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Book Review: Official GRE Quantitative Reasoning Practice Questions

So…this is very interesting. Did the GRE math just get much harder? According to ETS’s Official GRE Quantitative Reasoning Practice Questions, that seems to be the case.


Maybe old age?

After going through the Quantitative Comparison questions in this guide, the ones that are arranged in the Mixed Practice sets, my brain was pretty taxed. Even the medium range questions seemed subtler than what I remembered the difficult questions, those in previous ETS materials, being.  Was I becoming old, my synapses slowing down as I enter middle age? Possibly. Yet, just to assess the extent of my neural decrepitude, I went back to the online practice tests, the ones that have been available for the last few years. Even with a fatigued brain, it was surprising how much more straightforward these questions were. Dare I say: easy.


A couple of theories

So what’s up? Well, a few things. First off, I don’t know if the mixed sets accurately parallel the way questions would unfold in the actual taking of the GRE. Would #5 in the Quantitative Comparison actually show up as a #5, which is presumably in the medium range? Then there were the problem sets at the beginning of the book, each one covering some mathematical topic. They didn’t seem staggered the same way in terms of difficulty. Doing five relatively tough questions in a row feels a lot different from doing only the couple waiting at the end of an actual GRE section.

If the questions aren’t accurately portraying the test—even the hard section—are they meant to frighten students? Not really, since there is always a good reason for any schadenfreude on ETS’s part. One explanation is the GRE wants to flex its muscles against the GMAT: Who dare says that the GMAT is tougher than I! (Actually I’ve said this on numerous occasions). If business schools get the drift that the quant section has become more rigorous, then perhaps the rumor going around—b-schools, despite accepting the GRE, still value the GMAT more—might be squelched.

Another explanation is that test prep is working: more people are taking high quality test prep and becoming more proficient at math. Suddenly a 150 is the old one 160.

Or, perhaps, whoever is taking the test has just gotten a whole lot smarter thus making an average score that much harder to attain (hmm…could it be all those students applying to b-school?)

At least this factoid should be reassuring: many of the student testimonials on the Magoosh homepage say that the Magoosh questions were actually harder (though a few do say that the real test is harder). My conclusion: The test hasn’t suddenly got harder; this book has chosen some of the tougher questions.


What About the Review?

I know, this is supposed to be a book review, extolling the merits—and the flaws—of the reviewed work. But when that book in question happens to be an ETS books, it’s really about the questions. And when the questions have gotten a whole lot harder, that’s the real news.

Yet perhaps there is some other news as well. Unlike, the book of Verbal Reasoning practice questions, the math guide doesn’t just cut and paste from the Official Guide. There is an entirely new section and helpful strategies. These strategies seem much more useful than those in prior ETS guides. This book also references the specific strategies when going through questions, so you can refer back to them.

The explanations still leave something to be desired. For instance, the most straightforward approach is often not given. Instead, you’ll find yourself spending lots of time deciphering the explanation itself, often without really understand the question that much better.

Whatever your take on the increased level of difficult may be, this book is still indispensable to your prep. Remember: any questions released by ETS are the best prep, since they are engineered in a way that few—if any—test publishers can truly match. So go through every question (and try not to become discouraged), and remember to still do old ETS practice tests and questions. And by old, I mean those from the 2nd edition of the Official GRE practice guide. Indeed, you’ll probably want to start with that book first, using the Quantitative Reasoning practice questions to prep with once you’ve built up your skills.

Interested in learning about this book’s partner? Read my review of ETS’s new Official GRE Verbal Reasoning Practice Questions book.


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.

59 Responses to Book Review: Official GRE Quantitative Reasoning Practice Questions

  1. Eli April 4, 2016 at 12:58 pm #

    I took GRE 2 times the first in the February and the second in 31th march, have a good background in math, in the first exam I got 167 but in the second I got 162. The story is that questions become time consuming. In both exams I just had 2 or 3 geometric questions and 3 comparison questions which are easy and fast to answer. On the other hand, there were lots of word problems and time consuming graph questions. ETS official will never help you to have idea about the exam. I think the best approach is to answer questions in the standard time and simulate the exam situation for yourself. It might be helpful to note that I read Math bible and ETS official. This time I will try Magoosh.

  2. an_cool February 6, 2016 at 10:02 am #

    I really concur with many people’s view that ets quants has become tough.I did very well in the first math section and got a tough second section.Though i anticipated it,but the level of difficulty in the second section was way too hard.
    Infact ets should really update their power prep software as it is not a true reflection of what people might see on test day.Even official guide questions are way too easy.

  3. Yocelyn December 14, 2015 at 11:19 am #

    I can’t believe I got to this late, when I have already retaken the GRE. I have been studying from the Kaplan study books and I felt pretty confident. I only used these books and when I took the exam I felt like it was nothing like what I had studied. I only used Kaplan to study because I thought since it was a well known study source, that it should be good. I was wrong! Don’t buy the Kaplan books!!!! They are expensive, and not helpful at all! I am going to try Manhattan and the ETS study books now.

  4. Yash Raval June 23, 2015 at 3:10 am #

    I just gave the GRE a few days ago, and it was my second attempt. The first attempt was about 6 months ago, and I observed the following from both the attempts:

    The GRE math, medium section is not as hard as the book suggests. Sure there will be a few questions in the test which match the questions in the book-at least in terms of difficulty level. But not all questions are this difficult.

    I have heard from many people that the GRE is getting harder, I personally feel that, the GRE is NOT getting harder by the month, as people tend to believe. I found no change in the difficulty of questions in my two attempts, which were six months apart.

    On the other hand, Powerprep questions can be a tad bit easier than the real thing, but this does not imply that the powerprep tests as a whole are easy. You do have some challenging questions in powerprep, and the exam is the BEST indicator of how you will perform on test day. My powerprep scores were the same as the ones, I got on my actual test in both the attempts.

  5. John April 17, 2015 at 1:14 pm #

    Well, reading these comments certainly has me worried about my upcoming test. Does anyone else have insight into Powerprep II quant questions vs the real exam vs ETS book questions?

    • Ritika April 20, 2015 at 1:22 pm #

      I took GRE in February. I did studied from all of the sources you have mentioned.I would suggest that Poweprep is too easy , ETS quantitative book problems are bit hard and mine GRE exam wasn’t so hard as the ETS quantitative book. But, I would suggest that try to do all of the problems from Official Quantitative Book so that you are ready for any type of problems..Also,5ib. Manhattan GRE problems book is excellent for quantitative problems.

      • Rita Kreig
        Rita Kreig April 20, 2015 at 4:29 pm #

        Thanks for sharing your experience, Ritika! 🙂

  6. John Cherry March 28, 2015 at 3:52 pm #


    I just got out of the gre and am here to console everyone. Prior to taking the gre I read this blog(quite frankly it scared the crap out of me). I can attest the math has not gotten harder, it is the same difficulty you see in the Manhattan prep books etc.. I believe the ets og paper test might be slightly easier. I ended up scoring a 160Q and a 161V.

    I studied for about 4 months and am pretty happy with the scores. Was I aiming for perfect? No, and if you are you are likely to encounter problems that are very difficult. Was there extremely difficult problem that I could not solve? Yes, although like I said before I was expecting to see problems that I could not solve as I was not shooting for perfect.

    With all this being said, the math on the test was as difficult as studied. There also will be extremely difficult problems that you can simply not solve. You can still score a great score without answering the really tough questions.

    Best wishes to all…

    • Scott April 14, 2015 at 7:10 am #

      How did it compare to the powerprep tests?

      • John April 23, 2015 at 1:29 pm #


        although I did not take the powerprep tests, I scored consistently in the 152-157 range on the Manhattan tests. I believe these test do a poor job of reflecting the difficulty of the vocab in the verbal section, it is much easier than the practice tests. Albeit, the reading comprehension is much more difficult. With that being said, I would not completely dismiss the vocab.

        The quant section on the GRE is in line with the content in Manhattan Prep.

        Also, I took ets paper test. I scored a 165 on the quant.



  7. Jeremy Leipzig March 12, 2015 at 7:02 am #

    I’ve taken the GRE three times in 20 years and the one I took yesterday (3/11/15) was much harder on the math and easier on the verbal. My percentiles basically swapped from when I took it in 2003.
    The math section is not filled with odd little numerical curiosities which either require an obscure heuristic or brute force. There is no time for the latter.

  8. Michael February 7, 2015 at 2:03 pm #

    The new “Official GRE Quantitative Reasoning” is almost exactly the same level of difficulty as the real GRE quant section is now. If the powerprep is any indication of how the test used to be, then there’s no question the quant section used to be much easier. By a substantial margin, actually. If you take the new GRE, you’ll notice it’s much harder than the Quant on the PowerPrep, or even the ETS 2nd Edition official guide. It’s about the level of difficulty of the questions on the Magoosh page called, “GRE Perfect Math Score Challenge.”

    At least 40% of the test questions were of similar difficulty to the toughest questions from the new “Official GRE Quantitative Reasoning” book and the “GRE Perfect Math Score Challenge” on the Magoosh blog.

    I implore anyone who has time to prepare to practice those types of problems the most. Don’t let the PowerPrep lull you into a false sense of complacency – the real thing is much tougher.

  9. Michael February 6, 2015 at 8:46 pm #

    I would like to concur with everyone else who has said that the GRE math has gotten much harder. I just took the real GRE today, and I got a 157 on the math section (68th percentile). Strangely, I got between a 161 and a 165 on the Quant on every practice test I ever took for the GRE, and my sources were as varied as Magoosh, Manhattan GRE, the PowerPrep software, etc. I took at least 2 full length, timed practice tests from EACH of those sources, never scoring below 161 and sometimes as high as 165 on the quant. My score literally dropped from the 80 – 90th percentile on the practice tests to the 68th percentile on the real thing.

    The real GRE quant is much harder than anything I encountered on any of those practice tests. Based on my performance on the practice tests, I thought I was more than prepared for the real test. I thought a score of 165 was easily within the tether of my abilities. As I took the test, however, it slowly began to dawn on me just how much more difficult it was than any of the prep material had lead me to believe. In fact, I’ve taken the GMAT as well, and I found the GRE questions to be no easier than the GMAT personally.

    The questions on the PowerPrep software, Magoosh, Manhattan, etc. all seemed to be relatively easy and straightforward to “figure out.” As long as you know the tricks, shortcuts, formulas,etc, then there isn’t too much “figuring out” to do. And where there is, it isn’t especially difficult. So you can work through the questions quickly, without much trouble, and almost always know within the first 20 seconds or so exactly how to solve the problem.

    The real test, on the other hand, was precisely the opposite. At least half of the questions were virtually inscrutable. That is the main difference – questions in the prep material (whether from manhattan, magoosh, ETS, etc.) weren’t that hard to “figure out,” while the problems on the real test were extremely difficult to figure out. Most of the time I didn’t know how to even begin trying to solve the problem on the real test – and this only happened to me on 1 or 2 out of every 20 questions on the practice tests. On the real test, I would say 40% of all the questions were inscrutable in this way, vs 5-10% on the practice tests, and after some hapless attempts to scribble equations in a desperate hope to accidentally stumble upon the path to the answer, I simply guessed and moved on to the next one. This happened many, many times on the test, and almost never on the practice tests.

    I’m going to take it again in early March, but I’m not confident at all. If it’s as hard then as it was today, my score won’t be improving that much, I’ll clue ya.

    • Scott sims March 14, 2015 at 9:51 pm #

      Have you retaken it yet?

  10. Alexis January 15, 2015 at 3:15 pm #

    Hi everyone! I took the GRE for the first time today. I may not be the best authority on this since I did a lot more Magoosh practice questions than questions from this GRE Quant book, but I felt like the questions on the test were easier than both the Magoosh questions and the Quant book questions. Granted, I did skip over a few on the exam, but that was mainly due to issues in my pacing. I am slow with math questions. But take it from someone who considers herself to be weak in math — the test, at least today, was definitely doable! I ended up with a 152 on the Quant (The exact score I needed, and the score that the Magoosh practice exam predicted I would get!) and a 167 on the Verbal (Obviously, I’m much better at Verbal, haha). Anyway, to anyone reading this, don’t feel like you must get this book to get a decent score. I feel like I had plenty of practice using the Official ETS GRE guide and Magoosh.

  11. Sameeha January 6, 2015 at 12:12 pm #


    I took my GRE on the 27th of November last year and I practiced using both Magoosh and the new official books. Personally, I didn’t find the new quant book too difficult. In comparison, I found the test a little tougher. I ended up with a 160 Q (+ 152 V; had ~a month for familiarization + practice). So yeah, that’s what my experience was.


  12. Pandy October 9, 2014 at 4:21 am #

    Hi People,

    I have to say,i saw this post two days before my exam and totally freaked out looking at the review and the comments.
    I bought this book immediately and finished it before the exam.
    The questions were both tricky and time taking.

    I gave the exam yesterday and i’m happy to say the quant sections were no where near as tough or time consuming as the ones in this book. I scored a 161 in quant which is at my usual level.

    I have to concede though that they might have been a little trickier than the ones in the powerprep.(Could just be my thinking).
    But they were definitely not like the questions in this book. The book just made me very nervous before the exam.(which might have effected my score a little. Got a 324 overall)

    Still,the book is from ETS. So they might have plans of making it tougher. So give the exam as soon as possible people!

    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele October 9, 2014 at 12:01 pm #

      Hi Pandy,

      Thanks for the feedback! It is good to know that people need not be as scared as the questions in this book might have them believe; it is also good to know that the test is harder than PowerPrep.

      On the front lines (I read a lot of student debriefs), many people are saying the quant seemed harder–or at least harder than PowerPrep and, in some cases, Magoosh. This book is still a good resource, but one that students shouldn’t have to worry about too much. Sorry if I unnecessarily freaked you out.

      Again, thanks for the insights 🙂

      • Pandy October 9, 2014 at 3:01 pm #

        Hi Chris,

        The book is definitely a great resource for questions.People just need to keep a cool head while doing it I suppose.. Unlike me :-P.

        I bought your complete product a month and a half before the exam. The magoosh math questions were at the same level of trickiness as the exam in terms of emphasising on how the geometric figures are not drawn to scale and how x and y cannot be assumed as integers when not specified. Spot on. But they took lesser time to solve than the actual questions. Especially the comparisions questions. Most magoosh comparision questions I could just look at or do just the minimal calculation and come to a conclusion whereas I had to solve for the answer in the actual questions.

        The magoosh verbal questions are the closest anyone has come than anyone by far. You really captured what the exam was trying to test.
        But again the sentence completion questions of magoosh took lesser time. The actual sentence completions are longer(more context you have to go through before you answer). RC questions however were spot on.

        The product was indispensable for my preparation.The video tutorials for each question are just perfect. And the magoosh flash cards app was so accurate!Those are the only 1000 words I learnt.
        So I thank you for a great product Chris. I couldn’t have done it without it.
        I’m recommending it to anyone who’s giving the exam. 🙂

  13. anjali September 15, 2014 at 10:27 pm #

    hey chris,

    Thank you so much for the review 🙂

    when do we get to see the video explanation for offical verbal reasoning as well as official quantitative reasoning?

    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele September 16, 2014 at 4:42 pm #

      Hi Anjali,

      We don’t have any immediate plans so it is hard to say exactly when we’ll have the videos up. My hunch is pretty soon, but not in the next month.

      Hope that helps, somewhat 🙂

  14. Jennifer September 14, 2014 at 1:00 pm #

    Hi there,

    first off, thank you for such a great site. My current situation is that I scored 153 Q & 159 V on my first official GRE attempt today with no preparation except for taking 2 practice tests a few days ago. I had been planning on studying (really I had!), but I am super busy with 4 classes p, an honors thesis and a 2 year old I watch 90 percent of the time. Anyway, time has been a challenge vpbit I should be able to devote more time over the next two months and plan to retake in the beginning of December. I am looking at Economics masters programs.

    Generally, I am good at math and am currently taking Calc III although it has been several decades sunce I have taken the basics like algebra, etc. On the practice tests I scored around 159Q. I would like to achieve at least a 164 Q (verbal too, I know what to work on here). For the GRE test today I was floored at the difficulty of the questions and found myself short on time. I will be ordering the Magoosh study plan, have the Manhattan Prep already (5lb book of questions), but i am concerned with improving my speed and improving my score by more than 10 points on quant section. Am I crazy at how much more challenging the GRE was than the Powerprep II? What practice tests would you recommend? Also, have you seen scores improve as much as I would like considering that was my score with zero preparation and just follow your study plan?

    Thank you so very much,


    • Saheed September 15, 2014 at 11:50 am #

      Yes Jennifer i faced the same thing with the Quant section. The power prep isn’t a true reflection on the current difficulty. The ETS Quantitative reasoning book i recently got showed that the questions were truly more tedious and tricky. Get this book as part of your arsenal. I will advice to get the Magoosh plan as the videos are priceless as it provides the core basics and also you can practice the tests in order to learn how to pace accordingly. With Magoosh i had no qualms with pacing as i had taken over 11 tests and mastered the pace and know when to skip etc. Combine this with a good study plan as suggested by the site. I used the 1month plan but i may need longer so i am looking at first week december. So good luck and have fun studying, it aint the end of the world :). Hope this helps. DISCLAIMER: I don’t work for Magoosh. I just love the product that much.

      • Jennifer September 16, 2014 at 7:01 pm #

        Thanks Saheed (and Chris Lele). This is great advice. I am doing the Magoosh extended plan for sure, and appreciate the further confirmation on the ETS QUANT book. I will also post my update scores on Magoosh and reviews of how this book and the site together improve my score. Hopefully that will assist others. This is a great support system and I now feel confident to tackle this! Thanks Magoosh!

        • Chris Lele
          Chris Lele September 17, 2014 at 1:32 pm #

          You are welcome!

    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele September 15, 2014 at 12:57 pm #

      Hi Jen,

      It looks like I just saw your comment on another page (I mentioned that, yes, it is possible). But that brings me to the fact that the GRE math on the actual test–as you mentioned–has become much trickier (at least than what’s on powerprep). You’ll def. have to prep harder. This book, the 5 lbs. book should help. I’d recommend official GMAT material as well. Anything that can help you become a “quant beast”.

      Since you are at zero prep, you should be able to marked improve. Of course, with your hectic life, it may just be a matter of finding the time :).

      Good luck!

  15. Saheed Adepoju September 11, 2014 at 2:26 am #

    Hello all
    I took the test September 5th and trust me the Quant was rather deceptive. It taxed my brain very much and struggled. I prayed the experimental section would be Quant because i really needed to have another go, sadly it was a verbal experimental section. When i went through the second Quant with 10mins to spare i knew i had bombed the first section so bad. I had roughly 156-161 score range going by Magoosh but i had 152 on both Verbal and Quant. However, i am quite happy at the first attempt. I realized how hard it was going to be having studied for only a month. I am quite excited about these new books and would purchase. I have scheduled another exam for 8th Dec. And so i have more time to dig in yet again. Thanks Magoosh for such a brilliant product.

    • GRELoser September 14, 2014 at 10:04 am #

      I too had given the exam in Sept and the Quant was unusually hard and tricky. I am not sure if it is a case of bad luck or coincidence or just that ETS have decided to make Quant tougher from now on.I got 3 quant sections and I had a total of 20 answers right and 20 of them wrong.Most of the problem I faced was in timing as the questions needed time to be thought out and solved. The Data Interpretation was one of the most trickiest I faced

      • Chris Lele
        Chris Lele September 15, 2014 at 1:01 pm #

        Hmm…it seems almost everybody is seconding your thoughts. Kind of terrible that all of a sudden the GRE math is much harder. It seems that people were doing better. More people taking advantage of better prep methods, the GMAT cohort skewing the difficulty of the test, or a great percent of STEM folk taking the test could all account for this change.

        But just because you know it’s harder doesn’t mean you–and indeed everyone–can’t redouble their efforts, and use material out there that is representative of the latest difficulty level :).

    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele September 15, 2014 at 10:58 am #

      Hi Saheed,

      Thanks for the kudos — the Magoosh team works hard :). And kudos to you on keeping your head up and giving the test another shot.

      Interesting to see how deceptive and tough the math has become. We’ll keep working our best here to bring you deceptive/hard questions :).

      Good luck on re-prepping!

  16. GRELoser September 6, 2014 at 2:47 am #

    Hi Chris,

    I wrote the GRE in Sept and totally bombed the exam, The math part was way harder than any of the prep materials (Manhattan , ETS ,even Magoosh etc). I think the Math has got more harder than before. In the practice tests I got 158 – 161 and in the real GRE it was 10 points lesser!!!. Some of the problem types that were tested was never there in any of the test materials. I am now at the stage were I am thinking of quitting trying to write the GRE thus ending my chances of doing Graduation abroad. This is my 2nd attempt and the costs of registering is not cheap too.
    I would appreciate if you would have any sort of advice. Please do post this comment Chris.

    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele September 8, 2014 at 2:14 pm #

      Sorry to hear that. I wouldn’t give up–at least in the long run. Perhaps for this year it is too late to take the test and earn a competitive score, but you might want to prep again in the coming year, in the hope that there will be more material coming out that will accurately mirror the test in terms of quant. I can definitely say, I’ll be putting up more quant challenge problems that reflect the test (separate from the Brain Twisters, which are overly difficult and not quite GRE like).

      But don’t give up trying to crack the quant–just yet. Give yourself time to excel at math. Practice tough GMAT quant questions and questions from this recent book, and you should be much better prepared for what is on the new exam.

      Good luck 🙂

      • Leah October 8, 2014 at 1:23 pm #

        Hi Chris,

        I wanted to add my experience to the list – I wrote the GRE in September and scored significantly lower than I anticipated. I have been a faithful devotee of Magoosh, Manhattan and whatever ETS material I could find. I went into the exam with a few practice tests indicating I had a solid chance of scoring in my target range. However, as the test progressed I kept hoping that each section was the research section because the questions were very difficult and tricky. There was one point where I wanted to raise my hand and confirm that I was indeed taking the GRE not some other test.

        Any additional material or information you wonderful folks at Magoosh can give those like myself who are facing retaking a test they aren’t sure they understand any more, would be greatly appreciated.

        Thank You!


        • Chris Lele
          Chris Lele October 9, 2014 at 1:14 pm #

          Thanks Leah for sharing your experience!

          I do think the test is changing and I do think these questions somewhat reflect that change. It seems that questions are getting denser–or at least more inscrutable. But it is quite a shock to hear that the test looked altogether different.

          I hope to take the test soon to get a full rundown of things. I’m curious: can you try out this week’s Brain Twister (the Nasty Squares and Cubes one).

          Would you say that question is harder, different, or completely irrelevant to what you saw test day? (The answer and explanation were posted today on the blog).

          Thanks for any feedback, and sorry the test went the way it did for you. Let’s get you ready for any surprises you may see during your retake 🙂

          • Seema October 23, 2014 at 10:24 am #

            Hi Chris,

            Have you been able to take the GRE and see if what everyone is saying is true?

            Is it strange that I find the new Quant book at a similar difficulty level as the second Powerprep Quant sections? Tricky and the focus seems slightly different.

            Has ETS said anything about how/why/if the tests have really changed?


            • Chris Lele
              Chris Lele October 27, 2014 at 8:28 am #

              Hi Seema,

              So I haven’t taken the test since the guides came out, but I hope to soon.

              I would say that the Powerprep quants do seem easier for most. I would be curious to see what you think of the actual test.

              If indeed the test has become more difficult, I don’t think ETS would say anything. If pressed, it may say something jargon-y like “in order to maintain the integrity of the equating scale…”.

              Interestingly, ETS has never mentioned anything about difficulty–increasing or decreasing. But if you look at the old GRE tests available in the practice guides–test from the early 1990’s–the GRE math has become much more difficult (I only recommend students struggling in quant–sub-150–do the problems in these old guides).

              Anyhow, hope that helps (somewhat). And I’d be interested to hear how your experience with the test goes 🙂

  17. Lew August 24, 2014 at 7:29 pm #


    I took the GRE earlier today. I had used GRE for dummies and McGraw Hill publications in preparation. For the analytical writing and verbal reasoning sections, the practice tests and essays were comparable to the actual exam. Because I had a good idea of what to expect, I scored a 167.

    Unfortunately, the quantitative reasoning section didn’t go quite as smoothly. I had taken multiple practice exams spanning both books. On these tests I never missed more than two per section and finished with 10 minutes to spare. However, on the actual exam today, the questions, although similar, were more complex and time consuming (at least without immediately knowing the tricks to them) I barely finished even the first section on time and it only got more challenging in the following sections. I scored a 161, but think that if I can find more practice problems comparable to the ones on the actual test, I can improve my score. I think I have the basic concepts down, but still need practice with / exposure to the higher level questions to get those last few points. Do you think this new book from ETS would be the best option? Do you have any other suggestions?

  18. Vishnu August 22, 2014 at 5:56 am #

    Hi Chris,

    I have my exam on 2nd September. I still have a lot to prepare i am using Magoosh practice questions and Manhattan 5 Lb. to prepare and i JUST now got to know about this new books. I very am scared now. I am a slow learner it takes time for me to learn. i feel adding more practice material and at the final week will build more pressure. Please suggest me what can i do. Also these books are not easily available in my country.


    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele August 22, 2014 at 11:27 am #

      Hi Vishnu,

      I don’t think the test has really become that much harder to warrant fear :). I think they are just sharing questions that have been part of the test for a few years now. Don’t forget that much of the material we have today was published before the test even came out in Aug. 2011.

      So this book will make it so there are fewer surprises test day. It seems that all you need is a Kindle to download the guide. It doesn’t matter where you live :).

      Good luck!

  19. Sid August 21, 2014 at 9:34 pm #

    Hi Chris,

    My exam is on 26th August and i have just purchased the ets book with 250 quantitative practice questions. I have been preparing till now with the Magoosh material but the questions in this book are tougher than any of the questions i have come across till now including Manhattan 5 lp practice book. My confidence in quant is all shaken up now. Does the questions in the gre this time really this tough for quant?


    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele August 22, 2014 at 11:34 am #

      Hi Sid,

      You know, I can’t say for sure just how difficult the real test is going to be. But my hunch is that the questions won’t be quite so tough as what you are seeing in this book. If you get to the top quant section, you may seem some tough questions.

      Now, while I don’t have a crystal ball, what I can say for sure is that from the student surveys coming into Magoosh–and we get a lot each day–the sense is that the math section is becoming a little bit tougher, but not so much that people’s scores are falling vs. their practice tests on Magoosh or Manhattan. And the majority of surveys mention nothing at all about the math being noticeably more difficult.

      Hopefully, that helps calm your frayed nerves–I’m sure you’ll rock the test 🙂

  20. AnuraagG August 20, 2014 at 5:32 am #

    Now this is scary.
    I have my GRE in the first week of September and this book is not available in my country -.-

  21. emmabanana August 19, 2014 at 1:35 pm #

    Hi Chris,
    I just took the test last Saturday. I have to say that I was very confused about the levels of questions when I was taking it. I thought I did horribly in my verbal since I felt that the second one was much easier than the first one. But my unofficial score says I got a 164. Pertaining to the quantitative section, I only scored 161. I got some really weird problems. Because I am applying to engineering programs, I am still debating about retaking GRE to boost my quantitative. Haven’t decided though! Do you think I should take it again?

    I actually used both of the new official books. I think the verbal one is very similar to the real test. However, I am not really sure about what to say about the quantitative one because my test experience seems quite different from what I expected.


    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele August 21, 2014 at 10:40 am #

      Thanks Emma!

      That’s some helpful feedback that the Verbal seems in line with the test. Sounds like the math is even funkier (I’m guessing by weird problems you mean the presentation not necessarily the solution path).

      With the verbal it seems like the first one must have been the experimental section (unless you only got 2 verbal sections). It truly would be strange if the GRE started giving the hard section first.

      As for Quant, I’d say have a second go at it. The first time around is always a learning process, since many things you didn’t expect pop up. The second time there tends to be fewer surprises :).

  22. vasanth August 19, 2014 at 8:44 am #

    I am scared now!

    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele August 19, 2014 at 11:31 am #

      Don’t worry! I think knowing the test is going to be a little harder–and some of the most recent Magoosh post-test surveys are beginning to suggest so–means that you’ll have to be even more prepared. And this book is a great start!

      • vasanth August 19, 2014 at 9:15 pm #

        Thanks! I hope it is ‘a little harder’ and not ‘completely hard’!

  23. Smit August 19, 2014 at 6:07 am #

    Hey Chris!

    Thanks for the review! With only one week left for my test, I’m really worried now. Some of my friends who recently took the test have also claimed that the Math section was harder than expected. Does this mean that my PowerPrep Score is actually way too optimistic? I’ve finished all the problems on Magoosh, so should I get this book ASAP and make the most of it in the last few days left? Thanks.


    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele August 19, 2014 at 11:33 am #

      Hi Smit,

      It seems that the PowerPrep has become a little too optimistic. And really, it all makes sense. As more students around the world prep with better material–and more GMAT students take the test–the material will get tougher (it’s like having that real smart guy (or gal!) who sets the curve in a class.

      But knowing your enemy is more powerful doesn’t necessarily make you weaker–in fact it can make you even stronger 🙂

  24. Mireille August 18, 2014 at 12:49 pm #

    …so, given these circumstances, Brain Twister couldn’t have been more welcome! 🙂 How could you possibly know this, Chris?!! 😀 As I already told you, I never really suspected you being Solomon, but I kind of suspect you now of knowing someone in the GRE team. Or at least someone there knowing you!! 😀 You do know I’m just kidding here, but anyways I just couldn’t help connecting the two facts — you stepping up math in the Magoosh blog and the GRE stepping up their game, as well! 🙂 I’m glad you trusted your premonitions! 😉

    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele August 19, 2014 at 11:41 am #

      Hi Mireille,

      You really make me sound like the international man of mystery, though I assure you I am just a humble little test prep guy sitting in my equally humble digs in downtown Berkeley–no Illuminati conspiracy here :).

      So, yeah the Brain Twister was timely, but I don’t think those questions have quite the same flavor as the GRE ones. For one, you can tell that my questions are ridiculously tough (those paragraphs alone are monstrous!). The GRE questions tend to be a little more subtle. They kind of lull you into suspecting that there is nothing too tough here and you can just move along confidently with the answer–but alas, you get it wrong. There’s usually some subtle twist there–one that many miss.

      I think this week’s Brain Twister is good at doing that–although it is clearly monstrous from the get-go :).

      Anyhow, I’m off to go hang out with my ETS buddy…oops, did I just spill the beans ;).

      • AchyuthShetty September 1, 2014 at 1:37 pm #

        plz tell ur ETS buddy to hav mercy on our souls :p

        • Chris Lele
          Chris Lele September 4, 2014 at 5:19 pm #

          I promise: I have no associate, let alone doppleganger, in the employ of ETS 🙂

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