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Barron's New GRE, 19th Edition Paperback – Jun 1 2011

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 536 pages
  • Publisher: Barron's Educational Series; 19 edition (July 1 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0764146165
  • ISBN-13: 978-0764146169
  • Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 3.1 x 27.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 930 g
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #484,534 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.7 out of 5 stars 143 reviews
841 of 854 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars You have better options. Choose your GRE book carefully. June 3 2011
By Puck - Published on
Format: Paperback
Truly, Barrons creates some of the most helpful educational books, but this GRE book is not the most user-friendly guide to ETS's new graduate exam.

Here are a few things you need to know before you purchase the Barrons edition:

1. Barrons' Quantitative Section: If you're not comfortable with math, you must consider purchasing either Cliffs Math Review for Standardized Tests (Cliffs Test Prep) or Gruber's Complete Preparation for the New SAT, 10th Edition--I'll explain later. Though Barrons does a fantastic job of including difficult math questions, which helps prepare you for the new GRE, the explanations are vague and sometimes inconsistent. Those who are comfortable with math--meaning those who know the basics and rules of arithmetic, algebra, and geometry--will of course love Barrons' take on the new GRE, solely because this book simply reviews concepts of math quickly rather than going into detail and giving step-by-step solutions. Again, for those who are not comfortable with math whatsoever, you'll have a better chance of doing well on the GRE if you take your time with either the Cliffs Math Review or Gruber's version. Both give comprehensive reviews and show step-by-step solutions, without leaving out an iota of fact. Surely, you might think that the Gruber's book is completely useless because it's an SAT book. Nonsense! Both the old and new GRE test your knowledge on 7th, 8th, 9th, and 10th grade math. In fact, SAT math is much more difficult--especially the way it's written--than GRE math (go figure), but supplementing a GRE guide like Barrons with Gruber's or Cliffs will, without a doubt, help. Plus, you'll have a number of questions and diagnostic tests at your fingertips. Keep in mind that the Cliffs review is easy to read, compact, and far more detailed and useful than Gruber's, but Gruber's has some great practice tests for brushing up on your math skills. Again, they're great supplemental materials to accompany any official GRE guide.

2. Barrons' Verbal Section: Princeton Review offers better tips for taking apart some of the most tricky verbal/reading comprehension questions. However, Barrons' vocabulary review (the verbal workout book which is a separate guide) includes a plethora of information on common GRE words and tough text completions, reading comprehension passages, and sentence equivalency questions. Also, take a look at Princeton's Cracking the New GRE with DVD, 2012 Edition (Graduate School Test Preparation) or the Kaplan Premier for the New GRE. Both are essential to any self-designed GRE review package. They give loads of examples, "trigger" tips on recognizing keywords and understanding the verbal section, and you'll have fun doing them. It's like having a funny and intelligent tutor encouraging you to do well in a timely fashion--that's how both guides, especially Princeton, are written. This is not to say, however, that the Barrons guide went totally wrong with the verbal section. Their breakdown of it is okay, simply put: mediocre. If you're strong in the verbal section, than this won't be so much of an issue for you. Another book you should buy is 30 Days to a More Powerful Vocabulary by Wilfred Funk and Norman Lewis. It's a pocket guide and tests your vocabulary over thirty days. Of course, don't be alarmed if you bomb the first diagnostic test; it was meant to destroy you, but when you spend time with this well-written guide, your vocabulary will eventually grow--all because of the guide's solid and comprehensive examples.

3. Barrons' Analytical Writing Section: It'll suffice, and that's all. Remember, there really is no way to grade this section when you're your own editor. Get someone else to grade your essays, preferably someone who writes better than you. If not, get a friend to review your essays. I can't say much about this section because it's difficult to "practice" writing if you don't do the following: write, write, write, and write every single day! No GRE guide, unless you take a prep course with people, can effectively assess your writing skills. Your best bet is to read anything you can get your hands on that either presents or poses an argument (The Economist, Times, and The Atlantic); this, of course, will help you better setup your own essay. Memorize transitional phrases, may close attention to punctuation, and read academic journals for college students--most of which consist of argumentative essays. Also, the stronger you are in the verbal section, the better chance you'll have at scoring high in the analytical section.

Here's some general information and advice you may want to consider:

1. Don't cram. Yes, some people can study and prep for this exam within a month, but anyone who sits for the GRE should really pace themselves before exam day. Take 2, 3, or 4 months studying. Take more if you think it's necessary; do what's best for you. Each day, allocate an hour to studying math and verbal and write a blog or write in a journal to get yourself accustomed to writing if you aren't already (read as well). Also, don't base your decision on reviews that say, "I bought this book. It was great. I studied in a month. I scored high on both sections. Yay for me." Congrats to them, but everyone is different. Again, do what is best for you. If you can't study on your own, take a course. If you can't afford a course, attempt to study on your own--no excuses.

2. The GRE is not the end of the world for you. In truth, the exam is not that difficult when you realize that it is the way in which the GRE is PRESENTED and WRITTEN, via equivocal questions meant to trick you, that makes the GRE seem evil. Any exam is conquerable so long as you put in the necessary time to study. Moreover, the GRE is the not the sole factor that determines whether or not you'll get into graduate school (this is not true for those who are going into the sciences. You must, of course, love all things quantitative. In turn, graduate programs in the sciences will love you too). This exam is merely something that measures the amount of information you can recall, not what you practice on a daily basis, though ETS says otherwise. They're wrong. A cashier has yet to ask, in the form of a word problem, how to pay for a shirt that was once $30.00 but now 45% off or ask for the percent increase or decrease of an item over a certain period. If you've met someone like this, lobby to get them fired.

3. Breathe. If you're put off and afraid of standardized tests, have no fear. Here are some guides which have helped me cope with the GRE (maybe, they'll help you too): As a general guide and for practice tests, I use Cracking the New GRE with DVD by Princeton, Kaplan's New GRE 2011-2012 Premier with CD-ROM, and this Barrons edition. FYI, I use them for their practice questions. For specific sections that need further explanation, such as the verbal and math sections, I use Funk and Lewis' book for vocabulary, Kaplan's vocab box for their nifty cards, and Cliffs' stellar Math Review for Standardized Tests (Cliffs Test Prep). Again, Princeton's breakdown of the verbal section is particularly good. Granted, this is quite a hefty load of GRE material. But consider the following...there's no perfect GRE guide. One book may do a better job of explaining, for example the math section, than another that has--let's say--a better verbal section but lacks a solid math section. Get books that have particular strengths. Don't settle for just one that's merely a general review, unless you only need a review. Supplement, supplement, supplement! And, invest in materials that will give you the big pay-off: substantial scores.

And no, using so many materials isn't that confusing. Again, use some guides for their strengths in particular sections, and then use overly general guides for their diagnostic and practice exams. Switch them up. By the way, always consult the ETS website. They have downloadable content. The more questions you do, the more comfortable you'll be on exam day. Expose yourself to as many questions as possible.

If you're a well-rounded college student, then all of what I've written won't matter as much. Good luck to anyone taking the GRE.

All best,

P.S., the reviews for the latest Princeton Review for the New GRE are total bull. Seriously, you don't have to be smart to realize that no book is perfectly outlined and written. One word: supplement! Excuse any errors I may have made.

63 of 65 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If You Want a High Score Use The Barron's Book June 19 2011
By C. D. HOYT - Published on
Format: Paperback
Barron's Guide to the New GRE Exam stands out because its focus is on mastering the "hard questions", i.e. the "level 4 and 5" questions on the GRE exam. While Kaplan and Princeton Review are quality review guides that are popular because they appear to be more user friendly, the sad fact is they do not expose the test taker to the Hard Test Questions nor do they show the student how to solve those hard questions that boost your score and make you more competitive to the better schools. The Barron's math section is very good to excellent and the Barron's verbal is perhaps the best because it contains those 3500 most popular vocabulary words that frequently appear on the GRE and that you must learn if you want to get a high score to go a top school. If anything, I would recommend supplementing Barron's with Grubber's GRE exam prep book in order to master more vocab questions and learn more detail on how to solve the math questions. One thing is for certain, the best place to first encounter those "heart-stopping" "Level 4 and 5 Questions" is on the practice exams rather than the real test where your future is at stake. As for the writing sections, again, I found Barron's and Grubber's to be better. In the end the choice of which book to buy really depends on how high a score you need and how much work you want to do. If you want a high score and will to do the hard work, then purchase the Barron's guides.
28 of 31 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, but you need more. June 13 2011
By BeforeDarknessFalls - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a great book to study from if you use it along with the Kaplan book. Using both books together helps to understand all the math concepts better. The Kaplan book alone is not enough as it glosses over certain math concepts and the Barron book is not enough because it isn't organized or worded as well as the Kaplan book. You need both books to complete your GRE prep.

Other good GRE books you might want to have are the McGraw Hill's guide to the new GRE and McGraw Hill guide to new GRE Math.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Frustrating. Dec 14 2011
By Naomi Rinehold - Published on
Format: Paperback
I used this book for its practice exercise sections, and for the CD-based practice tests. Both were disappointing. A distressing number of its questions were ambiguous. The CD was even more frustrating. One passage-based question was completely unrelated to the passage provided. (The question was about women in the workplace, and the passage was about the US's pre-WWII relation to Europe.) One math question referred to a diagram that was not provided. Further, when I finished the test and looked at the scores, I discovered that it marked as wrong several questions that I had answered correctly. When I checked their explanation, it showed my answers, and then the correct answers... and they were the same. One explanation was so poor that it listed an answer as correct that it then called incorrect in its own explanation.

This book needs an editor.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Friendly Little Guide Jan. 4 2012
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback
I took the GRE in December 2011 and found this book to be the most helpful of the various study guides I used. Before I started studying, I was most worried about the writing and quantitative sections and not as worried about the verbal section.

Math prep: This was where the Barron's book was most helpful to me. I dutifully worked through each section in the Math Review chapter, which took me about a month of working two or three nights a week. To my surprise, using Barron's to reacquaint myself with math concepts from high school was actually enjoyable! I felt like I gained a much deeper conceptual understanding of math than I had had before. In high school I would happily plug in numbers into formulas, but I dreaded the two or three "trick" problems at the end of the problem set that required reasoning about the concepts. On the GRE, almost all the math questions are more like those "trick" problems from high school. In practicing for the GRE, I developed the habit of taking a breath while I read the math questions and literally making a fist to prevent myself from desperately trying to scratch out a solution instead of thinking carefully about the way the problem was presented. I think the Barron's book was very helpful in preparing me, but I did also use the Kaplan's math guide. I'd recommend using both, if you can, because they each cover slightly different types of problems (I noticed this esp. with ratios/probabilities, percents, and averages).

Writing prep: I read through the sections in Barron's, which were definitely helpful in giving me ideas about how to attack the topics, but I think the ETS website had advice that was just as useful. I did read through the entire pool of Issue topics, as Barron's suggests, and I did try to find editorials and essays from newspapers or introductory academic books (or TED talks :) on the common issues. And then, the single best piece of advice I received was to 1) choose a topic from the pool, 2) force myself to quickly come up with three reasons for AND against each topic, 3) scratch out a brief outline, and 4) move on to another topic.

Verbal prep: I worked through a set of Barron's flash cards, pulling out only the cards for words I wasn't familiar with and then drilling those. I also worked through all the practice Verbal sections between the Barron's guide and the free PowerPrep software available from ETS.