I'm a college graduate.... who graduated from college more than 15 years ago, so I was a bit daunted when I decided to go to grad school and realized I had to take the GREs. I almost considered not going back to school because the test scared me so much. I haven't done any math past basic arithmetic since college--I haven't needed to. But, I decided to give myself six weeks to prepare for the test and see what happened. After reading several reviews on Amazon, I decided on this book (the one that comes with the CD-ROM), and devised a study plan that would take me through the entire book over a six-week period. The six-week plan I created for myself is not for the faint of heart. This is a book that covers A LOT of information, and if you are going to do the whole thing, I would recommend doing it in 8 to 10 weeks, but I didn't have that kind of time. So I crammed, between work and taking care of kids, I ate, breathed, and slept this book. I started out by taking the diagnostic tests to see where my weaknesses were. I got only 7 math questions correct out of 28 and 15 correct out of 30 verbal questions. I had a lot of work ahead of me.
I began with the math review in the middle of the book, since that was my greatest weakness, and did about 10 pages a day, relearning all the math I had forgotten since high school. I created flashcards for myself with all of the formulas provided so I could keep them fresh in my mind when I moved on to a different math topic. The practice questions at the end of each review are excellent, and the book really teaches you how to think about these problems in a different way. After the math review, I reviewed the test taking tactics provided, which really help when you just don't know how to answer a question. I took every practice test offered in the book, including the one on the CD-ROM, and by the end of my six-week study session, I was getting 18-20 problems correct in the math section.
While I was reviewing math, I also reviewed 2 glossaries a day in the vocabulary review. There are over 3,000 words in the 50-section glossary, so it was important to get started on that right away. I found the verbal section to be a very good review, and I improved my score immensely by the end of my study session.
The essay section of the book provided very good information on what to expect on the test, but I would like to have seen a couple good sample essays in the answer key. Otherwise I would have given this book a 5--really my rating is a 4.5. I'm a pretty strong writer, so for me it didn't matter, but for folks who need help with essay writing, I recommend picking up a book that focuses on writing good essays. ETS's Power Prep does provide good sample essays, though, and I encourage everyone taking the test to download that software AFTER you review this book, and work through the sample tests that ETS provides.
All in all, I am very pleased with this purchase. After taking the test one time, I scored at 650 on the verbal and a 700 on the math, and scored a 5 (out of 6) on the essays. Can't ask for much better than that!