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Cracking the New GRE [With DVD] (Princeton Review: Cracking the GRE (w/DVD)) Paperback – 26 Apr 2011

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Product details

  • Paperback: 486 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton Review; Pap/DVD Re edition (26 April 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375428194
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375428197
  • Product Dimensions: 27.5 x 21.3 x 3.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 661,608 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

By drlummy on 12 Nov. 2011
Format: Paperback
the best companion to higher score in GRE. I will recommend it to anyone to use , yu can not get high score without having this book.
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Format: Paperback
This review book is a good introduction to prepping the new GRE. It has great techniques which allow you to improve your score regardless of your inherent abilities. But the content is rather slim, notably on math. By itself, it won't do the job. You'll need to complement it with a solid, content-focused prep book, such as Nova's GRE Math Prep Course, which is fantastic.

I also spotted a few errors in the book, which is annoying but frankly not that big a deal.
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By Megan on 6 Sept. 2011
Format: Paperback
I'm not sure if it's because it's first edition for the new GRE or what, but both this book and the online content contain many errors. It has hindered my studying greatly and I think I'll buy another book (Barron's or Kaplan). I also own the book the ETS has published and that seems much more substantial in content, The Princeton Review has some very strange practice questions that I don't think will actually be on the exam.

The online content is much worse than the book by far, the first practice exam I took I missed around 6 math questions, 3 or 4 of which were not due to my mistakes whatsoever. It's very frustrating to try and study for something when you're never sure if the answers given are really correct.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 130 reviews
132 of 135 people found the following review helpful
The Best Book for the New GRE 29 July 2011
By Jeff - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
In my preparation for the new, revised GRE, I have used this book from Princeton Review, Kaplan's New GRE prep book, Barron's essential vocabulary, "30 Days to a More Powerful Vocabulary" by Funk and Lewis, and various dictionaries, Latin dictionaries, and various sources for word roots.

Essentially, it is impossible to find a single book that can fully prepare you for the GRE, but I find that Princeton Review's New GRE prep book has been the most helpful. Here's why:

1.) Above all, Princeton is the most readable. It is written in a very conversational style which makes it easy to read quickly and still understand. This helps emotionally to calm nerves and boost confidence. By comparison, Kaplan is very dry and slow. I worked through Princeton and Kaplan simultaneously, doing math in one and verbal in the other and then switching, and I always found my Princeton sessions to be much more pleasant and rewarding.

2.) Princeton explains processes much more clearly than Kaplan, and Princeton has more structured ways of teaching. The book stresses learning methods rather than memorizing examples. It identifies the different question types and plays out step-by-step processes better than Kaplan does, in my opinion.

3.) Princeton has high usability. The organization is set-up clearly and concisely, so that information may be easily found and understood. The paragraphs are short (and therefore not domineering), and boxes on the side highlight major points of the text in bulleted or list format. The only gripe I have with the organization is that the answers are found in the back and not directly following the section, but this also prevents cheating.

4.) When comparing verbal and math sections, I found Princeton much more helpful with the verbal, reading, and essay aspects. I felt both books did a sufficient job on the math sections but that Princeton did a far-superior job with its verbal and essays sections. This is perhaps because of the warmer, informal style in which it is written that makes confusing, oft-debatable analytical or critical thinking questions much more understandable. Overall, the reader can just see Princeton's logic better.

5.) Although this would not seem like a big deal, Princeton is physically more appealing. It is lighter than Kaplan and requires less effort to keep the book open on its own. It also has a serif font, which humans read better than sans-serif (which Kaplan uses).

Despite its upsides, it does have some downsides. Therefore, I cannot give the book a five-star review. Here are the cons:

1.) Various typos are found in the book, but some are also found in Kaplan. If you ever question an answer, it is wise to go online and look up any revisions that people have posted.

2.) Kaplan has more practice problems than Princeton. Princeton has short practice sets of approximately 5-10 questions after every several pages, but no cumulative sets aside from the 2 full-length practice tests. By comparison, Kaplan has two cumulative math sets of 60 questions each at the end of the math section. But again, it is more important to understand how to do a problem than to just memorize a ton of practice sets, but practice is always a good thing. Princeton has separate practice books which I did not waste my money on.

I did not purchase the disc with the Princeton Review book, as many commented that it was worthless. I have found the Kaplan disc to be frustrating to navigate, and it does nothing different than what Powerprep II software can give you for free on the ETS website.

I recommend Princeton Review above all, but I also recommend consulting many different books, including reading philosophical or scientific literature in preparation for the essays. My suggestions: works by Bertrand Russell, Stephen Jay Gould, E.O. Wilson, David Hume, and Carl Sagan. Flashcards are also good for vocabulary, but it is always more helpful (and frugal) to make the flashcards yourself.
71 of 73 people found the following review helpful
Best choice for the Revised GRE. 17 Aug. 2011
By Amazoneur - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I bought guides for the Revised GRE from both The Princeton Review and from Kaplan. Regarding the digital offerings from both, Kaplan's publication has a CD that's compatible with Macs (a plus for me), and their website is more elegant and easier to navigate. However, The Princeton Review offers plenty of practice tests and extensive materials online, and it was easy to orient myself to their site, which allows you to set up an account and choose the resources you want to use. So - strictly observing online offerings and etc, the two could be regarded as equal.

However, when it comes to the BOOKS, I can't recommend The Princeton Review highly enough... Its methods and explanations are quicker, simpler, and significantly more helpful than Kaplan's. Note: I did read The Princeton Review first, which I'm sure colored my opinion. However, after studying the PR publication, I felt that Kaplan's instructions and advice were not only unhelpful, they actually made the test more complicated than it needed to be. Kaplan's book has more practice drills/tests, but P.R. has more than enough of these, and it uses its pages more effectively (in my opinion), explaining methods/instructions that make the test feel simple and doable.
So if you're considering one or the other, this would be my choice hands down; it does the job thoroughly and effectively, and (bonus) it's less expensive.

I took the GRE yesterday and scored a verbal score of 750-800 (scores were estimated using the old scale; I'll get my actual new-scale score in a couple weeks). My Quantitative score isn't required for my grad program, so I didn't bother studying for it, and my score reflected it - a 450. I'm not a math person. :)

Other reviewers have noted proofreading/answer mistakes... These errors do come up in the book, but none of them is crucial; the reader can easily spot them. (For instance, an answer in the guide might say the answer was "E", but then go on to explain why answer "C" is correct, as other reviewers have observed.) These proofreading foibles are few, and are being corrected. In fact, I sent The Princeton Review an email with a handful of things I'd noticed, similar to those noted by another reviewer. They responded quickly, saying they had compiled corrections for their next revision, and that they would check to see if the errors I'd found were already on their list. If not, they would add them... And they thanked me for taking the time to get in touch. (I should note here that, to my total surprise, The Princeton Review is great about customer service. When I emailed, I got quick/friendly responses, and when I called a couple times about my online account, the reps were friendly & helpful. This goes a long way for me.)

Kaplan's book contains similar proofreading foibles that are undergoing edits, but neither book contains ghastly or unnoticeable errors, so there's no need to be frightened. :) If you're looking for a book that has no proofreading errors, neither book will suit you; however, if you're looking for the best methods, instructions, and approaches for scoring well, I recommend the Princeton Review.

Good luck!
50 of 53 people found the following review helpful
Excellent! 13 Jun. 2011
By Jessica Hartshorn - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I used Kaplan the last time and didn't do nearly as well as I thought I would. This book explains math problems (my worst subject) in such a simple way and gives little quips on how to easily remember processes. Also, the examples are things we can work through logically and not questions that have nothing to do with anything. The practice sets throughout the book are excellent and the explanations for them are also good. I feel much more confident using this book than the last one.
37 of 40 people found the following review helpful
Disappointing Mistakes in the Book 2 July 2011
By Austin Zentz - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
First of all, this book is a solid review for the reading strategies and math question types you'll find on the GRE. I found the math review very helpful, and the reading review was fairly comprehensive. If you're looking for a review of the math you learned in high school, this book is a good source.

However, I was really disappointed with some major flaws in the answers to the questions posed by the book. As other reviewers mentioned, there are multiple cases where the answers are listed as one choice, but the explanation (and your own work) indicate that another choice is correct.

The online quizzes that come with purchase of the book actually have even more mistakes and problems. In reviewing incorrect answers, I found myself frequently realizing my answers were correct. In one example, a math problem worked out both answers as equal, indicating answer choice C. The explanation confirmed that both were equal, but my selection was counted as incorrect because Princeton Review had listed D as the correct answer. With this many mistakes (at least three or four for each of the practice tests I've taken), I'm sometimes wondering whether I'm making mistakes on other problems and they are counted right.

As I mentioned, I think the review and the explanations are first-class, but prospective test-takers should be wary of using this practice book as a predictor for GRE scores because of the mistakes the practice tests are riddled with.
23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
You Get What You Pay For 1 Sept. 2011
By Neanderthal_27 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this book along with Kaplan's book, Barron's GRE flash cards, and Kaplan's GRE exam vocab in a box. I studied very rigorously for the past three months, taking the GRE last friday.

First, I think it's wise to keep in mind that some people just aren't great at taking standardized tests. Some are. It's a skill and, like any other skill, some have it and some don't. That being said, no book or stack of flashcards is going to get you in the 90th percentile if you start out testing in the 50th or 60th. So what it comes down to is understanding HOW to take the GRE. It's not learning to be smart. It's learning HOW to take the GRE. This is what's going to raise your score.

Princeton Review GRE does a very great job at being honest with you. They tell you strategy (very important), and they cover a vast range of topics. You won't get to the test and go "Whoa. I've never seen this type of question before!" I think all GRE instruction books/cards lack strength in Reading Comprehension. And I guess this is because it's difficult to do. The only thing that improves reading comprehension is reading. So that's tough. Nonetheless, I would definitely recommend getting this book, for starters.

Princeton review's math section is awesome. There are a few typos, but they're not serious.

Other tips: don't get more than one GRE book. you won't be able to thoroughly work through both unless you have 6 months to study, which would probably kill you...

Also, I would highly recommend studying as much vocab as possible. I studied over 1000 words and don't regret it. It turns a lot of the verbal reasoning questions into mindless questions. easy, easy.

The book's not that expensive. Buy it. It's worth the money. Don't expect it to turn you into a great standardized test taker though. It just enhances the skills you already have.
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