- Series: Official Guide to the Gre
- Paperback: 563 pages
- Publisher: McGraw-Hill Education; 2nd edition (August 7, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 007179123X
- ISBN-13: 978-0071791236
- Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 1.2 x 10.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars See all reviews (484 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,755 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Official Guide to the GRE Revised General Test, 2nd Edition 2nd Edition
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Educational Testing Service (ETS) advances quality and equity in education for people worldwide by creating assessments based on rigorous research. ETS serves individuals, educational institutions, and government agencies by providing customized solutions for teacher certification, English language learning, and elementary, secondary, and post-secondary education, as well as conducting educational research, analysis, and policy studies. Founded as a nonprofit in 1947, ETS develops, administers, and scores more than 50 million tests annually--including the TOEFL and TOEIC tests, the GRE tests, and The Praxis Series assessments--in more than 180 countries, at over 9000 locations worldwide.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
*** PROS ***
1. Original GRE Questions: All the questions in here are questions that have appeared in the GRE test. This becomes particularly significant in the Chapters “Verbal Reasoning” and “Quantitative Reasoning”. The strategies described in these chapters are very useful and relevant in the GRE test.
2. Chapters on AWA Sections: This book is, by far, the best guide for AWA section available in the market. It has a collection of sample essays and it explains in great detail how to score well in the AWA section.
3. Verbal and Quantitative reasoning practice Questions: Each section is prefaced by detailed theoretical discussions that cover the entire topic in great detail. There are quite a few solved examples in each topic. The solutions discussed in this chapter are meticulously detailed.
4. Classification of Questions: The questions in the practice chapters are classified as Easy, Medium and Hard Questions. It provides an additional frame of reference for the test takers.
5. Practice tests: The book has two paper tests and two tests on the CD ROM. There is a solution section after each paper test and there is a set of sample solutions to Essay questions. The CD ROM test can also be downloaded from the website as the PowerPrep II software.
*** CONS ***
1. Number of questions in the book is quite low when compared to similar books by other publishers. If you need material for practice you probably have to invest in another book.
2. It is not the most beginner-friendly book. The book assumes that you have polished your basic concepts, specially in the Quants section, before going thorugh it
3. While the PowerPrep tests are most accurate test available in the market their result analysis tool is quite inadequate. It does not have the SWOT analysis capabilities comparable to that of the Princeton or Kaplan Tests.
This is the perfect book with which you can polish your GRE Prep. The fact that it has original GRE questions alone is a powerful reason to buy it. You need to train your ear, esp. with the verbal questions. Further, the Chapter on Quant and Verbal Practice Question and the Chapter on the AWA section would add significant value to your preparation.
*** Some Frequently Asked Questions:
What are some of the other study options that I have?
Students in the past who have felt the need that they require training from a basic level have started off their test prep with Kaplan or Barron’s books and topped them off with ETS GRE Guide. You might want to consider Manhattan for your initial preparation as well. Manhattan GRE Set of eight strategy guides come with 8 books that target specific math and verbal areas. However they require 2-3 months to complete. If you need more original GRE Questions you can buy the Official GRE Quantitative and or Verbal Reasoning books.
*** What is a good study plan using ETS GRE Guide?
I would recommend that you could start with Manhattan/Kaplan and finish it within couple of months, then evaluate which are your areas of strength/ weakness. Based on your analysis you can invest in this book by ETS to bolster your weaknesses.
*** Will this get me to 320+?
This book alone, won’t get you to 320+ score – it is just a collection of questions with some rough rules. You should consider investing in a guide book that can refresh your quant and verbal skills. Good options are Kaplan or Manhattan books to start with and then the ETS guide would prove to be useful in the last leg of your test prep.
*** Other Books I should know about?
The Manhattan GRE series are a great and very comprehensive collection as well as the Official GRE Verbal and Quant books. You can also use Kaplan Premiere if you don't have the time or money for the Manhattan GRE (MGRE) series)
Best of luck with your test prep.
Sandy, GRE: 323
PS: I reply to comments on Amazon.
The math review was comprehensive. I don't believe a single question was asked on the exam that wasn't in some aspect wasn't covered in the prep materials. The only shortcoming in the math preparation was the lack of geometry questions in the practice tests, so I was not expecting so many on my actual exam. I'm okay at Math, and my score stayed the same from first to last practice test.
Personally, I didn't find the advice regarding the essay section helpful at all, which was disappointing because that was the section I was most worried about. But I also used the Princeton Review book and their advice was just what I needed to get going on the essays.
The most telling feature of this prep book is that I got EXACTLY the same score on my actual GRE as I got on my last practice test, so if nothing else, this prep guide will let you know if you're ready for the real thing.