Tyler York

May 12, 2021

When you take the GRE, you’re given a digital calculator. It’s.. fine, it was never meant to be that useful. However, any tool is a valuable tool on the GRE, and you should ensure you’re using the calculator in the best possible way to maximize your score. That’s where Orion comes in with his tips for making the most of the GRE calculator while not over-using it and having it slow you down.

If you’re looking for a comprehensive course to maximize your score on the GRE exam, check out Achievable’s GRE course that was authored by Orion.

0.0s Welcome to GRE snacks and a couple episodes about the GRE exam and graduate school admission. I'm Tyler founder of achievable, and I'm a Ryan founder of Stellar GRE and author of achievable GRE course. Let's get started. So today we are going to talk about everyone's favorite part of the Quant section the GRE calculator and how to kind of get the most out of it. Given its limitation in a little irony in in that we wrote a blogpost about Siri calculator. And I mean, we had I had a pretty similar one when I took the GMAT. It's basically something that you would have used on your desktop computer in 1998, right? Like it's got like that the sort of the number pad and then the normal like functions. It doesn't do anything, particularly fancy you can store numbers in it, I think but it's kind of hard. 60.5s Yeah, that sounds about right. In fact, a lot of the platform's associate, the standardized test. You feel like it comes from the late 90s, early 2000 and the GRE is pretty. The GRE calculator is pretty Jackie. It's very, very basic. So that's really important to know from the outset, because if you're using one of these sexy ti-80, whatever's that you that you bought back in high-school, you might be using a crutch that you just won't have on a day of the exam. So at the very least, let's talk about what you can and cannot do on the GRE calculator and then we'll get into one of the best uses for that calculator. Sound good. 103.4s So as you mentioned, the GRE calculator is super super basic. It has the four arithmetic functions that is addition. Subtraction. Multiplication division, it has parentheses and it has a square root button. 118.4s Technically it does have these memories storing features M and M, E M C because I have to, then remember what I stored in the memory of the calculator which is not a good idea, so I high I don't usually recommend that students use the memory functions if you need to remember something, write it down and just put it back in the guy that you like we had 35. And then I did these things to it. Like you can kind of like, retrace your steps. 157.2s That is true. Otherwise if it's on the calculator and it's kind of blind to you, you can lose your place and then have to start all the way over again, but if you're kind of making notes as you go, if things start to go sideways, you can resume a little bit later on the solution safe. 176.0s So for arithmetic operations, parentheses and square would, but that's it. So don't practice with any cube roots. Don't package there. Any carrots to do high exponents. Also, the GRE calculator is limited by the number of digits that can hold like any number that's more than 195.0s It's more than 10 million is too big for the calculator by the same token. Anything that's smaller than like a million is too small for some very questions are not hard because of the math just like say asking you divide two numbers but it's hard because the numbers are so astronomically big that you can't actually do them with the GRE calculator or with pen and paper. So you have to find some questions specifically for that that's personal. Just get like an error for an invalid output or something like that. The calculator will smoke. It will break. 237.8s And that'll be it for your calculator, explode, on the computer screen. 249.8s Okay, so that's what the calculator can do. Here's the thing, do the calculator is not handheld thing. Even if you take it at a testing center or at home, they're not going to let you use your own calculator. They're not going to provide you with a tangible calculator. Instead, the catheter will be like a pop-up app. On the software, the test itself, you can call it on and off on the quantities section. You can hit the calculator button. Boom. There it is it hit the button again, it goes away but it's an on-screen pop up app. 287.8s And there's only two ways to put the numbers into the calculator. You either have to use your mouse button to click the tiny little calculator buttons, which is annoying and takes time. Or you can get really good at the numpad of a full-on desktop keyboard. You can input numbers using the num pad and also basic things like flashes divide and shermy equal. Things like that, I don't even have one of those two. 315.2s I generally have to click the numbers 1 by 1 using the mouse. There's definitely a point where it's like I said even faster, right? Like I I practice for the stuff out like, you know, for the vast majority of things, if I want to know what 14 / 3 was like, I kind of don't have a choice, but if it's like, 14 * 3, I can just do math, 42? Yes, yes, I had to double-check, I don't know. My for teens that are really important point, which is the calculator is definitely not always the most efficient Solution on a quantitative question. This is generally what I tell Steven stuff, if you need to use the calculator you should even. If it's for 14 x 3, there is no shame in using the calculator. There is only quote, shame in needing to use it and reverse. 375.1s Can you use it out of Pride? So if you need to use it use it at the end of the day it's just seconds. But those seconds do you add up over the course of the problems that which is kind of your point. So also though, on the flip side of it is I'm I'm not a huge fan of and then from there, 395.0s Because what we're really talking about is doing a hundred problems correctly, over the course of four and a half hours, each problem with which can have up to a dozen steps. So it's basically inevitable on that magnitude that if you're doing everything in your head, you're going to make at least one careless are possibly more over. The duration is a test. 422.3s So if you're going to do simple math like 4 or simpler math like 14 times, three my recommendation would be to use the pen and paper. Is it would take 432.9s Just a few seconds and it creates kind of the opportunity for me to catch a mistake. If it happens, it's so easy to make a mistake in our own private Consciousness and not realize it and just keep moving forward. So for simple addition, multiplication, things like that. I can only use the pen and pencil and paper. 453.4s Okay. But there are definitely some situations were using. The calculator is absolutely the indicated more. Most efficient passports. Let's let's talk about some of those. Number one is anything involving radicals? Anything that has a square root button and it it's like absolutely should punch. To calculate the square root button is one of the best uses of that pop up on me. Just fun little facts. Going to throw this in here. Root 2 + root 3. Come up very, very often on the test mostly because of triangles and things like that. So it's generally useful to know what root 2 + root, 3 are approximately. And the mnemonic I use is that route to is 1.4 because February 14th is Valentine's Day and Route. 3 is about 1.7 because March 17th is Saint Patrick's Day. So thanks Matt. And now you 513.4s Know how to do approximate radicals. 517.7s Okay, so anything that involves radicals is super helpful to is driving exponent. So what is this mean? Let's say you're dealing with an exponent problem and all the numbers are in base for except for this enormous number. Like 640, something, 539.9s It's behind likely that that big number is really just forward to some power. Yeah. And so, you can use the calculator to derive that by basically just X for until you arrive. At that, number 4, x, 4, x, 4, x 4, x 4 x, 57 seconds. There's really no other way to be sure. Because, doing a fourth or fifth root by hand, is just not a fun time. I mean, it's just not possible in the time limit. 571.3s I don't think it is. I don't even know how. I don't even know how to do it outside the time. And I'll be told you. I don't know how to take a non Square, maybe putting it another way. Maybe it's that there are certain things where it seems obvious that the test-takers expect you to use the calculator to do them at all. And so you might as well use the calculator on those questions roots and driving exponents. That's one into number three. The best use of the catheters collapsing, nasty fraction into decimal equivalents. So what does that mean? That you just spent the last 90 seconds solving a problem. You think you did everything right? But your answer is like Henry 3 / 0.5 and that's a nasty fraction and none of the answer choices look like that. 619.9s so, rather than try to simplify that fraction or make it look like when the answer choices, I would just put to the calculator and put 628.8s What was the 10 word 3 /? 0.5 in the cats are fine with that decimal equivalent is, and then say hi. To one of these, five answer choices is also that decimal equivalent in Disguise. I'll convert them into decimals until I see something that matches with my solution. I think that's a pretty efficient way of moving through the solution and smart. 650.2s I like that one. Anything that also involves long division, I think it's helpful. Long division is what we teach kids because I think that adults are envious of Youth. It's not a really great use of time long division, lot of adults. Don't even remember how to do it in a achievable app. I talked about how to do short division, which is what we should teach kids. What you should have been practicing your whole life because you've been practicing your whole life, you might be using it today, but it's also, there are ways to do division faster. If you don't know, short division, use the calculator for long. 687.1s And in general, I'll just throw this in. People are much, much more accurate with addition and multiplication than they are with subtraction and Division. I think I just have to do it the way the human mind works. So if you need to double-check it's like use the calculator for division or subtraction Reserve multiplication and addition for your pen pencil and paper that make sense. 713.6s So that's what I got. Use it. If you need to use it definitely use it in those circumstances. Using radicals to writing exponents collapsing, decimals into fractions and decimal equivalents long division and also division is traction General thank you. 733.6s And it might be helpful to practice with that kind of calculator. When you do your GRE prep laptops, come pre-loaded with a pretty basic your sexy, t i whatever. Yes, definitely great. Thanks Ryan snacks from Stellar GRE and Tyler from achievable Ryan. And achievable have partner to build a great, GRE course you can try for free at achievable. Me and you can use the code podcast to get 10% off if you want to upgrade to the premium version.

Achievable GRE - $199

Achievable's GRE course includes endless quantitative quizzes, 10 verbal reasoning practice exams, 1,500 vocabulary flashcards, and our easy-to-read online textbook with proven strategies to hit your target score.

View course