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34 Reviews
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37 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent way to build vocab
This is a great supplement to GRE exam study books. While not focusing on how to answer specific exam questions, it does build the critical vocabulary you need for the test. It gives you both definitions and context for the words, as well as numerous drills to help you practice them. I think that combination helped me understand these words a lot more effectively than...
Published on November 26, 2008 by Matthew M.

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33 of 39 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Just okay
I'm still studying for the GRE, so I have yet to see if this book was actually helpful; but based on my experience going through the exercises, this book is for people who learn by memorization and have a limited vocabulary. I already knew 75% of the words. Words like "itinerary," "odyssey" and "dormant" are just a few examples of obvious words that someone looking to go...
Published on June 29, 2009 by T. Michelle


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37 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent way to build vocab, November 26, 2008
This review is from: Essential Words for the GRE (Barron's Essential Words for the GRE) (Paperback)
This is a great supplement to GRE exam study books. While not focusing on how to answer specific exam questions, it does build the critical vocabulary you need for the test. It gives you both definitions and context for the words, as well as numerous drills to help you practice them. I think that combination helped me understand these words a lot more effectively than just studying a list that the comprehensive exam guides tack on the end.
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32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Important Book for GRE Test Takers, February 21, 2009
This review is from: Essential Words for the GRE (Barron's Essential Words for the GRE) (Paperback)
Although I have not yet taken the GRE exam, I recommend this book for the following reasons:

1. It contains 800 high-frequency GRE words, divided into units of 10 words each. The words are well explained and each unit summarize the 10 words by sample questions, which are answered at the end of the book.

2. In addition to explaining the words of the unit, it sometimes explain other strange words.

3. In addition to the 800 high-frequency words, it contains 300 high-frequency word roots, which learn you an additional 1500 words. For me, I prefer those 800 words + 300 roots over memorizing the GRE word list of more than 3000 words!

NOTE: If you buy the book, you will see at the beginning "300 Absolutely Essential GRE Words", but they are not defined! Do not waste your time looking in dictionaries, because those 300 words are partial set of the 800 high-frequency words, so it is just a list that will help you focus on those words.
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66 of 75 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best, August 30, 2007
This review is from: Essential Words for the GRE (Barron's Essential Words for the GRE) (Paperback)
This book is very well organized, this book will help you to learn and memorize numerous words in short period.
Each unit contains 10 words with explanation and examples, after that, there are some exercises that helps to memorize the words. In just 1 week, I memorized about 600 words. I really recommend this book.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars worth getting, but imperfect, August 10, 2009
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This review is from: Essential Words for the GRE (Barron's Essential Words for the GRE) (Paperback)
This book is certainly helpful and well organized. I would strongly suggest that you also get the Princeton Review general GRE book and also learn all of the hit parade words. I systematically cross checked all the words from the PR with this book and while there is some overlap it is definitely worth having both. It is slightly frustrating that Barron's doesnt go into a lot of second meanings for words, which is something you should definitely know for the GRE. I spent 9 weeks with a ton of flashcards working through both word sets and got a 630 V. The verbal section is HARD so practice and be prepared to make plenty of flashcards. Kind of knowing a word is not sufficient. I never got through the latter 2/3rds of the root section, but I can definitely see how that could help give you a high score. I'd say 10 weeks with this book if you plan to realistically ingest and retain all the information.
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38 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A real lifesaver, December 21, 2007
This review is from: Essential Words for the GRE (Barron's Essential Words for the GRE) (Paperback)
I was having so much trouble learning vocabulary before the GRE but this helped so much. I learned the words quickly thanks to how this book was set up and the next time I took the GRE I rocked the vocab section. This book is a must.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Decent book, but shouldn't be the only tool for the GRE., August 5, 2009
By 
N. Nathan (Los Angeles, CA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Essential Words for the GRE (Barron's Essential Words for the GRE) (Paperback)
I'll keep things short. The issue with this study guide is that words are taught in alphabetical order.
It is easy to lose focus even if the book is divided in chunks.

I was expecting variation in how words will appear in the book, instead of lexical ordering. It's the same as reading a dictionary, memorizing a set of words, testing yourself, and moving on. This can get boring real quick.

Anyways, I give it 4 stars because it does have the GRE words you need to learn and useful exercises. I just wish words would appear at random or be listed by frequency. They do provide a list of the most frequent words, but it'd be better if the lessons were designed around the frequency of words. A little mix & matching would help.

Anyways, this is my initial impression. I do plan to study along w/ the Kaplan GRE Vocab. in a box.
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33 of 39 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Just okay, June 29, 2009
This review is from: Essential Words for the GRE (Barron's Essential Words for the GRE) (Paperback)
I'm still studying for the GRE, so I have yet to see if this book was actually helpful; but based on my experience going through the exercises, this book is for people who learn by memorization and have a limited vocabulary. I already knew 75% of the words. Words like "itinerary," "odyssey" and "dormant" are just a few examples of obvious words that someone looking to go to grad school should already know. That being the case, I'm not quite sure why the author chose to include them. Also, I found some of the definitions to be poorly worded, so I ended up having to use online dictionaries to better comprehend some word meanings.

The word roots section proved not so helpful as many of the exercises include words for which the definition can't be directly guessed or implied from the root's definition. The typos also created confusion and weren't helpful from a mnemonic (one word I learned from the book!) learning perspective.

All the same, I did appreciate the contextual sentences provided as they made the book fun and entertaining to work through. The secondary meanings / uses of some words were also provided which was rather insightful. There are also brief summaries of academic phrases, concepts, key figures, etc that could potentially be helpful in preparing for the GRE Verbal Section.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Will Improve Your GRE Verbal Score, September 24, 2009
By 
Akua A (Ann Arbor, MI) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Essential Words for the GRE (Barron's Essential Words for the GRE) (Paperback)
I was only able to make it halfway through this book, and it helped me to improve my GRE Verbal score by 90 points. It makes it really easy to learn the words, and the word roots units in the end are highly useful. Even if you do not have time to go through this entire book, it is still a great buy.
In addition, I did not think it would be such a great help with the reading sections, until I realized that the GRE passages are crawling with the words taught in this book. Highly recommend!
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good to have for the test, July 8, 2008
By 
Athip Limcharoen (Pittsburgh, PA USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Essential Words for the GRE (Barron's Essential Words for the GRE) (Paperback)
I'm an international student and this book helps me a lot. I remember all the word and understand how to use it. Even you don't take the test, it is good to know these words for graduate level. Thanks Barron.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great help for verbal section on GRE, July 25, 2010
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This review is from: Essential Words for the GRE (Barron's Essential Words for the GRE) (Paperback)
This book was extremely helpful for preparing me for the verbal section on the GRE. The best way to do well on that section is to have a big vocabulary. The words in this book are pulled from many actual GRE tests, and I definitely saw a few of them on the test. I scored in the 95th percentile on the verbal section, and this book helped me achieve that. It has a whole section on roots that is quite beneficial, as well as a fairly comprehensive list of words (make sure you use other books in conjunction with this one. Learn words everywhere you can.) It also has effective methods of helping the reader to really memorize the words. As I said, it's best to use other books along with this one. Essential Words for the GRE is just what the title states- it's a great way to familiarize yourself with a lot of words. But you will need other books to learn about specific test questions. I used the Princeton Review's Cracking the GRE and GRE for Dummies, both of which were really helpful for all three sections.
This book is a must if you want to build your vocabulary.
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Essential Words for the GRE (Barron's Essential Words for the GRE)
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