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47 Cards in this Set

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You must manage a limited amount of time well
You must guess wisely and aggressively
If you manage your time poorly, you will not get a chance to use your knowledge. Questions you could have answered with vanish with the clock, taking their points, and your score, with you.
Guessing wisely and aggressively calls for the ability (And courage) to use partial knowledge.
When you fail to guess, you let whatever partial knowledge you have go to waste. It's like you didn't know a single thing.
Student A answered 166 questions correctly, 0 incorrectly, and left 64 blank. She got a raw score of 166 and a scaled score of 670. Student B answered 179 correctly (guessing correctly on 13 of them), left 0 blank, and got 51 wrong. She got the same raw and scaled score. What can we learn from this? Student B maximized her knowledge and probably couldn't have done any better on this version of the test. Student A cheated herself out of getting a better score. If she could get 166 right without guessing, she could have gotten MORE right by guessing on some (and if she happened to get x number right by guessing and 4x wrong by guessing, which she probably wouldn't do if she was guessing wisely, her score would stay exactly the same). So GUESS. Guess wisely and aggressively. It can only help you.
It is MUCH easier to answer a lot of questions and allow for some error than it is to try to answer every question you work on perfectly.
You only need to get 78% of the questions right (or 180 out of 230) to score in the 94th percentile.
Be psychologically prepared that's going to feel difficult. You are going to feel frustrated and challenged, and you are going to miss a lot of questions.
If you don't know the answer to a question or can't figure it out, don't be alarmed. Just keep moving.
Don't be concerned if you see the name of a book or author you've never heard of. ETS is trying to sap your confidence. If you lose your confidence, your performance will decline. Just roll with it and keep moving on through the test.
If you've spent any amount of time on a question and have even the slightest inkling of what the answer might be, GUESS! That inkling is knowledge, don't waste it.
If you let your confidence erode, your performance will decline. Stay upbeat. Stay positive. Keep moving.
Sure, you'll lose a quarter point here or there by guessing, but you'll also harvest enough whole points by guessing to more than make up for the difference.
Guessing is the only way of taking advantage of your partial knowledge.
You may not know enough to be comfortable with an answer, but that isn't the issue. Do you know ANYTHING? Then make a semi-informed guess.
The Process of Elimination should be a reflex. Automatically cross out answers that are wrong and narrow your guessing game down.
It's know what you know about the PASSAGE. It's what you know about the ANSWER CHOICES in relationship to the passage. Look at the style of the passage. Think of the time period.
The test book is yours to doodle on as much as you like. Physically cross out wrong answers. Draw a circle around the right answer and fill in the corresponding letter on your answer sheet.
ETS does not want to penalize you for good partial knowledge. They will give you difficult questions, but they will not give you misleading questions.
Squeeze every last point out of the GRE that you can.
Knowing the answer to the last question on the test does you no good unless you get to it.
Don't waste time on questions you don't know the answer to.
If you feel like you're struggling with a question, move on. ETS doesn't care about your thoughts, your process, or your effort. All they care about are the number of questions you get right. So move on and get as many right as you can.
The test is a speed-reading competition. You need to read fast.
The more questions you answer, the better your score will be.
Don't leave any questions blank if you can make a semi-informed guess.
You want to be able to RECOGNIZE people's writing at a GLANCE. If you can, this will get you points and save you time.
Only leave questions blank if you have NO IDEA how to answer the question whatsoever. If you can cross off even one wrong answer though, GUESS!
Don't panic. You're allowed to miss a lot of questions and you can still get an excellent score.
Confidence helps you concentrate. If you lose your nerve, you will waste time worrying.
You will feel stupid, but don't let that get you down. Remember: this test was DESIGNED to make you feel stupid. If ETS can sap your confidence, you will perform worse. Don't let that happen. Roll with the punches and keep going.
Don't over-think it. You either know the answer or you don't. Use the process of elimination and guess. No regrets.
Use the two-pass system. Go through the test and scoop up all the quick, easy points and then go back and work on the time-consuming ones that you skipped intentionally to squeeze what you can out of those.
Go through the test as quickly as you can and skip questions that you don't know the answer to. Then go back to the beginning and work on the more time-consuming questions. The two-pass system will let you get as many points as possible out of the test.
If you have to leave some questions blank, you may as well leave blank the ones you wouldn't have gotten wrong anyway and use the time you might have wasted on them to work on questions you know the answer to.
Skip questions judiciously on the first time through. Get all the points you can, and then go back and answer the more time-consuming questions.
Eat your dessert first, and leave the gross stuff for last.
Collect as many of the easy and fast points as you can.
Look for questions that have short passages or no passage at all.
Guess aggressively on both passes. Your knowledge isn't likely to change during the test, so there's no advantage to "saving" a question for later. The more questions you answer the better your score will be, so there's no advantage in leaving a question blank.
When you recognize a passage, answer the question (or questions) about it immediately. You want to get points for your knowledge.
Glance at the answer choices and the passages for familiar names--whether the passage is a single sentence or several paragraphs. If you see names you recognize, answer the question(s). If you don't see any familiar names and the passage is too long, skip it. You can see if trying to figure out the answer is worth your time on the second pass.
If you see a set of questions sharing a single set of answer choices, answer them on the first pass. The format of these questions makes the process of elimination easier (and therefore improves your chances of guessing the right answer).
If you see a long passage with several questions about it, decide whether you want to read the passage on the 1st or 2nd pass and then answer ALL of the questions immediately after reading it. Don't waste time by reading the passage on the 1st as well as the 2nd pass. That's just stupid.
Skip questions that look like they'll eat up your time without giving anything back.
If you bother to read a question, the passage associated with it, or the answer choices, DON'T skip it and DON'T leave it blank. You've done 95% of the work, and you may as well use your partial knowledge and the process of elimination to make a semi-informed guess.
You will definitely begin questions that look doable only to discover halfway through that they're difficult. Don't bail out now. You've already spent valuable moments on the test that can't be spent on any other part of the test. Take your best guess and move on. Remember: wrong guesses don't hurt you as much as right guesses help you.
Don't waste time fretting.
On your second pass, you want to get the maximum number of questions right in the time left. Be a machine. Use the process of elimination and grind those answers out.
After finishing your first pass, you should be left with the medium and tough questions--the questions you didn't like at first glance. Use the process of elimination and guess aggressively.
Worrying wastes time.
Deciding to do a question on the first pass is a snap decision--not a source of anxiety. Don't waste time wondering whether you should work on a question now or later. Just do it or move on.
Remember to check to your answer sheet and make sure you're bubbling in the number that corresponds to the question you're answering.
Use the 5 second rule: if it takes more than five seconds for you to decide if you should do a question on the 1st or 2nd pass, skip it. It's a 2nd pass question.
Worrying takes energy. Don't bother doing it.
Don't ever skip a question once you've put time and thought into it. Remember, guessing helps you score!
Worrying doesn't help you. Don't put time or effort into it.
Worrying only distracts you and hurts your score. Don't bother putting any energy into it.
The big myth of the subject test is that it tests English literature--all of it, from about the year 300 up to yesterday. The myth doesn't reflect reality. The GRE test writers are under severe limitations and you can study very effectively for this test.
Understand how the test writers write the test and what the test doesn't test. Don't waste time trying to read everything and know everything. 99.99% of "English literature" isn't tested. All you need to study are the rights pages, the right poems, and sometimes only the right line of a poem.
The test writers have you ask themselves "what can we reasonably expect ANY semi-recent English B.A. graduate to have studied and know?" Keep that in mind. It severely limits what will be on the test.
The lack of standard undergraduate English curriculum works in your favor. ETS can only test on what's considered "common ground."
The test writers have to choose materials that they believe (or hope) you've studied in school and the material they choose has to be "important" enough to justify its inclusion in the test.
Here's what you need to be able to do:
1. Read difficult texts and figure out what they mean
2. Know the basic differences among some common schools of criticism
3. Recognize some famous authors and know some facts about their lives
4. Recognize some famous works and some allusions to those famous works
5. Know some literary terms
About 30% of the questions on the test are based on reading comprehension. They ask you what happened in a passage or what was implied. To get the right answer, you just need to understand what you read.
The English subject test wants to challenge prospective grad students--people who in some sense want to become professional readers. As strong as your reading skills are, don't be surprised if you are occasionally challenged. They've designed the test to be difficult.
If you're asked about the controlling verb, subject, predicate, object, indirect object, dependent or independent clause of a long, tangled, and difficult sentence, rephrase the sentence and you will be able to see the answer easily.

EX: What's the controlling verb here?
"My vouch against you, and my place i' th' state will so your accusation overweigh, that you shall stifle in your own report and smell of calumnie" = "my claim and position will so outweigh your accusation that you'll be the one who's slandered." The most important verb here is "outweigh" (or "overweigh" in Elizabethan English).
Read as much as you can by different authors. You don't need to read very much by the same author. You want to acquire a general sense of the style and subject matter of a wide variety of authors.
None of the deeper issues of any work are tested on the English subject test. All you need to be able to do is recognize whose writing style is whose and know who wrote what and generally what it was about.
The English subject tests you on quantity, not quality. You need to know who all the "important" people are and all the "important" things they did. You don't need to know anything in depth about them though.
You don't need to know very much about literature in any scholarly sense. You need to know the cocktail party details--the names of authors and texts, what a text was generally about and what a text is referencing.
ETS is never going to ask you anything that requires true depth. As you study, ask yourself, "What do I need to know in order to fake it at the cocktail party?" If you can catch the right name, nod at the right time, pretend you've read the book when all you've read is the review, you'll ace this test.
Because you're being tested on what any prospective grad student "should know," go with major authors rather than obscure names. NEVER go with an obscure name for the sake of obscurity. Obscure names are more often wrong than not. (And if you haven't even heard of someone after studying English lit for 4 years, they're probably not that important.)
The test writers consider anything in The Norton Anthology fair game.
The Norton Anthology is your new best friend.
Read up on what you know the least about and then move on once you've gotten something of a handle on it.
The English subject test is a name game. If you see a name, write it down. Remember it. Names of authors, characters, critics, historical figures, places, etc. are too important for you to ignore or forget.
Don't bother memorizing the birth and death dates of authors. Just have a general sense of when they wrote. Renaissance? Modernist?
Eliminate wrong answer choices based on your knowledge of who wrote during what time period.
You should know the broad phases of English literature and associate any author with his or her general time period. You should also be able to tell if any two writers were contemporaries, or which one preceded the other.
Know the traditional literary terms. Don't bother studying the jargon for different schools of literary criticism; it isn't important.
ETS's favorite game is "catch the reference." They might call it an "allusion," but it's really just knowing who or what is being referenced.
Examples of questions based on references:
1. Which novel is set in the same locale as the one in the passage?
2. The passage mentions an author who wrote which work?
3. The passage alludes to conventions first used in which book?
4. Who wrote the novel in which this passage appears?
5. To what does does the title of the novel in which this passage appears refer?
Read the answer choices before reading the passage. That way, you'll know what the context you're reading it in is and if you want to even bother reading it.
Save yourself some time by reading only what you need to read to answer the question. If you question is "who wrote this passage?" and the name "Pip" catches your eye, you don't have to read it because you know Pip is the main character in Charles Dickens' Great Expectations.
When possible, try to come up with your own answer to the question before looking at the choices. Do this on reading comprehension and grammar questions. That way, you won't be swayed by answer that "seem" right. You'll see the answer that matches your own and KNOW it's right.
Think of the "points-to-pages ratio" while you're studying. Study the famous 10 line poem that ETS likes to test, and don't read Dickens' complete works for the one or two points you might get. Read a passage from Paradise Lost for the tone and content, and don't waste time reading the whole poem.
Room for error is deliberately figured into the test.
There will probably only be two questions on the test that will direct test your knowledge of some aspect of the Bible. One of them will be easy and the other will be hard. Don't spend too much time studying for these; it doesn't make sense.
There will be at least 6 or 7 questions directly concerning what Shakespeare wrote, and several others that have some sort of connection to him. Most of them will be "gimmes," and the other two or three will be VERY difficult. Don't worry about studying him too much.
The only authors of color who are likely to show up on the exam are Gabriel Garcia Márquez, Jorge Luis Borges, Chinua Achebe, Athol Fugard, Nadine Gordimer, and other REALLY FAMOUS people.
What ETS means by "world literature" is 19th century French and Russian novels, German literature (meaning Goethe and Brecht), and the Italian writer Dante.
Homer is the source of most questions about Classical literature. He wrote The Illid and The Odyssey.