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4.0 out of 5 stars Best practicing book for GRE general
I love this book because the test in it is so familiar with the real test. I finished one before and I'd like to practice one more time.
Published 16 months ago by Shuya Wang

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30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Could actually make your score go down.
I am a math tutor with years of experience helping students prepare for standardized tests. The Princeton Review generally does an excellent job with its off-the-shelf products, even for smaller tests like the SSAT/ISEE, so I thought it would be fine to try out their materials for the new GRE. Their main prep book is fine and seems generally up to the usual PR...
Published on May 10, 2012 by Alishya Kirshara


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30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Could actually make your score go down., May 10, 2012
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This review is from: 1,014 GRE Practice Questions, 3rd Edition (Graduate School Test Preparation) (Paperback)
I am a math tutor with years of experience helping students prepare for standardized tests. The Princeton Review generally does an excellent job with its off-the-shelf products, even for smaller tests like the SSAT/ISEE, so I thought it would be fine to try out their materials for the new GRE. Their main prep book is fine and seems generally up to the usual PR standard.

This book? Not so much.

First, the math sections are filled with errors. While working through the drills with my student, we found typically about one error per drill. It varies somewhat and I haven't really kept track, but I'd estimate the error rate at 10% or so, meaning 1 in 10 problems has some kind of mistake. Books with zero errors are exceedingly rare, but this error rate is orders of magnitude above what is acceptable. For the THIRD edition of this book to fail so miserably at basic error checks is simply inexcusable.

We've encountered problems that a) are written so that the right answer isn't listed (one problem would have required relatively advanced trigonometry to solve as written because of an inverted ratio); b) indicate the wrong answer in the answer key; c) make math mistakes in the answers & explanations; and d) have more than one right answer, but aren't written as an all-that-apply question. And they're not above mixing and matching: some problems have multiple mistakes. I recall one in particular that was set up as a standard multiple-choice problem but had three right answers. The answer list summary had the correct answer choices, but the detailed explanation listed a fourth right answer before explaining in detail why only three answers were correct. That was a blatant example, but some of them are much more insidious.

And how do you trust the verbal practice when you know the math is fraught with problems? In the verbal sections, it can be much more difficult to recognize when a question is "wrong". It's not that the book gets vocabulary definitions wrong. It's more that the book is supposed to teach you to think like the test makers when you're answering a question, but all the mistakes elsewhere make you question whether they know themselves. For example: one of the reading comprehension passages was on a scientific topic. That's fine -- the test passages can be about anything. And most of the questions were fine. But one of them asked the reader to make an inference that was impossible to justify without knowing science facts above and beyond what the passage provided. It was quite subtle, and the only reason I'm completely sure that this inference was out of line is that I'm a scientist myself. Before we went over it together, my student just thought he had failed at the question.

This sort of thing is enough to destroy a student's confidence. If you don't have a tutor sitting by your side to work through the problems and point out typos, you will be lucky if frustration and wasted time are the only consequences of doing the drills in this book. Once you have the basic skills you need to do well on the test, confidence is arguably the most important thing you can bring to the test with you. How much is your score going to drop if you've relied on this book and are therefore left wondering if you can do simple arithmetic?

It's not just all that extra time you'll spend triple-checking even the easy questions. All that anxiety-triggered adrenaline diminishes your cognitive abilities. A test prep book is supposed to ease your anxiety about the test. If it instead increases it, it's affecting your ability to perform at a neuro-chemical level. And I'm not exaggerating. The psychological aspect of standardized tests is every bit as important as the part based on what you learned in school.

In summary: although the prospect of 1,000+ practice problems is tantalizing, the mistakes in this book taint every single one of them. Worse, the insidious errors could easily torpedo your confidence, which could be disastrous on test day.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Errors!, April 30, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: 1,014 GRE Practice Questions, 3rd Edition (Graduate School Test Preparation) (Paperback)
The ETS doesn't offer their free downloadable software for Mac (which is already pretty bad), so I decided to order this book. I reasoned that getting the prep questions directly from the testmakers would be best, especially given that the test recently changed, and there don't seem to be many third-party study guides out there. This was also the cheapest of the available updated options. Well. I certainly learned my lesson. The book is awful. There are basically no real studying tips (and if I read "plug in a nice, happy number" one more time I might scream), and the answer key has enough mistakes that it's difficult to know when I'm really wrong. I thought it was my poor math skills until I caught a blatant mistake (they didn't read the question carefully enough, I guess). Perhaps the book was rushed out too quickly, but it's sloppy.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Avoid This book, July 29, 2012
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This review is from: 1,014 GRE Practice Questions, 3rd Edition (Graduate School Test Preparation) (Paperback)
You know I promised my self I would not make this an irate review, however this book is beyond frustrating. Dearest, Princeton was this book edited by ferret? I mean that in all sincerity.

Vocab:
The Text Completions are riddled with spelling errors and sometimes don't even match the answer key. The Reading Comprehension is mediocre there is more wiggle room in some of the answers then worm has in the New York City sewers. The sentence Equivalency This mediocre as well. I do applaud you for at least using the vocabulary to make some stretches.

Quant:
Here is where your editor truly shines! This part of the book is riddled with so many inaccuracies. From question which should have a square next to them instead of circles ( One of these things is not like the other!)The math is just wrong on a variety of problems from inequalities not matching to your editor even forgetting some of the basic rules of PEMDAS. That is not even a scratch on the surface of what makes this section the worst (even over Kaplans error ridden Advanced math practice) review book.

But WAIT THERE'S MORE FOLKS. For the past three Editions THERE IS NO ERRATA. I mean you think a company with the gal to release such error-ridden book would AT the LEAST offer to edit the book down the road. NOPE.

If I could put into words the ire you've raised through this book it would pant a vivacious picture of frustration.

Overall:
0/10 Overall
6/10 for Vocab practice
0/10 for Quant as you would be better served by having a ferret crawl around in your pants then trying to learn anything from this book.

AVOID instead try the folks at Manhattan GRE who actually release their errata which is incredibly few in Number.Manhattan Prep GRE Set of 8 Strategy Guides, 3rd Edition (Instructional Guide/Strategy Guide)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The math sections is horrendous., May 9, 2014
This review is from: 1,014 GRE Practice Questions, 3rd Edition (Graduate School Test Preparation) (Paperback)
The math section will make you feel like you are going crazy because very often the "correct" answer is wrong due to a basic math error such as 180 - 115 = 75. And you will sit there questioning yourself, wasting your precious time.
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1.0 out of 5 stars So many errors, December 16, 2013
This review is from: 1,014 GRE Practice Questions, 3rd Edition (Graduate School Test Preparation) (Paperback)
There are so many errors in the math sections I had to stop using it for fear that I was doing more damage than good. Not sure how I can trust anything this book or its publishers have to say
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1.0 out of 5 stars DO NOT BUY THIS BOOK, October 17, 2013
This review is from: 1,014 GRE Practice Questions, 3rd Edition (Graduate School Test Preparation) (Paperback)
I never write reviews on anything, but after finding yet another mistake in the math drills I feel compelled. There is at least 1 mistake per drill (often more), both in the answers and/or in the questions. I highly recommend getting a different book to practice with.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Best practicing book for GRE general, July 28, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: 1,014 GRE Practice Questions, 3rd Edition (Graduate School Test Preparation) (Paperback)
I love this book because the test in it is so familiar with the real test. I finished one before and I'd like to practice one more time.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Has some concept errors & typos, July 4, 2013
This review is from: 1,014 GRE Practice Questions, 3rd Edition (Graduate School Test Preparation) (Paperback)
While this book has questions similar to actual GRE questions, it has gotten me confused with the plug-in concept. If you pick numbers other than what they've used in the book, you get different answers.
Some questions on exponent simplification have typos, no matter how hard you try you'll never get them right and its hard to determine your score, in case you are timing yourself on a drill, which beats the purpose of such a book! This is very disappointing.
I have seen some typos in the verbal section as well.
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1.0 out of 5 stars I returned my copy., May 18, 2013
This review is from: 1,014 GRE Practice Questions, 3rd Edition (Graduate School Test Preparation) (Paperback)
I purchased my copy of the book after looking through it, and I didn't notice anything too questionable in the store. After a single night working with it, however, I was able to find at least 1-2 mistakes per math drill, as well as a great number of grammatical errors and spelling errors in some of the explanations at the beginning of the book (the portion of the book that tells you what to expect from the test in general). This really didn't instill any confidence, so I returned the book and got my money back.

The people that rated this five stars clearly don't know what they're talking about. Grad school will be difficult for them, if they truly thought this book great.

I also feel I should comment that I agree; the book's editor must have been a ferret. :)
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1.0 out of 5 stars Riddled with errors, January 27, 2013
This sounded GREAT, and a quick skim at the bookstore didn't turn up any problems. Alas, I've only done 3 of the quant sections and have already run into several blatant errors, a few more poorly worded questions (including ones that require multiple answers but do not actually say so), and a number of totally unhelpful "explanations" for good measure. Also, while by no means the worst issue, the repetitiveness of PLUG IT IN! as the only recommended strategy is getting quite old -- sure, it's useful at times, but it's often quite slow.

I worked through all of ETS's official prep materials before getting this, and while the questions are not a universe apart, they don't strike me as a stellar approximation of the real test.

**For the record, my scores on practice tests were around 160 -- not great, but not deeply mathematically challenged. With the official materials, it was always very easy to understand where I'd gone wrong, as the answers listed in the book were correct and the explanations clear. I'm not impossible to please!**
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