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The Revised GRE Debuts and Chris’s (New) GRE Experience Begins!

Not since the SAT changed in 2005 have we witnessed such a seismic shift in the test prep world as we did today – welcome the new GRE.

Months of wondering – and worrying – about the contents of the test have finally ended with the first group of test-takers boldly going where none have gone before. Of course, the collective anxiety of those yet to take the test will hardly diminish – the test will be four hours of difficult questions, after all – but whether the content will be notably different from ETS’s published materials can now be answered.

Or at least I’ll do my best, come Aug. 10th, to answer any questions regarding the new GRE. For that is when I’ll roll up the sleeves, take a trip to my local testing center, and learn for myself what the new GRE is really all about (and of course share my experience with everybody as soon as I’ve finished!).

Until then, to get a quick, but very helpful overview of the test, watch the “Everything You Need to Know about the New GRE” webinar here or check out our infographic (in picture or video format) below.



1. Chris’s pre-exam interview

2. Chris’s post-exam debrief

3. Recorded video: Chris’s live Q&A webinar

4. Other students’ GRE experiences

Changes on the New GRE



By the way, students who use Magoosh GRE improve their scores by an average of 8 points on the new scale (150 points on the old scale.) Click here to learn more.

41 Responses to The Revised GRE Debuts and Chris’s (New) GRE Experience Begins!

  1. shruti September 12, 2011 at 3:47 am #

    My exam is on Sept 20th, in Mumbai. I am a bit tense and worried. Please help!
    My math is good and verbal is average. How can i improve in RC?

    • Chris Lele
      Chris September 12, 2011 at 12:36 pm #

      Hi Shruti,

      On the Magoosh blog we offer advice on useful RC strategies. Also, if you read my book reviews, you can get a sense of what each of the books offer (for RC I would recommend Princeton Review).

      I know you only have a week, but with hard work you can still make a difference in your
      score. Magoosh also offers a product with lots of reading comp practice.

      Best of luck!

  2. Islam Mantawy September 3, 2011 at 1:40 pm #

    I will take exam at 8 sep after few days

    from my study i feel that quantitative sections is not difficult in ETS PREP II and In kaplan CD

    so i wanna to ask GRE takers is it the same in exam

    and i would ask about Verbal section , how to prepare for it ? I am not a native speaker

    i focus on quantitative sections more more more than verbal section

    • Chris Lele
      Chris September 3, 2011 at 5:51 am #

      The level on ETS Prep II is similar to the actual test. If you find it not too difficult it’s because the math on the GRE is not advanced math (i.e. trigonometry, calc, etc.)

      If your math is stronger then you may want to focus more on the verbal.

      Hope that helps!

  3. Vanan September 2, 2011 at 7:36 am #

    Hi Chris,
    Which are the best GRE Prep books offering good practice tests (leave alone the strategies part) ? Next to ETS and Magoosh’ excellent tests, which other practice tests hold atleast good to an extent?

    • Chris Lele
      Chris September 12, 2011 at 12:09 pm #

      Overall, I would say only Barron’s offers consistent quality in its product. Kaplan is uneven and PR tends to be on the easy side.

      Hope that helps!

  4. Sakshi August 24, 2011 at 9:50 am #

    Hey Chris I do well on verbal but I’m kinda jittery about Quant considering anything less than 780 is treated with contempt. Could you tell me a good practice book for Maths..My GRE’s on the 26th Sept

    • Margarette Jung
      Margarette August 24, 2011 at 5:25 pm #

      Hi, Sakshi

      I’m going to answer your question on Chris’s behalf:

      1. Obviously this may sound a little biased, but if you really do want the best practice material for the quantitative section, Magoosh has the best. Magoosh’s math content provider, Brent Hanneson, is a GRE math expert and Chris says nothing on the market right now is better than Brent’s material. You can take a look at the plans here:

      2. For a book, Chris recommends the SAT math section for accuracy in terms of difficulty and content, since it’s high-quality extra practice problems, and what is currently out on the market right now for strictly GRE math prep is not very good. The best SAT book is the Official Book released by CollegeBoard, which you can find on Amazon here:

      Hope that helps, let us know if you have any other questions!

  5. Michael August 15, 2011 at 11:42 am #

    Hi Chirs –
    Do you have any comments for the flash cards provided by Barron’s as study materials?

    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele August 15, 2011 at 4:54 pm #

      Are these the Barron’s prep cards for the old GRE? Are they solely vocabulary cards?

  6. lisa August 15, 2011 at 9:56 am #

    I was just wondering what your reasoning was for avoiding McGraw-Hill’s study book? I didn’t look up much information before deciding to purchase a study book and bought McGraw-Hill’s. Thanks!

    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele August 15, 2011 at 4:53 pm #

      Hi Lisa,

      The McGraw-Hill book is lacking on numerous levels. The tips and strategies are so general and common-sense based that they are not very helpful. Gone are any practical tips for more difficult problems. This omission is hardly surprising considering that there are very few difficult or even medium-level problems in the book (this goes for both math and verbal). The general feel of the test is very different. The trap answers to the text completions are chosen almost haphazardly. The reading passages tend to be very straightforward – the questions are especially vague. Basically, if one only uses the McGraw-Hill book that person will be in for a surprise when they take the actual test.

      Hope that helps!

  7. Brittany August 11, 2011 at 1:21 pm #

    At the end of the test, you get a range of scores generalized to the old test. How are those supposed to be interpreted in relation to the new scores?

    • Margarette Jung
      Margarette August 12, 2011 at 4:12 pm #

      Hi, Brittany!

      I think Chris went through your question during the live Q&A, which you can watch here: if you weren’t able to attend. Thanks!

  8. Samantha August 10, 2011 at 12:29 am #

    Thank You so much Chris, what about the NEW Barron book, would you recommend that for good verbal? and would you recommend the actually ETS GRE book?

    GOOD Luck with you GRE test!

    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele August 10, 2011 at 10:09 am #

      Thanks! I’m gearing up as we speak.

      As for Barron’s, its book is relatively strong all around.

      As for the ETS book, I’d recommend it from a content standpoint. This is very different from a fun, user-friendly book that breaks down the test in easy, digestible pieces. Kaplan is great at that, indeed to a fault.

      ETS, on the other hand, isn’t the best tutor, so to speak. They don’t offer the most effective strategies, nor is their book the most navigable. You want to pick up your strategies from elsewhere (like Magoosh) and use ETS books only for their content, i.e. practice questions. Simply put, the content in the ETS book will mirror the real test in terms of style, sophistication and difficulty. The other books, at best, are a rough approximation of the actual questions on the test.

  9. Aditya Rao August 9, 2011 at 9:38 pm #

    Hi, does anyone know how good the manhattan GRE books (Verbal) are? I used the Manhattan GMAT (Verbal) books and they were very good.

    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele August 10, 2011 at 10:14 am #

      The Manhattan new GRE books have yet to hit the market. If they are anything like the Manhattan GMAT books, then my answer is the books will be excellent. However, the GMAT – as the company’s name would suggest – is Manhattan GMAT’s core competency. We’ll have to wait to see how strong the new GRE line of books will be.

  10. Samantha August 8, 2011 at 3:57 pm #

    I take the Revised GRE September 25, and everyone is saying Kaplan verbal workbook and the premier book is good for the verbal section of the exam….

    The suggestions that you listed are they only sections of the books? Like is there a “Princeton Review text completions/sentence equivalence book”? Are the books you listed for the new GRE?

    Sorry for all the questions -__-

    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele August 9, 2011 at 6:50 pm #

      Not to be the contrarian, but if you compare the text completions and sentence equivalence questions in Kaplan to those published by ETS:

      you will see there is a vast difference. For Kaplan the answers are very apparent to the extent that you do not even have to read the entire sentence. In fact you can read the word right next to the blank and there is only one word amongst the answer choices that could possibly go there. The part of your brain that is supposed to recognize context and pick up on stylistic nuances shuts off. That is Kaplan lulls you into thinking the test is much easier than it actually is.

      But the Reading Comp on Kaplan is much better. So yes, you definitely want to pick and choose sections from the different books.

      As for Princeton Review they do a better job with the text completions and sentence completions. Their Reading Comp is okay. The reason people tend to like Kaplan better is the lay out. It is easy to follow and makes the test seem easy. However, the real new GRE is anything but easy.

      So pick and choose but use as much of ETS’s material as you can to really get a sense for the type of questions you’ll see test day.

      And let me know if you have any other questions. I definitely don’t mind answering them.

      Good luck with your studying,


  11. Samantha August 8, 2011 at 11:29 am #

    I forgot to add especially for the verbal section

    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele August 8, 2011 at 2:24 pm #

      Great question!

      For verbal I would skip Kaplan on anything but reading comp.

      For Princeton Review, I would use use text completions/sentence equivalence.

      Barron’s is all around pretty strong in terms of verbal content.

      Avoid McGraw Hill.

      For math content, Barron’s is still the strongest.

      Let me know if that is helpful. Also, if you had any other in mind, let me know and I’ll vet them asap.

      Thanks again for a very pertinent question!

  12. Samantha August 8, 2011 at 11:25 am #

    Hey what prep book would you recommend Chris?

  13. Debasish August 7, 2011 at 10:38 pm #

    hi chris, i’m taking the exam on 12th .. will be glad to know any helpful tips .. good luck to all test takers

    • Debasish August 7, 2011 at 10:42 pm #

      just something i found on the net .. thought might help you! RC seems to be the bane this time around!

      • Chris Lele
        Chris Lele August 8, 2011 at 11:15 am #

        Great! Thanks for the link. My feeling on the practice test on-line and the Official Guide was that the Reading Comp sections were a bit on the easier side. I wouldn’t be surprised if the content on the actual exam is more difficult.

  14. Karthik August 6, 2011 at 4:03 am #

    Looking forward to hear your experience. If possible tell us how many question are from Reading Comprehension, Sentence Completion and Text Completion. ( A rough Estimate )

    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele August 7, 2011 at 7:26 am #

      I will definitely let you guys know the breakdown of questions. Also – beside specific vocabulary words 🙂 – is there anything else you’d be interesting in knowing. I’ll do my best to take note during the test.

      • Huzefa August 25, 2011 at 1:28 am #

        Hey Chris,

        I donot have access to your post exam experience video, it would be great if you can just leave a reply enumerating the break down.


  15. vaishnavi August 4, 2011 at 3:54 am #

    Hey Chris,

    Your doing a great job.I am eagerly waiting for your post next wednesday
    Il be appearing for the test on 5th sept.

    Good Luck everyone!! Keep sharing all your experiences .


    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele August 4, 2011 at 10:12 pm #

      Great Vaishnavi!

      I look forward hearing about your new GRE experience as well. And anyone else out there, if you are taking the new GRE soon, let us know! It’ll be great to hear about your experience too.

      • Huzefa August 25, 2011 at 1:25 am #


        Mine is on 2nd os Sep, will surely let you know how i felt during the test. Wish me luck 😉


        • Chris Lele
          Chris August 25, 2011 at 11:15 am #

          Good luck, I’d love to hear how it goes!

  16. ayush August 3, 2011 at 1:08 pm #

    hey chris, do you have any idea on how many questions we can get wrong and still get a perfect score in math? im shooting for 800 and i’ll be disappointed with anything less than that, but i always get 2-3 questions wrong in the practice tests, silly mistakes..ets just gives ranges, which says one’s score can be scaled to 800 even if you can upto 10 question wrong!

    also, i really appreciate your team for the magoosh gre website…it is by far the best prep package on the web..


    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele August 3, 2011 at 1:55 pm #

      Thanks for the kudos Ayush!

      Great question on the score ranges. Right now, not even ETS knows how many questions a person can miss and score perfect on the math. Before 95% usually equated to an 800. So if you only miss 2 questions, and 95% of test takers missed more than 2, then you could very well get a perfect 800.

      Still I do find it curious that one can miss 800 and still score perfect. The new GRE very well could have some diabolically difficult questions, which most students answer incorrectly. If that is the case, then maybe one can miss 10 an still score perfect. My guess is the number will be closer to 3 or 4. For the answer, we’ll all have to wait until November.

      As for the diabolically difficult questions I’ll let everyone know next Wednesday.

  17. Erika August 2, 2011 at 11:18 pm #

    I just can’t wait to read about your GRE experience Chris! I’m very anxious taking the new GRE especially that I’m not a native English speaker.

    All the best,
    from Livermore CA

  18. reshma August 2, 2011 at 1:13 am #

    wow …chris iam really excited and tensed to know the experience from the test takers!!!

    iam gonna take the test on 19th and will share my experience here..


    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele August 2, 2011 at 11:00 am #

      Great! I will be curious to see how our two experiences are similar/different. This should be exciting stuff!

    • Sai August 3, 2011 at 3:12 am #

      Gr8 Reshma… Im gonna take the test on 23rd sep…

      if possible leav a private mail 2

      jus help a stranger!!


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