GRE/MAT & Graduate School Blog

Mark Skoskiewicz

Recent Posts

How Important is the GRE Analytical Writing Measure?

Posted by Mark Skoskiewicz on Fri, Jul 05, 2019 @ 09:00 AM

A high GRE Analytical Writing score won’t help you get admitted to a top graduate program, but a below average score can keep you out of one.

The Analytical Writing measure assesses critical thinking and analytical writing capabilities. It evaluates your ability to communicate and support complicated ideas, design and test arguments, and engage in a clear and intelligible discussion of an issue. It doesn’t assess how much you know about a specific topic.

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Tags: gre prep, GRE analytical writing, GRE essays

GMAT vs. GRE: Does it Matter When Applying to MBA Programs?

Posted by Mark Skoskiewicz on Tue, Feb 19, 2019 @ 02:28 PM

Should I take the GRE or the GMAT?

It’s an increasingly common question given the growing acceptance of the GRE. 10 years ago, very few MBA programs accepted the GRE as part of their admissions requirements. 5 years ago, a growing number of schools accepted the GRE in theory, but it was still a clear minority of students who were in fact applying to MBA programs with a GRE score instead of a GMAT score.

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Tags: GMAT online, GRE mental math, gre prep, GMAT vs. GRE

5 Benefits of Earning a Master's Degree Online

Posted by Mark Skoskiewicz on Sat, Dec 22, 2018 @ 09:24 AM

Master’s degrees are becoming increasingly common, and it’s not hard to see why. In some fields, an advanced degree is necessary for even entry-level jobs, and for others, like STEM fields, it can mean an even higher salary, more and better prospects and more exciting work. But, it’s also not hard to see why many professionals are reluctant to take the plunge into traditional graduate school. Doing so means leaving the workforce, moving to a new city and going into tens of thousands of dollars of debt.

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Tags: GRE study tips, GRE, GRE tutors, master's degree, grad school, grad school online, online graduate degree

GRE/GMAT Study Planning Fundamentals: Choosing a GRE Preparation Method

Posted by Mark Skoskiewicz on Mon, Dec 17, 2018 @ 11:48 AM

This is the first in a multipart series on how to go about studying for the GRE or GMAT. We don’t plan on going into detail on specific concepts covered on the GRE or specific test-taking strategies in this series. Instead, the intention is to cover higher level, foundational issues around preparing for these exams, such as what type of support to get, what materials to use, what mindset to cultivate, etc. This article is being posted on our GRE blog, but we’ll switch from GRE to GMAT over time, as the concepts are broadly applicable to both exams.

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Tags: GRE Verbal, GRE study plan, GRE study tips, how to increase my GRE score, GRE study help, gre prep course, GRE, gre test prep, GRE tutors, gre quant section, gre quantitative

Miller Analogies Test (MAT) Review Series: Conversion Analogies

Posted by Mark Skoskiewicz on Tue, Dec 11, 2018 @ 05:04 PM

In this continuation of our MAT review video series we discuss a slightly different and generally considered to be trickier type of analogy tested on the MAT.

One of the slightly more complex question types on the Miller Analogies Test involves needing to recognize changes in the literal letters in the words used in the analogy instead of analyzing a more typical contextual or meaning-based analogy. These types of analogies can be particularly tricky, because if you are not aware that they happen, it's possible to fall into what Stefan describes as some "cleverly laid" traps hiding in the answer choices.

MAT Conversion Analogies

Here are some key takeaway from this MAT analogies video:

  1. Start by understanding accepted analogies (e.g., you can't relate word B to C)
  2. Identify the pivot term in the analogy
  3. Recognize MAT analogy relationships can be based on letters or rhyme, not always context. 
  4. Words that are "kind of" or "sort of" alike is generally not specific enough for an acceptable MAT analogy
  5. Avoid clever traps (e.g., the relationship trap, where you focus on one relationship between two words that doesn't exist between the other two words)

This video was produced by MyGuru Director of Online Instruction and expert online MAT tutor Stefan Maisnier. Visit our YouTube channel for more MAT analogy videos.

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Tags: MAT, MAT vs. GRE, MAT Analogies

How to Leverage Psychology and the Science of Skill Acquisition to Improve Your GRE Score

Posted by Mark Skoskiewicz on Thu, Jun 28, 2018 @ 12:31 PM

There is certainly a lot of content you must master to earn a high score on the GRE. Your mathematics, verbal reasoning, reading comprehension, and writing skills will be tested and obviously are key to earning a 90thpercentile GRE score (or better).

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Tags: GRE Verbal, GRE study plan, GRE study tips, how to increase my GRE score, GRE study help, gre prep course, GRE, gre test prep, GRE tutors, gre quant section, gre quantitative

Simple but Powerful Test Taking Strategies: Part 2

Posted by Mark Skoskiewicz on Fri, May 20, 2016 @ 10:00 AM


In part one of our “Common Test Taking Strategies” series, we noted that strategy is an intrinsic part of preparing for standardized tests, and that without the proper strategies even the most advanced students find themselves performing below their full potential.  We discussed several proven test taking strategies, including using official test prep materials produced by the same company administering the exam (i.e., the Real ACT Prep Guide if you’re taking the ACT), focusing on what the question is actually asking, scanning all potential answers before choosing one, assuming nothing when deciding which answer is best, and making abstractions concrete.

In part two, we’ll cover five additional test taking strategies:

  • Reading and retention “pauses” for long reading comprehension passages
  • Answering easy questions first
  • Time management
  • Providing overly structured responses
  • Test “mentality”
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Tags: test taking strategies, ACT, SAT, GRE, test taking confidence

GRE Verbal Strategy Review: Text Completion

Posted by Mark Skoskiewicz on Thu, Mar 17, 2016 @ 11:13 AM


Of all the different questions that students work on as they prep for the GRE Verbal, none seem to routinely cause as much trepidation as the Text Completion. If you’ve taught the GRE as much as I have, then you know the particular sigh of fear and pre-emptive defeat that students give when they turn to page to see a sentence riddled with long underscores.

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Tags: GRE Verbal, GRE Vocabulary, GRE study help, gre tutoring, GRE, GRE text completion

What To Look For In a GRE Prep Course

Posted by Mark Skoskiewicz on Tue, Mar 05, 2013 @ 11:05 AM

If you’re planning to take the GRE, chances are that you aren’t treating it as a casual endeavor, but that you are planning to put a lot into it and get a lot out.  After all, a graduate education requires a huge investment and, hopefully, provides a huge return.  So it should be safe to say that you are making a committed effort to prepare.  But with all of the material that is considered essential to an undergraduate education, and the volumes more that is considered specialized, it can be easy to get lost without a roadmap. 

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Tags: gre tutoring, gre prep course, GRE

Simple Steps to a Higher GRE Score

Posted by Mark Skoskiewicz on Thu, Feb 14, 2013 @ 04:58 PM

There are many different ways to study for the GRE.  But most GRE prep classes, GRE prep courses, and GRE tutors have the following 5 step process in common:

  • Invest in some type of test prep material that is clear and easy to understand.  Nowadays, there are more than 10 high quality options for almost every standardized test.  Your chosen GRE prep materials should include:
    • Descriptions of the major areas of the GRE
    • Key concepts being tested in each area
    • GRE testing strategies
    • Several full length GRE practice tests
    • Lots of practice GRE problems
  • Complete a diagnostic test to understand strengths and weaknesses before you really start studying
  • Plan in advance regular study time each week AND what you’ll review during each week
  • Complete lots of actual practice problems, covering all of the major conceptual areas of the test
  • Complete at least 5 different practice tests, and ensure your score is increasing each time.

However, beyond that generic plan, a customized approach based on the starting point of each individual student can truly increase GRE scores.  For example, here was our approach with one particular student:

One Customized Approach

Student was doing well with the quantitative sections of the GRE, but needed to improve verbal and writing scores dramatically.  His objective was to get admitted into top graduate school programs, which required GRE scores in the 90th percentile or better.

(1) Designed a study plan for GRE vocabulary

(2) Intensive student-specific preparation created to help the student maximize success for questions where he was familiar with words or phrases

(3) Direct observation of timed testing sections, to help improve time management and manage stress/frustration.

Results Achieved

We observed significant increase in GRE verbal score on second test date, with stated improved confidence, time management, and ability to overcome challenges during the test.

You can read a full case study on our approach with this particular GRE test-taker (coming soon).

How To Customize a Study Plan?

Developing a customized GRE study plan doesn’t need to be difficult.  The first step is simply identifying where you are strong vs. weak.  If your percentile score in GRE Quant is 85th percentile (meaning you scored better than 85 out of 100 GRE test takers on your practice GRE), but your GRE Verbal score is 50th percentile, then you should consider layering in an extra week or two of GRE Verbal prep.  If necessary, that may mean investing in additional test prep materials focused on whatever section you need extra help in.  Just keep doing extra practice and reviewing problems you miss. 

However, you do need to keep monitoring your performance across all sections as your test prep process progresses towards your test date.  We’ve seen many students who are apparently very strong in verbal but weak in math spend 2 months straight focusing on improving their math score.  Sure enough, come test day, their math score is much better.  However, lo and behold, now their verbal score is much worse.

Why did this happen?  Well, even if you are very good at GRE-verbal, you need to keep the concepts and the problem types fresh in your mind.  You can easily make a bunch of small errors, even though you know the main concepts pretty well, and end up bombing the actual test due to those small errors  piling up.

Summary

Like any standardized test, the GRE can be mastered with intelligent, careful practice that starts with basic test taking study plan development and strategy, and layers on a customized approach based on any given student’s starting point, strengths, and weaknesses.  With a calm, steady, planned approach to studying for the GRE, most students observe significant improvement, regardless of the specific prep strategy they chose: GRE class, self-study, or private GRE tutor.

What are your experiences studying for the GRE?

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Tags: GRE Vocabulary, GRE study plan, test taking strategies