Kaplan New GRE Premier 2011-2012 Book Review


Say test prep, and the first word people typically say is Kaplan. And, that should come as no surprise—not only have their testing centers mushroomed on many a city block, but Kaplan’s line of test prep books runs deep—if there is a test, Kaplan has a method.

How did Kaplan become the gorilla in the space, to use a term from business that accords this simian status to a company that has significant market share in its industry (cell phones: Apple)?

The answer to this question is beyond the scope of this review. However, many would simply assume that Kaplan’s preeminent status is because it is the best. But, is that true? Does Kaplan provide the best material? And, most importantly, does it lead to your best score?

In this review, of course, I am only focusing on Kaplan’s book for the New GRE. But, if this book is any indication, awareness of a product does not equal quality of product. In fact, and I don’t mean to sound flippant, my favorite thing about the Kaplan New GRE book was the quality and smell of the paper.

In GRE talk, there is a word for this: specious (adj.) falsely attractive or misleading. Below, I will tell you why Kaplan’s prep material is specious, and, with a few qualifications, is a book that I will not use to help my students prep for the New GRE.

Text Completions

ETS, the folks who write the GRE, are not arbitrary. That is, they are not simply writing sentences with blanks and seeing who can answer them correctly. They are trying to discern which students have the most sophisticated sense of the way the English language works stylistically, especially in an academic context. To gauge this, ETS crafts daunting text completions that can even give a tutor with 10 years experience pause (I took the new GRE a couple of weeks back).

Kaplan writes text completions that are often more at the level of a mad-libs game. Here is a Kaplanesque text-completion for your perusal:

It was very ____ ; Matt was sweating profusely and yearned for an air-conditioned space.

(A) humid       (B) stormy      (C) humorous      (D) deliberate    (E) copious

Improve your GRE score with Magoosh.

Compare that to something in GRE-ese, the language ETS uses to create the test.

Her latest art exhibition was anything but ____ , yet many in attendance could not help feel that her work was at best that of a circumscribed talent.

The first is fun and inviting – the second makes you want to punch a wall (or at least the art exhibit).

So, while many claim that Kaplan offers lots of practice questions, what good are these practice questions if they are dumbed down to such a level? Sure, they are not all that easy, and a few offer some more challenging words as vocabulary, yet you would be misled thinking that this level of prep would prepare you for the actual GRE.

To make matters worse, Kaplan has many text completions in which only one of the three possible answer choices could make any sense in the blank (if you look at the word right next to the blank). Suddenly, the whole idea of contextual recognition is moot. In the end, the more Kaplan practice problems you do, the more the part of your brain that is responsible for analytical/contextual reasoning shuts down.

At least, as far as Text Completions/Sentence Equivalence are concerned, this is not prep. Kaplan is a sort of anti-prep in this regard.


As somebody who has been tutoring the GRE for 10 years, I’ve had many ex-Kaplan students. Disgruntled, they usually have to sit with me the first couple of sessions, and unlearn most of what they’ve learned. I call this process the Kaplan detox.

One of the biggest areas for the Kaplan detox is on vocabulary. First off, learning roots is mostly a waste of time. When I tell students this, they feel relieved that someone is confirming what their many futile study hours have shown: learning a root and then applying it to an unknown word will only get you in trouble.

The next big detox step is in word groupings: Kaplan feels that words that are vaguely related are not only synonyms, but are interchangeable. For instance, in the “criticize category,” remonstrate and reprove are all lumped together. They mean, however, very different things.

To reprove is to censure, to remonstrate is to beg and plead in protest. That Kaplan is oblivious to these nuances is clear: they offer a Sentence Equivalence question in which these two words are the answers (this would not happen on the actual test), and they use remonstrate in the sentence in a way that does not make sense (it’s also an intransitive verb).

This bungling of the English language is found throughout the text completions: awkward expressions abound, and words are used incorrectly. Simply put, the Kaplan writers are victims of their own system. That doesn’t mean you have to be one, too.

Reading Comprehension

One thing, Kaplan does right…sort of. Ignore the strategies that make reading comprehension needlessly complex (I’ve had to do some detox for students here as well). Instead, learn reading strategies from Princeton Review, or elsewhere, and apply them to passages. The passages are well done, the questions, for the most part, sufficiently subtle enough that you can turn your critical thinking faculties on again.

Indeed, if there is one reason why I’ll use this book, it is for extra reading comprehension practice. That is, only after a student has exhausted all of the material from ETS and Barron’s (though it’s for GMAT, I also highly recommend the Official Guide for Reading Comprehension).


Again, Kaplan shines at the specious level. Information is laid out beautifully – it’s well-formatted, easy on the eyes. The strategies are easily digestible, and by no means cramp the page. Indeed, some pages have only one question, laid out photogenically.

And, therein lies the problem – over the course of nearly 150 pages, we get very little in the way of helpful tips and strategies. Kaplan gives only a cursory review of math concepts, and, typically, at the most basic level. Gone are any of more advanced concepts: permutation/combinations, counting problems, rate problems and anything but the most elementary geometry and standard deviation.

As for strategies, on their useful tips for quantitative comparison, they give very few examples to illustrate the concept they are discussing (one would think that if you were elucidating a strategy, you would give a couple of examples, so that someone new to the test would have a better understanding).

All of this is very different from Barron’s, who, though they may stuff as many problems and strategies as possible onto their used-napkin style paper, will, at least, help you learn many valuable tips.

Of course, for someone who doesn’t know the GRE, Kaplan makes the GRE math seem approachable, the quantitative beast easily vanquishable. Yet, there are some important math fundamentals that Kaplan leaves out, fundamentals that Princeton Review does a much better job covering. So, if you haven’t seen math in awhile, Kaplan may leave you frustrated.

At least Kaplan does a very good job with the explanation section. Unlike Barron’s, who provides practice sets without any explanations, Kaplan provides clear explanations, and usually references strategies and tips they mentioned earlier. This is helpful, especially as they have two 60-question sections – far more than Princeton Review. The questions are relatively easy, so, if you are looking for a high score, Kaplan’s problems will not be very helpful.


As a tutor, I’ve helped many students who were victims of the Kaplan writing strategies. That is not to say that the strategies are wrong, per se, only that they make writing the essay needlessly complex. Moreover, they do not provide many exercises to apply these strategies.

What they do provide is a primer on writing that is helpful for those students who are really rusty in writing. However, wasting precious space—and Kaplan already puts so little on each page—on the rudiments of comma use, and the like, only detracts from the more pragmatic concerns of the essay writing. There are plenty of writing books out there, Princeton Review’s Grammar Smart or even Kaplan’s Sharp Grammar.

I want to say that Kaplan should have spent more time on helping students craft winning essays for the Issue and the Argument…yet, simply learning your approach from Barron’s (or maybe Princeton Review), is the best way to go.


Kaplan looks perfect on paper, so to speak, but, when you look closer, much of their content will leave you woefully unprepared for the actual test. Indeed, if you practice only from Kaplan, you’ll be in for a big shock test day.

Grade: D+


This is the fourth in a series of new GRE book reviews.  


P.S. Ready to improve your GRE score? Get started today.

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144 Responses to Kaplan New GRE Premier 2011-2012 Book Review

  1. Monica August 9, 2016 at 12:08 am #

    Ugh! I wish I would have known about Magoosh earlier! I’ve been studying for the GRE for the past month with only Kaplan’s 2016 guide and I wasn’t aware that their book was this bad. I’m scheduled to take the GRE in 2 weeks exactly! What can I do? I think I’m starting to panic now.

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert August 13, 2016 at 9:39 pm #

      One thing you’ll want to do right away is to start using official GRE materials from ETS— some of these are free, some can be purchased as ebooks, and some can be ordered and sent to you very quickly, perhaps through a service like Amazon.com. Go through as many of those GRE materials as possible.

      You may also want to get a Magoosh GRE Premium subscription. here on the blog, one of our best students came up with a two week GRE study plan that uses GRE premium materials as well as our free apps. We offer one week and one month Magoosh GRE study plans too. Many of our students who have two weeks to study combine elements of the week and month plans to make a two week plan. We offer email support to premium members who want to customize their plans.

      A lot of what you do in the next two weeks depends on where your strengths and weaknesses lie, too of course. The official GRE materials I linked above are true to the test and will help you gauge your true GRE ability. Practicing with those official materials may be enough to get you ready— you may find you are actually performing quite well on “the real thing” from ETS. But if you do a full day of official ETS practice and feel like you still need more support, Magoosh GRE or a similarly reliable third-party service can help.

  2. Kaitlyn May 23, 2016 at 7:52 am #

    I am taking the GRE tomorrow and have been using the Kaplan book to study mainly the Quant. section. I need it to rise 4+ points. Essentially you are saying that a majority of this practice spent on this book will not help me get there and that it is not an accurate study source? Are the practice test accurate? I am getting the score I need on the practice test and am curious if I “will be in for a surprise come test day”

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert May 23, 2016 at 11:09 am #

      Hi Kaitlyn. The time you’ve spent on Kaplan can certainly help you get to where you need to be on GRE Quants— in the sense that any math skills practice that overlaps with the math skills on the GRE is useful. But Kaplan is not enough like the GRE to be really useful on its own.

      If you’ve done some Kaplan math practice already, you’ll want to take the skills you’ve built from that experience and shift those skills to books that offer better instruction and more authentic practice. This includes Barron’s and Princeton Review, as Chris mentioned. And for test questions that are as authentic as possible, you should definitely use official GRE prep books from ETS, as well as ETS’s free GRE PowerPrep question sets.

      The official ETS materials include full exams and the ability to calculate your raw scores. Seeing your scores on materials form the makers of the test is the best way to know if you’re getting the scores you need… and the best way to avoid surprises on test day.

  3. Jeff December 10, 2014 at 8:28 pm #

    With regard to the online tests included by Kaplan: I initially thought they were well structured and solid training tools … this may have been partially due to the fact that I was able to complete the 20 question segments with plenty of time to spare and missing few (if any) of the problems. On test day, like many of the other posters, I found myself running out of time, in many cases leaving three or more questions unanswered, and dealing with substantially more difficult questions. My quant score was much lower than I expected or received during Kaplan’s online practice tests, to the tune of 7 points (159Q).

    I had previously taken the GRE’s when I was an undergraduate in 2003. Back then the test was structured differently and thus had different techniques (i.e. focusing the majority of effort on early problems to get the adaptive program to place you into a higher percentile bracket). I barely studied for that test and walked away with a 780Q.

    Thinking this new GRE would have similar question types, I bought this book, ran through the printed content, and completed all the online quantitative prep items. I felt legitimately confident that I would do well this time around and was unhappily surprised at the results. 1) The quant questions have gotten significantly more difficult since I saw this test ten years ago and 2) this book does not prepare you for success and worse, can give you a false sense of security.

    Find a different study asset … I will before I take the test again.

  4. Shan November 17, 2014 at 7:17 am #

    In kaplan’s practice tests cd, there are few errors in the math section. No scope for posting attachments otherwise I would have done that.

  5. Aaron Anderson May 26, 2013 at 7:34 pm #


    Thanks for providing detailed reviews of the books on the market is something that is needed so people don’t spend their money on bad products. I do however think you have dismissed Kaplan’s product a little prematurely. I just took the GRE for the 2nd in 15 months. The first time around I used the book reviewed here. And you are right that many of the problems are not representative of the test. They are too easy for that but in my opinion they do a decent job of explaining concepts at a basic level. I found it a good place to start but not sufficient to excel. There are a few things in the Kaplan cannon that I think are worth noting. The formulas offered at the back were probably the most helpful part of the book for me. Also there is good to excellent online content that is included with purchase of the book. The online tests are very helpful and in my opinion comparable to MGRE. The format is nearly identical to the actual ETS setup and your answers/results are saved until your subscription expires (and beyond). After completing the test your answers are analyzed, breaking down your results by question types. It gives a decent idea of your weak areas. Also a really cool feature is that it records how much time you spend on each question. You can go back a review to improve your time management. I found this really helpful in identifying question types that I need to work on using more efficient methods for solving. The online content however is the same for both the 2012 and 2013 edition.

    Personally I found Princeton Review publications to be the most lacking. They were filled with errors and poor explanations. Online support was awful in fact I still have not received a response after multiple emails. Ditto for their online content. Kaplan had a few errors also but lets say the ratio was approaching 1:10 😀

    By far my favorite content has been Manhattan GRE. I think they are on the ball and have great support. I also find your value to be extremely high. If I were buy online lessons it would be right here. Kaplan’s prices are ridiculous. MGRE is a little better.

    Another tool I have found useful for vocab learning is quizlet.com

    I would love to see a quality smartphone flashcard app!

    Keep up the good work.


    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele May 29, 2013 at 1:35 pm #

      Hi Aaron,

      Thanks for your honest review :). I think the review does overlook some positives. For one, typos are not that common (as is notoriously the case with Princeton Review). Also, the explanations are quite well-written and thought out. Yet the low-quality of the content (not just in terms of how the difficulty-level is off) informs much of my review.

      To be fair, I will need to check out Kaplan’s online content. I take your word that it is an improvement on the book content, and that the online program itself offers a great user experience. I’d be curious to see how the content good it is, and will definitely write a review once I do so.

      Yes, quizlet.com is awesome :). In terms of quality smartphone flashcard, we might have something up our sleeve :). We’ll be announcing that soon — so check back on our blog in about a week or so!

  6. Don May 13, 2013 at 11:02 am #

    This particular book might not be the best test prep book available for the GRE, but to dismiss Kaplan as one of the best test prep companies is a little puerile. Consider these examples from GRE’s Wikipedia page:
    1. “In December 1994… then Director of GRE Programs for Kaplan, Inc and current CEO of Knewton, Jose Ferreira led a team of 22 staff members deployed to 9 U.S. cities to take the exam. Kaplan, Inc then presented ETS with 150 questions, representing 70-80% of the GRE.”
    2. “Additionally… the scoring algorithm for the computer-adaptive form of the GRE was discovered to be insecure. ETS acknowledged that Kaplan, Inc employees, led by Jose Ferreira, reverse-engineered key features of the GRE scoring algorithms.”
    These examples reveal the amount of energy and money Kaplan spends for research on the GRE. I have a question: How do you compare your research to Kaplan’s?

    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele May 14, 2013 at 10:01 am #

      Hi Don,

      I think you bring up some interesting points! Kaplan does have quite a lot of experience in the GRE space. That it was able to “crack” the GRE test back in 1994 shows that it was proactive in trying to understand the test. But that was a while ago–and Ferreira did leave Kaplan to start his own company, Knewton. I think my main gripe with Kaplan is the quality of its content. So even if it was still marshaling up its forces to “crack” the ETS scoring algorithm that doesn’t necessarily mean the content it releases in its books (which could be different from the content it uses in-house) is up to snuff.

      Let me elaborate a little on the whole content bit. Kaplan’s current GRE guide was written before the new GRE was even released. I had hoped that the 2013 edition Kaplan would have been informed by Kaplan staff who had taken the new GRE. Sadly, the content in the 2013 edition was exactly the same as the content in the 2012 edition. So while my review–indeed any review–is colored by subjectivity, I have nothing personal against Kaplan–and I do heartily recommend Manhattan GRE, which Kaplan owns.

      As for our “research” methods, we don’t have the deep pockets of Kaplan, but I do take the test periodically. The questions and the flavor of the content I see on the GRE inspire Magoosh’s question content. In that sense, our content reflects the most current iteration of the test.

      I hope that sheds a little more light on my review and our methods :).

  7. aman April 8, 2013 at 5:51 pm #

    How would you rate the Kaplan 2013 premier with 5 online tests?
    I am no expert but the difference in quant practice tests of kaplan and the ets power prep doesn’t seem too much to me .

    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele April 9, 2013 at 1:11 pm #

      Hi Aman,

      Actually, the books are the exact same–there really is no difference between the different years. The ets tests are different in terms of content. For the math it’s subtle–difficulty level and trickiness is big. For the verbal, the questions just aren’t as nuanced nor written with the same panache.

  8. Aaron March 26, 2013 at 11:14 pm #

    So…I exclusively used the Kaplan book to prepare for the test. I was scoring almost 100% on the practice tests. I always scored higher on q than v; I took the GRE…and I got hosed on the quant section! I went back to look at the Kaplan quant stuff, and there was usually only one high difficulty question per section. The actual GRE was way harder! I consider myself pretty good at math (engineering major from top ranked school), but I’ve been in the work force for a couple of years and am a little rusty. Any suggestions? I guess I’ll end up taking it a second time.

    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele March 27, 2013 at 1:57 pm #

      Hi Aaron,

      Sorry you didn’t do as well expected. Yeah, Kaplan’s math questions are much easier than questions on the real GRE. Luckily, there are some great resources out there for tough quant questions.

      1. Manhattan GRE (MGRE)

      You have two options here: the six online tests (which come free if you buy any one of their books); and the 5 lbs. book of questions. I’d definitely suggest the six online tests as they are the best quant practice for the actual test (the questions are actually slightly harder). The 5 lbs. book has some tough questions, but also has a lot of easier questions (so if you run out of questions this might be good).

      2. Magoosh

      Many of the questions on our quant section, according to our students, is significantly tougher than what you’ll see test day (I can vouch for this as well).

      3. Nova’s

      Not as good as the other two options (after all it’s just a book vs. a computer-based mock test setting), but you can still get some tough practice questions. The only downside is the questions are based on the old GRE format, meaning no numeric entry or multiple-answer questions. Still, a decent trove of tough practice questions.

      Between those three books you should definitely have enough practice to rock the quant section on your next try :).

      Hope that helps!

  9. Pemdas@BTG August 30, 2012 at 5:35 pm #

    just to note that Magoosh how much useful it appears as GRE prep resource it won’t extend its utility margin beyond the upper-intermediate show on test day. The advanced performance is laid not with foundations but with clearly elaborated strategies and ability of test-takers to proceed efficiently through all of the exam sections.

    i guess tutors and online-live sessions are very handy here, but then again it all points to one person’s show on test day.

  10. nader August 29, 2012 at 11:00 pm #

    hello dears

    I am planning to take GRE in November and I have Kaplan,Princeton Review books and Barron.

    But the problem lies here, you dismiss all the book i have purchased and i wonder if all these books are not worth reading then what should i do to prepare for the GRE?

    I will be much obliged if you help me with this.

    Yours truly

    • Chris Lele
      Chris August 30, 2012 at 3:22 pm #

      Hi Nader,

      I definitely don’t want to come across as the GRE book review curmudgeon: I’m only trying to be honest. None of those books are up to task of preparing one for the GRE. For one, all were published before the actual test had been administered. While the books could easily have been updated with questions that actually reflect those on the actual test, the latest editions are the exact same books. Simply put, the usual publishers don’t seem interested in providing quality content :(.

      So you got to go 2.0, so to speak. Magoosh and Manhattan GRE (esp. the 6 on-line tests). That is simply the best way to prepare for the exam. Sure I’m biased, but if you point out anything that is subpar about our content, we will fix it right away. Do the same with the other publishers…and you’ll in most likely see the same questions fives years from now. Okay, I’m starting to sound like a curmudgeon :).

      Bottom-line, don’t use those books :).

  11. Shambu July 30, 2012 at 1:22 pm #

    hey chris

    I have my test on august 6th….i attempted all practise sets from kaplan n i am scoring almost full score for quants sections…soo how accurate are these practise sets to the real GRE?

    • Chris Lele
      Chris August 1, 2012 at 5:22 pm #

      Hi Shambu,

      The tests seem to be pretty accurate. So I’m guessing test-day you should score very well on the quant section :).

  12. Harini Ravi July 21, 2012 at 8:13 pm #


    Well i guess its quite unfortunate that i come across this the day i purchase my copy of the Kaplan. What sources would you suggest for RC and quants? Also, any tips for a beginner?

    Thank you!

    • Chris Lele
      Chris July 24, 2012 at 4:00 pm #

      To be fair, the RC of Kaplan is not that bad. Quant is okay and is not the worst place to start, now that you have the book. But it would be a good idea to pick up the Manhattan GRE series of books.

      As for tips, this blog is filled with them :). Click on any part of the tab bar at the page and you can navigate away through reading comprehension and text completion and quant posts.

  13. Aayushi July 20, 2012 at 5:22 am #

    hello chris,,i want to prepare for gre its my dream..bt this time i m nt getting how to start preparing for gre…plz suggest me how to start…

  14. Rohit July 13, 2012 at 8:57 am #

    Hello chris,

    I am preparing for gre. I had taken 3-4 mock tests lately , and i am able to achieve 310 mark on an average. Now i want to excel my score to 320 and i have one month span left for it. I generally got Quant:-165 and Verbal:-145 . I have a lot of problems with Reading comprehensions and Sentence completion.
    Please suggest me the way .


    • Chris Lele
      Chris July 13, 2012 at 4:55 pm #

      Hi Rohit,

      Take a look at our general Ebook. It will provide you with many helpful tips to help you reach 320.


      Let me know if you have any questions :).

  15. Shashi June 21, 2012 at 11:04 pm #

    hello chris,

    I recently took a verbal test in manhattan and scored 165. the problem is that in one set i got 8 wrongs and in other i got only 2 wrongs, which was beacuse i knew in my mind that the first test did not go well, my problem is i always do silly mistake and when i concentrate harder things go better, but still i do a mistake or two of not reading all the options or getting carried away.
    what would you suggest becuse at times i get all correct and other time half wrong

    • Chris Lele
      Chris June 26, 2012 at 1:53 pm #

      Hi Shashi,

      That’s a great score :).

      In answer to your question, I think the simple answer is slow down. Assuming you are not running out of time, slowing down can help you avoid misreading answer choices. Indeed, sometimes reading to quickly can lead you to misinterpret the question. Next thing you know you are spending a few minutes on a question simply because you misread it.

      Hope that helps!

  16. Pemdas@BTG June 17, 2012 at 4:32 am #

    Hi Chris, I am back with an update of my practice tests with various sources. So far, I have completed all 6 MGRE practice sets, but only their math parts 1-5 tests. I have been provided an access to Barron’s 4 online tests in the revised format, I have practiced a bunch of the verbal questions from Magoosh with varying accuracy levels 60% …90%, the content was mainly hard questions.

    You won’t believe me today’s practice in Kaplan’s 3rd MST which I took returned me quant’s score of 154 (!). I was thrown at two initial sections in quant with the first one being experimental and very hard (made five mistakes) and the third one (medium) made 3 mistakes and the last one was f*c*ed up section containing dubious DI questions with unclear data presented in the graph, like 1-score, 2-score and 3-score balls in play season, one needs to assume or to know in advance without any reference that all the scores were not factored into the table but are numbers, i.e. incidents and I might well assume that this incidents would be counted by rounding, quartering etc… In any case I am not too much worried about the quant Kaplan’s returned to me as I proved good accuracy in the preceding experimental sections full of hard questions and obtained 166 in MGRE practice sets (though untimed, still better practice than timed Kaplan) and went through timed practice of Barron’s which returned Q160-165 and V157-162.

    My today’s Kaplan MST verbal returned 158. I know understand you fully when you were saying that Kaplan is not a good practice guide for revised GRE. They fully concentrate on vocabulary and sometimes the intended meaning of the sentence from the first read and guess will contradict the available words in 6 options. Then I had to list my vocabulary and reject context as such. Anyways, I still believe to deserve 158 in Kaplan’s MST verbal section is not bad and I full owe this to you Chris and your bright product known as Magoosh. I have also versed myself in PR’s word smart and feel like I am better equipped for tackling SE questions now.

    BTW, I have not touched the ETS practice test yet and should do so by the next week-end. I have exam in ten days.

    • Chris Lele
      Chris June 19, 2012 at 3:37 pm #

      Hi Pemdas,

      Thanks for the debrief! Seems as though your experience in corroborating what I said about Kaplan. And I’m glad to hear you’ve found our product helpful. As we speak, new verbal questions are getting uploaded. And let me just say we have some fiendishly difficult three-blank awaiting :).

      Well, keep me posted how your prep goes over the next 10 days!

  17. Pemdas@BTG June 12, 2012 at 1:01 pm #

    Hi Chris, I noticed that TC and SE questions installed in Magoosh verbal set has connection somehow to PR’s word smart word lists. Is this coincidence, or you opted this guide as your vocab main source? I am mainly asking this question, because my TC and SE started to result in greater accuracy rates now. Can I expect the same to take place in exam, or the ETS will be testing different words 🙂 ?

    • Chris Lele
      Chris June 19, 2012 at 3:31 pm #

      Hi Pemdas,

      I can assure you that is totally random :). Very interesting, nonetheless. Then again, that is not too surprising. The PR Word Smart has 1,500 commonly tested words. It’s inevitable that a lot will make it on to our product, and, by extension, the GRE.

      Apparently, from students’ feedback, the Magoosh words do a pretty good job of covering what you’ll see test day.

  18. Varsha June 9, 2012 at 1:04 am #

    Hi guys…Can anyone suggest me the best link to download Kaplan New GRE 2011-2012 Premier book online for free…pls pls

    • Chris Lele
      Chris June 11, 2012 at 3:47 pm #

      Hi Varsha,

      What you are asking for is illegal (it’s called pirating). It is neither fair to the Magoosh community nor Kaplan, who has created a product.

  19. Pemdas@BTG June 8, 2012 at 6:18 am #

    Chris, I am a bit confused, namely (read below) …

    I ended up my MGRE practice session with 156 Math (720 old scale) and 154 Verbal (510 old scale) scores. This was given that I did my best (underline, did my best) with every question during MGRE session, especially in the quantitative part. How should I approach such a huge score drop-down?

    I shall note that my predicted score by Magoosh has been set within the interval of 161-166 (I answered 90% of all questions, attempted for first time, correctly).

    Despite such a score, I actually enjoyed today’s practice test – 12 brain teasers marked by MGRE as 700-800 difficulty level question in the 2-nd section, the rest, 8 questions, were marked 600-700 difficulty level. My mistakes came from the 2nd Math section mainly; I missed only one question in the 1-st Math section.

    My today’s MGRE session was not a walk as was Kaplan’s MST twice for me; my Math score of 168 in Kaplan’s MSTs do contrast with Math score of 156 MGRE. I felt like MGRE experts would offer their most difficult section to those who answer correctly all or questions in the 1st Math section, which contained several difficult questions too.

    I would not rely on MGRE’s verbal content too. Not because of my subjective reasons and or due to my MGRE Verbal score recapitulating that of Kaplan’s (close to 152). I have actually downloaded new GMAT software from http://www.mba.com and drilled verbal questions pertaining to RC and CR in a software. I had average level of accuracy with the software entries, and also I don’t completely fail my RC and CR when attempting GMAT OGs, as Kaplan’s and MGRE suggest.

    In today’s test, I came across of two absolutely isolated sentences with different context/meaning in the two-word TC entries. Two TC questions I had of the sort mentioned, and I was required to do mental check on my vocabulary list only 🙂 No context was absolutely involved.

    I will be using MGRE practice exams for checking myself in Math area mainly.

    Chris, please let me know your thoughts here

    • Chris Lele
      Chris June 9, 2012 at 10:01 am #

      Hi Pemdas,

      Thanks for the helpful debrief. Yes, MGRE tests are more difficult than the actual tests. From that standpoint the test is not an accurate indicator of score. Yet, you can definitely get great practice material from MGRE. Kaplan, whose score may be more accurate, has a very low bar for content, a fact that will hurt you test day. By contrast MGRE tests will make the real tests seem much easier.

      As for the TC, I am curious to see the question. Some of the more difficult questions may not appear to have any discernible context; however, there is only one set of answers that, when plugged into the sentence, create a coherent meaning. Kaplan TC’s make the test seem much easier than it actually is.

      Well keep me posted 🙂

      • Pemdas@BTG June 9, 2012 at 1:45 pm #

        yea, took another session, this time without clock limits, though stats shows 2-3 min on each question on average with some exceptions for difficult questions 3+ min. Scored 167 (800 old scale). I think MGRE questions are just worded differently from those I have seen lately and it takes time and practice with MGRE to polish their score card 🙂 Anyways, I will be practicing with Math section only and keep reconnecting my memory to PR word smart and Manhattan’s word lists till exam. Another good news that you’ve added new questions to Magoosh premium accounts and this should suffice me in the left two weeks.

        BTW, I haven’t touched ETS test yet and avoided practicing from the paper based test downloadable through ETS web-site. They report several duplications in both sets. I also avail 3 Kaplan’s tests which I will use to approximate my verbal score mainly, as the validity of quant lost in air after touching MGRE 🙂

        wish me big luck, as I opted to apply for PhD in business, through Fall 2013

  20. Pemdas@BTG June 6, 2012 at 7:48 pm #

    thanks Chris for the advice re Kaplan’s. You know I am premium user of Magoosh and left all the exercise beyond some early 50 ones in the verbal section for drilling between the practice tests through exam date. Thus, I went to my account @Magoosh and drilled with hard content TC and RC. Indeed, I was able to comprehend the hard RC problem, ‘Mayor Tower proposed’, and resolve for correct answer decisively within 2:33 minutes. Tomorrow I will take one of the six Manhattan’s practice tests and will report my verbal score 🙂 Let’s see what goes into play then. Also I am extremely interested in quant side of MGRE tests as Kaplan’s MST comes as easier to me to resolve the sections as I would really sit on MST and simultaneously speak to my little kid 🙂 Too easy and doubtful for me to believe in 96 percentile estimate …

    • Chris Lele
      Chris June 7, 2012 at 2:35 pm #

      Hi Pemdas,

      That’s great that you are able to get through some of the more difficult Magoosh Verbal questions (we are actually releasing about 250 verbal questions, many of which are very difficult. They should be out in the next couple weeks).

      Anyhow, let me know how the MGRE quant goes. I’d be happy to hear your thoughts :).

  21. Pemdas@BTG June 6, 2012 at 4:50 am #

    Hi Chris, I have booked my exam date to three weeks from now and now question myself about validity of two MST-s I took @ Kaplan’s online resource. I scored in both quant sections 168 but failed the verbal with the score of 152 (made the same number of mistakes in the verbal both times, though improved a bit on SE side and became worse on RC). The quant side I am not Really concerned about, as I will be doing 6 online exams from MGRE online resource too. I am asking mainly about the RC part of Kaplan’s. Do these entries are really representative of the exam format and organization? I didn’t encounter any tremendously difficult context passages in Kaplan’s last MST but ended with 45% accuracy/correct answers rate with RC questions @Kaplan’s test No 2 (the 1st one was slightly better).

    Do you think the organization of passages in Kaplan’s RC and the way questions answered is representative of real exam format, is there any proximity at all?

    I have written down 461 words from MGRE two sets of essentials and advanced lists (1000 words) of which the use I was not sure and decided to review them till the exam date regularly. This already helped me in SE with Kaplan’s MST to improve a bit.

    I have the following stats with verbal in Kaplan’s
    TC=75%, SE=65%, RC=50%.

    BTW, when I tried GMAT OG I ended up with 75% accuracy rate for RC after passage questions. Is Kapln’s doing a good job on RC side?

    • Chris Lele
      Chris June 6, 2012 at 4:03 pm #

      Hi Pemdas,

      Again, I really wouldn’t trust anything that Kaplan releases for the New GRE. The book alone shows what scant, if any, thought and organization went into this book. While RC is the only section, verbal-wise, that somewhat approximates the real test, even this section is suspect. Though Kaplan is good for GMAT, I would steer clear of them for the GRE. Your best bet: stick with official material, either GRE or GMAT for RC. As this is the area that clearly needs work, using Kaplan very well have the reverse effect.

      Keep us posted on your prepping as your test date nears :).

  22. Sonia June 5, 2012 at 8:45 pm #

    Well this review is disheartening since this is the book I am currently using to study. I am trying to follow your 90 Day GRE day-by-day plan. Would you happen to know what pages I can read from the Kaplan book that will give me the same information as the ETS Official Guide to the GRE book?

    • Chris Lele
      Chris June 6, 2012 at 3:59 pm #

      Hi Sonia,

      Well, that’s the thing– the Kaplan book just can’t really replace the content/information contained in the actual book. The only part of the Kaplan book I would rely on is the one that talks about the duration of the test and the breakdown of each section, time-wise. Otherwise, you def. need to get the Official GRE guide.

      Hope that helps :).

  23. wendy May 30, 2012 at 7:21 am #

    Hello Chris,

    I am soooo glad I found your posts. I am comparing Kaplan with Princeton Review and your insight is valuable.

    How helpful are Kaplan materials regarding the MCAT? Can you provide links, resources, recommended books and tutorial/test prep programs for the MCAT?

    I would be very interested in your tutorial support and services.

    Thank You


    • Chris Lele
      Chris May 30, 2012 at 12:48 pm #

      Hi Wendy,

      Thanks for the kudos :). Unfortunately, I don’t have any experience with the MCAT :(. As is the case in the GRE space, I’m guessing you have to hunt around to find the best material. For the most part, the big names PReview, Kaplan do not a do very good job with standardized tests. Usually there is some smaller company (like Magoosh :)) who takes more time to really understand the test and help impart that knowledge to others.

  24. Mahdi May 23, 2012 at 11:11 am #

    Thanks Chris and Pemdas.

    I think Kaplan’s questions which are derived from graphs or tables are much more easier than Barrons.
    Other thing, it took me 25 minutes to solve 20 questions of Kaplan quantitative practise test, while for Barrons was about 32-34 minutes.
    Btw, I think you are right. Mock tests will help me to be more familiar with different types of quantitative questions.

    • Chris Lele
      Chris May 23, 2012 at 11:44 am #

      Hi Mahdi,

      On Quant, Barron’s questions tend to be tougher than Kaplan’s. For the latest RGRE book, I just wished Barron’s had provided more up-to-date content instead of recycling its old stuff.

      Anyhow, Pemdas offers good advice – take the MGRE mock tests.

  25. Mahdi May 22, 2012 at 12:08 pm #

    Hi Chris:

    I did the quantitative tests of Kaplan’s CD. For the first 4 tests, I had 4 incorrect answers, and for the rest ones it was at most 2 incorrect answers. May I know what is the difficulty of the quantitative tests of Kaplan? Is it harder or easier than the real exam?
    And other question:
    Should I try other books for improving my quantitative or you think it is enough for me ?

    • Chris Lele
      Chris May 22, 2012 at 1:45 pm #

      Hi Mahdi,

      The questions on the actual exam are more challenging, and slightly different in nature.

      For improving quant you definitely want to go beyond just what Kaplan offers. Here are some book reviews that you will find helpful:


      Let me know if you have any questions :).

    • Pemdas@BTG May 23, 2012 at 4:02 am #

      if you allow me I will also give my insights about Kaplan’s quant tests. In fact your rate of incorrect answers in the first four sets suggests that you have some weak areas in Math. It may well be probability too, since these sets include some average difficulty questions on stats and probability. You need to strive review the topics in which you made mistakes and review those topics. The level of difficulty of the quant sets (10 in total included with Kaplan’s CD) is close to the first section of real GRE. That’s what was reported by people taking both Kaplan’s and real exam. So you should expect your second quant section in RGRE exam to be harder than your first section. Your approximate score in Math would not be less 740 if you strive your best in RGRE. I agree with Chris that for more through analysis of your math skills you will need to complete some other serious tests too, like MGRE tests – they are available online if you buy some kindle book from MGRE book store.

      • Chris Lele
        Chris May 23, 2012 at 11:42 am #

        Thanks for the helpful insights, Pemdas. I know many will benefit :).

  26. Pemdas@BTG April 29, 2012 at 12:48 pm #

    Hello, Jose Melvin if possible please e-mail me with blank message at zaur@online.ie I need to ask you a question in private manner re GRE.

  27. Aman April 25, 2012 at 10:58 pm #

    Hey Melvin,

    Thanks a lot for your help ,it is very generous of you to be supportive and share your experience and as Pemdas@BTG said a well deserved score….

    Take Care

  28. Blue April 25, 2012 at 8:38 pm #


    Excellent guidelines – they will definitely help me.

    Would you please tell me which things from the GMAT I have to complete for my GRE preparation? Which part from which resources? Please give a comprehensive outline for the GMAT part

    same question is for you. I need a total comprehensive GMAT part guideline.

    Eagerly waiting for your post. Your advice for vocab and RC is helping me a lot in my preparation. But I’m still having difficulties with picking the right answers and avoiding traps in RC. I Hope you will enlighten me with your guideline and GMAT resources.

    • Chris Lele
      Chris April 26, 2012 at 2:23 pm #

      Picking the right answer between close calls takes a lot of practice. In the Magoosh lesson videos for our GRE product, I go over what makes a(n) answer choice right and what makes an answer choice wrong. I’ll create a blog post detailing this :).

  29. Pemdas@BTG April 25, 2012 at 11:57 am #

    Melvin, you are great with such a debrief and GRE tips for all fellows including me. You have deserved your score with hard work and I do congratulate you again! You seem to have had solid background in math after drilling with CAT materials and reciting Barron’s 3500 words; the latter is not everyone’s achievement in one’s studies to prepare to take GRE. So you did notice that GRE’s reading comprehension passages are difficult and TC entries are tough, correct? No surprise here as GRE serves to test the verbal abilities of native speakers. This task requires ETS to check their examinees’ mastery of reasoning skills too. That’s the reason I’m practicing with critical reasoning stuff of GMAT. I believe the revised GRE will be testing similar aspects, not only unknown words.

    • Chris Lele
      Chris April 26, 2012 at 2:21 pm #

      Yes, GMAT prep material, especially the Critical Reasoning, will definitely help you prepare for the test. Though students who are not scoring in the top percent should not feel that they have to do the harder problems in the Official Guide (the harder problems usually come towards the end of the problem set).

    • Melvin April 26, 2012 at 6:21 pm #

      Thanks Pemdas 🙂

      According to me, the GRE does not at all test you with new words, that’s not even on their minds. I remember when I was taking the mocks, I used to be stuck with complex words for answer choices. But you wouldn’t believe me, on test day, I was stuck between options like “holds” and “regards”. That’s how subtle it is.

      All the best for your prep 🙂 You thorough prep will def get you an awesome score 🙂

  30. Melvin Jose April 24, 2012 at 9:03 pm #


    Yes. Vocabulary is definitely important. I infact, did all the Vocab from Barrons (3500 words). That may be the reason why I found it easy. So I would never support the idea of ignoring Vocab.

    Chris, regarding the TC questions, they were the toughest I had ever seen. Each question was like a passage with 5-6 sentences. They were like mini CR passages. They has too many shifts and a lot of detail. So if someone thought they could ace through the TC and SE questions if they knew Vocab, think again. TC required a lot of reasoning again and there were a lot of close choices too.

    There isn’t a clear strategy that can make you win I guess. It should be mix of hard work, tight reasoning and composure on test day.

    If you get these 3 done, you are definitely in for a good score.

    Also, I did all the RCs from GMAT OG. they helped me do better in the RCs. The explanations given there were also v helpful in deciding that kind of tricks that the test-makers use to get you down.

    Hope that helps. 🙂

    Melvin 🙂

    • Chris Lele
      Chris April 25, 2012 at 12:03 pm #

      Thanks again for sharing your tips! Though I had one in the past, I need another post that emphasizes the importance of using both the GMAT and the LSAT for RC questions.

  31. Melvin Jose April 24, 2012 at 8:56 pm #

    Hi Aman,

    By “intuition” I mean something fundamental, like, say for example if you are know all the forumlae in statistics like for mean,median,sd etc. you should know how they work. But the catch here is that most people tend to ignore how it works!!

    ETS tests this ignorance. They ask you questions that cannot be solved numerically ( or that take a log time to solve numerically) like “What will happen to the SD of the test if I include this number in?” or “Set A has mean x with a elements, Set B has mean y with b elements, compare their ranges,medians and SDs”. These are questions that you cannot solve mathematically at all. You need to know how things work, what is the relationship between the terms in question.

    That’s how it was. And, most of the test prep material don’t seem to include these kinda questions in their prep. So in addition to the formulae, you need to have a very strong base.


    My prep was v sporadic. I got caught in a lot of work during my prep, so I was always short of time. I did my prep from ETS OG, Kaplan premier and tips from PR.

    For quants, I did Nova’s, I found it very good and comprehensive. However, for chapters like Permutations & COmbi, Probability, Geometry and Statistics, I did not restrict myself to Nova’s alone, I did prep from MBA material for an exam called CAT in India. ( It’s quants are the toughest you can find anywhere). That way I was ready for anything in Quants.

    I also took a lot of full tests. 4 MSTs from kaplan (I got them since i got the book), 1 from Princeton , 1 from MGRE, 1 powerprep, 1 paper test at the back of OG.
    That’s totally 8 full tests. But, my scores in all these tests are varying from 319-333. So, I would say take them for the practise, don’t attach a lot of weight to the scores they give. None of the tests are as real as your real test.

    Do not take them very close to your exam. Take them at regular intervals. If you take them like a week before your exams, it can demoralize you. Also, the powerprep test is v v difficult, so do not be discouraged if you score low in it. You will def do much better than that in the real test.


    All the best for your prep. You can surely cross 160 if you get your act together on test day. It’s more about your equanimity on test day. That contributes a lot to your score.

    One little pointer to help all. Please make use of the fact that the test is very user-friendly and navigable. After you finish the 6 TC questions, you will get a long passage, mark it and move on to the SE and the remaining short passages, you can come back to the long one at the end.

    This is because the long passage is where ETS tries to get your score down. Do not be bogged down by the profundity of the passage. If you waste your time on that passage you will not have time for the other questions and your score will take a beating. ETS wants you to waste your time on that passage, do not let that happen. Come to it at the end, that way it’s a win-win for you. You can enough time to think about it, even if you get it wrong (which most ppl will, cos its v demanding) it won’t affect the other questions.

    Hope that helps.

    Thanks and good luck,

    • Chris Lele
      Chris April 25, 2012 at 12:00 pm #

      Great pointers, Melvin! I will definitely incorporate some of your insights into upcoming blog posts :).

      • Melvin April 26, 2012 at 6:21 pm #

        Pleasure Chris. Am just returning the favour 🙂

  32. Pemdas@BTG April 24, 2012 at 1:58 pm #

    I meant actually SC from the Big Book for old GRE and their 27 tests available freely over the net.

  33. Aman April 24, 2012 at 11:03 am #

    I think what Pemdas said is correct RGRE is based on context and critical reading .As far as comparison to GMAT is concern ,the testing of GMAC and ETS is totally different .ETS consider the fact that, there is a vocab level required for a student to study in the grad school .Moreover,the diversity in RC also takes into consideration of different background of students .This is not the case in GMAT.I think with the requirement of critical reading the RC has become a more difficult deal than the GMAT but the MGMAT and Magoosh strategies would prove to be beneficial.
    @Pemdas BTW which 27 TC tests are you talking about ?

    • Chris Lele
      Chris April 24, 2012 at 3:42 pm #

      Hi Aman,

      For some GMAT passages you may be right – the RC passages on the GMAT test though are quite tough. Also, GMAT allows you to practice with the logic paragraphs.

      The 27 tests refer to the Big Book, which, if you can get your hands on it, offers a great way to prep for RC. Then there are the LSAT passages, which are very challenging and contain GRE level vocabulary.

      • Pemdas@BTG April 25, 2012 at 3:54 pm #

        @Chris, I pointed big book only for the use of SC part to prepare for TC-s in revised GRE. The big book’s RC is long and detrimental! I would discourage anyone from practicing the passages for RC from big book to take revised GRE. These passages do not reflect the style addressed in Official guide for revised GRE and they contain too many detailed questions. It’s like advanced TOEFL ibt version of RC or ESL. This not GRE style of RC as introduced in RGRE Official guide. One woule be better of to practice LSAT passages or GMAT passages instead.

      • Pemdas@BTG April 25, 2012 at 3:56 pm #

        corrected: @Chris, I used only the big book for the SC part to prepare for TC-s in the revised GRE. The big book’s RC is long and detrimental! I would discourage anyone from practicing the passages for RC from the big book to take the revised GRE. These passages do not reflect the style addressed in Official guide for the revised GRE and they contain too many detailed questions. It’s like advanced TOEFL ibt version of RC or ESL. This is not the GRE style of RC as introduced in RGRE Official guide. One would be better off practicing LSAT passages or GMAT passages instead.

  34. Blue April 24, 2012 at 6:44 am #

    Hi Melvin,

    Congratulations !! You have done a great job .

    Would you please share your preparation strategy,guidelines and practice materials?
    Hope your advice will help us to get good score. Also please give us effective guideline for Quant section.I need it. I have to get a score like you.

  35. Aman April 23, 2012 at 9:06 pm #

    Hi Melvin,
    Congrats for the score,that is sure a dominating one.
    I have some query about the quants section ,you mentioned “intuition question” can you elaborate on them as in what type of questions.?
    There is one more thing i need to ask are the questions in the ETS official guide practice test in sink to what you got in the test .?

    Your advice would be valuable for me as i am to give my GRE on 2nd.


  36. Aman April 23, 2012 at 8:57 pm #

    Hi Chris,
    I think there is clarification required from ETS about the 170 in quant issue.Are the considering time as a character or something else.

    • Chris Lele
      Chris April 24, 2012 at 3:38 pm #

      Hi Aman,

      I don’t know – I wish ETS would disclose exactly how it tabulated the scores, but for now we can only wait and conjecture.

  37. Pemdas@BTG April 23, 2012 at 8:22 pm #

    Experience of Jose Melvin one more time shows that new, i.e. revised test is based on logic surrounding passages and more in-context review is required on our side to complete the verbal preparation route. However, I still have doubts about RGRE testing exclusively in-context material and less of new vocabulary. I believe there won’t be some complicated words tested on Kaplan or MGMAT tests but we still can see bunch of words requiring our GRE word literacy. Therefore knowing all words from PR Words SMART-2 is a must rule for everyone prepping for RGRE. Sailing through 27 TC tests and completing all Magoosh TC and SE entries could help too. I recently found myself achieving 80% i.e. 8/10 accuracy rate on Kaplan verbal tests for TC (single,2 and 3 blanks)+SE. I don’t know if this is a good signal or bad, but at least I can fight off some subtle vocab presented by Kaplan’s 🙂

    @Jose, I will be testing between June and July hopefully and I need 160+ on verbal as well.

    • Chris Lele
      Chris April 24, 2012 at 3:37 pm #

      Hi Pemdas,

      Yes, you are right – vocabulary is still important. Know words that show up in Word Smart, or in the New York Times (but don’t worry about totally obscure/technical words such as autochthonous).

      With Kaplan SE and TC, the only reason they are difficult is because they throw obscure words in there. From a standpoint of sophisticated, convoluted sentences, Kaplan is so far off, I wouldn’t even bother practicing with them, lest it puts you off your game a little :).

      Anyways, good luck prepping for the test!

  38. Melvin April 23, 2012 at 5:21 pm #

    Hi Chris,

    I think the toughest one’s in this blog were far more difficult than the ones I saw in the real test. The real test there is the seemingly right, deceptive options that they provide you to get you down. The “Question of the week” problems in your sight were v good actually.

    Most question statements were convoluted by themselves in Quants, if you are not strong in the basics, you tend to be lost in the details. As far as I remember, the toughest question I got was “an intuition question” based on statistics (Select All that apply type).

    Most of the difficult problems are intuitive and require a thorough understanding rather than rote knowledge of formulae.

    I saw a lot of statistics on my set, from bell curves to mean problems to complex statistics intuition questions.

    A quick note on the RCs, the ones I saw on the test were no where close to what has been provided in the material around. The passages were v demanding, and required thorough logical reasoning rather than vocabulary. Another interesting point is that the test wasn’t demanding in terms the vocabulary.

    Hope this helps 🙂

    And thanks Pemdas 🙂 Ll take a look at it and let you’ll know.

    • Chris Lele
      Chris April 24, 2012 at 3:34 pm #

      Hi Melvin,

      Thanks so much for sharing your insights. It’s interesting to note that the questions aren’t that tough – but they are deceptive and can easily lull you into thinking you got the correct answer.

      Also, illuminating is the focus on Statistics. From what I’ve seen the GRE doesn’t really care if you can crank out the Standard Deviation formula. It wants to test your intuitive understanding, which, for many, can be a lot trickier.

      On the Verbal side, it is all about context, as you noted. The vocab is still important, of course, but I’d say just know the words from Princeton Review’s Word Smart.

      Finally, I am not surprised that the RC’s are that much more difficult. Doing GMAT and LSAT questions, at least for those aiming for 160+, is probably a good idea.

      Thanks again :).

  39. Melvin Jose April 23, 2012 at 7:48 am #

    Hi Chris,

    I am finally done with my GRE. Got 327/340. 161V and 166Q. Thank you for all your help and guidance. I found all the posts in this blog very useful during my prep. Keep up the good work.

    And again i got all the questions right i guess, but only 166 in quants 😀 🙂

    • Pemdas@BTG April 23, 2012 at 1:57 pm #

      you don’t have to guess/assume, there’s free service you are entitle to at https://grediagnostic.ets.org/GREDWeb/gred/signIn.jsp
      Please check it and let us know whether all your quant questions were graded as correct.

      “Sign In to the GRE® Diagnostic Service

      If you have recently taken the computer-based GRE General Test or computer-based GRE revised General Test, this free service can help you understand your performance on the test you took. You can use the service as soon as you receive your official ETS score report in the mail, and it will remain available for six months following your test administration date.

      The service provides information about the questions administered to you in the Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning sections of your General Test. The information provided for each test question includes the question type (e.g., text completion), whether you answered it right or wrong, how hard it was, and how long you took to answer it.”

      • Chris Lele
        Chris April 23, 2012 at 2:26 pm #

        Thanks for the link: hopefully people will use it so as to determine exactly how they did on the test.

        Thanks again :).

    • Chris Lele
      Chris April 23, 2012 at 2:03 pm #

      Wow! Congrats :).

      It’s great to see some Magoosh blog readers utterly dominate the test :).

      Way to go on both sections! It’s surprising that you are right – that you can get every question right and still only receive a 166. Hmm, I am definitely only going to have to post something on this. I would like to hear more from those who’ve experienced something similar.

      Quick question: math-wise were the problems on the Magoosh blog (“the perfect socre challenge”, etc.) as difficult as the most difficult questions you saw on the test, or did you feel the GRE questions were generally easier?

      Again, congrats and good luck on your application :).

  40. Melvin Jose April 16, 2012 at 10:37 am #

    Hi Chris,

    I have a doubt regarding the scoring in the Quants section. I heard that even if you get all the questions right in the Quants section, you can end up getting 166. I know friends of mine who have got all the questions right and have obtained scores ranging from 166-170.

    How does ETS evaluate students who get all the questions right in Quants? Is it based on their speed? Can you explain clearly?

    And what needs to be done to get a 170 in Quants, despite getting all the questions right?


    • Chris Lele
      Chris April 18, 2012 at 3:18 pm #

      Hi Melvin,

      That is a very interesting question – and it is one that I don’t know the answer to. I would be very curious if any users read this and can chime in. Did you answer every question correctly, (you can see this from the score report) but still receive less than 170?

      If you are right, Melvin, then this topic definitely deserves a blog post.

      That said, I would be surprised if speed is a factor in determining score. Very interesting indeed…

  41. worried student April 10, 2012 at 12:16 pm #

    hi can you tell me how important is statistics in gre. can you tell me from where i can study topics like normal distribution and standard deviation.

  42. worried student April 9, 2012 at 10:35 pm #

    Forgot to mention, i gave power prep last week and scores turn out to be quant 750-800 and verbal 440-540. i am targeting 1300 in terms of old score

    • Chris Lele
      Chris April 10, 2012 at 2:46 pm #

      Oh, you have used the power prep. Have you used the ETS book?

  43. worried student April 9, 2012 at 10:33 pm #

    thanks for the reply chris.
    my gre is on thursday so, far i have done princenton review word smart 1 and 2 and its practice test. i have also done the quant section from the barrons. Right now i am doing
    kaplan five online test on daily basis to prepare my self for the test day. i keep getting 163 or 164 on quant section. in verbal it varies from 146-153. i would really appreciate if you have any advice for me to improve my scores a little bit. Although i only have a just a couple of days to do it.

    • Chris Lele
      Chris April 10, 2012 at 2:46 pm #

      Hi Worried Student,

      I would avoid using Kaplan for prep. The material, esp. Verbal, is not indicative of what you would see on the test. Instead use The Official Guide by ETS and the downloadable test.


      By practicing with the real questions you should be able to improve within a few days.

      Good luck!

  44. Blue April 9, 2012 at 6:42 pm #

    MGMAT=Manhattan GMAT??

    MGMAT RC or MGRE RC ?? Which one is better to follow ?? are they same in contents??.

    I need a complete guideline for Math and Reading comprehension preperation.I have started my preperation recently. I want to know all the best way there before i discovered myself in wrong direction with lost time and efforts.

    Fortunately, i found all of you here .I have 4 months for prepare myself.Please give me a complete comprehensive guideline for GRE preperation.

    Thanks to Chris .You tips and tricks are effective.

    • Chris Lele
      Chris April 10, 2012 at 2:42 pm #

      Yes MGMAT equals Manhattan GMAT. The RC is very good for both. For the GRE version the questions are more focused to the question types on the GRE. Regardless the strategies in both are effective.

      For a list of step-by-step, effective study guides check out the following:


      Hope that helps!

  45. worried student April 9, 2012 at 5:27 am #

    hi chris can you tell me what is the maximum acheive able score on the quant section. I saw in the ets concordance table that 166 corrospond to the score of 800. can we get 170?

    • Chris Lele
      Chris April 9, 2012 at 2:46 pm #


      You can still get 170. But literally it’ll be off the charts when you compare it with the old GRE. Think of it this way – the new GRE is more difficult quant-wise because it is harder to get a perfect score.

      Let me know if you have any other questions 🙂

  46. Aman April 6, 2012 at 10:19 am #

    Hi Chris,
    I tried MGMAT RC guide and found it really beneficial… i also followed the strategies and started to improve on the RC’s .
    Referring to your previous exactly where are these humanities bend and variety reflected are these just effecting RC topics or question types(ie is there any extra question type usual in GRE not mentioned in MGMAT RC guide).


    • Chris Lele
      Chris April 9, 2012 at 2:48 pm #

      Hi Aman,

      It’s a minor thing, this humanities bend. As long as you follow the techniques in MGMAT, they should carry over well to test day.

      Anyhow, that’s great you are feeling stronger in RC. Soon you will be whipping through those LSAT passages in very little time :).

      • Aman April 10, 2012 at 8:06 am #

        Yes and a major credit goes to you ……(both for providing motivation and directing me way )
        Thanks a ton Chris ……

  47. Melvin Jose April 6, 2012 at 5:58 am #

    Hi Pemdas,

    Your prep looks complete in every sense. When exactly is your test date? And with regards to the math, being an Indian Math is something most of us are pretty strong in inherently (atleast I believe I am ). The only challenge is to be able to get your act together and not be deceived by the tricky questions. That said, I have doing some tricky chapters from CAT material (which is the equivalent of GMAT in India and the math in it is tougher than GMAT). Also, the ETS is going all out with questions on Probability and Statistics and Geometry. These are the areas that they plan to get you off-guard. So, careful prep in those areas will help.

    Regarding the RC’s, I would like to ask Chris and you also, how useful are the GMAT OG RC’s and the MGMAT RC Strategy guides?? Should I be going through them for practice??


    • Chris Lele
      Chris April 6, 2012 at 9:55 am #

      The GMAT OG RC’s can definitely help for practice, as there is significant overlap. (GRE passages are a little more varied and tend to have a humanities bent).

      The MGMAT RC strategy guide should help as well. You may also want to check out the Critical Reasoning questions as well (both in MGMAT and the OG).

      Hope that helps!

    • Pemdas@BTG April 6, 2012 at 11:49 am #

      Well, this is my personal opinion that MGMAT RC Strategy rings the bell (!) in the very beginning by comparing scholastic readers with the so called hunters and concluding with the middlemen – the “Big picture” readers. This is true about all RC passages. Alas, the rest and the skeleton, diagramming – all look very sophisticated for me and applying MGMAT RC strategy under the time constraint of real exam would be pernicious The big bounces would be killing RC passage(s) by practicing how to restate/identify general idea, read into structure and notice the signal words, differentiate assumptions from inferences …

      All in all RC is one sneaky section of exam of both the GRE and the GMAT which may appear as easy and engender low verbal scores. One needs to practice on previewing the passage for understanding its general idea and then finding the right places in the text for addressing the detail questions.

      OG-12 would benefit us in terms of application our skills and tasting really dense content of RC passages. Magoosh could help us get some insights into RC section even better than OG-12. I would approach Magoosh’s verbal content after having completed other credible GRE verbal sources. Magoosh is difficult and might be beneficial for the analysis of content rather than practicing through entries..

      • Chris Lele
        Chris April 9, 2012 at 3:06 pm #

        Hi Pemdas,

        Yes, the RC section is definitely sneaky, and MGMAT – though ostensibly for the GMAT – can help greatly on the GRE.

        Let me know if you have any questions once you start working through the Magoosh RC passages :).


  48. Pemdas@BTG April 1, 2012 at 11:07 am #

    Jose, 740-800 is near to where i started back in September last year. Since then I had to walk through Barroin’s as refresher, MGMAT strategic guides (don’t be surprised not MGRE but MGMAT), killed all Kaplan’s math tests (100% accuracy), nailed MyGRETutor practice with the quant score of 168, almost done with Magoosh math practice part. One advice would be don’t rely on Kaplan’s. Buy out Magoosh prep program and start practicing from the source topic by topic in study mode. Finish one topic, then another for math and analyze in which topic you make frequent mistakes and why. I am going to buy out MGRE practice tests too after killing 5 MST-s online at Kaplan. I need 170 math score.
    The verbal prep might be quite tedious. You need to master all words from Princeton’s Word Smart + some difficult words from the advanced set of MGRE. Practice from OG-12 reading comprehension passages, use Magoosh tipc for RC and videos here http://www.manhattangmat.com/thursdays-with-ron.cfm , study either MGMAT RC strategic guide or MGRE RC book, do all verbal questions from Magoosh. This way you must be cool in exam

    • Chris Lele
      Chris April 2, 2012 at 12:11 pm #

      Hi Pemdas :).

      Wow, it sounds like you’ve been going through most of the resources out there. So it’s great to have your take on the materials to use, and those to avoid. Also you mentioned you are going through GMAT problems, which, since they are more difficult, will make the GRE seem that much easier (just like Magoosh does :).

      Good luck nailing the 170!

    • Chris Lele
      Chris April 9, 2012 at 2:57 pm #

      Thanks again Pemdas for sharing your strategy :). I just wanted to add another thing after re-reading your post.

      For verbal prep, learning doesn’t have to be tedious. Sure, if one reads through endless vocab lists, then boredom can definitely ensure. But combining flashcards with in-context reading makes learning vocab far more effective, and fun :).

  49. Melvin Jose March 31, 2012 at 11:04 am #

    Hi Chris,

    I did a follow up on your suggestion and took up the paper test at the back of the ETS OG. I did much better in my verbal and secured a score range of 660-760. What do you read into this Chris? Any suggestions?

    With regards to the Quants section, I found it very deceptive and credit a handful of careless mistakes, I ended up getting a range of 740-800. I also think since my Quant prep consisted of mainly solving problems from Nova’s, which suffers from a dearth of explanation of concepts, I ended up getting a few rudimentary basics wrong. I would like a suggestion from you on which book to read now to make my Quant section foolproof. I have the following 4 books with me:

    ETS OG, Barron’s old edition, Priceton Review, Kaplan Premier.

    Also, I would like to thank you for your suggestion to take up Princeton Review for RCs. I would like to iterate here that the strategies given in Princeton Review are very helpful and will definitely help improve your score if you follow them properly, esp for RCs, as in my case.

    Thanks Chris. Looking forward to your comments.

    • Chris Lele
      Chris March 31, 2012 at 5:51 pm #

      Hi Melvin,

      That’s great that the PR RC tips were helpful! The PR does a good job of breaking down the test (though it lags in the content department).

      For math and a basic refresher, I am pretty sure nothing beats Magoosh in terms of a thorough overview of all the concepts, from integers to advanced combinations. Manhattan GRE may come close, though I do not think it is as exhaustive.

      Amongst the four books you have, the ETS OG is probably the most thorough for math concepts. As for getting deceptive questions, nobody does it better than ETS. That said enough practice with original material and some of the harder stuff (like Magoosh, Nova’s or MGRE) should be enough.

      Hope that helps :).

  50. Melvin Jose March 28, 2012 at 2:12 pm #

    Hi Chris,

    Thanks for your reply. I’ll take the ETS paper based test and get back to you.

    Any help on surmounting the inference based questions in the RC section would help, since I seem to getting a sizable amount of them wrong.

    Also a trivial doubt, the POWERPREP II cd that comes with OG, does it have two tests? It says it has one timed and one untimed, but I am not sure. Should I take the untimed one if it existed and save the timed one for later?

    Aditionally, the POWERPREP that ETS sends via courier after you book your test, is it the same as the one with OG?


    • Melvin Jose March 28, 2012 at 2:27 pm #

      Hi Chris,

      A little insight into the kind of prep required for the AWA section would also help. 🙂

    • Chris Lele
      Chris March 28, 2012 at 4:48 pm #

      I believe you have the option to take it timed or untimed. I don’t think there are two separate tests (there are a few practice questions sets that are untimed, but there is some overlap in questions with that paper-based test I sent you).

      As for the Powerprep you receive upon registering for the test – it is the same.

  51. Chris Lele
    Chris March 28, 2012 at 11:58 am #

    Hi Melvin,

    I think a good way to establish a base-line is by taking the following GRE test. It was written by ETS (the creators of the test) and will give you a very accurate indication of how you would score today were you to take the test.


    After taking the test, try as much as possible only to use official material, building your vocab using the “Magoosh method” :


    Hope that helps :).

  52. Aman March 28, 2012 at 7:16 am #

    Hey Chris,
    The was a useful peice of advice i found the book erroneously written
    Kaplan premium gre- not a good option
    Thanks for the help Chris

    • Chris Lele
      Chris March 28, 2012 at 12:04 pm #

      Hi Aman,

      Thanks for the feedback on Kaplan – and that’s why I’m hesitant to recommend any of its New GRE stuff – book or computer. They (Kaplan) clearly do not understand test, nor take time to correct for amateur errors in grammar.

  53. Melvin March 28, 2012 at 2:04 am #

    Hi Chris,

    I have my test on April 23rd. I have done a little bit of words from Barron’s and unfortunately, I did my verbal practice from Kaplan’s material for the most part along with some from Barron’s. Quants prep was done from Nova’s. I took up a mock test from Kaplan and got a score of 168 in Quants and 159 in Verbal.

    How do you think I should react to this? Will this be a close approximation of my real GRE score? And how do I improve on the inference type questions in the RC section? I ended up getting most of them wrong.

    Given that I have 20 more days to go, how do you think I should proceed. Also, I would like to know a strategy to crack the AWA section.

    Waiting for your reply.


    • Chris Lele
      Chris March 28, 2012 at 4:43 pm #

      Hi Melvin,

      It’s hard to say – I am guessing your quant is pretty strong (165 – 170). The verbal is a little harder to say. I doubt you would get below 150, but again take the ETS test to get a better idea.

      For inference questions, here is an excerpt from the blog:

      In real life, an inference often involves a highly creative, insightful synthesis of ideas and observations. The less obvious—and even more debatable—a real-life inference, the better.

      The exact opposite is true on the GRE: the more literal and obvious, the more text based and less synthetic, the less debatable, the better.

      An inference question-type tests your ability to under­stand and identify what the passage implies rather than what it states.

      But all Reading Comprehension answers must have a textual basis. In other words, the rationale for the answer can’t be in your head, because different folks have different experiences and insights and intuition.

      The rationale—the evidence—has to be on the page. This question type requires you to take what’s on the page and extend or apply it, with the fewest possible additional assump­tions.

      How to Identify an Inference Question-Type

      Depending on what the inference question-type is asking for you can expect question stems like these:

      “This passage most likely appeared as part of . . .”
      “The author would probably agree (or disagree) with which of the following statements?”
      “This article most likely appeared in . . .”
      “The author implies that the best control for unlicensed handguns would be . . .”
      “Which of the following might the author cite as an example of free trade as it is described in the passage?”
      “Given the author’s position on the fluoridation of the public water supply what stand would the author probably take on the issue of mandatory immunizations?”

      Make sure to practice inference question types as much as possible using ETS material (do not use Kaplan – as there are bound to be faulty applications of inference questions).

      With only 20 days, find your weakness (say inference questions) and practice using the best material out there: ETS, MGRE, or Magoosh (Barron’s if you have nothing else).

      Hope that helps!

  54. Aman March 25, 2012 at 11:52 am #

    Hi Chris,
    Need your help.again
    I was having a tough time in verbal section Of gre
    Wasn’t able to complete it on time so i decided to go for kapan way but it seems getting difficult now
    Can you tell me what is the level of kaplans practice questions 2 sets of 60 questions for verbal
    Actually i did well in short exercises after each chapter but performed badly in both practice test….

    Please help

    • Chris Lele
      Chris March 26, 2012 at 12:02 pm #

      Hi Aman,

      Actually, I’m not sure what the “Kaplan way” is. But as my Kaplan book review suggested, the Kaplan TC and SE questions are really off and I would never suggest that any of my students ever use Kaplan’s material for the verbal. That said, the RC is okay. But still, if you want to do well on the real GRE, do not use Kaplan’s material. It will not adequately prepare you.

      Moving forward, you may way to peruse the book reviews and keep in mind that the best approach is a combination of the best resources. Good luck!


  55. zuber March 23, 2012 at 7:03 pm #

    hai cris , brother this my second attempt of the gre , i want to have admission in the top school.i tries gre for the first time and i got
    qunats 144
    verbal 130
    iam worrried plz say me suggestion so that i can be hit my target 330 plz suggests me the goal tips yaar my gre is on 28 of this march 2012 i have no time
    plz reply me to this email mohiuddinzuber7@gmail.com

    • Chris Lele
      Chris March 26, 2012 at 12:09 pm #

      Hi Zuber,

      A target of 330 is very difficult for almost anyone. I hate to not be able to give you the you-can-do-it advice, but with only 5 days left to prep, you would, at best, be able to improve only 5 points in each section – and that’s with the best material and the best tips and strategies.

      So if you are serious about getting a 330, you will need much longer to prep. Honestly, you may need as much as a year. While that sounds absurd – and for most not feasible – I have had a student go from 800 to almost 1400 on the old GRE in about a year’s time.

      All that said, I think you may want to postpone your test. If you do so, I can direct you to our 6-month study plans and a host of other resources that will help you reach your goals.


  56. Meghna February 22, 2012 at 11:28 pm #

    Hi Chris,

    I want to take the GRE in a few months. This is the first time I’ll be attempting to take it. Could you please suggest some must have books? I’m very weak in the RC and verbal section and average in the math section.


    • Chris Lele
      Chris February 23, 2012 at 4:18 pm #

      Hi Meghna,

      I just responded to your other post with some recommendations.

      Let me know if you have any questions :).

  57. Fawza January 6, 2012 at 8:25 am #

    Hello , I already have barron’s edition is 19th but I am asking if this edition updated to gre exam change . I hear that Kaplan 2011-2012 is newest and updated to change . And also Barron’s have only 2 exams on cd . Do you think Kaplan new book have some thing not in this version of barron

    • Chris Lele
      Chris January 6, 2012 at 3:48 pm #

      Hi Fazwa,

      As far as the books go, both are updated to reflect the new GRE. However both books were published before the public was able to take the exam (Aug. 1st). As a result both books are a little out of touch with the test today. As a tutor, I will not use either book for my students. Overall, the two books are pretty similar. Both come with CDs.

  58. Khansa December 20, 2011 at 11:15 am #

    Thanks a lot Zaur for the advise.

    Chris and Zaur I am planning to buy GRE Guide by ETS themselves and Barron’s Guide for now. Also I am considering buying Magoosh Math Practice after I go through the Free Practice questions. Do you think that should be enough to attack the quantitative part nd reach my aim of getting a full score? I dont know about MGMAT strategic series for GRE.

    Since I am applying for a MAsters in Engineering I need to get almost a full score in the Quantitative, while they say the verbal and analytical are not important for the admission I want to get atleast average score in there (as my previous scores were disastrous 🙂 without wasting much time on it since I also work so I dont think I will have too much time to spend on these sections.

    Thanks a lot for your help

  59. Zaur December 19, 2011 at 5:30 pm #

    I mean in the above Manhattan series for GRE 🙂

  60. Zaur December 19, 2011 at 5:29 pm #

    @Khansa, your baseline score is 720, you said? Why wouldn’t you try the following for math, this is also in line with compiled one-two month prep series by Magoosh

    Barron’s math review
    MGMAT strategic series for GRE (not actually advised by prep series, but I recommend)
    Magoosh mocks

    you may try Kaplan’s 5 online MST-s as well, buy their premier edition which gives access to disk with 10 math/verbal quizes and 5 tests

    also, you may subscribe for Barron’s beta online course (free now, if you are granted access) and try their 1 diagnostic and 4 full tests online

    As per prelucid system, I wouldn’t trust this … too commercialized and paving its way on the footsteps of old GRE CAT system rather than newly revised pattern

    for word memorization and verbal, follow Magoosh (Chris) advices

  61. Khansa December 18, 2011 at 3:31 am #

    Hi Chris,

    Which is the best guide for revised GRE Math as I need to get nearly full marks to get into the Institute I want to. I got 720 on 800 in the Quantitative last year and could’nt get admission. So this year I just cant afford to get anything but 100% in the Quantitative. I need a book or software with atleast full length10 tests similar to the new GRE so that I have a fairly good idea of what I will be scoring and know how prepared I am before taking the test. I hearda new software called GRE Bible is really good. Pls advise.

    Also I am bad in Verbal, although my grammar is good, but I have never heard of a lot of words in the old GRE books. I had used Princeton Review.

    Thank a lot for your help.

    • Chris Lele
      Chris December 19, 2011 at 11:42 am #

      Hi Khansa,

      You can interpret this cautiously, as anyone hawking their own goods is never a disinterested party. But if you want questions that are even more difficult than those found on the real test,

      As for the GRE bible, I haven’t really heard anything. Contact them and ask if you can have a trial of their product (we offer a free trial). If they say no, then their trustworthiness is suspect. If they say yes, and offer challenging questions with clear explanations then go ahead.

      While we don’t offer 10 tests broken down, you can make your own mock tests. We simulate test conditions with our on-screen format and provide clear explanations that should help you score close to an 800 (166 new scale). One Magoosh user went from 152 to 165. The first time he used Princeton Review and McGraw Hill. Then he found Magoosh…

  62. Govinda November 17, 2011 at 5:42 pm #

    hi Chris
    I am planning to attain Revised GRE soon. I confused about how many words do we need to remember? and which book is the best book for words and their contextual use? Could you provide any suggestion on it? could you give any link for that too?

    • Chris Lele
      Chris November 18, 2011 at 3:09 pm #

      Hi Govinda,

      No one can really tell you the words you need to know for the test and, by extension, offer the definitive word list. You must strike a balance between learning as many high-frequency words as possible and spending your time prepping other parts of the test. All that said, I would recommend Princeton Review’s Word Smart (General and for the GRE).

      Learn these words, which provide context with fun example sentences, and you should do pretty well. (You can go to quizlet.com and enter the words in flashcard form). Also supplement learning this list with actual reading and your study time will be well spent.

      Hope that helps!

  63. Naz November 13, 2011 at 8:18 pm #

    Hi, I am taking my exam in a few days. I have done most of Magoosh’s verbal tests, ETS powerprep mock test and mock tests that Kaplan provides online (it provides 5 tests, gives you a score range and comprehensive answers, pretty much similar to ETS’s practice test format-wise)
    I just saw your review on Kaplan’s, but I wanted to know whether you are talking about the book itself, or the tests? Have you gone through their online tests? I appreciate if you get back to me as soon as possible, cause I have my test coming up in 3 days and I’m afraid if Kaplan mock tests have been too easy..

    • Chris Lele
      Chris November 14, 2011 at 12:09 pm #

      Hi Naz,

      I was only talking about the book – I haven’t gone through the practice tests. I’m guessing these tests aren’t free. I would like to have a look, but at this point I can’t say how accurate the score predictor is. In general Kaplan’s explanations are pretty solid. It’s just the content is fishy and is nowhere nearly as tricky and as well thought out as the content from ETS.

  64. Zaur October 2, 2011 at 4:47 am #

    Hi, Chris

    I have devised a new plan for my prep. I have already completed math review in OG New GRE and to my surprise found there normal probability and graphical functions not tested on GMAT. Anyway, I am completing the math review section in Kaplan’s math work book by the middle of this week and want to turn to Magoosh’s GMAT product for Problem Solving as well as try Magoosh’s GRE quantitative reasoning stuff as early as now. The reason that I changed my plan is that Kaplan’s stuff is easy and will not benefit my target of achieving the near-to-perfect score in math section of GRE. I may try un-timed mode of MGMAT CATs too; I have these in my resource depository. I will turn to GMAT Hacks from time to time as well just for repeating fundas and keeping all the theory in long-term memory.

    Now the verbal comes! I have the 4th edition of PR’s Word smart containing around 850 new entries and their some 50-60 revised words for GRE/SAT. These ones all I am going to learn by heart and practice in TC/SE.

    For the SE entirely, I will be using Magoosh’s lessons and Barron’s stuff.

    For the TC I will be using exclusively OG, Magoosh’s strategy lessons and practice questions.

    For the RC, I am applying Princeton’s New GRE strategy and will utilize RC entries from Kaplan’s RC and subsequently from Barron’s 19th edition.

    As a first print, I did one authentic (practice) test at the end of OG New GRE and landed on the quant score of 730 (((((<. I have checked back and found this happening because of four mistakes pertaining to Data description entries not read properly by myself (didn’t look into the titles of graphs – it’s silly, I know), rushed myself through six questions which I answered correctly after completing my test. I have experienced in tackling quickly only three questions out of 50-s in math; was able to read and understand into the end of chapter explanations.

    So, I am in need of the perfect 800 score in math and the high 700th score in the Verbal. I am leaving the OG new GRE questions as well as the OG online mock test towards the end my preparation route.

    Please be as much criticizing to my plan as possible. May I succeed with the above prep steps?

    • Chris Lele
      Chris October 5, 2011 at 5:49 pm #

      One thing I think is important is the idea that the more questions you do, even difficult questions, does not lead to a commensurate increase in score. So while, I think your plan is effective, you may want to slow down a little and go through problems you’ve missed and really make sure you understand your mistakes (this goes for both verbal and math). Essentially, you want to be able to teach back a problem to a hypothetical student.

      That said, I think the resources are all strong (yeah, Kaplan’s questions aren’t really going to help much). In the end, I think conceptually nothing is going to blow your mind. The key to getting a perfect score will be slowing down and being careful not to make avoidable errors (e.g. misreading graphs, what the question is asking for, etc.) In my experience, a significant majority of those shooting for a perfect score end up making careless errors that preclude such a goal (this observation is based on practice tests).

      Hope that helps!

  65. Zaur September 25, 2011 at 3:56 pm #

    Hi Chris, I knew something may be wrong with the focused study of one source, therefore I have ordered and received four sources by now – OG by ETS for RGRE, Kaplan’s Premier, Kaplan’s Math and Verbal workbooks. In total I have four books, Plus GRE Magoosh source (premium account) and MyGRE tutor online sourse.

    Here’s my, considering I have initially prepped for GMAT and went through GMAT Hacks, completed OG-11 Math and Verbal review (CR, RC, SC), MGMAT Math strategic guides and GMAT Hacks challenge problems. These all were passed by me approximately 5 months ago.

    Now, I am prepping for RGRE and decided to refresh my math from reading and practicing (solving paragraph end problems) from the Quantitative section’s overview in OG by ETS. Then I will switch to replaying the math theory and solving paragraph end problems from Kaplan’s Math workbook. BTW, Kaplan’s Math workbook does contain permutations and combination problem sets (easy, medium and advanced levels). Afterwards, I will be solving OG practice Sets for Math and doing one paper based test from the end of OG book by ETS.

    When I start reading and solving from OG initially, I plan to start reading from Kaplan’s verbal workbook for the reading comprehension and looking through their vocabulary chapter (the part underscored by you above, as the word root lists and groupings may be misleading …). I am not going however to rely solely on Kaplan’s word lists and vocabulary building skills, instead I will continue polishing the vocabulary from GRE Bible by prelucide (which I also have the software version). So, I will be mainly using Kaplan’s verbal workbook for RC and discretionary questions as practice tool. Afterwards, I am planing to switch to Kaplan’s premier for more practice and then I will be solving from the OG practice sets for the verbal part.

    I am leaving OG content to the end of my prep for practicing to get better prepared content wise and vocabulary wise. I feel, wasting the practice source from the OG now would be a great disadvantage for me when it comes to feeling the essence of close to the real test question format and content entries.

    I am also leaving GRE Magoosh for the latest use, as the one did puzzle me with the couple of its math questions rated as medium and hard when I tried the free version (before buying in the premium account). So Magoosh will be saved for the tough, pre-exam drilling upon the last ten days of my exam.

    So my plan mainly is about to get introduced to the test fromat from OG by ETS, get coached by GRE Bible word lists and solve questions from Kaplan’s three sources as practice series. Refresh math from OG and Kaplan’s Math workbook and finally turn to ETS’s OG problems sets culminating with Magoosh problems sets.

    May I succeed with such prep plan?

    • Chris Lele
      Chris September 26, 2011 at 4:54 pm #

      So it sounds like you have done quite a bit of practice already!

      For the study plan above, I think it could definitely succeed. The tailored approach of Kaplan may be helpful, but I would throw some Barron’s questions in there. Overall, Barron’s has done a much better job in the quality and difficulty of their content. It’s definitely a good idea to leave the Magoosh questions towards the end – in terms of difficulty and constantly being under time pressure.

      For word lists I have not heard of GRE pellucid. But I would definitely make sure to not only study word lists but also to use sites such as wordnik.com to get a sense of how words are used in context.

      Good luck studying, and let me know if you have any more questions regarding your plan.

      • Zaur September 27, 2011 at 12:00 am #

        Chris, I have Barron’s only old version the 17th edition. Also, Kaplan’s new edition contains advanced level questions too, not comparable with GMAT’s 700 level but well within 600-640 score bands for the quant. As per GRE prellucid, it’s the software designed for old GRE named GRE Bible. You could find this product description by using the search engines. The word list there contains 3000+ words and their application ways within sentences. Overall, the software is good and can be played over as a game.

  66. Aditya September 14, 2011 at 12:28 am #

    Chris, I have been using the ETS official guide and it provides me with only two practice tests. I would be giving my GRE on 21st of this month.Please forward me links from where i can give more of online practice tests without paying.
    Can I get the Kaplan’s practice tests somehow??
    Waiting for your response….

  67. Siddarth September 7, 2011 at 10:42 am #

    Adding to my previous question. I would like to know how do yo recommend PR for AWM section.

    Frankly speanking, I have my GRE on 19th and I need some good guidance regarding AWM section.

    Please help.

    • Chris Lele
      Chris September 7, 2011 at 3:37 pm #

      Hi Siddarth,

      I haven’t written much in terms of the writing section. For the best prep, book-wise, I
      recommend Barron’s.

      Best of luck on the 19th!

  68. Siddarth September 7, 2011 at 9:48 am #

    Hi Chris,

    I need to know books and links that would help me prepare for AWM section of GRE

    If possible also give links to previously published articles on Magoosh regarding AWM

    Thank you.

  69. Akash Mukherjee September 3, 2011 at 11:30 pm #

    Hi Chris,

    The post was really helpful. Unfortunately I have been practising from Kaplan New GRE’s practice tests. However, I did take Official Guide’s test too. But the problem is Official Guide to GRE by ETS has only 2 practice tests. And as you say, Kaplan is not a right indicator of one’s performance, please suggest some other source from where I can practice NEW GRE mock test.
    Thanks in advance.

  70. Sachin August 29, 2011 at 12:41 pm #

    Hi Chris,

    Can you please suggest some good books for Practicing RC for Revised GRE Exam

    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele August 29, 2011 at 3:37 pm #

      As I mentioned in the review Kaplan is okay. But for the best content to practice from pick up a copy of The Official Guide to the GRE revised General Test. In fact, I just posted a review.

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