#297 – The GRE

You know when you used to be in your 8th grade math class and think “When will I ever need to know this?” Well, the GRE is your answer. Every vague and useless topic that you struggled with all those years ago manages to sneak back into your life in this 4-hour-long test.

The way it goes is that after a hasty set of essays, you begin the quantitative section which covers everything from quadrants and slopes to polynomials and nightmares. A typical GRE word problem reads as follows: If Train A is heading west at 90 miles an hour and Train B is heading north at 70 miles an hour, how long until someone on the BART gets into a fight? Answer: C) 2 minutes. And then there are the probability questions. You’ll soon figure out that marbles were only put on this earth to be used in proportion problems and as choking hazards. So if you have 3 blue marbles, 2 red marbles, and 1 green marble, what are the chances that you will not pick a purple marble? I’m not sure, but I do know that if you’re playing with marbles, there is a 3:1 chance that you have no friends.

The verbal section has a feckless role of its own. You can be an assiduous student and try your very hardest to commit vocab words to memory, and maybe you’ll actually learn a couple hundred. However, your felicity over your monumental feat will be ephemeral once you discern that for every one word you do comprehend, there will be a whole slew of words you won’t. But not to worry–the words you do learn will come in handy in a plethora of situations: 1) when you want to sound like an ass, 2) when you’re taking the GRE, 3) if you ever run into Keith Olbermann, and 4) when you want to sound like an ass.

Studying for the GRE is a long and arduous process, but here’s a big tip to help you along the way: the answer that your gut tells you is definitely right is definitely wrong. And the obviously wrong answer is actually the second best answer. Through a process of elimination, that leaves the right answer to be….C. Always go with C. Even with all these tips and tons of studying, your gut may still tell you that you’re definitely going to bomb the GRE–which by the aforementioned rule means you’re definitely going to do well, right? Wrong. The correct answer is C. Aren’t you paying attention?

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