The GRE Revised General Test has thrown many would-be grad students for a loop! How do they study? What GRE prep book should they buy? Whom should they trust for a good score on a test that's just getting underway?
Well, ETS, the people who have revised the GRE, have produced a book intended to help you prep for this thing. Nosy girl that I am, I've taken a gander at their work, and this is what I've found:
I always like to start positively, so I'll plunge in with the plusses.
- Aesthetics: For those of you who haven't perused a couple hundred test prep books this past year, you may not understand this, but the book is pleasing to both your fingertips and eyes. ETS has printed using the color blue (gasp!) and has opted for smooth, bright white pages instead of the textured, cream-colored "newsprinty" nonsense you find in typical test prep books. Blech.
- Quality: The questions are, of course, precise and representative of what you should find on the revised GRE, and are listed according to difficulty.
- CD ROM: Download the software and prepare to take the GRE Computer-Based Test. The CD ROM actually simulates the testing environment, and that's tough to duplicate.
- Size: Instead of creating an incomprehensible volume of 1000's of pages, ETS has kept it shy of the average end for length at about 450 pages or so. Very manageable, even in a short amount of time.
Now for the ugly part of my job – naming the improvements:
- Style: Would it kill ETS to write with the audience in mind? Sheesh. This book is DRY, and I definitely intended to capitalize every one of those letters. Now, I'm not asking for a comic book to prep for the GRE; I would, however, appreciate a little bit of style here and there to ensure that I don't faceplant directly into the middle of page 253 while I'm studying. If you like your facts straightforward, then this book's for you.
- Strategy: I get that ETS creates the test and they don't want to give all their secrets away, but I definitely wanted some more "insider" tips and strategies for this bad boy. They give tips for each kind of question – I'll give them that. But the tips seem a little obvious and available for free on the website.
The Bottom Line
ETS's The Official Guide to the GRE Revised General Test is officially hitting just above average for me. I'm giving it a big thumbs-up for its representation of the questions, quality of practice tests, and the CD ROM. The snoozeville language and lackluster strategies bring it down. Overall, it'll get you prepped for the revised GRE exam in a traditional, straightforward way.