people
attending the game who
were not students 9,000 – x – y A B C D 179 GRE Quantitative Reasoning Practice Questions
Explanation
In this question you are not told whether all of the 9,000 people attending the
game were students. Let z be the number of people attending the game who
were not students. The people attending the game can be broken down into three
groups: students from College C, students not from College C, and people who
were not students. This can be expressed algebraically as 9,000 x y z,
where x represents the number of students from College C attending the game
and y represents the number of students attending the game who were not from
College C. Therefore, 9,000 – x – y z is the number of people attending the
game who were not students. The correct answer is Choice C. Multiplechoice Questions—Select One Answer Choice
For Questions 6 to 10, select a single answer choice.
6. If x 0, which of the following is equivalent to A x2 B x3 C x4 D x5 E x(x2)3
?
x2 x6 Explanation
x(x2)3
, it can be helpful to write (x2)3 as (x2)(x2)(x2) in the given
x2
x(x2)3 x(x2)(x2)(x2)
expression; that is,
. Because x 0, both numerator and
x2
x2
denominator can be divided by x2, and the expression simpliﬁes to x(x2)(x2),
which, by the rules of exponents, is equal to x5.
Another way to simplify the expression using the rules of exponents directly
is as follows. To simplify x(x2)3
x2
The correct answer is Choice D. 180 x(x6)
x2 x7
x2 x5 GRE Quantitative Reasoning Practice Questions
y 1
O 7. 1 x The ﬁgure above shows the graph of the function f in the xyplane. What is
the value of f ( f ( – 1)) ?
A –2
B –1
C
0
D
1
E
2 Explanation
Note that to ﬁnd f ( f ( – 1)), you must apply the function f twice, ﬁrst to ﬁnd the
value of f ( – 1) and then to ﬁnd the value of f ( f ( – 1)). To ﬁnd the value of
f ( – 1), ﬁnd the point on the graph of the function f whose xcoordinate is
x – 1. This point has ycoordinate y 2. Therefore, the value of f ( – 1) is 2, and
f ( f ( – 1))
f (2). Next you need to ﬁnd the value of f (2). To ﬁnd the value of f (2),
ﬁnd the point on the graph whose xcoordinate is x 2. This point has
ycoordinate y 1. Therefore, f (2) 1, and because f ( f ( – 1))
f (2), you can
– 1)) 1. The correct answer is Choice D.
conclude that f ( f (
8. d – 3n
7n – d
A d is 4
B d is 4
3
C d is
7
D d is 2
E d is 5 If 1, which of the following statements describes d in terms of n ?
less than n.
more than n.
of n.
times n.
times n. Explanation
d – 3n
1 for d. To
7n – d
simplify the equation, you can begin by multiplying both sides by 7n – d and
then proceed as follows.
d – 3n
(7n – d)
(7n – d)(1)
7n – d
d – 3n 7n – d
d 10n – d
2d 10n
d 5n
The correct answer is Choice E. To describe d in terms of n, you need to solve the equation 181 GRE Quantitative Reasoning Practice Questions
9. By weight, liquid A makes up 8 percent of solution R and 18 percent of
solution S. If 3 grams of solution R are mixed with 7 grams of solution S,
then liquid A accounts for what percent of the weight of the resulting
solution?
A 10% B 13% C 15% D 19% E 26% Explanation
Liquid A makes up 8 percent of the weight of solution R and 18 percent of the
weight of solution S. Therefore, 3 grams of solution R contain (0.08)(3), or 0.24
gram of liquid A, and 7 grams of solution S contain (0.18)(7), or 1.26 grams of
liquid A. When the two solutions are mixed, the resulting solution weighs 3 7,
or 10 grams and contains 0.24 1.26, or 1.5 grams of liquid A. This means that
1.5
15
liquid A makes up
, or
, or 15 percent of the weight of the resulting
10
100
solution. The correct answer is Choice C.
10. Of the 700 members of a certain organization, 120 are lawyers. Two
members of the organization will be selected at random. Which of the
following is closest to the probability that neither of the members selected
will be a lawyer?
A 0.5 B 0.6 C 0.7 D 0.8 E 0.9 Explanation
The probability that neither of the members selected will be a lawyer is equal to
the fraction
the number of ways 2 members who are not lawyers can be selected
the number of ways 2 members can be selected
where the order of selection does not matter.
Since there are 120 members who are lawyers, there must be 700 – 120, or
580 members who are not lawyers. There are 580 ways of selecting a ﬁrst
member who is not a lawyer and 579 ways of selecting a second member who is
not a lawyer. Multiplying these two numbers gives the number of ways to select
two members who are not lawyers. However, in the (580)(579) ways, each group
of 2 members who are not lawyers is counted twice. You can see this by
considering two members, A and B. The two members can be chosen in 2 ways:
A ﬁrst, followed by B, and B ﬁrst, followed by A. To adjust for double counting,
you need to divide (580)(579) by 2. 182 GRE Quantitative Reasoning Practice Questions
Similarly, the number of ways 2 members can be selected from among the
700 members is (700)(699) divided by 2. Thus, the desired probability is
(580)(579)
2
(700)(699)
2 (580)(579)
(700)(699) Since the answer choices are all tenths, you need to approximate the value of
this fraction to the nearest tenth. There are several ways to do this approximation.
One way is to use your calculator to convert the fraction to a decimal and round
the decimal to the nearest tenth.
Another way is to approximate the value of the fraction as follows.
(580)(579)
(700)(699) (600)(600)
(700)(700) 6
7 2 36
49 36
50 0.72 Either way, the answer choice that is closest to the value of the fraction is 0.7.
The correct answer is Choice C.
Another approach to this problem is to consider the random selections as
two separate but successive events. The probability of selecting a ﬁrst member
580
who is not a lawyer is
, because there are 580 members out of the 700
700
members who are not lawyers. For the second selection, there are only 699
members left to select from, because one member has already been selected. If
the ﬁrst member selected is not a lawyer, then there are only 579 members left
who are not lawyers. So the probability of selecting a second member who is not
a lawyer, given the condition that the ﬁrst member selected was not a lawyer, is
579
. The probability that both members selected will not be lawyers is the
699
580 579
product of the two probabilities, or
, which is approximated above as
700 699
0.72. The correct answer is Choice C. Numeric Entry
For Questions 11 and 12, use the directions for Numeric Entry questions. Garden 11. Walkway The ﬁgure above represents a rectangular garden with a walkway around it.
The garden is 18 feet long and 12 feet wide. The walkway is uniformly 3
feet wide, and its edges meet at right angles. What is the area of the
walkway?
square feet
183 GRE Quantitative Reasoning Practice Questions
Explanation
You can see from the ﬁgure that the shaded region is the region between the two
rectangles. Looking at the shaded region in this way suggests that the area of the
walkway can be calculated as the difference between the area of the larger
rectangle and the area of the smaller rectangle.
The region represented by the smaller rectangle is the garden. Since the
garden is 18 feet long and 12 feet wide, its area is (18)(12), or 216 square feet.
The region represented by the larger rectangle is the garden and the walkway
combined. The length of the region is the length of the garden plus twice the
width of the walkway, or 18 (2)(3) 24 feet. The width of the region is the
width of the garden plus twice the width of the walkway, or 12 (2)(3) 18
feet. Therefore, the area of the region represented by the larger rectangle is
(24)(18), or 432 square feet, and the area of the walkway is 432 – 216, or 216
square feet.
Another way to approach this problem is to think of the walkway as being
composed of four rectangles and four squares, as shown in the ﬁgure below. Garden Walkway Each of the 4 squares is 3 feet long and 3 feet wide. The two rectangles
running along the length of the garden are 18 feet long and 3 feet wide, and the
two rectangles running along the width of the garden are 12 feet long and 3 feet
wide. Thus, the area of the walkway is
4(3)(3) 2(18)(3) 2(12)(3) 36 108 72 216 square feet The correct answer is 216.
Line k lies in the xyplane. The xintercept of line k is – 4, and line k passes
through the midpoint of the line segment whose endpoints are (2, 9) and
(2, 0). What is the slope of line k ? 12. Give your answer as a fraction. Explanation
You can calculate the slope of a line if you know the coordinates of two points
on the line. In this question you are given information about two points on line
k, namely,
¼
¼ 184 the point at which line k crosses the xaxis has xcoordinate – 4;
the midpoint of the line segment with endpoints at (2, 9) and (2, 0) is on
line k. GRE Quantitative Reasoning Practice Questions
The coordinates of the ﬁrst point are ( – 4, 0), since the xcoordinate is – 4 and the
ycoordinate of every point on the xaxis is 0. For the second point, the midpoint
of the line segment is halfway between the endpoints (2, 9) and (2, 0). Thus, the
9
midpoint has xcoordinate 2 and ycoordinate , the number halfway between 9
2
9
and 0. Based on the coordinates ( – 4, 0) and 2, , the slope of line k is
2
9
2
2
The correct answer is 0
( 4) 9
2
6 3
4 3
(or any equivalent fraction).
4 Multiplechoice Questions—Select One or More Answer Choices
For Questions 13 and 14, select all the answer choices that apply.
13. If the lengths of two sides of a triangle are 5 and 9, respectively, which of the
following could be the length of the third side of the triangle?
Indicate all such lengths.
A 3 B 5 C 8 D 15 Explanation
A good way to approach this problem is to think about how much the length of
the third side of a triangle with two ﬁxed side lengths can vary. If you think about
it a bit, you will see that the smaller the interior angle between the two sides of
the triangle is, the smaller the length of the third side is; and the larger the
interior angle between the two sides of the triangle is, the larger the length of the
third side is. This suggests drawing two triangles, one in which the angle between
the two sides is close to 0 degrees and one in which the angle between the two
sides is close to 180 degrees, like the triangles below. 5
9 9 5 In the triangle in which the angle between the sides of length 5 and 9 is small,
you can see that the length of the third side is a bit greater than 9 – 5, or 4. If it
were equal to 4, the triangle would degenerate into a line segment.
In the triangle in which the angle between the sides of length 5 and 9 is large,
you can see that the length of the third side is a bit less than 9 5, or 14. If it
were equal to 14, the triangle would degenerate into a line segment. 185 GRE Quantitative Reasoning Practice Questions
Therefore, the length of the third side of the triangle must be greater than 4
and less than 14. Furthermore, it is intuitive that any length between these two
numbers can be achieved by some triangle. The correct answer consists of
Choices B and C. x
14. 0 y z On the number line shown above, the tick marks are equally spaced. Which
of the following statements about the numbers x, y, and z must be true?
Indicate all such statements.
A xyz B x C 0 zy
z( y – x) 0 Explanation
You can see from their positions on the number line that x is less than 0 and both
y and z are greater than 0. Because the tick marks are equally spaced, you can also
see that x – y and z 2y. You need to evaluate each answer choice separately to
determine whether it must be true.
Choice A says that the product of the three numbers x, y, and z is less than 0.
Recall that the product of three numbers is negative under either of the following
two conditions.
¼
¼ All three numbers are negative.
One of the numbers is negative and the other two numbers are positive. Choice A must be true, since x is negative and y and z are positive.
Choice B is the equation x z y. To see whether the equation must be true,
it is a good idea to express two of the variables in terms of the third (that is, to
“get rid of” two of the variables). The equations x – y and z 2y give x and z in
terms of y, so the equation x z y can be rewritten, substituting – y for x and 2y
for z, as – y 2y y. In this form you can quickly conclude that the equation
must be true.
Choice C says that the product of the two numbers z and y – x is greater than
0. Recall that the product of two numbers is positive under either of the following
two conditions.
¼
¼ Both numbers are positive.
Both numbers are negative. Since you already know that z is positive, you can conclude that the product
z( y – x) will be positive if y – x is positive. By adding x to both sides of the inequality y – x 0, you can see that it is equivalent to the inequality y x, which is
clearly true from the number line. Since y – x is positive, the product z( y – x) must
be positive.
Therefore, the correct answer consists of Choices A, B, and C. 186 GRE Quantitative Reasoning Practice Questions SET 3. Discrete Questions: Hard
Quantitative Comparison
For Questions 1 to 6, use the directions for Quantitative Comparison questions.
B
125° C 6
A 4 D In the ﬁgure above, ABCD is a parallelogram.
Quantity A
1. Quantity B The area of ABCD 24 A B C D Explanation
In this question you are asked to compare the area of a parallelogram with an
area of 24, given two side lengths and the measure of one interior angle of the
parallelogram. Since the measure of the interior angle given is 125 , you can
conclude that the parallelogram is not a rectangle.
Recall that the area of a parallelogram is found by multiplying the length of a
base by the height corresponding to the base. It is helpful to draw the vertical
height from vertex C to base AD of the parallelogram, as shown in the ﬁgure
below.
B
C
125°
6 A 4 height D Note that the newly drawn height is a leg in a newly formed right triangle. The
hypotenuse of the triangle is a side of the parallelogram and has length 6. Thus,
the leg of the triangle, which is the height of the parallelogram, must be less than
the hypotenuse 6. The area of the parallelogram is equal to the length of base AD,
which is 4, times the height, which is less than 6. Since the product of 4 and a
number less than 6 must be less than 24, the area of the parallelogram must be
less than 24. Quantity B is greater than Quantity A, and the correct answer is
Choice B. 187 GRE Quantitative Reasoning Practice Questions Frequency 40 30 20 10 0 1–5 6 –10 11–15 16 –20 21–25 26–30 31–35 Measurement Intervals
In the course of an experiment, 95 measurements
were recorded, and all of the measurements were
integers. The 95 measurements were then grouped
into 7 measurement intervals. The graph above shows
the frequency distribution of the 95 measurements by
measurement interval.
Quantity A
The average (arithmetic
mean) of the 95
measurements 2. Quantity B
The median of the 95
measurements A B C D Explanation
From the histogram, you can observe that
¼
¼
¼ all of the measurement intervals are the same size,
the distribution has a peak at the measurement interval 6–10, and
more of the measurement intervals are to the right of the peak than are to
the left of the peak. Since in the histogram the 95 measurements have been grouped into intervals,
you cannot calculate the exact value of either the average or the median; you must
compare them without being able to determine the exact value of either one.
The median of the 95 measurements is the middle measurement when the
measurements are listed in increasing order. The middle measurement is the 48th
measurement. From the histogram, you can see that the measurement interval 1–5
contains the ﬁrst 15 measurements, and the measurement interval 6–10 contains
the next 35 measurements (that is, measurements 16 through 50). Therefore, the
median is in the measurement interval 6–10 and could be 6, 7, 8, 9, or 10.
Estimating the average of the 95 measurements is more complicated.
Since you are asked to compare the average and the median, not necessarily
to calculate them, you may ask yourself if you can tell whether the average is
greater than or less than the median. Note that visually the measurements in the
ﬁrst three measurement intervals are symmetric around the measurement interval
6–10, so you would expect the average of the measurements in just these three
measurement intervals to lie in the 6–10 measurement interval. The 30 measurements in the remaining four measurement intervals are all greater than 10, some
signiﬁcantly greater than 10. Therefore, the average of the 95 measurements is
greater than the average of the measurements in the ﬁrst three measurement in188 GRE Quantitative Reasoning Practice Questions
tervals, probably greater than 10. At this point it seems likely that the average of
the 95 measurements is greater than the median of the 95 measurements. It turns
out that this is true.
To actually show that the average must be greater than 10, you can make the
average as small as possible and see if the smallest possible average is greater than
10. To make the average as small as possible, assume that all of the measurements
in each interval are as small as possible. That is to say, all 15 measurements in the
measurement interval 1–5 are equal to 1, all 35 measurements in the measurement interval 6–10 are equal to 6, etc. Under this assumption, the average of the
95 measurements is
(1)(15) (6)(35) (11)(15) (16)(12)
95 (21)(10) (26)(5) (31)(3) 990
95 990
, is greater than 10.
95
Therefore, since the average of the 95 measurements is greater than 10 and
the median is in the measurement interval 6–10, it follows that the average is
greater than the median, and the correct answer is Choice A. The value of the smallest possible average, x is an integer greater than 1.
Quantity A
3. x 3 Quantity B
4x 1 A B C D Explanation
One way to approach this question is to plug in numbers for the variables and see
what the relationship between the two quantities is for each of the numbers you
plug in.
If you plug in x 2, you see that Quantity A is 3x 1 33, or 27, and Quantity
B is 4x 42, or 16. In this case, Quantity A is greater than Quantity B.
If you plug in x 3, you see that Quantity A is 3x 1 34, or 81, and Quantity
B is 4x 43, or 64. In this case, Quantity A is greater than Quantity B.
If you plug in x 4, you see that Quantity A is 3x 1 35, or 243, and Quantity
B is 4x 44, or 256. In this case, Quantity B is greater than Quantity A. Since for
x 2 and for x 3, Quantity A is greater than Quantity B, and for x 4, Quantity
B is greater than Quantity A, it follows that the relationship between the two
quantities cannot be determined. The correct answer is Choice D.
Since both quantities are algebraic expressions, another way to approach this
problem is to set up a placeholder relationship between the two quantities and
simplify it to see what conclusions you can draw. ? 4x
3(3x) ? 4x
3(3x) 4x
?
3x   3x
3x 1  3? 4
3 x For any value of x, the value of 3x is positive, so dividing by 3x does not change
any inequality that could be put in the placeholder. Since each step in this
x
4
simpliﬁcation is reversible, this reduces the problem to comparing 3 with
.
3
189 GRE Quantitative Reasoning Practice Questions
x 4
4
is greater than 1, the value of
becomes greater
3
3
as x becomes larger. In particular, it is greater than 3 for large enough values of x.
2
4
16
For the smallest value of x, x 2, the relationship is
3.
3
9
Since for x 2, Quantity A is greater than Quantity B and for large values of
x, Quantity B is greater than Quantity A, it follows that the relationship between
the two quantities cannot be determined. The correct answer is Choice D.
You can see that because A, B, and C are three rectangles. The length and width
of rectangle A are 10 percent greater and 10 percent
less, respectively, than the length and width of
rectangle C. The length and width of rectangle B are
20 percent greater and 20 percent less, respectively,
than the length and width of rectangle C.
Quantity A
The area of rectangle A 4. Quantity B
The area of rectangle B A B C D Explanation
In this question you are asked to compare the area of rectangle A and the area of
rectangle B. Since the information given relates the dimensions of both rectangle
A and rectangle B to the corresponding dimensions of rectangle C, you can try to
use the relationships to make the desired comparison.
If represents the length of rectangle C and w represents its width, then the
length and width of rectangles A and B can be translated into algebraic
expressions as follows.
¼
¼
¼
¼ The length of rectangle A is 10 percent greater than the length of rectangle
C, or 1.1 .
The width of rectangle A is 10 percent less than the width of rectangle C,
or 0.9w.
The length of rectangle B is 20 percent greater than the length of rectangle
C, or 1.2 .
The width of rectangle B is 20 percent less than the width of rectangle C,
or 0.8w. In terms of and w, the area of rectangle A is (1.1 )(0.9w), or 0.99 w.
In terms of and w, the area of rectangle B is (1.2 )(0.8w), or 0.96 w.
Since 0.99 w is greater than 0.96 w, Quantity A is greater than Quantity B,
and the correct answer is Choice A.
The random variable X is normally distributed. The
values 650 and 850 are at the 60th and 90th
percentiles of the distribution of X, respectively.
Quantity A
5. 190 Quantity B The value at the 75th
percentile of the
distribution of X 750 A B C D GRE Quantitative Reasoning Practice Questions
Explanation
You are given that the distribution of random variable X is normal and that the
values 650 and 850 are at the 60th and 90th percentiles of the distribution,
respectively.
Both of the values 650 and 850 are greater than the mean of the distribution.
If you draw a rough sketch of the graph of the normal distribution, the sketch
could look something like the one below. Note that it is not necessary to know the
exact location of 650 and 850, just that both values are above the mean. 650 850 Mean
To say that the value 650 is at the 60th percentile of the distribution means,
graphically, that 60 percent of the area between the normal curve and the
horizontal axis lies to the left of the vertical line segment at 650. To say that 850 is
at the 90th percentile of the distribution means that 90 percent of the area
between the normal curve and the horizontal axis lies to the left of the vertical
line segment at 850.
The value 750 is halfway between 650 and 850. However, because the curve is
decreasing in that interval, the area between 650 and 750 is greater than the area
between 750 and 850. Since the value at the 75th percentile should divide in half
the area between the value at the 60th percentile (650) and the value at the 90th
percentile (850), this value is closer to 650 than to 850. Thus you can conclude
that Quantity A, the value at the 75th percentile of the distribution of X, is less
than Quantity B. The correct answer is Choice B.
Set S consists of all positive integers less than 81 that are
not equal to the square of an integer.
Quantity A
6. The number of integers in
set S Quantity B
72 A B C D Explanation
Set S consists of all integers from 1 to 80, except those that are equal to the
square of an integer. So, Quantity A, the number of integers in set S, is equal to
the number of positive integers that are less than 81 minus the number of positive
integers less than 81 that are equal to the square of an integer.
Clearly, there are 80 positive integers that are less than 81.
One way to determine the number of positive integers less than 81 that are
squares of integers is by noticing that 81 is equal to 92 and concluding that the
squares of the integers from 1 to 8 are all positive integers that are less than 81.
You can also draw this conclusion by squaring each of the positive integers,
beginning with 1, until you get to an integer n such that n2 is greater than or
equal to 81. Either way, there are 8 positive integers less than 81 that are squares
of integers.
191 GRE Quantitative Reasoning Practice Questions
Therefore, the number of integers in set S is 80 – 8, or 72, which is equal to
Quantity B. So Quantity A is equal to Quantity B, and the correct answer is
Choice C. Multiplechoice Questions—Select One Answer Choice
For Questions 7 to 12, select a single answer choice.
7. A manager is forming a 6person team to work on a certain project. From
the 11 candidates available for the team, the manager has already chosen 3
to be on the team. In selecting the other 3 team members, how many
different combinations of 3 of the remaining candidates does the manager
have to choose from?
A 6 B 24 C 56 D 120 E 462 Explanation
To determine the number of different combinations of 3 of the remaining
candidates that the manager has to choose from, you ﬁrst have to know the
number of remaining candidates. Since you know that the manager has already
chosen 3 of the 11 candidates to be on the team, it is easy to see that there are 8
remaining candidates. Now you need to count how many different combinations
of 3 objects can be chosen from a group of 8 objects.
If you remember the combinations formula, you know that the number of
8
8!
combinations is
(which is denoted symbolically as
or 8 C3). You can
3
3!(8 – 3)!
then calculate the number of different combinations of 3 of the remaining
candidates as follows.
8!
3!(8 – 3)! (8)(7)(6)(5!)
(3!)(5!) (8)(7)(6)
6 56 The correct answer is Choice C.
8. Which of the following could be the graph of all values of x that satisfy the
6x – 5
inequality 2 – 5x –
?
3
A
B
C
D
E 192 0
0
0
0
0 GRE Quantitative Reasoning Practice Questions
Explanation
To determine which of the graphs is the correct answer, you ﬁrst need to
determine all values of x that satisfy the inequality. To do that you need to simplify
the inequality until you isolate x.
You can begin by multiplying both sides of the inequality by 3 to obtain
(3)(2 – 5x) – (6x – 5). Note that when you multiply by 3, the righthand side of
the inequality becomes – (6x – 5), not – 6x – 5.
The rest of the simpliﬁcation is as follows.
(3)(2 – 5x)
6 – 15x
– 15x
– 9x
x – 6x 5
– 6x 5
– 6x – 1
–1
1
9 Note that when an inequality is multiplied (or divided) by a negative number, the
direction of the inequality reverses.
The graphs in the answer choices are number lines on which only the number
1
0 is indicated. Therefore, you do not need to locate on the number
9
1
line; it is enough to know that is a positive number. Choice C is the only choice
9
in which the shaded part of the line is equal to or greater than a positive number.
Therefore, the correct answer is Choice C.
9. If 1 x x2 x3 60, then the average (arithmetic mean) of x, x2, x3, and
x4 is equal to which of the following?
A 12x B 15x C 20x D 30x E 60x Explanation
A quick inspection of the answer choices shows that it is not necessary to solve
the equation 1 x x2 x3 60 for x to answer this question. You are being
asked to express the average of the four quantities x, x2, x3, and x4 in terms of x.
To express this average in terms of x, you need to add the 4 quantities and divide
x x2 x3 x4
the result by 4; that is,
.
4
The only information given in the question is that the sum of the 4 quantities,
1 x x2 x3, is 60, so you need to think of a way to use this information to
x x2 x3 x4
simplify the expression
.
4
Note that the numerator of the fraction is a sum of 4 quantities, each of which
has an x term raised to a power. Thus, the expression in the numerator can be 193 GRE Quantitative Reasoning Practice Questions
factored as x x2 x3 x4 x(1 x x2 x3). By using the information in the
question, you can make the following simpliﬁcation.
x x2 x3 x4 x(1 x2 x 4 x3) x(60)
4 4 15x Therefore, the correct answer is Choice B. y
Q
P
R
x O 10. Parallelogram OPQR lies in the xyplane, as shown in the ﬁgure above. The
coordinates of point P are (2, 4) and the coordinates of point Q are (8, 6).
What are the coordinates of point R ?
A (3, 2) B (3, 3) C (4, 4) D (5, 2) E (6, 2) Explanation
y
Q (8, 6)
2 P (2, 4)
6 M
R
2 O 6 N x Since OPQR is a parallelogram, line segments PQ and OR have the same
length and the same slope. Therefore, in the ﬁgure above, PQM and ORN are
congruent
194 GRE Quantitative Reasoning Practice Questions
right triangles. From the coordinates of P and Q, the lengths of the legs of triangle
PQM are PM 8 – 2 6 and QM 6 – 4 2. Thus, the lengths of the legs ON
and RN of triangle ORN are also 6 and 2, respectively. So the coordinates of point
R are (6, 2). The correct answer is Choice E. 11. The relationship between the area A of a circle and its circumference C is
given by the formula A kC 2, where k is a constant. What is the value of k ?
A
B
C 1
4p
1
2p
1
4 D 2p E 4p2 Explanation
One way to approach this problem is to realize that the value of the constant k is
the same for all circles. Therefore, you can pick a speciﬁc circle and substitute the
circumference and the area of that particular circle into the formula and calculate
the value of k.
Say, for example, that you pick a circle with radius 1. The area of the circle is
p and the circumference of the circle is 2p. Inserting these values into the formula
1
gives p k(2p)2. Solving this equation for k gives k
, and the correct answer
4p
is Choice A.
Another way to approach the problem is to express A and C in terms of a
common variable and then solve the resulting equation for k. Recall the
commonly used formulas for the area and the circumference of a circle: A pr2
and C 2pr. Note that in these formulas, both A and C are expressed in terms of
the radius r. So, in the formula A kC2, you can substitute expressions for A and
C in terms of r.
Substituting pr2 for A and 2pr for C gives pr2 k(2pr)2.
Now you can determine the value of k by solving the equation for k as follows.
pr2
pr2
p
1
4p k(2pr)2
k(4p2r2)
k(4p2)
k The correct answer is Choice A. 195 GRE Quantitative Reasoning Practice Questions
12. 1– 1
for
nn2
1. What is the sum of the ﬁrst 20 terms of this sequence? The sequence of numbers a1, a2, a3, . . . , an, . . . is deﬁned by an
each integer n
A 1 1–1
2
20 B 1 1– 1
2
21 C 1– D 1– E 1–1
20 22 1
20 1
22 1
22 1
22 Explanation
This question asks for the sum of the ﬁrst 20 terms of the sequence. Obviously, it
would be very timeconsuming to write out the ﬁrst 20 terms of the sequence and
add them together, so it is reasonable to try to ﬁnd a more efﬁcient way to
calculate the sum. Questions involving sequences can often be answered by
looking for a pattern. Scanning the answer choices and noting that they contain
fractions with denominators 2, 20, 21, and 22, and nothing in between, seems to
conﬁrm that looking for a pattern is a good approach to try.
To look for a pattern, begin by adding the ﬁrst two terms of the sequence.
1–1
13 1–1
24 1
1 1–1
2
3 1
4 Now, if you add the ﬁrst three terms of the sequence, you get
1–1
13 1–1
24 1–1
35 1
Note that you can simplify the sum by canceling the fraction ; that is, the sum of
3
1
1
positive and negative is 0.
3
3
1
1 1
3 1
2 1
4 1
3 1
5 1
1 1
2 1
4 1
5 If you add the ﬁrst four terms, you get
1
1 1
3 1
2 1
4 1
3 1
5 1
4 1
6 Again, you can simplify the sum by canceling. This time, you can cancel the
1
1
fractions and .
3
4
1
1 196 1
3 1
2 1
4 1
3 1
5 1
4 1
6 1
1 1
2 1
5 1
6 GRE Quantitative Reasoning Practice Questions
If you write out the next two sums and simplify them, you will see that they are
1
1 1
2 1
6 1
1
and
7
1 1
2 1
7 1
8 Working with the sums makes it clear that this pattern continues to hold as you
add more and more terms of the sequence together and that a formula for the
sum of the ﬁrst k terms of the sequence is
1
1 1
2 1
k 1
k 1 2 Therefore, the sum of the ﬁrst 20 terms of the sequence is equal to
1
1 1
2 1
20 1
1 20 1 2 1
2 1
21 1
22 The correct answer is Choice B. Numeric Entry
For Question 13, use the directions for Numeric Entry questions.
Y
1
2 2 3
4 7 5
4 8 3
2 8 7
4
13. Frequency 9 The table above shows the frequency distribution of the values of a variable
Y. What is the mean of the distribution?
Give your answer to the nearest 0.01. Explanation
The mean of distribution of the variable Y is the sum of all the values of Y divided
by the number of values of Y. However, before you begin the summing process,
you need to understand how the information is presented in the question.
Information about the variable is given in a table, where any repetitions of values
have been summarized in the column labeled “Frequency.” Reading from the 197 GRE Quantitative Reasoning Practice Questions
1
3
occurs twice, the value occurs seven times,
2
4
1
and so on. To sum all the values of Y, you could add the value twice, add the
2
3
value seven times, and continue the addition process in this manner. It is easier,
4
however, to multiply the values by their corresponding frequencies and then sum
the individual products, as shown below. table, you can see that the value (2) 1
2 (7) 3
4 (8) 5
4 (8) 3
2 (9) 7
4 4 21
4
4
176
4
44 40
4 48
4 63
4 To ﬁnd the average, you need to divide the sum, 44, by the number of values of Y.
The number of values can be found by looking at the column of frequencies in the
table. The sum of the numbers in this column, 2 7 8 8 9, or 34, is the
44
number of values of Y. Thus, the mean of the distribution is , which, as a
34
decimal, equals 1.2941. . . . Rounded to the nearest 0.01, the correct answer is 1.29. Multiplechoice Questions—Select One or More Answer Choices
For Questions 14 and 15, select all the answer choices that apply.
14. Let S be the set of all positive integers n such that n2 is a multiple of both
24 and 108. Which of the following integers are divisors of every integer n
in S ?
Indicate all such integers.
A 12 B 24 C 36 D 72 Explanation
To determine which of the integers in the answer choices is a divisor of every
positive integer n in S, you must ﬁrst understand the integers that are in S. Note
that in this question you are given information about n2, not about n itself.
Therefore, you must use the information about n2 to derive information about n.
The fact that n2 is a multiple of both 24 and 108 implies that n2 is a multiple
of the least common multiple of 24 and 108. To determine the least common
multiple of 24 and 108, factor 24 and 108 into prime factors as (23)(3) and
(22)(33), respectively. Because these are prime factorizations, you can conclude
that the least common multiple of 24 and 108 is (23)(33).
Knowing that n2 must be a multiple of (23)(33) does not mean that every
multiple of (23)(33) is a possible value of n2, because n2 must be the square of an 198 GRE Quantitative Reasoning Practice Questions
integer. The prime factorization of a square number must contain only even
exponents. Thus, the least multiple of (23)(33) that is a square is (24)(34). This is
the least possible value of n2, and so the least possible value of n is (22)(32), or
36. Furthermore, since every value of n2 is a multiple of (24)(34), the values of n
are the positive multiples of 36; that is, S {36, 72, 108, 144, 180,. . .} .
The question asks for integers that are divisors of every integer n in S, that
is, divisors of every positive multiple of 36. Since Choice A, 12, is a divisor of 36,
it is also a divisor of every multiple of 36. The same is true for Choice C, 36.
Choices B and D, 24 and 72, are not divisors of 36, so they are not divisors of
every integer in S. The correct answer consists of Choices A and C.
15. The range of the heights of the female students in a certain class is 13.2
inches, and the range of the heights of the male students in the class is 15.4
inches.
Which of the following statements individually provide(s) sufﬁcient
additional information to determine the range of the heights of all the
students in the class?
Indicate all such statements.
A The tallest male student in the class is 5.8 inches taller than the tallest
female student in the class. B The median height of the male students in the class is 1.1 inches
greater than the median height of the female students in the class. C The average (arithmetic mean) height of the male students in the class
is 4.6 inches greater than the average height of the female students in
the class. Explanation
Choice A tells you that the tallest male student is 5.8 inches taller than the tallest
female student. You can combine this information with the given information
about the male and female height ranges to place four students—the shortest
male, the shortest female, the tallest male, and the tallest female—in relative
order according to height, as shown in the ﬁgure below.
15.4
13.2
Shortest Shortest
female
male 5.8
Tallest
female Tallest
male You can see from the ﬁgure that the tallest student must be a male and the
shortest student must be a female. You can also see the difference in height
between those two students, which is the range of the heights of the entire class.
Therefore, Choice A provides sufﬁcient additional information to determine the
range.
Choice B provides information about one of the centers of the data—the
median; it does not say anything about how spread out the data are around that
center. You are given that the median height of the males is 1.1 inches greater
than that of the females. First note that it is possible for two different sets of 199 GRE Quantitative Reasoning Practice Questions
data to have the same median but have very different ranges. Choice B gives the
difference between the medians of the male heights and the female heights,
without giving the actual medians. However, even if you knew the medians, the
fact that the ranges can vary widely indicates that the range of the heights of the
entire class can also vary widely.
It is possible to construct examples of heights of students that satisfy all of
the information in the question and in Choice B but have different ranges for the
heights of the entire class. Here are two such examples, each of which has only
three females and three males. Although the examples are small, they illustrate
the fact that the range of the heights of the entire class can vary. In both
examples, the range of female heights is 13.2, the range of male heights is 15.4,
and the difference between the median heights is 1.1 inches.
Example 1
Female heights: 50.0
56.6
63.2
Male heights:
50.0
57.7
65.4
Range of heights of entire class: 15.4 which have a median of 56.6
which have a median of 57.7 Example 2
Female heights: 50.0
56.6
63.2
Male heights:
51.0
57.7
66.4
Range of heights of entire class: 16.4 which have a median of 56.6
which have a median of 57.7 Therefore, Choice B does not provide sufﬁcient additional information to
determine the range of the heights of the entire class.
Choice C provides information about another center of the data—the
average. You are given that the average height of the males is 4.6 inches greater
than that of the females. However, like Choice B, the statement gives no
information about how spread out the data are around that center. Again, it is
possible for two different sets of data to have the same average but have very
different ranges. Examples similar to the two examples above can be constructed
that satisfy all of the information in the question and in Choice C but have
different ranges for the heights of the entire class. Therefore, Choice C does not
provide sufﬁcient additional information to determine the range of the heights of
the entire class.
The correct answer consists of Choice A. 200 GRE Quantitative Reasoning Practice Questions SET 4. Data Interpretation Sets
For Questions 1 to 7, select a single answer choice unless otherwise directed.
Questions 1 to 3 are based on the following data.
PERCENT OF FEMALE FACULTY AND PERCENT OF MALE FACULTY
AT UNIVERSITY X, BY FIELD
Total female faculty: 200
Total male faculty: 250
Biological Sciences
Business
Education
Engineering Female
Male Field Fine Arts
Health Sciences
Humanities
Physical Sciences
Social Sciences
Other
0 5 10
15
Percent 20 25 Medium Question
1. There are 275 students in the ﬁeld of engineering at University X.
Approximately what is the ratio of the number of students in engineering to
the number of faculty in engineering?
A 8 to 1 B 10 to 1 C 12 to 1 D 14 to 1 E 20 to 1 Explanation
According to the graph, 2 percent of the female faculty and 12 percent of the
male faculty are in the engineering ﬁeld. To determine the total number of
faculty members in engineering, you need to add 2 percent of 200, which is 4, to
12 percent of 250, which is 30, to get 34. Thus, the ratio of the numbers of
students to faculty in engineering is 275 to 34, which is approximately equal to
280 to 35, or 8 to 1. The correct answer is Choice A. 201 GRE Quantitative Reasoning Practice Questions Medium Question
2. Approximately what percent of the faculty in humanities are male?
A 35% B 38% C 41% D 45% E 51% Explanation
You need to determine the numbers of female and male faculty in the
humanities ﬁeld. According to the graph, 17 percent of the 200 females, or 34,
and 14 percent of the 250 males, or 35, are in humanities. Thus, the fraction of
35
35
humanities faculty who are male is
, or approximately 0.507. As a
34 35 69
percent, the answer choice that is closest to 0.507 is 51 percent. The correct
answer is Choice E.
For Question 3, use the directions for Numeric Entry questions. Hard Question
3. For the biological sciences and health sciences faculty combined, 1
of the
3 2
of the male faculty members are tenured professors. What
9
fraction of all the faculty members in those two ﬁelds combined are tenured
professors?
female and Explanation
You need to determine the number of female faculty and the number of male
faculty in the combined group. According to the graph, 5 percent of the female
faculty, or 10, and 10 percent of the male faculty, or 25, are in the biological
sciences. Similarly, 16 percent of the female faculty, or 32, and 8 percent of the
male faculty, or 20, are in the health sciences. When you combine the groups,
you get a total of 42 females (10 32) and 45 males (25 20), which is a total
1
2
of 87 faculty. The tenured faculty are of the 42 females, or 14 females, and of
3
9
the 45 males, or 10 males. Thus, there are 24 tenured faculty, and the fraction
24
24
that are tenured professors is
. The correct answer is
(or any equivalent
87
87
fraction). 202 GRE Quantitative Reasoning Practice Questions
Questions 4 to 7 are based on the following data.
VALUE OF IMPORTS TO AND EXPORTS FROM COUNTRY T, 2000 –2009
(in United States dollars)
16 Billions* of Dollars 14
12
Exports
Imports 10
8
6
4
2
0 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 Year
*1 billion = 1,000,000,000 For Question 4, select all the answer choices that apply. Easy Question
4. For which of the eight years from 2001 to 2008 did exports exceed imports
by more than $5 billion?
Indicate all such years.
A 2001 B 2002 C 2003 D 2004 E 2005 F 2006 G 2007 H 2008 Explanation
Note that for all years shown, the dollar value of exports is greater than the
dollar value of imports. For each year, the difference between the dollar value of
exports and the dollar value of imports can be read directly from the graph. The
difference was more than $5 billion for each of the years 2001, 2002, 2003, 2006,
2007, and 2008. The correct answer consists of Choices A, B, C, F, G, and H. 203 GRE Quantitative Reasoning Practice Questions Medium Question
5. Which of the following is closest to the average (arithmetic mean) of the 9
changes in the value of imports between consecutive years from 2000 to
2009 ?
A $260 million B $320 million C $400 million D $480 million E $640 million Explanation
The average of the 9 changes in the value of imports between consecutive years
can be represented as follows, where the function v(year) represents the value of
imports for the indicated year.
(v(2001) v(2000)) (v(2002) v(2001)) (v(2003)
9 v(2002)) ... (v(2009) v(2008)) Note that in the numerator of the fraction, each term, with the exception of
v(2000) and v(2009), appears ﬁrst as positive and then again as negative. The
positive and negative pairs sum to 0, and the fraction simpliﬁes to
v(2009) v(2000)
.
9
Reading the values from the graph, you can approximate the value of the
9.0 3.2 5.8
simpliﬁed fraction as
0.644 billion dollars. The answer choice
9
9
that is closest to $0.644 billion is $640 million. The correct answer is Choice E. Medium Question
6. In 2008 the value of exports was approximately what percent greater than
the value of imports?
A 40% B 60% C 70% D 120% E 140% Explanation
The difference between the value of exports and the value of imports expressed
as a percent of the value of imports is
(value of exports) (value of imports)
(100%)
value of imports
In 2008 the value of imports was approximately $5 billion and the value of
exports was approximately $12 billion, so the value of the fraction is
12 5
7
approximately
, or .
5
5
204 GRE Quantitative Reasoning Practice Questions
Since the fraction is greater than 1, expressing it as a percent will give a
percent greater than 100. The fraction is equal to 1.4, or 140 percent. The correct
answer is Choice E. Hard Question
7. If it were discovered that the value of imports shown for 2007 was incorrect
and should have been $5 billion instead, then the average (arithmetic mean)
value of imports per year for the 10 years shown would have been
approximately how much less?
A $200 million B $50 million C $20 million D $7 million E $5 million Explanation
To answer this question, you do not need to compute either of the two 10year
averages referred to in the question; you just need to calculate the difference
between the two averages.
The average value of imports for the 10 years shown in the graph is found by
adding the 10 values and then dividing the sum by 10. The value of imports in
2007 is $7 billion. If that amount were $5 billion instead, then the sum of
the values would be $2 billion less. If the sum were $2 billion less than what
it was, then the average would decrease by 2 billion divided by 10, or
2,000,000,000
200,000,000. The average would therefore be $200 million less,
10
and the correct answer is Choice A.
A more algebraic approach to the problem is to let S represent the sum, in
billions, of the 10 values of imports in the graph. The average of the 10 values is
S
. Note that S – 2 represents the sum, in billions, of the 10 values adjusted for
10
S2
the $2 billion correction for 2007. The average of the adjusted sum is
. The
10
difference between the two averages is
S
10 S 2 S 10
S (S 2)
10
S2
10 2
10
The difference is 0.2 billion dollars, or $200 million. The correct answer is
Choice A. 205 7 GRE®
Math Review
Your Goals
for this
Chapter: b Review the math topics likely to appear on the GRE
revised General Test
b Study examples with workedout solutions
b Test your skills with practice exercises T his Math Review will familiarize you with the mathematical skills and concepts that are important to understand in order to solve problems and reason
quantitatively on the Quantitative Reasoning measure of the GRE revised
General Test. The following material includes many deﬁnitions, properties, and examples, as well as a set of exercises (with answers) at the end of each review section.
Note, however, that this review is not intended to be allinclusive—there may be
some concepts on the test that are not explicitly presented in this review. If any topics in this review seem especially unfamiliar or are covered too brieﬂy, we encourage
you to consult appropriate mathematics texts for a more detailed treatment.
The Math Review covers the following topics: 1. Arithmetic
1.1 Integers
1.2 Fractions
1.3 Exponents and Roots
1.4 Decimals
1.5 Real Numbers
1.6 Ratio
1.7 Percent 3. Geometry
3.1 Lines and Angles
3.2 Polygons
3.3 Triangles
3.4 Quadrilaterals
3.5 Circles
3.6 ThreeDimensional Figures 2. Algebra
2.1 Operations with Algebraic
Expressions
2.2 Rules of Exponents
2.3 Solving Linear Equations
2.4 Solving Quadratic Equations
2.5 Solving Linear Inequalities
2.6 Functions
2.7 Applications
2.8 Coordinate Geometry
2.9 Graphs of Functions 4. Data Analysis
4.1 Graphical Methods for
Describing Data
4.2 Numerical Methods for
Describing Data
4.3 Counting Methods
4.4 Probability
4.5 Distributions of Data, Random
Variables, and Probability
Distributions
4.6 Data Interpretation Examples 207 GRE Math Review 1. ARITHMETIC
The review of arithmetic begins with integers, fractions, and decimals and progresses
to the set of real numbers. The basic arithmetic operations of addition, subtraction,
multiplication, and division are discussed, along with exponents and roots. The section ends with the concepts of ratio and percent. 1.1 Integers
The integers are the numbers 1, 2, 3, and so on, together with their negatives, – 1,
– 2, – 3, . . . , and 0. Thus, the set of integers is {. . . . , – 3, – 2, – 1, 0, 1, 2, 3, . . .}.
The positive integers are greater than 0, the negative integers are less than 0, and
0 is neither positive nor negative. When integers are added, subtracted, or multiplied,
the result is always an integer; division of integers is addressed below. The many elementary number facts for these operations, such as 7 8 15, 78 – 87 – 9,
7 – ( – 18) 25, and (7)(8) 56, should be familiar to you; they are not reviewed
here. Here are some general facts regarding multiplication of integers.
¼
¼
¼ The product of two positive integers is a positive integer.
The product of two negative integers is a positive integer.
The product of a positive integer and a negative integer is a negative integer. When integers are multiplied, each of the multiplied integers is called a factor or
divisor of the resulting product. For example, (2)(3)(10) 60, so 2, 3, and 10 are
factors of 60. The integers 4, 15, 5, and 12 are also factors of 60, since (4)(15) 60
and (5)(12) 60. The positive factors of 60 are 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 10, 12, 15, 20, 30,
and 60. The negatives of these integers are also factors of 60, since, for example,
60. There are no other factors of 60. We say that 60 is a multiple of
( – 2)( – 30)
each of its factors and that 60 is divisible by each of its divisors. Here are some
more examples of factors and multiples.
¼
¼
¼
¼
¼ The positive factors of 100 are 1, 2, 4, 5, 10, 20, 25, 50, and 100.
25 is a multiple of only six integers: 1, 5, 25, and their negatives.
The list of positive multiples of 25 has no end: 0, 25, 50, 75, 100, 125, 150, etc.;
likewise, every nonzero integer has inﬁnitely many multiples.
1 is a factor of every integer; 1 is not a multiple of any integer except 1 and – 1.
0 is a multiple of every integer; 0 is not a factor of any integer except 0. The least common multiple of two nonzero integers a and b is the least positive
integer that is a multiple of both a and b. For example, the least common multiple
of 30 and 75 is 150. This is because the positive multiples of 30 are 30, 60, 90, 120,
150, 180, 210, 240, 270, 300, etc., and the positive multiples of 75 are 75, 150, 225,
300, 375, 450, etc. Thus, the common positive multiples of 30 and 75 are 150, 300,
450, etc., and the least of these is 150.
The greatest common divisor (or greatest common factor) of two nonzero integers a and b is the greatest positive integer that is a divisor of both a and b. For
example, the greatest common divisor of 30 and 75 is 15. This is because the positive divisors of 30 are 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 10, 15, and 30, and the positive divisors of 75 are
1, 3, 5, 15, 25, and 75. Thus, the common positive divisors of 30 and 75 are 1, 3, 5,
and 15, and the greatest of these is 15.
When an integer a is divided by an integer b, where b is a divisor of a, the result
is always a divisor of a. For example, when 60 is divided by 6 (one of its divisors), the
result is 10, which is another divisor of 60. If b is not a divisor of a, then the result
208 GRE Math Review
can be viewed in three different ways. The result can be viewed as a fraction or as a
decimal, both of which are discussed later, or the result can be viewed as a quotient
with a remainder, where both are integers. Each view is useful, depending on the
context. Fractions and decimals are useful when the result must be viewed as a single number, while quotients with remainders are useful for describing the result in
terms of integers only.
Regarding quotients with remainders, consider two positive integers a and b for
which b is not a divisor of a; for example, the integers 19 and 7. When 19 is divided
by 7, the result is greater than 2, since (2)(7)
19, but less than 3, since 19
(3)(7).
Because 19 is 5 more than (2)(7), we say that the result of 19 divided by 7 is the
quotient 2 with remainder 5, or simply “2 remainder 5.” In general, when a positive
integer a is divided by a positive integer b, you ﬁrst ﬁnd the greatest multiple of b
that is less than or equal to a. That multiple of b can be expressed as the product qb,
where q is the quotient. Then the remainder is equal to a minus that multiple of b, or
r a – qb, where r is the remainder. The remainder is always greater than or equal
to 0 and less than b.
Here are examples that illustrate a few different cases of division resulting in a
quotient and remainder.
¼
¼ ¼ 100 divided by 45 is 2 remainder 10, since the greatest multiple of 45 that’s less
than or equal to 100 is (2)(45), or 90, which is 10 less than 100.
24 divided by 4 is 6 remainder 0, since the greatest multiple of 4 that’s less than
or equal to 24 is 24 itself, which is 0 less than 24. In general, the remainder is 0
if and only if a is divisible by b.
6 divided by 24 is 0 remainder 6, since the greatest multiple of 24 that’s less than
or equal to 6 is (0)(24), or 0, which is 6 less than 6.
Here are some other examples. ¼
¼
¼
¼
¼ 100 divided by 3 is 33 remainder 1, since 100 (33)(3) 1.
100 divided by 25 is 4 remainder 0, since 100 (4)(25) 0.
80 divided by 100 is 0 remainder 80, since 80 (0)(100) 80.
When you divide 100 by 2, the remainder is 0.
When you divide 99 by 2, the remainder is 1. If an integer is divisible by 2, it is called an even integer; otherwise it is an odd
integer. Note that when a positive odd integer is divided by 2, the remainder is always 1. The set of even integers is {. . . , – 6, – 4, – 2, 0, 2, 4, 6, .. . }, and the set of odd
integers is {. . . , – 5, – 3, – 1, 1, 3, 5, .. .}. There are several useful facts regarding the sum
and product of even and odd integers.
¼
¼
¼
¼
¼
¼ The
The
The
The
The
The sum of two even integers is an even integer.
sum of two odd integers is an even integer.
sum of an even integer and an odd integer is an odd integer.
product of two even integers is an even integer.
product of two odd integers is an odd integer.
product of an even integer and an odd integer is an even integer. A prime number is an integer greater than 1 that has only two positive divisors:
1 and itself. The ﬁrst ten prime numbers are 2, 3, 5, 7, 11, 13, 17, 19, 23, and 29.
The integer 14 is not a prime number, since it has four positive divisors: 1, 2, 7, and
14. The integer 1 is not a prime number, and the integer 2 is the only prime number
that is even.
209 GRE Math Review
Every integer greater than 1 either is a prime number or can be uniquely expressed as a product of factors that are prime numbers, or prime divisors. Such an
expression is called a prime factorization. Here are several examples of prime factorizations.
12
14
81
338
800
1,155 (2)(2)(3) (22)(3)
(2)(7)
(3)(3)(3)(3) 34
(2)(13)(13) (2)(132)
(2)(2)(2)(2)(2)(5)(5) (25)(52)
(3)(5)(7)(11) An integer greater than 1 that is not a prime number is called a composite
number. The ﬁrst ten composite numbers are 4, 6, 8, 9, 10, 12, 14, 15, 16, and 18. 1.2 Fractions
a
A fraction is a number , of the form where a and b are integers and b 0. The
b
integer a is called the numerator of the fraction, and b is called the denominator.
–7
For example,
is a fraction in which – 7 is the numerator and 5 is the denomina5
tor. Such numbers are also called rational numbers.
If both the numerator a and denominator b are multiplied by the same nonzero
a
integer, the resulting fraction will be equivalent to . For example,
b
–7
5
–7
5 ( – 7)(4) – 28
(5)(4)
20
( – 7)( – 1)
7
–5
(5)( – 1) A fraction with a negative sign in either the numerator or denominator can be
–7
7
–7.
written with the negative sign in front of the fraction; for example,
–5
5
5
If both the numerator and denominator have a common factor, then the numerator and denominator can be factored and reduced to an equivalent fraction. For example,
40
72 (8)(5)
(8)(9) 5
9 To add two fractions with the same denominator, you add the numerators and
keep the same denominator. For example,
–8
11 5
11 –8 5
11 –3
11 –3
11 To add two fractions with different denominators, ﬁrst ﬁnd a common denominator, which is a common multiple of the two denominators. Then convert both
fractions to equivalent fractions with the same denominator. Finally, add the numer1
ators and keep the common denominator. For example, to add the fractions and
3
2
– , use the common denominator 15:
5
1
3 210 –2
5 15
35 –2 3
53 5
15 –6
15 5 ( – 6)
15 –1
15 GRE Math Review
The same method applies to subtraction of fractions.
To multiply two fractions, multiply the two numerators and multiply the two denominators. For example,
10 – 1
(10)( – 1)
7
3
(7)(3)
87
56
33
9 – 10
21 – 10
21 To divide one fraction by another, ﬁrst invert the second fraction—that is, ﬁnd
its reciprocal —then multiply the ﬁrst fraction by the inverted fraction. For example,
17
8 3
4 17 4
83
3 13
10 7 3
10
7
13 4 17
83 1 17
23 17
6 39
70 3
is called a mixed number. It consists of an integer
8
3
3
part and a fraction part; the mixed number 4 means 4
. To convert a mixed
8
8
number to an ordinary fraction, convert the integer part to an equivalent fraction
and add it to the fraction part. For example,
An expression such as 4 4 3
8 4 3
8 48
18 3
8 32
8 3
8 35
8 a
, where either a or b is not an integer and
b
b 0, are fractional expressions that can be manipulated just like fractions. For exp
p
ample, the numbers and can be added together as follows.
2
3
Note that numbers of the form p
2 p
3 p3
23 p2
32 3p
6 2p
6 5p
6 1
And the number 2
can be simpliﬁed as follows.
3
5
1
2
3 1 5 5 2 3 32 5 1.3 Exponents and Roots
Exponents are used to denote the repeated multiplication of a number by itself; for
example, 34 (3)(3)(3)(3) 81 and 53 (5)(5)(5) 125. In the expression 34, 3 is
called the base, 4 is called the exponent, and we read the expression as “3 to the
fourth power.” So 5 to the third power is 125. When the exponent is 2, we call the
process squaring. Thus, 6 squared is 36, 62 (6)(6) 36, and 7 squared is 49,
72 (7)(7) 49.
211 GRE Math Review
When negative numbers are raised to powers, the result may be positive or nega– 243.
( – 3)( – 3)
9, while ( – 3)5
( – 3)( – 3)( – 3)( – 3)( – 3)
tive. For example, ( – 3)2
A negative number raised to an even power is always positive, and a negative number raised to an odd power is always negative. Note that without the parentheses,
the expression – 32 means “the negative of ‘3 squared’ ”; that is, the exponent is applied before the negative sign. So ( – 3)2 9, but – 32 – 9.
Exponents can also be negative or zero; such exponents are deﬁned as follows.
¼ For all nonzero numbers a, a0 ¼ For all nonzero numbers a, a – 1
– (a)(a 1) (a) 1
a 1. The expression 00 is undeﬁned.
1
1
1
–
–
,a2
,a 3
, etc. Note that
a
a2
a3 1. A square root of a nonnegative number n is a number r such that r2 n. For
example, 4 is a square root of 16 because 42 16. Another square root of 16 is – 4,
since ( – 4)2 16. All positive numbers have two square roots, one positive and one
negative. The only square root of 0 is 0. The symbol n is used to denote the nonnegative square root of the nonnegative number n. Therefore, 100 10, – 100 – 10,
and 0 0. Square roots of negative numbers are not deﬁned in the real number
system.
Here are some important rules regarding operations with square roots, where
a 0 and b 0.
Examples Rule
2 a 2 a a2 3 a 4 ab ab 3 10 a a
b 5 b 2 3 15 p
p2 2
30 p
p 24 5
15 1
3 46 26 18 18
2 9 2 3 A square root is a root of order 2. Higherorder roots of a positive number n are
deﬁned similarly. For orders 3 and 4, the cube root 3 n and fourth root 4 n
represent numbers such that when they are raised to the powers 3 and 4,
respectively, the result is n. These roots obey rules similar to those above (but with
the exponent 2 replaced by 3 or 4 in the ﬁrst two rules). There are some notable
differences between oddorder roots and evenorder roots (in the real number
system):
¼
¼ For oddorder roots, there is exactly one root for every number n, even when n is
negative.
For evenorder roots, there are exactly two roots for every positive number n and
no roots for any negative number n. For example, 8 has exactly one cube root, 3 8
and – 4 8; and – 8 has exactly one cube root,
since it is negative. 212 3 2, but 8 has two fourth roots: 4 8
–8 – 2, but – 8 has no fourth root, GRE Math Review 1.4 Decimals Thousandths Hundredths Tenths Ones or Units Tens Hundreds Thousands The decimal number system is based on representing numbers using powers of 10.
The place value of each digit corresponds to a power of 10. For example, the digits
of the number 7,532.418 have the following place values. That is,
7,532.418 7(1,000)
7(103) 5(100)
5(102) 3(10)
3(101) 2(1)
2(100) 1
1
1
1
8
10
100
1,000
4(10 – 1) 1(10 – 2) 8(10 – 3) 4 If there are a ﬁnite number of digits to the right of the decimal point, converting
a decimal to an equivalent fraction with integers in the numerator and denominator
is a straightforward process. Since each place value is a power of 10, every decimal
can be converted to an integer divided by a power of 10. For example,
2.3
90.17
0.612 3
23
10 10
17
9,000 17
90
100
100
612
153
1,000 250
2 9,017
100 Conversely, every fraction with integers in the numerator and denominator can
be converted to an equivalent decimal by dividing the numerator by the denominator
using long division (which is not in this review). The decimal that results from the
1
52
long division will either terminate, as in
0.25 and
2.08, or the decimal will
4
25
1
1
25
repeat without end, as in
0.111. . . ,
0.0454545. . . , and
2.08333. . . . One
9
22
12
way to indicate the repeating part of a decimal that repeats without end is to use a
bar over the digits that repeat. Here are some examples of fractions converted to
decimals.
3
8
259
40
–1
3
15
14 0.375
6 19
40 6.475 – 0.3
1.0714285 Every fraction with integers in the numerator and denominator is equivalent to a
decimal that terminates or repeats. That is, every rational number can be expressed 213 GRE Math Review
as a terminating or repeating decimal. The converse is also true; that is, every terminating or repeating decimal represents a rational number.
Not all decimals are terminating or repeating; for instance, the decimal that is
equivalent to 2 is 1.41421356237. . . , and it can be shown that this decimal does not
terminate or repeat. Another example is 0.010110111011110111110.. . , which has
groups of consecutive 1’s separated by a 0, where the number of 1’s in each successive group increases by one. Since these two decimals do not terminate or repeat,
they are not rational numbers. Such numbers are called irrational numbers. 1.5 Real Numbers
The set of real numbers consists of all rational numbers and all irrational numbers.
The real numbers include all integers, fractions, and decimals. The set of real numbers can be represented by a number line called the real number line. –5
–3 –2 – 3
2 1
2 –0.4
–1 2.6 2
1 0 2 3 Every real number corresponds to a point on the number line, and every point
on the number line corresponds to a real number. On the number line, all numbers
to the left of 0 are negative and all numbers to the right of 0 are positive. Only the
number 0 is neither negative nor positive.
A real number x is less than a real number y if x is to the left of y on the number line, which is written as x y. A real number y is greater than x if y is to the
right of x on the number line, which is written as y x. For example,
5
1
2 2
0 1 2 2 To say that a real number x is between 2 and 3 on the number line means that
x 2 and x 3, which can also be written as the double inequality 2 x 3. The set
of all real numbers that are between 2 and 3 is called an interval, and the double
inequality 2 x 3 is often used to represent that interval. Note that the endpoints
of the interval, 2 and 3, are not included in the interval. Sometimes one or both of
the endpoints are to be included in an interval. The following inequalities represent
four types of intervals, depending on whether the endpoints are included.
x
x
x
x 2
2
2
2 3
3
3
3 There are also four types of intervals with only one endpoint, each of which consists of all real numbers to the right or to the left of the endpoint, perhaps including
the endpoint. The following inequalities represent these types of intervals.
x
x
x
x 214 4
4
4
4 GRE Math Review
The entire real number line is also considered to be an interval.
The distance between a number x and 0 on the number line is called the absolute value of x, written as ⎪x⎪. Therefore, ⎪3⎪ 3 and ⎪ – 3⎪ 3 because each of the
numbers 3 and – 3 is a distance of 3 from 0. Note that if x is positive, then ⎪x⎪ x;
if x is negative, then ⎪x⎪ – x; and lastly, ⎪0⎪ 0. It follows that the absolute value
of any nonzero number is positive. Here are some examples.
⎪ 5⎪
⎪ – 23⎪
– 10.2⎪
⎪ 5
– ( – 23)
10.2 23 There are several general properties of real numbers that are used frequently. If
a, b, and c are real numbers, then
¼
¼
¼
¼
¼
¼
¼
¼
¼
¼ ¼
¼ a b b a and ab ba.
For example, 8 2 2 8 10 and ( – 3)(17) (17)( – 3) – 51.
(a b) c a (b c) and (ab)c a(bc).
For example, (7 3) 8 7 (3 8) 18 and (7 2 ) 2 7( 2 2 ) (7)(2)
a(b c) ab bc
For example, 5(3 16) (5)(3) (5)(16) 95.
a 0 a, (a)(0) 0, and (a)(1) a.
If ab 0, then either a 0 or b 0 or both.
For example, if – 2b 0, then b 0.
–7
0
Division by 0 is not deﬁned; for example, 5 0,
, and are undeﬁned.
0
0
If both a and b are positive, then both a b and ab are positive.
If both a and b are negative, then a b is negative and ab is positive.
If a is positive and b is negative, then ab is negative.
⎪a b⎪ ⎪a⎪ ⎪b⎪. This is known as the triangle inequality.
For example, if a 5 and b – 2, then ⎪5 ( – 2)⎪ ⎪5 – 2⎪ ⎪3⎪ 3 and
⎪5⎪ ⎪ – 2⎪ 5 2 7. Therefore, ⎪5 ( – 2)⎪ ⎪5⎪ ⎪ – 2⎪.
⎪a⎪ b⎪ ⎪ab⎪. For example, ⎪5⎪ – 2⎪ ⎪(5)( – 2)⎪ ⎪ – 10⎪ 10.
⎪
⎪
If a 1, then a2 a. If 0 b 1, then b2 b.
2
1
1
1
For example, 52 25 5, but
.
5
25 5 14. 1.6 Ratio
The ratio of one quantity to another is a way to express their relative sizes, often in
the form of a fraction, where the ﬁrst quantity is the numerator and the second
quantity is the denominator. Thus, if s and t are positive quantities, then the ratio of
s
s to t can be written as the fraction . The notation “s to t” or “s: t” is also used to
t
express this ratio. For example, if there are 2 apples and 3 oranges in a basket, we
2
can say that the ratio of the number of apples to the number of oranges is or that
3
it is 2 to 3 or that it is 2:3. Like fractions, ratios can be reduced to lowest terms. For
example, if there are 8 apples and 12 oranges in a basket, then the ratio of the numbers of apples to oranges is still 2 to 3. Similarly, the ratio 9 to 12 is equivalent to
the ratio 3 to 4.
If three or more positive quantities are being considered, say r, s, and t, then
their relative sizes can also be expressed as a ratio with the notation “r to s to t.” For
215 GRE Math Review
example, if there are 5 apples, 30 pears, and 20 oranges in a basket, then the ratio of
the numbers of apples to pears to oranges is 5 to 30 to 20. This ratio can be reduced
to 1 to 6 to 4 by dividing each number by the greatest common divisor of 5, 30, and
20, which is 5.
9
3
. To solve a
A proportion is an equation relating two ratios; for example,
12 4
problem involving ratios, you can often write a proportion and solve it by cross
multiplication.
Example 1.6.1: To ﬁnd a number x so that the ratio of x to 49 is the same as the
ratio of 3 to 21, you can write
x
49
Then cross multiply to get 21x 3
21 (3)(49), and solve for x to get x (3)(49)
21 7. 1.7 Percent
The term percent means per hundred, or hundredths. Percents are ratios that are often used to represent parts of a whole, where the whole is considered as having 100
parts.
¼ 1 percent means 1 part out of 100 parts, or 1 .
100
¼ 32 percent means 32 parts out of 100 parts, or 32 .
100
¼ 50 percent means 50 parts out of 100 parts, or 1 .
2
Note that the part is the numerator of the ratio and the whole is the denominator.
Percents are often written with the % symbol; fractional and decimal equivalents are
often used as well but without the % symbol, as follows.
1%
100%
32%
50%
0.3% 1
100
100
100
32
100
50
100
0.3
100 0.01
1
0.32
0.5
0.003 Be careful not to confuse 0.01 with 0.01%. The percent symbol matters. For exam0.01
ple, 0.01 1% but 0.01%
0.0001.
100
¼ 216 To compute a percent, given the part and the whole, divide the part by the whole.
The result will be the decimal equivalent, so multiply the result by 100 to convert
to percent. GRE Math Review
Example 1.7.1: If the whole is 20 and the part is 13, you can ﬁnd the percent as
follows.
part
whole 13
20 65% 0.65 Example 1.7.2: What percent of 150 is 12.9?
Solution: Here the whole is 150 and the part is 12.9.
part
whole
¼ 12.9
150 8.6% 0.086 To ﬁnd the part that is a certain percent of a whole, you can either multiply the
whole by the decimal equivalent of the percent or set up a proportion to ﬁnd the
part.
Example 1.7.3: To ﬁnd 30% of 350, multiply 350 by the decimal equivalent of 30%,
or 0.3, as follows.
x (350)(0.3) 105 To use a proportion, you need to ﬁnd the number of parts of 350 that yields the
same ratio as 30 out of 100 parts. You want a number x that satisﬁes the proportion
part
whole
x
350
Solving for x yields x
¼ (30)(350)
100 30
100
30
100 105, so 30% of 350 is 105. Given the percent and the part, you can calculate the whole. To do this you can
either use the decimal equivalent of the percent or you can set up a proportion
and solve it.
Example 1.7.4: 15 is 60% of what number?
Solution: Use the decimal equivalent of 60%. Because 60% of some number z is 15,
multiply z by the decimal equivalent of 60%, or 0.6.
0.6z 15 Now solve for z by dividing both sides of the equation by 0.6 as follows.
z 15
0.6 25 Using a proportion, look for a number z such that
part
whole
15
z
Hence, 60z (15)(100), and therefore, z 60
100
60
100
(15)(100)
60 1, 500
60 25. That is, 15 is 60% of 25.
217 GRE Math Review
Although the discussion about percent so far assumes a context of a part and a
whole, it is not necessary that the part be less than the whole. In general, the whole
is called the base of the percent. When the numerator of a percent is greater than
the base, the percent is greater than 100%. For example, 15 is 300% of 5, since
15
5
and 250% of 16 is 250
(16)
100 (2.5)(16) 300
100
40. Note that the decimal equivalent of 250% is 2.5.
It is also not necessary for the part to be related to the whole at all, as in the
question, “a teacher’s salary is what percent of a banker’s salary?”
When a quantity changes from an initial positive amount to another positive
amount, for example, an employee’s salary that is raised, you can compute the
amount of change as a percent of the initial amount. This is called percent change.
If a quantity increases from 600 to 750, then the percent increase is found by dividing the amount of increase, 150, by the base, 600, which is the initial number given:
amount of increase
base 750 – 600
600 150
600 25
100 0.25 25% We say the percent increase is 25%. Sometimes this computation is written as
750 – 600
(100%)
600 150
(100%)
600 25% If a quantity doubles in size, then the percent increase is 100%. For example, if a
quantity changes from 150 to 300, then the percent increase is
change
base 300 – 150
150 150
150 100% If a quantity decreases from 500 to 400, calculate the percent decrease as follows.
change
base 500 – 400
500 100
500 20
100 0.20 20% The quantity decreased by 20%.
When computing a percent increase, the base is the smaller number. When computing a percent decrease, the base is the larger number. In either case, the base is
the initial number, before the change.
Example 1.7.5: An investment in a mutual fund increased by 12% in a single day. If
the value of the investment before the increase was $1,300, what was the value after the increase?
Solution: The percent increase is 12%. Therefore, the value of the increase is 12%
of $1,300, or, using the decimal equivalent, the increase is (0.12)($1,300) $156.
Thus, the value of the investment after the change is
$1,300 $156 $1,456 Because the ﬁnal result is the sum of the initial investment—100% of $1,300—and
the increase—12% of $1,300—the ﬁnal result is 100% 12% 112% of $1,300. 218 GRE Math Review
Thus, another way to get the ﬁnal result is to multiply the value of the investment
by the decimal equivalent of 112%, which is 1.12:
($1,300)(1.12) $1,456 A quantity may have several successive percent changes. The base of each successive
percent change is the result of the preceding percent change.
Example 1.7.6: The monthly enrollment at a preschool decreased by 8% during one
month and increased by 6% during the next month. What was the cumulative percent change for the two months?
Solution: If E is the enrollment before the ﬁrst month, then the enrollment as a
result of the 8% decrease can be found by multiplying the base E by the decimal
equivalent of 100% – 8% 92%, which is 0.92:
0.92E
The enrollment as a result of the second percent change—the 6% increase—can be
found by multiplying the new base 0.92E by the decimal equivalent of
100% 6% 106%, which is 1.06:
(1.06)(0.92)E 0.9752E The percent equivalent of 0.9752 is 97.52%, which is 2.48% less than 100%. Thus,
the cumulative percent change in the enrollment for the two months is a 2.48% decrease. ARITHMETIC EXERCISES
1. Evaluate the following.
(a)
(b)
(c)
(d) 2. 15 – (6 – 4)( – 2)
(2 – 17) 5
(60 12) – ( – 7
(3)4 – ( – 2)3 4) Evaluate the following.
11
1
(a) –
2 3 12
3 1 –2
(b)
475 (e)
(f)
(g)
(h) ( – 5)( – 3) – 15
( – 2)4(15 – 18)4
(20 5)2( – 2 6)3
( – 85)(0) – ( – 17)(3) 7–4
85
3
(d)
–8 2 (c) 27
32 3. Which of the integers 312, 98, 112, and 144 are divisible by 8? 4. (a) What is the prime factorization of 372?
(b) What are the positive divisors of 372?
(a) What are the prime divisors of 100?
(b) What are the prime divisors of 144?
Which of the integers 2, 9, 19, 29, 30, 37, 45, 49, 51, 83, 90, and 91 are
prime numbers?
What is the prime factorization of 585? 5.
6.
7. 219 GRE Math Review
8. Which of the following statements are true?
(a) – 5 3.1
(b) 16 4
(c) 7 0 0
–1
(d) 0
7
1
(e) 0.3
3
(f) ( – 1)87 – 1 (g)
(h)
(i) ⎪⎪ 9. (j)
(k)
(l) Find the following.
(a) 40% of 15
(b) 150% of 48
(c) 0.6% of 800 10.
11.
12. 13.
14. ( – 3)2 0
21 3
28 4
– ⎪ – 23⎪ 23
1
1
2 17
(59)3(59)2 596
– 25 – 4 (d) 15 is 30% of which number?
(e) 11 is what percent of 55? If a person’s salary increased from $200 per week to $234 per week, what
was the percent increase in the person’s salary?
If an athlete’s weight decreased from 160 pounds to 152 pounds, what was
the percent decrease in the athlete’s weight?
A particular stock is valued at $40 per share. If the value increases by 20
percent and then decreases by 25 percent, what will be the value of the
stock per share after the decrease?
If the ratio of the number of men to the number of women on a committee
of 20 members is 3 to 2, how many members of the committee are women?
The integer a is even and the integer b is odd. For each of the following
integers, indicate whether the integer is even or odd.
Integer
a Odd 2b 2a Even b ab
ab
(a b)2 a2 – b2
15. When the positive integer n is divided by 3, the remainder is 2 and when n
is divided by 5, the remainder is 1. What is the least possible value of n? ANSWERS TO ARITHMETIC EXERCISES
1. 220 (a)
(b)
(c)
(d) 19
–3
8
89 (e)
(f)
(g)
(h) 0
1,296
1,024
51 GRE Math Review
2. (a) 9
1, 600
4
(d) –
9 1
4 (c) 5
(b) –
14
3.
4. 5.
6.
7.
8. 9. 10.
11.
12.
13.
14. 312, 112, and 144
(a) 372 (22)(3)(31)
(b) The positive divisors of 372 are 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 12, 31, 62, 93, 124, 186, and
372.
(a) 100 (22)(52), so the prime divisors are 2 and 5.
(b) 144 (24)(32), so the prime divisors are 2 and 3.
2, 19, 29, 37, and 83
585 (32)(5)(13)
(a) True
(g) False; ( – 3)2
930
(b) True
(h) True
(c) False; division by 0 is undeﬁned (i) False; – ⎪ – 23⎪ – 23
(d) True
(j) True
(e) True
(k) False; (59)3(59)2 593 2 595
(f) True
(l) True
(a) 6
(b) 72
(c) 4.8 (d) 50
(e) 20% 17%
5%
$36 per share
8 women
Integer
a Odd 2b 2a Even b ab
ab
(a b)2 a2 – b2
15. 11 221 GRE Math Review 2. ALGEBRA
Basic algebra can be viewed as an extension of arithmetic. The main concept that
distinguishes algebra from arithmetic is that of a variable, which is a letter that represents a quantity whose value is unknown. The letters x and y are often used as
variables, although any letter can be used. Variables enable you to present a word
problem in terms of unknown quantities by using algebraic expressions, equations,
inequalities, and functions. This section reviews these algebraic tools and then progresses to several examples of applying them to solve reallife word problems. The
section ends with coordinate geometry and graphs of functions as other important
algebraic tools for solving problems. 2.1 Operations with Algebraic Expressions
An algebraic expression has one or more variables and can be written as a single
term or as a sum of terms. Here are some examples of algebraic expressions.
y– 2x 1
4 w3z 5z2 – z2 In the examples above, 2x is a single term, y – 8 6 n p 1
has two terms,
4 8
has one term. In the expression
np
w3z 5z2 – z2 6, the terms 5z2 and – z2 are called like terms because they have
the same variables, and the corresponding variables have the same exponents. A
term that has no variable is called a constant term. A number that is multiplied by
variables is called the coefﬁcient of a term. For example, in the expression
2x2 7x – 5, 2 is the coefﬁcient of the term 2x2, 7 is the coefﬁcient of the term 7x,
and – 5 is a constant term.
The same rules that govern operations with numbers apply to operations with
algebraic expressions. One additional rule, which helps in simplifying algebraic expressions, is that like terms can be combined by simply adding their coefﬁcients, as
the following examples show.
w3z 5z2 – z2 6 has four terms, and 2x 5x 7x 6 w3z w3z 5z2 – z2 3xy 2x – xy – 3x 4z2 6 2xy – x A number or variable that is a factor of each term in an algebraic expression can
be factored out, as the following examples show.
4x 12 15y2 – 9y
7x2
2x 14x
4 4(x 3) 3y(5y – 3)
7x(x
2(x 2)
2) 7x
(where x
2 – 2, since division by 0 is not defined) To multiply two algebraic expressions, each term of the ﬁrst expression is multiplied by each term of the second expression, and the results are added, as the following examples show. 222 GRE Math Review
2)(3x – 7) (x x( – 7) x(3x)
3x2 – 7x 2(3x) 2( – 7) 6x – 14 3x2 – x – 14
A statement of equality between two algebraic expressions that is true for all
possible values of the variables involved is called an identity. All of the statements
above are identities. Here are some standard identities that are useful.
b)2 (a (a – b)3
a2 – b2 a2 b2 2ab a3 – 3a2b
(a 3ab2 – b3 b)(a – b) All of the identities above can be used to modify and simplify algebraic expressions. For example, the identity a2 – b2 (a b)(a – b) can be used to simplify the
following algebraic expression.
x2 – 9
4x – 12 (x 3)(x – 3)
4(x – 3) x 3
4 (where x 3) A statement of equality between two algebraic expressions that is true for only
certain values of the variables involved is called an equation. The values are called
the solutions of the equation.
The following are examples of some basic types of equations.
3x
x
2 20y 5
3y 10 A linear equation in two variables, x and y 6y 17 0 A quadratic equation in one variable, y 2 A linear equation in one variable, x 2.2 Rules of Exponents
In the algebraic expression xa, where x is raised to the power a, x is called a base
and a is called an exponent. Here are the basic rules of exponents, where the bases
x and y are nonzero real numbers and the exponents a and b are integers.
1
1.
x–a
xa
1
1
1
1
Examples: 4 – 3
, x – 10
, and – a 2a
43 64
x10
2
2.
(xa)(xb) xa b 3. 4.
5. –
Examples: (32)(34) 32 4 36 729 and ( y3)( y 1) y2
xa
1
xa – b
–
xb
xb a
7
5
t3
1
–
–
Examples: 4 57 4 53 125 and 8 t 5
5
t
t5
x0 1
Examples: 70 1 and ( – 3)0 1. Note that 00 is not deﬁned. (xa)( ya) (xy)a Examples: (23)(33) 63 216 and (10z)3 103z3 1,000z3 223 GRE Math Review
x
y 6. a xa
ya Examples: 3
4 2 32
42 (xa)b xab
Examples: (25)2 7. 9
r
and
16
4t 210 3 r3
64t3 1,024 and (3y6)2 (32)( y6)2 9y12 The rules above are identities that are used to simplify expressions. Sometimes
algebraic expressions look like they can be simpliﬁed in similar ways, but in fact
they cannot. Here are several pairs of expressions that are commonly mistaken to be
identities.
¼
¼
¼ ¼ xayb (xy)a b
Note that the bases are not the same.
(xa)b xaxb
Instead, (xa)b xab and xaxb xa b; for example, (42)3 46 and 4243 45.
(x y)a xa ya
Recall that (x y)2 x2 2xy y2; that is, the correct expansion contains
terms such as 2xy.
( – x)2 – x2
Instead, ( – x)2 x2. Note carefully where each minus sign appears. ¼
¼ x2
a
x y2 x y
aa
yxy But it is true that x y
a x
a y
.
a 2.3 Solving Linear Equations
To solve an equation means to ﬁnd the values of the variables that make the equation
true; that is, the values that satisfy the equation. Two equations that have the same
solutions are called equivalent equations. For example, x 1 2 and 2x 2 4
are equivalent equations; both are true when x 1 and are false otherwise. The general method for solving an equation is to ﬁnd successively simpler equivalent equations so that the simplest equivalent equation makes the solutions obvious.
The following rules are important for producing equivalent equations.
¼ ¼ When the same constant is added to or subtracted from both sides of an
equation, the equality is preserved and the new equation is equivalent to the
original equation.
When both sides of an equation are multiplied or divided by the same nonzero
constant, the equality is preserved and the new equation is equivalent to the
original equation. A linear equation is an equation involving one or more variables in which each
term in the equation is either a constant term or a variable multiplied by a coefﬁcient.
None of the variables are multiplied together or raised to a power greater than 1. For
example, 2x 1 7x and 10x – 9y – z 3 are linear equations, but x y2 0 and
xz 3 are not. 224 GRE Math Review
Linear Equations in One Variable
To solve a linear equation in one variable, simplify each side of the equation by combining like terms. Then use the rules for producing simpler equivalent equations.
Example 2.3.1:
11x – 4 – 8x 4) – 2x 2(x 3x – 4 2x 3x – 4 8 3x – 4 4 8 3x 12
3 x (simplified) 12 3x
3 8 – 2x (like terms combined)
4 (4 added to both sides) 4 (both sides divided by 3) You can always check your solution by substituting it into the original equation.
Note that it is possible for a linear equation to have no solutions. For example, the
equation 2x 3 2(7 x) has no solution, since it is equivalent to the equation
3 14, which is false. Also, it is possible that what looks to be a linear equation turns
out to be an identity when you try to solve it. For example, 3x – 6 – 3(2 – x) is true
for all values of x, so it is an identity. Linear Equations in Two Variables
A linear equation in two variables, x and y, can be written in the form
ax by c where a, b, and c are real numbers and a and b are not both zero. For example,
3x 2y 8 is a linear equation in two variables.
A solution of such an equation is an ordered pair of numbers (x, y) that makes
the equation true when the values of x and y are substituted into the equation. For
2
example, both (2, 1) and ( – , 5) are solutions of the equation 3x 2y 8, but (1, 2) is
3
not a solution. A linear equation in two variables has inﬁnitely many solutions. If another linear equation in the same variables is given, it is usually possible to ﬁnd a
unique solution of both equations. Two equations with the same variables are called a
system of equations, and the equations in the system are called simultaneous equations. To solve a system of two equations means to ﬁnd an ordered pair of numbers
that satisﬁes both equations in the system.
There are two basic methods for solving systems of linear equations, by substitution or by elimination. In the substitution method, one equation is manipulated to
express one variable in terms of the other. Then the expression is substituted in the
other equation. For example, to solve the system of equations
4x
x 3y
2y 13
2 you can express x in the second equation in terms of y as x
2 – 2y for x in the ﬁrst equation to ﬁnd the value of y. 2 – 2y. Then substitute 225 GRE Math Review
4(2 – 2y)
8 – 8y
– 8y 3y
3y
3y
– 5y
y 13
13
5
(8 subtracted from both sides)
5
(like terms combined)
– 1 (both sides divided by – 5) Then – 1 can be substituted for y in either equation to ﬁnd the value of x. We use the
second equation:
x x 2y
2( – 1)
x–2
x 2
2
2
4 (2 added to both sides) In the elimination method, the object is to make the coefﬁcients of one variable
the same in both equations so that one variable can be eliminated either by adding
the equations together or by subtracting one from the other. In the example above,
multiplying both sides of the second equation by 4 yields 4(x 2y) 4(2), or
4x 8y 8. Now you have two equations with the same coefﬁcient of x.
4x
4x 3y
8y 13
8 If you subtract the second equation from the ﬁrst, the result is – 5y 5. Thus,
– 1, and substituting – 1 for y in either of the original equations yields x 4.
By either method, the solution of the system is x 4 and y – 1, or
(x, y) (4, – 1).
y 2.4 Solving Quadratic Equations
A quadratic equation in the variable x is an equation that can be written in the form
ax2 bx c 0 where a, b, and c are real numbers and a 0. When such an equation has solutions,
they can be found using the quadratic formula:
–b x b2 – 4ac
2a where the notation
is shorthand for indicating two solutions—one that uses the
plus sign and the other that uses the minus sign.
Example 2.4.1: In the quadratic equation 2x2 – x – 6
c – 6. Therefore, the quadratic formula yields
x – ( – 1) 0, we have a ( – 1)2 – 4(2)( – 6)
2(2) 1 49 4
17
4
Hence the two solutions are x 226 1 7
4 2 and x 1–7
4 –3.
2 2, b – 1, and GRE Math Review
Quadratic equations have at most two real solutions, as in the example above.
However, some quadratic equations have only one real solution. For example, the quadratic equation x2 4x 4 0 has only one solution, which is x – 2. In this case,
the expression under the square root symbol in the quadratic formula is equal to 0,
and so adding or subtracting 0 yields the same result. Other quadratic equations have
no real solutions; for example, x2 x 5 0. In this case, the expression under the
square root symbol is negative, so the entire expression is not a real number.
Some quadratic equations can be solved more quickly by factoring. For example,
the quadratic equation 2x2 – x – 6 0 in example 2.4.1 can be factored as
(2x 3)(x – 2) 0. When a product is equal to 0, at least one of the factors must be
equal to 0, which leads to two cases: either 2x 3 0 or x – 2 0. Therefore,
2x 3
2x
x 0
–3
–3
2 x–2 0 x OR 2 3
and the solutions are – and 2.
2
Example 2.4.2: Here is another example of a quadratic equation that can be easily
factored.
5x2 3x – 2
(5x – 2)(x 1) 0
0 Therefore,
5x 2 0 x 2
5 OR x 1
x 0
1 2.5 Solving Linear Inequalities
A mathematical statement that uses one of the following inequality signs is called an
inequality.
less than
greater than
less than or equal to
greater than or equal to
Inequalities can involve variables and are similar to equations, except that the two
sides are related by one of the inequality signs instead of the equality sign used in
equations. For example, the inequality 4x – 1 7 is a linear inequality in one variable,
which states that “4x – 1 is less than or equal to 7.” To solve an inequality means to
ﬁnd the set of all values of the variable that make the inequality true. This set of values is also known as the solution set of an inequality. Two inequalities that have the
same solution set are called equivalent inequalities.
The procedure used to solve a linear inequality is similar to that used to solve a
linear equation, which is to simplify the inequality by isolating the variable on one
side of the inequality, using the following two rules.
227 GRE Math Review
¼ ¼ When the same constant is added to or subtracted from both sides of an
inequality, the direction of the inequality is preserved and the new inequality
is equivalent to the original.
When both sides of the inequality are multiplied or divided by the same
nonzero constant, the direction of the inequality is preserved if the constant is
positive but the direction is reversed if the constant is negative. In either case,
the new inequality is equivalent to the original. Example 2.5.1: The inequality – 3x
3x 5
3x
3x
3 17
12
12
3 x 5 17 can be solved as follows. 4 (5 subtracted from both sides)
(both sides divided by 3, which reverses the direction of the inequality)
Therefore, the solution set of – 3x
or equal to – 4. 17 consists of all real numbers greater than 5 Example 2.5.2:
4x 9
11 5 4x 9 55 (both sides multiplied by 11) 4x 46 (9 subtracted from both sides) x 46
4 (both sides divided by 4) x 11.5 Therefore, the solution set of 4x 9
11 5 consists of all real numbers less than 11.5. 2.6 Functions
An algebraic expression in one variable can be used to deﬁne a function of that variable. Functions are usually denoted by letters such as f, g, and h. For example, the
algebraic expression 3x 5 can be used to deﬁne a function f by
f (x) 3x 5 where f (x) is called the value of f at x and is obtained by substituting the value of x in
the expression above. For example, if x 1 is substituted in the expression above, the
result is f (1) 8.
It might be helpful to think of a function f as a machine that takes an input,
which is a value of the variable x, and produces the corresponding output, f (x). For
any function, each input x gives exactly one output f (x). However, more than one
value of x can give the same output f (x). For example, if g is the function deﬁned by
g(x) x2 – 2x 3, then g(0) 3 and g(2) 3.
The domain of a function is the set of all permissible inputs, that is, all permissible values of the variable x. For the functions f and g deﬁned above, the domain is the
set of all real numbers. Sometimes the domain of the function is given explicitly and
228 GRE Math Review
is restricted to a speciﬁc set of values of x. For example, we can deﬁne the function h
by h(x) x2 – 4 for – 2 x 2. Without an explicit restriction, the domain is assumed
to be the set of all values of x for which f (x) is a real number.
Example 2.6.1: Let f be the function deﬁned by f (x)
ﬁned at x 6 because 2x
. In this case, f is not dex–6 12
is not deﬁned. Hence, the domain of f consists of all real
0 numbers except for 6.
Example 2.6.2: Let g be the function deﬁned by g(x) x3
x 2 – 10. In this case,
g(x) is not a real number if x – 2. Hence, the domain of g consists of all real numbers x such that x – 2.
Example 2.6.3: Let h be the function deﬁned by h(x) ⎪x⎪, the absolute value of x,
which is the distance between x and 0 on the number line (see section 1.5). The domain of h is the set of all real numbers. Also, h(x) h( – x) for all real numbers x,
which reﬂects the property that on the number line the distance between x and 0 is
the same as the distance between – x and 0. 2.7 Applications
Translating verbal descriptions into algebraic expressions is an essential initial step in
solving word problems. Some examples are given below.
¼
¼
¼ If the square of the number x is multiplied by 3, and then 10 is added to that
product, the result can be represented by 3x2 10.
If John’s present salary s is increased by 14 percent, then his new salary is
1.14s.
If y gallons of syrup are to be distributed among 5 people so that one
particular person gets 1 gallon and the rest of the syrup is divided equally
y–1
among the remaining 4, then each of those 4 people will get
gallons of
4
syrup. Here are several examples of using algebraic techniques to solve word problems.
Example 2.7.1: Ellen has received the following scores on 3 exams: 82, 74, and 90.
What score will Ellen need to receive on the next exam so that the average (arithmetic mean) score for the 4 exams will be 85?
Solution: Let x represent the score on Ellen’s next exam. This initial step of assigning
a variable to the quantity that is sought is an important beginning to solving the
problem. Then in terms of x, the average of the 4 exams is
82 74 90 x 4
which is supposed to equal 85. Now simplify the expression and set it equal to 85:
82 74 90
4 x 246 x
4 85 229 GRE Math Review
Solving the resulting linear equation for x, you get
x
x 246 340
94 Therefore, Ellen will need to attain a score of 94 on the next exam.
Example 2.7.2: A mixture of 12 ounces of vinegar and oil is 40 percent vinegar,
where all of the measurements are by weight. How many ounces of oil must be
added to the mixture to produce a new mixture that is only 25 percent vinegar?
Solution: Let x represent the number of ounces of oil to be added. Then the total
number of ounces of the new mixture will be 12 x, and the total number of ounces
of vinegar in the new mixture will be (0.40)(12). Since the new mixture must be 25
percent vinegar,
(0.40)(12)
12 x 0.25 Therefore,
(12 x)(0.25)
3 0.25x
0.25x
x (0.40)(12)
4.8
1.8
7.2 Thus, 7.2 ounces of oil must be added to produce a new mixture that is 25 percent
vinegar.
Example 2.7.3: In a driving competition, Jeff and Dennis drove the same course at
average speeds of 51 miles per hour and 54 miles per hour, respectively. If it took Jeff
40 minutes to drive the course, how long did it take Dennis?
Solution: Let x be the time, in minutes, that it took Dennis to drive the course. The
distance d, in miles, is equal to the product of the rate r, in miles per hour, and the
time t, in hours; that is,
d rt Note that since the rates are given in miles per hour, it is necessary to express the
40
times in hours; for example, 40 minutes equals
of an hour. Thus, the distance
60
40
traveled by Jeff is the product of his speed and his time, (51)
miles, and the dis60
x
tance traveled by Dennis is similarly represented by (54)
miles. Since the dis60
tances are equal,
40
60
(51)(40) (51) x (54) x
60 54x
(51)(40)
54 37.8 Thus, it took Dennis approximately 37.8 minutes to drive the course. 230 GRE Math Review
Example 2.7.4: Working alone at its constant rate, machine A takes 3 hours to produce a batch of identical computer parts. Working alone at its constant rate, machine B takes 2 hours to produce an identical batch of parts. How long will it take
the two machines, working simultaneously at their respective constant rates, to produce an identical batch of parts?
Solution: Since machine A takes 3 hours to produce a batch, machine A can produce
1
1
of the batch in 1 hour. Similarly, machine B can produce of the batch in 1 hour.
3
2
If we let x represent the number of hours it takes both machines, working simulta1
neously, to produce the batch, then the two machines will produce of the job in 1
x
hour. When the two machines work together, adding their individual production
1
1
1
rates, and , gives their combined production rate . Therefore,
3
2
x
1
3
2
6 1
2
3
6
5
6
6
5 1
x
1
x
1
x
x Thus, working together, the machines will take 6
hours, or 1 hour 12 minutes, to
5 produce a batch of parts.
Example 2.7.5: At a fruit stand, apples can be purchased for $0.15 each and pears for
$0.20 each. At these rates, a bag of apples and pears was purchased for $3.80. If the
bag contained 21 pieces of fruit, how many of the pieces were pears?
Solution: If a represents the number of apples purchased and p represents the number of pears purchased, the information can be translated into the following system
of equations.
0.15a 0.20p
ap From the second equation, a
a gives 3.80
21 (total cost)
(total number of fruit) 21 – p. Substituting 21 – p into the ﬁrst equation for 0.15(21 p)
(0.15)(21) 0.15p
3.15 0.15p 0.20p
0.20p
0.20p
0.05p
p 3.80
3.80
3.80
0.65
13 Thus, of the 21 pieces of fruit, 13 were pears. 231 GRE Math Review
Example 2.7.6: To produce a particular radio model, it costs a manufacturer $30 per
radio, and it is assumed that if 500 radios are produced, all of them will be sold.
What must be the selling price per radio to ensure that the proﬁt (revenue from the
sales minus the total production cost) on the 500 radios is greater than $8,200 ?
Solution: If y represents the selling price per radio, then the proﬁt is 500(y – 30).
Therefore, we set
500(y – 30) 8,200 Solving the inequality, we get
500y 15,000
500y
y 8,200
23,200
46.4 Thus, the selling price must be greater than $46.40 to ensure that the proﬁt is greater
than $8,200.
Some applications involve computing interest earned on an investment during a
speciﬁed time period. The interest can be computed as simple interest or compound
interest.
Simple interest is based only on the initial deposit, which serves as the amount
on which interest is computed, called the principal, for the entire time period. If the
amount P is invested at a simple annual interest rate of r percent, then the value V of
the investment at the end of t years is given by the formula
V P1 rt
100 where P and V are in dollars.
In the case of compound interest, interest is added to the principal at regular
time intervals, such as annually, quarterly, and monthly. Each time interest is added to
the principal, the interest is said to be compounded. After each compounding, interest
is earned on the new principal, which is the sum of the preceding principal and the
interest just added. If the amount P is invested at an annual interest rate of r percent,
compounded annually, then the value V of the investment at the end of t years is given
by the formula
V P1 r
100 t If the amount P is invested at an annual interest rate of r percent, compounded n
times per year, then the value V of the investment at the end of t years is given by the
formula
V P1 r
100n nt Example 2.7.7: If $10,000 is invested at a simple annual interest rate of 6 percent,
what is the value of the investment after half a year?
Solution: According to the formula for simple interest, the value of the investment
1
after year is
2
1
$10,000 1 0.06
$10,000(1.03) $10,300
2 232 GRE Math Review
Example 2.7.8: If an amount P is to be invested at an annual interest rate of 3.5 percent, compounded annually, what should be the value of P so that the value of the
investment is $1,000 at the end of 3 years?
Solution: According to the formula for 3.5 percent annual interest, compounded annually, the value of the investment after 3 years is
0.035)3 P(1
and we set it to be equal to $1,000 0.035)3 P(1 $1,000 To ﬁnd the value of P, we divide both sides of the equation by (1
P $1,000
(1 0.035)3 0.035)3. $901.94 Thus, an amount of approximately $901.94 should be invested.
Example 2.7.9: A college student expects to earn at least $1,000 in interest on an initial investment of $20,000. If the money is invested for one year at interest compounded quarterly, what is the least annual interest rate that would achieve the goal?
Solution: According to the formula for r percent annual interest, compounded quarterly, the value of the investment after 1 year is
r
400 $20,000 1 4 By setting this value greater than or equal to $21,000 and solving for r, we get
r
400
r
400 $20,000 1
1 4 $21,000
4 1.05 We can use the fact that taking the positive fourth root of each side of an inequality
preserves the direction of the inequality. This is also true for the positive square root
or any other positive root.
1 r
400
r 4 1.05 400 4 1.05 1 To compute the fourth root, we can use the fact that 4 x
can compute a fourth root by taking a square root twice:
r 400 4 1.05 1 400 1.05 1 x for x 0; that is, we 4.91 So the least annual interest rate is approximately 4.91 percent. 2.8 Coordinate Geometry
Two real number lines that are perpendicular to each other and that intersect at their
respective zero points deﬁne a rectangular coordinate system, often called the
xycoordinate system or xyplane. The horizontal number line is called the xaxis
233 GRE Math Review
and the vertical number line is called the yaxis. The point where the two axes intersect is called the origin, denoted by O. The positive half of the xaxis is to the right of
the origin, and the positive half of the yaxis is above the origin. The two axes divide
the plane into four regions called quadrants I, II, III, and IV, as shown in the ﬁgure
below. y
3
II P ″(− 4, 2) I
2 P (4, 2) 1
−4 −3 −2 −1 O
−1 x
1 2 3 −2 P ′′′(− 4, − 2)
III −3 4
P ′(4, − 2) IV Each point P in the xyplane can be identiﬁed with an ordered pair (x, y) of real
numbers and is denoted by P(x, y). The ﬁrst number is called the xcoordinate, and
the second number is called the ycoordinate. A point with coordinates (x, y) is located ⎪x⎪ units to the right of the yaxis if x is positive or to the left of the yaxis if x is
negative. Also, the point is located ⎪y⎪ units above the xaxis if y is positive or below
the xaxis if y is negative. If x 0, the point lies on the yaxis, and if y 0, the point
lies on the xaxis. The origin has coordinates (0, 0). Unless otherwise noted, the units
used on the xaxis and the yaxis are the same.
In the ﬁgure above, the point P(4, 2) is 4 units to the right of the yaxis and 2 units
above the xaxis, and the point P ′′′( – 4, – 2) is 4 units to the left of the yaxis and 2
units below the xaxis.
Note that the three points P ′(4, – 2), P ″( – 4, 2), and P ′′′( – 4, – 2) have the same coordinates as P except for the sign. These points are geometrically related to P as follows.
¼
¼
¼ P ′ is the reﬂection of P about the xaxis, or P ′ and P are symmetric about
the xaxis.
P ″ is the reﬂection of P about the yaxis, or P ″ and P are symmetric about
the yaxis.
P ′′′ is the reﬂection of P about the origin, or P ′′′ and P are symmetric about
the origin. The distance between two points in the xyplane can be found by using the Pythagorean theorem. For example, the distance between the two points Q( – 2, – 3) and
R(4, 1.5) in the ﬁgure at the top of the following page is the length of line segment QR.
To ﬁnd this distance, construct a right triangle (indicated by the dashed lines) and
then note that the two shorter sides of the triangle have lengths QS 4 – ( – 2) 6
and RS 1.5 – ( – 3)
4.5. 234 GRE Math Review
y
3
2
R (4, 1.5)
1
−3 −2 −1 O
−1 1 2 3 4 x −2
Q (−2, −3) −3 Since line segment QR is the hypotenuse of the triangle, you can apply the Pythagorean theorem:
QR 62 4.52 56.25 7.5 (For a discussion of right triangles and the Pythagorean theorem, see section 3.3.)
Equations in two variables can be represented as graphs in the coordinate plane.
In the xyplane, the graph of an equation in the variables x and y is the set of all
points whose ordered pairs (x, y) satisfy the equation.
The graph of a linear equation of the form y mx b is a straight line in the
xyplane, where m is called the slope of the line and b is called the yintercept.
The xintercepts of a graph are the xvalues of the points at which the graph intersects the xaxis. Similarly, the yintercepts of a graph are the yvalues of the points
at which the graph intersects the yaxis.
The slope of a line passing through two points Q(x1, y1) and R(x2, y2), where
x1 x2, is deﬁned as
y2 – y1
x2 – x1
This ratio is often called “rise over run,” where rise is the change in y when moving from Q to R and run is the change in x when moving from Q to R. A horizontal
line has a slope of 0, since the rise is 0 for any two points on the line. So the equation
of every horizontal line has the form y b, where b is the yintercept. The slope of a
vertical line is not deﬁned, since the run is 0. The equation of every vertical line has
the form x a, where a is the xintercept.
Two lines are parallel if their slopes are equal. Two lines are perpendicular if
their slopes are negative reciprocals of each other. For example, the line with equation
1
y 2x 5 is perpendicular to the line with equation y – x 9.
2
Example 2.8.1: In the xyplane above, the slope of the line passing through the points
Q( – 2, – 3) and R(4, 1.5) is
1.5 ( 3)
4 ( 2) 4.5
6 0.75 235 GRE Math Review
Line QR appears to intersect the yaxis close to the point (0, – 1.5), so the yintercept
of the line must be close to – 1.5. To get the exact value of the yintercept, substitute
the coordinates of any point on the line, say Q( – 2, – 3), into the equation y 0.75x b,
and solve it for b as follows.
y
3
b
b 0.75x b
(0.75)( 2) b
3 (0.75)(2)
1.5 Therefore, the equation of line QR is y 0.75x – 1.5.
You can see from the graph that the xintercept of line QR is 2, since QR passes
through the point (2, 0). More generally, you can ﬁnd the xintercept by setting y 0
in an equation of the line and solving it for x as follows.
0.75x 1.5
0.75x
1.5
2
0.75 0
1.5
x Graphs of linear equations can be used to illustrate solutions of systems of linear
equations and inequalities.
Example 2.8.2: Consider the system of linear equations in two variables in section
2.3:
4x
x 3y
2y 13
2 Solving each equation for y in terms of x yields
– 4x
3
– 1x
2 y
y 13
3
1 The graphs of the two equations are below, and the solution of the system of equations is the point at which the two graphs intersect, which is (4, – 1). y 4
x + 2y = 2 4x + 3y = 13
2 –2 O 2 4
(4, –1) –2 236 x GRE Math Review
Example 2.8.3: Consider the following system of linear inequalities.
x – 3y
2x y –6
–1 Solving each inequality for y in terms of x yields
y
y 1
x2
3
– 2x – 1 Each point (x, y) that satisﬁes the ﬁrst inequality y
y 1
x
3 1
x
3 2 is either on the line 2 or below the line because the ycoordinate is either equal to or less than 1
1
1
x 2. Therefore, the graph of y
x 2 consists of the line y
x 2 and the en3
3
3
tire region below it. Similarly, the graph of y – 2x – 1 consists of the line
y – 2x – 1 and the entire region above it. Thus, the solution set of the system of
inequalities consists of all of the points that lie in the shaded region shown in the
ﬁgure below, which is the intersection of the two regions described. y
4 y = – 2x – 1 y= 1
x+2
3 2 −6 x
–4 –2 2 4 –2 –4
Symmetry with respect to the xaxis, the yaxis, and the origin is mentioned above.
Another important symmetry is symmetry with respect to the line with equation
y x. The line y x passes through the origin, has a slope of 1, and makes a 45degree angle with each axis. For any point with coordinates (a, b), the point with interchanged coordinates (b, a) is the reﬂection of (a, b) about the line y x; that is, (a, b)
and (b, a) are symmetric about the line y x. It follows that interchanging x and y in
the equation of any graph yields another graph that is the reﬂection of the original
graph about the line y x. 237 GRE Math Review
Example 2.8.4: Consider the line whose equation is y 2x 5. Interchanging x and
1 –5
x
. The
y in the equation yields x 2y 5. Solving this equation for y yields y
2
2
1 –5
line y 2x 5 and its reﬂection y
are graphed below.
x
2
2 y
y = 2x + 5
10 y=x y = 1x − 5
2
2 5 45°
−10 −5 x
5 10 −5 −10 The line y x is a line of symmetry for the graphs of y 2x 5 and y 1 –5
x
.
2
2 The graph of a quadratic equation of the form y ax2 bx c, where a, b, and c
are constants and a 0, is a parabola. The xintercepts of the parabola are the solutions of the equation ax2 bx c 0. If a is positive, the parabola opens upward and
the vertex is its lowest point. If a is negative, the parabola opens downward and the
vertex is the highest point. Every parabola is symmetric with itself about the vertical
line that passes through its vertex. In particular, the two xintercepts are equidistant
from this line of symmetry. 238 GRE Math Review
x2 – 2x – 3 has the following graph. Example 2.8.5: The equation y y
y = x 2 – 2x – 3 6
4
2 −2 O x
2 4 −2
−4 (1, − 4) The graph indicates that the xintercepts of the parabola are – 1 and 3. The values of
the xintercepts can be conﬁrmed by solving the quadratic equation x2 – 2x – 3 0 to
get x – 1 and x 3. The point (1, – 4) is the vertex of the parabola, and the line
x 1 is its line of symmetry. The yintercept is the ycoordinate of the point on the
parabola at which x 0, which is y 02 – 2(0) – 3 – 3.
The graph of an equation of the form (x – a)2
center at the point (a, b) and with radius r. (y – b)2 r2 is a circle with its Example 2.8.6: The graph of x2 y2 100 is a circle with its center at the origin and
with radius 10, as shown in the ﬁgure below. The smaller circle has center (6, – 5)
and radius 3, so its equation is (x – 6)2 (y 5)2 9. y
10
x 2 + y 2 = 100
5 –10 –5 O
–5 5 10 x (x – 6)2 + ( y + 5)2 = 9 –10 239 GRE Math Review 2.9 Graphs of Functions
The coordinate plane can be used for graphing functions. To graph a function in the
xyplane, you represent each input x and its corresponding output f (x) as a point
(x, y), where y f (x). In other words, you use the xaxis for the input and the yaxis
for the output.
Below are several examples of graphs of elementary functions.
Example 2.9.1: Consider the linear function deﬁned by f (x)
– 1x
2 the xyplane is the line with the linear equation y – 1x
2 1. Its graph in 1, as shown in the ﬁgure below.
Example 2.9.2: Consider the quadratic function deﬁned by g(x) x2. The graph of g
is the parabola with the quadratic equation y x2, as shown in the ﬁgure below. y
y = x2 4
3
2
1
–3 –2 –1 O 1 x 2 y = –1 x + 1
2 Note that the graphs of f and g from the two examples above intersect at two points.
These are the points at which g(x) f (x). We can ﬁnd these points algebraically by
setting
g(x)
2 x f (x)
– 1x
2 1 and solving for x, using the quadratic formula, as follows.
x2
x2
2x2
We get x –1 1
4
x – 1x 1
2
1–
x10
2
x–2 0 16
, which represent the xcoordinates of the two solutions
–1 17
4 0.78 and x – 1 – 17
4 – 1.28 With these input values, the corresponding ycoordinates can be found using either
f or g:
240 GRE Math Review
2 g –1 17
4 –1 17
4 2 0.61 g and – 1 – 17 – 1 – 17 4 4 1.64 Thus, the two intersection points can be approximated by (0.78, 0.61) and
( – 1.28, 1.64).
Example 2.9.3: Consider the absolute value function deﬁned by h(x) ⎪x⎪. By using
the deﬁnition of absolute value (see section 1.5), h can be expressed as a piecewisedeﬁned function:
x, x
– x, x h(x) 0
0 The graph of this function is Vshaped and consists of two linear pieces, y
y – x, joined at the origin, as shown in the ﬁgure below. x and y
4 y= x 3
2
1
–3 –2 –1 O
–1 1 2 3 x 4 –2 Example 2.9.4: Consider the positive squareroot function deﬁned by j(x)
x for
x 0, whose graph is half of a parabola lying on its side. Also consider the negative
squareroot function deﬁned by k(x) – x for x 0, whose graph is the other half
of the parabola lying on its side—the dashed curve below the xaxis. Both graphs are
shown in the ﬁgure below, along with the parabola y x2 (with its left half dashed). y y = x2 4
3 y= x 2
1
–3 –2 –1 O
–1
–2 1 2 3 4 x y=– x 241 GRE Math Review
x and y – x are halves of a parabola because they are reﬂecThe graphs of y
tions of the right and left halves, respectively, of the parabola y x2 about the line
y x. This follows from squaring both sides of the two square root equations to get
y2 x and then interchanging x and y to get y x2.
x about the xaxis. In general,
Also note that y – x is the reﬂection of y
for any function h, the graph of y – h(x) is the reﬂection of the graph of y h(x)
about the xaxis.
Example 2.9.5: Consider the functions deﬁned by f (x) ⎪x⎪ 2 and g(x) (x 1)2.
These functions are related to the absolute value function ⎪x⎪ and the quadratic
function x2, respectively, in simple ways.
The graph of f is the graph of ⎪x⎪ shifted upward by 2 units, as shown in the
ﬁgure below. Similarly, the graph of the function ⎪x⎪ – 5 is the graph of ⎪x⎪ shifted
downward by 5 units (not shown).
The graph of g is the graph of x2 shifted to the left by 1 unit, as shown in the
ﬁgure below. Similarly, the graph of the function (x – 4)2 is the graph of x2 shifted to
the right by 4 units (not shown). To doublecheck the direction of the shift, you can
plot some corresponding values of the original function and the shifted function. y
y =  x + 2
y = ( x + 1) 2 4
3
2
1 −3 −2 −1 O 1 2 3 x In general, for any function h(x) and any positive number c, the following are
true.
¼
¼
¼
¼ The graph of h(x) c is the graph of h(x) shifted upward by c units.
The graph of h(x) – c is the graph of h(x) shifted downward by c units.
The graph of h(x c) is the graph of h(x) shifted to the left by c units.
The graph of h(x – c) is the graph of h(x) shifted to the right by c units. 2 –x .
4
These functions are related to the absolute value function ⎪x⎪ and the quadratic
function x2, respectively, in more complicated ways than in the preceding example.
The graph of f is the graph of ⎪x⎪ shifted to the right by 1 unit and then stretched
vertically away from the xaxis by a factor of 2, as shown in the ﬁgure below. Simi1
larly, the graph of the function ⎪x – 1⎪ is the graph of ⎪x⎪ shifted to the right by 1
2
1
unit and then shrunk vertically toward the xaxis by a factor of (not shown).
2
Example 2.9.6: Consider the functions deﬁned by f (x) 242 2⎪x – 1⎪ and g(x) GRE Math Review
The graph of g is the graph of x2 shrunk vertically by a factor of 1
and then reﬂected
4 in the xaxis, as shown in the ﬁgure below. y
y = 2 x − 1 4
3
2
1
−3 −2 −1 O
−1 1 −2 2 3 x y=− x2
4 In general, for any function h(x) and any positive number c, the following are
true.
¼
¼ The graph of ch(x) is the graph of h(x) stretched vertically by a factor of c if
c 1.
The graph of ch(x) is the graph of h(x) shrunk vertically by a factor of c if
0 c 1. ALGEBRA EXERCISES
1. Find an algebraic expression to represent each of the following.
(a) The square of y is subtracted from 5, and the result is multiplied by 37.
(b) Three times x is squared, and the result is divided by 7.
(c) The product of (x 4) and y is added to 18. 2. Simplify each of the following algebraic expressions.
(a) 3x2 – 6 x 11 – x2 5x
(b) 3(5x – 1) – x 4
x2 – 16
(c)
, where x 4
x–4
(d) (2x 5)(3x – 1) 3. (a) What is the value of f (x)
(b) What is the value of h(x)
(c) What is the value of k(x) 4. 3x2 – 7x 23 when x – 2 ?
x3 – 2x2 x – 2 when x 2 ?
5–
x 7 when x 0 ?
3 If the function g is deﬁned for all nonzero numbers y by g(y)
value of each of the following.
(a) g(2)
(b) g( – 2)
(c) g(2) – g( – 2) y
, ﬁnd the
⎪y⎪ 243 GRE Math Review
5. Use the rules of exponents to simplify the following.
(a) (n5)(n 3 (e) (w5) ) (b) (s7)(t7)
(c)
(d) (f ) (50)(d3) r12
r4
2a
b 3 (g)
5 (h) (x10)( y 1)
(x 5)( y5)
3x
y 2 1
y 5 6. Solve each of the following equations for x.
(a) 5x – 7 28
(b) 12 – 5x x 30
(c) 5(x 2) 1 – 3x
(d) (x 6)(2x – 1) 0
(e) x2 5x – 14 0
(f ) x2 – x – 1 0 7. Solve each of the following systems of equations for x and y.
(a) x
x y
y 24
18 (b) 3x y
x 2y 5
3 (c) 15x
10x 18
7y 2y
20 3x y
4x 2 8. Solve each of the following inequalities for x.
(a) – 3x 7 x
(b) 25x 16 10 – x
(c) 16 x 8x – 12 9. For a given twodigit positive integer, the tens digit is 5 more than the units
digit. The sum of the digits is 11. Find the integer. 10.
11. Kathleen’s weekly salary was increased by 8 percent to $237.60. What was
her weekly salary before the increase? 12. A theater sells children’s tickets for half the adult ticket price. If 5 adult
tickets and 8 children’s tickets cost a total of $27, what is the cost of an adult
ticket? 13. Pat invested a total of $3,000. Part of the money was invested in a money
market account that paid 10 percent simple annual interest, and the
remainder of the money was invested in a fund that paid 8 percent simple
annual interest. If the interest earned at the end of the ﬁrst year from these
investments was $256, how much did Pat invest at 10 percent and how much
at 8 percent? 14. 244 If the ratio of 2x to 5y is 3 to 4, what is the ratio of x to y? Two cars started from the same point and traveled on a straight course in
opposite directions for exactly 2 hours, at which time they were 208 miles
apart. If one car traveled, on average, 8 miles per hour faster than the other
car, what was the average speed of each car for the 2hour trip? GRE Math Review
15. A group can charter a particular aircraft at a ﬁxed total cost. If 36 people
charter the aircraft rather than 40 people, then the cost per person is greater
by $12.
(a) What is the ﬁxed total cost to charter the aircraft?
(b) What is the cost per person if 40 people charter the aircraft? 16. An antiques dealer bought c antique chairs for a total of x dollars. The dealer
sold each chair for y dollars.
(a) Write an algebraic expression for the proﬁt, P, earned from buying and
selling the chairs.
(b) Write an algebraic expression for the proﬁt per chair. 17. In the coordinate system below, ﬁnd the following.
(a) Coordinates of point Q
(b) Lengths of PQ, QR, and PR
(c) Perimeter of PQR
(d) Area of PQR
(e) Slope, yintercept, and equation of the line passing through points P and
R y P(–2, 6) Q O R(5, 0) x 18. In the xyplane, ﬁnd the following.
(a) Slope and yintercept of the line with equation 2y x 6
(b) Equation of the line passing through the point (3, 2) with yintercept 1
(c) The yintercept of a line with slope 3 that passes through the point
( – 2, 1)
(d) The xintercepts of the graphs in (a), (b), and (c) 19. For the parabola y x2 – 4x – 12 in the xyplane, ﬁnd the following.
(a) The xintercepts
(b) The yintercept
(c) Coordinates of the vertex 20. For the circle (x – 1)2 ( y 1)2
(a) Coordinates of the center
(b) Radius
(c) Area 20 in the xyplane, ﬁnd the following. 245 GRE Math Review
21. For each
graph y
(a) f (x)
(b) f (x)
(c) f (x)
(d) f (x)
(e) f (x) of the following functions, give the domain and a description of the
f (x) in the xyplane, including its shape, and the x and yintercepts.
–4
100 – 900x
5 – (x 20)2
x2
x ⎪x⎪ ANSWERS TO ALGEBRA EXERCISES
1. (a) 37(5 y)2, or 185 37y2
(3x)2
9x2
(b)
, or
7
7
(c) 18 (x 4)( y), or 18 xy 2. (a) 2x2
(b) 14x 3. (a) 49 (b) 0 (c) – 7 4. (a) 1 (b) – 1 (c) 2 5. 4y (a) n2 6x
1 (c) x 4
(d) 6x2 13x – 5 5 1
w15
(f ) d3
x15
(g) 6
y
(h) 9x2y3 (e) (b) (st)7
(c) r8
32a5
(d) 5
b
6. 1
(d) – 6,
2 (a) 7
(b) – 3 (e) – 7, 2
1
5 1– 5
(f )
,
2
2 9
(c) –
8 7.
8. (a) x
y (a) x
(b) x
(c) x 9. 21
3 (b) x
y –7
4
–3
13
4 83 10.
11. $220 12. $3 13. $800 at 10% and $2,200 at 8% 14.
246 15 to 8 48 mph and 56 mph 1
2 (c) x
y 1
2
3 GRE Math Review
15. (a) $4,320 16. (a) P 17. (b) $108 (a) ( – 2, 0) cy – x (b) PQ 6, QR (c) 13 (b) Proﬁt per chair: 7, PR P
c cy – x
c y– x
c 85 85 (d) 21 18. 6
30
(e) Slope: – ; yintercept:
; equation of line: y
7
7
7y 6x 30
1
(a) Slope: – ; yintercept: 3
2
x
(b) y
1
3
(c) 7
7
(d) 6, – 3, –
3 19. (a) x – 2 and x
(b) y – 12
(c) (2, – 16) 20. – 6x
7 30
, or
7 (a) (1, – 1) 6 (b) 20
(c) 20p
21. (a) Domain: the set of all real numbers. The graph is a horizontal line with yintercept – 4 and no xintercept.
(b) Domain: the set of all real numbers. The graph is a line with slope – 900,
1
yintercept 100, and xintercept .
9
(c) Domain: the set of all real numbers. The graph is a parabola opening
downward with vertex at ( – 20, 5), line of symmetry x – 20, yintercept
– 395, and xintercepts – 20
5.
(d) Domain: the set of numbers greater than or equal to – 2. The graph is half
a parabola opening to the right with vertex at ( – 2, 0), xintercept – 2, and
yintercept 2.
(e) Domain: the set of all real numbers. The graph is two halflines joined at
the origin: one halfline is the negative xaxis and the other is a line
starting at the origin with slope 2. Every nonpositive number is an
xintercept, and the yintercept is 0. The function is equal to the following
piecewisedeﬁned function
f (x) 2x, x
0, x 0
0 247 GRE Math Review 3. GEOMETRY
The review of geometry begins with lines and angles and progresses to other plane
ﬁgures, such as polygons, triangles, quadrilaterals, and circles. The section ends with
some basic threedimensional ﬁgures. Coordinate geometry is covered in the Algebra
section 3.1 Lines and Angles
Plane geometry is devoted primarily to the properties and relations of plane ﬁgures,
such as angles, triangles, other polygons, and circles. The terms “point,” “line,” and
“plane” are familiar intuitive concepts. A point has no size and is the simplest geometric ﬁgure. All geometric ﬁgures consist of points. A line is understood to be a
straight line that extends in both directions without ending. A plane can be thought
of as a ﬂoor or a tabletop, except that a plane extends in all directions without ending and has no thickness
Given any two points on a line, a line segment is the part of the line that contains the two points and all the points between them. The two points are called endpoints. Line segments that have equal lengths are called congruent line segments.
The point that divides a line segment into two congruent line segments is called the
midpoint of the line segment.
In the ﬁgure below, A, B, C, and D are points on line . 8 6 A B 6
C D Line segment AB consists of points A and B and all the points on the line between A and B. Sometimes the notation AB denotes line segment AB, and sometimes
it denotes the length of line segment AB. The meaning of the notation can be determined from the context. According to the ﬁgure above, the lengths of line segments
AB, BC, and CD are 8, 6, and 6, respectively. Hence, line segments BC and CD are
congruent. Since C is halfway between B and D, point C is the midpoint of line segment BD.
When two lines intersect at a point, they form four angles, as indicated below.
Each angle has a vertex at point P, which is the point of intersection of the two
lines. B
1 C
P 2 A D In the ﬁgure, angles APC and BPD are called opposite angles, also known as
vertical angles. Angles APD and CPB are also opposite angles. Opposite angles have
equal measures, and angles that have equal measures are called congruent angles.
Hence, opposite angles are congruent. The sum of the measures of the four angles is
360 .
Sometimes the angle symbol ∠ is used instead of the word “angle.” For example,
angle APC can be written as ∠ APC.
248 GRE Math Review
Two lines that intersect to form four congruent angles are called perpendicular
lines. Each of the four angles has a measure of 90 . An angle with a measure of 90
is called a right angle. The ﬁgure below shows two lines, 1 and 2, that are perpendicular, denoted by 1
2.
1 90°
90° 90°
90° 1 2 2 A common way to indicate that an angle is a right angle is to draw a small
square at the vertex of the angle, as shown below, where PON is a right angle N ON O OP P
An angle with a measure less than 90 is called an acute angle, and an angle
with measure between 90 and 180 is called an obtuse angle.
Two lines in the same plane that do not intersect are called parallel lines. The
ﬁgure below shows two lines, 1 and 2, that are parallel, denoted by 1 2. The two
lines are intersected by a third line, 3, forming eight angles. Note that four of the
angles have the measure x , and the remaining four angles have the measure y ,
where x y 180. y° x°
y° 1 x° 1 2 y° x°
y° 2 x°
3 249 GRE Math Review 3.2 Polygons
A polygon is a closed ﬁgure formed by three or more line segments, called sides.
Each side is joined to two other sides at its endpoints, and the endpoints are called
vertices. In this discussion, the term “polygon” means “convex polygon,” that is, a
polygon in which the measure of each interior angle is less than 180 . The ﬁgures
below are examples of such polygons. Triangle
(3 sides) Quadrilateral
(4 sides) Pentagon
(5 sides) The simplest polygon is a triangle. Note that a quadrilateral can be divided into
2 triangles, and a pentagon can be divided into 3 triangles, as shown below. If a polygon has n sides, it can be divided into n – 2 triangles. Since the sum of
the measures of the interior angles of a triangle is 180 , it follows that the sum of
the measures of the interior angles of an nsided polygon is (n – 2)(180 ). For example, the sum for a quadrilateral (n 4) is (4 – 2)(180 ) 360 , and the sum for a
hexagon (n 6) is (6 – 2)(180 ) 720 .
A polygon in which all sides are congruent and all interior angles are congruent
is called a regular polygon. For example, in a regular octagon (8 sides), the sum of
the measures of the interior angles is (8 – 2)(180 ) 1,080 . Therefore, the measure
1,080
of each angle is
135 .
8
The perimeter of a polygon is the sum of the lengths of its sides. The area of a
polygon refers to the area of the region enclosed by the polygon.
In the next two sections, we will look at some basic properties of triangles and
quadrilaterals. 3.3 Triangles
Every triangle has three sides and three interior angles. The measures of the interior
angles add up to 180 . The length of each side must be less than the sum of the
lengths of the other two sides. For example, the sides of a triangle could not have
the lengths 4, 7, and 12 because 12 is greater than 4 7.
The following are special triangles.
¼ ¼ 250 A triangle with three congruent sides is called an equilateral triangle. The
measures of the three interior angles of such a triangle are also equal, and
each measure is 60 .
A triangle with at least two congruent sides is called an isosceles triangle. If
a triangle has two congruent sides, then the angles opposite the two sides are GRE Math Review
congruent. The converse is also true. For example, in ABC below, since
both ∠ A and ∠ C have measure 50 , it follows that AB BC. Also, since
50 50 x 180, the measure of ∠ B is 80 . B
x° 50° A
¼ 50° C A triangle with an interior right angle is called a right triangle. The side
opposite the right angle is called the hypotenuse; the other two sides are
called legs. E D F In right triangle DEF above, EF is the hypotenuse and DE and DF are legs. The
Pythagorean theorem states that in a right triangle, the square of the length of the
hypotenuse is equal to the sum of the squares of the lengths of the legs. Thus, for
triangle DEF above,
(EF)2 (DE)2 (DF)2 This relationship can be used to ﬁnd the length of one side of a right triangle if
the lengths of the other two sides are known. For example, if one leg of a right triangle has length 5 and the hypotenuse has length 8, then the length of the other side
can be determined as follows. 5 8 82
64
39 52
25
x2 x2
x2 x
Since x2 39 and x must be positive, it follows that x 39, or approximately 6.2.
The Pythagorean theorem can be used to determine the ratios of the sides of two
special right triangles. One special right triangle is an isosceles right triangle. Apply 251 GRE Math Review
ing the Pythagorean theorem to such a triangle shows that the lengths of its sides
are in the ratio 1 to 1 to 2, as indicated below. x y2
y2
y x 45° 45° y x2
2x2
2x x2 The other special right triangle is a 30  60  90 right triangle, which is half of
an equilateral triangle, as indicated below. 2x 30° 30°
y
60°
x 60° Note that the length of the shortest side, x, is onehalf the length of the longest
side, 2x. By the Pythagorean theorem, the ratio of x to y is 1 to 3 because
x2
x2 y2
y2
y2
y2
y (2x)2
4x2
4x2 x2
3x2
3x Hence, the ratio of the lengths of the three sides of such a triangle is 1 to 3 to 2.
The area A of a triangle equals onehalf the product of the length of a base and
the height corresponding to the base. In the ﬁgure below, the base is denoted by b
and the corresponding height is denoted by h. h
bh
2 A b Any side of a triangle can be used as a base; the height that corresponds to the
base is the perpendicular line segment from the opposite vertex to the base (or to an
extension of the base). The examples below show three different conﬁgurations of a
base and the corresponding height. 6 6
15 6
15 15 (15)(6)
, or 45.
2
Two triangles that have the same shape and size are called congruent triangles.
More precisely, two triangles are congruent if their vertices can be matched up so
that the corresponding angles and the corresponding sides are congruent.
The following three propositions can be used to determine whether two triangles
are congruent by comparing only some of their sides and angles.
In all three triangles above, the area is 252 GRE Math Review
¼ If the three sides of one triangle are congruent to the three sides of another
triangle, then the triangles are congruent.
If two sides and the included angle of one triangle are congruent to two sides
and the included angle of another triangle, then the triangles are congruent.
If two angles and the included side of one triangle are congruent to two
angles and the included side of another triangle, then the triangles are
congruent. ¼
¼ Two triangles that have the same shape but not necessarily the same size are
called similar triangles. More precisely, two triangles are similar if their vertices can
be matched up so that the corresponding angles are congruent or, equivalently, the
lengths of corresponding sides have the same ratio, called the scale factor of similarity. For example, all 30  60  90 right triangles, discussed above, are similar triangles, though they may differ in size.
When we say that triangles ABC and DEF are similar, it is assumed that angles A
and D are congruent, angles B and E are congruent, and angles C and F are congruent, as shown in the ﬁgure below. In other words, the order of the letters indicates
the correspondences. B
E
A D C F AB BC
DE EF
AB DE
tiplication, we can obtain other proportions, such as
.
BC EF
Since triangles ABC and DEF are similar, we have AC
. By cross mulDF 3.4 Quadrilaterals
Every quadrilateral has four sides and four interior angles. The measures of the interior angles add up to 360 . The following are special quadrilaterals.
¼ A quadrilateral with four right angles is called a rectangle. Opposite sides of
a rectangle are parallel and congruent, and the two diagonals are also
congruent. B C AB CD and AD BC
AB
CD and AD
BC
AC
BD A
¼ D A rectangle with four congruent sides is called a square. 253 GRE Math Review
¼ A quadrilateral in which both pairs of opposite sides are parallel is called a
parallelogram. In a parallelogram, opposite sides are congruent and
opposite angles are congruent. Q x° y° R
PQ SR and PS QR
PQ
SR and PS
QR P
¼ y° x° S A quadrilateral in which two opposite sides are parallel is called a trapezoid. L M KN LM K N For all parallelograms, including rectangles and squares, the area A equals the
product of the length of a base b and the corresponding height h; that is,
A bh Any side can be used as a base. The height corresponding to the base is the perpendicular line segment from any point of a base to the opposite side (or an extension of that side). Below are examples of ﬁnding the areas of a rectangle and a parallelogram. 10 8
20
6 A (6)(10) A 60 (20)(8) 160 The area A of a trapezoid equals half the product of the sum of the lengths of
the two parallel sides b1 and b2 and the corresponding height h; that is,
A 254 1
(b
21 b2)(h) GRE Math Review
For example, for the trapezoid below with bases of length 10 and 18 and a
height of 7.5, the area is
1
(10
2 A 18)(7.5) 105 10 7.5 18 3.5 Circles
Given a point O in a plane and a positive number r, the set of points in the plane
that are a distance of r units from O is called a circle. The point O is called the
center of the circle and the distance r is called the radius of the circle. The diameter of the circle is twice the radius. Two circles with equal radii are called congruent circles.
Any line segment joining two points on the circle is called a chord. The terms
“radius” and “diameter” can also refer to line segments: A radius is any line segment
joining a point on the circle and the center of the circle, and a diameter is a chord
that passes through the center of the circle. In the ﬁgure below, O is the center of
the circle, r is the radius, PQ is a chord, and ST is a diameter. S
P
r
O
T
Q
The distance around a circle is called the circumference of the circle, which is
analogous to the perimeter of a polygon. The ratio of the circumference C to the diameter d is the same for all circles and is denoted by the Greek letter p; that is,
C
d p The value of p is approximately 3.14 and can also be approximated by the fraction
22
.
7
C
C
If r is the radius of a circle, then
p, and so the circumference is related
d 2r
to the radius as follows.
C 2pr 255 GRE Math Review
For example, if a circle has a radius of 5.2, then its circumference is
(2)(p)(5.2) (10.4)(p) (10.4)(3.14) which is approximately 32.7.
Given any two points on a circle, an arc is the part of the circle containing the
two points and all the points between them. Two points on a circle are always the
endpoints of two arcs. It is customary to identify an arc by three points to avoid ambiguity. In the ﬁgure below, arc ABC is the shorter arc between A and C, and arc
ADC is the longer arc between A and C. C
B
50° A 5
D A central angle of a circle is an angle with its vertex at the center of the circle.
The measure of an arc is the measure of its central angle, which is the angle
formed by two radii that connect the center of the circle to the two endpoints of the
arc. An entire circle is considered to be an arc with measure 360 . In the ﬁgure
above, the measure of arc ABC is 50 and the measure of arc ADC is 310 .
To ﬁnd the length of an arc of a circle, note that the ratio of the length of an
arc to the circumference is equal to the ratio of the degree measure of the arc to
360 . The circumference of the circle above is 10p. Therefore,
length of arc ABC
10p
length of arc ABC 50
360
50
(10p)
360 25p
18 (25)(3.14)
18 4.4 The area of a circle with radius r is equal to pr2. For example, the area of the circle
above with radius 5 is p(5)2 25p.
A sector of a circle is a region bounded by an arc of the circle and two radii. In
the circle above, the region bounded by arc ABC and the two dashed radii is a sector
with central angle 50 . Just as in the case of the length of an arc, the ratio of the
area of a sector of a circle to the area of the entire circle is equal to the ratio of the
degree measure of its arc to 360 . Therefore, if S represents the area of the sector
with central angle 50 , then
S
25p
S 50
360
50
(25p)
360 125p
36 (125)(3.14)
36 10.9 A tangent to a circle is a line that intersects the circle at exactly one point, called
the point of tangency, denoted by P in the ﬁgure at the top of the following page. If
a line is tangent to a circle, then a radius drawn to the point of tangency is perpendicular to the tangent line. The converse is also true; that is, if a line is perpendicular to a radius at its endpoint on the circle, then the line is a tangent to the circle at
that endpoint. 256 GRE Math Review Tangent line P A polygon is inscribed in a circle if all its vertices lie on the circle, or equivalently, the circle is circumscribed about the polygon. Triangles RST and XYZ below
are inscribed in the circles with centers O and W, respectively. Y S
T X O W Z R
If one side of an inscribed triangle is a diameter of the circle, as in triangle XYZ
above, then the triangle is a right triangle. Conversely, if an inscribed triangle is a
right triangle, then one of its sides is a diameter of the circle.
A polygon is circumscribed about a circle if each side of the polygon is tangent
to the circle, or equivalently, the circle is inscribed in the polygon. In the ﬁgure below, quadrilateral ABCD is circumscribed about the circle with center O. B
C O A D Two or more circles with the same center are called concentric circles, as
shown in the ﬁgure below. 257 GRE Math Review 3.6 ThreeDimensional Figures
Basic threedimensional ﬁgures include rectangular solids, cubes, cylinders, spheres,
pyramids, and cones. In this section, we look at some properties of rectangular solids and right circular cylinders.
A rectangular solid has six rectangular surfaces called faces, as shown in the
ﬁgure below. Adjacent faces are perpendicular to each other. Each line segment that
is the intersection of two faces is called an edge, and each point at which the edges
intersect is called a vertex. There are 12 edges and 8 vertices. The dimensions of a
rectangular solid are the length , the width w, and the height h. h w
A rectangular solid with six square faces is called a cube, in which case
w h.
The volume V of a rectangular solid is the product of its three dimensions, or
V wh The surface area A of a rectangular solid is the sum of the areas of the six faces,
or
A 2( w h wh) For example, if a rectangular solid has length 8.5, width 5, and height 10, then
its volume is
V (8.5)(5)(10) 425 and its surface area is
A 2((8.5)(5) (8.5)(10) (5)(10)) 355 A circular cylinder consists of two bases that are congruent circles and a lateral
surface made of all line segments that join points on the two circles and that are
parallel to the line segment joining the centers of the two circles. The latter line segment is called the axis of the cylinder. A right circular cylinder is a circular cylinder whose axis is perpendicular to its bases.
The right circular cylinder shown in the ﬁgure below has circular bases with
centers P and Q. Line segment PQ is the axis of the cylinder and is perpendicular to
both bases. The length of PQ is called the height of the cylinder. P Q 258 GRE Math Review
The volume V of a right circular cylinder that has height h and a base with radius r is the product of the height and the area of the base, or
V pr2h The surface area A of a right circular cylinder is the sum of the areas of the two
bases and the lateral area, or
2(pr2) A 2prh For example, if a right circular cylinder has height 6.5 and a base with radius 3,
then its volume is
p(3)2(6.5) V 58.5p and its surface area is
A (2)(p)(3)2 (2)(p)(3)(6.5) 57p GEOMETRY EXERCISES
1. Lines and m below are parallel. Find the values of x and y. 42°
57° 2. y° x° m In the ﬁgure below, AC BC. Find the values of x and y. B y° 125°
A
3. x°
C In the ﬁgure below, what is the relationship between x, y, and z? x° y° z° 259 GRE Math Review
4.
5.
6.
7.
8. What is the sum of the measures of the interior angles of a decagon (10sided polygon)?
If the polygon in question 4 is regular, what is the measure of each interior
angle?
The lengths of two sides of an isosceles triangle are 15 and 22, respectively.
What are the possible values of the perimeter?
Triangles PQR and XYZ are similar. If PQ 6, PR 4, and XY 9, what is
the length of side XZ?
What are the lengths of sides NO and OP in triangle NOP below? O 24
N
9. 10 P 40 In the ﬁgure below, AB BC
is the area of triangle ADG? CD. If the area of triangle CDE is 42, what D C E B F A
10. In rectangle ABCD below, AB
(a) Area of ABCD
(b) Area of triangle AEF
(c) Length of BD
(d) Perimeter of ABCD G
5, AF 7, and FD E B A 260 F 3. Find the following. C D GRE Math Review
11. In parallelogram ABCD below, ﬁnd the following.
(a) Area of ABCD
(b) Perimeter of ABCD
(c) Length of diagonal BD B C 4
A
12. 12 D 2 The circle with center O below has radius 4. Find the following.
(a) Circumference of the circle
(b) Length of arc ABC
(c) Area of the shaded region A C B 40°
O 13. The ﬁgure below shows two concentric circles, each with center O. Given
that the larger circle has radius 12 and the smaller circle has radius 7, ﬁnd
the following.
(a) Circumference of the larger circle
(b) Area of the smaller circle
(c) Area of the shaded region O 261 GRE Math Review
14. For the rectangular solid below, ﬁnd the following.
(a) Surface area of the solid
(b) Length of diagonal AB 7 B 2 10
A ANSWERS TO GEOMETRY EXERCISES
1. x 57 and y 138 2. x 70 and y 125 3. z x 4. 1,440 5. 144 6. 52 and 59 7. 6 8. NO 9. 378 (a) 50
(b) 17.5
(c) 5 5
(d) 30 11. (a) 48
(b) 24
45
(c) 2 29 12. (a) 8p
8p
(b)
9
16p
(c)
9 13. (a) 24p
(b) 49p
(c) 95p 14. 262 10. (a) 208
(b) 3 17 y 30 and OP 10 34 GRE Math Review 4. DATA ANALYSIS
The goal of data analysis is to understand data well enough to describe past and
present trends, predict future events, and make good decisions. In this limited review
of data analysis, we begin with tools for describing data; follow with tools for understanding counting and probability; review the concepts of distributions of data, random variables, and probability distributions; and end with examples of interpreting
data. 4.1 Graphical Methods for Describing Data
Data can be organized and summarized using a variety of methods. Tables are commonly used, and there are many graphical and numerical methods as well. The appropriate type of representation for a collection of data depends in part on the nature of the data, such as whether the data are numerical or nonnumerical. In this
section, we review some common graphical methods for describing and summarizing data.
Variables play a major role in algebra because a variable serves as a convenient
name for many values at once, and it also can represent a particular value in a given
problem to solve. In data analysis, variables also play an important role but with a
somewhat different meaning. In data analysis, a variable is any characteristic that
can vary for the population of individuals or objects being analyzed. For example,
both gender and age represent variables among people.
Data are collected from a population after observing either a single variable or
observing more than one variable simultaneously. The distribution of a variable, or
distribution of data, indicates the values of the variable and how frequently the values are observed in the data. Frequency Distributions
The frequency, or count, of a particular category or numerical value is the number
of times that the category or value appears in the data. A frequency distribution is
a table or graph that presents the categories or numerical values along with their
associated frequencies. The relative frequency of a category or a numerical value is
the associated frequency divided by the total number of data. Relative frequencies
may be expressed in terms of percents, fractions, or decimals. A relative frequency
distribution is a table or graph that presents the relative frequencies of the categories or numerical values.
Example 4.1.1: A survey was taken to ﬁnd the number of children in each of 25
families. A list of the values collected in the survey follows.
1204133120452323241230231 263 GRE Math Review
Here are the resulting frequency and relative frequency distributions of the data.
Frequency Distribution
Number of
Children Frequency 0
1
2
3
4
5 3
5
7
6
3
1 Total 25 Relative Frequency Distribution
Number of
Children Relative
Frequency 0
1
2
3
4
5 12%
20%
28%
24%
12%
4% Total 100% Note that the total for the relative frequencies is 100%. If decimals were used instead
of percents, the total would be 1. The sum of the relative frequencies in a relative
frequency distribution is always 1. Bar Graphs
A commonly used graphical display for representing frequencies, or counts, is a bar
graph, or bar chart. In a bar graph, rectangular bars are used to represent the categories of the data, and the height of each bar is proportional to the corresponding frequency or relative frequency. All of the bars are drawn with the same width, and the
bars can be presented either vertically or horizontally. Bar graphs enable comparisons
across several categories, making it easy to identify frequently and infrequently occurring categories. 264 GRE Math Review
Example 4.1.2:
FALL 2009 ENROLLMENT AT FIVE COLLEGES
8,000
7,000 Enrollment 6,000
5,000
4,000
3,000
2,000
1,000
0 College A College B College C College D College E From the graph, we can conclude that the college with the greatest fall 2009 enrollment was College E, and the college with the least enrollment was College A. Also,
we can estimate that the enrollment for College D was about 6,400.
A segmented bar graph is used to show how different subgroups or subcategories contribute to an entire group or category. In a segmented bar graph, each bar represents a category that consists of more than one subcategory. Each bar is divided
into segments that represent the different subcategories. The height of each segment
is proportional to the frequency or relative frequency of the subcategory that the segment represents.
Example 4.1.3:
FALL 2009 ENROLLMENT AT FIVE COLLEGES
8,000
FullTime
PartTime
7,000 Enrollment 6,000
5,000
4,000
3,000
2,000
1,000
0 College A College B College C College D College E Different values can be estimated from the segmented bar graph above. For example,
for College D, the total enrollment was approximately 6,400 students, the parttime
enrollment was approximately 2,200, and the fulltime enrollment was approximately 6,400 – 2,200, or 4,200 students.
265 GRE Math Review
Bar graphs can also be used to compare different groups using the same categories.
Example 4.1.4: Enrollment FALL 2009 AND SPRING 2010 ENROLLMENT
AT THREE COLLEGES
6,000
Fall 2009
Spring 2010
5,000
4,000
3,000
2,000
1,000
0 College A College B College C Observe that for all three colleges, the fall 2009 enrollment was greater than the
spring 2010 enrollment. Also, the greatest decrease in the enrollment from fall 2009
to spring 2010 occurred at College B.
Although bar graphs are commonly used to compare frequencies, as in the examples above, they are sometimes used to compare numerical data that could be displayed in a table, such as temperatures, dollar amounts, percents, heights, and
weights. Also, the categories sometimes are numerical in nature, such as years or
other time intervals. Circle Graphs
Circle graphs, often called pie charts, are used to represent data with a relatively
small number of categories. They illustrate how a whole is separated into parts. The
area of the circle graph representing each category is proportional to the part of the
whole that the category represents. 266 GRE Math Review
Example 4.1.5: UNITED STATES PRODUCTION OF PHOTOGRAPHIC
EQUIPMENT AND SUPPLIES IN 1971
Total: $3,980 million Sensitized Goods
47%
5% Office
Copiers
25% 12%
7%
4% MotionPicture
Equipment
StillPicture
Equipment Prepared Photochemicals
Microfilm Equipment
The graph shows that of all United States production of photographic equipment
and supplies in 1971, Sensitized Goods was the category with the greatest dollar
value.
Each part of a circle graph is called a sector. Because the area of each sector is
proportional to the percent of the whole that the sector represents, the measure of the
central angle of a sector is proportional to the percent of 360 degrees that the sector
represents. For example, the measure of the central angle of the sector representing
the category Prepared Photochemicals is 7 percent of 360 degrees, or 25.2 degrees. Histograms
When a list of data is large and contains many different values of a numerical variable, it is useful to organize it by grouping the values into intervals, often called
classes. To do this, divide the entire interval of values into smaller intervals of equal
length and then count the values that fall into each interval. In this way, each interval
has a frequency and a relative frequency. The intervals and their frequencies (or relative frequencies) are often displayed in a histogram. Histograms are graphs of frequency distributions that are similar to bar graphs, but they have a number line for
the horizontal axis. Also, in a histogram, there are no regular spaces between the bars.
Any spaces between bars in a histogram indicate that there are no data in the intervals represented by the spaces.
Example 4.5.1 in section 4.5 illustrates a histogram with 50 bars. Numerical variables with just a few values can also be displayed using histograms, where the frequency or relative frequency of each value is represented by a bar centered over the
value, as in the histogram in the following example. 267 GRE Math Review
Example 4.1.6: The relative frequency distribution in example 4.1.1 can be displayed
as a histogram. Relative Frequency Relative Frequency Distribution
30%
25%
20%
15%
10%
5%
0% 0 1 2
3
4
Number of Children 5 Histograms are useful for identifying the general shape of a distribution of data.
Also evident are the “center” and degree of “spread” of the distribution, as well as
highfrequency and lowfrequency intervals. From the histogram above, you can see
that the distribution is shaped like a mound with one peak; that is, the data are frequent in the middle and sparse at both ends. The central values are 2 and 3, and the
distribution is close to being symmetric about those values. Because the bars all have
the same width, the area of each bar is proportional to the amount of data that the
bar represents. Thus, the areas of the bars indicate where the data are concentrated
and where they are not.
Finally, note that because each bar has a width of 1, the sum of the areas of the
bars equals the sum of the relative frequencies, which is 100% or 1, depending on
whether percents or decimals are used. This fact is central to the discussion of probability distributions in section 4.5. Scatterplots
All examples used thus far have involved data resulting from a single characteristic or
variable. These types of data are referred to as univariate; that is, data observed for
one variable. Sometimes data are collected to study two different variables in the
same population of individuals or objects. Such data are called bivariate data. We
might want to study the variables separately or investigate a relationship between the
two variables. If the variables were to be analyzed separately, each of the graphical
methods for univariate numerical data presented above could be applied.
To show the relationship between two numerical variables, the most useful type of
graph is a scatterplot. In a scatterplot, the values of one variable appear on the horizontal axis of a rectangular coordinate system and the values of the other variable appear on the vertical axis. For each individual or object in the data, an ordered pair of
numbers is collected, one number for each variable, and the pair is represented by a
point in the coordinate system.
A scatterplot makes it possible to observe an overall pattern, or trend, in the relationship between the two variables. Also, the strength of the trend as well as striking
deviations from the trend are evident. In many cases, a line or a curve that best represents the trend is also displayed in the graph and is used to make predictions about
the population. 268 GRE Math Review
Example 4.1.7: A bicycle trainer studied 50 bicyclists to examine how the ﬁnishing
time for a certain bicycle race was related to the amount of physical training in the
three months before the race. To measure the amount of training, the trainer developed a training index, measured in “units” and based on the intensity of each bicyclist’s training. The data and the trend of the data, represented by a line, are displayed in the scatterplot below. FINISHING TIMES AND TRAINING INDICES
FOR 50 BICYCLISTS IN A RACE
6.0
5.5 Finishing Time
(hours) 5.0
4.5
4.0
Trend line
3.5
3.0
0.0 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70
Training Index
(units) 80 90 100 In addition to the given trend line, you can see how scattered or close the data are to
the trend line; or to put it another way, you can see how well the trend line ﬁts the
data. You can also see that the ﬁnishing times generally decrease as the training indices increase and that three or four data are relatively far from the trend.
Several types of predictions can be based on the trend line. For example, it can
be predicted, based on the trend line, that a bicyclist with a training index of 70
units would ﬁnish the race in approximately 4 hours. This value is obtained by noting that the vertical line at the training index of 70 units intersects the trend line
very close to 4 hours.
Another prediction based on the trend line is the number of minutes that a bicyclist can expect to lower his or her ﬁnishing time for each increase of 10 training
index units. This prediction is basically the ratio of the change in ﬁnishing time to
the change in training index, or the slope of the trend line. Note that the slope is
negative. To estimate the slope, estimate the coordinates of any two points on the
line—for instance, the points at the extreme left and right ends of the line: (0, 5.8)
and (100, 3.2). The slope is
3.2 – 5.8
100 – 0 – 2.6
100 – 0.026 which is measured in hours per unit. The slope can be interpreted as follows: the
ﬁnishing time is predicted to decrease 0.026 hours for every unit by which the train269 GRE Math Review
ing index increases. Since we want to know how much the ﬁnishing time decreases
for an increase of 10 units, we multiply the rate by 10 to get 0.26 hour per 10 units.
To compute the decrease in minutes per 10 units, we multiply 0.26 by 60 to get approximately 16 minutes. Based on the trend line, the bicyclist can expect to decrease
the ﬁnishing time by 16 minutes for every increase of 10 training index units. Time Plots
Sometimes data are collected in order to observe changes in a variable over time. For
example, sales for a department store may be collected monthly or yearly. A time plot
(sometimes called a time series) is a graphical display useful for showing changes in
data collected at regular intervals of time. A time plot of a variable plots each observation corresponding to the time at which it was measured. A time plot uses a coordinate plane similar to a scatterplot, but the time is always on the horizontal axis, and
the variable measured is always on the vertical axis. Additionally, consecutive observations are connected by a line segment to emphasize increases and decreases over
time. Enrollment Example 4.1.8: 5,000
4,000 FALL ENROLLMENT FOR COLLEGE A
2001–2009 3,000
2,000
1,000
0
2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
Year You can observe from the graph that the greatest increase in fall enrollment between
consecutive years occurred from 2008 to 2009. One way to determine this is by noting that the slope of the line segment joining the values for 2008 and 2009 is greater
than the slopes of the line segments joining all other consecutive years, because the
time intervals are regular.
Although time plots are commonly used to compare frequencies, as in the example above, they can be used to compare any numerical data as the data change over
time, such as temperatures, dollar amounts, percents, heights, and weights. 4.2 Numerical Methods for Describing Data
Data can be described numerically by various statistics, or statistical measures.
These statistical measures are often grouped in three categories: measures of central
tendency, measures of position, and measures of dispersion. Measures of Central Tendency
Measures of central tendency indicate the “center” of the data along the number line
and are usually reported as values that represent the data. There are three common
measures of central tendency: (i) the arithmetic mean —usually called the average or
simply the mean, (ii) the median, and (iii) the mode.
270 GRE Math Review
To calculate the mean of n numbers, take the sum of the n numbers and divide it
by n.
Example 4.2.1: For the ﬁve numbers 6, 4, 7, 10, and 4, the mean is
6 4 7
5 10 4 31
5 6.2 When several values are repeated in a list, it is helpful to think of the mean of the
numbers as a weighted mean of only those values in the list that are different.
Example 4.2.2: Consider the following list of 16 numbers.
2, 4, 4, 5, 7, 7, 7, 7, 7, 7, 8, 8, 9, 9, 9, 9
There are only 6 different values in the list: 2, 4, 5, 7, 8, and 9. The mean of the numbers in the list can be computed as
1(2) 2(4) 1(5)
121 6(7) 2(8)
624 4(9) 109
16 6.8125 The number of times a value appears in the list, or the frequency, is called the
weight of that value. So the mean of the 16 numbers is the weighted mean of the values 2, 4, 5, 7, 8, and 9, where the respective weights are 1, 2, 1, 6, 2, and 4. Note that
the sum of the weights is the number of numbers in the list, 16.
The mean can be affected by just a few values that lie far above or below the rest
of the data, because these values contribute directly to the sum of the data and therefore to the mean. By contrast, the median is a measure of central tendency that is
fairly unaffected by unusually high or low values relative to the rest of the data.
To calculate the median of n numbers, ﬁrst order the numbers from least to greatest. If n is odd, then the median is the middle number in the ordered list of numbers.
If n is even, then there are two middle numbers, and the median is the average of
these two numbers.
Example 4.2.3: The ﬁve numbers in example 4.2.1 listed in increasing order are 4, 4,
6, 7, 10, so the median is 6, the middle number. Note that if the number 10 in the list
is replaced by the number 24, the mean increases from 6.2 to
4 4 6
5 7 24 45
5 9 but the median remains equal to 6. This example shows how the median is relatively
unaffected by an unusually large value.
The median, as the “middle value” of an ordered list of numbers, divides the list
into roughly two equal parts. However, if the median is equal to one of the data values
and it is repeated in the list, then the numbers of data above and below the median
may be rather different. See example 4.2.2, where the median is 7, but four of the data
are less than 7 and six of the data are greater than 7.
The mode of a list of numbers is the number that occurs most frequently in the
list. 271 GRE Math Review
Example 4.2.4: The mode of the numbers in the list 1, 3, 6, 4, 3, 5 is 3. A list of numbers may have more than one mode. For example, the list 1, 2, 3, 3, 3, 5, 7, 10, 10,
10, 20 has two modes, 3 and 10. Measures of Position
The three most basic positions, or locations, in a list of data ordered from least to
greatest are the beginning, the end, and the middle. It is useful here to label these as L
for the least, G for the greatest, and M for the median. Aside from these, the most
common measures of position are quartiles and percentiles. Like the median M,
quartiles and percentiles are numbers that divide the data into roughly equal groups
after the data have been ordered from the least value L to the greatest value G. There
are three quartile numbers that divide the data into four roughly equal groups, and
there are 99 percentile numbers that divide the data into 100 roughly equal groups. As
with the mean and median, the quartiles and percentiles may or may not themselves
be values in the data.
The ﬁrst quartile Q1, the second quartile Q2 (which is simply the median M),
and the third quartile Q3 divide a group of data into four roughly equal groups as
follows. After the data are listed in increasing order, the ﬁrst group consists of the
data from L to Q1, the second group is from Q1 to M, the third group is from M to Q3,
and the fourth group is from Q3 to G. Because the number of data in a list may not be
divisible by 4, there are various rules to determine the exact values of Q1 and Q3 and
some statisticians use different rules, but in all cases Q2 M. We use perhaps the
most common rule, in which Q2 M divides the data into two equal parts—the lesser
numbers and the greater numbers—and then Q1 is the median of the lesser numbers
and Q3 is the median of the greater numbers.
Example 4.2.5: To ﬁnd the quartiles for the list of 16 numbers 2, 4, 4, 5, 7, 7, 7, 7, 7,
7, 8, 8, 9, 9, 9, 9 (already listed in order), ﬁrst divide the data into two groups of 8
numbers each. The ﬁrst group is 2, 4, 4, 5, 7, 7, 7, 7 and the second group is 7, 7, 8,
8, 9, 9, 9, 9, so that the second quartile, or median, is Q2 M 7. To ﬁnd the other
quartiles, you can take each of the two smaller groups and ﬁnd its median: the ﬁrst
quartile is Q1 6 (the average of 5 and 7) and the third quartile is Q3 8.5 (the average of 8 and 9).
In example 4.2.5, note that the number 4 is in the lowest 25 percent of the distribution of data. There are different ways to describe this. We can say that 4 is below
the ﬁrst quartile, that is, below Q1; we can also say that 4 is in the ﬁrst quartile. The
phrase “in a quartile” refers to being in one of the four groups determined by Q1, Q2,
and Q3.
Percentiles are mostly used for very large lists of numerical data ordered from
least to greatest. Instead of dividing the data into four groups, the 99 percentiles P1,
P2, P3, . . . , P99 divide the data into 100 groups. Consequently, Q1 P25, M Q2 P50,
and Q3 P75. Because the number of data in a list may not be divisible by 100, statisticians apply various rules to determine values of percentiles. 272 GRE Math Review
Measures of Dispersion
Measures of dispersion indicate the degree of “spread” of the data. The most common statistics used as measures of dispersion are the range, the interquartile range,
and the standard deviation. These statistics measure the spread of the data in different ways.
The range of the numbers in a group of data is the difference between the greatest number G in the data and the least number L in the data; that is, G – L. For example, given the list 11, 10, 5, 13, 21, the range of the numbers is 21 – 5 16.
The simplicity of the range is useful in that it reﬂects that maximum spread of the
data. However, sometimes a data value is so unusually small or so unusually large in
comparison with the rest of the data that it is viewed with suspicion when the data
are analyzed—the value could be erroneous or accidental in nature. Such data are
called outliers because they lie so far out that in most cases, they are ignored when
analyzing the data. Unfortunately, the range is directly affected by outliers.
A measure of dispersion that is not affected by outliers is the interquartile range.
It is deﬁned as the difference between the third quartile and the ﬁrst quartile, that is,
Q3 – Q1. Thus, the interquartile range measures the spread of the middle half of the
data.
Example 4.2.6: In the list of 16 numbers 2, 4, 4, 5, 7, 7, 7, 7, 7, 7, 8, 8, 9, 9, 9, 9, the
range is 9 – 2 7, the ﬁrst quartile is Q1 6, and the third quartile is Q3 8.5. So
the interquartile range for the numbers in this list is 8.5 – 6 2.5.
One way to summarize a group of numerical data and to illustrate its center and
spread is to use the ﬁve numbers L, Q1, Q2, Q3, and G. These ﬁve numbers can be plotted along a number line to show where the four quartile groups lie. Such plots are
called boxplots or boxandwhisker plots, because a box is used to identify each of
the two middle quartile groups of data, and “whiskers” extend outward from the
boxes to the least and greatest values. The following graph shows the boxplot for the
list of 16 numbers in example 4.2.6. Q1 L
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Q3 G M
8 9 10 There are a few variations in the way boxplots are drawn—the position of the
ends of the boxes can vary slightly, and some boxplots identify outliers with certain
symbols—but all boxplots show the center of the data at the median and illustrate the
spread of the data in each of the four quartile groups. As such, boxplots are useful for
comparing sets of data side by side.
Example 4.2.7: Two large lists of numerical data, list I and list II, are summarized by
the following boxplots. List I List II
100 200 300 400 500 600 700 800 900
273 GRE Math Review
Based on the boxplots, several different comparisons of the two lists can be made.
First, the median of list II, which is approximately 550, is greater than the median of
list I, which is approximately 450. Second, the two measures of spread, range and
interquartile range, are greater for list I than for list II. For list I, these measures are
approximately 520 and 430, respectively; and for list II, they are approximately 500
and 220, respectively.
Unlike the range and the interquartile range, the standard deviation is a measure
of spread that depends on each number in the list. Using the mean as the center of the
data, the standard deviation takes into account how much each value differs from the
mean and then takes a type of average of these differences. As a result, the more the
data are spread away from the mean, the greater the standard deviation; and the more
the data are clustered around the mean, the lesser the standard deviation.
The standard deviation of a group of n numerical data is computed by (1) calculating the mean of the n values, (2) ﬁnding the difference between the mean and each
of the n values, (3) squaring each of the differences, (4) ﬁnding the average of the n
squared differences, and (5) taking the nonnegative square root of the average
squared difference.
Example 4.2.8: For the ﬁve data 0, 7, 8, 10, and 10, the standard deviation can be
computed as follows. First, the mean of the data is 7, and the squared differences
from the mean are
(7 0)2, (7 7)2, (7 8)2, (7 10)2, (7 or 49, 0, 1, 9, 9. The average of the ﬁve squared differences is 10)2
68
, or 13.6, and the
5 positive square root of 13.6 is approximately 3.7.
Note on terminology: The term “standard deviation” deﬁned above is slightly different from another measure of dispersion, the sample standard deviation. The latter term is qualiﬁed with the word “sample” and is computed by dividing the sum of
the squared differences by n – 1 instead of n. The sample standard deviation is only
slightly different from the standard deviation but is preferred for technical reasons for
a sample of data that is taken from a larger population of data. Sometimes the standard deviation is called the population standard deviation to help distinguish it
from the sample standard deviation.
Example 4.2.9: Six hundred applicants for several post ofﬁce jobs were rated on a
scale from 1 to 50 points. The ratings had a mean of 32.5 points and a standard deviation of 7.1 points. How many standard deviations above or below the mean is a rating of 48 points? A rating of 30 points? A rating of 20 points?
Solution: Let d be the standard deviation, so d
viation above the mean is
32.5 d 32.5 7.1 points. Note that 1 standard de7.1 39.6 and 2 standard deviations above the mean is
32.5 2d 32.5 2(7.1) 46.7 So 48 is a little more than 2 standard deviations above the mean. Since 48 is actually
15.5 points above the mean, the number of standard deviations that 48 is above the
15.5
mean is
2.2. Thus, to answer the question, we ﬁrst found the difference from
7.1 274 GRE Math Review
the mean and then we divided by the standard deviation. The number of standard
deviations that a rating of 30 is away from the mean is
30 – 32.5
7.1 – 2.5
7.1 – 0.4 where the negative sign indicates that the rating is 0.4 standard deviation below the
mean.
The number of standard deviations that a rating of 20 is away from the mean is
20 – 32.5
7.1 – 12.5
7.1 – 1.8 where the negative sign indicates that the rating is 1.8 standard deviations below the
mean.
To summarize:
¼
¼
¼ 48 points is 15.5 points above the mean, or approximately 2.2 standard
deviations above the mean.
30 points is 2.5 points below the mean, or approximately 0.4 standard
deviation below the mean.
20 points is 12.5 points below the mean, or approximately 1.8 standard
deviations below the mean. One more instance, which may seem trivial, is important to note:
¼ 32.5 points is 0 points from the mean, or approximately 0 standard deviations
from the mean. Example 4.2.9 shows that for a group of data, each value can be located with respect to the mean by using the standard deviation as a ruler. The process of subtracting the mean from each value and then dividing the result by the standard deviation is
called standardization. Standardization is a useful tool because for each data value,
it provides a measure of position relative to the rest of the data independently of the
variable for which the data was collected and the units of the variable.
Note that the standardized values 2.2, – 0.4, and – 1.8 from example 4.2.9 are all
between – 3 and 3; that is, the corresponding ratings 48, 30, and 20 are all within 3
standard deviations above or below the mean. This is not surprising, based on the following fact about the standard deviation.
In any group of data, most of the data are within about 3 standard deviations
above or below the mean.
Thus, when any group of data are standardized, most of the data are transformed
to an interval on the number line centered about 0 and extending from about – 3 to 3.
The mean is always transformed to 0. 4.3 Counting Methods
Uncertainty is part of the process of making decisions and predicting outcomes. Uncertainty is addressed with the ideas and methods of probability theory. Since elementary probability requires an understanding of counting methods, we now turn to a discussion of counting objects in a systematic way before reviewing probability.
When a set of objects is small, it is easy to list the objects and count them one by
one. When the set is too large to count that way, and when the objects are related in a
275 GRE Math Review
patterned or systematic way, there are some useful techniques for counting the objects
without actually listing them. Sets and Lists
The term set has been used informally in this review to mean a collection of objects
that have some property, whether it is the collection of all positive integers, all points
in a circular region, or all students in a school that have studied French. The objects
of a set are called members or elements. Some sets are ﬁnite, which means that
their members can be completely counted. Finite sets can, in principle, have all of
their members listed, using curly brackets, such as the set of even digits {0, 2, 4, 6, 8}.
Sets that are not ﬁnite are called inﬁnite sets, such as the set of all integers. A set that
has no members is called the empty set and is denoted by the symbol . A set with
one or more members is called nonempty. If A and B are sets and all of the members
of A are also members of B, then A is a subset of B. For example, {2, 8} is a subset of
{0, 2, 4, 6, 8}. Also, by convention, is a subset of every set.
A list is like a ﬁnite set, having members that can all be listed, but with two differences. In a list, the members are ordered; that is, rearranging the members of a list
makes it a different list. Thus, the terms “ﬁrst element,” “second element,” etc., make
sense in a list. Also, elements can be repeated in a list and the repetitions matter. For
example, the lists 1, 2, 3, 2 and 1, 2, 2, 3 are different lists, each with four elements,
and they are both different from the list 1, 2, 3, which has three elements.
In contrast to a list, when the elements of a set are given, repetitions are not
counted as additional elements and the order of the elements does not matter. For example, the sets {1, 2, 3, 2} and {3, 1, 2} are the same set, which has three elements. For
any ﬁnite set S, the number of elements of S is denoted by ⎪S⎪. Thus, if
S {6.2, – 9, p, 0.01, 0}, then ⎪S⎪ 5. Also, ⎪ ⎪ 0.
Sets can be formed from other sets. If S and T are sets, then the intersection of S
and T is the set of all elements that are in both S and T and is denoted by S T. The
union of S and T is the set of all elements that are in either S or T or both and is
denoted by S T. If sets S and T have no elements in common, they are called disjoint or mutually exclusive.
A useful way to represent two or three sets and their possible intersections and
unions is a Venn diagram. In a Venn diagram, sets are represented by circular regions that overlap if they have elements in common but do not overlap if they are disjoint. Sometimes the circular regions are drawn inside a rectangular region, which
represents a universal set, of which all other sets involved are subsets.
Example 4.3.1: The sets A, B, and C are represented in the Venn diagram below,
where U represents a universal set. U A C 276 B GRE Math Review
The regions with vertical stripes represent the set A C. The regions with horizontal
stripes represent the set B. The region with both kinds of stripes represents the set
A B. The sets B and C are mutually exclusive, often written B C
.
The example above can be used to illustrate an elementary counting principle involving intersecting sets, called the inclusionexclusion principle for two sets. This
principle relates the numbers of elements in the union and intersection of two ﬁnite
sets: The number of elements in the union of two sets equals the sum of their individual numbers of elements minus the number of elements in their intersection. If
the sets in example 4.3.1 are ﬁnite, then we have for the union of A and B,
⎪A B⎪ ⎪A⎪ ⎪B⎪ – ⎪A B⎪ Because A B is a subset of both A and B, the subtraction is necessary to avoid
counting the elements in A B twice. For the union of B and C, we have
⎪B
because B C C⎪ ⎪B⎪ ⎪C⎪ . Multiplication Principle
Suppose there are two choices to be made sequentially and that the second choice is
independent of the ﬁrst choice. Suppose also that there are k different possibilities for
the ﬁrst choice and m different possibilities for the second choice. The multiplication
principle states that under those conditions, there are km different possibilities for
the pair of choices.
For example, suppose that a meal is to be ordered from a restaurant menu and
that the meal consists of one entree and one dessert. If there are 5 entrees and 3 des´
´
serts on the menu, then there are (5)(3) 15 different meals that can be ordered from
the menu.
The multiplication principle applies in more complicated situations as well. If
there are more than two independent choices to be made, then the number of different possible outcomes of all of the choices is the product of the numbers of possibilities for each choice.
Example 4.3.2: Suppose that a computer password consists of four characters such
that the ﬁrst character is one of the 10 digits from 0 to 9 and each of the next 3 characters is any one of the uppercase letters from the 26 letters of the English alphabet.
How many different passwords are possible?
Solution: The description of the password allows repetitions of letters. Thus, there are
10 possible choices for the ﬁrst character in the password and 26 possible choices
for each of the next 3 characters in the password. Therefore, applying the multiplication principle, the number of possible passwords is (10)(26)(26)(26) 175,760.
Note that if repetitions of letters are not allowed in the password, then the
choices are not all independent, but a modiﬁcation of the multiplication principle
can still be applied. There are 10 possible choices for the ﬁrst character in the
password, 26 possible choices for the second character, 25 for the third character
because the ﬁrst letter cannot be repeated, and 24 for the fourth character because the ﬁrst two letters cannot be repeated. Therefore, the number of possible
passwords is (10)(26)(25)(24) 156,000.
Example 4.3.3: Each time a coin is tossed, there are 2 possible outcomes—either it lands
heads up or it lands tails up. Using this fact and the multiplication principle, you can
conclude that if a coin is tossed 8 times, there are (2)(2)(2)(2)(2)(2)(2)(2) 28 256
possible outcomes.
277 GRE Math Review
Permutations and Factorials
Suppose you want to determine the number of different ways the 3 letters A, B, and C
can be placed in order from 1st to 3rd. The following is a list of all the possible orders
in which the letters can be placed.
ABC ACB BAC BCA CAB CBA There are 6 possible orders for the 3 letters.
Now suppose you want to determine the number of different ways the 4 letters A,
B, C, and D can be placed in order from 1st to 4th. Listing all of the orders for 4 letters is timeconsuming, so it would be useful to be able to count the possible orders
without listing them.
To order the 4 letters, one of the 4 letters must be placed ﬁrst, one of the remaining 3 letters must be placed second, one of the remaining 2 letters must be placed
third, and the last remaining letter must be placed fourth. Therefore, applying the
multiplication principle, there are (4)(3)(2)(1), or 24, ways to order the 4 letters.
More generally, suppose n objects are to be ordered from 1st to nth, and we want
to count the number of ways the objects can be ordered. There are n choices for the
ﬁrst object, n – 1 choices for the second object, n – 2 choices for the third object, and
so on, until there is only 1 choice for the nth object. Thus, applying the multiplication
principle, the number of ways to order the n objects is equal to the product
n(n – 1)(n – 2)•••(3)(2)(1)
Each order is called a permutation, and the product above is called the number of
permutations of n objects.
Because products of the form n(n – 1)(n – 2)•••(3)(2)(1) occur frequently when
counting objects, a special symbol n!, called n factorial, is used to denote this product.
For example,
1!
2!
3!
4! 1
(2)(1) 2
(3)(2)(1) 6
(4)(3)(2)(1) 24 As a special deﬁnition, 0! 1.
Note that n! n(n – 1)! n(n – 1)(n – 2)! n(n – 1)(n – 2)(n – 3)! and so on. Example 4.3.4: Suppose that 10 students are going on a bus trip, and each of the
students will be assigned to one of the 10 available seats. Then the number of possible different seating arrangements of the students on the bus is
10! (10)(9)(8)(7)(6)(5)(4)(3)(2)(1) 3,628,800 Now suppose you want to determine the number of ways in which you can select 3
of the 5 letters A, B, C, D, and E and place them in order from 1st to 3rd. Reasoning
as in the preceding examples, you ﬁnd that there are (5)(4)(3), or 60, ways to select
and order them.
More generally, suppose that k objects will be selected from a set of n objects,
where k n, and the k objects will be placed in order from 1st to kth. Then there are
n choices for the ﬁrst object, n – 1 choices for the second object, n – 2 choices for the
third object, and so on, until there are n – k 1 choices for the kth object. Thus, ap278 GRE Math Review
plying the multiplication principle, the number of ways to select and order k objects
from a set of n objects is n(n – 1)(n – 2)•••(n – k 1). It is useful to note that
n(n – 1)(n – 2)•••(n – k 1) n(n – 1)(n – 2)•••(n – k (n – k)!
1)
(n – k)! n!
(n – k)!
This expression represents the number of permutations of n objects taken k at a
time; that is, the number of ways to select and order k objects out of n objects.
Example 4.3.5: How many different ﬁvedigit positive integers can be formed using
the digits 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7 if none of the digits can occur more than once in the
integer?
Solution: This example asks how many ways there are to order 5 integers chosen
from a set of 7 integers. According to the counting principle above, there
are (7)(6)(5)(4)(3) 2,520 ways to do this. Note that this is equal to
7!
(7)(6)(5)(4)(3)(2!)
(7)(6)(5)(4)(3).
(7 – 5)!
2! Combinations
Given the ﬁve letters A, B, C, D, and E, suppose that you want to determine the number of ways in which you can select 3 of the 5 letters, but unlike before, you do not
want to count different orders for the 3 letters. The following is a list of all of the ways
in which 3 of the 5 letters can be selected without regard to the order of the letters.
ABC ABD ABE ACD ACE ADE BCD BCE BDE CDE There are 10 ways of selecting the 3 letters without order. There is a relationship between selecting with order and selecting without order.
The number of ways to select 3 of the 5 letters without order, which is 10, multiplied by the number of ways to order the 3 letters, which is 3!, or 6, is equal to the
5!
number of ways to select 3 of the 5 letters and order them, which is
60. In short,
2!
(number of ways to select without order) (number of ways to order)
(number of ways to select with order) This relationship can also be described as follows.
(number of ways to select without order) (number of ways to select with order)
(number of ways to order)
5!
2!
5!
10
3!
3!2! More generally, suppose that k objects will be chosen from a set of n objects, where
k n, but that the k objects will not be put in order. The number of ways in which
this can be done is called the number of combinations of n objects taken k at a
n!
time and is given by the formula
.
k!(n – k)!
Another way to refer to the number of combinations of n objects taken k at a time
is n choose k, and two notations commonly used to denote this number are nCk
n
and
.
k
279 GRE Math Review
Example 4.3.6: Suppose you want to select a 3person committee from a group of 9
students. How many ways are there to do this?
Solution: Since the 3 students on the committee are not ordered, you can use the
formula for the combination of 9 objects taken 3 at a time, or “9 choose 3”:
9!
3!(9 – 3)! 9!
3!6! (9)(8)(7)
(3)(2)(1) 84 Using the terminology of sets, given a set S consisting of n elements, n choose k is
n!
simply the number of subsets of S that consist of k elements. The formula
k!(n – k)!
also holds when k 0 and k n.
¼ n choose 0 is n!
1, which corresponds to the fact that there is only one
0!n!
subset of S with 0 elements, namely the empty set.
¼ n choose n is n!
1, since there is only one subset of S with n elements,
n!0!
namely the set S itself.
Finally, note that n choose k is always equal to n choose n – k, because
n!
(n – k)!(n – (n – k))! n!
(n – k)!k! n!
k!(n – k)! 4.4 Probability
Probability is a way of describing uncertainty in numerical terms. In this section we
review some of the terminology used in elementary probability theory.
A probability experiment, also called a random experiment, is an experiment
for which the result, or outcome, is uncertain. We assume that all of the possible outcomes of an experiment are known before the experiment is performed, but which
outcome will actually occur is unknown. The set of all possible outcomes of a random
experiment is called the sample space, and any particular set of outcomes is called
an event. For example, consider a cube with faces numbered 1 to 6, called a 6sided
die. Rolling the die once is an experiment in which there are 6 possible outcomes—
either 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6 will appear on the top face. The sample space for this experiment is the set of numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6. Two examples of events for this experiment are (i) rolling the number 4, which has only one outcome, and (ii) rolling an odd
number, which has three outcomes.
The probability of an event is a number from 0 to 1, inclusive, that indicates the
likelihood that the event occurs when the experiment is performed. The greater the
number, the more likely the event.
Example 4.4.1: Consider the following experiment. A box contains 15 pieces of paper,
each of which has the name of one of the 15 students in a class consisting of 7 male
and 8 female students, all with different names. The instructor will shake the box for
a while and then, without looking, choose a piece of paper at random and read the
name. Here the sample space is the set of 15 names. The assumption of random
selection means that each of the names is equally likely to be selected. If this assumption is made, then the probability that any one particular name is selected is 280 GRE Math Review
1
. For any event E, the probability that E occurs, denoted by P(E), is de15
ﬁned by the ratio
equal to P(E) the number of names in the event E
15 7
.
15
In general, for a random experiment with a ﬁnite number of possible outcomes, if
each outcome is equally likely to occur, then the probability that an event E occurs is
deﬁned by the ratio
If M is the event that the student selected is male, then P(M) P(E) the number of outcomes in the event E
the number of possible outcomes in the experiment In the case of rolling a 6sided die, if the die is “fair,” then the 6 outcomes are equally
1
likely. So the probability of rolling a 4 is , and the probability of rolling an odd
6
31
number—rolling a 1, 3, or 5—can be calculated as
.
62
The following are general facts about probability.
¼
¼
¼
¼
¼
¼ If an event E is certain to occur, then P(E) 1.
If an event E is certain not to occur, then P(E) 0.
If an event E is possible but not certain to occur, then 0 P(E) 1.
The probability that an event E will not occur is equal to 1 – P(E).
If E is an event, then the probability of E is the sum of the probabilities of the
outcomes in E.
The sum of the probabilities of all possible outcomes of an experiment is 1. If E and F are two events of an experiment, we consider two other events related
to E and F.
¼
¼ The event that both E and F occur; that is, outcomes in the set E F.
The event that E or F or both occur; that is, outcomes in the set E F. Events that cannot occur at the same time are said to be mutually exclusive. For
example, if a 6sided die is rolled once, the event of rolling an odd number and the
event of rolling an even number are mutually exclusive. But rolling a 4 and rolling an
even number are not mutually exclusive, since 4 is an outcome that is common to
both events.
For events E and F, we have the following rules.
¼
¼
¼ P (either E or F or both occur) P(E) P(F) – P(both E and F occur), which is
the inclusionexclusion principle applied to probability.
If E and F are mutually exclusive, then P (both E and F occur) 0, and
therefore, P(either E or F or both occur) P(E) P(F).
E and F are said to be independent if the occurrence of either event does not
affect the occurrence of the other. If two events E and F are independent, then
P(both E and F occur) P(E)P(F). For example, if a fair 6sided die is rolled
twice, the event E of rolling a 3 on the ﬁrst roll and the event F of rolling a 3
on the second roll are independent, and the probability of rolling a 3 on both
11
1
rolls is P(E)P(F)
. In this example, the experiment is actually
66
36
281 GRE Math Review
“rolling the die twice,” and each outcome is an ordered pair of results like “4
on the ﬁrst roll and 1 on the second roll.” But event E restricts only the ﬁrst
roll—to a 3—having no effect on the second roll; similarly, event F restricts
only the second roll—to a 3—having no effect on the ﬁrst roll.
Note that if P(E) 0 and P(F) 0, then events E and F cannot be both
mutually exclusive and independent. For if E and F are independent, then
P(both E and F occur)
P(E)P(F) 0; but if E and F are mutually exclusive, then
P(both E and F occur) 0.
It is common to use the shorter notation “E and F” instead of “both E and F occur” and use “E or F” instead of “E or F or both occur.” With this notation, we have
the following rules.
¼
¼
¼ P(E or F) P(E) P(F) – P(E and F)
P(E or F) P(E) P(F) if E and F are mutually exclusive.
P(E and F) P(E)P(F) if E and F are independent. Example 4.4.2: If a fair 6sided die is rolled once, let E be the event of rolling a 3 and
let F be the event of rolling an odd number. These events are not independent. This
is because rolling a 3 makes certain that the event of rolling an odd number occurs.
Note that P(E and F) P(E)P(F), since
P(E and F) P(E) 1
and P(E)P(F)
6 11
62 1
12 Example 4.4.3: A 12sided die, with faces numbered 1 to 12, is to be rolled once, and
each of the 12 possible outcomes is equally likely to occur. The probability of rolling
1
1
11
a 4 is
, so the probability of rolling a number that is not a 4 is 1 –
. The
12
12 12
probability of rolling a number that is either a multiple of 5—a 5 or a 10—or an odd
number—a 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, or 11—is equal to
P(multiple of 5) P(odd) – P(multiple of 5 and odd) 2
12
7
12 6–1
12 12 Another way to calculate this probability is to notice that rolling a number that
is either a multiple of 5 (5 or 10) or an odd number (1, 3, 5, 7, 9, or 11) is the same
as rolling one of 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 10, and 11, which are 7 equally likely outcomes. So by
7
using the ratio formula to calculate the probability, the required probability is
.
12
Example 4.4.4: Consider an experiment with events A, B, and C for which P(A) 0.23,
P(B) 0.40, and P(C) 0.85. Suppose that events A and B are mutually exclusive
and events B and C are independent. What are the probabilities P(A or B) and
P(B or C)?
Solution: Since A and B are mutually exclusive,
P(A or B) 282 P(A) P(B) 0.23 0.40 0.63 GRE Math Review
Since B and C are independent, P(B and C)
P(B or C) P(B)P(C). So, P(C) – P(B and C) P(B) P(B) P(C) – P(B)P(C) Therefore,
P(B or C) 0.40
0.91 0.85 – (0.40)(0.85) 1.25 – 0.34 Example 4.4.5: Suppose that there is a 6sided die that is weighted in such a way
that each time the die is rolled, the probabilities of rolling any of the numbers from
1 to 5 are all equal, but the probability of rolling a 6 is twice the probability of rolling a 1. When you roll the die once, the 6 outcomes are not equally likely. What are
the probabilities of the 6 outcomes?
Solution: Using the notation P(1) for the probability of rolling a 1, let p P(1). Then
each of the probabilities of rolling a 2, 3, 4, or 5 is equal to p, and the probability of
rolling a 6 is 2p. Therefore, since the sum of the probabilities of all possible outcomes is 1, it follows that
1 P(1)
7p P(2) P(3) P(4) P(5) P(6) p p p So the probability of rolling each of the numbers from 1 to 5 is p
ability of rolling a 6 is p p 2p 1
, and the prob7 2
.
7 Example 4.4.6: Suppose that you roll the weighted 6sided die from example 4.4.5
twice. What is the probability that the ﬁrst roll will be an odd number and the second roll will be an even number?
Solution: To calculate the probability that the ﬁrst roll will be odd and the second
roll will be even, note that these two events are independent. To calculate the probability that both occur, you must multiply the probabilities of the two independent
events. First compute the individual probabilities.
P(odd) P(1) P(3) P(5) P(even) P(2) P(4) P(6) Then, P(first roll is odd and second roll is even) 3
7
4
7 P(odd)P(even) 34
77 12
.
49 Two events that happen sequentially are not always independent. The occurrence
of one event may affect the occurrence of a following event. In this case, the probability that both events happen is equal to the probability that the ﬁrst event happens
multiplied by the probability that given that the ﬁrst event has already happened, the
second event happens as well.
Example 4.4.7: A box contains 5 orange disks, 4 red disks, and 1 blue disk. You are
to select two disks at random and without replacement from the box. What is the
probability that the ﬁrst disk you select will be red and the second disk you select
will be orange?
283 GRE Math Review
Solution: To solve, you need to calculate the following two probabilities and then
multiply them
¼
¼ The probability that the ﬁrst disk selected from the box will be red
The probability that the second disk selected from the box will be orange,
given that the ﬁrst disk selected from the box is red 4
2
. If the ﬁrst disk
10 5
you select is red, there will be 5 orange disks, 3 red disks, and 1 blue disk left in the
box, for a total of 9 disks. Therefore, the probability that the second disk you select
5
will be orange, given that the ﬁrst disk you selected is red, is . Multiply the two
9
25
2
probabilities to get
.
59
9
The probability that the ﬁrst disk you select will be red is 4.5 Distributions of Data, Random Variables,
and Probability Distributions
In data analysis, variables whose values depend on chance play an important role in
linking distributions of data to probability distributions. Such variables are called random variables. We begin with a review of distributions of data. Distributions of Data
Recall that relative frequency distributions given in a table or histogram are a common way to show how numerical data are distributed. In a histogram, the areas of the
bars indicate where the data are concentrated. The histogram in example 4.1.6 illustrates a small group of data, with only 6 possible values and only 25 data altogether.
Many groups of data are much larger than 25 and have many more than 6 possible
values, which are often measurements of quantities like length, money, and time.
Example 4.5.1: The lifetimes of 800 electric devices were measured. Because the lifetimes had many different values, the measurements were grouped into 50 intervals,
or classes, of 10 hours each: 601–610 hours, 611–620 hours, . . . , 1,091–1,100 hours.
The resulting relative frequency distribution, as a histogram, has 50 thin bars and
many different bar heights, as shown below.
Relative Frequency Distribution for Lifetimes of 800 Electric Devices 600 700
m–d 284 800
Mm 900
m+d m + 2d 1,000
m + 3d 1,100 GRE Math Review
Note that the tops of the bars of the histogram have a relatively smooth appearance
and begin to look like a curve. In general, histograms that represent very large data sets
with many classes appear to have smooth shapes. Consequently, the distribution can be
modeled by a smooth curve that is close to the tops of the bars. Such a model retains
the shape of the distribution but is independent of classes.
Recall from example 4.1.6 that the sum of the areas of the bars of a relative frequency
histogram is 1. Although the units on the horizontal axis of a histogram vary from one
data set to another, the vertical scale can be adjusted (stretched or shrunk) so that the
sum of the areas of the bars is 1. With this vertical scale adjustment, the area under the
curve that models the distribution is also 1. This model curve is called a distribution
curve, but it has other names as well, including density curve and frequency curve.
The purpose of the distribution curve is to give a good illustration of a large distribution of numerical data that doesn’t depend on speciﬁc classes. To achieve this, the
main property of a distribution curve is that the area under the curve in any vertical
slice, just like a histogram bar, represents the proportion of the data that lies in the
corresponding interval on the horizontal axis, which is at the base of the slice.
Before leaving this histogram, note that the mean m and the median M of the data
are marked on the horizontal axis. Also, several standard deviations above and below
the mean are marked, where d is the standard deviation of the data. The standard deviation marks show how most of the data are within about 3 standard deviations above
or below the mean (that is, between the numbers m – 3d (not shown) and m 3d).
Finally, regarding the mean and the median, recall that the median splits the data
into a lower half and an upper half, so that the sum of the areas of the bars to the left
of M is the same as the sum of the areas to the right. On the other hand, m takes into
account the exact value of each of the data, not just whether a value is high or low. The
nature of the mean is such that if an imaginary fulcrum were placed somewhere under
the horizontal axis in order to balance the distribution perfectly, the balancing position
would be exactly at m. That is why m is somewhat to the right of M. The balance point
at m takes into account how high the few very high values are (to the far right), while
M just counts them as “high.” To summarize, the median is the “halving point,” and the
mean is the “balance point.” Random Variables
When analyzing data, it is common to choose a value of the data at random and consider that choice as a random experiment, as introduced in section 4.4. Then, the
probabilities of events involving the randomly chosen value may be determined. Given
a distribution of data, a variable, say X, may be used to represent a randomly chosen
value from the distribution. Such a variable X is an example of a random variable,
which is a variable whose value is a numerical outcome of a random experiment.
Example 4.5.2: In the data from example 4.1.1 consisting of numbers of children, let
X represent the number of children in a randomly chosen family among the 25 families. What is the probability that X 3 ? That X 3 ? That X is less than the mean of
the distribution? 285 GRE Math Review
Solution: For convenience, here is the frequency distribution of the data.
Number of
Children Frequency 0
1
2
3
4
5 3
5
7
6
3
1 Total 25 Since there are 6 families with 3 children and each of the 25 families is equally likely
6
to be chosen, the probability that a family with 3 children will be chosen is
. That
25
6
is, X 3 is an event, and its probability is P(X 3)
, or 0.24. It is common to
25
use the shorter notation P(3) instead of P(X 3), so you could write P(3) 0.24.
Note that in the histogram, shown below, the area of the bar corresponding to X
3
as a proportion of the combined areas of all of the bars is equal to this probability.
This indicates how probability is related to area in a histogram for a relative frequency distribution.
Relative Frequency Distribution
Relative Frequency 30%
25%
20%
15%
10%
5%
0% 0 1 2
3
4
Number of Children 5 As for the event X 3, it is the same as the event “X 4 or X 5”. Because X 4
and X 5 are mutually exclusive events, we can use the rules of probability from
section 4.4.
P(X P(4) 3) 3
25 P(5) 1
25 0.12 0.04 0.16 For the last question, ﬁrst compute the mean of the distribution.
0(3) 1(5) 2(7) 3(6) 4(3) 5(1) 54
25 2.16 5
25 7
25 15
25 25
Then,
P(X 286 2.16) P(0) P(1) P(2) 3
25 0.6 GRE Math Review
A table showing all 6 possible values of X and their probabilities is called the
probability distribution of the random variable X.
Probability Distribution of the Random Variable X
X P(X) 0
1
2
3
4
5 0.12
0.20
0.28
0.24
0.12
0.04 Note that the probabilities are simply the relative frequencies of the 6 possible values expressed as decimals instead of percents. The following statement indicates a
fundamental link between data distributions and probability distributions.
For a random variable that represents a randomly chosen value from a distribution
of data, the probability distribution of the random variable is the same as the relative
frequency distribution of the data.
Because the probability distribution and the relative frequency distribution are essentially the same, the probability distribution can be represented by a histogram.
Also, all of the descriptive statistics—such as mean, median, and standard deviation—
that apply to the distribution of data also apply to the probability distribution. For
example, we say that the probability distribution above has a mean of 2.16, a median
of 2, and a standard deviation of about 1.3, since the 25 data values have these statistics, as you can check.
These statistics are similarly deﬁned for the random variable X above. Thus, we
would say that the mean of the random variable X is 2.16. Another name for the
mean of a random variable is expected value. So we would also say that the expected
value of X is 2.16. Note that the mean of X can be expressed in terms of probabilities
as follows.
0(3) 1(5) 2(7) 3(6)
25 4(3) 5(1) 3
25
0P(0) 0 5
25
1P(1)
1 7
25
2P(2)
2 6
25
3P(3)
3 3
25
4P(4)
4 1
25
5P(5)
5 which is the sum of the products XP(X); that is, the sum of each value of X multiplied
by its corresponding probability P(X).
The preceding example involves a common type of random variable—one that
represents a randomly chosen value from a distribution of data. However, the concept
of a random variable is more general. A random variable can be any quantity whose
value is the result of a random experiment. The possible values of the random variable
are the same as the outcomes of the experiment. So any random experiment with numerical outcomes naturally has a random variable associated with it, as in the following example. 287 GRE Math Review
Example 4.5.3: Let Y represent the outcome of the experiment in example 4.4.5 of
rolling a weighted 6sided die. Then Y is a random variable with 6 possible values,
the numbers 1 through 6. Each value of Y has a probability, which is listed in the
probability distribution of the random variable Y and is shown in a histogram for Y.
Probability Distribution of the Random Variable Y
Y 1 2 3 4 5 6 P(Y) 1
7 1
7 1
7 1
7 1
7 2
7 Probability 3
7 Histogram for the Random Variable Y 2
7
1
7
0 1 2 3
4
Value of Y 5 6 The mean, or expected value, of Y can be computed as
P(1) 2P(2) 3P(3) 4P(4) 5P(5) 6P(6) 1
1
1
2
3
7
7
7
12345
77777
27
3.86
7 4 1
7 5 1
7 6 2
7 12
7 Both of the random variables X and Y above are examples of discrete random variables because their values consist of discrete points on a number line.
A basic fact about probability from section 4.4 is that the sum of the probabilities
of all possible outcomes of an experiment is 1, which can be conﬁrmed by adding all
of the probabilities in each of the probability distributions for the random variables X
and Y above. Also, the sum of the areas of the bars in a histogram for the probability
distribution of a random variable is 1. This fact is related to a fundamental link between the areas of the bars of a histogram and the probabilities of a discrete random
variable.
In the histogram for a random variable, the area of each bar is proportional to the
probability represented by the bar.
If the die in example 4.4.5 were a fair die instead of weighted, then the probability
1
of each of the outcomes would be , and consequently, each of the bars in the histo6
gram would have the same height. Such a ﬂat histogram indicates a uniform distribution, since the probability is distributed uniformly over all possible outcomes. 288 GRE Math Review
The Normal Distribution
Many natural processes yield data that have a relative frequency distribution shaped
somewhat like a bell, as in the distribution below with mean m and standard deviation d.
Approximately Normal Relative Frequency Distribution m – 3d m – 2d m–d m m+d m + 2d m + 3d Such data are said to be approximately normally distributed and have the following
properties.
¼
¼
¼
¼ The mean, median, and mode are all nearly equal.
The data are grouped fairly symmetrically about the mean.
About twothirds of the data are within 1 standard deviation of the mean.
Almost all of the data are within 2 standard deviations of the mean. As stated above, you can always associate a random variable X with a distribution
of data by letting X be a randomly chosen value from the distribution. If X is such a
random variable for the distribution above, we say that X is approximately normally
distributed.
As described in example 4.5.1, relative frequency distributions are often approximated using a smooth curve—a distribution curve or density curve—for the tops of
the bars in the histogram. The region below such a curve represents a distribution,
called a continuous probability distribution. There are many different continuous
probability distributions, but the most important one is the normal distribution,
which has a bellshaped curve like the one shown in the ﬁgure below.
Normal Distribution m – 3d m – 2d m–d m m+d m + 2d m + 3d 289 GRE Math Review
Just as a data distribution has a mean and standard deviation, the normal probability
distribution has a mean and standard deviation. Also, the properties listed above for
the approximately normal distribution of data hold for the normal distribution, except
that the mean, median, and mode are exactly the same and the distribution is perfectly symmetric about the mean.
A normal distribution, though always shaped like a bell, can be centered around
any mean and can be spread out to a greater or lesser degree, depending on the standard deviation. Below are three normal distributions that have different centers and
spreads. From left to right, the means of the three distributions are – 10, 1, and 20;
and the standard deviations are 5, 10, and 2. Three Normal Distributions –30 –25 –20 –15 –10 –5 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 As mentioned earlier, areas of the bars in a histogram for a discrete random variable
correspond to probabilities for the values of the random variable; the sum of the areas
is 1 and the sum of the probabilities is 1. This is also true for a continuous probability
distribution: the area of the region under the curve is 1, and the areas of vertical slices
of the region—similar to the bars of a histogram—are equal to probabilities of a random variable associated with the distribution. Such a random variable is called a continuous random variable, and it plays the same role as a random variable that represents a randomly chosen value from a distribution of data. The main difference is that
we seldom consider the event in which a continuous random variable is equal to a
single value like X 3; rather, we consider events that are described by intervals of
values such as 1 X 3 and X 10. Such events correspond to vertical slices under a
continuous probability distribution, and the areas of the vertical slices are the probabilities of the corresponding events. (Consequently, the probability of an event such as
X 3 would correspond to the area of a line segment, which is 0.)
Example 4.5.4: If W is a random variable that is normally distributed with a mean of
5 and a standard deviation of 2, what is P(W 5) ? Approximately what is
P(3 W 7) ? Which of the four numbers 0.5, 0.1, 0.05, or 0.01 is the best estimate
– 1) ?
of P(W 290 GRE Math Review –2 –1 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 Solution: Since the mean of the distribution is 5, and the distribution is symmetric
about the mean, the event W 5 corresponds to exactly half of the area under the
1
normal distribution. So P(W 5)
.
2
For the event 3 W 7, note that since the standard deviation of the distribution is 2, the values 3 and 7 are one standard deviation below and above the mean,
respectively. Since about twothirds of the area is within one standard deviation of
2
the mean, P(3 W 7) is approximately .
3
– 1, note that – 1 is 3 standard deviations below the mean.
For the event W
Since the graph makes it fairly clear that the area of the region under the normal
curve to the left of – 1 is much less than 5 percent of all of the area, the best of the
– 1) is 0.01.
four estimates given for P(W
The standard normal distribution is a normal distribution with a mean of 0 and
standard deviation equal to 1. To transform a normal distribution with a mean of m
and a standard deviation of d to a standard normal distribution, you standardize the
values (as explained below example 4.2.9); that is, you subtract m from any observed
value of the normal distribution and then divide the result by d.
Very precise values for probabilities associated with normal distributions can be
computed using calculators, computers, or statistical tables for the standard normal
– 1) are
distribution. For example, more precise values for P(3 W 7) and P(W
0.683 and 0.0013. Such calculations are beyond the scope of this review. 291 GRE Math Review 4.6 Data Interpretation Examples
Example 4.6.1:
DISTRIBUTION OF CUSTOMER COMPLAINTS
RECEIVED BY AIRLINE P, 2003 AND 2004
Category 2003 2004 Flight problem 20.0% 22.1% Baggage 18.3 21.8 Customer service 13.1 11.3 Oversales of seats 10.5 11.8 Refund problem 10.1 8.1 Fare 6.4 6.0 Reservation and ticketing 5.8 5.6 Tours 3.3 2.3 Smoking 3.2 2.9 Advertising 1.2 1.1 Credit 1.0 0.8 Special passenger accommodation 0.9 0.9 Other 6.2 5.3 Total 100.0% 100.0% Total number of complaints 22,998 13,278 (a) Approximately how many complaints concerning credit were received by Airline
P in 2003?
(b) By approximately what percent did the total number of complaints decrease
from 2003 to 2004?
(c) Based on the information in the table, which of the following statements are
true?
I. In each of the years 2003 and 2004, complaints about ﬂight problems,
baggage, and customer service together accounted for more than 50 percent
of all customer complaints received by Airline P.
II. The number of special passenger accommodation complaints was
unchanged from 2003 to 2004.
III. From 2003 to 2004, the number of ﬂight problem complaints increased by
more than 2 percent. 292 GRE Math Review
Solutions:
(a) According to the table, in 2003, 1 percent of the total number of complaints
concerned credit. Therefore, the number of complaints concerning credit is
equal to 1 percent of 22,998. By converting 1 percent to its decimal equivalent,
you obtain that the number of complaints in 2003 is equal to (0.01)(22,998), or
about 230.
(b) The decrease in the total number of complaints from 2003 to 2004 was
9,720
(100%),
22,998 – 13,278, or 9,720. Therefore, the percent decrease was
22,998
or approximately 42 percent.
(c) Since 20.0 18.3 13.1 and 22.1 21.8 11.3 are both greater than 50,
statement I is true. For statement II, the percent of special passenger
accommodation complaints did remain the same from 2003 to 2004, but the
number of such complaints decreased because the total number of complaints
decreased. Thus, statement II is false. For statement III, the percents shown in
the table for ﬂight problems do in fact increase by more than 2 percentage
points, but the bases of the percents are different. The total number of
complaints in 2004 was much lower than the total number of complaints in
2003, and clearly 20 percent of 22,998 is greater than 22.1 percent of 13,278. So,
the number of ﬂight problem complaints actually decreased from 2003 to 2004,
and statement III is false.
Example 4.6.2: UNITED STATES PRODUCTION OF PHOTOGRAPHIC
EQUIPMENT AND SUPPLIES IN 1971
Total: $3,980 million Sensitized Goods
47%
5% Office
Copiers
25% 12%
7%
4% MotionPicture
Equipment
StillPicture
Equipment Prepared Photochemicals
Microfilm Equipment
(a) Approximately what was the ratio of the value of sensitized goods to the value of
stillpicture equipment produced in 1971 in the United States?
(b) If the value of ofﬁce copiers produced in 1971 was 30 percent greater than the
corresponding value in 1970, what was the value of ofﬁce copiers produced in
1970 ?
293 GRE Math Review
Solutions:
(a) The ratio of the value of sensitized goods to the value of stillpicture equipment
is equal to the ratio of the corresponding percents shown because the percents
have the same base, which is the total value. Therefore, the ratio is 47 to 12, or
approximately 4 to 1.
(b) The value of ofﬁce copiers produced in 1971 was 0.25 times $3,980 million, or
$995 million. Therefore, if the corresponding value in 1970 was x million dollars,
995
765, so the value of ofﬁce
then 1.3x 995 million. Solving for x yields x
1.3
copiers produced in 1970 was approximately $765 million.
Example 4.6.3: FINISHING TIMES AND TRAINING INDICES
FOR 50 BICYCLISTS IN A RACE
6.0
5.5 Finishing Time
(hours) 5.0
4.5
4.0
Trend line
3.5
3.0
0.0 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70
Training Index
(units) 80 90 100 A bicycle trainer studied 50 bicyclists to examine how the ﬁnishing time for a certain
bicycle race was related to the amount of physical training in the three months before the race. To measure the amount of training, the trainer developed a training
index, measured in “units” and based on the intensity of each bicyclist’s training. The
data and the trend of the data, represented by a line, are displayed in the scatterplot
above.
(a) How many of the 50 bicyclists had both a training index less than 50 units and a
ﬁnishing time less than 4.5 hours?
(b) What percent of the 10 fastest bicyclists in the race had a training index less
than 90 units? 294 GRE Math Review
Solutions:
(a) The number of bicyclists who had both a training index less than 50 units and a
ﬁnishing time less than 4.5 hours is equal to the number of points on the graph
to the left of 50 and below 4.5. Since there are ﬁve data points that are both to
the left of 50 units and below 4.5 hours, the correct answer is ﬁve.
(b) The 10 lowest data points represent the 10 fastest bicyclists. Of these 10 data
points, 3 points are to the right of 90 units, so the number of points to the left of
90 units is 7, which represents 70 percent of the 10 fastest bicyclists.
Example 4.6.4: TRAVELERS SURVEYED: 250 Africa
93 Asia
155 70 In a survey of 250 European travelers, 93 have traveled to Africa, 155 have traveled
to Asia, and of these two groups, 70 have traveled to both continents, as illustrated in
the Venn diagram above.
(a) How many of the travelers surveyed have traveled to Africa but not to Asia?
(b) How many of the travelers surveyed have traveled to at least one of the two
continents of Africa and Asia?
(c) How many of the travelers surveyed have traveled neither to Africa nor to Asia?
Solutions: In the Venn diagram, the rectangular region represents the set of all travelers surveyed; the two circular regions represent the two sets of travelers to Africa
and Asia, respectively; and the shaded region represents the subset of those who
have traveled to both continents.
(a) The set described here is represented by the part of the left circle that is not
shaded. This description suggests that the answer can be found by taking the
shaded part away from the ﬁrst circle—in effect, subtracting the 70 from the 93,
to get 23 travelers who have traveled to Africa but not to Asia.
(b) The set described here is represented by that part of the rectangle that is in at
least one of the two circles. This description suggests adding the two numbers 93
and 155. But the 70 travelers who have traveled to both continents would be
counted twice in the sum 93 155. To correct the double counting, subtract 70
from the sum so that these 70 travelers are counted only once:
93 155 – 70 178 295 GRE Math Review
(c) The set described here is represented by the part of the rectangle that is not in
either circle. Let N be the number of these travelers. Note that the entire
rectangular region has two main nonoverlapping parts: the part outside the
circles and the part inside the circles. The ﬁrst part represents N travelers and
the second part represents 93 155 – 70 178 travelers (from question (b)).
Therefore,
250 N 178 and solving for N yields
N 250 – 178 72 DATA ANALYSIS EXERCISES
1. The daily temperatures, in degrees Fahrenheit, for 10 days in May were 61,
62, 65, 65, 65, 68, 74, 74, 75, and 77.
(a) Find the mean, median, mode, and range of the temperatures.
(b) If each day had been 7 degrees warmer, what would have been the mean,
median, mode, and range of those 10 temperatures? 2. The numbers of passengers on 9 airline ﬂights were 22, 33, 21, 28, 22, 31, 44,
50, and 19. The standard deviation of these 9 numbers is approximately
equal to 10.2.
(a) Find the mean, median, mode, range, and interquartile range of the 9
numbers.
(b) If each ﬂight had had 3 times as many passengers, what would have been
the mean, median, mode, range, interquartile range, and standard
deviation of the nine numbers?
(c) If each ﬂight had had 2 fewer passengers, what would have been
interquartile range and standard deviation of the nine numbers? 3. A group of 20 values has a mean of 85 and a median of 80. A different group
of 30 values has a mean of 75 and a median of 72.
(a) What is the mean of the 50 values?
(b) What is the median of the 50 values? 4. Find the mean and median of the values of the random variable X, whose
relative frequency distribution is given in the table below.
X
0
1
2
3
4 296 Relative Frequency
0.18
0.33
0.10
0.06
0.33 GRE Math Review
5. Eight hundred insects were weighed, and the resulting measurements, in
milligrams, are summarized in the boxplot below. 100 110 120 130 140 150 (a) What are the range, the three quartiles, and the interquartile range of the
measurements?
(b) If the 80th percentile of the measurements is 130 milligrams, about how
many measurements are between 126 milligrams and 130 milligrams?
6. In how many different ways can the letters in the word STUDY be ordered? 7. Martha invited 4 friends to go with her to the movies. There are 120 different
ways in which they can sit together in a row of 5 seats, one person per seat.
In how many of those ways is Martha sitting in the middle seat? 8. How many 3digit positive integers are odd and do not contain the digit 5 ? 9. From a box of 10 lightbulbs, you are to remove 4. How many different sets of
4 lightbulbs could you remove? 10. A talent contest has 8 contestants. Judges must award prizes for ﬁrst, second,
and third places, with no ties.
(a) In how many different ways can the judges award the 3 prizes?
(b) How many different groups of 3 people can get prizes? 11. If an integer is randomly selected from all positive 2digit integers, what is
the probability that the integer chosen has
(a) a 4 in the tens place?
(b) at least one 4 in the tens place or the units place?
(c) no 4 in either place? 12. In a box of 10 electrical parts, 2 are defective.
(a) If you choose one part at random from the box, what is the probability
that it is not defective?
(b) If you choose two parts at random from the box, without replacement,
what is the probability that both are defective? 13. The table shows the distribution of a group of 40 college students by gender
and class.
Sophomores
Males
Females Juniors Seniors 6
10 10
9 2
3 If one student is randomly selected from this group, ﬁnd the probability that
the student chosen is
(a) not a junior
(b) a female or a sophomore
(c) a male sophomore or a female senior 297 GRE Math Review
14. Let A, B, C, and D be events for which P(A or B) 0.6, P(A) 0.2,
P(C or D) 0.6, and P(C) 0.5. The events A and B are mutually exclusive,
and the events C and D are independent.
(a) Find P(B)
(b) Find P(D) 15. Lin and Mark each attempt independently to decode a message. If the
probability that Lin will decode the message is 0.80 and the probability that
Mark will decode the message is 0.70, ﬁnd the probability that
(a) both will decode the message
(b) at least one of them will decode the message
(c) neither of them will decode the message 16. 2% 34% 34% 14% m – 2d m – d 14%
m 2% m + d m + 2d The ﬁgure shows a normal distribution with mean m and standard deviation
d, including approximate percents of the distribution corresponding to the
six regions shown.
Suppose the heights of a population of 3,000 adult penguins are
approximately normally distributed with a mean of 65 centimeters and a
standard deviation of 5 centimeters.
(a) Approximately how many of the adult penguins are between 65
centimeters and 75 centimeters tall?
(b) If an adult penguin is chosen at random from the population,
approximately what is the probability that the penguin’s height will be
less than 60 centimeters? Give your answer to the nearest 0.05. 298 GRE Math Review
17. PUBLIC AND PRIVATE SCHOOL EXPENDITURES
1987–2001
(in billions of dollars)
$160
$160
140 120
Expenditures 140 120 100 100 Total 80 80 Public 60 60 40 40
Private 20 20
0 0
1987 1989 1991 1993 1995 1997 1999 2001 Year
(a) For which year did total expenditures increase the most from the year
before?
(b) For 2001, private school expenditures were approximately what percent
of total expenditures?
18.
DISTRIBUTION OF WORKFORCE BY OCCUPATIONAL CATEGORY
FOR REGION Y IN 2001 AND PROJECTED FOR 2015
Total workforce: 150 million Total workforce: 175 million
Professional 2% Professional 1%
Service Manufacturing
28% 15%
18% 20%
Clerical Service Manufacturing Agricultural Clerical 10%
Managerial
8%
Sales 20%
18%
7% Sales 2001 16%
24% Agricultural 13%
Managerial 2015 (Projected) (a) In 2001, how many categories each comprised more than 25 million
workers?
(b) What is the ratio of the number of workers in the Agricultural category in
2001 to the projected number of such workers in 2015 ?
(c) From 2001 to 2015, there is a projected increase in the number of
workers in which of the following categories?
I. Sales II. Service III. Clerical 299 GRE Math Review
19. A FAMILY’S EXPENDITURES AND SAVINGS
AS A PERCENT OF ITS GROSS ANNUAL INCOME*
33
30 2003 27 2004 24
Percent 21
18
15
12
9
6 s
ng
vi
Sa E Au to m ne
lla
ce o
xp bile
en
se
s
U
til
iti
es s
ou od
Fo
is
M ag M or tg In co m e Ta 0 xe
e
s
Pr , In
op su
er ra
ty nc
Ta e,
xe
s 3 *2003 Gross annual income: $50,000
2004 Gross annual income: $45,000 (a) In 2003 the family used a total of 49 percent of its gross annual income
for two of the categories listed. What was the total amount of the family’s
income used for those same categories in 2004?
(b) Of the seven categories listed, which category of expenditure had the
greatest percent increase from 2003 to 2004 ? ANSWERS TO DATA ANALYSIS EXERCISES
1. 2. In degrees Fahrenheit, the statistics are
(a) mean 68.6, median 66.5, mode 65, range
(b) mean 75.6, median 73.5, mode 72, range
(a) mean
range
(b) mean
range 16
16 30, median 28, mode 22,
31, interquartile range 17
90, median 84, mode 66,
93, interquartile range 51, standard deviation
(c) interquartile range 940
30.7
9
17, standard deviation
3 10.2 3.
4. mean 5. 300 (a) mean 79
(b) The median cannot be determined from the information given. (a) range 41, Q1 114, Q2
(b) 40 measurements 2.03, median 1
118, Q3 126, interquartile range 12 GRE Math Review
6. 5! 120 7. 24 8. 288 9. 210 10. (a) 336 (b) 56 11. (a) 1
9 (b) 1
5 12. (a) 4
5 (b) 1
45 13. (a) 21
40 (b) 7
10 14. (a) 0.4 (b) 0.2 15. (a) 0.56 (b) 0.94 16. (a) 1,440 (b) 0.15 17. (a) 1998 (b) 19% 18. (a) Three (b) 9 to 14, or 19. (a) $17,550 (b) Miscellaneous (c) 4
5 (c) 9
40 (c) 0.06 9
14 (c) I, II, and III 301 0071700528pp303328 10/13/10 8 4:54 PM Page 303 Authentic GRE®
Practice Test
Your goals
for this
chapter g Take a fulllength authentic GRE revised General
Test under actual test time limits.
g Review the test directions.
g Check your test answers and read explanations
for every question.
g Use your results to identify your strengths and
weaknesses. Taking the Practice Test N ow that you have become familiar with the three measures of the revised
General Test, it is time to take the practice revised General Test to see how
well you do. The test begins on the following pages. The total time that you
should allow for this practice test is 3 hours and 30 minutes. The time allotted for each
section appears at the beginning of that section.
Try to take the Practice Test under actual test conditions. Find a quiet place to
work, and set aside enough time to complete the test without being disturbed. Work on
only one section at a time. Use your watch or a timer to keep track of the time limits
for each section.
For the Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning portions of this test, you will
mark your answers directly in this book. However, when you take the real GRE General
Test on computer, you will click on your answer choices. For the Analytical Writing
sections of this test, how you respond will depend on how you plan to take the actual
test. If you plan to take the actual test on computer, you should type your responses. If
you plan to take the paperbased test, you should handwrite your responses on paper.
You will need a supply of blank paper for this task.
At the end of the test you will find an Answer Key. Check your answers against the
Key, then follow the instructions for calculating your raw score. You will also find
explanations for each test question. Review the explanations, paying particular attention to the ones for the questions that you answered incorrectly.
Once you have worked your way through this Practice Test, you will have a better
idea of how ready you are to take the actual GRE revised General Test. You will also
have a better sense of whether you are able to work fast enough to finish each section
within the time allowed, or whether you need to improve your testtaking speed. After
you have evaluated your testtaking performance, you can determine what type of additional preparation you might want to do for the test. For additional testpreparation
materials and suggestions, visit the GRE website at www.ets.org/gre/revised/prepare
for other preparation materials and suggestions. 303 0071700528pp303328 10/13/10 4:54 PM Page 304 GRE Practice Test The Graduate Record
Examinations®
SECTION 1 Analytical Writing
ANALYZE AN ISSUE
30 minutes You will be given a brief quotation that states or implies an issue of general interest and specific
instructions on how to respond to that issue. You will then have 30 minutes to plan and compose
a response according to the specific instructions. A response to any other issue will receive a
score of zero.
Make sure that you respond according to the specific instructions and support your position on the
issue with reasons and examples drawn from such areas as your reading, experience, observations,
and/or academic studies.
Trained GRE readers will read your response and evaluate its overall quality, based on how well you:
b
b
b
b
b Respond to the specific instructions
Consider the complexities of the issue
Organize, develop, and express your ideas
Support your ideas with relevant reasons and/or examples
Control the elements of standard written English Before you begin writing, you may want to think for a few minutes about the issue and instructions
and then plan your response. Be sure to develop your position fully and organize it coherently, but
leave time to reread what you have written and make any revisions you think are necessary. 304 0071700528pp303328 10/13/10 4:54 PM Page 305 Section 1. Analytical Writing Issue Topic The best way to teach is to praise positive actions and ignore negative ones.
Write a response in which you discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree
with the recommendation and explain your reasoning for the position you take.
In developing and supporting your position, describe specific circumstances in
which adopting the recommendation would or would not be advantageous and
explain how these examples shape your position. 305 0071700528pp303328 10/13/10 4:54 PM Page 306 GRE Practice Test The Graduate Record
Examinations®
SECTION 2 Analytical Writing
ANALYZE AN ARGUMENT
30 minutes You will be given a short passage that presents an argument and specific instructions on how to
respond to that passage. You will have 30 minutes to plan and compose a response in which you
evaluate the passage according to the specific instructions. A response to any other argument will
receive a score of zero.
Note that you are NOT being asked to present your own views on the subject. Make sure that you
respond according to the specific instructions and support your evaluation with relevant reasons
and/or examples.
Trained GRE readers will read your response and evaluate its overall quality, based on how well you:
b
b
b
b
b Respond to the specific instructions
Identify and analyze important features of the passage
Organize, develop, and express your evaluation
Support your evaluation with relevant reasons and/or examples
Control the elements of standard written English Before you begin writing, you may want to think a few minutes about the passage and the
instructions and then plan your response. Be sure to develop your evaluation fully and organize it
coherently, but leave time to read what you have written and make any revisions that you think are
necessary. 306 0071700528pp303328 10/13/10 4:54 PM Page 307 Section 2. Analytical Writing Argument Topic The following appeared in an article written by Dr. Karp, an anthropologist.
"Twenty years ago, Dr. Field, a noted anthropologist, visited the island of Tertia and
concluded from his observations that children in Tertia were reared by an entire village
rather than by their own biological parents. However, my recent interviews with children
living in the group of islands that includes Tertia show that these children spend much more
time talking about their biological parents than about other adults in the village. This
research of mine proves that Dr. Field's conclusion about Tertian village culture is invalid
and thus that the observationcentered approach to studying cultures is invalid as well. The
interviewcentered method that my team of graduate students is currently using in Tertia will
establish a much more accurate understanding of childrearing traditions there and in other
island cultures."
Write a response in which you discuss what specific evidence is needed to evaluate the
argument and explain how the evidence would weaken or strengthen the argument. 307 0071700528pp303328 10/13/10 4:54 PM Page 308 GRE Practice Test NO TEST MATERIAL ON THIS PAGE 308 0071700528pp303328 10/13/10 4:54 PM Page 309 Section 3. Verbal Reasoning
SECTION 3
Verbal Reasoning
Time —35 minutes
25 Questions
For each of Questions 1 to 4, select one answer choice unless otherwise instructed. Questions 1 to 3 are based on the following reading passage. line
5 10 Whether the languages of the ancient American peoples were used for expressing
abstract universal concepts can be clearly answered in the case of Nahuatl. Nahuatl,
like Greek and German, is a language that allows the formation of extensive compounds. By the combination of radicals or semantic elements, single compound words
can express complex conceptual relations, often of an abstract universal character.
The tlamatinime (those who know) were able to use this rich stock of abstract terms
to express the nuances of their thought. They also availed themselves of other forms of
expression with metaphorical meaning, some probably original, some derived from
Toltec coinages. Of these forms, the most characteristic in Nahuatl is the juxtaposition
of two words that, because they are synonyms, associated terms, or even contraries,
complement each other to evoke one single idea. Used metaphorically, the juxtaposed
terms connote specific or essential traits of the being they refer to, introducing a mode
of poetry as an almost habitual form of expression. For the following question, consider each of the choices separately and select all that
apply. 1. Which of the following can be inferred from the passage regarding presentday
research relating to Nahuatl?
A
B
C Some record or evidence of the thought of the tlamatinime is available.
For at least some Nahuatl expressions, researchers are able to trace their
derivation from another ancient American language.
Researchers believe that in Nahuatl, abstract universal concepts are
always expressed metaphorically. 2. Select the sentence in the passage in which the author introduces a specific
Nahuatl mode of expression that is not identified as being shared with certain
European languages. 3. In the context in which it appears, “coinages” (line 9) most nearly means
A
B
C
D
E adaptations
creations
idiosyncrasies
pronunciations
currencies
GO ON TO NEXT PAGE g 309 0071700528pp303328 10/13/10 4:54 PM Page 310 GRE Practice Test
Question 4 is based on the following reading passage.
At a certain period in Earth’s history, its atmosphere contained almost no oxygen,
although plants were producing vast quantities of oxygen. As a way of reconciling these
two facts, scientists have hypothesized that nearly all of the oxygen being produced was
taken up by iron on Earth’s surface. Clearly, however, this explanation is inadequate.
New studies show that the amount of iron on Earth’s surface was not sufficient to
absorb anywhere near as much oxygen as was being produced. Therefore, something in addition to the iron on Earth’s surface must have absorbed much of the oxygen produced by plant life.
4. In the argument given, the two portions in boldface play which of the following
roles?
A The first is a claim made by the argument in support of a certain position;
the second is that position.
B The first is a judgment made by the argument about a certain explanation;
the second is that explanation.
C The first expresses the argument’s dismissal of an objection to the position
it seeks to establish; the second is that position.
D The first sums up the argument’s position with regard to a certain hypothesis; the second provides grounds for that position.
E The first is a concession by the argument that its initial formulation of the position it seeks to establish requires modification; the second presents
that position in a modified form.
For Questions 5 to 8, select one entry for each blank from the corresponding column
of choices. Fill all blanks in the way that best completes the text. 5. In her later years, Bertha Pappenheim was an apostle of noble but already
(i)__________ notions, always respected for her integrity, her energy, and her
resolve but increasingly out of step and ultimately (ii)__________ even her own
organization.
Blank (i) Blank (ii) A anachronistic emulated by B accepted E appreciated by C exotic 6. D F alienated from The reception given to Kimura’s radical theory of molecular evolution shows that
when __________ fights orthodoxy to a draw, then novelty has seized a good
chunk of space from convention.
A imitation
B reaction
C dogmatism
D invention
E caution 310 0071700528pp303328 10/13/10 4:54 PM Page 311 Section 3. Verbal Reasoning
7. The (i)__________ of Vladimir Nabokov as one of North America’s literary giants
has thrown the spotlight on his peripheral activities and has thus served to
(ii)__________ his efforts as an amateur entomologist.
Blank (i) Blank (ii) A stigmatization foreground B lionization E transcend C marginalization 8. D F obscure Mathematicians have a distinctive sense of beauty: they strive to present their
ideas and results in a clear and compelling fashion, dictated by __________ as
well as by logic.
A caprice B aesthetics
C obligation D methodologies
E intellect GO ON TO NEXT PAGE g 311 0071700528pp303328 10/13/10 4:54 PM Page 312 GRE Practice Test
For each of Questions 9 to 13, select one answer choice unless otherwise instructed. Questions 9 to 12 are based on the following reading passage. line
5 10 15 20 25 Animal signals, such as the complex songs of birds, tend to be costly. A bird, by singing,
may forfeit time that could otherwise be spent on other important behaviors such as
foraging or resting. Singing may also advertise an individual’s location to rivals or predators and impair the ability to detect their approach. Although these types of cost may
be important, discussions of the cost of singing have generally focused on energy costs.
Overall the evidence is equivocal: for instance, while Eberhardt found increases in
energy consumption during singing for Carolina wrens, Chappell found no effect of
crowing on energy consumption in roosters.
To obtain empirical data regarding the energy costs of singing, Thomas examined
the relationship between song rate and overnight changes in body mass of male
nightingales. Birds store energy as subcutaneous fat deposits or “body reserves”;
changes in these reserves can be reliably estimated by measuring changes in body
mass. If singing has important energy costs, nightingales should lose more body mass
on nights when their song rate is high. Thomas found that nightingales reached a significantly higher body mass at dusk and lost more mass overnight on nights when their
song rate was high.
These results suggest that there may be several costs of singing at night associated
with body reserves. The increased metabolic cost of possessing higher body mass contributes to the increased overnight mass loss. The strategic regulation of evening body
reserves is also likely to incur additional costs, as nightingales must spend more time
foraging in order to build up larger body reserves. The metabolic cost of singing itself
may also contribute to increased loss of reserves. This metabolic cost may arise from
the muscular and neural activity involved in singing or from behaviors associated with
singing. For example, birds may expend more of their reserves on thermoregulation if
they spend the night exposed to the wind on a song post than if they are in a sheltered
roost site. Thomas’s data therefore show that whether or not singing per se has an
important metabolic cost, metabolic costs associated with singing can have an important measurable effect on a bird’s daily energy budget, at least in birds with high song
rates such as nightingales.
9. The primary purpose of the passage is to
A compare the different types of cost involved for certain birds in singing
B question a hypothesis regarding the energy costs of singing for certain
birds
C present evidence suggesting that singing has an important energy cost for
certain birds
D discuss the benefits provided to an organism by a behavior that is costly in
energy
E describe an experiment that supports an alternative model of how birdsong functions 312 0071700528pp303328 10/13/10 4:54 PM Page 313 Section 3. Verbal Reasoning
For the following question, consider each of the choices separately and select all that
apply. 10. The passage implies that during the day before a night on which a male
nightingale’s song rate is high, that nightingale probably does which of the
following?
A
B
C Expends less of its reserves on thermoregulation than on other days
Stores more energy as body reserves than on other days
Hides to avoid predators 11. Select the sentence in the first or second paragraph that presents empirical
results in support of a hypothesis about the energy costs of singing.
For the following question, consider each of the choices separately and select all that
apply. 12. It can be inferred from the passage that compared with other costs of singing,
which of the following is true of the energy costs of singing?
A
B
C They are the single greatest cost to an individual bird.
They have generally received more attention from scientists.
They vary less from one bird species to another. Question 13 is based on the following reading passage.
In the past ten years, there have been several improvements in mountainclimbing
equipment. These improvements have made the sport both safer and more enjoyable
for experienced climbers. Despite these improvements, however, the rate of mountainclimbing injuries has doubled in the past ten years.
13. Which of the following, if true, best reconciles the apparent discrepancy
presented in the passage?
A Many climbers, lulled into a false sense of security, use the new equipment
to attempt climbing feats of which they are not capable.
B Some mountainclimbing injuries are caused by unforeseeable weather
conditions.
C Mountain climbing, although a dangerous sport, does not normally result
in injury to the experienced climber. D In the past ten years there have been improvements in mountainclimbing techniques as well as in mountainclimbing equipment.
E Although the rate of mountainclimbing injuries has increased, the rate of mountainclimbing deaths has not changed. GO ON TO NEXT PAGE g 313 0071700528pp303328 10/13/10 4:54 PM Page 314 GRE Practice Test
For Questions 14 to 17, select one entry for each blank from the corresponding
column of choices. Fill all blanks in the way that best completes the text. 14. Unenlightened authoritarian managers rarely recognize a crucial reason for the
low levels of serious conflict among members of democratically run work groups:
a modicum of tolerance for dissent often prevents __________.
A demur
B schism
C cooperation
D compliance
E shortsightedness 15. The novelist devotes so much time to avid descriptions of his characters’ clothes
that the reader soon feels that such __________ concerns, although worthy of
attention, have superseded any more directly literary aims.
A didactic
B syntactical
C irrelevant
D sartorial
E frivolous 16. Belanger dances with an (i)__________ that draws one’s attention as if by seeking
to (ii)__________ it; through finesse and understatement, he manages to seem at
once intensely present and curiously detached.
Blank (i) Blank (ii) A undemonstrative panache D focus B unrestrained enthusiasm E overwhelm C unattractive gawkiness F deflect 17. The most striking thing about the politician is how often his politics have been
(i)__________ rather than ideological, as he adapts his political positions at any
particular moment to the political realities that constrain him. He does not,
however, piously (ii)__________ political principles only to betray them in
practice. Rather, he attempts in subtle ways to balance his political selfinterest
with a (iii) __________, viewing himself as an instrument of some unchanging
higher purpose.
Blank (i)
A quixotic Blank (ii)
D brandish Blank (iii)
G profound cynicism
B selfrighteous E flout H deeply felt moral code
C strategic 314 F follow I thoroughgoing
pragmatism 0071700528pp303328 10/13/10 4:54 PM Page 315 Section 3. Verbal Reasoning
For each of Questions 18 to 20, select one answer choice unless otherwise instructed. Questions 18 to 20 are based on the following reading passage. line
5 10 The condition of scholarship devoted to the history of women in photography is confounding. Recent years have witnessed the posthumous inflation of the role of the
hobbyist Alice Austen into that of a pioneering documentarian while dozens of notable
senior figures — Marion Palfi, whose photographs of civilrights activities in the South
served as early evidence of the need for protective legislation, to name one — received
scant attention from scholars. And, while Naomi Rosenblum’s synoptic History of
Women Photographers covers the subject through 1920 in a generally useful fashion,
once she reaches the 1920s, when the venues, forms, applications, and movements of
the medium expanded exponentially, she resorts to an increasingly terse listing of unfamiliar names, with approaches and careers summarized in a sentence or two.
18. The author of the passage cites Rosenblum’s book most likely in order to
A
B
C
D
E suggest that the works documented most thoroughly by historians of
women in photography often do not warrant that attention
offer an explanation for the observation that not all aspects of the history
of women in photography have received the same level of attention
provide an example of a way in which scholarship on the history of
women in photography has been unsatisfactory
suggest that employing a strictly chronological approach when studying
the history of women in photography may be unproductive
provide support for the notion that certain personalities in women’s
photography have attained undue prominence For the following question, consider each of the choices separately and select all that
apply. 19. Which of the following statements about Marion Palfi is supported by the
passage?
A B C Marion Palfi’s photographs would have received greater recognition from
historians had her work been done in an era when most aspects of
photography were static rather than in a state of transition.
Alice Austen has achieved greater notoriety than has Marion Palfi
primarily because the subjects that Austen photographed were more
familiar to her contemporaries.
In addition to providing a record of certain historical events, Marion
Palfi’s photographs played a role in subsequent events. 20. In the context in which it appears, “inflation” (line 2) most nearly means
A
B
C
D
E exaggeration
acquisition
evaluation
distortion
attenuation
GO ON TO NEXT PAGE g 315 0071700528pp303328 10/13/10 4:54 PM Page 316 GRE Practice Test
For Questions 21 to 25, select the two answer choices that, when used to complete
the sentence, fit the meaning of the sentence as a whole and produce completed
sentences that are alike in meaning. 21. The plan, which the engineers said would save the aquifer by reducing pumping
to __________ levels, has passed a governmental environmental review but faces
opposition from outdoor and environmental groups.
A innocuous B feasible C practicable D minimal E remedial F benign 22. Though feminist in its implications, Yvonne Rainer’s 1974 film __________ the
filmmaker’s active involvement in feminist politics.
A antedated B cloaked C portrayed D preceded E renewed F represented 23. Congress is having great difficulty developing a consensus on energy policy,
primarily because the policy objectives of various members of Congress rest on
such __________ assumptions.
A
B disparate C divergent D fundamental E trite F 316 commonplace trivial 0071700528pp303328 10/13/10 4:54 PM Page 317 Section 3. Verbal Reasoning
24. During the opera’s most famous aria, the tempo chosen by the orchestra’s
conductor seemed __________, without necessary relation to what had gone
before.
A arbitrary B capricious C cautious D compelling E exacting F meticulous 25. Because they had expected the spacecraft Voyager 2 to be able to gather data only
about the planets Jupiter and Saturn, scientists were __________ the wealth of
information it sent back from Neptune twelve years after leaving Earth.
A anxious for B confident in C thrilled about D keen on E elated by F eager for STOP. This is the end of Section 3. 317 0071700528pp303328 10/13/10 4:54 PM Page 318 GRE Practice Test
SECTION 4
Verbal Reasoning
Time — 35 minutes
25 Questions
For Questions 1 to 4, select the two answer choices that, when used to complete
the sentence, fit the meaning of the sentence as a whole and produce completed
sentences that are alike in meaning. 1. Only by ignoring decades of mismanagement and inefficiency could investors
conclude that a fresh infusion of cash would provide anything other than a
__________ solution to the company’s financial woes.
A
B fleeting C momentary D premature E trivial F 2. complete total Some scientists argue that carbon compounds play such a central role in life on
Earth because of the possibility of __________ resulting from the carbon atom’s
ability to form an unending series of different molecules.
A
B deviation C variety D reproduction E stability F 3. diversity invigoration Given the flood of information presented by the mass media, the only way for
someone to keep abreast of the news is to rely on __________ accounts.
A
B abridged C sensational D copious E lurid F 318 synoptic understated 0071700528pp303328 10/13/10 4:54 PM Page 319 Section 4. Verbal Reasoning
4. Always circumspect, she was reluctant to make judgments, but once arriving at a
conclusion, she was __________ in its defense.
A deferential B intransigent C lax D negligent E obsequious F resolute GO ON TO NEXT PAGE g 319 0071700528pp303328 10/13/10 4:54 PM Page 320 GRE Practice Test
For each of Questions 5 to 9, select one answer choice unless otherwise instructed. Questions 5 and 6 are based on the following reading passage. line
5 10 When marine organisms called phytoplankton photosynthesize, they absorb carbon
dioxide dissolved in seawater, potentially causing a reduction in the concentration of
atmospheric carbon dioxide, a gas that contributes to global warming. However, phytoplankton flourish only in surface waters where iron levels are sufficiently high. Martin therefore hypothesized that adding iron to ironpoor regions of the ocean could
help alleviate global warming. While experiments subsequently confirmed that such a
procedure increases phytoplankton growth, field tests have shown that such growth
does not significantly lower atmospheric carbon dioxide. When phytoplankton utilize
carbon dioxide for photosynthesis, the carbon becomes a building block for organic
matter, but the carbon leaks back into the atmosphere when predators consume the
phytoplankton and respire carbon dioxide.
For the following question, consider each of the choices separately and select all that
apply. 5. It can be inferred from the passage that Martin’s hypothesis includes which of the
following elements?
A
B
C 6. A correct understanding of how phytoplankton photosynthesis utilizes
carbon dioxide
A correct prediction about how the addition of iron to ironpoor waters
would affect phytoplankton growth
An incorrect prediction about how phytoplankton growth would affect the
concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide It can be inferred that the author of the passage mentions predators (line 10)
primarily in order to
A help explain why Martin’s hypothesis is incorrect B identify one effect of adding iron to ironpoor waters
C indicate how some carbon dioxide is converted to solid organic matter
D help account for differences in the density of phytoplankton between
different regions of the ocean
E point out a factor that was not anticipated by the scientists who
conducted the field tests mentioned in the passage 320 0071700528pp303328 10/13/10 4:54 PM Page 321 Section 4. Verbal Reasoning
Question 7 is based on the following reading passage.
Sparva, unlike Treland’s other provinces, requires automobile insurers to pay for any
medical treatment sought by someone who has been involved in an accident; in the
other provinces, insurers pay for nonemergency treatment only if they preapprove the
treatment. Clearly, Sparva’s less restrictive policy must be the explanation for the fact
that altogether insurers there pay for far more treatments after accidents than insurers
in other provinces, even though Sparva does not have the largest population.
7. Which of the following, if true, most strengthens the argument?
A Car insurance costs more in Sparva than in any other province. B The cost of medical care in Sparva is higher than the national average.
C Different insurance companies have different standards for determining
what constitutes emergency treatment.
D Fewer insurance companies operate in Sparva than in any other province.
E There are fewer traffic accidents annually in Sparva than in any of the
provinces of comparable or greater population. GO ON TO NEXT PAGE g 321 0071700528pp303328 10/13/10 4:54 PM Page 322 GRE Practice Test
Questions 8 and 9 are based on the following reading passage.
Elements of the Philosophy of Newton, published by Voltaire in 1738, was an early
attempt to popularize the scientific ideas of Isaac Newton. In the book’s frontispiece,
Voltaire is seen writing at his desk, and over him a shaft of light from heaven, the light
of truth, passes through Newton to Voltaire’s collaborator Madame du Châtelet; she
reflects that light onto the inspired Voltaire. Voltaire’s book commanded a wide audience, according to Feingold, because “he was neither a mathematician nor a physicist,
but a literary giant aloof from the academic disputes over Newtonian ideas.” In other
words, Voltaire’s amateurism in science “was a source of his contemporary appeal,
demonstrating for the first time the accessibility of Newton’s ideas to nonspecialists.”
For the following question, consider each of the choices separately and select all that
apply. 8. Which of the following statements about Voltaire’s Elements of the Philosophy of
Newton can be inferred from the passage?
A
B
C 9. Voltaire’s literary stature helped secure a large audience for this attempt to
popularize Newton’s ideas.
Voltaire’s status as a nonscientist was an advantage in this effort to bring
Newtonian science to the attention of the general public.
The frontispiece of the book implies that Voltaire’s understanding of
Newton’s ideas was not achieved without assistance. Select the sentence that describes an allegory for Voltaire’s acquisition of
knowledge concerning Newton’s ideas. For Questions 10 to 13, select one entry for each blank from the corresponding
column of choices. Fill all blanks in the way that best completes the text. 10. Ironically, the writer so wary of (i)__________ was (ii)__________ with ink and
paper, his novel running to 2,500 shagreenbound folio pages — a fortune in
stationery at the time.
Blank (i) Blank (ii) A probity acquisitive B extravagance E illiberal C disapprobation 322 D F profligate 0071700528pp303328 10/13/10 4:54 PM Page 323 Section 4. Verbal Reasoning
11. What readers most commonly remember about John Stuart Mill’s classic
exploration of the liberty of thought and discussion concerns the danger of
(i)__________: in the absence of challenge, one’s opinions, even when they are
correct, grow weak and flabby. Yet Mill had another reason for encouraging the
liberty of thought and discussion: the danger of partiality and incompleteness.
Since one’s opinions, even under the best circumstances, tend to (ii)__________,
and because opinions opposed to one’s own rarely turn out to be completely
(iii)__________, it is crucial to supplement one’s opinions with alternative points
of view.
Blank (i)
A tendentiousness Blank (ii)
D embrace only a Blank (iii)
G erroneous portion of the truth
B complacency E change over
time H antithetical C fractiousness F focus on matters
close at hand I immutable 12. Just as the authors’ book on eels is often a key text for courses in marine
vertebrate zoology, their ideas on animal development and phylogeny __________
teaching in this area.
A prevent
B defy
C replicate
D inform
E use 13. Mechanisms develop whereby every successful species can __________ its innate
capacity for population growth with the constraints that arise through its
interactions with the natural environment.
A enhance
B replace
C produce
D surpass
E reconcile GO ON TO NEXT PAGE g 323 0071700528pp303328 10/13/10 4:54 PM Page 324 GRE Practice Test
For each of Questions 14 to 16, select one answer choice unless otherwise instructed. Questions 14 to 16 are based on the following reading passage.
It would be expected that a novel by a figure as prominent as W. E. B. DuBois would
attract the attention of literary critics. Additionally, when the novel subtly engages the
issue of race, as DuBois’ The Quest of the Silver Fleece (1911) does, it would be a surprise not to encounter an abundance of scholarly work about that text. But though
valuable scholarship has examined DuBois’ political and historical thought, his novels
have received scant attention. Perhaps DuBois the novelist must wait his turn behind
DuBois the philosopher, historian, and editor. But what if the truth lies elsewhere: what
if his novels do not speak to current concerns?
14. Which of the following can be inferred from the passage regarding DuBois’ The
Quest of the Silver Fleece?
A The lack of attention devoted to The Quest of the Silver Fleece can be
attributed to the fact that it was DuBois’ first novel.
B Among DuBois’ novels, The Quest of the Silver Fleece is unusual in that it
has received scant attention from scholars.
C The Quest of the Silver Fleece has at least one feature that typically would
attract the attention of literary scholars.
D The Quest of the Silver Fleece, given its subtle exploration of race, is probably the best novel written by DuBois.
E Much of the scholarly work that has focused on The Quest of the Silver
Fleece has been surprisingly critical of it.
15. In the fourth sentence (“Perhaps DuBois . . . editor.”), the author of the passage is
most likely suggesting that
A scholars will find that DuBois’ novels are more relevant to current
concerns than is his work as philosopher, historian, and editor
B more scholarly attention will be paid to The Quest of the Silver Fleece than
to DuBois’ other novels
C DuBois’ novels will come to overshadow his work as philosopher,
historian, and editor
D DuBois’ novels may eventually attract greater scholarly interest than they
have to date
E it will be shown that DuBois’ work as philosopher, historian, and editor had an important influence on his work as novelist 324 0071700528pp303328 10/13/10 4:54 PM Page 325 Section 4. Verbal Reasoning
16. Which of the following best describes the central issue with which the passage is
concerned?
A The perfunctoriness of much of the critical work devoted to DuBois’
novels
B The nature of DuBois’ engagement with the issue of race in The Quest of
the Silver Fleece
C Whether DuBois’ novels are of high quality and relevant to current
concerns
D The relationship between DuBois the novelist and DuBois the philosopher, historian, and editor
E The degree of consideration that has been given to DuBois’ novels,
including The Quest of the Silver Fleece
For Questions 17 to 20, select one entry for each blank from the corresponding
column of choices. Fill all blanks in the way that best completes the text. 17. In the midst of so many evasive comments, this forthright statement, whatever its
intrinsic merit, plainly stands out as __________.
A a paradigm
B a misnomer
C a profundity
D an inaccuracy
E an anomaly 18. The activists’ energetic work in the service of both woman suffrage and the
temperance movement in the late nineteenth century (i)__________ the assertion
that the two movements were (ii)__________.
Blank (i) Blank (ii) A undermines D diffuse B supports E inimical C underscores F predominant 19. There is nothing quite like this movie, and indeed I am not altogether sure there
is much more to it than its lovely (i) __________. At a moment when so many
films strive to be as (ii)__________ as possible, it is gratifying to find one that is so
subtle and puzzling.
Blank (i) Blank (ii) A peculiarity D indirect B pellucidity E assertive C conventionality F enigmatic GO ON TO NEXT PAGE g 325 0071700528pp303328 10/13/10 4:54 PM Page 326 GRE Practice Test
20. Wills argues that certain malarial parasites are especially (i)__________ because
they have more recently entered humans than other species and therefore have
had (ii)__________ time to evolve toward (iii)__________. Yet there is no reliable
evidence that the most harmful Plasmodium species has been in humans for a
shorter time than less harmful species.
Blank (i) Blank (ii) Blank (iii) A populous D ample G virulence B malignant E insufficient H benignity C threatened F adequate I variability For each of Questions 21 to 25, select one answer choice unless otherwise instructed. Question 21 is based on the following reading passage. line
5 10 Saturn’s giant moon Titan is the only planetary satellite with a significant atmosphere
and the only body in the solar system other than Earth that has a thick atmosphere
dominated by molecular nitrogen. For a long time, the big question about Titan’s
atmosphere was how it could be so thick, given that Jupiter’s moons Ganymede and
Callisto, which are the same size as Titan, have none. The conditions for acquiring and
retaining a thick nitrogen atmosphere are now readily understood. The low temperature of the protosaturnian nebula enabled Titan to acquire the moderately volatile compounds methane and ammonia (later converted to nitrogen) in addition to water. The
higher temperatures of Jupiter’s moons, which were closer to the Sun, prevented them
from acquiring such an atmosphere.
21. According to the passage, Titan differs atmospherically from Ganymede and
Callisto because of a difference in
A
B
C
D
E 326 rate of heat loss
proximity to the Sun
availability of methane and ammonia
distance from its planet
size 0071700528pp303328 10/13/10 4:54 PM Page 327 Section 4. Verbal Reasoning
Question 22 is based on the following reading passage.
Observations of the Arctic reveal that the Arctic Ocean is covered by less ice each summer than the previous summer. If this warming trend continues, within 50 years the
Arctic Ocean will be ice free during the summer months. This occurrence would in
itself have little or no effect on global sea levels, since the melting of ice floating in
water does not affect the water level. However, serious consequences to sea levels
would eventually result, because __________.
22. Which of the following most logically completes the passage?
A large masses of floating sea ice would continue to form in the wintertime B significant changes in Arctic sea temperatures would be accompanied by changes in sea temperatures in more temperate parts of the world
such a warm Arctic Ocean would trigger the melting of massive landbased glaciers in the Arctic
D an icefree Arctic Ocean would support a very different ecosystem than it
does presently
C E in the spring, melting sea ice would cause more icebergs to be created and to drift south into shipping routes GO ON TO NEXT PAGE g 327 0071700528pp303328 10/13/10 4:54 PM Page 328 GRE Practice Test
Questions 23 to 25 are based on the following reading passage. line
5 10 In a recent study, David Cressy examines two central questions concerning English
immigration to New England in the 1630s: what kinds of people immigrated and why?
Using contemporary literary evidence, shipping lists, and customs records, Cressy finds
that most adult immigrants were skilled in farming or crafts, were literate, and were
organized in families. Each of these characteristics sharply distinguishes the 21,000
people who left for New England in the 1630s from most of the approximately 377,000
English people who had immigrated to America by 1700.
With respect to their reasons for immigrating, Cressy does not deny the frequently
noted fact that some of the immigrants of the 1630s, most notably the organizers and
clergy, advanced religious explanations for departure, but he finds that such explanations usually assumed primacy only in retrospect. When he moves beyond the principal actors, he finds that religious explanations were less frequently offered, and he
concludes that most people immigrated because they were recruited by promises of
material improvement.
For the following question, consider each of the choices separately and select all that
apply. 23. The passage indicates that Cressy would agree with which of the following
statements about the organizers among the English immigrants to New England
in the 1630s?
A
B
C Some of them offered a religious explanation for their immigration.
They did not offer any reasons for their immigration until some time after
they had immigrated.
They were more likely than the average immigrant to be motivated by
material considerations. 24. Select the sentence that provides Cressy’s opinion about what motivated English
immigrants to go to New England in the 1630s.
25. In the passage, the author is primarily concerned with
A summarizing the findings of an investigation B analyzing a method of argument
C evaluating a point of view D hypothesizing about a set of circumstances
E establishing categories STOP. This is the end of Section 4. 328 Section 5. Quantitative Reasoning
SECTION 5
Quantitative Reasoning
Time—40 minutes
25 Questions
For each question, indicate the best answer, using the directions given.
Notes: All numbers used are real numbers.
All ﬁgures are assumed to lie in a plane unless otherwise indicated.
Geometric ﬁgures, such as lines, circles, triangles, and quadrilaterals, are not
necessarily drawn to scale. That is, you should not assume that quantities
such as lengths and angle measures are as they appear in a ﬁgure. You
should assume, however, that lines shown as straight are actually straight,
points on a line are in the order shown, and more generally, all geometric
objects are in the relative positions shown. For questions with geometric ﬁgures, you should base your answers on geometric reasoning, not on estimating or comparing quantities by sight or by measurement.
Coordinate systems, such as xyplanes and number lines, are drawn to scale;
therefore, you can read, estimate, or compare quantities in such ﬁgures by
sight or by measurement.
Graphical data presentations, such as bar graphs, circles graphs, and line
graphs, are drawn to scale; therefore, you can read, estimate, or compare
data values by sight or by measurement.
For each of Questions 1 to 9, compare Quantity A and Quantity B, using
additional information centered above the two quantities if such information is
given. Select one of the following four answer choices and ﬁll in the
corresponding oval to the right of the question.
Quantity A is greater.
B Quantity B is greater.
C The two quantities are equal.
D The relationship cannot be determined from the information given.
A symbol that appears more than once in a question has the same meaning
throughout the question.
A Quantity A Quantity B Correct Answer A
B
C
D
Example 1:
(2)(6)
26
––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
Q P S R Quantity A
Example 2: Quantity B PS SR Correct Answer
A B C D (since equal lengths cannot
be assumed, even though
PS and SR appear equal)
329 GRE Practice Test
A Quantity A is greater. B Quantity B is greater. C The two quantities are equal. D The relationship cannot be determined from the information given. x 3 3 O
4 O is the center of the circle above.
Quantity A Quantity B x 5 1. Runner A ran C D A B C D A B C D A B C D Quantity B The distance that A ran The distance that B ran x y z Quantity A
3. B 4
kilometer and Runner B ran 800 meters.
5 Quantity A
2. A x y
3 Quantity B z y x
50°
y
Quantity A
4. 330 Quantity B x
y 1 Section 5. Quantitative Reasoning
A Quantity A is greater. B Quantity B is greater. C The two quantities are equal. D The relationship cannot be determined from the information given. 0 x y 1 Quantity A
5. Quantity B 1–y y–x A B C D A B C D A B C D A B C D A B C D p is the probability that event E will occur, and s is the
probability that event E will not occur.
Quantity A
6. p s Quantity B
ps X is the set of all integers n that satisfy the inequality
2 ⎪n⎪ 5.
Quantity A
7. Quantity B The absolute value of the
greatest integer in X The absolute value of the
least integer in X x and m are positive numbers, and m is a multiple of 3.
Quantity A
8. xm
x3 Quantity B
xm/3 A random variable Y is normally distributed with a
mean of 200 and a standard deviation of 10.
Quantity A
9. The probability of the event
that the value of Y is
greater than 220 Quantity B
1
6 GO ON TO THE NEXT PAGE b 331 GRE Practice Test
Questions 10 to 25 have several different formats. Unless otherwise directed,
select a single answer choice. For Numeric Entry questions, follow the
instructions below.
Numeric Entry Questions
Enter your answer in the answer box(es) below the question.
¼
¼
¼
¼ Your answer may be an integer, a decimal, or a fraction, and it may be
negative.
If a question asks for a fraction, there will be two boxes—one for the
numerator and one for the denominator.
Equivalent forms of the correct answer, such as 2.5 and 2.50, are all correct.
Fractions do not need to be reduced to lowest terms.
Enter the exact answer unless the question asks you to round your answer.
10. The ratio of
A 8 to 1 C 8 to 3 D 8 to 9 E 11. 1 to 8 B 1
3
to is equal to the ratio of
3
8 9 to 8 A reading list for a humanities course consists of 10 books, of which 4 are
biographies and the rest are novels. Each student is required to read a
selection of 4 books from the list, including 2 or more biographies. How
many selections of 4 books satisfy the requirements?
A 90 B 115 C 130 D 144 E 195 For the following question, enter your answer in the box.
12. In a graduating class of 236 students, 142 took algebra and 121 took chemistry.
What is the greatest possible number of students that could have taken both
algebra and chemistry?
students 332 Section 5. Quantitative Reasoning s°
t° 13. In the ﬁgure above, if m
A 75 D 80 E 105 If 2x 3y A 16,000 B 8,000 C 4,000 D 800 E 14. 30, then t 60 C t k 30 B k and s m 4z 20, then 12xyz 10 For the following question, select all the answer choices that apply.
15. The total amount that Mary paid for a book was equal to the price of the book
plus a sales tax that was 4 percent of the price of the book. Mary paid for the
book with a $10 bill and received the correct change, which was less than $3.00.
Which of the following statements must be true?
Indicate all such statements.
A
B The price of the book was greater than $6.90. C 16. The price of the book was less than $9.50.
The sales tax was less than $0.45. 1
is expressed as a terminating decimal, how many nonzero digits
(211)(517)
will the decimal have?
If A One B Two C Four D Six E Eleven
GO ON TO THE NEXT PAGE b 333 GRE Practice Test
Questions 17 to 20 are based on the following data.
VARIATION IN THE AMOUNT OF CAFFEINE IN COMMON BEVERAGES AND DRUGS*
Amount of Caffeine (milligrams) 0 25 50 75 100 125 150 175 200 Decaffeinated coffee
Percolated coffee Coffee Dripbrewed coffee
Instant coffee
Brewed tea Other
beverages Instant tea
Cocoa
Caffeinated soft drinks
Weightloss drugs,
diuretics, and stimulants Drugs Pain relievers
Cold/allergy remedies Source: Food and Drug Administration
*Based on 5ounce cups of coffee, tea, and cocoa; 12ounce cups of soft drinks;
and single doses of drugs. 17. The least amount of caffeine in a 5ounce cup of dripbrewed coffee exceeds
the greatest amount of caffeine in a 5ounce cup of cocoa by approximately
how many milligrams?
A 160 B 80 C 60 D 40 E 20 For the following question, enter your answer in the box.
18. For how many of the 11 categories of beverages and drugs listed in the graph
can the amount of caffeine in the given serving size be less than 50 milligrams?
categories 19. Approximately what is the minimum amount of caffeine, in milligrams,
consumed per day by a person who daily drinks two 10ounce mugs of
percolated coffee and one 12ounce cup of a caffeinated soft drink?
A 230 B 190 C 110 E 334 140 D 70 Section 5. Quantitative Reasoning
20. Which of the following shows the four types of coffee listed in order
according to the range of the amounts of caffeine in a 5ounce cup, from
the least range to the greatest range?
A Decaffeinated, instant, percolated, dripbrewed B Decaffeinated, instant, dripbrewed, percolated C Instant, decaffeinated, dripbrewed, percolated D Instant, dripbrewed, decaffeinated, percolated E Instant, percolated, dripbrewed, decaffeinated Energy Used per Meter
(joules per meter) ENERGY USED PER METER VERSUS SPEED
DURING RUNNING AND WALKING 21. 300
200 0 0 1 2345678
Speed (miles per hour) 9 If s is a speed, in miles per hour, at which the energy used per meter during
running is twice the energy used per meter during walking, then, according
to the graph above, s is between
A 2.5 and 3.0 B 3.0 and 3.5 C 3.5 and 4.0 D 4.0 and 4.5 E 22. Running
Walking 100 4.5 and 5.0 If n 23, then nn A 26 B 211 C 218 D 224 E 227 GO ON TO THE NEXT PAGE b 335 GRE Practice Test
For the following question, select all the answer choices that apply. B A D C The length of AB is 10 3.
23. Which of the following statements individually provide(s) sufﬁcient additional
information to determine the area of triangle ABC above?
Indicate all such statements.
A DBC is an equilateral triangle. B ABD is an isosceles triangle. C The length of BC is equal to the length of AD. D The length of BC is 10. E The length of AD is 10. For the following question, enter your answer in the box.
a1, a2, a3, . . . , an, . . .
24. In the sequence above, each term after the ﬁrst term is equal to the preceding
term plus the constant c. If a1 a3 a5 27, what is the value of a2 a4 ?
a2 25. a4 A desert outpost has a water supply that is sufﬁcient to last 21 days for 15
people. At the same average rate of water consumption per person, how many
days would the water supply last for 9 people?
A 28.0 B 32.5 C 35.0 D 37.5 E 42.0 STOP. This is the end of Section 5. 336 Section 6. Quantitative Reasoning
SECTION 6
Quantitative Reasoning
Time—40 minutes
25 Questions
For each question, indicate the best answer, using the directions given.
Notes: All numbers used are real numbers.
All ﬁgures are assumed to lie in a plane unless otherwise indicated.
Geometric ﬁgures, such as lines, circles, triangles, and quadrilaterals, are not
necessarily drawn to scale. That is, you should not assume that quantities
such as lengths and angle measures are as they appear in a ﬁgure. You
should assume, however, that lines shown as straight are actually straight,
points on a line are in the order shown, and more generally, all geometric
objects are in the relative positions shown. For questions with geometric ﬁgures, you should base your answers on geometric reasoning, not on estimating or comparing quantities by sight or by measurement.
Coordinate systems, such as xyplanes and number lines, are drawn to scale;
therefore, you can read, estimate, or compare quantities in such ﬁgures by
sight or by measurement.
Graphical data presentations, such as bar graphs, circles graphs, and line
graphs, are drawn to scale; therefore, you can read, estimate, or compare
data values by sight or by measurement.
For each of Questions 1 to 9, compare Quantity A and Quantity B, using
additional information centered above the two quantities if such information is
given. Select one of the following four answer choices and ﬁll in the
corresponding oval to the right of the question.
Quantity A is greater.
Quantity B is greater.
C The two quantities are equal.
D The relationship cannot be determined from the information given.
A symbol that appears more than once in a question has the same meaning
throughout the question.
A
B Quantity A Quantity B Correct Answer A
B
C
D
Example 1:
(2)(6)
26
––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
Q P S R Quantity A
Example 2: Quantity B PS SR Correct Answer
A B C D (since equal lengths cannot
be assumed, even though
PS and SR appear equal)
337 GRE Practice Test
A Quantity A is greater. B Quantity B is greater. C The two quantities are equal. D The relationship cannot be determined from the information given.
Country Value of 1 United States Dollar Argentina 0.93 peso Kenya 32.08 shillings Quantity A
1. Quantity B The dollar value of 1
Argentine peso according
to the table above The dollar value of 1
Kenyan shilling according
to the table above A B C D A B C D A B C D A B C D k is a digit in the decimal 1.3k5, and 1.3k5 is less
than 1.33.
Quantity A
2. Quantity B k 1 CBD A
AB is a diameter of the circle above.
Quantity A
3. Quantity B The length of AB The average (arithmetic
mean) of the lengths of AC
and AD st 10 Quantity A
4. 338 Quantity B s2 10
t2 Section 6. Quantitative Reasoning
A Quantity A is greater. B Quantity B is greater. C The two quantities are equal. D The relationship cannot be determined from the information given. Three consecutive integers have a sum of – 84.
Quantity A
5. Quantity B The least of the three
integers – 28 C D A B C D A B C D A B C D B C D 0. Quantity A
6. B A In the xyplane, the equation of line k is 3x – 2y A Quantity B The xintercept of line k The yintercept of line k n is a positive integer that is divisible by 6.
Quantity A
7. Quantity B The remainder when n is
divided by 12 The remainder when n is
divided by 18 1–x
x–1 1
x Quantity A
8. Quantity B x –1
2 In a set of 24 positive integers, 12 of the integers are
less than 50. The rest are greater than 50.
Quantity A
9. The median of the 24
integers Quantity B
50 GO ON TO THE NEXT PAGE b 339 GRE Practice Test
Questions 10 to 25 have several different formats. Unless otherwise directed,
select a single answer choice. For Numeric Entry questions, follow the
instructions below.
Numeric Entry Questions
Enter your answer in the answer box(es) below the question.
¼
¼
¼
¼ Your answer may be an integer, a decimal, or a fraction, and it may be
negative.
If a question asks for a fraction, there will be two boxes—one for the
numerator and one for the denominator.
Equivalent forms of the correct answer, such as 2.5 and 2.50, are all correct.
Fractions do not need to be reduced to lowest terms.
Enter the exact answer unless the question asks you to round your answer. 10. The fabric needed to make 3 curtains sells for $8.00 per yard and can be
purchased only by the full yard. If the length of fabric required for each
curtain is 1.6 yards and all of the fabric is purchased as a single length,
what is the total cost of the fabric that needs to be purchased for the 3
curtains?
A $40.00 B $38.40 C $24.00 D $16.00 E $12.80 For the following question, select all the answer choices that apply.
11. In the xyplane, line k is a line that does not pass through the origin.
Which of the following statements individually provide(s) sufﬁcient additional
information to determine whether the slope of line k is negative?
Indicate all such statements.
A
B The product of the xintercept and the yintercept of line k is positive. C 340 The xintercept of line k is twice the yintercept of line k.
Line k passes through the points (a, b) and (r, s), where
(a – r)(b – s) 0. Section 6. Quantitative Reasoning
Distance from Centerville
(miles)
Freight train 20t 150 The expressions in the table above give the distance from Centerville to
each of two trains t hours after 12:00 noon. At what time after 12:00 noon
will the trains be equidistant from Centerville?
A 1:30 B 3:30 C 5:10 D 8:50 E 13. 115 Passenger train
12. 10t 11:30 The company at which Mark is employed has 80 employees, each of whom
has a different salary. Mark’s salary of $43,700 is the secondhighest salary
in the ﬁrst quartile of the 80 salaries. If the company were to hire 8 new
employees at salaries that are less than the lowest of the 80 salaries, what
would Mark’s salary be with respect to the quartiles of the 88 salaries at the
company, assuming no other changes in the salaries?
A The fourthhighest salary in the ﬁrst quartile B The highest salary in the ﬁrst quartile C The secondlowest salary in the second quartile D The thirdlowest salary in the second quartile E The ﬁfthlowest salary in the second quartile For the following question, enter your answer in the box.
14. In the xyplane, the point with coordinates ( – 6, – 7) is the center of circle C.
The point with coordinates ( – 6, 5) lies inside C, and the point with
coordinates (8, – 7) lies outside C. If m is the radius of C and m is an
integer, what is the value of m ?
m 15. m
If –
is an even integer, which of the following must be true?
19
A m is a negative number. B m is a positive number. C m is a prime number. D m is an odd integer. E m is an even integer.
GO ON TO THE NEXT PAGE b 341 GRE Practice Test
For the following question, select all the answer choices that apply.
16. The integer v is greater than 1. If v is the square of an integer, which of the
following numbers must also be the square of an integer?
Indicate all such numbers.
A 81v B 25v 10 v 1 C 4v2 4 v 1 Questions 17 to 20 are based on the following data.
DISTANCE TRAVELED BY A CAR ACCORDING TO THE CAR’S SPEED
WHEN THE DRIVER IS SIGNALED TO STOP 110
100
90
80
70
60
50
40
30
20
10
0 Distance (feet) Distance (feet) Distance Traveled
During Reaction Time* 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
Speed (miles per hour) Distance Traveled After Brakes
Have Been Applied
550
550
500
450
445
400
350
352
300
250
269
200
198
150
137
100
88
50
22
49
9
0
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
Speed (miles per hour) *Reaction time is the time period that begins when the driver is signaled to stop
and ends when the driver applies the brakes.
Note: Total stopping distance is the sum of the distance traveled during reaction time
and the distance traveled after brakes have been applied. 17. The speed, in miles per hour, at which the car travels a distance of 52 feet
during reaction time is closest to which of the following?
A
B 47 C 51 D 55 E 342 43 59 Section 6. Quantitative Reasoning
18. Approximately what is the total stopping distance, in feet, if the car is
traveling at a speed of 40 miles per hour when the driver is signaled to
stop?
A
B 110 C 90 D 70 E 19. 130 40 Of the following, which is the greatest speed, in miles per hour, at which
the car can travel and stop with a total stopping distance of less than 200
feet?
A
B 55 C 60 D 65 E 20. 50 70 The total stopping distance for the car traveling at 60 miles per hour is
approximately what percent greater than the total stopping distance for the
car traveling at 50 miles per hour?
A
B 30% C 38% D 45% E 21. 22% 52% What is the least positive integer that is not a factor of 25! and is not a
prime number?
A
B 28 C 36 D 56 E 22. 26 58 If 0 a
and b ? 1 b, which of the following is true about the reciprocals of a A 1 1
a 1
b B 1
a 1 1
b C 1
a 1
b 1 D 1
b 1 1
a E 1
b 1
a 1 GO ON TO THE NEXT PAGE b 343 GRE Practice Test O 23. P In the ﬁgure above, O and P are the centers of the two circles. If each circle
has radius r, what is the area of the shaded region?
A B 2
2
3
2 r2
r2 C 2r2 D 3r2 E 2 3r2 For the following question, enter your answer in the boxes.
24. Of the 20 lightbulbs in a box, 2 are defective. An inspector will select 2
lightbulbs simultaneously and at random from the box. What is the probability
that neither of the lightbulbs selected will be defective?
Give your answer as a fraction. 25. What is the perimeter, in meters, of a rectangular playground 24 meters wide
that has the same area as a rectangular playground 64 meters long and 48
meters wide?
A 112
B 152 C 224 D 256 E 304 STOP. This is the end of Section 6. 344 0071700528pp345354 10/13/10 4:55 PM Page 345 Evaluating Your Performance Evaluating Your Performance
Now that you have completed the practice GRE revised General Test in this book, it is
time to evaluate your performance. Because the new Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning score scales for the GRE revised General Test were not yet available
when this book went to press, we are providing estimates of your performance on the
Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning measures based on the previous 200–800
GRE scale. Analytical Writing Measure
One way to evaluate your performance on the Issue and Argument topics you answered
on the practice test is to compare your essay responses to the scored sample essay
responses for these topics and review the reader commentary for these sample essay
responses. Scored sample essay responses and reader commentary are presented starting on page 355 for the one Issue topic and one Argument topic presented in the Analytical Writing sections of the test.
The final scores on each of the two essays (Issue and Argument) are averaged and
rounded up to the nearest halfpoint interval. A single score is reported for the Analytical Writing measure. You should review the score level descriptions on page 41 to better
understand the analytical writing abilities characteristic of particular score levels. Verbal and Quantitative Measures
The tables that follow contain information to help you evaluate your performance on
the Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning measures. An Answer Key with the
correct answers to the questions in the Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning
sections begins on page 347. Compare your answers to the correct answers given in the
table, crossing out questions you answered incorrectly or omitted. Partially correct
answers should be treated as incorrect. Knowing which questions you answered incorrectly or omitted can help you identify content areas in which you need more practice
or review.
The Answer Key contains additional information to help you evaluate your performance. With each answer, the Key provides a number, the P+. The P+ is the percent
of a group of actual GRE takers who were administered that same question at a previous test administration and who answered it correctly. P+ is used to gauge the relative
difficulty of a test question. The higher the P+, the easier the test question. You can use
the P+ to compare your performance on each test question to the performance of other
test takers on that same question.
To calculate your scores: b
b
b Add the number of correct answers in Sections 3 and 4 to obtain your raw
Verbal Reasoning score.
Add the number of correct answers in Sections 5 and 6 to obtain your raw
Quantitative Reasoning score.
Once you have calculated your raw scores, refer to the score conversion table
on pages 351–352 to find the scaled score ranges corresponding to your raw
scores on both Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning. 345 0071700528pp345354 10/13/10 4:55 PM Page 346 GRE Practice Test
The scaled score ranges are based on the previous 200–800 GRE General Test
reporting scales. They are provided as an estimate of your performance because the
new score scale was not yet available when this book went to press. Beginning in
November 2011, you can obtain information about how the scores on the previous
200–800 scales correspond to the new 130–170 scales at www.ets.org/gre/revised_
general. These scaled score ranges should give you a general idea of how you might
perform on the GRE revised General Test, but they are not precise predictions of your
future test performance. The score ranges can help guide your test preparation.
To give you a general indication of your level of performance compared to others
who have taken the General Test, percentile ranks based upon the most recent norms
for the 200–800 scale are also provided in the table on pages 353–354. The percentile
rank is the percent of test takers who earned lower scores. To evaluate your level of performance on the practice test, find the percentile ranks associated with the scaled
scores in your score range. These percentile ranks are only meant to provide you with
a general indication of your performance and may not be identical to the actual norms
for the GRE revised General Test scheduled to be published in November 2011. 346 0071700528pp345354 10/13/10 4:55 PM Page 347 Evaluating Your Performance Answer Key
Section 3. Verbal Reasoning
Question
Number P+
1 39 2 54 3
4 49
48 5
6
7
8
9 57
63
20
58
69 10
11 66
65 12
13 14
86 14
15
16
17
18 46
10
36
18
47 19 37 20
21
22
23
24
25 72
24
39
61
67
85 Correct Answer
Choice A: Some record or evidence of the thought of the tlamatinime is
available.
AND
Choice B: For at least some Nahuatl expressions, researchers are able to
trace their derivation from another ancient American language.
Sentence 6: Of these forms, the most characteristic in Nahuatl is the
juxtaposition of two words that, because they are synonyms, associated
terms, or even contraries, complement each other to evoke one single idea
Choice B: creations
Choice D: The first sums up the argument’s position with regard to a certain
hypothesis; the second provides grounds for that position.
Choice A: anachronistic; Choice F: alienated from
Choice D: invention
Choice B: lionization; Choice D: foreground
Choice B: aesthetics
Choice C: present evidence suggesting that singing has an important energy
cost for certain birds
Choice B: Stores more energy as body reserves than on other days
Sentence 9: Thomas found that nightingales reached a significantly higher
body mass at dusk and lost more mass overnight on nights when their song
rate was high.
Choice B: They have generally received more attention from scientists.
Choice A: Many climbers, lulled into a false sense of security, use the new
equipment to attempt climbing feats of which they are not capable.
Choice B: schism
Choice D: sartorial
Choice A: undemonstrative panache; Choice F: deflect
Choice C: strategic; Choice D: brandish; Choice H: deeply felt moral code
Choice C: provide an example of a way in which scholarship on the history
of women in photography has been unsatisfactory
Choice C: In addition to providing a record of certain historical events,
Marion Palfi’s photographs played a role in subsequent events.
Choice A: exaggeration
Choice A: innocuous AND Choice F: benign
Choice A: antedated AND Choice D: preceded
Choice B: disparate AND Choice C: divergent
Choice A: arbitrary AND Choice B: capricious
Choice C: thrilled about AND Choice E: elated by 347 0071700528pp345354 10/13/10 4:55 PM Page 348 GRE Practice Test Answer Key
Section 4. Verbal Reasoning
Question
Number P+
1
2
3
4
5 6
7 26
31 8 23 9 82 10
11 60
37 12
13
14 35
43
54 15 68 16 49 17
18
19
20
21
22 348 70
80
49
68
26 50
19
54
23
53
59 Correct Answer
Choice B: fleeting; AND Choice C: momentary
Choice A: diversity; AND Choice C: variety
Choice A: synoptic; AND Choice B: abridged
Choice B: intransigent; AND Choice F: resolute
Choice A: A correct understanding of how phytoplankton photosynthesis
utilizes carbon dioxide
AND
Choice B: A correct prediction about how the addition of iron to ironpoor
waters would affect phytoplankton growth
AND
Choice C: An incorrect prediction about how phytoplankton growth would
affect the concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide
Choice A: help explain why Martin’s hypothesis is incorrect
Choice E: There are fewer traffic accidents annually in Sparva than in any of
the provinces of comparable or greater population.
Choice A: Voltaire’s literary stature helped secure a large audience for this
attempt to popularize Newton’s ideas.
AND
Choice B: Voltaire’s status as a nonscientist was an advantage in this effort
to bring Newtonian science to the attention of the general public.
AND
Choice C: The frontispiece of the book implies that Voltaire’s understanding
of Newton’s ideas was not achieved without assistance.
Sentence 2: In the book’s frontispiece, Voltaire is seen writing at his desk,
and over him a shaft of light from heaven, the light of truth, passes through
Newton to Voltaire’s collaborator Madame du Châtelet; she reflects that light
onto the inspired Voltaire
Choice B: extravagance; Choice F: profligate
Choice B: complacency; Choice D: embrace only a portion of the truth;
Choice G: erroneous
Choice D: inform
Choice E: reconcile
Choice C: The Quest of the Silver Fleece has at least one feature that typically
would attract the attention of literary scholars.
Choice D: DuBois’ novels may eventually attract greater scholarly interest
than they have to date
Choice E: The degree of consideration that has been given to DuBois’ novels,
including The Quest of the Silver Fleece
Choice E: an anomaly
Choice A: undermines; Choice E: inimical
Choice A: peculiarity; Choice E: assertive
Choice B: malignant; Choice E: insufficient; Choice H: benignity
Choice B: proximity to the Sun
Choice C: such a warm Arctic Ocean would trigger the melting of massive
landbased glaciers in the Arctic 0071700528pp345354 10/13/10 4:55 PM Page 349 Evaluating Your Performance Answer Key
Question
Number P+
23
24 33
94 25 64 Correct Answer
Choice A: Some of them offered a religious explanation for their immigration.
Sentence 5: When he moves beyond the principal actors, he finds that religious explanations were less frequently offered, and he concludes that most
people immigrated because they were recruited by promises of material
improvement.
Choice A: summarizing the findings of an investigation Section 5. Quantitative Reasoning
Question
Number P+
1
2
3 65
83
62 4
5 48
47 6
7
8 36
26
34 9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23 46
62
26
51
52
60
18
19
69
63
41
60
70
35
17 24
25 51
34 Correct Answer
Choice B: Quantity B is greater.
Choice C: The two quantities are equal.
Choice D: The relationship cannot be determined from the information
given.
Choice A: Quantity A is greater.
Choice D: The relationship cannot be determined from the information
given.
Choice A: Quantity A is greater.
Choice C: The two quantities are equal.
Choice D: The relationship cannot be determined from the information
given.
Choice B: Quantity B is greater.
Choice D: 8 to 9
Choice B: 115
121
Choice C: 75
Choice C: 4,000
Choice C: The sales tax was less than $0.45.
Choice B: Two
Choice D: 40
9
Choice B: 190
Choice B: Decaffeinated, instant, dripbrewed, percolated
Choice A: 2.5 and 3.0
Choice D: 224
Choice A: DBC is an equilateral triangle.
AND
Choice D: The length of BC is 10.
18
Choice C: 35.0 349 0071700528pp345354 10/13/10 4:55 PM Page 350 GRE Practice Test Answer Key
Section 6. Quantitative Reasoning
Question
Number P+ Correct Answer
Choice A: Quantity A is greater.
Choice D: The relationship cannot be determined from the information
given.
Choice A: Quantity A is greater.
Choice C: The two quantities are equal.
Choice B: Quantity B is greater.
Choice C: The two quantities are equal.
Choice D: The relationship cannot be determined from the information
given.
Choice B: Quantity B is greater.
Choice D: The relationship cannot be determined from the information
given.
Choice A: $40.00
Choice A: The xintercept of line k is twice the yintercept of line k.
AND
Choice B: The product of the xintercept and the yintercept of line k is
positive.
AND
Choice C: Line k passes through the points (a, b) and (r, s), where
(a
r)(b
s) 0. 1
2
3
4
5
6
7 52
46
48
33
40 8
9 26
31 10
11 67
10 12
13
14
15
16 49
27
38
40
21 Choice B: 3:30
Choice E: The fifthlowest salary in the second quartile
13
Choice E: m is an even integer.
Choice A: 81v
AND
10 v 1
Choice B: 25v 17
18
19
20
21 79
44
41
30
11 22 58 Choice B: 47
Choice A: 130
Choice A: 50
Choice C: 38%
Choice E: 58
1
Choice D:
1
b 23 24 Choice B: 24 15 153
(or any equivalent fraction)
190 25 350 66
73 30 Choice E: 304 3
2 1
a r2 0071700528pp345354 10/13/10 4:55 PM Page 351 Evaluating Your Performance Score Conversion Table
Raw Score Verbal Scaled Range 50 750–800 Quantitative Scaled Range
750–800 49 750–800 750–800 48 750–800 750–800 47 750–800 750–800 46 750–800 750–800 45 750–800 750–800 44 750–800 750–800 43 740–800 750–800 42 710–800 750–800 41 700–800 750–800 40 680–780 750–800 39 660–760 750–800 38 650–750 750–800 37 630–730 750–800 36 620–720 740–800 35 590–690 730–800 34 580–680 720–800 33 570–670 710–800 32 540–640 700–800 31 530–630 690–790 30 520–620 680–780 29 510–610 660–760 28 490–590 650–750 27 480–580 630–730 26 470–570 620–720 25 460–560 590–690 24 440–540 580–680 23 430–530 570–670 22 420–520 560–660 21 410–510 540–640 20 390–490 510–610 19 380–480 500–600 18 370–470 470–570 17 360–460 450–550 16 340–440 440–540 351 0071700528pp345354 10/13/10 4:55 PM Page 352 GRE Practice Test Score Conversion Table
Raw Score
15 330–430 410–510 14 310–410 390–490 13 290–390 380–480 12 280–380 340–440 11 270–370 330–430 10 260–360 310–410 9 250–350 280–380 8 240–340 260–360 7 220–320 250–350 6 220–320 230–330 5 200–300 210–310 4 200–290 200–280 3 200–290 200–260 2 200–270 200–250 1 200–260 200–250 0 352 Verbal Scaled Range Quantitative Scaled Range 200 200 0071700528pp345354 10/13/10 4:55 PM Page 353 Evaluating Your Performance Percentile Ranks
Percent of Examinees Scoring Lower Than Selected Scaled Scores
(Based on the performance of all examinees who tested between July 1, 2006, and June 30, 2009) Scaled Score Verbal Reasoning Quantitative Reasoning 800 94 790 91 780 89 770 87 760 84 750 82 740 80 730 99 77 720 98 75 710 98 72 700 97 70 690 97 68 680 96 66 670 95 63 660 94 61 650 93 59 640 92 56 630 91 54 620 89 52 610 88 49 600 86 47 590 84 45 580 82 43 570 80 40 560 78 38 550 75 36 540 73 34 530 70 32 520 68 30 510 65 28 500 63 27 353 0071700528pp345354 10/13/10 4:55 PM Page 354 GRE Practice Test Percentile Ranks
Scaled Score Verbal Reasoning Quantitative Reasoning 490 60 25 480 57 23 470 55 22 460 52 20 450 49 19 440 46 17 430 43 16 420 41 15 410 38 14 400 35 12 390 32 11 380 29 10 370 27 9 360 24 8 350 21 8 340 19 7 330 16 6 320 13 5 310 10 5 300 8 4 290 6 3 280 5 3 270 3 2 260 2 2 250 1 2 240
230
220
210
200 354 1 0071700528pp355368 10/13/10 4:56 PM Page 355 Analytical Writing Sample Responses Analytical Writing Sample Responses
and Reader Commentaries
SECTION 1 Analytical Writing
ANALYZE AN ISSUE
The best way to teach is to praise positive actions and ignore negative ones.
Write a response in which you discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree
with the recommendation and explain your reasoning for the position you take.
In developing and supporting your position, describe specific circumstances in
which adopting the recommendation would or would not be advantageous and
explain how these examples shape your position. Score 6 Response *
The recommendation presents a view that I would agree is successful most of the
time, but one that I cannot fully support due to the “all or nothing” impression it gives.
Certainly as an educator I agree fully that the best way to elicit positive response
from students is to make use of students’ positive energy and then encourage actions
that you would like to see repeated. It is human nature that we all want to be accepted
and achieve on some level, and when people in authority provide feedback that we
have done something well, the drive to repeat the action that was praised is bound to
be particularly strong.
This blanket statement would obviously pay dividends in situations in which a
teacher desires to have students repeat particular behaviors. For example, if an
educator is attempting to teach students proper classroom etiquette, it would be
appropriate to openly praise a student who raises his or her hand when wishing to
speak or address the class. In such cases, the teacher may also help shape positive
behaviors by ignoring a student who is trying to interject without approval from the
teacher. In fact, the decision to ignore students who are exhibiting inappropriate
behaviors of this type could work very well in this situation, as the stakes are not very
high and the intended outcome can likely be achieved by such a method. However, it
is important to note here that this tactic would only be effective in such a “lowstakes”
situation, as when a student speaks without raising her hand first. As we will discuss
below, ignoring a student who hits another student, or engages in more serious
misbehaviors, would not be effective or prudent.
To expand on this point, it is important for teachers to be careful when working with NOTE: All responses are reproduced exactly as written, including errors, misspellings, etc., if
any. 355 0071700528pp355368 10/13/10 4:56 PM Page 356 GRE Practice Test
the second half of this statement, only ignoring negative actions that are not serious.
Take for instance a student who is misbehaving just by chatting with a fellow classmate. This student might not be presenting much of a problem and may be simply
seeking attention. Ignoring the student might, in fact, be the best solution. Now
assume the negative action is the improper administering of chemicals in a science
experiment or the bullying of a fellow student. To ignore these negative actions would
be absurd and negligent. Now you are allowing a problem to persist, one that could
potentially lead to much bigger and more dangerous issues. In a more serious
situation, addressing the negative actions quickly and properly could stop the problem
it in its tracks. It is for reasons like this that I do not advocate the idea that a teacher can
be successful by simply ignoring negative actions.
I do, however, greatly support the idea that the central focus of teaching should be
to build on and encourage positive actions. However, the author’s allencompasing
statement leaves too many negative possibilities for the classroom. Perhaps a better
way to phrase this statement would be to say, “The best way to teach is to praise
positive actions and ignore negative ones that are not debilitating to class efficiency
or the safety of any individual”.
Thus, in the original statement, there are indeed some good intentions, and there
could be a lot of merit in adopting its basic principles. Data proves that positive support
can substantially increase motivation and desire in students and contribute to positive
achievements. In fact, most studies of teaching efficacy indicate that praising positive
actions and ignoring negative ones can create a more stable and efficient classroom.
It needs to be stressed, however, that this tool is only effective at certain levels of
misbehavior. As mentioned above, when the behavior is precipitated by feelings of
revenge, power or total selfworthlessness, this methodology will likely not work. It is
likely to be very successful, however, when the drive behind the misbehavior is simple
attention seeking. In many of these instances, if the teacher demonstrates clearly that
inappropriate behavior does not result in the gaining of attention, students are more
likely to seek attention by behaving properly. Should the student choose this path, then
the ignoring has worked and when the positive behavior is exhibited, then the teacher
can utilize the first part of the theory and support or praise this behavior. Now it is
much more likely to be repeated. If the student does not choose this path and instead
elects to raise the actions to a higher level that presents a more serious issue, then
ignorance alone cannot work and other methods must be employed.
In conclusion, one can appreciate the credo expressed in this instance, but surely
we all can see the potential error of following it through to the extreme. Reader Commentary
This response receives a 6 for its wellarticulated, insightful analysis of the issue.
Rather than simply rejecting or accepting the prompt, the writer argues that the recommendation made by the prompt can often be true but is too “all or nothing“ to be
endorsed without qualification. The writer turns this idea into an insightful position by
providing examples and evidence to fully and persuasively support its nuanced argument. The response offers nicely detailed situations that provide compelling support
for a claim that the recommendation can, in fact, work. At the same time, it also highlights the recommendation’s limits using additional specific, detailed examples. Particularly persuasive is the fourth paragraph, in which the writer compares the impact of
ignoring minor behavioral problems like talking in class to the potential costs of ignoring more serious issues like bullying. Thus, the writer recognizes that the prompt’s
claim, as well as his/her own, is inevitably dependent on the specific context for its suc356 0071700528pp355368 10/13/10 4:56 PM Page 357 Analytical Writing Sample Responses
cess or failure. Throughout the response, the writer demonstrates the ability to convey
ideas fluently and precisely, using effective vocabulary and sentence variety. This sentence demonstrates the level of language facility seen throughout the response: ”It is
human nature that we all want to be accepted and achieve on some level, and when
people in authority provide feedback that we have done something well, the drive to
repeat the action that was praised is bound to be particularly strong.” Score 5 Response
I partially agree with the statement “The best way to teach is to praise positive actions
and ignore negative ones”. Children should be rewarded when they perform well;
however, they should not be ignored for performing suboptimally. For purposes of
this essay, the term “actions” is defined as behaviors within the classroom.
Utilizing positive reinforcements, such as tangible rewards, can be a good method
to teach children. If the teacher praises children for actions that are desirable, then the
children are more likely to repeat those actions. For example, a student who completes
an assignment on time and does a good job is likely to want to do a good job on the
next assignment if he gets positive feedback. Likewise, the children who are not
currently engaging in the desirable actions may be more inclined to do so in order to
recieve the positive reinforcement.
Conversely, children should not be ignored for negative actions. If a child is not
exhibiting appropriate behavior in the classroom, then it is the teacher’s responsibility
to encourage the child to perform optimally. Ignoring something doesn’t make it go
away, actions and consequences do. A student who is being disruptive in class will
continue to be disruptive unless the teacher does something about it. However, the
teacher’s actions need be appropriate.
Before the teacher attempts to modify a child’s behavior, the teacher needs to try
and identify the reason behind the behavior. For instance, children who leave their
seat often, stare in to space, or call out of turn may be initially viewed as having poor
behavior. However, the teacher may suspect that the child has an attentional problem,
and request that the child be tested. If the child does have an attentional problem, then
the teacher can work with a related service, such as occupational therapy, to alter the
classroom environment in order to cater to the needs of the child. For instance, the
teacher could remove some of the stimulating bulliten board displays to make the
room more calming to the child. If the child becomes more attentive in class then the
teacher was able to assist the child without scorning them or ignoring them. The
teacher met the needs of the child and created an enviornment to enable the child to
optimally perform in the educational setting.
On the other hand, if the child is tested, and does not have any areas of concern
that may be impacting the educational performance in the classroom, then the
negative behavior may strictly be due to defiance. In such a case, the teacher still
should not ignore the child, because the negative actions may hinder the learning
opportunity for the remaining children in the class. As a result, a child who is being
disruptive to the learning process of the class should be set apart from the class so
that they do not receive the positive reinforcement of peer attention.
The teacher should not ignore the student who is misbehaving, but that does not
mean that the teacher just needs to punish. It is better to address the child privately
and make sure the child is aware of the negative actions. Once the child is aware, then
the teacher should once again try to determine the reason why the child is behaving in 357 0071700528pp355368 10/13/10 4:56 PM Page 358 GRE Practice Test
a negative manner. Perhaps the child’s parents are in the middle of a divorce and the
child is outwardly expressing his frustration in the classroom. Or the academic content
of the class may not be challenging enough for the child and so he is misbehaving out
of boredom. Whatever the reason behind the behavior, the key factor is that the teacher
works with the child to try and identify it. Simply punnishing or ignoring the child
would not solve the problem, whereas working to create a plan for success in the
classroom would. Likewise, rather than punnishing and defeating the child, the teacher
is working with and empowering the child; a much more positive outcome to the
situation. Reader Commentary
This strong response presents a thoughtful and welldeveloped analysis of the issue. In
this case the writer argues that teachers need to modify their approach based on context and observation, meaning that a blanket approach cannot be successful. The writer
supports this position with relevant reasons and examples that present logically sound
support. Note that the task instructions ask writers to discuss situations in which the
statement might or might not hold true, and this response does that quite clearly. In the
second paragraph, the writer gives an example of a student who completes an assignment on time and receives positive feedback, showing how the recommendation could
hold true. Other examples show situations in which it might not hold true, and these
various points are brought together to support the writer’s position that teachers have
to look at the context of the situation and cannot rely on simply ignoring negative
actions. This response also demonstrates facility with language, using appropriate
vocabulary and sentence variety. Sentences like this one demonstrate the writer’s command of the conventions of standard written English: “If the child does have an attentional problem, then the teacher can work with a related service, such as occupational
therapy, to alter the classroom environment in order to cater to the needs of the child.”
There are some minor errors, but overall the response demonstrates strong control of
language. Although the response is clearly stronger than a 4, which would simply present a clear position on the issue according to the task instructions, it does not reach the
level of a 6 because it does not develop its points in a way that creates a cogent and
insightful position. It does, however, present a generally thoughtful and welldeveloped
analysis of the issue, leading to a score of 5. Score 4 Response
I absolutely agree with the first section of the statement above, but find fault with the
latter half.
There is no doubt that praising positive actions is an excellent way to teach, and this
method is most clearly exemplified when dealing with much younger children. When
a young child is learning basic social behavior, it is imperative that he is encouraged
to repeat positive actions. For example, when a child voluntarily shares his toys with
another, if a teacher rewards that behavior, the child will understand that this is a good
practice, and likely share again in the future.
In contrast, if a child displays negative behavior by stealing a toy away from his
playmate, it would be very dangerous for the teacher to ignore this action, for then the
child may never recognize that this is unacceptable. In this instance, the child has not
learned from the situation at all. So what should a teacher do when faced with such
a situation? Punishment is not necessarily the optimal choice, either. Rather than 358 0071700528pp355368 10/13/10 4:56 PM Page 359 Analytical Writing Sample Responses
scolding a child for mistreating his playmates and sending him off to a corner, a
teacher would be wise to demonstrate the positive alternative: to share his toys
instead. In this case, rather than ignoring or punishing negative actions, the teacher
could seize the opportunity to reinforce positive behavior, and further extend the child’s
learning experience.
In summary, positive reinforcement is certainly an excellent method for teaching
new methods or behaviors, and encouraging a student to learn more. However to
ignore, rather than recognize and correct negative actions, would be a disservice to
the student, for he would not know what conclusion to draw from his action. Reader Commentary
This adequate response follows the task directions and presents a clear position on the
issue, supporting its main points with examples that are relevant, if only adequately
developed. For instance, the discussion in the second paragraph of a teacher who reinforces the positive behavior of sharing a toy is certainly relevant and ontask (i.e., it
describes a situation in which adopting the recommendation would be advantageous).
However, the development of this idea does not lead to generally thoughtful or insightful analysis. Instead, it is simply presented as an example. In addition to its adequate
development, this response also demonstrates sufficient control of the conventions of
standard written English, and its main points are made with reasonable clarity. Some
of the sentences demonstrate the syntactical variety normally seen in responses that
receive higher scores (e.g., “Rather than scolding a child for mistreating his playmates
and sending him off to a corner, a teacher would be wise to demonstrate the positive
alternative: to share his toys instead”). However, the overall use of language in this
response is merely adequate. Score 3 Response
Praising postive actions and ignoring negative ones may be a good way to teach but
not the best way. Ignoring negative actions could negate all the postive praises given
to an individual, having negative actions go unchecked will lead to habits formed that
would overwhelm any positive actions that are complementary to an individuals
learning process.
For instance, in a classroom full of eightyear old kids; if during a lesson they are
making alot of noise, having this ignored would tell the kids that it is okay to be
disruptive in class. The individuals in that class would develop the habit of being
distruptive hence hindering their learning process. However if the eightyear old kids
were immediately told to stop the distruption then it will never become a habit.
Every action needs to have a related consequence follow in a learning environment.
In the early years of education, the way they are taught becomes a lifelong habit which
is hard to change in later years. If negative actions are not assigned a related
consequences then teaching becomes ineffective because the students negative
actions soon diminish the ability to do well in school. The way postive actions are dealt
with should also be done with negative actions rather than being ignored which in turn
enhance the learning environment. Reader Commentary
Although this response has minor errors in its use of language, it receives a 3 primarily
for insufficient overall clarity and for the limited development of its claims. The writer
359 0071700528pp355368 10/13/10 4:56 PM Page 360 GRE Practice Test
does make an attempt to follow the specific task instructions, and the response has a
clear position on the issue, arguing that it is not acceptable practice to ignore negative
behaviors. However, the development provided in support of that position is limited.
The example of “eightyear old kids” making noise during class can be seen as a situation in which following the recommendation is not advantageous. Instead of developing that point in a logically persuasive way, however, the writer proceeds to make an
unsupported assertion about the consequences of following the recommendation (“The
individuals in that class would develop the habit of being distruptive hence hindering
their learning process”). Another issue that keeps this response at the 3 level is a lack of
clarity, particularly in the final paragraph. The final sentence demonstrates this problem with clarity: “The way postive actions are dealt with should also be done with negative actions rather than being ignored which in turn enhance the learning
environment.” Problems with the structure of this sentence make it difficult to determine the writer’s intended meaning. Score 2 Response
I don’t agree with this afirmation, because I think is very important to praise positive
actions but also is important to sign the negative ones, in some situations acording to
the students level, grade, etc., could be better to put more emphasis in the positive
things and if not ignore all the negative ones, do not give so much importance to them,
this is particulary important in the lowest levels of education.
But in another situations you must sign the negative things, trying to avoid that the
students can repeat them in the future, because I think you can also learn from the
negative situations.
For this reason I believe that is important to praise positive actions but is also
important no to ignore the negative ones, because in a given situation the student can
have troubles recongnising what is right and what is wrong. And finally as a conclusion
I think that the best way to teach is combination of praise positive things but also to
sign the negative ones. Reader Commentary
This response clearly fits several characteristics of a 2, as defined by the scoring guide.
It is seriously limited in its development, organization, and focus. The response repeats
itself rather than developing any of its statements, pointing to an inability to organize
a response capable of supporting any specific claims with relevant reasons or examples. Additionally, serious language control problems frequently interfere with meaning. Thus, even though the writer does seem to be making an attempt to respond to the
specific task instructions, the response merits a score of 2. Score 1 Response
Write a response in which you disuss the extent to which you agree or disagree
with the recommendation and explain your reasoning for the position you take. In
developing and supporting position, describe specific circumstances in which adopting
the recommendation would or would not be advantageous and explain how these
examples shape your position.
Author says that The best way to teach is to praise positive actions and ignore 360 0071700528pp355368 10/13/10 4:56 PM Page 361 Analytical Writing Sample Responses
negative ones. I agree to this recommendation. Explaining, I strongly believe that the
best way to teach is not to praise positive action and ignore negative ones but is
makeing everyone to be a good ones. Specific crimstances lead me which adopting
the recommendation as the following:
First, we will lost the good children who have negative maner if we ignore them.
Children are future, not all. Praise in negative should not be, teaching to children to
best way. I strongly believe adopting this recommeindation would be not advantages.
second, negative ones in today may be a great people in the future. Not only ones
behave do worse they are teenage. Teenage in today is not easy for all! Negative ones
can not better, if only prainse positive actions, ignore negativeone. Negative ones may
not positive be having, but if we praise them only, they not think they should be
positive person later.
conclusion, specific circumstances are which adopting the recommendation would
not be advantage, I am not agree to the the recommendation. Ignore negative manor
when they will not be positive behavrio in futre. But they can, if do not ignore them. we
should not ignor negative person but should make them think that they can be a good
man future like positive person. Reader Commentary
This response has severe and pervasive problems in language and sentence structure
that, as stated in the scoring guide, consistently interfere with meaning and result in
incoherence. The response begins by repeating the prompt, but then the severe problems with language control and organization undermine any evidence of the ability to
understand the prompt or to present and develop a clear position. For example, it is
not clear what the writer means by the claim that the best way to teach is “makeing
everyone to be a good ones.” Severe problems with language control in that sentence
and throughout the response prevent it from developing a coherent position on the
issue or responding to the specific task instructions. Although the writer makes an
attempt at organization, with points marked as first, second, and conclusion, the
response actually exhibits little or no evidence of the ability to develop any potential
understanding of the prompt into a logical position on the issue. 361 0071700528pp355368 10/13/10 4:56 PM Page 362 GRE Practice Test SECTION 2 Analytical Writing
ANALYZE AN ARGUMENT
The following appeared in an article written by Dr. Karp, an anthropologist.
"Twenty years ago, Dr. Field, a noted anthropologist, visited the island of Tertia and
concluded from his observations that children in Tertia were reared by an entire village
rather than by their own biological parents. However, my recent interviews with children
living in the group of islands that includes Tertia show that these children spend much more
time talking about their biological parents than about other adults in the village. This
research of mine proves that Dr. Field's conclusion about Tertian village culture is invalid
and thus that the observationcentered approach to studying cultures is invalid as well. The
interviewcentered method that my team of graduate students is currently using in Tertia will
establish a much more accurate understanding of childrearing traditions there and in other
island cultures."
Write a response in which you discuss what specific evidence is needed to evaluate the
argument and explain how the evidence would weaken or strengthen the argument. Score 6 Response
It might seem logical, at first glance, to agree with the argument in Dr. Karp’s article
that children in Tertia actually are raised by their biological parents (and perhaps even,
by implication, that an observationcentered approach to anthropological study is
not as valid as an interviewcentered one). However, in order to fully evaluate this
argument, we need to have a significant amount of additional evidence. The argument
could end up being much weaker than it seems, or it might actually be quite valid. In
order to make that determination, we need to know more then analyze what we learn.
The first piece of evidence that we would need in order to evaluate Dr. Karp’s claims
is information about whether or not Tertia and the surrounding island group have
changed significantly in the past 20 years. Dr. Field conducted his observational study
20 years ago, and it is possible that Tertia has changed significantly since then. For
example, if we had evidence that in teh intervening years Westerners had settled on
the island and they introduced a more typical Westernstyle family structure, it would
certainly weaken Dr. Karp’s argument. In that case, the original study could have been
accurate, and Dr. Karp’s study could be correct, as well, though his conclusion that Dr.
Field’s method is ineffective would be seriously weakened.
Another piece of evidence that might help us evaluate this claim involves the exact
locations where Dr. Karp’s interviews took place. According to this article, Dr. Karp and
his graduate students conducted interviews of “children living in the group of islands
that includes Tertia.” If we were to learn that they never interviewed a single Tertian 362 0071700528pp355368 10/13/10 4:56 PM Page 363 Analytical Writing Sample Responses
child, it would significantly weaken the conclusion. It could turn out to be the case, for
example, that children on Tertia are raised communally, whereas children on other
islands nearby are raised by their biological parents.
In order to fully evaluate this article, we would also need to learn more about the
interview questions that Dr. Karp’s team used. What exactly did they ask? We don’t
know, nor do we know what the children’s responses actually were. What did they say
about their biological parents? The mere fact that they speak more frequently about
their biological parents than they do about other adults does not meant hat they are
raised by their biological parents. It would significantly undermine Dr. Karp’s argument
if it turned out that the children said things like how much they missed their parents or
how their parents had left them in a communal environment. Without knowing WHAT
the children said, it is hard to accept Dr. Karp’s conclusion.
It is slightly more difficult to discuss teh evidence we might need in order to
evaluate the more interesting claims in Dr. Karp’s article, namely his extension of the
results of his study to a conclusion that interviewcentered methods are inherently
more valid than observationalcentered approaches. In order to fully evaluate this
claim, in fact, we would need to look at many more examples of interviewbased and
observationbased anthropological studies and we would also need to look into
different study designs. Perhaps Dr. Field did not conduct an effective observational
study, but other observational approaches could be effective. In order to make such
grandiose claims, Dr. Karp really needs a lot of additional evidence (ideally a metaanalysis of hundreds of anthropological studies).
Clearly, then, we need to have additional evidence in order to get a more complete
understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of Dr. Karp’s article. We need to know
about Tertia and the surrounding islands, whether or not they have changed over the
past 20 years. We also need to know about study design (Dr. Karp’s and Dr. Field’s).
And we really need a lot more information if we want to extend the results of a study
about one island culture to all anthropological fieldwork. Reader Commentary
This outstanding response clearly addresses the specific task directions and presents a
cogent, insightful analysis by specifically detailing the impact that different pieces of
evidence would have on the argument. The introductory paragraph sets up the organization of the response, and each body paragraph provides the sort of compelling development typical in responses that receive a score of 6. For example, after the writer
discusses possible evidence that Tertian child rearing practices have changed over the
past 20 years, he or she clearly explains the impact information about those changes
might have on the argument, saying, “In that case, the original study could have been
accurate, and Dr. Karp’s study could be correct, as well, though his conclusion that Dr.
Field’s method is ineffective would be seriously weakened.” Not only is this argument
compelling, but it also demonstrates sophisticated syntax and facility with language.
There is more insightful development in the fifth paragraph, in which the writer examines Dr. Karp’s claims about interviewbased studies. Although there are a few typos
and minor errors here, nothing in the response distracts from the overall fluency of the
writing. Sentences like this one demonstrate the fluent and precise diction and varied
syntax that are evident throughout the response: “It could turn out to be the case, for
example, that children on Tertia are raised communally, whereas children on other
islands nearby are raised by their biological parents.” Because of its compelling and
insightful development and fluent and precise language, this response fits all of the bullet points for a 6.
363 0071700528pp355368 10/13/10 4:56 PM Page 364 GRE Practice Test
Score 5 Response
There seems to be an abundance of evidence that, if we were to examine it closely,
might make us reconsider Dr. Karp’s argument here. If we look first at the evidence
that might weaken this argument, we can see a lot of the problems with Dr. Karp’s
article. It would certainly weaken the argument if we were to discover that Dr. Karp
and his students did not actually conduct any of their interviews on the island of Tertia
itself. Looking closely at the article, we see that Dr. Karp claims the interviews were
conducted with children from the island group that includes Tertia. There is no
evidence that they interviewed Tertian children. It would definitely weaken the
argument if we were to learn that they interviewed children only on islands close
to Tertia. Those islands may or may not have similar childrearing traditions, and
geographic proximity does not guarantee societal similarity.
Another piece of evidence that would weaken the argument could come from
transcripts of the interviews themselves. Dr. Karp’s article makes the claim that the
children “spend much more time talking about their biological parents than about
other adults,” but he gives no indication of what exactly they say about their biological
parents. After all, the children may be talking about how they never see their parents.
One more important piece of evidence that might undermine the argument Dr. Karp
is making in this article. He admits that twenty years have passed since Dr. Field’s study
was conducted, but he does not provide evidence that proves childrearing techniques
have not changed significantly in that time. Any number of factors could have led to a
significant shift in how children are raised. Influences from other cultures, significant
catastrophic events, or a change in government structures could have led to a change
in family dynamics. Any evidence of such changes would clearly undermine Dr. Karp’s
argument.
If we went looking for evidence that could strengthen the argument, we might also
find something interesting. Obviously, some of the evidence above might strengthen
the argument if they were NOT as discussed above (e.g., if there were evidence that the
Tertian islands have NOT changed since Dr. Field’s study or if there were transcripts
that showed the children spoke about how much they loved living with their biological
parents). However, if we discovered that there are numerous interviewbased studies
that confirm Dr. Karp’s findings, it would go a long way toward bolstering his claim
about Tertian childrearing AND his claim about interviewcentered studies being more
effective. Another piece of evidence that would strengthen Dr. Karp’s argument is
undermining Dr. Field’s original study. Maybe Dr. Field was sloppy, for example.
Dr. Karp’s article, then, ends up looking like something of an empty shell. Depending
on the evidence we find to fill it out, we may discover that it is quite convincing, or we
could determine that he is full of hot air. Reader Commentary
This strong response presents a generally thoughtful and welldeveloped analysis of
the argument, and it follows the specific task directions quite clearly. This writer
approaches the task by first discussing the evidence that might weaken Dr. Karp’s argument and then, in somewhat less depth, considering the evidence that could strengthen
it. In both cases the writer analyzes the ways in which the evidence would bear on the
argument. For example, the writer notes, “Influences from other cultures, significant
catastrophic events, or a change in government structures could have led to a change
in family dynamics. Any evidence of such changes would clearly undermine Dr. Karp’s
argument.” Although the development presented here is strong, the response does not
364 0071700528pp355368 10/13/10 4:56 PM Page 365 Analytical Writing Sample Responses
present the compelling development required for a 6. For instance, in the first paragraph there is some repetition, and in the third paragraph the reader must fill in the
implications of potential “changes” in Tertia, which are not fully fleshed out. How
could a catastrophic event or a change in governmental structure have led to changes
in child rearing traditions? The development, then, is strong but not outstanding.
Also, the response demonstrates some facility with language, though it does not convey
meaning skillfully enough to merit a score of 6. In general, the response demonstrates
strong writing skills, in spite of some minor errors like the sentence fragment that
begins paragraph three. Sentences like this one demonstrate the quality of the writing
seen throughout the response: “Those islands may or may not have similar childrearing traditions, and geographic proximity does not guarantee societal similarity.” In
terms of writing skill and analysis, then, this response earns a score of 5. Score 4 Response
Dr. Karp’s arguments that his research proves that obervationcentered research is
invalid and that his interviewcentered method “will establish a much more accurate
understanding of childrearing traditions there and in other island cultures” need more
support. While the findings from Dr. Karp’s interviews do challenge Dr. Field’s results,
one then cannot make the assumption that Dr. Field’s research is invalid. This essay
will attempt to explain three ways in which Dr. Karp can strengthen his argument.
First, Dr. Karp should provide more information about the content of the interviews.
Misinterpretation from observation can be as likely as misinterpretation in interivews. It
is possible that while children may spend more time talking about their own biological
parents, other people from the village are still assisting in most of the rearing of the
child. Perhaps asking the children how much time they spend with their parents, who
disciplines them, and other specific questions about rearing would provide a more
complete answer about who exactly is raising the children.
Second, Dr. Karp could provide some information about societal changes in the
past twenty years. If there have been significant changes on the island of Tertia, it is
possible that both anthropologists are correct. Twenty years ago, the entire village
raised children, and now, biological parents raise their own children. Recents events
could explain the change  such as introduction of Western mass media or changes in
government (monarchy to democracy). Perhaps even interviewing adults to get a
better understanding on child rearing. Not to mention, interpretting information from
children and using that information to generalize about an entire island is not the most
effective means.
Thirdly, Dr. Karp needs more proof that the observationcentered approach to
studying cultures in invalid. A potential mistake in one article can hardly invalidate an
entire method of research. Other anthropologists who employ the interviewcentered
method need to dispute the work of anthropoligsts who use the observationcentered
approach. Only when a significant amount of research can be disproved can an entire
method of research be invalidated.
To conclude, Dr. Karp needs to do more research and provide more evidence
before his large claims can be fully supported. In fact, it will take more than Dr. Karp
alone to prove observationcentered method of research is invalid and further, that the
interviewcentered method is better. In terms of his own research, Dr. Karp needs to
conduct more interviews on the Tertia islands and scientifically prove Dr. Field’s
research wrong. 365 0071700528pp355368 10/13/10 4:56 PM Page 366 GRE Practice Test
Reader Commentary
This adequate response manages to identify some important features of the argument,
presenting a competent examination and generally following the task directions. The
response does not merit a score of 5 or 6, however, because it does not present compelling or insightful development. The response identifies basic points about the
content of the interviews, possible changes in Tertia, and observationcentered studies,
but these points are developed only adequately. Development in paragraph four
(“Thirdly . . . ”) is generic and thin, and the final paragraph just recapitulates the assertions made earlier. The response does follow the specific task instructions, but it does
not develop its discussion of specific evidence fully. For example, there is a claim that
“specific questions about rearing would provide a more complete answer about who
exactly is raising the children,” but the response does not explain what sorts of questions would give which answers or how those answers would strengthen or weaken the
argument. Also, language control in this response is merely adequate, not strong. There
are some typos and other errors (e.g., a sentence fragment in paragraph 3: “Perhaps
even interviewing adults to get a better understanding on child rearing”), but the
response generally demonstrates control of the conventions of standard written English, and main points are made with reasonable clarity. Because of its adequate control
of language and competent analysis, this response earns a score of 4. Score 3 Response
It will be very inappropriate to condemn Dr. Field’s observations and findings. A critical
look and analyses of the argument shows that details of Dr. Field’s work was not given
out. In fact, it is sad on the side of the writer to think that Dr.Fields work is invalid.
First, the fact that the children of Tertia spend much time talking about their
biological parents than about other adults in the village can be interpreted in a different
way. The writer did not give any clue on what exactly the children were saying about
their biological parents. It could be that they were talking about their parents
irresponsibility of rearing them by themselves than leaving them in the hands of
the whole community to bring them up. In fact, the argument could have been
strengthened if the writer gave what exactly the children were talking about.
On the other hand, the writer failed on his or her part as a researcher to look at
the time frame from the time Dr. Field did his analyses to the the time writer also
conducted His or Her research. This would have given him the insight as what new
developments has taken place within the twenty years gap that Dr. Field did His
analyses. The writer’s argument would have given a lot of meaning if the writer had
research into the cultural developments that has taken place since the time Dr. fields
last visited and didcompleted His work at Tertia.
Also, as a reader, the tone this writing is not very convincing. It almost seems like
Dr. Karp is making Dr. Fields look bad, instead of supporting his own research with
information. He really only says one sentence about his own research, the rest of it is
about how Fields work is not as good and saying things about Fields work. He needs to
have more details about his own work to really sell the reader on it. He needs to write
more about what the interviewcentered method is, since he does not even say what it
is. This will be more convincing if it is less of an attack on Dr. Field and more about the
researches.
On the whole the writer’s work is incomplete and His or Her criticisms are 366 0071700528pp355368 10/13/10 4:56 PM Page 367 Analytical Writing Sample Responses
unfounded. The writer needs to change the qualitative way of His or Her research into a
more quatitative approach. If done in this way the impact of His or Her findings will be
very strong and convincing. Reader Commentary
Although this response analyzes some important features of the argument, it is limited
in development and often lacks acceptable clarity in expressing its ideas. In particular,
this response contains occasional major errors and frequent minor errors that can
interfere with meaning. Misused words, subject/verb agreement problems, and other
lapses occur throughout the response. In addition to the problems with language control, the response demonstrates limited relevant development. It is true that the
response makes an attempt to follow the specific task instructions, identifying the fact
that the argument might be strengthened by evidence that the children were talking in
a positive manner about their parents. However, the response does not explain exactly
how this evidence would strengthen the argument. Similarly, there is discussion of the
elapsed time between the two studies, but the response does not clarify how information about the “cultural developments” over the past 20 years would strengthen the
argument Dr. Karp is making. Additionally, some of the points the response is making
are not actually relevant to an analysis of the logic of the argument. The discussion of
Dr. Karp’s tone in the fourth paragraph, for example, is a rhetorical critique, not
a logical one. There is an attempt to talk about evidence (“He needs to have more
details . . . ”), but the focus in this paragraph is on “selling” the reader, not creating a persuasive argument. Because of its limited development and language control, this
response earns a score of 3. Score 2 Response
The argument is on the article written by Dr. Karp , an anthropologist and his study
and the new plan to study the same in the tertia region.Dr.Karp has written an article
on Children in Tertia and about the culture.
The arguement is that they have not mention the type of intreview and the type of
questions of the interviwes.They haven’t indicate the education level in the children
and the background of the children. What are all the things the team is going to
observe and study on the child rearing tradition is not clearly mention.
The team is going to study and correlate the tradition with the other island culture
but there is a possibility of different environment of other island or differnt biological
parents. The resource availability on one island is different than the other is also a
possibility . In that situation it is not possible to correlate the culture between to
iceland.
There is a possibility , Dr. Field’s interview time , lacking of infrastructure in the
tartia. There was no developement of schools and other refreshment activity or the
parents may not spent enough time with the children due to various reasons and that
effect to the children , so they might have spend more time talking about their
biological parent.
To support the argument more information about the nature, cultural background
and also the type of infrastructure presence in the area is require, the kind of study
carring out in the study area is require. Which would help to give more support the
argument. 367 0071700528pp355368 10/13/10 4:56 PM Page 368 GRE Practice Test
Reader Commentary
This response demonstrates serious weaknesses in analytical writing. There seem to be
some attempts at logical analysis, though none that specifically and clearly examine
the evidence that might weaken or strengthen the argument. Additionally, there is little
or no relevant or reasonable support for the writer’s points. In large part, the lack of
logical development seems to be due to the serious and frequent problems with language control seen throughout the response. There are basic errors in just about every
sentence of the response, and these errors frequently interfere with meaning. This sentence exemplifies the problems seen throughout the response: “There was no developement of schools and other refreshment activity or the parents may not spent enough
time with the children due to various reasons and that effect to the children , so they
might have spend more time talking about their biological parent.” The writer is
attempting to discuss some points that are relevant to an analysis of this argument, but
meaning is obscured by all of the errors present. However, some meaning can be discerned, and these errors are not severe enough to drop the score to a 1. Score 1 Response
Twenty years ago Dr field an anthropologist found result after reserch that in small
village of tertia children reared by entire village but according to dr karp he talked most
of the children that they talk about there boilogical parents. so it conclude that the
reserch of dr field is unvalid now and what type of methods dr field used may be not
cover all aspects of there culture and also other cultures of other islands. reared the
children by entire village is not logical but in some cultures there are some surprizing
customs . so may be dr field did not anlysed the culture of that island on various
parameters , which we are using now a days.intrveiw with children and observing their
behaviour is important because some time the person talk one thing and behave in
different way look like either he not telling correct or he is showing his altitude in
misguiding way. i think the behaviour of the children shows proper report of reserch
and you can observe their altitude to the other adult peoples of the village and to their
own biological parents.The expert reserch scholer can easily feel their emotions and
behavour during some time stay with their culture. dr field maybe more research time,
maybe, for longer. Reader Commentary
This fundamentally deficient response mainly consists of a summary of the prompt,
and although there is some evidence of understanding, the response provides little evidence of the ability to develop and organize an analysis of the argument. Also, severe
problems in language persistently interfere with meaning. In fact, the material that
does not come directly from the prompt is more or less incomprehensible. 368 0071700528pp369397 10/13/10 4:57 PM Page 369 Answers and Explanations Answers and Explanations
SECTION 3
Verbal Reasoning
25 Questions with Explanations
For each of Questions 1 to 4, select one answer choice unless otherwise instructed. Questions 1 to 3 are based on the following reading passage. line
5 10 Whether the languages of the ancient American peoples were used for expressing
abstract universal concepts can be clearly answered in the case of Nahuatl. Nahuatl,
like Greek and German, is a language that allows the formation of extensive compounds. By the combination of radicals or semantic elements, single compound words
can express complex conceptual relations, often of an abstract universal character.
The tlamatinime (those who know) were able to use this rich stock of abstract terms
to express the nuances of their thought. They also availed themselves of other forms of
expression with metaphorical meaning, some probably original, some derived from
Toltec coinages. Of these forms, the most characteristic in Nahuatl is the juxtaposition
of two words that, because they are synonyms, associated terms, or even contraries,
complement each other to evoke one single idea. Used metaphorically, the juxtaposed
terms connote specific or essential traits of the being they refer to, introducing a mode
of poetry as an almost habitual form of expression. Description
This passage claims that Nahuatl was used to express abstract universal concepts, by
combining semantic elements, and goes on to explain that the tlamatinime used these
terms to express subtle distinctions.
For the following question, consider each of the choices separately and select all that
apply. 1. Which of the following can be inferred from the passage regarding presentday
research relating to Nahuatl?
A
B
C Some record or evidence of the thought of the tlamatinime is available.
For at least some Nahuatl expressions, researchers are able to trace their
derivation from another ancient American language.
Researchers believe that in Nahuatl, abstract universal concepts are
always expressed metaphorically. Explanation
Choices A and B are correct.
Choice A is correct: the tlamatinime are mentioned in the first sentence of the second paragraph, where it says they were able to use Nahuatl’s stock of abstract terms “to
express the nuances of their thought.” This suggests that there is some evidence of
what those thoughts were, and therefore Choice A can be inferred. 369 0071700528pp369397 10/13/10 4:57 PM Page 370 GRE Practice Test
Choice B is correct: according to the next sentence, Nahuatl speakers used “forms
of expression with metaphorical meaning,” some of which were probably “original”
and others “derived from Toltec coinages.” That researchers know certain Nahuatl
expressions are derived from Toltec suggests that they are able to trace the derivation
of some Nahuatl expressions from another language besides Nahuatl, and therefore
Choice B may be inferred.
Choice C is incorrect: the passage says that in Nahuatl there are single compound
words that can express conceptual relations of an “abstract universal character” and
mentions “other forms of expression with metaphorical meaning,” but it does not indicate whether metaphorical words or phrases are the only way that abstract universal
concepts are expressed in Nahuatl, or whether researchers believe this about Nahuatl.
Therefore Choice C cannot be inferred.
2. Select the sentence in the passage in which the author introduces a specific
Nahuatl mode of expression that is not identified as being shared with certain
European languages. Explanation
The passage introduces two specific Nahuatl modes of expression. One is the formation
of single compound words that are capable of expressing complex conceptual relations
(first paragraph); the other is the juxtaposition of two related words to evoke a single
idea (second paragraph). In the formation of compounds Nahuatl is described as being
“like Greek and German,” but the second mode is not identified as being shared with
other languages. Therefore the sixth sentence (“Of these forms . . . one single idea”) is
the best choice.
3. In the context in which it appears, “coinages” (line 9) most nearly means
A adaptations
B creations
C idiosyncrasies
D pronunciations
E currencies Explanation
“Coinage” has two senses that are represented among the answer choices: in one sense
it denotes coins and currency, while in the other it denotes things — especially words
— that are invented. The fifth sentence draws a contrast between linguistic expressions
original to Nahuatl and those derived from Toltec. In this context of original versus
derived language, “coinages” means “inventions,” not “currencies.” Of the answer
choices given, “creations” is the nearest equivalent of “coinages” in the sense of “inventions,” and therefore Choice B is the best answer. 370 0071700528pp369397 10/13/10 4:57 PM Page 371 Answers and Explanations
Question 4 is based on the following reading passage.
At a certain period in Earth’s history, its atmosphere contained almost no oxygen,
although plants were producing vast quantities of oxygen. As a way of reconciling these
two facts, scientists have hypothesized that nearly all of the oxygen being produced was
taken up by iron on Earth’s surface. Clearly, however, this explanation is inadequate.
New studies show that the amount of iron on Earth’s surface was not sufficient
to absorb anywhere near as much oxygen as was being produced. Therefore,
something in addition to the iron on Earth’s surface must have absorbed much of the
oxygen produced by plant life.
4. In the argument given, the two portions in boldface play which of the following
roles?
A The first is a claim made by the argument in support of a certain position;
the second is that position.
B The first is a judgment made by the argument about a certain explanation;
the second is that explanation.
C The first expresses the argument’s dismissal of an objection to the position
it seeks to establish; the second is that position.
D The first sums up the argument’s position with regard to a certain hypothesis; the second provides grounds for that position.
E The first is a concession by the argument that its initial formulation of the position it seeks to establish requires modification; the second presents
that position in a modified form. Explanation
The passage presents an argument and the question asks you to identify the role the
portions highlighted in boldface play in that argument. The first step in responding is
to read through the passage quickly to get an understanding of what is being said. Then
it is possible to go back and assess how the parts of the passage fit together into an
argument.
In this passage the first sentence presents two pieces of information that seem to be
in conflict — the atmosphere contained almost no oxygen even though plants were producing so much of it. The second sentence presents a hypothetical explanation that has
been proposed for reconciling the discrepancy — that oxygen was absorbed by iron.
The next sentence calls this hypothetical explanation inadequate and the following sentence gives a reason for that judgment — that there was insufficient iron for the proposed explanation to work. Finally, the last sentence draws the conclusion that there
must have been something in addition to iron to absorb the oxygen.
Since the highlighted portions in the passage represent the main content of the
third and fourth sentences, the task in this question is to find the answer choice whose
two parts fit those sentences’ roles. It can be seen that answer Choice D fits the requirement: the third sentence does sum up the argument’s position about a hypothesis, and
the fourth sentence gives grounds for the third. Therefore Choice D is the correct
answer. 371 0071700528pp369397 10/13/10 4:57 PM Page 372 GRE Practice Test
For Questions 5 to 8, select one entry for each blank from the corresponding column
of choices. Fill all blanks in the way that best completes the text. 5. In her later years, Bertha Pappenheim was an apostle of noble but already
(i)__________ notions, always respected for her integrity, her energy, and her
resolve but increasingly out of step and ultimately (ii)__________ even her own
organization.
Blank (i) Blank (ii) A anachronistic D emulated by B accepted E appreciated by C exotic F alienated from Explanation
The sentence is clearly conveying a contrast since “but” is used twice to indicate something positive and something negative about Pappenheim. The clue to the negative
aspect is in the later part of the sentence, where “out of step” leads both to “anachronistic” as the answer for the first blank and “alienated from” as the answer for the
second.
Thus the correct answer is anachronistic (Choice A) and alienated from (Choice F).
6. The reception given to Kimura’s radical theory of molecular evolution shows that
when __________ fights orthodoxy to a draw, then novelty has seized a good
chunk of space from convention.
A imitation
B reaction
C dogmatism
D invention
E caution Explanation
The sentence sets up two parallel, contrasting concepts. The word in the blank must
contrast with “orthodoxy,” and since “convention” in the second contrasting pair is synonymous with “orthodoxy,” the correct answer should be roughly synonymous with
“novelty.” The word “invention” is the best choice.
Thus the correct answer is invention (Choice D).
7. The (i)__________ of Vladimir Nabokov as one of North America’s literary giants
has thrown the spotlight on his peripheral activities and has thus served to
(ii)__________ his efforts as an amateur entomologist.
Blank (i) Blank (ii) A stigmatization foreground B lionization E transcend C marginalization 372 D F obscure 0071700528pp369397 10/13/10 4:57 PM Page 373 Answers and Explanations
Explanation
It is possible to analyze this sentence by starting with either blank. Broadly, it states
that something that has happened to Nabokov has called attention to some of his
peripheral activities. It would hardly make sense for what had happened to be either
stigmatization or marginalization, since both of those activities represent a turning
away from him, not a calling attention to him. So the correct answer for the first blank
is “lionization,” since to lionize means to treat as important. Then, since we are told
that Nabokov is a literary giant, entomology must be one of his peripheral activities, so
the correct answer for the second blank must be “foreground,” which also means “call
attention to.” Spotlighting something would not result in transcending it or obscuring
it, so neither of the other choices is correct.
Thus the correct answer is lionization (Choice B) and foreground (Choice D).
8. Mathematicians have a distinctive sense of beauty: they strive to present their
ideas and results in a clear and compelling fashion, dictated by __________ as
well as by logic.
A caprice B aesthetics
C obligation D methodologies
E intellect Explanation
The opening statement attributes a “sense of beauty” to mathematicians, and the
remainder of the sentence after the colon spells out that observation. Filling in the
blank will supply some aspect that balances “logic” and reinforces the view that mathematicians have a sense of beauty. “aesthetics” is the best choice.
Thus the correct answer is aesthetics (Choice B).
For each of Questions 9 to 13, select one answer choice unless otherwise instructed. Questions 9 to 12 are based on the following reading passage. line
5 10 Animal signals, such as the complex songs of birds, tend to be costly. A bird, by singing,
may forfeit time that could otherwise be spent on other important behaviors such as
foraging or resting. Singing may also advertise an individual’s location to rivals or predators and impair the ability to detect their approach. Although these types of cost may
be important, discussions of the cost of singing have generally focused on energy costs.
Overall the evidence is equivocal: for instance, while Eberhardt found increases in
energy consumption during singing for Carolina wrens, Chappell found no effect of
crowing on energy consumption in roosters.
To obtain empirical data regarding the energy costs of singing, Thomas examined
the relationship between song rate and overnight changes in body mass of male
nightingales. Birds store energy as subcutaneous fat deposits or “body reserves”;
changes in these reserves can be reliably estimated by measuring changes in body
mass. If singing has important energy costs, nightingales should lose more body mass 373 0071700528pp369397 10/13/10 4:57 PM Page 374 GRE Practice Test
line
15 20 25 on nights when their song rate is high. Thomas found that nightingales reached a significantly higher body mass at dusk and lost more mass overnight on nights when their
song rate was high.
These results suggest that there may be several costs of singing at night associated
with body reserves. The increased metabolic cost of possessing higher body mass contributes to the increased overnight mass loss. The strategic regulation of evening body
reserves is also likely to incur additional costs, as nightingales must spend more time
foraging in order to build up larger body reserves. The metabolic cost of singing itself
may also contribute to increased loss of reserves. This metabolic cost may arise from
the muscular and neural activity involved in singing or from behaviors associated with
singing. For example, birds may expend more of their reserves on thermoregulation if
they spend the night exposed to the wind on a song post than if they are in a sheltered
roost site. Thomas’s data therefore show that whether or not singing per se has an
important metabolic cost, metabolic costs associated with singing can have an important measurable effect on a bird’s daily energy budget, at least in birds with high song
rates such as nightingales. Description
The passage mentions various ways in which singing is costly to a bird, but soon
focuses on the main topic: the energy costs of singing. The second paragraph then discusses a particular experiment designed to assess the energy costs of singing for
nightingales, and the third paragraph identifies a range of different associated costs.
9. The primary purpose of the passage is to
A
B
C
D
E compare the different types of cost involved for certain birds in singing
question a hypothesis regarding the energy costs of singing for certain
birds
present evidence suggesting that singing has an important energy cost for
certain birds
discuss the benefits provided to an organism by a behavior that is costly in
energy
describe an experiment that supports an alternative model of how
birdsong functions Explanation
As mentioned above, the first paragraph mentions various costs associated with birdsong, but from that point onward, the focus of the passage is on evidence concerning
the energy costs of singing, for nightingales in particular. Thus the correct answer is
Choice C. Although the passage mentions other costs, it does not compare them with
one another, so Choice A is incorrect. Because the passage does not question any
hypotheses, discuss benefits, or advance an alternative model of birdsong, Choices B,
D, and E are incorrect. 374 0071700528pp369397 10/13/10 4:57 PM Page 375 Answers and Explanations
For the following question, consider each of the choices separately and select all that
apply. 10. The passage implies that during the day before a night on which a male
nightingale’s song rate is high, that nightingale probably does which of the
following?
A
B
C Expends less of its reserves on thermoregulation than on other days
Stores more energy as body reserves than on other days
Hides to avoid predators Explanation
Choice B is correct.
Choice A is incorrect: the only reference to thermoregulation comes in line 24 and
discusses nighttime activity, not daytime activity.
Choice B is correct: the second paragraph explains that birds store energy as fat
deposits that can be estimated by measuring body mass, and that body mass at dusk
was significantly higher in nightingales on nights when their song rate was higher.
Choice C is incorrect: while the passage does say that singing exposes birds to predators (line 3), it says nothing to suggest that they make special efforts to hide before
singing, and in fact it says that nightingales spend extra time foraging (line 20).
11. Select the sentence in the first or second paragraph that presents empirical
results in support of a hypothesis about the energy costs of singing. Explanation
Only two sentences in the relevant portion of the passage contain information that
might be considered to be empirical results. The last sentence of the first paragraph
contains information about increases in energy consumption but only the last sentence
of the second paragraph provides results in support of the only hypothesis in the passage, that nightingales should lose more body mass on nights when their song rate is
high. Thus sentence 9 (“Thomas found . . . high”) is the correct choice.
For the following question, consider each of the choices separately and select all that
apply. 12. It can be inferred from the passage that compared with other costs of singing,
which of the following is true of the energy costs of singing?
A They are the single greatest cost to an individual bird. B They have generally received more attention from scientists.
They vary less from one bird species to another. C Explanation
Choice B is correct.
Choice A is incorrect: you might infer that energy costs of singing are significant
but no information is given to suggest that they are greater than other costs.
Choice B is correct: lines 4–5 say that discussions of the costs of singing have generally focused on energy costs. 375 0071700528pp369397 10/13/10 4:57 PM Page 376 GRE Practice Test
Choice C is incorrect: the only mention of differences across species occurs in the
discussion of the findings of Eberhardt and Chappell. These findings relate to energy
costs alone and, if anything, suggest that energy costs vary considerably.
Question 13 is based on the following reading passage.
In the past ten years, there have been several improvements in mountainclimbing
equipment. These improvements have made the sport both safer and more enjoyable
for experienced climbers. Despite these improvements, however, the rate of mountainclimbing injuries has doubled in the past ten years.
13. Which of the following, if true, best reconciles the apparent discrepancy
presented in the passage?
A
B
C
D
E Many climbers, lulled into a false sense of security, use the new equipment
to attempt climbing feats of which they are not capable.
Some mountainclimbing injuries are caused by unforeseeable weather
conditions.
Mountain climbing, although a dangerous sport, does not normally result
in injury to the experienced climber.
In the past ten years there have been improvements in mountainclimbing
techniques as well as in mountainclimbing equipment.
Although the rate of mountainclimbing injuries has increased, the rate of
mountainclimbing deaths has not changed. Explanation
In this question you are asked to identify the fact that would best reconcile the apparent discrepancy that the passage presents. The discrepancy is that despite improvements in mountain climbing equipment that have made climbing safer, the incidence
of mountainclimbing injuries has greatly increased. Choice A explains how this could
have happened — the improvements in equipment have led climbers to attempt feats
that are beyond their level of skill. Therefore, Choice A is the correct answer.
None of the other choices provides information that resolves the discrepancy. Neither Choice B nor Choice C relates to conditions that have changed over the relevant
tenyear period. Choices D and E do relate to the relevant period. But if, as Choice D
says, techniques as well as equipment have improved, that fact by itself only makes the
increase in injuries more puzzling. Choice E provides more data about the consequences of climbing accidents, but doesn’t suggest any explanation for the increase in
injuries. 376 0071700528pp369397 10/13/10 4:57 PM Page 377 Answers and Explanations
For Questions 14 to 17, select one entry for each blank from the corresponding
column of choices. Fill all blanks in the way that best completes the text. 14. Unenlightened authoritarian managers rarely recognize a crucial reason for the
low levels of serious conflict among members of democratically run work groups:
a modicum of tolerance for dissent often prevents __________.
A demur
B schism
C cooperation
D compliance
E shortsightedness Explanation
The blank must be filled with a word that describes a problem that a work group can
suffer, a problem that can be a cause of (or associated with) serious conflict. Of the
answer choices, only “schism” fits this description.
Thus the correct answer is schism (Choice B).
15. The novelist devotes so much time to avid descriptions of his characters’ clothes
that the reader soon feels that such __________ concerns, although worthy of
attention, have superseded any more directly literary aims.
A didactic
B syntactical
C irrelevant
D sartorial
E frivolous Explanation
The “concerns” described by the adjective that fills the blank relate to clothing, so “sartorial” fits the blank. Although these concerns could also be described as “irrelevant” or
“frivolous,” neither of these choices is correct because the sentence identifies the concerns as “worthy of attention.”
Thus the correct answer is sartorial (Choice D).
16. Belanger dances with an (i)__________ that draws one’s attention as if by seeking
to (ii)__________ it; through finesse and understatement, he manages to seem at
once intensely present and curiously detached.
Blank (i) Blank (ii) A undemonstrative panache D focus B unrestrained enthusiasm E overwhelm C unattractive gawkiness F deflect 377 0071700528pp369397 10/13/10 4:57 PM Page 378 GRE Practice Test
Explanation
The point of the sentence is to emphasize contradictory aspects of Belanger’s dancing:
we are told, for example, that he seems “at once intensely present and curiously
detached.” Looking at the second blank with this point in mind, we can see that the
sentence is saying that Belanger draws attention in some way that would not normally
be a means of doing so. The only choice that fits, therefore, is “deflect”; focusing or
overwhelming attention would certainly be expected to draw it. And since employing
“unrestrained enthusiasm” or “unattractive gawkiness” would not be ways of deflecting
attention, the correct choice for the first blank is “undemonstrative panache,” another
paradoxical term, since “panache” means “dash or flamboyance in style.”
Thus the correct answer is undemonstrative panache (Choice A) and deflect
(Choice F).
17. The most striking thing about the politician is how often his politics have been
(i)__________ rather than ideological, as he adapts his political positions at any
particular moment to the political realities that constrain him. He does not,
however, piously (ii)__________ political principles only to betray them in
practice. Rather, he attempts in subtle ways to balance his political selfinterest
with a (iii) __________, viewing himself as an instrument of some unchanging
higher purpose.
Blank (i)
A quixotic Blank (ii)
D brandish Blank (iii)
G profound cynicism
B selfrighteous E flout H deeply felt moral code
C strategic F follow I thoroughgoing
pragmatism Explanation
Since the politician is portrayed as adapting political positions to political realities,
blank (i) should be filled with “strategic,” which is also the only choice that provides
the required contrast with “ideological.” The second blank, brandishing political principles is what a politician might do piously, while flouting is not pious and following
principles does not make sense when combined with “betray[ing] them in practice.”
The third blank requires something that would have to be balanced against “political
selfinterest” and that would be embraced in service of an “unchanging higher purpose,” making “deeply felt moral code” the only viable choice.
Thus the correct answer is strategic (Choice C), brandish (Choice D), and deeply
felt moral code (Choice H).
For each of Questions 18 to 20, select one answer choice unless otherwise instructed. Questions 18 to 20 are based on the following reading passage.
The condition of scholarship devoted to the history of women in photography is confounding. Recent years have witnessed the posthumous inflation of the role of the hobbyist Alice Austen into that of a pioneering documentarian while dozens of notable 378 0071700528pp369397 10/13/10 4:57 PM Page 379 Answers and Explanations
line
5 10 senior figures — Marion Palfi, whose photographs of civilrights activities in the South
served as early evidence of the need for protective legislation, to name one — received
scant attention from scholars. And, while Naomi Rosenblum’s synoptic History of
Women Photographers covers the subject through 1920 in a generally useful fashion,
once she reaches the 1920s, when the venues, forms, applications, and movements of
the medium expanded exponentially, she resorts to an increasingly terse listing of unfamiliar names, with approaches and careers summarized in a sentence or two. Description
The passage expresses dismay at the current state of scholarship concerning the history
of women in photography: some figures receive disproportionate attention, and past
1920 Rosenblum’s book is too sketchy to be useful.
18. The author of the passage cites Rosenblum’s book most likely in order to
A suggest that the works documented most thoroughly by historians of
women in photography often do not warrant that attention
B offer an explanation for the observation that not all aspects of the history
of women in photography have received the same level of attention
C provide an example of a way in which scholarship on the history of
women in photography has been unsatisfactory
D suggest that employing a strictly chronological approach when studying the history of women in photography may be unproductive
E provide support for the notion that certain personalities in women’s photography have attained undue prominence Explanation
As mentioned above, the topic of the passage is the unsatisfactory condition of scholarship devoted to the history of women in photography. Since Rosenberg’s book is
clearly presented as an example of this unsatisfactory scholarship, Choice C is the correct answer. Choice D may seem appealing, because a strictly chronological approach
might be inadequate to represent the explosive growth of the field in the 1920s. However, the sentence does not develop this idea, and this is not the reason for mentioning
Rosenblum.
For the following question, consider each of the choices separately and select all that
apply. 19. Which of the following statements about Marion Palfi is supported by the
passage?
A B C Marion Palfi’s photographs would have received greater recognition from
historians had her work been done in an era when most aspects of
photography were static rather than in a state of transition.
Alice Austen has achieved greater notoriety than has Marion Palfi
primarily because the subjects that Austen photographed were more
familiar to her contemporaries.
In addition to providing a record of certain historical events, Marion
Palfi’s photographs played a role in subsequent events. 379 0071700528pp369397 10/13/10 4:57 PM Page 380 GRE Practice Test
Explanation
Choice C is correct.
Choice A is incorrect: the passage does not state whether the period in which Palfi
was working was an era when photography was static or in transition.
Choice B is incorrect: the passage does not state the nature of the subjects Austen
photographed, nor compare their relative familiarity to those photographed by Palfi.
Choice C is correct: Palfi’s photographs played a role in subsequent events because
they served as early evidence of the need for protective legislation.
20. In the context in which it appears, “inflation” (line 2) most nearly means
A
B
C
D
E exaggeration
acquisition
evaluation
distortion
attenuation Explanation
The term “hobbyist” suggests Austen’s relative lack of seriousness as a photographer
when compared with “senior figures,” yet her role has been elevated to that of a “pioneering documentarian” at the expense of these other figures. Choice D may be appealing in that this elevation could be considered a form of distortion, but Choice A is more
specific as well as more in line with the dictionary definition of “inflated” as “expanded
to an abnormal or unjustifiable volume or level.” Thus Choice A, “exaggeration,” is the
correct answer.
For Questions 21 to 25, select the two answer choices that, when used to complete
the sentence, fit the meaning of the sentence as a whole and produce completed
sentences that are alike in meaning. 21. The plan, which the engineers said would save the aquifer by reducing pumping
to __________ levels, has passed a governmental environmental review but faces
opposition from outdoor and environmental groups.
A innocuous
feasible
C practicable
D minimal
E remedial
F benign
B Explanation
If the engineers think that the reduced levels will save the aquifer, they may describe
the reduced levels as innocuous, minimal, remedial, or benign. Of these words, only
“innocuous” and “benign” produce sentences with the same meaning. The two words
“feasible” and “practicable” are similar in meaning, but do not fit the context well,
because they imply that the current levels are not feasible or practicable, conflicting
with the implication that the current levels, though perhaps undesirable, are nevertheless entirely feasible.
Thus the correct answer is innocuous (Choice A) and benign (Choice F).
380 0071700528pp369397 10/13/10 4:57 PM Page 381 Answers and Explanations
22. Though feminist in its implications, Yvonne Rainer’s 1974 film __________ the
filmmaker’s active involvement in feminist politics.
A antedated
B cloaked
C portrayed
D preceded
E renewed
F represented Explanation
The words that fill the blank must fit with the idea that Rainer’s film has some feminist
implications, but that those are limited compared with her other activities. From the
six words offered as answer choices, the pair “antedated” and “preceded” and the pair
“portrayed” and “represented” each produce sentences that are similar in meaning.
However, only “antedated” and “preceded” make sense in the context of the sentence:
Rainer’s 1974 film exhibits feminist themes in a limited way because it came before she
became active in feminist politics.
Thus the correct answer is antedated (Choice A) and preceded (Choice D).
23. Congress is having great difficulty developing a consensus on energy policy,
primarily because the policy objectives of various members of Congress rest on
such __________ assumptions.
A commonplace
B disparate
C divergent
D fundamental
E trite
F trivial Explanation
The words that fill the blank must help explain the difficulty of developing a consensus.
A lack of agreement on the assumptions that underlie Congress members’ policy objectives would contribute to such a difficulty. Accordingly, “disparate” and “divergent” are
the best choices because they both indicate disagreement among the members.
Although the words “trite” and “trivial” are similar in meaning, triteness and triviality
do not help to explain the difficulty in developing a consensus.
Thus the correct answer is disparate (Choice B) and divergent (Choice C).
24. During the opera’s most famous aria, the tempo chosen by the orchestra’s
conductor seemed __________, without necessary relation to what had gone
before.
A arbitrary
capricious
C cautious
D compelling
E exacting
F meticulous
B 381 0071700528pp369397 10/13/10 4:57 PM Page 382 GRE Practice Test
Explanation
Any of the offered words could possibly describe a conductor’s choice of tempo. However, the phrase “without necessary relation to what had gone before” is presented as
an elaboration on the word in the blank. Among the answer choices, only “arbitrary”
and “capricious” could be elaborated that way; none of the other choices would be
explained by the final phrase.
Thus the correct answer is arbitrary (Choice A) and capricious (Choice B).
25. Because they had expected the spacecraft Voyager 2 to be able to gather data only
about the planets Jupiter and Saturn, scientists were __________ the wealth of
information it sent back from Neptune twelve years after leaving Earth.
A anxious for
confident in
C thrilled about
D keen on
E elated by
F eager for
B Explanation
In the sentence, the words “expected” and “only” imply that the data received from the
spacecraft exceeded scientists’ expectations. Therefore, the words that fill the blank
should describe a reaction to results that are better than hoped for, and the choices
“thrilled about” and “elated by” both express such a reaction. The scientists may well
also have been eager for, or keen on, the information, but their eagerness is not well
explained by the unexpectedness of the information.
Thus the correct answer is thrilled about (Choice C) and elated by (Choice E). 382 0071700528pp369397 10/13/10 4:57 PM Page 383 Answers and Explanations
SECTION 4
Verbal Reasoning
25 Questions with Explanations
For Questions 1 to 4, select the two answer choices that, when used to complete
the sentence, fit the meaning of the sentence as a whole and produce completed
sentences that are alike in meaning. 1. Only by ignoring decades of mismanagement and inefficiency could investors
conclude that a fresh infusion of cash would provide anything other than a
__________ solution to the company’s financial woes.
A complete
fleeting
C momentary
D premature
E trivial
F total
B Explanation
The key phrases that indicate how the blank for this question should be completed are
“Only by ignoring decades of mismanagement and inefficiency” and “provide anything
other than.” Taken together, these phrases indicate that the sentence will not envision a
very beneficial or successful resolution of the “financial woes.” Among the answer
choices, “complete” and “total” are quite close in meaning and would clearly create two
sentences very similar in meaning. But those two sentences would be internally contradictory, suggesting that doing something unwise would completely solve a problem.
“Fleeting” and “momentary” suggest that the event referred to (“a fresh infusion of
cash”) might have some beneficial effect, but that it would ultimately not resolve the
problem.
Thus the correct answer is fleeting (Choice B) and momentary (Choice C).
2. Some scientists argue that carbon compounds play such a central role in life on
Earth because of the possibility of __________ resulting from the carbon atom’s
ability to form an unending series of different molecules.
A diversity
B deviation
C variety
D reproduction
E stability
F invigoration Explanation
The key phrase that indicates how the blank for this question should be completed is
“the ability to form an unending series of different molecules.” Among the answer
choices, “diversity” and “variety” clearly fit logically with “unending” and “different”
and create two very similar sentences. No other pair of choices here would produce
two sentences as similar in meaning as those created by placing “diversity” and “variety”
in the blank. Thus the correct answer is diversity (Choice A) and variety (Choice C).
383 0071700528pp369397 10/13/10 4:57 PM Page 384 GRE Practice Test
3. Given the flood of information presented by the mass media, the only way for
someone to keep abreast of the news is to rely on __________ accounts.
A synoptic
B abridged
C sensational
D copious
E lurid
F understated Explanation
The key phrase that indicates how the blank for this question should be completed is
“the only way for someone to keep abreast of the news.” Among the answer choices,
“synoptic” and “abridged,” while not synonymous in the strict sense, both fit the logic
of this description, “synoptic” because of its emphasis on breadth and generality as
opposed to detail, and “abridged” because of its obvious focus on brevity. “Sensational”
and “lurid” would create two similar sentences but do not fit the logic for completing
the blank, since we would not be relying on sensational or lurid accounts in order to
keep abreast of the news.
Thus the correct answer is synoptic (Choice A) and abridged (Choice B).
4. Always circumspect, she was reluctant to make judgments, but once arriving at a
conclusion, she was __________ in its defense.
A
B
C
C
E
F deferential
intransigent
lax
negligent
obsequious
resolute Explanation
The key phrases that indicate how the blank for this question should be completed are:
“circumspect,” “reluctant,” and “but once.” Taken together they point to completing the
blank with something that is opposite in some way to the two cited adjectives. Among
the answer choices, “intransigent” and “resolute,” although not strictly synonymous,
both fit the logic of the description given here for completing the blank and create sentences that are similar in meaning. “Lax” and “negligent” are clearly similar in meaning
and would create sentences similar in meaning, but they continue the sentiment voiced
in the initial clause rather than contrasting with it. “Deferential” and “obsequious” are
also similar in meaning, but their emphasis on “politeness,” while not strictly synonymous with reluctance and circumspection, like “lax” and “negligent” fail to pick up on
the expected contrast.
Thus the correct answer is intransigent (Choice B) and resolute (Choice F). 384 0071700528pp369397 10/13/10 4:57 PM Page 385 Answers and Explanations
For each of Questions 5 to 9, select one answer choice unless otherwise instructed. Questions 5 and 6 are based on the following reading passage. line
5 10 When marine organisms called phytoplankton photosynthesize, they absorb carbon
dioxide dissolved in seawater, potentially causing a reduction in the concentration of
atmospheric carbon dioxide, a gas that contributes to global warming. However, phytoplankton flourish only in surface waters where iron levels are sufficiently high. Martin therefore hypothesized that adding iron to ironpoor regions of the ocean could
help alleviate global warming. While experiments subsequently confirmed that such a
procedure increases phytoplankton growth, field tests have shown that such growth
does not significantly lower atmospheric carbon dioxide. When phytoplankton utilize
carbon dioxide for photosynthesis, the carbon becomes a building block for organic
matter, but the carbon leaks back into the atmosphere when predators consume the
phytoplankton and respire carbon dioxide. Description
The paragraph presents a hypotheses about reducing global warming by adding iron
to ironpoor areas of the ocean and explains why adding the iron does not have the
hopedfor benefit.
For the following question, consider each of the choices separately and select all that
apply. 5. It can be inferred from the passage that Martin’s hypothesis includes which of the
following elements?
A
B
C A correct understanding of how phytoplankton photosynthesis utilizes
carbon dioxide
A correct prediction about how the addition of iron to ironpoor waters
would affect phytoplankton growth
An incorrect prediction about how phytoplankton growth would affect the
concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide Explanation
All three choices are correct. Martin’s hypothesis was that adding iron to ironpoor
regions of the ocean could help alleviate global warming.
Choice A is correct: the passage presents Martin as using the standard understanding of how phytoplankton photosynthesize as a basis for the hypothesis.
Choice B is correct: the passage states that experiments confirmed that adding
iron to ironpoor regions increases phytoplankton growth in those regions. Therefore,
Martin’s prediction about this was correct.
Choice C is correct: it can be inferred that in Martin’s hypothesis the means by
which adding iron in certain regions could alleviate global warming is that phytoplankton increase in those regions and absorb atmospheric carbon dioxide. The passage states that predators who consume phytoplankton respire carbon dioxide, so that
the carbon dioxide absorbed by phytoplankton reenters the atmosphere. Therefore,
Martin’s prediction about this was incorrect. 385 0071700528pp369397 10/13/10 4:57 PM Page 386 GRE Practice Test
6. It can be inferred that the author of the passage mentions predators (line 10)
primarily in order to
A
B
C
D
E help explain why Martin’s hypothesis is incorrect
identify one effect of adding iron to ironpoor waters
indicate how some carbon dioxide is converted to solid organic matter
help account for differences in the density of phytoplankton between
different regions of the ocean
point out a factor that was not anticipated by the scientists who
conducted the field tests mentioned in the passage Explanation
Lines 7–11 of the paragraph present the evidence against Martin’s hypothesis. Lines
7–8 present field test results showing that Martin’s hypothesis is incorrect, and the last
sentence explains these results: the reason the increased phytoplankton resulting from
the addition of iron do not reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide is that while the phytoplankton absorb carbon dioxide, the gas reenters the atmosphere when it is respired by
phytoplankton predators. Therefore Choice A is correct: predators are mentioned to
explain why Martin’s hypothesis is incorrect. Choice B is not correct because while
predators’ consumption of phytoplankton and respiration of carbon dioxide might be
considered one indirect consequence of adding iron to ironpoor waters, identifying a
consequence is not the primary function of the mention of predators. Choice C is incorrect because the reference to predators is used to explain how carbon dioxide reappears as a gas, and Choice D is incorrect because no connection is suggested between
predators and the distribution of phytoplankton. Choice E is not correct because it is
Martin who did not anticipate this factor, rather than the scientists who conducted the
field tests.
Question 7 is based on the following reading passage.
Sparva, unlike Treland’s other provinces, requires automobile insurers to pay for any
medical treatment sought by someone who has been involved in an accident; in the
other provinces, insurers pay for nonemergency treatment only if they preapprove the
treatment. Clearly, Sparva’s less restrictive policy must be the explanation for the fact
that altogether insurers there pay for far more treatments after accidents than insurers
in other provinces, even though Sparva does not have the largest population. Description
The passage tells us that in Sparva automobile insurers pay for far more medical treatments after accidents than they do in Treland’s other provinces. The passage concludes
that the explanation is to be found in the difference in legal requirements for insurers
in Sparva as compared to other provinces.
7. Which of the following, if true, most strengthens the argument?
A Car insurance costs more in Sparva than in any other province. B The cost of medical care in Sparva is higher than the national average.
C Different insurance companies have different standards for determining
what constitutes emergency treatment. D Fewer insurance companies operate in Sparva than in any other province.
E There are fewer traffic accidents annually in Sparva than in any of the provinces of comparable or greater population.
386 0071700528pp369397 10/13/10 4:57 PM Page 387 Answers and Explanations
Explanation
The question asks you to identify among the answer choices a fact that would support
the passage’s argument. The explanation offered in the passage can be supported by ruling out other explanations that might, given the information presented in the passage,
appear likely. One obvious explanation for there being more medical treatments in
Sparva is that there are more accidents there. Choice E rules out that explanation. So
Choice E strengthens the argument in the passage and is the correct answer. Choices A
and D each present consequences that are likely results of insurers in Sparva having to
pay for more medical treatments. But neither bears on the cause of insurers having to
pay for more treatments. Choice B does not strengthen the argument and may weaken
it. A higher cost of medical care provides additional motivation for people to seek insurance payments to cover whatever postaccident care they receive. So Choice B might
weaken the argument by providing an alternative explanation for insurers paying for
more medical treatments in Sparva. According to the passage, whether treatment is
emergency treatment is, in other provinces, an important criterion in determining insurers’ responsibility. But since this criterion does not apply in Sparva, Choice C is not
directly relevant to the point that the passage is trying to establish.
Questions 8 and 9 are based on the following reading passage.
Elements of the Philosophy of Newton, published by Voltaire in 1738, was an early
attempt to popularize the scientific ideas of Isaac Newton. In the book’s frontispiece,
Voltaire is seen writing at his desk, and over him a shaft of light from heaven, the light
of truth, passes through Newton to Voltaire’s collaborator Madame du Châtelet; she
reflects that light onto the inspired Voltaire. Voltaire’s book commanded a wide audience, according to Feingold, because “he was neither a mathematician nor a physicist,
but a literary giant aloof from the academic disputes over Newtonian ideas.” In other
words, Voltaire’s amateurism in science “was a source of his contemporary appeal,
demonstrating for the first time the accessibility of Newton’s ideas to nonspecialists.” Description
The paragraph describes Voltaire’s book and gives some reasons for its success.
For the following question, consider each of the choices separately and select all that
apply. 8. Which of the following statements about Voltaire’s Elements of the Philosophy of
Newton can be inferred from the passage?
A
B
C Voltaire’s literary stature helped secure a large audience for this attempt to
popularize Newton’s ideas.
Voltaire’s status as a nonscientist was an advantage in this effort to bring
Newtonian science to the attention of the general public.
The frontispiece of the book implies that Voltaire’s understanding of
Newton’s ideas was not achieved without assistance. Explanation
All three choices are correct.
Choice A is correct: the paragraph states that one of the reasons Voltaire’s book
commanded a wide audience is that he was “a literary giant.” 387 0071700528pp369397 10/13/10 4:57 PM Page 388 GRE Practice Test
Choice B is correct: the paragraph states that Voltaire’s amateurism in science
demonstrated that nonspecialists could also understand Newton’s ideas.
Choice C is correct: the paragraph refers to Voltaire’s collaborator, Madame du
Châtelet. In the image described, she serves as the intermediary between Newton and
Voltaire, conveying Newton’s ideas to Voltaire.
9. Select the sentence that describes an allegory for Voltaire’s acquisition of
knowledge concerning Newton’s ideas. Explanation
In the image described in the second sentence, Voltaire acquires his knowledge of Newton through Madame du Châtelet, who conveys Newton’s ideas — his “light of truth” —
to Voltaire. The only other sentence that contains figurative language is the next sentence, in which Voltaire is described as “a literary giant aloof . . . from disputes.” However, this image refers not to Voltaire’s acquisition of knowledge of Newtonian ideas,
but rather to his attitude regarding Newtonian ideas. Therefore sentence 2 (“In the
book’s . . . Voltaire”) is the correct choice.
For Questions 10 to 13, select one entry for each blank from the corresponding
column of choices. Fill all blanks in the way that best completes the text. 10. Ironically, the writer so wary of (i)__________ was (ii)__________ with ink and
paper, his novel running to 2,500 shagreenbound folio pages — a fortune in
stationery at the time.
Blank (i) Blank (ii) A probity D acquisitive B extravagance E illiberal C disapprobation F profligate Explanation
The last part of the sentence provides most of the context needed to fill in the two
blanks. The novel was extremely long and required vast amounts of paper. Among the
choices for the second blank, only “profligate” matches this lack of restraint. The word
“Ironically” indicates that what the writer was “wary of” was something similar to
profligacy; of the choices for the first blank, “extravagance” is the closest.
Thus the correct answer is extravagance (Choice B) and profligate (Choice F). 388 0071700528pp369397 10/13/10 4:57 PM Page 389 Answers and Explanations
11. What readers most commonly remember about John Stuart Mill’s classic
exploration of the liberty of thought and discussion concerns the danger of
(i)__________: in the absence of challenge, one’s opinions, even when they are
correct, grow weak and flabby. Yet Mill had another reason for encouraging the
liberty of thought and discussion: the danger of partiality and incompleteness.
Since one’s opinions, even under the best circumstances, tend to (ii)__________,
and because opinions opposed to one’s own rarely turn out to be completely
(iii)__________, it is crucial to supplement one’s opinions with alternative points
of view.
Blank (i)
A tendentiousness Blank (ii)
D embrace only a Blank (iii)
G erroneous portion of the truth
B complacency E change over
time H antithetical C fractiousness F focus on matters
close at hand I immutable Explanation
An overview of the passage suggests that the first sentence is relatively selfcontained
and that the blank is answerable without the succeeding sentences, where the topic
shifts slightly. The colon after the first blank signals that what follows will define the
word in the blank and will explain what danger Mill was concerned about. It says that
without challenge, one’s opinions grow “weak and flabby” and therefore one becomes
complacent, not tendentious or fractious. A quick reading of the next two sentences
suggests that the topic will be another danger that Mill described, “the danger of partiality and incompleteness.” Free and open discussion needs to take place because each
person’s opinion tends to “embrace only a portion of the truth” and others’ views are
partially right, or never completely “erroneous.” The other choices for the second and
third blanks deal with change, immediacy, or antithesis, none of which relate to the
second danger of “partiality” or “incompleteness.”
Thus the correct answer is complacency (Choice B), embrace only a portion of
the truth (Choice D), and erroneous (Choice G).
12. Just as the authors’ book on eels is often a key text for courses in marine
vertebrate zoology, their ideas on animal development and phylogeny __________
teaching in this area.
A prevent
B defy
C replicate
D inform
E use Explanation
The “just as” structure indicates that the second half of the sentence should somehow
parallel the idea presented in the first half (i.e., the idea that the authors’ book on eels 389 0071700528pp369397 10/13/10 4:57 PM Page 390 GRE Practice Test
is a “key text” in marine vertebrate zoology). Among the choices given, “inform” is
clearly the best choice. “Prevent” and “defy” work in the opposite direction, while “use”
and “replicate” would suggest that the authors’ ideas are drawing upon the teaching in
this area rather than the other way around. “Inform” leads to a meaning that nicely
matches the first half of the sentence.
Thus the correct answer is inform (Choice D).
13. Mechanisms develop whereby every successful species can __________ its innate
capacity for population growth with the constraints that arise through its
interactions with the natural environment.
A enhance
B replace
C produce
D surpass
E reconcile Explanation
A quick overview of the sentence indicates that the blank should be filled with a verb
that indicates what a successful species does with its “innate capacity for population
growth” in the face of certain constraints on that growth. This analysis suggests that
the correct answer will have something to do with adjusting that capacity in the face of
these constraints. Of the choices given, “reconcile” is closest to that meaning. None of
the other options make for a meaningful, coherent sentence. “Enhance,” for example,
may fit nicely with “its innate capacity,” but it does not make sense with “constraints.”
Thus the correct answer is reconcile (Choice E).
For each of Questions 14 to 16, select one answer choice unless otherwise instructed. Questions 14 to 16 are based on the following reading passage.
It would be expected that a novel by a figure as prominent as W. E. B. DuBois would
attract the attention of literary critics. Additionally, when the novel subtly engages the
issue of race, as DuBois’ The Quest of the Silver Fleece (1911) does, it would be a surprise not to encounter an abundance of scholarly work about that text. But though
valuable scholarship has examined DuBois’ political and historical thought, his novels
have received scant attention. Perhaps DuBois the novelist must wait his turn behind
DuBois the philosopher, historian, and editor. But what if the truth lies elsewhere: what
if his novels do not speak to current concerns? Description
The paragraph first present reasons for critical interest in DuBois’ novels, but then goes
on to explain that there has in fact been very little such interest and speculates as to
why that might be. 390 0071700528pp369397 10/13/10 4:57 PM Page 391 Answers and Explanations
14. Which of the following can be inferred from the passage regarding DuBois’ The
Quest of the Silver Fleece?
A The lack of attention devoted to The Quest of the Silver Fleece can be
attributed to the fact that it was DuBois’ first novel.
B Among DuBois’ novels, The Quest of the Silver Fleece is unusual in that it
has received scant attention from scholars.
C The Quest of the Silver Fleece has at least one feature that typically would
attract the attention of literary scholars.
D The Quest of the Silver Fleece, given its subtle exploration of race, is probably the best novel written by DuBois.
E Much of the scholarly work that has focused on The Quest of the Silver
Fleece has been surprisingly critical of it. Explanation
Choice C is correct. The second sentence states that The Quest of the Silver Fleece subtly engages the issue of race and implies that such an issue would attract the attention
of literary scholars. The passage provides no information about whether The Quest of
the Silver Fleece is DuBois’s first novel (Choice A), whether it received more or less
scholarly attention than his other novels (Choice B), whether it is better than any of his
other novels (Choice D), nor about what scholars have said about it (Choice E).
15. In the fourth sentence (“Perhaps DuBois . . . editor.”), the author of the passage is
most likely suggesting that
A scholars will find that DuBois’ novels are more relevant to current
concerns than is his work as philosopher, historian, and editor
B more scholarly attention will be paid to The Quest of the Silver Fleece than
to DuBois’ other novels
C DuBois’ novels will come to overshadow his work as philosopher,
historian, and editor
D DuBois’ novels may eventually attract greater scholarly interest than they
have to date
E it will be shown that DuBois’ work as philosopher, historian, and editor had an important influence on his work as novelist Explanation
The fourth sentence speculates that once DuBois scholars have exhausted potential
avenues of research in the fields of philosophy, history, and editing, they will turn to his
novels, so Choice D is the correct answer. None of the other choices fits the metaphor
in “Perhaps DuBois the novelist must wait his turn.” 391 0071700528pp369397 10/13/10 4:57 PM Page 392 GRE Practice Test
16. Which of the following best describes the central issue with which the passage is
concerned?
A The perfunctoriness of much of the critical work devoted to DuBois’
novels
B The nature of DuBois’ engagement with the issue of race in The Quest of
the Silver Fleece
C Whether DuBois’ novels are of high quality and relevant to current
concerns
D The relationship between DuBois the novelist and DuBois the philosopher, historian, and editor
E The degree of consideration that has been given to DuBois’ novels,
including The Quest of the Silver Fleece Explanation
The passage focuses on the scant attention given to DuBois’s novels, The Quest of the
Silver Fleece in particular. The first two sentences give reasons to expect greater attention, while the last two offer speculations about the explanation for the scant attention.
Thus Choice E is correct. The issues described in the other answer choices are all marginal to the passage, if they are mentioned at all.
For Questions 17 to 20, select one entry for each blank from the corresponding
column of choices. Fill all blanks in the way that best completes the text. 17. In the midst of so many evasive comments, this forthright statement, whatever its
intrinsic merit, plainly stands out as __________.
A a paradigm
B a misnomer
C a profundity
D an inaccuracy
E an anomaly Explanation
The sentence offers a contrast between “many evasive statements” and a single “forthright statement.” On that basis alone, one might expect an answer such as “an anomaly.” Do any of the other options make for a meaningful, coherent sentence? “A
paradigm” is appealing, as is “a profundity,” since the forthright statement is clearly
presented as something positive. However, we are not in a position to call it paradigmatic or profound, since the sentence withholds judgment on “its intrinsic merit.” The
same reasoning allows us to eliminate “inaccuracy” and “misnomer.” The straightforwardly descriptive “anomaly” is clearly the best choice.
Thus the correct answer is an anomaly (Choice E). 392 0071700528pp369397 10/13/10 4:57 PM Page 393 Answers and Explanations
18. The activists’ energetic work in the service of both woman suffrage and the
temperance movement in the late nineteenth century (i)__________ the assertion
that the two movements were (ii)__________.
Blank (i) Blank (ii) A undermines D diffuse B supports E inimical C underscores F predominant Explanation
The sentence is about the implications of the activists’ energetic work for some assertion about the woman suffrage and temperance movements. The second blank, however, obscures the nature of that assertion. But it is clear that the “energetic work”
could either support an assertion that the two movements were similar, or undermine
an assertion that the two movements were opposed. “Supports” is offered as a choice
for the first blank (as is the somewhat similar “underscores”), but there is no corresponding term in the second blank, nothing along the lines of “similar” or “compatible.” “Undermines” and “inimical” make for the only meaningful statement.
Thus the correct answer is undermines (Choice A) and inimical (Choice E).
19. There is nothing quite like this movie, and indeed I am not altogether sure there
is much more to it than its lovely (i) __________. At a moment when so many
films strive to be as (ii)__________ as possible, it is gratifying to find one that is so
subtle and puzzling.
Blank (i) Blank (ii) A peculiarity D indirect B pellucidity E assertive C conventionality F enigmatic Explanation
The two sentences provide the reader with quite a bit of information about the movie.
There is “nothing quite like it” and it is “subtle and puzzling.” “Peculiarity” is clearly a
solid fit for the first blank, while “conventionality” clearly does not work, given the fact
that there is “nothing quite like it.” That leaves “pellucidity,” which, while it could fit
logically in the first sentence in isolation, does not fit the later claim that the movie is
“subtle and puzzling.” The second blank needs simply to provide a contrast with “subtle and puzzling.” Of the choices offered, only “assertive” clearly does that.
Thus the correct answer is peculiarity (Choice A) and assertive (Choice E). 393 0071700528pp369397 10/13/10 4:57 PM Page 394 GRE Practice Test
20. Wills argues that certain malarial parasites are especially (i)__________ because
they have more recently entered humans than other species and therefore have
had (ii)__________ time to evolve toward (iii)__________. Yet there is no reliable
evidence that the most harmful Plasmodium species has been in humans for a
shorter time than less harmful species.
Blank (i) Blank (ii) Blank (iii) A populous D ample G virulence B malignant E insufficient H benignity C threatened F adequate I variability Explanation
The “Yet” that begins the second sentence indicates that Wills’ position would be supported by evidence that the newer parasites are in humans, the more harmful they are.
So Wills’ position must be that more recent parasites are especially harmful, implying
that “malignant” is the correct choice for the first blank. What follows “therefore” is a
potential explanation for the trend that Wills expects, namely an evolution toward
harmlessness, implying “benignity” for the third blank, with newer species having had
“insufficient” time (second blank) to evolve toward harmlessness.
Thus the correct answer is malignant (Choice B), insufficient (Choice E), and
benignity (Choice H).
For each of questions 21 to 25, select one answer choice unless otherwise instructed. Question 21 is based on the following reading passage. line
5 10 Saturn’s giant moon Titan is the only planetary satellite with a significant atmosphere
and the only body in the solar system other than Earth that has a thick atmosphere
dominated by molecular nitrogen. For a long time, the big question about Titan’s
atmosphere was how it could be so thick, given that Jupiter’s moons Ganymede and
Callisto, which are the same size as Titan, have none. The conditions for acquiring and
retaining a thick nitrogen atmosphere are now readily understood. The low temperature of the protosaturnian nebula enabled Titan to acquire the moderately volatile compounds methane and ammonia (later converted to nitrogen) in addition to water. The
higher temperatures of Jupiter’s moons, which were closer to the Sun, prevented them
from acquiring such an atmosphere. Description
The paragraph discusses Titan’s thick atmosphere and explains the conditions under
which a body can have a thick atmosphere.
21. According to the passage, Titan differs atmospherically from Ganymede and
Callisto because of a difference in
A
B
C
D
E 394 rate of heat loss
proximity to the Sun
availability of methane and ammonia
distance from its planet
size 0071700528pp369397 10/13/10
4:57 PM Page 395 Answers and Explanations
Explanation
According to the last two sentences of the paragraph, Titan was able to acquire an
atmosphere because of a prevailing low temperature, but Ganymede and Callisto could
not because they were at a higher temperature. Because the reason for this difference
in temperature was their respective distances from the sun, Choice B is correct. The
passage says nothing about differences in rate of heat loss, availability of methane and
ammonia, or distance from their planets, and it explicitly states that the three moons
are the same size.
Question 22 is based on the following reading passage.
Observations of the Arctic reveal that the Arctic Ocean is covered by less ice each summer than the previous summer. If this warming trend continues, within 50 years the
Arctic Ocean will be ice free during the summer months. This occurrence would in
itself have little or no effect on global sea levels, since the melting of ice floating in
water does not affect the water level. However, serious consequences to sea levels
would eventually result, because __________.
22. Which of the following most logically completes the passage?
A
B
C
D
E large masses of floating sea ice would continue to form in the wintertime
significant changes in Arctic sea temperatures would be accompanied by
changes in sea temperatures in more temperate parts of the world
such a warm Arctic Ocean would trigger the melting of massive landbased glaciers in the Arctic
an icefree Arctic Ocean would support a very different ecosystem than it
does presently
in the spring, melting sea ice would cause more icebergs to be created and
to drift south into shipping routes Explanation
To logically complete the passage’s openended “because,” something is needed that
will explain why the continuation of the warming trend would have serious consequences for sea levels. The passage explains that the melting of the Arctic Ocean ice
will not affect sea levels because the contribution that the water contained in that ice
makes to sea levels is the same whether the water is frozen or liquid. But Choice C
points to a way in which increasing temperatures in the Arctic could add water to the
ocean, namely by melting ice on the land. So Choice C logically completes the passage
and is the correct answer.
Given that the passage has already explained that melting sea ice does not affect
sea levels, the formation of sea ice described in Choice A does not explain why there
would be consequences for sea levels.
Choices B, D, and E all describe possible consequences of increased temperatures
in the Arctic, but none of these consequences suggests a mechanism by which sea
levels would change. So none of these options provides a logical completion for the
passage. 395 0071700528pp369397 10/13/10 4:57 PM Page 396 GRE Practice Test
Questions 23 to 25 are based on the following reading passage. line
5 10 In a recent study, David Cressy examines two central questions concerning English
immigration to New England in the 1630s: what kinds of people immigrated and why?
Using contemporary literary evidence, shipping lists, and customs records, Cressy finds
that most adult immigrants were skilled in farming or crafts, were literate, and were
organized in families. Each of these characteristics sharply distinguishes the 21,000
people who left for New England in the 1630s from most of the approximately 377,000
English people who had immigrated to America by 1700.
With respect to their reasons for immigrating, Cressy does not deny the frequently
noted fact that some of the immigrants of the 1630s, most notably the organizers and
clergy, advanced religious explanations for departure, but he finds that such explanations usually assumed primacy only in retrospect. When he moves beyond the principal actors, he finds that religious explanations were less frequently offered, and he
concludes that most people immigrated because they were recruited by promises of
material improvement. Description
The passage discusses Cressy’s answers to the questions posed in the first sentence. The
immigrants were skilled, literate, and in families, and they apparently immigrated to
have a better life materially, rather than religiously.
For the following question, consider each of the choices separately and select all that
apply. 23. The passage indicates that Cressy would agree with which of the following
statements about the organizers among the English immigrants to New England
in the 1630s?
A
B
C Some of them offered a religious explanation for their immigration.
They did not offer any reasons for their immigration until some time after
they had immigrated.
They were more likely than the average immigrant to be motivated by
material considerations. Explanation
Choice A is correct.
Choice A is correct: the organizers are mentioned in the second paragraph, where
the passage says that Cressy “does not deny” that organizers “advanced religious explanations” for leaving England and immigrating to New England in the 1630s. This suggests that Cressy would agree with the statement in choice A about the organizers.
Choice B is incorrect: in lines 10–11, the passage says that Cressy finds that religious reasons for immigration “assumed primacy” only in retrospect, but this is not the
same as Cressy’s concluding that no reasons were given at the time of immigration.
Therefore it cannot be inferred that Cressy would agree with the statement in Choice B.
Choice C is incorrect: the passage refers in lines 13–14 to “promises of material
improvement” as a factor that in Cressy’s view motivated most immigrants other than
“the principal actors.” This suggests that Cressy regards the principal actors, such as
organizers, as having been less, not more, motivated by material considerations than
average immigrants were. Therefore it cannot be inferred that Cressy would agree with
the statement in Choice C. 396 0071700528pp369397 10/13/10 4:57 PM Page 397 Answers and Explanations
24. Select the sentence that provides Cressy’s opinion about what motivated English
immigrants to go to New England in the 1630s. Explanation
The last sentence says that Cressy “concludes that most people immigrated because
they were recruited by promises of material improvement.” Because this suggests that
Cressy believes immigrants were motivated by these promises to go to New England,
sentence 5 (“When he . . . improvement) is the correct choice. The preceding sentence
suggests that Cressy does not believe religion was a primary motive influencing immigrants’ decision to immigrate in the 1630s. Thus, although this sentence provides an
opinion of Cressy’s concerning some immigrants’ stated reasons for immigrating, it
does not say what motive he believes was actually behind the immigration, and therefore does not answer the question.
25. In the passage, the author is primarily concerned with
A summarizing the findings of an investigation B analyzing a method of argument
C evaluating a point of view D hypothesizing about a set of circumstances
E establishing categories Explanation
The passage is about Cressy’s investigation of English immigration to New England in
the 1630s, and it summarizes his findings concerning who immigrated and why.
Choice A, “summarizing the findings of an investigation,” is therefore the best description of the author’s primary concern in the passage. The passage does not analyze a
method of argument, so Choice B is incorrect. Choice C is incorrect because the passage is not primarily concerned with evaluating a point of view: it does not assess the
merits or demerits of Cressy’s viewpoint. The passage is concerned with reporting
Cressy’s findings, not with hypothesizing or with establishing categories, so Choices D
and E are incorrect. 397 GRE Practice Test
SECTION 5
Quantitative Reasoning
25 Questions with Explanations
A Quantity A is greater. B Quantity B is greater. C The two quantities are equal. D The relationship cannot be determined from the information given. 3 x
3 O
4 O is the center of the circle above.
Quantity A Quantity B x 5 1. A B C D Explanation
In this question you are asked to compare x with 5, where x is the length of a
line segment from the center of the circle to a point inside the circle. In a circle
the easiest line segments to deal with are the radius and the diameter. Looking at
the ﬁgure in the question, you can see that you can draw two radii, each of
which “completes” a right triangle, as shown in the ﬁgure below. x 3 O r r 3
4 Since in one of the triangles, the lengths of both legs are known, you can use
that triangle to determine the length of the radius of the circle. The triangle has
legs of length 3 and 4. If the length of the radius is r, then, using the
Pythagorean theorem, you can see that
r2
r2
r2 32 42 or
9 16 or
25, and thus, r 5 Since the length of the radius of the circle is 5 and the line segment of length x
is clearly shorter than the radius, you know that x 5, and the correct answer is
Choice B.
You could also see that the two triangles are congruent, and so x 4, again
yielding Choice B. 398 Answers and Explanations
Runner A ran 4
kilometer and Runner B ran 800 meters.
5 Quantity A
2. Quantity B The distance that A ran The distance that B ran A B C D Explanation
In this question you are asked to compare two measurements, one given in
kilometers and the other in meters. It would be easier to compare these
measurements if they were both given in meters or both given in kilometers.
If you choose to convert the distance that Runner B ran from meters to
1
kilometers, you need to use the conversion 1 meter is equal to
kilometer.
1,000
1
4
Since B ran 800 meters, it follows that B ran (800)
, or kilometer, which
1,000
5
is the same distance that A ran.
If you choose to convert the distance that Runner A ran from kilometers to
meters, you need to use the conversion 1 kilometer is equal to 1,000 meters.
4
4
Since A ran kilometer, it follows that A ran
(1,000), or 800 meters, which is
5
5
the same distance that B ran. Either way, A and B ran the same distance, and
the correct answer is Choice C.
x
Quantity A
3. x y
3 z y z
Quantity B
y A B C D Explanation
In this question you are given that x y z, and you are asked to compare
xyz
with y.
3
Two approaches that you could use to solve this problem are:
1: Search for a mathematical relationship between the two quantities.
2: Plug in numbers for the variables.
xyz
Approach 1: Note that
is the average of the three numbers x, y, and
3
z and that y is the median. Is the average of 3 numbers always equal to the
median? The average could equal the median, but in general they do not have to
be equal. Therefore, the correct answer is Choice D.
Approach 2: When you plug in numbers for the variables, it is a good idea to
consider what kind of numbers are appropriate to plug in and to choose
numbers that are easy to work with, if possible.
xyz
Since
is the average of the three numbers x, y, and z and you are
3
comparing it to the median, you may want to try plugging in numbers that are
evenly spaced and plugging in numbers that are not evenly spaced. 399 GRE Practice Test
You can plug in numbers that are both evenly spaced and easy to work with.
For example, you can plug in x 1, y 2, and z 3. In this case,
xyz1236
xyz
2, and so
y.
3
3
3
3
You can also plug in numbers that not are not evenly spaced and are easy to
work with. For example, you can plug in x 3, y 6, and z 12. In this case,
x y z 3 6 12 21
xyz
7, and
y. Since in the ﬁrst case,
3
3
3
3
xyz
is equal to y and in the second case, it is greater than y, the
3
xyz
relationship between the two quantities
and y cannot be determined
3
from the information given. The correct answer is Choice D. x
50°
y
Quantity A Quantity B x
y 1 4. A B C D Explanation
One way you can solve this problem is by using the following fact:
¼ If ABC is a triangle and the measure of angle A is greater than the
measure of angle B, then the side opposite angle A is longer than the side
opposite angle B. Since the third angle of the triangle measures 40 , you can use the fact above
to conclude that the side opposite the 50 angle is longer than the side opposite
x
the 40 angle. So x y, and
1, which yields Choice A.
y
You can also solve this problem without using the fact above. Instead, you
can use the strategy of adapting solutions to related problems to determine the
relationship between x and y.
Note that the angles in the triangle differ only a little from the angles in a
– 45 – 90 triangle. How do the lengths of the legs of a 45 – 45 – 90 trian45
gle compare to the lengths of the legs of the triangle in the question? To make
the comparison, add a line segment to the triangle so that the line segment cuts
the 50 angle in two parts, making a 45 angle with the horizontal base, as
shown in the following ﬁgure: 400 Answers and Explanations 45°
x z 45°
y
The 45 – 45 – 90 triangle has two 45 angles, so z
z
y 1 and x z, it follows that
0 x x
y y, and z
y 1. Since 1. The correct answer is Choice A.
y 1 Quantity A Quantity B 1–y y–x 5. A B C D Explanation
Two approaches that you could use to solve this problem are:
1: Translate from algebra to a number line.
2: Plug in values for the variables.
Approach 1: The following ﬁgure represents the information given in the
problem on a number line. 0 x y 1 On the number line, 1 – y is the distance between 1 and y, and y – x is the
distance between y and x. If y is exactly halfway between x and 1, then 1 – y is
equal to y – x; and if y is not halfway between x and 1, then 1 – y is not equal to
y – x. But y can be any number between x and 1, so the correct answer is
Choice D.
Approach 2: Since this problem involves subtraction, it is a good idea to
choose values for x and y that are close to each other as well as values that are
far apart. For example, if x 0.4 and y 0.5, then 1 – y 0.5 and y – x 0.1 ;
and if x 0.1 and y 0.9, then 1 – y 0.1 and y – x 0.8. This shows that the
relationship cannot be determined, and the correct answer is Choice D. 401 GRE Practice Test
p is the probability that event E will occur, and s is the
probability that event E will not occur.
Quantity A
6. p s Quantity B
ps A B C D Explanation
Since event E will either occur or not occur, it follows that p s 1, and the
value of Quantity A is always 1. Since Quantity B is the product of the two
probabilities p and s, you need to look at its value for the cases p 1, p 0, and
0 p 1.
If p 1, then s 0; similarly, if p 0, then s 1. In both cases, ps is equal
to 0.
If 0 p 1, both p and s are positive and less than 1, so ps is positive and
less than 1. Since Quantity A is equal to 1 and Quantity B is less than 1, the
correct answer is Choice A.
X is the set of all integers n that satisfy the inequality
2 ⎪n⎪ 5.
Quantity A
7. Quantity B The absolute value of the
greatest integer in X The absolute value of the
least integer in X A B C D Explanation
When comparing these quantities, it is important to remember that a nonzero
number and its negative have the same absolute value. For example,
⎪ – 2⎪ ⎪2⎪ 2. Keeping this in mind, you can see that the positive integers 2, 3,
4, and 5 and the negative integers – 2, – 3, – 4, and – 5 all satisfy the inequalities
2 ⎪n⎪ 5, and that these are the only such integers. Thus, the set X consists of
the integers – 5, – 4, – 3, – 2, 2, 3, 4, and 5. The greatest of these integers is 5,
and its absolute value is 5. The least of these integers is – 5, and its absolute
value is also 5. Therefore, Quantity A is equal to Quantity B. The correct answer
is Choice C.
x and m are positive numbers, and m is a multiple of 3.
Quantity A
8. xm
x3 Quantity B
xm/3 A B C D Explanation
xm
xm – 3, you need to compare xm – 3 with xm/3. Since the base in both
x3
expressions is the same, a good strategy to use to solve this problem is to plug in
numbers for m in both expressions and compare them.
You know that m is a multiple of 3, so the least positive integer you can plug
in for m is 3. Since 402 Answers and Explanations
– If m 3, then xm 3 1 and xm/3 x. Since x can be any real number, its
relationship to 1 cannot be determined from the information given. This example
xm
is sufﬁcient to show that the relationship between 3 and xm/3 cannot be
x
determined from the information given. The correct answer is Choice D.
A random variable Y is normally distributed with a
mean of 200 and a standard deviation of 10.
Quantity A Quantity B 9. The probability of the event
that the value of Y is
greater than 220 1
6 A B C D Explanation
This problem involves a normal distribution with mean 200 and standard
deviation 10. Thus, the value of 210 is 1 standard deviation above the mean, and
the value of 220 is 2 standard deviations above the mean. To compare Quantity A
with Quantity B, it is not necessary to exactly determine the probability of the
event that the value of Y is greater than 220. Remember that in any normal
distribution, almost all of the data values, or about 95% of them, fall within 2
standard deviations on either side of the mean. This means that less than 5% of
the values in this distribution will be greater than 220. Thus, the probability of
1
the event that the value of Y is greater than 220 must be less than 5%, or , and
20
1
this is certainly less than . The correct answer is Choice B.
6
Another approach to this problem is to draw a normal curve, or “bellshaped
curve,” that represents the probability distribution of the random variable Y, as
shown in the ﬁgure below. 170 180 190 200 210 220 230 The curve is symmetric about the mean 200. The values of 210, 220, and 230
are equally spaced to the right of 200 and represent 1, 2, and 3 standard
deviations, respectively, above the mean. Similarly, the values of 190, 180, and
170 are 1, 2, and 3 standard deviation, respectively, below the mean. Quantity A,
the probability of the event that the value of Y is greater than 220, is equal to the
area of the shaded region as a fraction of the total area under the curve.
From the ﬁgure, you can see that the area under the normal curve has been
divided into 6 regions and that these regions are not equal in area. The 403 GRE Practice Test
shaded region is one of the two smallest of the 6 regions, so its area must be less
1
than of the total area under the curve. The correct answer is Choice B.
6
10. The ratio of
A 1 to 8 B 8 to 1 C 8 to 3 D 8 to 9 E 1
3
is equal to the ratio of
to
3
8 9 to 8 Explanation
Multiplying both parts of a ratio by the same number produces an equivalent
ratio. While you could multiply both fractions in the ratio by any number, 24 is a
good number to choose because it is the least common multiple of 3 and 8.
1
3
1
3
Thus, multiplying both and by 24, you get that the ratio of to is equal to
3
8
3
8
the ratio of 8 to 9. The correct answer is Choice D.
1
3
An alternate approach to this problem is to express the ratio of to as the
3
8
1
3
18
8
fraction
. This fraction is equivalent to
, or . The correct answer is
3
33
9
8
Choice D.
11. A reading list for a humanities course consists of 10 books, of which 4 are
biographies and the rest are novels. Each student is required to read a
selection of 4 books from the list, including 2 or more biographies. How
many selections of 4 books satisfy the requirements?
A 90 B 115 C 130 D 144 E 195 Explanation
The requirement to select 4 books, including 2 or more biographies, means that
you have to consider three cases. A student can choose 4 biographies and no
novels, or 3 biographies and 1 novel, or 2 biographies and 2 novels.
Case 1: Choose 4 biographies. This case is easy, as there is only 1 way to
choose all four biographies and no novels.
In the other two cases, you have to ﬁnd the number of ways of choosing the
biographies and the number of ways of choosing the novels and then multiply
these two numbers. 404 Answers and Explanations
Case 2: Choose 3 biographies and 1 novel. First, you need to ﬁnd the number
of ways of choosing 3 biographies out of 4. If you think of this as not choosing 1
out of the 4, you see that there are 4 choices. The number of ways of choosing 1
novel out of the 6 novels is 6. Therefore, the total number of choices is
(4)(6) 24.
Case 3: Choose 2 biographies and 2 novels. First, you need to ﬁnd the
number of ways of choosing 2 biographies out of 4. This number is sometimes
called “4 choose 2” or the number of combinations of 4 objects taken 2 at a
time. If you remember the combinations formula, you know that the number of
4
4!
combinations is
(which is denoted symbolically as
or 4C2 ). The value
2
2!(4 – 2)!
4!
(4)(3)(2!) (4)(3)
6. Thus, there are 6 ways to choose 2
of
is
2!(4 – 2)!
(2)(2!)
2
biographies out of 4. Similarly, the number of ways to choose 2 novels out of 6 is
6!
(6)(5)
15. Thus, the total number of ways to choose 2 biographies and 2
2!4!
2
novels is (6)(15) 90.
Adding the number of ways to choose the books for the each of the three
cases, you get a total of 1 24 90 115. The correct answer is Choice B.
For the following question, enter your answer in the box.
12. In a graduating class of 236 students, 142 took algebra and 121 took chemistry.
What is the greatest possible number of students that could have taken both
algebra and chemistry?
students Explanation
This is the type of problem for which drawing a Venn diagram is usually helpful.
The Venn diagram below is one you could draw to represent the information
given in the question. Total Students: 236 Algebra
142 Chemistry
121 Note that the algebra and chemistry numbers given do not separate out the
number of students who took both algebra and chemistry, and that this question
asks for the greatest possible number of such students. It is a good idea,
therefore, to redraw the Venn diagram with the number of students who took 405 GRE Practice Test
both algebra and chemistry separated out. The revised Venn diagram looks like
the one below. Total Students: 236 Algebra
only
142 – x Chemistry
only
121 – x x Algebra and
Chemistry
To solve this problem you want the greatest possible value of x. It is clear
from the diagram that x cannot be greater than 142 nor greater than 121,
otherwise 142 – x or 121 – x would be negative. Hence, x must be less than or
equal to 121. Since there is no information to exclude x 121, the correct
answer is 121. s° m t° 13. In the ﬁgure above, if m
A 75 D 80 E 30, then t 60 C t 30 B k and s k 105 Explanation
When trying to solve a geometric problem, it is often helpful to add any known
information to the ﬁgure. Since corresponding angles have equal measures, you
could place two more angle measures on the ﬁgure, as shown below. s° t °
s° t ° 406 m
k Answers and Explanations
Now, from the ﬁgure, you can see that s t 180. Therefore, since it is
given that s t 30, you can substitute t 30 for s into the equation s t
and get that (t 30) t 180, which can be simpliﬁed as follows.
(t 30) t
2t
t 180 180
150
75 The correct answer is Choice C.
14. If 2x 3y A 16,000 B 8,000 C 4,000 D 800 E 4z 20, then 12xyz 10 Explanation
One approach you can use to solve this problem is to ﬁnd the value of all three
variables.
2x 20, or x 10
20
3y 20, or y
3
4z 20, or z 5 20
(5) 4,000, and the correct answer is Choice C.
3
Another approach you can use to solve this problem is to notice that
(2x)(3y)(4z) (20)(20)(20)
12xyz
4,000. Therefore, the correct answer is
2
2
Choice C.
So 12xyz 12(10) For the following question, select all the answer choices that apply.
15. The total amount that Mary paid for a book was equal to the price of the book
plus a sales tax that was 4 percent of the price of the book. Mary paid for the
book with a $10 bill and received the correct change, which was less than $3.00.
Which of the following statements must be true?
Indicate all such statements.
A The price of the book was less than $9.50. B The price of the book was greater than $6.90. C The sales tax was less than $0.45. Explanation
For this problem you may ﬁnd it helpful to translate the given information into
an algebraic expression. Since the price of the book is unknown, you can call it x
dollars, and then the total amount that Mary paid is x dollars plus 4% of x
dollars, or 1.04x dollars. The problem states that Mary received some change
from a $10 bill, so 1.04x dollars must be less than $10. Since the change was less
407 GRE Practice Test
than $3.00, the total amount Mary paid for the book must have been greater
than $7.00. You can express this information algebraically by the inequality
7.00 1.04x 10.00 Solving the inequality for x by dividing by 1.04, and rounding, you get
6.73 x 9.62 So you see that x, the price of the book, must be between $6.73 and $9.62. With
this information, you can quickly examine the ﬁrst two statements. Choice A is
not necessarily true because the price could be as high as $9.61, and Choice B is
not necessarily true because the price could be as low as $6.74.
To examine Choice C, you could compute the tax for the greatest possible
price, which would be 4% of 9.61, or (0.04)(9.61) 0.38. Since this greatest
possible tax is less than $0.45, Choice C must be true.
You can also quickly see that Choice C must be true if you note that 4% of
$10.00 would only be $0.40, and since the price must be less than $10.00, the tax
must be less than $0.40. The correct answer consists of Choice C.
16. 1
is expressed as a terminating decimal, how many nonzero digits
(211)(517)
will the decimal have? If A One B Two C Four D Six E Eleven Explanation
To convert the fraction to a decimal, it is helpful to ﬁrst write the fraction in
powers of 10. Using the rules of exponents, you can write the following.
1
(211)(517) 1
(211)(511 6 ) 1
(2 )(511)(56)
11 1
(10 )(56)
11 16
(10
5 11 ) (0.2)6 (10
((2)(10)
6 11 ) 16 ) (10 (2 )(10 6 (26)(10
(64)(10 ) 17 17 )(10 11 11 ) )
) So the decimal has two nonzero digits, 6 and 4. The correct answer is Choice B.
408 Answers and Explanations
Questions 17 to 20 are based on the following data.
VARIATION IN THE AMOUNT OF CAFFEINE IN COMMON BEVERAGES AND DRUGS*
Amount of Caffeine (milligrams) 0 25 50 75 100 125 150 175 200 Decaffeinated coffee
Percolated coffee Coffee Dripbrewed coffee
Instant coffee
Brewed tea Other
beverages Instant tea
Cocoa
Caffeinated soft drinks
Weightloss drugs,
diuretics, and stimulants Drugs Pain relievers
Cold/allergy remedies Source: Food and Drug Administration
*Based on 5ounce cups of coffee, tea, and cocoa; 12ounce cups of soft drinks;
and single doses of drugs. 17. The least amount of caffeine in a 5ounce cup of dripbrewed coffee exceeds
the greatest amount of caffeine in a 5ounce cup of cocoa by approximately
how many milligrams?
A 160 B 80 C 60 D 40 E 20 Explanation
Each horizontal bar in the bar graph shows the possible number of milligrams
of caffeine in each of the common beverages and drugs. The least possible
amount of caffeine in a 5ounce cup of dripbrewed coffee is about 60
milligrams, and the greatest possible amount of caffeine in a 5ounce cup of
cocoa is about 20 milligrams. So, the difference is approximately 60 – 20, or 40
milligrams. The correct answer is Choice D.
To check your answer, it is useful to try to solve the problem using another
method as well to see if you get the same answer. To solve this problem in
another way, note that the distance between each pair of adjacent vertical grid
lines represents 25 milligrams of caffeine, and the distance between the high end
of the cocoa bar and the low end of the dripbrewed coffee bar is a little more
than the distance between a pair of adjacent grid lines. Therefore, the answer is
between 25 and 50. Among the choices, only Choice D is between 25 and 50, so
the correct answer is Choice D. 409 GRE Practice Test
For the following question, enter your answer in the box.
18. For how many of the 11 categories of beverages and drugs listed in the graph
can the amount of caffeine in the given serving size be less than 50 milligrams?
categories Explanation
In the graph, the left edge of each bar tells you what is the least possible amount
of caffeine in the corresponding beverage or drug. A beverage or drug can have
less than 50 milligrams of caffeine if the left edge of its bar lies to the left of the
vertical line corresponding to 50 milligrams of caffeine. From the graph, you see
that there are 9 bars for which this is true. There are only 2 bars that lie entirely
to the right of the 50milligram line—the bar for dripbrewed coffee and the bar
for weightloss drugs, diuretics, and stimulants. So there are 9 categories of
beverages and drugs that can have less than 50 milligrams of caffeine in the
given serving size. The correct answer is 9.
19. Approximately what is the minimum amount of caffeine, in milligrams,
consumed per day by a person who daily drinks two 10ounce mugs of
percolated coffee and one 12ounce cup of a caffeinated soft drink?
A 230 B 190 C 140 D 110 E 70 Explanation
According to the bar graph, the minimum amount of caffeine in a 5ounce cup
of percolated coffee is approximately 40 milligrams. Therefore, the minimum
amount of caffeine in two 10ounce cups of percolated coffee, which is the same
as the minimum amount of caffeine in four 5ounce cups, is approximately
(40)(4), or 160 milligrams. The minimum amount of caffeine in a 12ounce
caffeinated soft drink is approximately 30 milligrams. So, the minimum amount
of caffeine in two 10ounce mugs of percolated coffee and one 12ounce
caffeinated soft drink is approximately 160 30, or 190 milligrams. The correct
answer is Choice B.
20. Which of the following shows the four types of coffee listed in order
according to the range of the amounts of caffeine in a 5ounce cup, from
the least range to the greatest range?
A
B Decaffeinated, instant, dripbrewed, percolated C Instant, decaffeinated, dripbrewed, percolated D Instant, dripbrewed, decaffeinated, percolated E 410 Decaffeinated, instant, percolated, dripbrewed Instant, percolated, dripbrewed, decaffeinated Answers and Explanations
Explanation
For each of the four types of coffee, the range of the amounts of caffeine is the
greatest possible amount minus the least possible amount. In the graph, this
difference is represented by the length of the corresponding bar, so you can
order the four types of coffee according to the lengths of their corresponding
bars, from shortest to longest. From the graph, you can see that the order is
decaffeinated coffee, instant coffee, dripbrewed coffee, percolated coffee. The
correct answer is Choice B. Energy Used per Meter
(joules per meter) ENERGY USED PER METER VERSUS SPEED
DURING RUNNING AND WALKING 21. 300
200
Running
Walking 100
0 0 1 2345678
Speed (miles per hour) 9 If s is a speed, in miles per hour, at which the energy used per meter during
running is twice the energy used per meter during walking, then, according
to the graph above, s is between
A 2.5 and 3.0 B 3.0 and 3.5 C 3.5 and 4.0 D 4.0 and 4.5 E 4.5 and 5.0 Explanation
This question is about the speed at which the energy used per meter during
running is twice that used per meter during walking. Graphically, this is the
speed for which the running energy is twice as high as the walking energy.
Looking at the graph, you can see that for speeds greater than or equal to 3.0
miles per hour, the running energy is less than twice the walking energy, so the
desired speed must be less than 3.0. In fact, the desired speed is between 2.0 (the
lowest speed on the graph) and 3.0. Looking at the answer choices, you see that
there is only one answer choice that is between 2.0 and 3.0; namely, Choice A,
which says the desired speed is between 2.5 and 3.0. The correct answer is
Choice A. 411 GRE Practice Test
22. If n 23, then nn A 26 B 211 C 218 D 224 E 227 Explanation
When answering a question in which you are asked to calculate the value of an
expression, it is often helpful to look at the answer choices ﬁrst to see what form
they are in. In this question the answer choices are all in the form 2 raised to a
power, so you should try to achieve that form. It is given that n 23 8.
Therefore, nn (23)8 224. The correct answer is Choice D.
For the following question, select all the answer choices that apply. B A D C The length of AB is 10 3. 23. Which of the following statements individually provide(s) sufﬁcient
additional information to determine the area of triangle ABC above?
Indicate all such statements.
A DBC is an equilateral triangle. B ABD is an isosceles triangle. C The length of BC is equal to the length of AD. D The length of BC is 10. E The length of AD is 10. Explanation
From the ﬁgure you know that ABC is a right triangle with its right angle at
vertex B. You also know that point D is on the hypotenuse AC. You are given that
the length of AB is 10 3. However, because the ﬁgure is not necessarily drawn to
scale, you don’t know the lengths of AD, DC, and BC. In particular, you don’t
know where D is on AC.
1
The area of a triangle is (base)(height). Thus, the area of right triangle ABC
2
1
is equal to of the length of AB times the length of BC. You already know that
2
the length of AB is 10 3. Any additional information that would allow you to
calculate the length of BC would be sufﬁcient to ﬁnd the area of triangle ABC.
You need to consider each of the ﬁve statements individually, as follows.
Statement A: DBC is an equilateral triangle. This statement implies that angle
DCB is a 60 angle; and therefore, triangle ABC is a 30 – 60 – 90 triangle. Thus
412 Answers and Explanations
the length of BC can be determined, and this statement provides sufﬁcient
additional information to determine the area of triangle ABC.
Statement B: ABD is an isosceles triangle. There is more than one way in
which triangle ABD can be isosceles. Below are two redrawn ﬁgures showing
triangle ABD as isosceles. In the ﬁgure on the left, the length of AD is equal to
the length of DB; and in the ﬁgure on the right, the length of AB is equal to the
length of AD. B B A A
D C D C Either of the ﬁgures could have been drawn with the length of BC even
longer. So, statement B does not provide sufﬁcient additional information to
determine the area of triangle ABC.
Statement C: The length of BC is equal to the length of AD. You have no way
of ﬁnding the length of AD without making other assumptions, so statement C
does not provide sufﬁcient additional information to determine the area of
triangle ABC.
Statement D: The length of BC is 10. The length of BC is known, so the area
of triangle ABC can be found. Statement D provides sufﬁcient additional
information to determine the area of triangle ABC.
Statement E: The length of AD is 10. The relationship between AD and BC is
not known, so statement E does not provide sufﬁcient additional information to
determine the area of triangle ABC.
Statements A and D individually provide sufﬁcient additional information to
determine the area of triangle ABC. Therefore, the correct answer consists of
Choices A and D.
For the following question, enter your answer in the box.
a1, a2, a3, . . . , an, . . .
24. In the sequence above, each term after the ﬁrst term is equal to the preceding
term plus the constant c. If a1 a3 a5 27, what is the value of a2 a4 ?
a2 a4 Explanation
Note that answering this question requires information only about the ﬁrst ﬁve
terms of the sequence. So it is a good idea to work with the relationships among
these ﬁve terms to see what is happening.
Since you are given that in this sequence each term after a1 is c greater than
the previous term, you can rewrite the ﬁrst ﬁve terms of the sequence in terms of
a1 and c as follows.
a3 a1 c
a3 a2 c a1 2c
a4
a5 a1
a1 3c
4c
413 GRE Practice Test
From the question, you know that a1 a3 a5 27, and from the equations
above, a1 a3 a5 a1 (a1 2c) (a1 4c) 3a1 6c. So you can conclude
that 3a1 6c 27, or a1 2c 9.
To ﬁnd a2 a4, you can express a2 and a4 in terms of a1 and c and simplify
as follows.
a2 a4 (a1 c) (a1 3c)
2a1
2(a1
But a1
25. 2c 9, so a2 a4 2(9) 4c
2c) 18. The correct answer is 18. A desert outpost has a water supply that is sufﬁcient to last 21 days for 15
people. At the same average rate of water consumption per person, how
many days would the water supply last for 9 people?
A 28.0 B 32.5 C 35.0 D 37.5 E 42.0 Explanation
The water supply is enough for 15 people to survive 21 days. Assuming the same
average rate of water consumption per person, 1 person would have enough
water to last for (15)(21) 315 days. Therefore, 9 people would have enough
1
water for of the 315 days, or 35 days. The correct answer is Choice C.
9
Another approach to solving this problem is to recognize that the water
15
supply would last
as many days for 9 people as it would for 15 people.
9
Therefore, since the water supply would last 21 days for 15 people, it would last
15
(21), or 35 days for 9 people. The correct answer is Choice C.
9 414 Answers and Explanations
SECTION 6
Quantitative Reasoning
Time—40 minutes
25 Questions A Quantity A is greater. B Quantity B is greater. C The two quantities are equal. D The relationship cannot be determined from the information given.
Country Value of 1 United States Dollar Argentina
Kenya 0.93 peso
32.08 shillings Quantity A
1. Quantity B The dollar value of 1
Argentine peso according
to the table above The dollar value of 1
Kenyan shilling according
to the table above A B C D Explanation
When you are answering Quantitative Comparison questions, it is a good timesaving idea to see whether you can determine the relative sizes of the two
quantities being compared without doing any calculations.
In the table accompanying this question, both the value of the Argentine
peso and the value of the Kenyan shilling are compared to the United States
dollar.
Without doing any calculations, you can see from the information given that
1 United States dollar is worth a little less than 1 Argentine peso, so 1 peso is
worth more than 1 United States dollar. On the other hand, 1 United States
dollar is worth 32.08 Kenyan shillings, so 1 Kenyan shilling is worth only a small
fraction of 1 United States dollar. The correct answer is Choice A.
k is a digit in the decimal 1.3k5, and 1.3k5 is less
than 1.33.
Quantity A Quantity B k 1 2. A B C D Explanation
In this question, you are given that k is a digit in the decimal 1.3k5 and that
1.3k5 is less than 1.33. So you can see that 1.30 1.3k5 1.33. Therefore, 1.3k5
must equal 1.305 or 1.315 or 1.325, and the digit k must be 0, 1, or 2. The
correct answer is Choice D. 415 GRE Practice Test
CBD A
AB is a diameter of the circle above.
Quantity A
3. Quantity B The length of AB The average (arithmetic
mean) of the lengths of AC
and AD A B C D Explanation
Recall that in a circle, any diameter is longer than any other chord that is not a
diameter. You are given that AB is a diameter of the circle. It follows that AC and
AD are chords that are not diameters, since there is only one diameter with
endpoint A. Hence, AB is longer than both AC and AD. Note that the average of
two numbers is always less than or equal to the greater of the two numbers.
Therefore, the average of the lengths of AC and AD, which is Quantity B, must be
less than the length of AB, which is Quantity A. The correct answer is Choice A.
st 10 Quantity A Quantity B s2 10
t2 4. A B C Explanation
10
. Since it is given that
t2
10. Dividing both sides of the In this question you are asked to compare s2 with ( 10)2, and s2t2
10
equation s2t2 10 by t2, you get s2
. The correct answer is Choice C.
t2
You can look at this problem in another way. You can use the fact that
st
10 to express Quantity A in terms of t. Since st
10, it follows that
st 10, it follows that (st)2 10
, and Quantity A is equal to
t
B. The correct answer is Choice C. s 416 10
t 2 10
, which is the same as Quantity
t2 D Answers and Explanations
Three consecutive integers have a sum of – 84.
Quantity A
5. Quantity B The least of the three
integers – 28 A B C D Explanation
Two approaches you could use to solve this problem are:
1: Translate from words to algebra.
2: Determine a mathematical relationship between the two quantities.
Approach 1: You can represent the least of the three consecutive integers by
x, and then the three integers would be represented by x, x 1, and x 2. It is
– 84.
given that the sum of the three integers is – 84, so x (x 1) (x 2)
You can solve this equation for x as follows.
x (x 1) (x
3x 2)
3
3x
x 84
84
87
29 Since the least of the three integers, – 29, is less than – 28, the correct answer is
Choice B.
Approach 2: You could ask yourself what would happen if the least of the
three consecutive integers was – 28. The three consecutive integers would then
be – 28, – 27, and – 26, and their sum would be – 81. But you were given that the
sum of the three consecutive integers is – 84, which is less than – 81. Therefore,
– 28 is greater than the least of the three consecutive integers, and the correct
answer is Choice B.
In the xyplane, the equation of line k is 3x – 2y 0. Quantity A
6. Quantity B The xintercept of line k The yintercept of line k A B C D Explanation
Two approaches you could use to solve this problem are:
1: Reason algebraically.
2: Reason geometrically.
Approach 1: To solve this problem algebraically, note that given the equation
of a line in the xyplane, the xintercept of the line is the value of x when y
equals 0, and the yintercept of the line is the value of y when x equals 0. The
equation of line k is 3x – 2y 0. If y 0, then x 0; and if x 0, then y 0.
Therefore, both the xintercept and yintercept of the line are equal to 0, which
means that the line passes through the origin. The correct answer is Choice C.
Approach 2: To solve this problem geometrically, graph the line with equation
3x – 2y 0 in the xyplane. Since two points determine a straight line, you can
do this by plotting two points on the line and drawing the line they determine.
The points (0,0) and (2,3) lie on the line, and the graph of the line in the xyplane is shown in the following ﬁgure.
417 GRE Practice Test
y (2, 3) x (0, 0) As you can see, the line passes through the origin, and so it crosses both the
xaxis and the yaxis at (0,0). The correct answer is Choice C.
n is a positive integer that is divisible by 6.
Quantity A
7. Quantity B The remainder when n is
divided by 12 The remainder when n is
divided by 18 A B C D Explanation
One way to compare the two quantities is to plug in a few values of n. If you
plug in n 36, you ﬁnd that both the remainder when n is divided by 12 and the
remainder when n is divided by 18 are equal to 0, so Quantity A is equal to
Quantity B. However, if you plug in n 18, you ﬁnd that the remainder when n
is divided by 12 is 6 and the remainder when n is divided by 18 is 0, so Quantity
B is greater than Quantity A. Therefore, the correct answer is Choice D.
Another way to compare the two quantities is to ﬁnd all of the possible
values of Quantity A and Quantity B. The positive integers that are divisible by 6
are 6, 12, 18, 24, 30, 36, etc. When dividing each of these integers by 12, you get
a remainder of either 0 or 6, so Quantity A is either 0 or 6. When dividing each
of these integers by 18, you get a remainder of either 0 or 6 or 12, so Quantity B
is either 0 or 6 or 12. Note that when the value of Quantity B is 12, the value of
Quantity A, 0 or 6, is less than the value of Quantity B; but when the value of
Quantity B is 0, the value of Quantity A is greater than or equal to the value of
Quantity B. Thus, the correct answer is Choice D.
1–x
x–1 1
x Quantity A Quantity B x –1
2 8. A B C Explanation
One approach you could use to solve this problem is to solve the equation
1–x 1
for x. Since fractions are deﬁned only when the denominator is not
x–1 x
418 D Answers and Explanations
equal to 0, the denominators of both of the fractions in the equation are
nonzero. Therefore, x 0 and x 1.
To solve the equation for x, begin by multiplying both sides of the equation
by the common denominator x(x 1) to get x(1 – x) (x – 1)(1). Then proceed
as follows.
x(1 – x)
x – x2
x2
Since x2 1 and x 1, it follows that x (x – 1)(1)
x1
1
– 1. 1
Quantity A is equal to – 1 and Quantity B is equal to – . Therefore, Quantity
2
B is greater, and the correct answer is Choice B.
1–x
Another approach is to notice that for all values of x 1, the value of
is
x–1
equal to – 1. You can try plugging in a few numbers for x to see that this is true.
7–1
6
– 1.
For example, if you plug in x 7, you get
1 – 7 –6
1–x
You can also show that for all values of x 1, the value of
is equal to
x–1
–
– (x – 1)
– 1 algebraically by rewriting 1 – x as – (x – 1). Thus, 1 x
– 1.
–1
x
(x – 1)
1–x 1
Because the left side of the equation
is equal to – 1, it follows that
x–1 x
– 1 1, and so x – 1. Therefore, Quantity A is equal to – 1, which is less than
x
1
Quantity B, – , and the correct answer is Choice B.
2
In a set of 24 positive integers, 12 of the integers are
less than 50. The rest are greater than 50.
Quantity A
9. The median of the 24
integers Quantity B
50 A B C D Explanation
In general, the median of a set of n positive integers, where n is even, is
obtained by ordering the integers from least to greatest and then calculating the
average (arithmetic mean) of the two middle integers. For this set of 24 integers,
you do not know the values of the two middle integers; you know only that half
of the integers are less than 50 and the other half are greater than 50. If the two
middle integers in the list are 49 and 51, the median is 50; and if the two middle
integers are 49 and 53, the median is 51. Thus the relationship cannot be
determined from the information given, and the correct answer is Choice D. 419 GRE Practice Test
10. The fabric needed to make 3 curtains sells for $8.00 per yard and can be
purchased only by the full yard. If the length of fabric required for each
curtain is 1.6 yards and all of the fabric is purchased as a single length,
what is the total cost of the fabric that needs to be purchased for the 3
curtains?
A $40.00 B $38.40 C $24.00 D $16.00 E $12.80 Explanation
Since 1.6 yards of fabric are required for each curtain, it follows that (3)(1.6), or
4.8, yards of fabric are required to make the 3 curtains. The fabric can be
purchased only by the full yard, so 5 yards of fabric would need to be purchased.
Since the fabric sells for $8.00 per yard, the total cost of the fabric is $40.00. The
correct answer is Choice A.
For the following question, select all the answer choices that apply.
11. In the xyplane, line k is a line that does not pass through the origin.
Which of the following statements individually provide(s) sufﬁcient additional
information to determine whether the slope of line k is negative?
Indicate all such statements.
A The xintercept of line k is twice the yintercept of line k. B The product of the xintercept and the yintercept of line k is positive. C Line k passes through the points (a, b) and (r, s), where
(a – r)(b – s) 0. Explanation
For questions involving a coordinate system, it is often helpful to draw a ﬁgure
to visualize the problem situation. If you draw some lines with negative slopes in
the xyplane, such as those in the ﬁgure below, you see that for each line that
does not pass through the origin, the x and yintercepts are either both positive
or both negative. Conversely, you can see that if the x and yintercepts of a line
have the same sign then the slope of the line is negative. 420 Answers and Explanations
y (a, b)
x O
rise run (r, s) You can use this fact to examine the information given in the ﬁrst two
statements. Remember that you need to evaluate each statement by itself.
Choice A states that the xintercept is twice the yintercept, so you can
conclude that both intercepts have the same sign, and thus the slope of line k is
negative. So the information in Choice A is sufﬁcient to determine that the slope
of line k is negative.
Choice B states that the product of the xintercept and the yintercept is
positive. You know that the product of two numbers is positive if both factors
have the same sign. So this information is also sufﬁcient to determine that the
slope of line k is negative.
To evaluate Choice C, it is helpful to recall the deﬁnition of the slope of a
line passing through two given points. You may remember it as “rise over run.”
b–s
If the two points are (a, b) and (r, s), then the slope is
.
a–r
Choice C states that the product of the quantities (a – r) and (b – s) is
negative. Note that these are the denominator and the numerator, respectively, of
b–s
, the slope of line k. So you can conclude that (a – r) and (b – s) have
a–r
opposite signs and the slope of line k is negative. The information in Choice C is
sufﬁcient to determine that the slope of line k is negative.
So each of the three statements individually provides sufﬁcient information
to determine whether the slope of line k is negative. The correct answer consists
of Choices A, B, and C. 421 GRE Practice Test
Distance from Centerville
(miles)
Freight train 115 Passenger train
12. 10t
20t 150 The expressions in the table above give the distance from Centerville to
each of two trains t hours after 12:00 noon. At what time after 12:00 noon
will the trains be equidistant from Centerville?
A 1:30 B 3:30 C 5:10 D 8:50 E 11:30 Explanation
The distance between the freight train and Centerville at t hours past noon is
– 10t 115. The distance between the passenger train and Centerville at t hours
past noon is – 20t 150. To ﬁnd out at what time the distances will be the same
you need to equate the two expressions and solve for t as follows.
– 10t
10t 115
115
10t
t – 20t
150
35
3.5 150 Therefore, the two trains will be the same distance from Centerville at 3.5 hours
past noon, or at 3:30. The correct answer is Choice B.
13. The company at which Mark is employed has 80 employees, each of whom
has a different salary. Mark’s salary of $43,700 is the secondhighest salary
in the ﬁrst quartile of the 80 salaries. If the company were to hire 8 new
employees at salaries that are less than the lowest of the 80 salaries, what
would Mark’s salary be with respect to the quartiles of the 88 salaries at the
company, assuming no other changes in the salaries?
A The fourthhighest salary in the ﬁrst quartile B The highest salary in the ﬁrst quartile C The secondlowest salary in the second quartile D The thirdlowest salary in the second quartile E The ﬁfthlowest salary in the second quartile Explanation
In this question you are told that Mark’s salary is the secondhighest in the ﬁrst
quartile. From this you can conclude that the word quartile refers to one of the
four groups that are created by listing the data in increasing order and then
dividing the data into four groups of equal size. When the salaries of the 80
employees are listed in order, the 20 lowest salaries (that is, the salaries in the
ﬁrst quartile) are the ﬁrst 20 salaries in the list. Since Mark’s salary is the
422 Answers and Explanations Third quartile Fourth quartile 21
22
23 41
42
43 61
62
63 ... ... First quartile Second quartile ... secondhighest in the ﬁrst quartile, 18 salaries in that quartile are lower than his,
and one salary in that quartile is higher than his. After the salaries of the 8 new
employees are added, there are 26 salaries that are lower than Mark’s. The lowest
22 of those would be in the ﬁrst quartile of the 88 salaries, and the remaining 4
(salaries 23 to 26) would be in the second quartile, followed by Mark’s salary.
This puts Mark at the ﬁfthlowest salary in the second quartile. The correct
answer is Choice E.
Another way to approach this problem is to think of all 80 salaries numbered
in order from least to greatest, the lowest salary at the number 1 position and
the greatest salary at the number 80 position. There are 20 positions in each
quartile, and Mark’s salary is at position 19. The diagram below shows the salary
positions and the quartile into which each position falls. Note that position 19,
where Mark’s salary appears, is secondhighest in the rst quartile. ... 1
2
3
18
19
20 38
39
40 Mark’s
salary 58
59
60 78
79
80 ... 8
9
20
21
22 Third quartile Fourth quartile 23
24
25
26
27 45
46
47
48
49 67
68
69
70
71
... ... 1
2 Second quartile New
salaries
Salary at
position 1 of
original list ... First quartile ... To see what Mark’s position is with respect to the quartiles of the 88 salaries,
you need add the 8 new salaries to the list, renumber the list from 1 to 88, and
put 22 salaries in each quartile. Because the 8 new salaries are less than the
original 80 salaries, they must be listed in positions 1 through 8, and all salaries
in the original list must move up by 8 positions in the renumbered list. In
particular, Mark’s salary moves from position 19 to position 27. The diagram
below shows the renumbered list. Note that Mark’s salary is in position 27, the
ﬁfth position in the second quartile. 42
43
44 Mark’s
salary 64
65
66 86
87
88 Since Mark’s salary is in the ﬁfth position in the second quartile and the
salaries are listed in order from least to greatest, Mark’s salary would be the
ﬁfthlowest in the second quartile. The correct answer is Choice E. 423 GRE Practice Test
For the following question, enter your answer in the box.
14. In the xyplane, the point with coordinates ( – 6, – 7) is the center of circle C.
The point with coordinates ( – 6, 5) lies inside C, and the point with
coordinates (8, – 7) lies outside C. If m is the radius of C and m is an
integer, what is the value of m ?
m Explanation
A strategy that is often helpful in working with geometry problems is drawing a
ﬁgure that represents the given information as accurately as possible.
In this question you are given that the point with coordinates ( – 6, – 7) is the
center of circle C, the point with coordinates ( – 6, 5) lies inside circle C, and the
point with coordinates (8, – 7) lies outside circle C, so you could draw the
following ﬁgure. y (–6, 5)
O (–6, –7) x (8, –7) From the ﬁgure, you can see that the distance between ( – 6, – 7) and ( – 6, 5) is
7 5, or 12, and the radius of C must be greater than 12. You can also see that
the distance between ( – 6, – 7) and (8, – 7) is 6 8, or 14, and the radius of C
must be less than 14. Therefore, since the radius is an integer greater than 12
and less than 14, it must be 13. The correct answer is 13.
15. m
If –
is an even integer, which of the following must be true?
19
A
B m is a positive number. C m is a prime number. D m is an odd integer. E 424 m is a negative number. m is an even integer. Answers and Explanations
Explanation
m
An even integer is a multiple of 2. If –
is an even integer, it must equal 2
19
m
times some integer k. This means that –
2k, or m – 19(2k) 2( – 19k),
19
which is a multiple of 2. Thus m must be an even integer, and the correct answer
is Choice E. You can see that none of the other choices can be the correct
answer by evaluating them as follows.
A B m
m does not have to be a negative number for –
to be even. For
19
m
– 2, which is an even number.
example, if m 38, then –
19
m
m does not have to be a positive number for –
to be even. For
19
m
example, if m – 38, then –
2, which is an even number.
19 C The number used in (A), m 38, shows that m does not have to be a
prime number. In fact, because m is the product of at least two prime
numbers (2 and 19), m cannot be a prime number. D Since m must be an even integer, m cannot be an odd integer. For the following question, select all the answer choices that apply.
16. The integer v is greater than 1. If v is the square of an integer, which of the
following numbers must also be the square of an integer?
Indicate all such numbers.
A 81v B 25v 10 v 1 C 4v2 4 v 1 Explanation
If v is the square of an integer, then v is an integer. You can use this fact,
together with the fact that the product and the sum of integers are also integers,
to examine the ﬁrst two choices.
Choice A: The square root of 81v is 9 v, which is an integer. So 81v is the
square of an integer.
Choice B: 25v 10 v 1 (5 v 1)2 and 5 v 1 is an integer. So
25v 10 v 1 is the square of an integer.
Choice C: Since there is no obvious way to factor the given expression, you
may suspect that it is not the square of an integer. To show that a given
statement is not true, it is sufﬁcient to ﬁnd one counterexample. In this case,
you need to ﬁnd one value of v such that v is the square of an integer
but 4v2 4 v 1 is not the square of an integer. If v 4, then
4v2 4 v 1 64 8 1 73, which is not the square of an integer. This
proves that 4v2 4 v 1 does not have to be the square of an integer.
The correct answer consists of Choices A and B. 425 GRE Practice Test
Questions 17 to 20 are based on the following data.
DISTANCE TRAVELED BY A CAR ACCORDING TO THE CAR’S SPEED
WHEN THE DRIVER IS SIGNALED TO STOP 110
100
90
80
70
60
50
40
30
20
10
0 Distance (feet) Distance (feet) Distance Traveled
During Reaction Time* 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
Speed (miles per hour) Distance Traveled After Brakes
Have Been Applied
550
550
500
450
445
400
350
352
300
250
269
200
198
150
137
100
88
50
22
49
9
0
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
Speed (miles per hour) *Reaction time is the time period that begins when the driver is signaled to stop
and ends when the driver applies the brakes.
Note: Total stopping distance is the sum of the distance traveled during reaction time
and the distance traveled after brakes have been applied. 17. The speed, in miles per hour, at which the car travels a distance of 52 feet
during reaction time is closest to which of the following?
A 43 B 47 C 51 D 55 E 59 Explanation
The data accompanying questions 17 to 20 consists of two graphs. It is a good
idea to look at the graphs before you try to answer the questions, so you can
become familiar with the information contained in the graphs. Then, as you read
each question, you should think about which of the graphs contains the
information you need to solve the problem. It could be that all the information
you need to solve the problem is contained in one of the graphs, or it could be
that you need to get information from both of the graphs.
The graph on the left shows the relationship between the speed of the
automobile and the distance it traveled during the reaction time. Therefore, the
answer to this question is found using this graph by reading the speed, in miles
per hour, corresponding to a distance of 52 feet. A distance of 52 feet is a little
above the distance of 50 feet on the vertical axis of the graph. On the graph, the
426 Answers and Explanations
speed corresponding to a distance of 52 feet is a little less than 50 miles per
hour. The correct answer is Choice B.
18. Approximately what is the total stopping distance, in feet, if the car is
traveling at a speed of 40 miles per hour when the driver is signaled to
stop?
A 130 B 110 C 90 D 70 E 40 Explanation
Since the total stopping distance is the sum of the distance traveled during
reaction time and the distance traveled after the brakes have been applied, you
need information from both graphs to answer this question. At a speed of 40
miles per hour, the distance traveled during reaction time is a little less than 45
feet, and the distance traveled after the brakes have been applied is 88 feet.
Since 45 88 133, the correct answer is Choice A.
19. Of the following, which is the greatest speed, in miles per hour, at which
the car can travel and stop with a total stopping distance of less than 200
feet?
A 50 B 55 C 60 D 65 E 70 Explanation
Since the total stopping distance is the sum of the distance traveled during
reaction time and the distance traveled after the brakes have been applied, you
need information from both graphs to answer this question. A good strategy for
solving this problem is to calculate the total stopping distance for the speeds
given in the options. For a speed of 50 miles per hour, the distance traveled
during reaction time is about 55 feet, and the distance traveled after the brakes
have been applied is 137 feet; therefore, the total stopping distance is about
55 137, or 192 feet. For a speed of 55 miles per hour, the distance traveled
during reaction time is about 60 feet, and the distance traveled after the brakes
have been applied is about 170 feet; therefore, the total stopping distance is
about 60 170, or 230 feet. Since the speeds in the remaining choices are
greater than 55 miles per hour and both types of stopping distances increase as
the speed increases, it follows that the total stopping distances for all the
remaining choices are greater than 200 feet. The correct answer is Choice A. 427 GRE Practice Test
20. The total stopping distance for the car traveling at 60 miles per hour is
approximately what percent greater than the total stopping distance for the
car traveling at 50 miles per hour?
A 22% B 30% C 38% D 45% E 52% Explanation
To solve this problem you need to ﬁnd the total stopping distance at 50 miles per
hour and at 60 miles per hour, ﬁnd their difference, and then express the
difference as a percent of the shorter total stopping distance. You need to use
both graphs to ﬁnd the total stopping distances. At 50 miles per hour, the total
stopping distance is approximately 55 137 192 feet; and at 60 miles per hour
it is approximately 66 198 264 feet. The difference of 72 feet as a percent of
72
192 feet is
0.375, or approximately 38%. The correct answer is Choice C.
192
21. What is the least positive integer that is not a factor of 25! and is not a
prime number?
A 26 B 28 C 36 D 56 E 58 Explanation
Note that 25! is equal to the product of all positive integers from 1 to 25,
inclusive. Thus, every positive integer less than or equal to 25 is a factor of 25!.
Also, any integer greater than 25 that can be expressed as the product of
different positive integers less than 25 is a factor of 25!. In view of this, it’s
reasonable to consider the next few integers greater than 25, including answer
choices A and B.
Choice A, 26, is equal to (2)(13). Both 2 and 13 are factors of 25!, so 26 is
also a factor of 25!. The same is true for 27, or (3)(9), and for Choice B, 28, or
(4)(7). However, the next integer, 29, is a prime number greater than 25, and as
such, it has no positive factors (other than 1) that are less than or equal to 25.
Therefore, 29 is the least positive integer that is not a factor of 25!. However, the
question asks for an integer that is not a prime number, so 29 is not the answer.
At this point, you could consider 30, 31, 32, etc., but it is quicker to look at
the rest of the choices. Choice C, 36, is equal to (4)(9). Both 4 and 9 are factors
of 25!, so 36 is also a factor of 25!. Choice D, 56, is equal to (4)(14). Both 4 and
14 are factors of 25!, so 56 is also a factor of 25!. Choice E, 58, is equal to
(2)(29). Although 2 is a factor of 25!, the prime number 29, as noted earlier, is
not a factor of 25!, and therefore 58 is not a factor of 25!. The correct answer
must be Choice E.
428 Answers and Explanations
The explanation above uses a process of elimination to arrive at Choice E,
which is sometimes the most efﬁcient way to ﬁnd the correct answer. However,
one can also show directly that the correct answer is 58. For if a positive integer
n is not a factor of 25!, then one of the following must be true:
(i) n is a prime number greater than 25, like 29 or 31, or a multiple of
such a prime number, like 58 or 62;
(ii) n is so great a multiple of some prime number less than 25, that it
must be greater than 58.
To see that (i) or (ii) is true, recall that every integer greater than 1 has a
unique prime factorization, and consider the prime factorization of 25!. The
prime factors of 25! are 2, 3, 5, 7, 11, 13, 17, 19, and 23, some of which occur
more than once in the product 25!. For example, there are 8 positive multiples of
3 less than 25, namely 3, 6, 9, 12, 15, 18, 21, and 24. The prime number 3 occurs
once in each of these multiples, except for 9 and 18, in which it occurs twice.
Thus, the factor 3 occurs 10 times in the prime factorization of 25!. The same
reasoning can be used to ﬁnd the number of times that each of the prime factors
occur, yielding the prime factorization 25!
(222)(310)(56)(73)(112)(13)(17)(19)(23).
Any integer whose prime factorization is a combination of one or more of the
factors in the prime factorization of 25!, perhaps with lesser exponents, is a
factor of 25!. Equivalently, if the positive integer n is not a factor of 25!, then,
restating (i) and (ii) above, the prime factorization of n must
(i) include a prime number greater than 25; or
(ii) have a greater exponent for one of the prime numbers in the prime
factorization of 25!.
For (ii), the least possibilities are 223, 311, 57, 74, 113, 132, 172, 192, and 232.
Clearly, all of these are greater than 58. The least possibility for (i) that is not a
prime number is 58, and the least possibility for (ii) is greater than 58, so 58 is
the correct answer.
22. If 0 a
and b ? 1 b, which of the following is true about the reciprocals of a A 1 1
a 1
b B 1
a 1 1
b C 1
a 1
b 1 D 1
b 1 1
a E 1
b 1
a 1 Explanation
To answer this question, you must ﬁrst look at the answer choices. Note that all
11
of the choices are possible orderings of the quantities , , and 1 from least to
ab
greatest. So to answer the question, you must put the three quantities in order
429 GRE Practice Test
b tells you that 0 a 1 and
1
that b 1. Since a is a value between 0 and 1, the value of must be greater
a
1
than 1. Since b is greater than 1, the value of must be less than 1. So you
b
1
1
1
1
1 and that
1, or combined in one expression,
1
, and
know that
a
b
b
a
the correct answer is Choice D. from least to greatest. The inequality 0 O 23. a 1 P In the ﬁgure above, O and P are the centers of the two circles. If each circle
has radius r, what is the area of the shaded region?
A B 2
2
3
2 r2
r2 C 2r2 D 3r2 E 2 3r2 Explanation
If a geometric problem contains a ﬁgure, it can be helpful to draw additional
lines and add information given in the text of the problem to the ﬁgure. For
circles, the helpful additional lines are often radii or diameters. In this case,
drawing radius OP will divide the shaded region into two triangles, as shown in
the ﬁgure below. O P Circle O and circle P have the same radius, r. Therefore, in each of the
triangles, all three sides have length r, and each of the triangles is equilateral. If
you remember from geometry that the height of an equilateral triangle with
3
sides of length r is
r, you could use that fact in solving the problem. However,
2
430 Answers and Explanations
if you do not remember what the height is, you can use the following ﬁgure to
help you ﬁnd the height. r r h r
2 r
2 Using the Pythagorean theorem, you get
r
2 2 h2
h2 r2
4 r2
r2 h2
h 32
r
4
3
r
2 1
So the area of the equilateral triangle is (base)(height)
2 3
1
(r)
r
2
2 3
4 r2. Since the shaded region consists of 2 equilateral triangles with sides of length r,
the area of the shaded region is (2) 3
4 r2 3
2 r2, and the correct answer is Choice B.
For the following question, enter your answer in the boxes.
24. Of the 20 lightbulbs in a box, 2 are defective. An inspector will select 2
lightbulbs simultaneously and at random from the box. What is the probability
that neither of the lightbulbs selected will be defective?
Give your answer as a fraction. Explanation
The desired probability corresponds to the fraction
the number of ways that 2 lightbulbs, both of which are not defective, can be chosen
the number of ways that 2 lightbulbs can be chosen In order to calculate the desired probability, you need to calculate the values
of the numerator and the denominator of this fraction.
431 GRE Practice Test
In the box there are 20 lightbulbs, 18 of which are not defective. The
numerator of the fraction is the number of ways that 2 lightbulbs can be chosen
from the 18 that are not defective, also known as the number of combinations of
18 objects taken 2 at a time.
If you remember the combinations formula, you know that the number of
18
18!
combinations is
(which is denoted symbolically as
or 18C2).
2
2!(18 – 2)!
Simplifying, you get
18!
2!16! (18)(17)(16!)
(2)(16!) (18)(17)
2 153 Similarly, the denominator of the fraction is the number of ways
that 2 lightbulbs can be chosen from the 20 in the box, which is
20
20!
(20)(19)(18!) (20)(19)
190. Therefore, the probability that
2
2!18!
(2)(18!)
2
153
neither of the lightbulbs selected will be defective is
. The correct answer
190
153
is
.
190
Another approach is to look at the selection of the two lightbulbs separately.
The problem states that lightbulbs are selected simultaneously. However, the
timing of the selection only ensures that the same lightbulb is not chosen twice.
This is equivalent to choosing one lightbulb ﬁrst and then choosing a second
lightbulb without replacing the ﬁrst. The probability that the ﬁrst lightbulb
18
selected will not be defective is
. If the ﬁrst lightbulb selected is not defective,
20
there will be 19 lightbulbs left to choose from, 17 of which are not defective.
Thus, the probability that the second lightbulb selected will not be defective is
17
. The probability that both lightbulbs selected will not be defective is the
19
product of these two probabilities. Thus, the desired probability is
18 17
153
153
.
. The correct answer is
20 19
190
190
25. What is the perimeter, in meters, of a rectangular playground 24 meters
wide that has the same area as a rectangular playground 64 meters long
and 48 meters wide?
A 112 B 152 C 224 D 256 E 304 Explanation
The area of the rectangular playground that is 64 meters long and 48 meters
wide is (64)(48) 3,072 square meters. The second playground, which has the
3,072
same area, is 24 meters wide and
128 meters long. Therefore, the
24
perimeter of the second playground is (2)(24) (2)(128) 304 meters. The
correct answer is Choice E.
432 0071700528pp433434 10/13/10 4:59 PM Page 433 0071700528pp433434 10/13/10 4:59 PM Page 434 POWERPREP ® II
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