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Kaplan GRE® 2014 Strategies, Practice, and Review with 4 Practice Tests: Book + Online Paperback – Jun 4 2013


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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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Amazon.com: 37 reviews
21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
Takes too much for granted, too easy, skips important concepts Dec 11 2013
By Vince Kotchian - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've been tutoring the GRE since 2008. Most of the problems I have with this book come from me picturing the average student using it. I am afraid this book will give students a false sense of efficacy for three reasons:

1. The Kaplan methods tend to assume the student has certain skills. For instance, the reading comprehension strategies assume students have a good way to get a main idea from a dense passage. In my experience, many students don't know how to do this. The strategy doesn't work if a student can't do part of it - instead, the book should more clearly explain HOW to look for main idea. Likewise, Kaplan advises to "think strategically" as part of math strategies. I don't think most of my students can see the logical way to make questions simpler, because many haven't done math in a while. I think teaching techniques is much more effective. Of course it's easy to do a math question if you happen to see the logic behind it - but that won't work for many if not most students on the real GRE's complex, multi-layered math questions.

2. The second false confidence booster is the practice questions and tests. They're too easy, and more importantly, too straightforward. Though you might think they're hard enough because they have tough vocab, in fact, the real GRE writes MUCH more complex questions for both verbal and math - questions that are tricky in spite of easy vocab. The reading comp questions are too straightforward. If you just practice with these questions, you will be in for a nasty surprise when you take the real GRE. Admittedly, no one really does a bang-up job of writing verbal GRE questions that are like the real thing - Manhattan Prep is ok.

3. The math section doesn't cover all concepts tested. The verbal tests don't even have logic questions! Not good.

I did like some of this book. The essay writing drills stand out to me because they will help students improve their writing style and get rid of some bad habits. And the math reference in the back is pretty useful. Other than those, though, I think the book isn't a good resource.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Kindle Version = No Access To Online Tests Jan. 9 2014
By thesilentgirl - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
There is only two practice tests in the back of this book, actually, I think only one. If you buy the Kindle version you don't get the codes necessary for the online tests.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Great Tool. Oct. 18 2013
By Nicolle - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Happy I purchased this book, the vocab is really helping. Only a few of every type of math problem. Might need another supplementary book for the math GRE portion.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
A good prep book, though not a standalone Dec 28 2013
By Scott Whitman - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Kaplan offers a lot of ways to prepare for the practical aspects and mechanics of the GRE test itself, and a good level of preparation for the types of problems on the GRE. What is doesn't offer is a comprehensive review of of the actual material itself or a sufficient level of practice testing for one to become comfortable with the test questions. In short, it is a book of tactics and strategies for the GRE, not a textbook. On its own, this book isn't sufficient prep for the GRE, but combined with a "practice test drill" book such as the 5lb Book of GRE Problems and outside reviews of any topics one finds necessary to review, it does quite a good job of preparing one for the test as part of a combined study plan.
Better than nothing (I guess), worse than anything else Feb. 26 2015
By T. Gerkin - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Briefest summation: inferior to Barron's in every way, so if you're picking one you should start there.

General issues
- 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.


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