Lockdown Upgrade: Dilip Oak’s Academy’s Online GRE Coaching!

Dear students and readers,
To make sure that the lockdown does not hamper with our students’ prep, Dilip Oak’s Academy started online coaching to cater to our existing students. We are happy to announce that, with the combined efforts of our staff, technical team, and faculty members, the initiative was a resounding success with over 850 students attending ongoing classes, conducted 150+ course hours, for GRE, IELTS, and German language.

By modernizing our 30+ years of coaching experience, our online sessions built on our strengths. The effort was well appreciated and based on the positive feedback we received, we have now launched completely new online batches with live lectures and doubt-solving sessions. These are a few things we promise to deliver with our forthcoming online sessions as well:

Dilip Oak’s Academy’s Online Coaching Highlights:

  • Interactive live lessons with dynamic faculty-driven discussions

  • Easy to understand topic-wise presentations and notes

  • Well-structured and well-paced sessions

  • Real-time exercise and practice with plenty of questions to solve

  • Extensive use of whiteboard for providing explanations and solving exercises

  • One-on-one as well as group-based doubt-solving sessions

  • Implementation of stringent security protocols (including closed classes and constant monitoring)

Our current students are our best supporters, who lauded our initiative with glowing reviews that speak for themselves:

“The session was perfect, as smooth as classroom lectures, with no technical glitches that are common in online classes. Every doubt was cleared and every question answered, just like their classroom sessions.”- Akshay

“The teaching was splendid! I was comfortable answering and raising doubts in the interactive chat, which was immediately acknowledged by the faculty. Praachi Kale ma’am and Vikram Thatte sir’s lectures were very interactive and they solved every small doubt. It was a great experience.”- Siddhee

“A big thank you to Vikram Thatte sir for conducting VT 7-12 lectures online. The lectures were very well presented with solutions and diagrams provided for each question. I loved how the 90 minutes were utilized, including the Q&A session at the end. Kudos.”- Revati

“The lectures are interactive and the faculty makes sure that every aspect is clear and comprehensible. The communication style of Prof Vivek Gupta is admirable.”- Sarang

“Teachers do not hesitate to repeat anything no matter how many ever times a student asks a particular question.”- Sangawar

“The punctuality, the thorough nature of the lectures, and the meticulous treatment given to the questions, answers, and explanations were the things that stood out for me.”- Ojus

“I loved how all the lectures were moderated by a co-host, who helped to maintain discipline and avoid pranks leading to smooth and uninterrupted sessions.” – Gandhi

Heartened by our success so far, we are launching new batches of online classes in the month of June for GRE aspirants, who want to continue studying from the comfort of their homes. For more information, drop us an email now at support@dilipoakacademy.com

Coronavirus Lockdown: How To Use The Lockdown Time For Smart GRE Prep

The looming uncertainties about visa processes and admissions to US universities due to ongoing lockdown have put the long term plans on hold for many students who have already secured university admits. Meanwhile, many of you, who are currently preparing for the GRE and have joined GRE coaching, are also finding it difficult to plan and manage their studies due to suspension of classes and postponement of tests.

As of now, there is no clarity by when these situations will improve and classes will resume. Therefore, to help you make the best use of this lockdown time without being affected by the mounting pressure, we have come up with a few tips that will help you continue your studies at home, in a smart way! 

Verbal Reasoning Section

  • Keep reading. Not losing touch with the syllabus is most crucial at this point. Revise and practice whatever has been covered in your class till now.
  • Solve at least five to six passages for Reading Comprehension and 10-15 questions for Sentence Equivalence, Text Completion and Sentence Completion every day. Understand where you are going wrong and improvise accordingly.
  • Learn and memorize at least 20 to 25 GRE words every day. Mark the ones you find difficult and practice them more.
  • Brainstorm two to three Issue and Argument topics each, every alternate day to cover different topics.
  • Practice writing at least two Issue and Argument essays each in 30 minutes, every week, to become comfortable with timed writing.

 Quantitative Reasoning Section

  • Make sure to revise and be thorough with basic concepts and formulae.
  • Focus more on quantitative comparison questions since they are trickier than other question types and constitute around 40 percent of the total 20 questions.
  • Solve one set (minimum of 20 questions) every day.
  • The Data Interpretation section is relatively easy to study and score, so make sure you practice that section well. 
  • Most engineering students are good with basic concepts but make silly mistakes during calculations and lose marks. To avoid this, practice manually, using a pen and paper so you become more attentive.
  • For those who are students of Dilip Oak’s Academy, solve Book 4 thoroughly. It will help you to understand the exact requirement of every problem and use the concepts correctly. If you do this, you can manage to score 160+ easily. 

GRE Material and Prep Tools for Quick Study

If you are a Dilip Oak’s Academy student, you have a suite of online features that you can make maximum use of to practice:

Focused Practice – Reinforce your understanding by testing yourself on:

  • Topic-wise questions for the Quantitative Reasoning section
  • Specific question types for the Verbal Reasoning section
  • 400+ on Verbal and Quantitative sections combined

Test Prep

  • Customized Practice Sessions: choose question types and difficulty levels and practice using timed and untimed modes
  • In-depth Explanatory Answers: view detailed explanations for every question
  • Instant Review: view your results immediately after each practice session

Full-length Tests

  • AWM Essays: graded on ETS’s 6-point scale with feedback from the experts
  • Explanatory Review: details explanatory answers for every single question
  • Detailed Analysis: question-wise analysis of your performance to enable you to gauge your strengths and weaknesses

Vocabulary App – Covers 1500 high-frequency words

  • Images illustrating word meaning
  • Sample sentences and roots
  • Test mode to help you master the word list.

Note: All the above-mentioned facilities can be availed fully only if you have enrolled for GRE coaching at Dilip Oak’s Academy. If you are not an academy student, you can still purchase our online practice packages. View our Plans & Pricing HERE

Gourmets and Gourmands; Photographers and Philistines: Food, Photos and a GRE Vocab Feast

(The following passage on food photo sharing contains 38 GRE words. If you find it difficult to understand, read through the explanation of the meanings of the words (given with illustrative sentences) and then reread the passage.)

The food photo sharing phenomenon (or what you might call the visual department of gastronomy) is in full swing. New tools such as Foodspotting and Eat.ly are constantly proliferating. Add in the photo-handling capabilities of sites like Foursquare and it’s no surprise that the “eat and tweet” trend has inundated social media feeds. Interestingly enough, this flood of food images is being engendered not just by gourmands or even specialist food sites, but ordinary philistines like you and me who have no expertise in food beyond our own pedestrian predilections. Showing – not just telling – others what you’re eating is becoming mainstream. So is vicariously enjoying others’ food. Why is everyone suddenly so keen to snap their snacks (and gorge on images of the food that others eat)? Does this simply reflect a universal human desire to share things that gives us pleasure? Is it showing off or, is it a drive to gain status? What is the genesis of this new drive? And how is it changing our approach to food and eating?

There are lots of theories about why people like to share pictures of food. Some experts suggest it’s because eating is one of society’s most essential communal activities, and sharing food photos is the next best thing to convivial experience of eating together. Others speculate that food photos allure us because we have always started a meal by ‘eating with our eyes’, preparing ourselves for the actual culinary experience by savoring its visual aspects first. Others still, conjecture that food has become something of a status symbol, and sharing a photo of a meal, particularly from a buzz-worthy restaurant, is as much about establishing one’s place in the social media hierarchy as it is about documenting what we ate today.

The interesting thing about food photography is that it combines two subjects that really resonate with society as a whole: food and culture. Meals, for example, are often a time when people come together to celebrate life and human relationships. So, a food photographer is a visual food anthropologist. It’s not just about the food on the plate; it’s also about the context: the moments, the connections, the scenes, the places, the stories. Think about how people relate to food and what connects them to it. Some of the most interesting photographs come out of this relationship. Mobile phones and social media are at the heart of the food image vogue because social media provide the space where a lot of us document and curate our lives and, mobile phones allow people to capture and share their experiences wherever they are. A new element has enlivened the routine of dining: snapping photos of your meal before you eat is now becoming commonplace in places ranging from the fanciest restaurants to your local café and even in less reputable dives.

Of course, filtered photos of food are no surrogate for the experience of the meal itself: they cannot replace the aromas and sensations of preparation and consumption or, the conversations that take place at the table. As for the snaps themselves – these are merely the yeast with which we leaven the pleasures of the Net. Now that’s food for thought!

1. gourmets (noun): people who are experts in food and wine (often contrasted with gourmands – see below) “He’s very easygoing about everything else, but where food is concerned, he’s a gourmet, eating only the best he can afford.”

2. gourmands: people who enjoy eating fine food and often eat in excess (for the gourmet quality is the important thing; for the gourmand quantity is more important than quality): “He’s a typical gourmand and is quite capable of finishing off two whole tandoori chickens all by himself.”

3. phenomenon (noun): an observable thing or event; a remarkable or astonishing thing or person: “Tsunamis used to be a rare phenomenon, but in recent years they have become alarmingly frequent.” “Nobody had any idea that this small-budget independent film would become such a phenomenon at the Oscars.”

4. gastronomy (noun): the pursuit of refined eating experiences; an appreciation of good food: “Gastronomy is one of the traits that separate humanity from the animals.” “As a lover of fine food, I believe that any man who knows nothing of gastronomy does not deserve to be called civilized.”

5. proliferating (from the verb proliferate): multiplying; increasing in number: “During the nineties, call centers were rapidly proliferating in Mumbai and Bengaluru.” “NGO’s do not seem to be proliferating at the same rate as they were a few years back.”

6. inundated (verb): flooded with something; poured into (something) in great quantity: “After the storm, an underground pipe burst and inundated our housing society with drain water.” “When they heard the news of my mother’s death, my friends and family inundated my inbox with condolences.”

7. engendered (from the verb engender): given birth to; produced; created: “Hailstorms are engendered by atmospheric conditions that used to be rare in this part of the world but have recently become quite common.” “The current mood of anger against government and corporate corruption was engendered by a wave of scandals in recent years.”

8. philistine (noun): someone who lacks higher culture; an ignorant, crude and unrefined person: “She is a well-read person, but she’s very lonely because her husband is a philistine who does nothing but watch the idiot box and play video games.” “He’s such a philistine that he thought that Satyajit Ray’s notable film ‘Apu Samsaar’ was a Salman Khan film.”

9. expertise (noun): a high level of knowledge and skill in a particular domain: “The professor declined to supervise my PhD because her expertise was in a slightly different domain.” “Although he was the president of a major computer manufacturer, he had no expertise in programming.”

10. pedestrian (adjective): commonplace; ordinary; unexceptional: “All the reviews of the film were extremely positive, but I found it pedestrian.” “As a singer he is pedestrian, but as a guitarist he is really extraordinary.”

11. predilections (noun): preferences; likings: “His fatal heart attack was the result of his lifelong predilection for ghee-rice.” “Our dear old dog Nandi had a predilection for chasing cars which ultimately led to his death.”

12. mainstream (adjective): commonplace; conventional: “Twenty years ago, almost no one had a mobile phone; now they have become so mainstream that even labourers have them.” “Once, only village people and goondas got tattoos, but in recent years they have gone mainstream, and now any college student or housewife might have one.”

13. vicarious (adjective): done or experienced indirectly or through a substitute: “This video game gives you the vicarious experience of being a fighter pilot in Afghanistan.” “Today I used Bing Maps to take a vicarious walk through the streets of Tokyo.”

14. keen (adjective): eager; enthusiastic: “I have to admit that I’m not very keen to accept his lunch invitation: I find his company so boring that I have difficulty staying awake.” “I have always been very keen on horror films: I’ve seen about thirty in the last year alone.”

15. gorge (verb, always in the phrase gorge on): to eat a huge quantity of something (also figuratively): “On Saturdays I stay at home and gorge on chivda while reading vampire novels.” “On Saturdays I stay at home and gorge on vampire novels while eating chivda.”

16. universal (adjective): occurring everywhere; valid for everyone and everything: “The Canadian government provides universal health care coverage.” “A universal dengue vaccination would totally eliminate the disease within a generation.”

17. genesis (noun): origin; birth; beginning; process of coming into being: “Today, the world is witnessing the genesis of a new political world order.” “The American space program owed its genesis to the country’s military rivalry with Russia.”

18. communal (adjective): relating to a community: “Eating is the most basic communal activity.” “As a radical individualist, I have no interest in communal activities like festivals.”

19. convivial (adjective): characterized by collective happiness and enjoyment; relating to enjoyable group activities: “The convivial atmosphere of the wedding reception was ruined when the bride’s brother punched her new husband in the face.” “Even though he was generally a solitary man, he did look forward to convivial family occasions like birthdays, weddings, and holidays.”

20. speculate (verb): to guess on the basis of evidence: “Police speculate that the serial murderer may have known his victims personally.” “Environmental scientists speculate that global temperatures may have begun to rise not long after the beginning of the Industrial Revolution.”

21. allure (verb): do draw; to attract; to fascinate: “The fundamental principle of advertising is this: if an advertisement can allure the viewer’s senses, then he will remember the product.” “I didn’t want to accept the university’s job offer because I could see that it was not a first-rank institution, but they tried to allure me by telling me that it would be a permanent position.”

22. culinary (adjective): relating to cooking and food: “Among the things that most attracted her to him were his culinary skills.” “For me, the most memorable thing about our trip to Europe was the great variety of culinary experiences we had in the countries we visited.”

23. savor (verb): to attentively appreciate a positive experience, particularly a taste: “Just savor the feeling of a cold, sweet drink sliding down your throat on a hot summer’s day .” “I hate it when other audience members talk at concerts while I’m trying to savor the music.”

24. aspect (noun) one side or dimension of something: “Every aspect of a problem must be considered if an effective solution is to be found.” “Rightly understood, religion and science are two mutually complementary aspects of the same single, unified reality.”

25. conjecture (verb): to make an informed guess; to speculate about something known on the basis of known facts: “The detectives conjecture that the murderer must have thrown the murder weapon in the nearby river and fled on a train from the nearby station.” “Historians conjecture that the temple must be about one thousand five hundred years old.”

26. buzz (noun): chatter; excited discussion of a popular thing: “This popular new clothing store has generated a lot of buzz all over town.” “You can gauge the success of a new establishment by how much buzz it’s creating.”

27. hierarchy (noun): an ideal structure in which things are ranked in ascending grades of value: “Human beings have always tended to place themselves at the top of the hierarchy of living things.” “Within his first year at the company he was already getting promoted and climbing the corporate hierarchy.”

28. document (verb): to record in writing; to record with written or photographic evidence: “We have to document all our expenses on this trip so that the company will reimburse us.” “The photographs in this book document the story of India’s struggle for independence.”

29. resonate (verb): to be meaningful to someone; to make sense; to express feelings that reflect and bring out one’s own feelings on the subject: “The prime minister’s speeches, which paint an optimistic picture of a prosperous future for the country, resonate with the country’s ambitious youth.” “The story of his struggle to escape from poverty through education and hard work resonates with millions of poor people.”

30. anthropologist (noun): a scholar who scientifically studies human behavior: “An anthropologist must be a completely objective observer of human culture, and must never interfere in what he observes.”

31. context (noun): the situation and circumstances surrounding a thing; the “bigger picture”: “A biography cannot effectively tell the story of its subject’s life unless it also presents a full picture of the social context in which he lived.” “You can’t believe everything people say in the context of a heated argument.”

32. vogue (noun): craze; popular interest in a particular thing: “Italian cuisine is currently enjoying a vogue, but like all vogues it will soon pass and be replaced by another one.”

33. enliven (verb): to make something lively or interesting: “We can always count on the professor to enliven a dull party with his vast general knowledge and bizarre comments.” “Amir Khan briefly enlivens this otherwise boring film with a hilarious five-minute appearance.”

34. reputable (adjective): having a good reputation; respected: “No matter how smart you may be, if your degree isn’t from a reputable university you’ll have trouble finding a good job.”

35. dive (noun): a cheap, low-quality restaurant: “I love eating in this dive, but my wife thinks the place is so disgusting that she won’t even enter it with me.”

36. surrogate (noun): replacement; substitute: “For ensuring good health, there can be no surrogate for vigorous daily exercise.” “Saccharine was the first surrogate for sugar.”

37. aroma (noun): a smell (almost always in a positive sense): “I actually prefer the aroma of coffee to its taste.” “The aroma coming from the kitchen tells me that today’s supper is really going to be something special.”

38. leaven (verb): (said of yeast) to make bread “rise” when it is being baked; (figuratively) to make anything more lively or interesting: “He knows something about everything, and has the most interesting way of talking, so he’s always been the leaven of any get-together he attends.” “Novels were the leaven of my life during the four mind-numbing years I spent earning a bachelor’s degree in a subject I hated.”

Vocabulary Vitamins for the GRE Available Here!

Here’s our challenge for you: a cursory glance at this blog (and even this introduction!) will radically improve your vocabulary. Read it and see if it doesn’t! If you find the words challenging, take a look at the explanations below the article below. They are all from the high-frequency GRE list.

Any journey gives you a chance to take an exciting break from the soporific routine of everyday life. In fact, travelling to places and cultures very different from your own can be a visionary experience. In some cases the sights and sounds of an exotic locale can seem surreal. But going solo takes travel to a different level altogether.

It is true that solo travel can have its disadvantages. Most of us would be wary of going solo because of the difficulties we might face: communication problems, cultural misunderstandings and loneliness among them. On the other hand, people who have never traveled on their own before often describe their first solo trip as a liberating experience. Traveling alone gives you the chance to fully indulge your own curiosity and predilections without being hampered by a companion’s prejudices, tastes, or preferences. You can do exactly what you want to do – all the time. Always wanted to try surfing? Sign up for a class and go for it! There’ll be no one sitting on the beach bored and impatient while you’re out on the waves having a great time. If you are connoisseur of food, a vacation alone will give you opportunities to experiment to your heart’s content with the local cuisine. And there are attractions that will augment the pleasure of the experience. A frenzied shopping spree at the local markets, especially for a solo woman traveler, can be an exhilarating experience.

Further, a little preparation and common sense can spare you the difficulties of solo travel. A detailed itinerary, a meticulous study of maps and other local information is the ticket to a smooth vacation. Also, as unfamiliar sights and sensations inundate you, you must take care not to be gullible or overconfident. Without a companion to watch your back, you are potentially vulnerable to antisocial people and hazardous situations. However, a solo traveler can also blend in more easily than a group; and not drawing too much attention is a good way to stay safe. And there may be compensations: solo travelers who clearly need assistance often have the good fortune to experience the benevolence and magnanimity of the locals. So, traveling solo need not necessarily is more dangerous than going to the movies or having dinner by yourself in your own city.

And, there is a final reward for the adventurous of soul: if you are willing to put away your fear of the unknown, you will discover the paradox at the heart of solo travel: traveling alone far from your roots and all you have known, you will discover not merely new places, you will discover yourself!

vocabulary vitamins

OK, for those who had a little difficulty with the blog or just want a sharper understanding of the vocabulary, here are the 23 high-frequency GRE words that this blog covered along with their meanings, and illustrative sentences. Find the ones you had trouble with and read them through.

Cursory (adjective): done or made quickly: “Even the most cursory look at the organization’s records shows problems.”

Radical (adjective): favoring extreme changes in existing views, habits, conditions, or institutions: “The new president has made some radical changes to the company.”

Benevolence (noun): an act of kindness, disposition to do good: “People either think their benevolence benefits them materially, or gain satisfaction from altruism.”

Visionary (adjective): relating to a vision (that is, a hallucinatory dreamlike experience); marvelous and unreal: “His visionary paintings seem to come from another world.” (Noun) having or showing clear ideas about what should happen or be done in the future, [She is considered a visionary leader amongst her peers]

Prejudice (noun): a bias or assumption; a poorly founded belief: “Many people have the prejudice that only native speakers can teach a language well.” “At first I doubted that he could really be an expert programmer because he didn’t have a degree, but I abandoned that prejudice as soon as I saw how brilliant his coding was.”

Surreal (adjective): seemingly unreal; giving the impression of being unreal; very strange: “I just had a rather surreal conversation with a man who came up to me on the street and told me that aliens from another planet were about to invade the earth.”

Indulge (verb): to give free rein to something; to allow something to follow its own inclination: “I didn’t really want to listen to him talk about his problems, but I indulged him because he was obviously so lonely.” “When someone insults you, you should not indulge your impulse to insult him in return: just walk away.”

Predilection (noun): a preference or tendency: “She has a predilection for chocolate soy milk.” “My dog has an embarrassing predilection to steal people’s floaters and chew them to pieces.”

Soporific (adjective): causing sleep; boring: Only an enormous cup of coffee can keep me awake during one of his soporific lectures.”

Wary (adjective): cautious (of something): “I’m wary of getting into a conversation with her, because once she starts talking she doesn’t stop for hours.”

Augment (verb): to increase something by adding something to it: “You need to augment your CV a bit. Are there any projects or work experience you may have left out?” “We can augment the effect of this drug by adding another.”

Inundate (verb): to flood; to overwhelm; to come at in great quantity; to flood with something: “I assure you that once you complete your M Tech at our college, companies will inundate you with job offers.”

Gullible (adjective): too ready to accept what one is told; too easily persuaded: “Shortly after getting off the plane at Mumbai, a gullible tourist paid a street vendor five thousand rupees for two samosas.”

Itinerary (noun): the plan of a journey: “Why is the bus stopping here? I didn’t think this town was on the itinerary.” “Once I actually start driving I tend to forget about the itinerary and just follow my heart.”

Meticulous (adjective): very careful and thorough; giving attention to details; reflecting or characterized by such carefulness: “He is an extremely meticulous programmer: his code is always perfect the first time.”

Vulnerable (adjective): in danger of being injured or attacked: “Homeless women are far more vulnerable than homeless men.” “The country was vulnerable to attack from the east because all its forces had been moved to meet the attack on its western border.”

Hazardous (adjective): dangerous; perilous: “He has been convicted twice for hazardous driving.” “This housing society was built on ground contaminated with hazardous chemicals.”

Magnanimity (noun): bigheartedness; greatness of heart; selfless generosity: “It requires great magnanimity to truly forgive someone who has badly injured you.” “He was known for the magnanimity he showed to his friends, whom he never hesitated to help with money or other assistance whenever they needed it.”

Connoisseur (noun): someone who has gained a profound knowledge of some thing or activity by frequently exposing himself to it over a long period of time: “He became a connoisseur of Japanese films by watching thousands of them over the years.” “I consider myself something of a connoisseur of idlis, having eaten tens of thousands of them over the years.”

Cuisine (noun): a type of cooking, usually defined by its national origin (Chinese cuisine; Continental cuisine; Mexican cuisine): “I don’t like Italian films much, but I love Italian cuisine.”

Frenzied (adjective, past participle of the verb to frenzy): characterized by extreme excitement, agitation, and distress: “When the dogcatcher caught the dog in his net, the animal at first made frenzied attempts to struggle free, then became still as if he realized that there was no point.”

Exhilarating (adjective, past participle of the verb to exhilarate): thrilling; causing a feeling of extreme happiness and excitement: “Climbing to the summit of a mountain is an exhilarating experience.”

Paradox (noun): an apparently self-contradictory or impossible thing, situation, or statement: “The most intelligent men are often the least effective leaders: history shows us this paradox again and again.”

Don’t Read This Unless You Have a Good Vocabulary!

The passage below has 20 high-frequency vocabulary words in it. See if you can understand their meaning from the context. If not read the meanings and sample sentences given below the passage.

When was the last time you played a game or pursued a hobby?

One can choose a hobby from a plethora of options, and explore them more or less deeply. Some try to develop their culinary skills, or attempt writing a book, or indulge in more erudite hobbies like numismatics or philately. Some set their heart on playing a musical instrument, like the guitar.

But people often abandon their culinary journey when their first curry turns out to be insipid. Those who take up writing may love the idea of writing, but when it comes to actually writing, they find themselves staring endlessly at a blank page or computer screen. Most people are too capricious and lazy to stick with a hobby that requires a bit of discipline to be really rewarding. In the end, many become disillusioned when it turns out to be more work than they expected, and their initial euphoria fizzles out. I do not wish to flippantly claim that a hobby is all play and no work; but once you have decided which hobby you want to pursue and have familiarized yourself with the basics of it, you will find that the work that is involved is pleasurable and rewarding in a way that your regular paid work can never be.

And how do you go about choosing a hobby? Above all, don’t be a skeptic: unless you believe in your right and ability to enjoy being a neophyte in a new field, you will not be able to take pleasure in it – and pleasure is the whole point. In choosing, you should use your intuition, and choose something which fits the soul. The trick is to know your inner self, and to be both idealistic and pragmatic at the same time in following it. To find a hobby that will suit your nature and circumstances, you need to make a list of the things you enjoy doing, and then consider how much free time and money you can devote to the activity you choose. No matter how ludicrous your idea for a hobby may initially seem, you have to boldly transcend your doubts and prejudices, and savor the excitement of novelty and uncertainty.

No matter how diffident one is when taking up a hobby, no matter how casually one pursues it, it is still important to have one. A hobby can kindle a new interest in life and reveal hitherto unsuspected aspects of oneself, even on occasion leading to a new career.

Now here are the meanings, with illustrative sentences. Read them through and then see if you can understand the passage.

1. plethora (noun): a large quantity:

“It was raining on the day the politician arrived at his next campaign stop, so when he got to the podium and looked out at his audience, all he saw was a plethora of umbrellas.”

“The response to the director’s new film was a plethora of disappointed reviews.”

2. culinary (adjective): relating to cooking:

“The man I marry will have to have good culinary skills, since I will be too busy with my career to cook, and I love good food.”

3. erudite (adjective): learned; having a deep knowledge of something; reflecting such deep knowledge:

“Let us now hear what the erudite professor himself has to say about this matter to which he has devoted so many years of study.”

“Based as it was on 20 years of research, his writing was erudite; unfortunately, however, he was unable to make his subject interesting.”

4. numismatics (noun, plural): the study of coins:

Numismatics is an important branch of archeology.”

5. philately (noun): the collection and study of stamps:

“When he told me that he had a passion for philately, I thought I would find him intolerably boring; instead, he introduced me to a fascinating new hobby.”

6. insipid (adjective): lacking taste (in both a literal and figurative sense); dull; uninteresting:

“The restaurant reviewer complained that everything on the menus was more or less insipid: he would have liked a little more spice in everything.”

“I once made an effort to read his poetry, but I found it too insipid to continue.”

7. capricious (adjective): impulsive; affected by short-lived bursts of enthusiasm; frequently changing one’s mind; resulting from or reflecting such impulsiveness:

“Being capricious by nature, he had started learning five different languages at one time or another, but had never progressed beyond the basics before giving up.”

“Thanks to your capricious decision to buy a dog, we have yet another mouth to feed in the house.”

8. disillusioned (adjective, past participle of the verb to disillusion): having the feeling that one’s expectations and beliefs about something have been disappointed and proved false:

“I had grown up believing that the university was a temple of learning filled with young people who were devoted to the search for knowledge and truth, so my first year of undergraduate study left me feeling deeply disillusioned.”

“After twenty years of work in the environmental movement, he retired a disillusioned man.”

9. euphoria (noun): intense happiness; extremely high spirits; exhilaration:

“I have never felt such euphoria as I did on the day of our marriage.”

“Most mountain climbers report that they feel a tremendous euphoria upon reaching the mountain’s summit.”

10. flippantly (adverb, from the adjective flippant): in a frivolous, non-serious, thoughtless manner (generally referring to acts of speech):

“I flippantly told her that our friendship meant nothing to me, but immediately regretted it.”

11. diffident (adjective): lacking confidence; unsure of oneself:

“Despite being told again and again that he was a musical genius, he remained diffident about his ability, and as a result retired early from his career as a concert pianist.”

“Let me assure you that your writing is of the highest quality: you have no reason at all to be diffident.”

12. kindle (verb): to light a fire; to bring something into being or inspire it, starting from a small beginning:

“As night fell, the trekkers gathered sticks and leaves and kindled a fire.”

“In his campaign speeches, the prime ministerial candidate tried to kindle his audience’s patriotism with fiery speeches about the nation’s growing importance on the international scene.”

“I gave her many books of poetry, trying to kindle an interest that we could pursue together, but she just wasn’t interested.”

13. skeptic (noun): someone who doubts:

“I used to be a skeptic in matters of religion, but at this point in my life I feel more inclined to admit that there may be a lot of truth in it.”

“The average voter is much more of a skeptic today than he was thirty years ago, and much less likely to believe politicians’ campaign promises.”

14. neophyte (noun): an absolute beginner in some field or activity:

“Despite being a neophyte in politics, the chief minister’s son was immediately given important posts and responsibilities.”

“Even when he was a neophyte in chess, he used to defeat serious players with years of experience.”

15. intuition (noun): a feeling about something that is not based directly on reasoning or logical processes of thinking:

“Most managers do not actually think through their decisions in a logical and systematic way, but depend on intuition to tell them what they should do in a difficult and complex situation.”

“I can’t really tell you why, but I have an intuition that something terrible is about to happen.”

16. idealistic (adjective): having high, noble, and possibly unrealistic ideals and principles; characterized by or reflecting such an attitude:

“When I was younger, I was very idealistic, and frequently chose to do what I thought was right, even if that meant sacrificing my own interests for the benefit of others.”

“The prime minister’s idealistic decision to institute a universal health care system proved to be an economic disaster for the government.”

17. pragmatic (adjective): realistic; having a sound sense of what is really possible and necessary; characterized by or reflecting such an attitude (opposite of idealistic):

“The new president of the company was much more pragmatic than the previous one, and instituted reforms which quickly made the company profitable again.”

“I take a pragmatic view of marriage: it should be seen as an institution that exists to make both partners happy, and if it ceases to be this, then it should be allowed to come to an end.”

18. ludicrous (adjective): ridiculous; absurd; laughable:

“Your plan to equip the doghouse with a solar-powered heating system is ludicrous.”

“On his first day of work he came to the office dressed in a ludicrous multicolored costume adorned with peacock feathers, mirrors, and chains, and was immediately fired.”

19. transcend (verb): to rise above; to overcome:

“Great works of art are the ones that deal with issues of universal and eternal importance, and thereby transcend the particular historical circumstances in which they were created.”

“Amazingly, she was able to transcend the terrible problems and challenges in her life and become the first person in her family to go to university.”

20. savor (verb): to enjoy the taste of something; to fully enjoy something:

“Just savor the wonderful taste of this garlic and carrot pickle!”

“As he felt his life drawing to an end, he made more and more of an effort to savor each and every moment and experience to the fullest.”

Cracking the Verbal Section 2: Turning Verbal Debility into Verbal Ability

Cracking the GRE Verbal Section

(Note: debility means weakness or disability; verbal debility here means a weakness or disability relating to the verbal section. Also, check out the other difficult words in this post. To get the meaning, just hover your mouse over them.)

 

How to Improve Vocabulary

1. Get those Vocab Lists, Look up those Dictionaries

As we said in our previous post, a good grasp of vocabulary is instrumental to achieving success in the Verbal Section. To improve your vocabulary, start by learning word meanings, synonyms, and antonyms. In order to do this you will need to find a good GRE list on the net – there are several available – and look up the synonyms and antonyms on a good online dictionary e.g.

On every handy piece of software to download and install on your laptop, phones, tablets, PCs etc is wordweb (http://wordweb.info/free/): it will give you words, meanings, sample sentences etc. for every word you hover your cursor over.

(Note to Dilip Oak’s Academy students: you already have VaiVocabulary – this gives you the word list along with synonyms, antonyms, easily confused words and a whole lot of revision features.)

2. Learn, Revise, Repeat

Developing an effective vocabulary also means consistent learning and revision so, start learning well before the exam – at least three months is recommended – and set up a learning and revision schedule. Make regular revision an integral part of your schedule: unless you revise regularly and repeatedly, you won’t remember any of that difficult vocabulary you are learning.

4. Target the Tough Ones

When you revise, mark out any words that you tend to forget: they need extra revision. The more you tend to forget them, the more they need to be revised; and the more you revise them, the better you will remember them!

5. Start Small

Doing all the learning and revision required can be an arduous task so, start with a good 500 high frequency GRE® word list. A short list like this will be a good stepping stone to the longer ones; and learning it will help you in overcoming the mental blocks associated with vocabulary learning.

6. Put it in Context

Keep in mind that simply memorizing words by rote is not enough, however; and developing a good vocabulary is not merely a matter of memorizing meanings of thousands of words. Often students notice that simply knowing the meaning of an obscure GRE word does not guarantee selecting the right answer in the exam. A proper understanding of exactly how to use vocabulary is necessary. It is this knowledge of usage that helps you to choose the right word for the given context. It is therefore advisable that, along with all your efforts to increase your vocabulary, you focus on getting a clear understanding of how to use these GRE words and which words fit in a particular context.

 

Developing Good Reading Habits

Apart from going through word lists, developing good reading habits is also crucial. One way in which this helps is getting an understanding of usage and context as we saw above. Secondly, though the GRE® is not a test of general knowledge, the reading comprehension passages in the verbal section cover a variety of topics and areas. Some background knowledge of the subjects being discussed in the passage you are reading is always useful since it is always easier to understand something that is at least somewhat familiar than something that is completely unfamiliar. For both these reasons it is imperative that you read a variety of articles from newspapers, magazines, and the web. Sites like the ones below give you access to an eclectic collection of very high quality writings.

http://thebrowser.com/ (easier but nevertheless intriguing reading – good to start with: it stimulates your interest and gets you reading without bogging you down with difficult words or convoluted sentences)

http://www.aldaily.com/ (more complex stuff, really long articles – get into this slowly)

Reading through this material at random can ensure both plenty of practice for comprehension and exposure to vocabulary in context.

(Note for Oak’s students: check out this link)

 

 

GRE News: Now Available from ETS The Official GRE App

Ripples from the smart phone revolution started by technology giant Apple are spreading out everywhere. Apps for mobiles for a variety of organizations and services are being rolled out in increasing numbers. Now, the ETS has got onto the band wagon with its launch of the first-ever official GRE® test prep mobile app on the App Store.

According to the ETS, the app, which is based on the second edition of The Official Guide to the GRE® Revised General Test, gives users access to authentic GRE® test questions from past administrations of the test, answers and explanations by ETS and the ETS’s own tips and strategies for the GRE®.

With the app users can quiz themselves, track their progress with category-specific results, and even count down the days left till their test date. Two versions of the app are currently available:

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Analytical Writing in the Revised General GRE

Here are some important facts about the Analytical Writing (AW) section of the Revised General GRE that test-takers should know. AW is always the first section in the exam and consists of the same two essay tasks

  • the issue essay task
  • the argument essay task

Both essays have to be typed out in a simple word-processor that has cut, copy and paste functions. So, you need to have a typing speed of at least 40 words per minute. If you haven’t, start learning/ practicing now.

As indicated in our earlier blog on AW (Why 6 and 8 are Important Numbers for the New GRE Analytical Writing Section) some things make this section, just a little bit demanding – read it and find out. The overview below will tell you what this section is like as a whole.

GRE Prep: Verbal Study Plan Overview

Here from Dilip Oak’s Academy are the GRE Prep highlights. As the graphic above indicates the basic plan for verbal preparation for the GRE is as follows:

  • at least 3-5 months before your GRE, begin vocabulary preparation and preliminary reading practice
  • 2 months before your GRE, begin going through the practice material
  • 1 month before your GRE, begin your practice on the Computer-Based Tests (CBTS)

This is explained below: As you can see there are four aspects of preparation that you have to cover:

  1. Vocabulary Learning and Revision
  2. Preliminary Reading Practice
  3. Covering the Practice Material
  4. Practice on the Computer-Based Tests (CBTs)

Each of the sections below gives you a brief idea of how to handle one aspect of preparation. Each section also contains links (in red) which give you further important details about the aspect of preparation that it deals with. Before you read through the sections below read through the post on ‘some principles’ for GRE Preparation. This will give you important guidelines on how to work through the material described in each of the sections.

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Did You Know these Facts about GRE Math?

 

~ By our Quantitative Reasoning Faculty

 

April is almost over and the countdown to the exam has already begun. You want a good overall score and if you’re an engineer, you are most probably thinking that getting 165 on Quant shouldn’t be too much of a problem (the typical engineer approaches maths questions with a raw “Just bring ‘em on” kind of arrogance and usually gets most questions right). But here’s the problem: sometimes even those with a strong background in maths may not cross the 160 mark – and when that happens, dreams of a score in the 325+ range come crashing down. To prevent that unhappy outcome, here are some basic insights about the way the math works on GRE.

One fundamental reason why some students don’t get the scores they should, is that they simply don’t understand the way the exam ‘TALKS’ maths. What this means is that the GRE test has its own way of defining mathematical terms. If you don’t understand the definitions used in the GRE exam, then time and time again you are going to end up making errors on questions you should have got right – and you are likely to end up feeling frustrated and demoralized. So, let’s have a look at a few basic differences between Indian maths and American math.

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An Easy Way to Learn GRE Test Words – Learn Them through Roots

Word RootsStarting this week, we are introducing a new feature that will help all you students who are struggling to prepare for the GRE test – posts that will help you learn the GRE test words using roots. Though the technical meaning of ‘roots’ is a little different, here it is useful to think of them as the original Latin and Greek words that the English words came from.

Learning words through their roots is useful in two ways – firstly, knowing the root and meaning of a word can help you understand why the word means what it means. Secondly, since there are often many words which come from the same Greek or Latin root, this helps you to learn several words at one time. It becomes easier because, as you will seen in today’s post, words from the same root look similar and also share a common set of meanings. The two lists below, which cover 32 words totally, will illustrate how this is so.

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Answers to Practice GRE Test Quant Questions

Post: Did You Know these Facts about GRE Math?

Question: How many positive integers, less than 20, are either an even multiple of 2 or, a multiple of 9 or, the sum of a positive multiple of 2 and a positive multiple of 9?

Answer: There are 11 such integers:

  • Multiples of 2 – 4, 8, 12, 16 (total 4)
  • Multiples of 9 – 9, 18 (total 2)
  • Sums of a positive multiple of 2 and a positive multiple of 9 – 11, 13, 15, 17, 19 (total 5)

 

Post: Quantitative Comparison Questions: Doubtful D!

 

Question:

X < (1/X)

Column A Column B

X X2

 

Answer:: (D)

The given inequality is X< (1/X).

This is possible only in two cases:

(1) If 0 < X < 1 OR

(2) X < -2

Now, you need to compare ‘X’ with ‘X2’

If you pick the value of ‘X’ from 1st range, let’s say ‘X’ = ½, then X > X2, thus the possible answer is option (A) and hence, options (B) and (C) can be eliminated.

But if you pick up the value of ‘X’ from the second range of values, lets say X = -3, then X < X2.

That means we are not able to reach to any unique conclusion using the information given, thus the answer is option (D)