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Here’s How to Use Logic to Improve Your GRE Score

the importance of using logic and common sense on the gre quant sectionI remember a friend of mine from high school who was off the charts in terms of his book smarts, but he had the common sense of a door knob.

Conversely, I’m sure we all know someone who has great street smarts, but who may not be as well-read or quantitatively-proficient.

So which is preferable for success on the GRE?

The answer is that both are valuable, but too many students preparing for the GRE focus on the former at the expense of the latter, and that’s a mistake.

It’s important to remember that the GRE is designed as a reasoning test as much as it is a test of any specific content knowledge. Sure, you’re expected to know a certain amount of basic math (algebra, arithmetic, geometry, data analysis), English vocabulary, and reading comprehension. But there will also almost certainly come a point on test day when a problem pops up on your computer screen that you don’t immediately know to do, and the question becomes: Can you think creatively — reason, if you will — to still get a right answer?

This is where logic and common sense come into play on the GRE. This is where having what I call “GRE street smarts” can help you eliminate clearly wrong answer choices to at worst improve your guessing odds and at best zero in on the correct answer — whether you know how to solve the problem the traditional way or not.

Here’s exactly what I mean:

What do you think? Was that example helpful? Please post your comments or questions below.

I’m confident that if you shift your thinking even just a little bit and incorporate a little more logic and common sense on test day, the result will be more right answers and a higher GRE score for you. And it doesn’t take street smarts to know that’s a good thing!