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388 of 404 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good overall, but still lacking a few things
I've been tutoring the GRE since 2008, I've taken the Revised GRE, and I've written two preparation books for it (Barron's 6 GRE Practice Tests, and GRE Vocab Capacity). So I'm very familiar with the test (maybe a little too familiar).

This version of the ETS Official Guide to the Revised GRE is exactly the same as the old version except for a couple of...
Published 24 months ago by Vince Kotchian

versus
183 of 190 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Important considerations when evaluating the usefulness of this book.
As many other reviewers have noted, this is the only book on the market that is produced by ETS, the company that writes and administers the GRE; however, please know that this does not mean that buying this book is a no-brainer. Far from it. The book may be helpful to you in some respects, but I would never recommend purchasing only it to study for the GRE. I would...
Published 18 months ago by LotusGirl


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388 of 404 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good overall, but still lacking a few things, August 24, 2012
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This review is from: The Official Guide to the GRE Revised General Test, 2nd Edition (Paperback)
I've been tutoring the GRE since 2008, I've taken the Revised GRE, and I've written two preparation books for it (Barron's 6 GRE Practice Tests, and GRE Vocab Capacity). So I'm very familiar with the test (maybe a little too familiar).

This version of the ETS Official Guide to the Revised GRE is exactly the same as the old version except for a couple of important things:

1. There's a new paper practice test. This is great, since it brings the number of authentic GRE practice tests available to four.
2. Sample responses to the 2nd paper test's essays are included with grader commentary. This is useful since you can see what the real graders liked and what they didn't.

Things I like about this book:

1. The AWA (analytical writing assessment) chapter is well-written. Not only does it clearly explain how to score well, but it includes real sample essays (and there are more sample essays + commentary at the end of each paper test).
2. The book and CD have real GRE questions and tests (obviously). Using real questions is much more valuable that using those written by a third party because they are always more realistic and therefore are MUCH better preparation for the real GRE you're going to take. The computer tests are exactly like the real GRE I took.
3. The book covers all question types and *almost* all of the math concepts.

Things I don't like:

1. The question explanations are often inaccessible to the average student, too technical/highfalutin, or too presumptive that the student understands certain concepts. I realize that the book can't explain everything, but more question explanations could be written in layman's terms. Similarly, the math review goes into too much detail about certain concepts and skimps or even leaves out others.
2. The strategies in the book are not very insightful. Any good tutor or test-prep book can offer more helpful strategies than this book - but I guess we shouldn't expect ETS to give us the best tips on its own test - just like we shouldn't expect the IRS to tell us how to save the most money on our taxes.

The practice tests on the CD are the same ones you can download from the GRE website for free.

Overall, this book is essential to prepare for the new GRE, and your time spent with it will pay off. Even if you think you're very good at math, verbal, and/or writing, mastering the GRE demands getting used to its format, quirks, and nuances. Do not let third-party material (Kaplan, Magoosh, etc.) give you a false sense of confidence! If you're interested in my help, you can get in touch with me through my profile.
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183 of 190 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Important considerations when evaluating the usefulness of this book., February 28, 2013
By 
LotusGirl (Washington, DC) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Official Guide to the GRE Revised General Test, 2nd Edition (Paperback)
As many other reviewers have noted, this is the only book on the market that is produced by ETS, the company that writes and administers the GRE; however, please know that this does not mean that buying this book is a no-brainer. Far from it. The book may be helpful to you in some respects, but I would never recommend purchasing only it to study for the GRE. I would buy it perhaps as a supplement to a book published by a third-party (like Barron's, the Princeton Review, Kaplan, etc) or not at all. These third party books really are likely to serve you FAR better, as I will try to explain. Here are the things I think you should consider as you decide whether to purchase this book:

1) The majority of the practice questions in this book are available for FREE on the ETS website. Just check out their "Prepare for the GRE" page for pdfs.
2) The POWERPREP II software (including two practice tests) which is contained on the disc accompanying this book is also available for FREE on the ETS website. Just check out their "Prepare for the GRE" page for a download.
3) Whether you go with the book or get it online, the POWERPREP II software is Windows/IE-compatible only. (Ridiculous.)
4) The Math Review section of this book is also available for FREE on the ETS website. Just check out their "Prepare for the GRE" page for a download.
5) Many of the other explanations and general tips contained in the book are also included in the free online materials (I think it's called the Practice Book) on the ETS website.
6) All that said, if you prefer to work on paper rather than on a PDF, and you don't want to print out a giant stack of pages, you may like the idea of having ETS' materials nicely printed and bound as they are in this book.
7) One nice thing about the fact that this book was written by ETS is that you get actual old GRE questions. ETS doesn't license its old questions, so all other books will have questions meant to closely approximate authentic GRE questions, but which never actually appeared on a GRE exam. However, since you can get most of these ETS-authentic practice questions for free, as I've explained, you still may not want to spend on this book. Plus, the questions that third-parties write are, for the most part, similar enough to real GRE questions to still be very good practice.
8) The down side (and I think you should think about this carefully) to this being written by ETS is that it, naturally, sells the "ETS-Kool-Aid" - HARD. What I mean is that other third-parties will shoot you straight because they are not invested in promoting the mystique of this exam. They will tell you, for example, the true fact that the GRE really measures your ability to do well on the GRE, whereas ETS' book will claim, as ETS of course must, that the GRE is predictive of your success in graduate school. In addition, third-party books will level with you about how the GRE is written and how it is graded and will teach you tips, tricks, techniques, and work-arounds for the GRE. ETS has to take itself and its exam very, very seriously, which is likely to just scare you and stress you out. Third-parties will level with you. (See also the next point.)
9) (This is to some degree an extension of the previous point.) The Math Review that the ETS has written (recall it is also available for free online) is very misleading in some ways. Firstly, it can be confusingly-presented for those dusting off old, unused math skills. Third-party prep books will serve you far better in explaining these concepts simply, although if you need help with very basic concepts (like long division), you may want to supplement with something like Princeton Review's Math Smart I (or maybe check out tutorials online if you want to save money). Secondly, there are some math topics covered by ETS in their materials that you are simply very unlikely to see on the actual GRE; seeing them in this book will just make you anxious. You do not need to master all the math ETS gives you in this book in order to get a great score on the math portion of the GRE (after all, you can still score in the 99th percentile of test-takers even if you get a few questions wrong on the test). ETS will make it sound like you must know inside and out all the math they give you in this book, but third-party books will be much more honest with you about which concepts you actually need to master, what short-hand tips and tricks you can use, what things you may just want to memorize outright, and what minimum understandings you can totally get by with on some of the trickier math topics that might come up on the GRE.
10) Only third-party books give you actual lists of vocab words that are the most likely to appear on the GRE. This book does not. These lists are very useful in studying for the GRE.

Some final thoughts. No book will guarantee you an awesome score on an exam. I suspect many poor reviews of various test-prep books on Amazon are likely just sour grapes. The truth, in my opinion, is that major third-party prep books are probably roughly equivalent in getting you familiar with, giving you good tips for, and getting you some practice on GRE questions. You have enough to worry about without stressing over which book to choose! Just pick up one of the major third-party books and let it be your primary study guide. Get this book, if at all, only as a supplement.
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148 of 167 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Unrealistic expectations from the reader, August 31, 2012
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This review is from: The Official Guide to the GRE Revised General Test, 2nd Edition (Paperback)
To make this review short I will just say that if you are an individual such as myself, who has struggled with math since grade school and are now trying to learn enough math to get a humble score on the GRE this is not the book you should be purchasing. This book assumes that you already have a decent understanding of mathematical concepts in Geometry, Algebra, and Statistics. For those of us who are majoring in social sciences or another non math related field this book will feel like it is skimming through weeks worth of math concepts on every single page.

I found it to be utterly impossible to understand many of the ideas presented in the book due to the cluttering of these concepts and marginal explanation of how they work together. I found the Princeton Review book to be much more organized and easy to follow due to my severe math deficiencies. The Princeton review does not attempt to teach you 3 years of math by giving you a extremely condensed and limited version of concepts that you barely understood the first time around. Instead its focus is on helping you simply get through the GRE. This book does not even allow you to look at the answer choices in the practice problems as A,B,C,D,E as you would have them on the GRE so it forces you to do the problems their way without actually providing you with enough explanation to understand those problems in the first place. The Princeton review embraces the idea of turning a hard algebra problem into a simple arithmetic problem by plugging in, this book does not even mention this invaluable strategy! Nor does it let you apply it because as stated previously, it does not provide you with A,B,C,D,E answer choices!

If you are someone who has done well in math in the past and just need a refresher for the GRE I recommend this book for you however, if you are like myself, an individual who has struggled with math since elementary school, avidly avoided math in college, and are now trying to pursue a graduate education in your (non math related) field then I would highly advice you to look into both the Princeton review and the GRE for Dummies 7th Edition books. Although not perfect they are much easier to understand for those of us who are dreadful at math.
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55 of 67 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars WARNING WARNING BUYER BEWARE!!!!, August 31, 2012
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This review is from: The Official Guide to the GRE Revised General Test, 2nd Edition (Paperback)
BUYER BEWARE!!!!! This is nearly the EXACT same book as Edition 1. Reading through it, the questions are ALL the same. The ONLY exception is they include one extra practice test at the end. I strongly advise you to consider another study prep if you're in the market and already have edition 1.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The ETS Does It Again! Sort of. Ok not really., April 10, 2013
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This review is from: The Official Guide to the GRE Revised General Test, 2nd Edition (Paperback)
As you likely know from either the title or familiarity with the ETS, this book is the Official Guide for the GRE General Test (Revised). I teach the GRE full-time and this is one of two books I require my students to purchase for two primary reasons. This is the only book made by the test-makers, so there is an extraordinarily amount of useful information here: the questions are phrased in the way that the real test phrases them, the content is fairly reflective of the real exam, and the book itself now comes with 2 paper-based and 2 computer-based versions of the test. So, in total, there are hundreds of questions to try your hand at. Secondly, each question comes with a very lengthy explanation as to why certain answers are right and often enough, why other answers are wrong.

The ETS is also kind enough to identify which questions are of what difficulty level, so you can even mark your own progress fairly well, too.

The book further comes with examples of responses to the Analytical Writing tasks, so you have a very good sense of what the ETS thinks of as "a good essay" and "a bad essay", as well.

The book is, however, fairly lacking on a number of other counts. It is not particularly useful as a stand-alone text and once you've exhausted the questions in the book, there are no other resources to use outside of it from the ETS. Additionally--and most importantly--the book lacks a functionally useful set of questions to really build on basic mathematics skills and takes for granted that test-takers will be able to perform particular operations.

My biggest gripe about the book is it's Quantitative Review (Pages 207-305), in which there are no explanations for sample problems and often, concepts are covered in ways that are actually almost unusable for the test itself. Bizarrely, in spite of the fact that the test consistently features Special Right Triangles (Pythagorean Triplets) and often requires test-takers to simplify radicals, the book makes no mention of either of these basic math concepts. These are two among many others.

Additionally, the test does not often inform students of the most efficient or effective way of working through a problem. They'll give a very accurate description of how to solve math problems in some cases, but not if it's optimal for ideal test-taking. As a prime example, there are right triangle questions featured on almost every version of the GRE and almost all of the right triangles featured have particular properties to them. But, the GRE Guide makes no mention of these properties and test-takers are left to their own devices to either figure them out or work around them in the most inefficient ways.

The book is a sort of oddity, as such: it purports to be the Official Guide of the test but it also seems purposefully left incomplete, as if the test-makers wanted to provide some help in making the test accessible, but not so much help that anyone could effectively study for it using their own materials. The cynical conclusion one might draw from this is that the ETS is heavily invested in maintaining the secrecy and mysteriousness of the test (and is also invested in test-takers re-testing) but they don't want the test to seem unduly unfair.

To improve this product, they should include more practice sets that are divided up by concept (rather than simply by difficulty) and further, they should revamp the math review, which has not changed since the good ole' days of the original GRE Guide (which was originally published over 20 years ago).
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20 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent choice for to get ready for the GRE, January 17, 2013
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This review is from: The Official Guide to the GRE Revised General Test, 2nd Edition (Paperback)
I bought this book three weeks ago and took the GRE today. I've read complaints that it assumes that you have already learned the math. This is probably true. The GRE is for college graduates and the quantitative reasoning portion tests pretty much everything that any student should have learned in high school. The GRE does not cover trig or calculus. It is not reasonable to expect a 563 page book to actually teach all of the math courses taught in high school. But, assuming that you did take algebra, geometry, and some basic probability; chapter seven is an excellent refresher to bring you up to speed quickly. The chapters on analytical writing are great at showing you what the ETS readers will be looking for. The reviewer that said that there are no explanations for the answers to the practice exams apparently did not look at the 78 pages that followed the answer key. Unlike the Barron's book, the ETS not only explains the correct answer, but also explains why the other distractors are incorrect. I thought the explanations were quite thorough and very helpful. I agree that the computer based version of the test did not provide feedback (if it did, I didn't know where to find it) but I took them after doing the paper tests. These turned out to be EXACTLY like the actual test, and I thought that they were great practice. The grades furnished by the paper and computer-based practice exams were very close to the unofficial scores I received at the end of the actual test. I am quite pleased with this book and the results it helped me achieve.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Study Guide, September 25, 2012
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This review is from: The Official Guide to the GRE Revised General Test, 2nd Edition (Paperback)
I found this book very helpful for studying for the GRE. I reviewed the study sections first and did the practice problems. By the time I got to the practice tests, I felt very comfortable with the test format and with the different question types. I found the math review extremely helpful since I haven't taken math for a very long time.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book for preparing for the GRE, February 22, 2013
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This review is from: The Official Guide to the GRE Revised General Test, 2nd Edition (Paperback)
This book was very informative and helpful in preparing for the graduate entrance exam. The book shows sample essays being scored from a 1-6 based on a topic. This is a good thing to see how ETS grades your essays and how much emphasis should be focused on it.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Math Section, January 14, 2013
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This review is from: The Official Guide to the GRE Revised General Test, 2nd Edition (Paperback)
If you are worried about the Quantitative Reasoning section, this book has an excellent Math Review chapter, with practice problems and good explanations of the answers and how to get them. I had never studied Statistics and Probability and this book did a pretty good job of getting me up to speed. Study this book, plus register for the Princeton Review's free online GRE--that is essential. You must get a couple of practice, computer-based tests in before you go take the real GRE just so you get a feel for the layout of the test, and what the software looks like. I worked with this book, and took the online test twice, then got a 155 on the real GRE the first time I took it. That's not phenomenal but it's respectable for a non-technical person.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Practice tests not indicative of actual test difficulty, May 27, 2014
This review is from: The Official Guide to the GRE Revised General Test, 2nd Edition (Paperback)
Do NOT trust the difficulty of the quantitative section presented by the four practice tests in this book (two from the software and two paper ones in the book itself). The actual gre's quant section is much harder than what the book and software present.

I took all four practice tests from this book and all six provided by the Manhattan Prep books. The Manhattan Prep exams are MUCH closer to the difficulty of the actual test. I'd noticed this stark difference in difficulty early on and taken solace in the idea that the Manhattan Prep exams were harder than the actual test, as represented by the practice exams in this book. In the end my quant score was dead on with the Manhattan Prep estimate and over 10 percentile points under the estimate provided by the official book's exams.

If you're looking for an accurate way to test your skills before the exam go with Manhattan Prep.
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The Official Guide to the GRE Revised General Test, 2nd Edition
The Official Guide to the GRE Revised General Test, 2nd Edition by Educational Testing Service (Paperback - August 7, 2012)
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