Kaplan GRE® 2014 Strategies, Practice, and Review with 4 Practice Tests: Book + Online Paperback – Jun 4 2013
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About the Author
Celebrating 75+ years as the world leader in the test prep industry, Kaplan Test Prep (www.kaptest.com) is a premier provider of educational and career services for individuals, schools and businesses. With a comprehensive menu of online offerings as well as a complete array of print books and digital products, Kaplan offers preparation for more than 90 standardized tests, including entrance exams for secondary school, college and graduate school, as well as professional licensing exams for attorneys, physicians and nurses. Kaplan also provides private tutoring and graduate admissions consulting services.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
- Extremely simplistic and frankly self-evident strategies presented as groundbreaking. This isn't exactly awful; it's just a waste of the reader's time. I don't need a page-and-a-half flow chart telling me "1. Read the question. [detail detail detail] 2. Approach the question strategically. [detail detail detail] 3. Apply the KAPLAN strategy to analyzing the question. [detail detail detail] 4. Choose your answer using a KAPLAN strategy [detail detail detail] ..." I exaggerate only slightly. The combination of inflated prose heavier on the word count than on substance and the constant reminders of how spectacular KAPLAN Strategies are (we get it, we're already reading the book) make it a far less efficient guide than it could be.
- Even when the strategies are presented, it's often in a scattershot, ad hoc way. There will be a sample GRE question and then a discussion of the strategies for answering that particular question, rather than a more systematic overview of the *types* of questions one may encounter and the strategies for them in general. For example, there is no discussion in the main text itself of how to deal with combinations and permutations on the quantitative section; they're addressed only in the answers to such questions in the sample problem sets - a terribly inefficient way of actually teaching how to address these questions. Similar approaches are taken with other problem types, leaving roughly half of the main text to comprise merely reminders to "use a KAPLAN Stategy." Yes, fine, telling us what some of those strategies are for the actual questions would be advisable.
- The sample problem sets are drastically easier than questions on the actual GRE. I studied for a couple months using Barron's GRE prep book and Kaplan's, and I was shocked by how consistently Barron's questions were harder than Kaplan's *in a good way*. Barron's questions reflected (a) the actual difficulty level of questions on the test, and (b) complexity and subtlety that allow the reader really to dig into the principles and strategies discussed in the text. I took the GRE last week and thought upon leaving that if I had used only Kaplan as a guide to what to expect on the test I would have been frankly angry.
This review may read like a commercial for Barron's prep book. Frankly, I intend it as such in addition to being a review of Kaplan's. In the verbal, math, and writing sections, Kaplan's approach is weak in both its instruction and its opportunities to practice on sample questions, and Barron's is consistently stronger in these ways. (Barron's 'Essential Words for the GRE' is an excellent resource as well, by the way.)
Again, I don't work for Barron's or anything like that (and this won't show up as a verified purchase review because I got all the aforementioned books from the library). I just want others preparing for the GRE to have the best chance they can, and Barron's provides an excellent product toward that end. Kaplan's product is so poor as to be frankly irresponsible of them to put on the market.