G.R.E. Study Tips #1

I always have problems with analogies… i know for sure that analogies are my toughest area which is awkward, but here’s some tips! I believe I got this from the testmagic.com forums.

Analogies are my hardest part. These tips from Peterson’s Mastering the GRE edition 2009 is very descriptive on strategies to achieving the analogies section (although there maybe only four analogies on the test lol)

Your first task in this chapter is to learn the 5 basic steps for handling a GRE Analogy.
(You’ll apply these steps to two sample questions.)
Step 1: Determine the Meaning of the Words
Determine the meaning of each word in the original pair. If you’re unfamiliar with one
or both words, try to guess what it means based on its prefix, if any, and root.

Step 2: Figure Out How the Words Are Related
Determine how the two words are related, and make up a sentence that expresses that
relationship. Try to be specific. A sentence such as “[one word] is a type of [the other
word]” might suffice for easier Analogies, but in most cases you’ll have to get more
specific. (A bit later, we’ll take an in-depth look at the most common types of word
relationships appearing on the GRE.)

Step 3: Try Out Your Sentence Using the Answer Choices
Try each answer choice in turn, eliminating those that clearly don’t work. Read your
sentence, substituting each word pair by turn for the original pair.Ask yourself whether
the sentence makes sense with the new pair. If it does, or if it’s close, the pair might be
your best choice. If it doesn’t, eliminate that answer choice.

Step 4: Try Again If You Have More Than One Answer
If you’re left with more than one answer—or no answer at all—go back and make your
sentence fit better. Your original sentence might have been:
• Too general
• Too specific
• A good start, but not sufficient (in other words, there’s another kind of relationship
you must recognize to narrow down the choices further)

Step 5: Choose the Best Answer
If none of the choices fits exactly, choose the one that works best. No analogy is perfect,
so don’t look for a perfect match. You’re looking for the best answer—the closest fit
among the five choices.

Applying the 5-Step Plan
Let’s apply these 5 steps to two GRE-style Analogies. Start by reading the first one
(below) as follows: “Write is to scribble as ________ is to ________.”

(A) shout : mutter
(B) send : dispatch
(C) cut : carve
(D) walk : stagger
(E) please : worry
This question is easier than average. One feature that makes it easy is that you’re
probably familiar with all the words. Another is that the relationship between the
original pair is rather straightforward. Let’s walk through this question using the

5-step approach:
Step 1: The meaning of the two words is obvious. Go on to step 2.

Step 2: Here are sentences that each describe the relationship between the capitalized
“To scribble is to write in a hasty or careless manner.”
“Scribbling is a careless or hasty form of writing.”

Step 3: Let’s test each answer choice to see which ones fit in the second sentence as
substitutes for the capitalized word pair.

Choice (A): Is muttering a careless or hasty form of shouting? No. To mutter is to
speak indistinctly, especially in a low and quiet voice. Although muttering and scribbling
might both be unintelligible (very difficult to understand), scribbling is not by
definition difficult to understand, whereas muttering is. What’s more, the relationship
between muttering and shouting has to do with volume, not degree of care, and the
two words are contrary in meaning. Muttering is quiet, whereas shouting is loud. On
the other hand, “write” is a neutral word; it is not contrary to “scribble,” which is
merely one form of writing. So, in two respects, choice (A) is not a strong analogy.

Choice (B): Is dispatching a careless or hasty form of sending? No. To dispatch is to
send; in other words, the two words are essentially synonymous. (Dispatch can also be
used as a noun, meaning “efficiency” or “promptness.” But since the first words in the
other pairs are all verbs, you should analyze dispatch as a verb here.) So, choice (B) is
not a strong analogy.

Choice (C): Is carving a careless or hasty form of cutting? No. Although carving does
describe a particular form of cutting, carving is often performed by design, deliberation,
and even care. So, the relationship between cutting and carving is somewhat
contrary to the relationship between write and scribble. You can safely eliminate
choice (C).

Choice (D): Is staggering a careless or hasty form of walking? Yes. To stagger is to
walk in a clumsy, teetering manner—in other words, carelessly. What’s more, “walk”
and “write” are both neutral terms. Staggering is a form of, not contrary to, walking,
just as scribbling is a form of, not contrary to, writing. So, in this respect, choice (D)
provides a much stronger analogy than choice (A). Admittedly, choice (D) does not
provide a perfect analogy. (For example, staggering is not a hasty form of walking.)
But no analogy is perfect, and choice (D) is definitely stronger than choices (A), (B),
or (C).

Choice (E): Is worrying a careless or hasty form of pleasing? No. The two words are
unrelated to each other. Since there’s no link between them, let alone any analogy
between them and the capitalized pair, you can easily eliminate choice (E).

Step 4: We’ve narrowed down our choice to (D). Since choice (D) is such a good fit,
there’s no need to go back and revise our sentence.

Step 5: Choose choice (D), and move on to the next question. The correct answer
is (D).


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