Are you preparing to take the GRE? This is the fourth of a series of five posts by Manhattan GRE’s Jennifer Dziura on study tips for the exam.
Tip #4: Stop Using Your Calculator
From right now until you achieve your GRE goal score, I want you to make a vow. No calculators. Not at work, not at school, not in a restaurant when you’re figuring out the tip. Abjure your calculator entirely. (And don’t let Excel do your work for you either).
(If you simply must use a calculator at work, or while doing your taxes, then do the calculation on your own first, and then use the calculator to check your work).
Habitual calculator users often lose the logic of their calculations. By “logic,” I mean that, obviously, 235% of a number should be a little more than twice as big as the number, right? (Watch a bunch of calculator users robotically multiply a number by either .235 or 235, and then give absolutely absurd answers – of course, the correct procedure is to multiply by 2.35).
Since calculators are not permitted on the GRE, many calculations are created by the test writers to be quite neat and convenient. For instance, if 44% of 100 is 44, then 44% of 200 is … 88. (Since 200 is twice 100, 44% of 200 is twice 44% of 100). Not that hard, right?
Along with cultivating a vocabulary obsession for the duration of your GRE studies, also cultivate a mental calculation obsession. Anytime someone mentions a number, practice doubling it and cutting it in half. (To divide by 4, just cut in half and cut in half again!)
The speed limit’s 55? Oh, so half the speed limit is 27.5 and twice the speed limit is 110. Triple the speed limit is 165 (I did that in my head by tripling 50 and then tripling 5 and then adding 150 plus 15). Reducing the speed limit by 10% would mean subtracting 5.5, thus yielding a speed limit of 49.5. (Actually, maybe you should only try this when you’re the passenger – safety first!)
Jennifer Dziura has twice scored a perfect 1600 on the GRE. She teaches for Manhattan GRE in New York City and pens the Manhattan GRE Vocabulary Blog at www.manhattangre.com/blog.
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