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Barron’s 6 GRE Practice Tests Book Review

After a slew of abysmal GRE prep books—some of Barron’s offerings included—Barron’s 6 GRE Practice Tests is a welcome relief. That is not to say the book is perfect. But for GRE mock tests—indeed GRE practice questions—one could do a lot worse.


What’s Good about Barron’s GRE

Compared to most of the prep books out there, the questions have a greater verisimilitude to actual GRE questions. Many of the Text Completions and Sentence Equivalence are not overly straightforward; they do require some thinking. Also, most of the vocabulary is typically what you’ll see on the GRE.

The reading passages can be quite challenging, though the questions tend to be more straightforward and less tricky than actual GRE questions.

The math questions are fairly representative of what you’ll see on the actual test. I did not feel that they were nearly as tricky as actual GRE questions though. So for practice, the questions are helpful, but to really hone one’s chops one would be better served with Manhattan GRE online practice tests or Magoosh.


What’s Bad about Barron’s GRE


While the TC/SE questions are pretty good, they are not up to GRE standards. The sentences/paragraphs may be long, but I wouldn’t necessarily say they are convoluted or as artfully crafted, i.e., it’s not difficult to figure out what word goes in the blank. The level of writing isn’t always as sophisticated as that found on the GRE, so you aren’t necessarily flailing about trying to make sense of the overall meaning.

These are quibbles, and really the thoughts of someone who is spent too much time analyzing and writing Text Completions :). Most of the questions are definitely still helpful and won’t hurt impair your ability to solve TC’s, the way doing Kaplan TCs could.

A few questions though have questionable answers. Notably, some Sentence Equivalence questions have credited answers that end up creating different, not synonymous, sentences. These are rare, though.

So if you are looking for more TC/SE practice material, and you’ve already gone through the official guide, powerprep practice tests,  Magoosh practice questions, and Manhattan GMAT online practice tests, then this book and Barron’s GRE are your best bets. Altogether (including both SE and TC), there are about 100 practice questions of okay quality in each.



Some of the passages are very dense and difficult. Others are quite straightforward. Some passages are far, far longer than anything you’ll see on the GRE (800 words vs. 450), and even these passages have only three, not the requisite four, questions.

What does this all mean? Well, the test is not really well standardized. To exacerbate this situation, even the TC/SE questions are not of similar difficulties throughout the sections. So sometimes you’ll get a very difficult section with a super long reading passage and other times you’ll get a much easier section.



This flows into my biggest criticism of this book: you shouldn’t use it for its intended use, i.e., as a resource for full-length practice tests. And this point is no mere quibble. If you adapt your timing strategies to accommodate a massive passage, essentially rushing through other questions, you won’t get a feel for pacing on the real test. And anyone who has taken a few practice tests—if not the actual test—knows how important pacing can be.

Also, since the quant section tends to be easier, I don’t think this book offers you a sense of what it is like to take a full-length test.

So what do I recommend this book for? As a pretty solid question bank from which to practice.


Grade: B-

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20 Responses to Barron’s 6 GRE Practice Tests Book Review

  1. Siva June 8, 2016 at 7:48 am #

    Hi sir, I am so weak in verbal Sir please give me Solution and how to practice the verbal Sir.

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert June 10, 2016 at 10:11 am #

      Hi Siva,

      Glad to help! I’m going to give you some strategies and advice for improving on RC, TC, and the verbal section in general.

      GRE RC Strategies

      To help you on your journey to GRE Reading Comprehension domination, I am giving you some resources that will help you to succeed. Each one tackles a different aspect of reading comprehension, and if you want to read actively and understand the passage in front of you, dive into these resources:

      Introduction to Reading Comprehension (Strategies and Pacing)
      How to Approach Questions
      Example of How a Passage is Outlined
      Identifying Patterns in Passages
      Pacing Strategies
      Active Reading Strategies for the GRE

      Reading Recommendations

      In addition to practicing the strategies explained in these resources, you should be reading all the time to prepare for the GRE. Read. Read. Read. This will help you to learn new words, see different passage structures, and become familiar with the forms and styles employed by authors 🙂 As you read, make flashcards of the vocabulary words that you don’t know. Pause every so often, and recap the main message in your own words. Here are some suggested reading materials:

      The New York Times
      The Economist
      Arts & Letters Daily
      The New Yorker

      For some specific articles suggestions, I’d recommend browsing through our “GRE Article of the Month” series. About once a month, Chris selects an GRE-level article and provides both GRE vocabulary for you to focus on as you read, as well as a brief discussion of the piece.

      And if you would rather read books than articles, check out this post for fiction and non-fiction book recommendations!

      For tips on how to use these reading sources to learn really vocabulary in context, check out these blog posts:

      Vocabulary in Context
      Reading Vocabulary in Context: Where Should I Start?

      Truly, reading is the BEST way to improve your reading comprehension skills, I promise!

      Pacing on GRE RC

      In terms of improving your speed on GRE RC passages, I’d recommend first practicing without the timer–slow down, and try to truly understand the passage. You might think that time is lost when you read the passage too carefully, but in reality most time is wasted on questions that you don’t know the answer to because you read the passage too quickly. So step one, slow down, take notes on the passage, practice without the timer. Practice using all of the strategies you have learned, and don’t pay attention to the clock.

      Next, once you feel your accuracy is improving on RC questions, start using the timer again. The more confident you become in your reading skills, the faster you will be able to answer questions.

      Text Completion and Sentence Equivalence

      Text completion (TC) questions can be difficult and hard to understand, clearly! Fortunately, we have some great resources to help you understand what to do.

      On top of knowing vocabulary words, you need to be able to read a passage and decipher its meaning. Part of improving will be based on learning new words and part of improving will be based on learning about signal words in English that tell you about the relationship of ideas. Words like “because” or “however” or “more than” tell you about the relationship of ideas in a sentence and these are crucial to choosing the correct word to fill-in a blank.

      You want to make sure that you read passages that are similar to the ones you will find on the GRE. Some of the best places to look for good articles and writing are at The New York Times and The New Yorker. The style, tone, and level of writing will be very similar to what you will see on the test, so make it a point to read these news sources—and/or others of their caliber—everyday.

      Besides that, strategy is key! We have many blog posts that outline exactly how you should be tackling text completions and give some great examples (of course, that’s beside what’s in our lesson videos!). You can see those here:

      GRE Text Completion
      Magoosh Blog: Text Completion

  2. Mahmud October 9, 2015 at 10:17 pm #

    Hi Chris,
    Is this Barron’s 6 GRE practice book available online for free download?
    if not can you please provide me a link to download?

  3. Magoosher September 11, 2015 at 5:12 am #

    Hey Chris,

    I’ve been following Magoosh Blog for quite a while and have immensely benefitted from The Team Magoosh.
    I am not upto mark in RC’s and I have a book of RC called ‘The SuperGuide” by American Education Aids.So how would you rate this book compared to actual GRE RC and honing my RC abilities.

    Cheers 🙂

  4. lavesh September 9, 2015 at 10:39 am #

    Hi Chris !

    i have scored 305 on barron’s test (160- quant, 145- verbal)

    1. please can you tell me an estimate range of score i will get in actual GRE test ?
    2. what can i do to improve my scores ?

    PS- i am currently a magoosh sbscriber … however i have not given a full length magoosh GRE test.

    Thanks in advance ! 🙂

  5. Bharath June 20, 2014 at 6:53 am #

    Hi Chris,
    I planned to take my GRE test on September.Am following Barron and Kaplan for quans.And for verbal am using Magoosh.But my friends are saying Manhattan is the best one to follow.Is it so??

    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele June 20, 2014 at 11:19 am #

      Ha, ha! It’s hard for me to answer that objectively–the question as to who is better: MGRE or Magoosh. The bottom-line: they are both good. Barron’s is not bad, but not great. And I’d avoid Kaplan altogether (the quant is much easier than the real thing). I’d say Magoosh verbal and MGRE math, if you had to just pick one for each 🙂

  6. Akanksha May 5, 2014 at 2:08 pm #

    Hi Chris,

    I m using Manhattan and ETS right now. But I m still weak in Verbal. Which book would you recommend?

    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele May 6, 2014 at 11:13 am #

      HI Akanksha,

      If you still aren’t strong at the verbal, I’d recommend using the Barron’s original guide. That will help build your level. You could also try using these practice tests. Ultimately, you’ll want to come back to the ETS material. Of course, don’t forget the Magoosh stuff as well 🙂

  7. sai chaitanya January 13, 2014 at 11:25 pm #

    hey chris ,

    For Quant is barons a good choice ?

    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele January 15, 2014 at 10:46 am #

      Hi Sai,

      Yes, Barron’s 6 review tests are pretty good from a quant standpoint. If you are looking for a score in the 160+, you will want to practice with more difficult questions.

      Hope that helps!

  8. Saleh Mamdouh December 27, 2013 at 6:10 pm #

    I appreciate your comments in the “Cracking the GRE” book and yes, it is very shallow and the questions are too easy. It can be helpful for people preparing for the IELTS exam since it includes a lot of information search in paragraphs.

    As you said, the Cracking the GRE Book can be used by beginners or for those who are studying from 3500 Barron’s world list and like to see some these vocabulary in use through exercises and reading passages.

  9. Morgan September 5, 2013 at 7:34 pm #

    Hi Chris,
    I have been using magoosh for two months now and I am still very weak in both math and verbal. I have difficulty with words for verbal because it’s my second language. For math, I understand the concepts but I get stuck with the question – moreover, how to solve it. Do you have any suggestions for me? Would you recommend the Barron’s book as a basis for practice questions?

    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele September 6, 2013 at 1:47 pm #

      Hi Morgan,

      First off, it is always difficult to do GRE prep when your first language is not English — so I just wanted to say I appreciate your effort :).

      But you can and will improve in both verbal and math as long as you keep putting in more time. The Barron’s can definitely help you with practice as well. The questions are often easier than those in Magoosh so that will be a good way to practice for a few weeks. Then come to Magoosh and you performance should increase. Of course, make sure to continue watching lessons videos on Magoosh as those will always be helpful to come back to.

      The key is to keep with it–you will improve with enough time.

      Good luck!

  10. Mibin March 1, 2013 at 10:36 am #

    Hi chris! Can you please suggest me a good book for TC/SE practice ? I have read in some of your reviews about barrons ? and also that you prefer barrons over MGRE for verbal .. is it worth buying?

    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele March 1, 2013 at 11:34 am #

      Hi Mibin,

      I think this book is pretty good for TC/SE practice – only because the quality of questions is more consistent than those found in the 5 lbs. book. For RC, the Barron’s book is a mixed bag, but if you want only TC/SE practice I’d say the Barron’s is a good bet :).

  11. Ayush February 14, 2013 at 9:24 am #

    Hi Chris,
    So you would still advise MGRE tests over Barron’s?
    Also is there a way to take Barron’s tests online?

    • Chris Lele
      Chris February 15, 2013 at 11:19 am #

      As for an actual mock test, I’d definitely advise the MGRE over the Barron’s. Your score will be a lot closer to that found on the actual test. For Quant, I give the nudge to MGRE. For Verbal, I give the nudge to Barron’s. So as pure practice content (meaning don’t take them as mock tests), Barron’s is good.

      Hope that helps!

      • Ayush February 15, 2013 at 12:06 pm #


        Thanks for the info. Even though my Verbal is weaker of the two, I think mock tests will prepare me better for the actual GRE. So, I will go with Magoosh + MGRE tests + ETS Official for my prep and hope that Magoosh practice questions will be enough to improve my Verbal score (I can always buy Barron’s later in case I need more practice) 🙂

        • Chris Lele
          Chris February 15, 2013 at 3:16 pm #

          Hi Ayush,

          That sounds like a good plan! Between Magoosh and MGRE, you’ll have plenty of questions!

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