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Barron’s GRE Verbal Workbook Book Review

This book isn’t exactly of the new crop of 2013 books, but I was excited to pick up Barron’s Verbal Workbook for the GRE. After all, Barron’s has done a decent job in its New GRE guide. The questions, while not on par with those of the Official Material, at least provided an introduction to new question formats, such as Text Completions and Sentence Equivalence.


Is Barron’s GRE Verbal Workbook good?

The Verbal Workbook does not live up to even my middling expectations. Not even close.  Indeed I would not recommend this book even for extra practice, because so many of the questions are ambiguous, poorly worded, and inaccurate. I imagine students becoming frustrated and, worse yet, thinking they just don’t have what it takes to do well on the GRE. Any book that can ruin one self esteem and confidence because of shoddily constructed questions and multiple possible answers should be avoided at all costs.

For instance, questions presuppose knowledge. Did you know the earth has an elliptical orbit, and such eccentricity leads to a nongaseous state? Well, the writer assumes this fact is common knowledge (and that ETS would test the usage of ‘eccentricity’ in this sense).

I could have an entire blog post—and a very long one at that—that list all such questions. If you are new to the GRE, and do not know that the GRE doesn’t presuppose outside knowledge, you might think you ended up missing something. Worse yet, you might become discouraged, thinking that doing well on the GRE requires you to brush up on esoteric topics such as quantum physics. You wouldn’t be alone, though. There are simply insufficient context clues on TC/SE.


The final opinion on the book

I could dissect any number of questions to show how they are lacking and ambiguous. Instead, I’ll just keep it short: avoid this book as a verbal practice book for the GRE.

Grade: D-

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7 Responses to Barron’s GRE Verbal Workbook Book Review

  1. Jyothi jo September 10, 2015 at 8:43 am #

    I have completed my fee test day today but very bad score v-131 q-145 please tell me how to increase verbal in 20 days

    • Jessica Wan
      Jessica Wan September 10, 2015 at 10:38 am #

      Hi Jyothi,

      Have you taken a look at our 1 month study guide? You can find it here: Take a look in particular at the recommendations for studying Verbal. I know you have 20 days – not quite one month – but this would be a good place to start!

      All best,

  2. V. Chitti babu July 25, 2015 at 11:17 pm #

    Any review on this please.

  3. pooja February 15, 2013 at 10:14 am #

    please suggest any good book for verbal section, having good explanation of T/C and S/E as its not possible to study online always and i need a good verbal book for practice

    • Chris Lele
      Chris February 15, 2013 at 3:18 pm #

      Hi Pooja,

      Good question! The Barron’s 6 Practice Tests is much better than Barron’s Verbal workbook. You’ll get lots of practice with TC/SE. Let me know how that works out :).

      • jones February 27, 2013 at 12:19 pm #

        hey Chris, would you like to write a review about princeton verbal workout for the new gre.

        • Chris Lele
          Chris February 27, 2013 at 6:49 pm #

          Hi Jones,

          I will put that on my list of reviews! Thanks for the recommendation :).

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