### GRE Math for People Who Hate Math: Absolute Value

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**Think of an absolute value as a simple machine that looks like this: ||. You put a value into it, and the machine answers a single question for you: how far away from zero was the value that you put in?**

The basic operation of the machine is simple. Take any number, put it into the machine, and find out how far from zero that number is. The absolute value of 12, |12|, is equal to 12. The absolute value of -10, |-10|, is equal to 10. That’s because -10 is 10 units away from zero.

It starts to get complicated when the GRE asks you to put things into the machine that are more complex than simple numbers. Imagine that somebody else is operating the machine. She puts values in, but she doesn’t tell you what those values are. All you can see is the *answer* that the machine gives when it receives those values. Read more

### GRE Math for People Who Hate Math: What Is a Variable, Really?

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**Imagine a world where every conversation went like this:**

**Student**: When is our final project due?

**Professor**: Three days after the first Wednesday after your rough draft is due.

**Student**: What?

**Professor**: The rough draft is due 15 days after the date 6 days before May 14.

Solving a GRE math word problem is a little bit like having this kind of conversation. That’s why word problems can be so infuriating. The problem isn’t *lying *to you. It’s just telling you the truth in a really annoying, backwards way. (Reading Comprehension problems do that too—it’s not just a Quant thing.)

In the conversation above, how would you work out the due date of the final project? Personally, I’d start by getting out my calendar. I’d start at May 14, then count 6 days backwards. Then, I’d count 15 days forwards, put a star on the calendar, and mark it ‘rough draft.’ Then I’d find the first Wednesday after that date, and finally, I’d count three days forward from there. That would give me my answer. Read more

### GRE Math for People Who Hate Math: Backsolving

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**You know what I love about GRE Discrete Quant problems? Specifically, multiple-choice Discrete Quant? ***The answer choices*. Think about it: out of the infinite number of numbers in the universe, the GRE has already narrowed it down to just *five possibilities*. They’ve done almost all of the work for you. And that makes Discrete Quant a huge opportunity for People Who Hate Math. Read more

### The Art of the GRE Sanity Check

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You know what’s really frustrating? Making a ridiculous math mistake on a GRE Quant problem, totally by accident, and never noticing it. Add a three-second sanity check to your GRE Quant routine, and you’ll be more likely to catch small mistakes before they turn into huge disasters. Read more

### Let’s Have Fun with GRE Exponents

You may already know the basic rules of exponents for the GRE. These rules tell you what to do if you want to multiply or divide two exponential numbers, or raise an exponent to another power. Once you’ve memorized them, exponent problems become *exponentially* easier (I’m so sorry). But there are two types of exponent problems that many students find intimidating, because the basic rules just don’t seem useful. In this article, we’ll go over those two problem types, how to recognize them, and what to do if you see one. Read more

### Here’s How to Create Your Own GRE Quant Cheat Sheet

Do you remember, when you took exams in high school or college, being allowed to bring a one-page ‘cheat sheet’? I always spent days putting those cheat sheets together in my tiniest handwriting, summarizing an entire semester’s notes on a single page. The funny thing is, by the time I took the exam, I almost never needed to look at the cheat sheet I’d created. After spending all of that time creating it, I had practically memorized my notes. So, even if you can’t *bring* a cheat sheet with you to the GRE, you can still benefit from creating one. Synthesizing your notes and thoughts on a single page will give you the ‘big picture’ view of a topic, and will teach you what you do and don’t know. Read more

### Here’s how to always know what to do on any GRE problem

**“When I see this, I will do this”: a GRE study tool**

*“I know all of the rules, but I’m nowhere close to my goal score.”*

*“When I study, I understand everything right away. But when I took the actual GRE, I couldn’t make it happen.”*

*“I never know what to do when I see a Quant problem for the first time. If somebody tells me how to set the problem up, I can do it perfectly, but I can’t get started on my own.”*

*“I get overwhelmed by Verbal questions. I’ll think that my answer makes sense, but then I’ll review the problem and realize that there were a dozen different things I didn’t notice.”*

If any of those statements ring true for you, you’re not alone. You’ve probably been studying for a while, or you at least have a good grasp on the basic math, logic, and vocabulary. But getting a great GRE score isn’t just about knowing the content. It’s also about *always knowing what to do next*. That’s what the “**When I see this, I will do this”** technique is for. Read more

### Here’s the safest way to handle GRE percentage problems

*When you take the GRE, you need a strategy for percentage problems that works every time. Here’s that strategy, in four easy steps.*

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### This simple approach will help you avoid mistakes on GRE algebra

GRE high-scorers might not be *smarter* than everyone else, but they do think about the test differently. One key difference is in how high-scorers do algebra. They make far fewer algebraic mistakes, because, either consciously or subconsciously, they use mathematical rules to check their work as they simplify. Here’s how to develop that habit yourself. Read more

### The GRE’s not a math test – it’s a foreign language test!

Imagine that you asked a friend of yours what she got on the Quant section of the GRE. Instead of answering you directly, she said “let’s just say that 4 times my score is a multiple of 44, and 3 times my score is a multiple of 45.”

Could you tell what score she got? If not… you may need to work on your GRE translation skills! Read more