Review of Barron’s 6 GRE Practice Tests
Barron’s 6 GRE Practice Tests – An Authentic Guide for GRE Preparation?
Preparing for GRE can be a real ‘test’ of one’s resolve. With so much material everywhere, students go on an everlasting quest to find the ‘Holy Grail’. With so many resources available, one finds only a few that bridge the need gap of students. This though would appear to change, with a new offering from Barron’s 6 GRE Practice Tests in one consolidated book. What more could one ask, right?
While Barron’s 6 GRE Practice Tests are a helpful practice, they may not be the proverbial ‘Holy Grail’. But they sure do flatter by giving a decent GRE Test vibe through their several well-crafted questions.
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Veteran tutors have authored Barron’s 6 GRE Practice Tests book. Hence they have mostly used the same expressions and simple explanations that they would have used while teaching an introductory GRE class. This enables the learner to adapt to the simple instructions.
The book also avoids the harsh and complex language of some of the other advanced GRE books, and students feel at ease while solving. Moreover, the students will mostly not require any outside assistance while solving Barron’s 6 GRE Practice Tests.
The authors have used the same complexity of passage selections for the reading comprehension as those on the actual GRE. The collection of GRE words for the verbal section is also very reflective of the real GRE words. In fact, most of the GRE vocabulary that has been used in Barron’s 6 GRE Practice Tests is sufficient to prepare for the GRE. Moreover, the sentence equivalence and text completion questions are of nearly the same level of complexity. Most vocabulary based questions use the same convoluted structure, as does the real GRE test.
The book also has a few structured questions for the Quantitative section. These questions provide an authentic outlook on the real GRE test. The questions do brush up on all the concepts that the GRE tests and some of the questions are tricky as well.
Baron’s 6 GRE Practice test, is cost effective as well. It is comparably cheaper than the other material available on GRE; its price of $38 is a bargain when compared with the $200+ for other relevant books.
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While the book has several good quality questions, some of the questions are very easy to solve. These questions are a complete contrast from the study material provided by the official guides and those that you will encounter on the actual GRE.
In the verbal section, the passages are long, hard and tricky but the questions are mostly straightforward. Moreover, some text completions and sentence equivalence are very lengthy (2-3 sentences) but are not that sophisticated as those on the actual GRE. Nowadays GRE uses small sentences with a lot of twists rather than testing long sentences with a simple structure. In other words, not all verbal questions are representative of the actual GRE. Several questions are, but some aren’t.
Just like the issues with the verbal section, the quant section also lacks a high number of tricky questions. The quant questions do offer a lot of practice, but if someone is aiming for a high quant score (162+), then the number of tricky quant questions is less than what one would expect.
This can annoy a novice student since it would be impossible to identify the real eggs from the rest. Not only will these simple questions waste a lot of time and effort but they will also mislead students.
Another problem that comes while going through the book is that some of the answers in the verbal section are incorrect. This leads to a lot of frustration as well as confusion. Similarly, editors have overlooked several grammatical mistakes. It seems as if entirely different people have compiled the questions and their respective answers.
Even though the book fares well with its mathematics section, it still leaves much to be desired as some of the problems would leave you perplexed as to how they are even in the test. Some of the measurements are not correct and confuse the candidate.
The length of the practice tests and the questions, do not have an actual feel for the test. Some sections are lengthier than others. This may cause the candidates to rush through one part and take more time in doing another. This would not bode well when they have to sit for the actual exam because time management is of the essence in the GRE test.
Verdict: Good Value
This book is not complete in allaying some of the queries of the GRE test takers. Nevertheless, it still gives the candidates a good practice from a wide range of topics. Therefore, I would definitely recommend using it as a practice booklet.
However, if you want to practice full-length tests, use ETS’s 2-power prep and Manhattan’s 6 online GRE tests. Moreover, these exams are computer-adaptive tests (CAT) and since GRE is also a CAT, hence ETS & Manhattan are a better full-length practice to prepare for the GRE.
Consequently, Barron’s 6 GRE Practice Tests can be used as a practice booklet and not as full-length computer adaptive exams.
GOOD for the following reasons:
- GRE type vocabulary & its application in text completions and equivalence
- Improving reading ability
- General quant practice of intermediate to slightly high level
BAD for the following reasons:
- Lacking a lot of good questions
- The verbal sections format is not reflective of the actual GRE
- Paper-based full-length test whereas GRE is a computer-based test