How to Effectively Use the ETS Official Guide for GRE Preparation

Posted by on September 9, 2013 in GRE, GRE Book Reviews | 0 comments

Every day I get at least one query that says: “Which is the best book to practice questions for the GRE exam?” – and my answer almost invariably is the ETS official guide for the revised GRE. If you are short on time and are determined to score well on the GRE test, you must try taking complete advantage of the 2nd Edition of ETS Guide.

ETS Official Guide to GRE is surely one of the best GRE resources available in market to study and score above 320. The GRE resources published by the ETS excel at showing how the GRE writers test the students. The official guide is one of the most comprehensive resources that do that.

The ETS official guide has 400+ pages of practice questions, designed in the similar pattern that you will see on your test day.

I know going through 400+ pages could be very painful if you are short on time. But, you can simply follow these guidelines to cover the important sections of the GRE Guide.

Do not skip the beginning sections

Many times when we start preparing for any standardized tests we skip the beginning or starting sections because we think they are not that important. However, in the official GRE guide you will find many valuable points that the ETS has mentioned regarding the new GRE. So, if you start from the very beginning, you will have more clarity on what this book aims to offer you.

You will get to know everything about the GRE test format, the scoring and reporting alongwith a basic overview of the question types tested on the GRE. Hence spend a few hours skimming through everything in the initial few sections.

Skip the hard questions

At the very beginning of the official GRE guide, you will find three practice sets for each math and verbal sections. The three sets are divided into easy, medium and hard categories. You may opt to solve the easy and medium practice papers and skip the difficult ones initially. You should only do that if you fear that it will consume your time and may dissuade you from taking the GRE.

Remember that you cannot dive into the tough section and start solving them without tying hands-on the simpler ones first. The book has a long set of practice questions to test your skill set, so do not worry about running out of questions.

Focus a bit on the Math review

The 2nd edition of ETS official Guide has dedicated more than 100 pages to the Math’s section. If you try to plunge into each mentioned concept of Math, then it will get difficult for you to learn and retain everything. As mentioned earlier, you can simply start with easy and medium practice papers initially. The only reason I asked you to start with easy and medium section is that I do not want you to get exasperated with hyperbola where ‘x’ is questioning about ‘y’.

It is always a good idea to concentrate more on the statistics & geometry section as the chances of getting these questions is much higher these days.

The 2nd edition of ETS guide is a great resource to practice for the new GRE, however, it will only provide you the most useful tips and strategies.

Extra attention to Vocabulary

Another useful tip that I would like to add here is paying a bit extra attention to the verbal section. The words mentioned in the GRE practice papers are ETS favorite. Though, these long lists of words may not appear on the final test day but you will surely get familiar with these kinds of words that will help you in the long run.

Thus, try to pay superfluous attention to the words and how they are used in the sentences. After reading a sentence twice or thrice you will get a clear idea of exact meaning of the words mentioned in those. Word power does matter a lot and it may be the only difference for you to get a 160+ on the verbal section.

GRE students ask me where to learn words for the verbal section. My advice and strong suggestion is to only learn the words that are given as part of the questions in the ETS official guide. This is the most reliable word list that you will see on the test day.

Do the sample GRE tests in the end

The 2nd edition of ETS guide has two sets of tests for both paper based and the PowerPrep software at the end of this Guide.

It is always an individual’s choice as to how they wish to prepare themselves. With the help of these tests, you can learn many useful tips that can enhance your performance skills for the GRE test day. It is always a better idea to practice these tests paper on time.

Never start your GRE prep from these mock tests – you will be wasting these tests if you do that. First make sure that you have a firm grip on the most important concepts and have practiced them thoroughly. Once you feel you are ready only then move on these GRE mock tests in the official ETS guide.

Final words

The writers of 2nd edition of ETS guide have prepared the resources in a manner that they try to skillfully cover the maximum in the most efficient manner. Try to practice as much as you can and follow the patterns mentioned as above. For smart test takers out there the official guide is the only book that they will need to do well on the GRE.

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