All posts by sharpbean

Is this a good GRE score?

is this a good GRE score?
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Is this GRE score competitive?

  • Is my GRE score good enough for XYZ university?
  • Is this GRE score competitive?
  • What GRE score do I need to get in?

These are some of the most common questions I get from my GRE students. These are important questions that can mean the difference between getting into the grad school you want or going to your second or third choice grad school. Good GRE scores can also earn you money (more on that in a minute).

There are several things to keep in mind when answering the question, “Is my GRE score good enough?” Continue reading Is this a good GRE score?

© Cody Blair, All Rights Reserved.

Use Stress to ace a test?

Photo by Doran Erickson on Unsplash

As a GRE prep teacher, I find about half my students suffer from test anxiety, often at debilitating levels. Test anxiety can take even the brightest test takers and stunt their effective IQ during the exam. But there’s a simple, research-proven way to take that negative stress and use it to your advantage so that you actually perform better on your GRE or any other test! Continue reading Use Stress to ace a test?

© Cody Blair, All Rights Reserved.

Simple Ways to Prep for Your GRE While You’re In School

Image by Jan Vašek from Pixabay

With fall semester college classes back in swing many students are tempted to postpone their GRE prep. Whether it’s GRE quantitative, GRE verbal, or GRE analytical writing, there’s a better solution than postponing it; a very simple solution that will keep you from losing hard-won ground as you prepare for the GRE test. Continue reading Simple Ways to Prep for Your GRE While You’re In School

© Cody Blair, All Rights Reserved.

Simple way to increase your recall and Understanding


Question Everything

I know what you’re thinking, “Should I really question everything?” You’re such a smart-aleck, but the answer is, “yes!” at least if you want to suck the knowledge-nuggets right out of whatever you’re studying and make yourself into the uber-scholar you always new you could be.

Asking deeper questions–and thinking carefully through how you might answer them–is a well-researched method of deepening comprehension and increasing recall. It also can signal your prof or teacher that you are an above-average thinker. But what constitutes a really good question?

Good Questions

Good questions are questions that require higher-level thinking, while low-level questions are the kind that a well-trained parrot could spit out. Low-level questions are those that simply require you to repeat facts–the kind of questions your grandmom’s Commodore 64 computer could answer. Questions such as…

Continue reading Simple way to increase your recall and Understanding © Cody Blair, All Rights Reserved.

New GRE Practice tests


[Updated Thursday, November 28, 2019]

As I’ve mentioned in other places, the best practice you can get for the GRE comes from ETS, the company that makes the GRE. You can always take their free Powerprep Online tests. These are the same great tests I tell my students about in my GRE Prep Course.

Now they offer three additional GRE tests.

The free Powerprep Online consists of two, free practice GRE tests. Each has real GRE questions and works just like the actual test. The timing is the same AND the sections get more or less difficult, just like the real deal. You can also go back over the test after you’ve taken it to see which ones you missed.

The problem with the Powerprep Online is there are only two tests available. After that, you have to rely on some test prep company’s best effort at recreating a GRE. Those companies may make their practice GRE tests and then try it out on a few people that work for them. They don’t have the chance to try it on thousands of test takers the way ETS does with their real GRE tests. That means the fake GRE tests just aren’t going to be as good as the ones from ETS.

Finally, ETS has made three more real GRE tests available. They are calling these two tests Powerprep Plus Online.

Unfortunately, unlike the Powerprep Online, the Powerprep Plus Online isn’t free. The tests will set you back $39.95 each. Still worth it!

Have you found any other great GRE prep resources? Let us know in the comments!



© Cody Blair, All Rights Reserved.

More for less–Getting the most From your mind


Most of us feel like we are pretty good at using our brains; I mean, we’ve been doing it our whole lives, right? But are you really getting the most out of your mind when it comes to memory, study, and creativity?

There are loads of little tweaks and changes you can make to your current routines that will give big brain benefits. Which of these are you not currently using to their full effect?

Continue reading More for less–Getting the most From your mind © Cody Blair, All Rights Reserved.

Screw Up To Succeed


The Wrong Way to Fail

Even if you are on the right track, you will get run over if you just sit there. -Will Rogers

Most of us think of a screw up, a failure, a crash-and-burn, as a bad thing. It can be.


It can also be a very good thing. If you fail in the right way.

How do you fail in the right way?

The path to lifelong learning– to truly effective, mind-blowing, earth-shaking learning–is paved with failing successfully and often. Fail in the right way to become a better student. Do you want to be a better learner by the end of this week? Experiment, and let your failures catapult you to success.

Here’s how.

Give yourself permission to screw up.

You can get it wrong some times. The important thing is damage control and analysis. Here’s what I mean.

You need to try things that push you out of your comfort zone. Try learning something in a totally new way…

  • Ditch the notes and go with a recorder.
  • Ditch the recorder and go with notes.
  • Try learning by doing.
  • Make a play.
  • Draw a picture.
  • Go to the prof’s office hours.
  • Skip class and learn it off the internet.
  • Study early.
  • Study late.
  • Memorize everything.
  • Memorize nothing.
  • Read all the assigned readings.
  • Read none of them.

Experiment with your learning. What works best for you?

It’s easy to engage in lifelong learning; witness the twenty-year grad student. But lifelong learning that continually improves and becomes more effective? That’s a little tougher. The only way to keep perfecting your lifelong learning skills is by experimentation.

Continue reading Screw Up To Succeed

© Cody Blair, All Rights Reserved.

5 Simple Ways to Zombie Proof Yourself from the Walking Dead


in the event of zombie apocalypse, avoid stephen hawking

What better way to zombie-proof yourself than to shrink your brain? That’s right, you can easily make yourself too stupid to be a target for the walking dead with these five simple techniques. Continue reading 5 Simple Ways to Zombie Proof Yourself from the Walking Dead © Cody Blair, All Rights Reserved.