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Thread: a little advice, and review of study aids

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    Trying to make mom and pop proud
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    a little advice, and review of study aids

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    I just got done taking the GRE, and it was extremely difficult, so I wanted to see if I could reduce a bit of misery.

    My advice that is applicable to the whole test is this: all of the study aids and mock tests available to me (and I went through my local library, and used books from five different companies, including ETS) only provide two essay questions, two verbal sections, and two quantitative sections. This is shorter than the actual test, which apparently always has an additional verbal or quantitative section. Practicing this way does not prepare you for the real test, which has one extra experimental section. So, every time you take a mock test, plan ahead to take an extra verbal or math section from another practice test, and tack it on. I wish I would have.

    As I was going through the local library, I did use books from five different companies, and I would truly make sure that you use both the ETS guide, and at least one other. ETS is the truest to their own test, and is therefore the best means of getting a true simulation (and has the fewest typos and minor errors, which is good). However, they are a bit purist, and do not tell you about things like the most common GRE words, et cetera. Most of the other books feel slightly off in one direction or another, but give better clues about how to work around problems when you can't think of the answer, or shortcuts, and so forth.

    That being said, I did want to issue a slight caution about specific editions of an overall helpful book from a particular company. One of my favorites was Kaplan, because they offered short lists of the most common GRE words (twelve, and then the next twenty), and they offered a Latin and Greek root list. I really wanted to learn the roots, so I recopied the list from the 2014 edition, and added to definitions and examples where I could. I found errors (not just typos), and even thought about notifying the company, but, when I went back through my list to check against the book, I used the 2016 edition, and found that they had seen the errors (I imagine got a new editor), and corrected them. So, I don't know which editions the errors started or ended in, except that by 2016, things were fixed. In fact, I would recommend Kaplan, because they are the only current book I found offering the features I talked about (and, as I remember, they also offered a nice listing of edit helps for the essays, et cetera). Just get a newer edition.

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    Trying to make mom and pop proud Corey's Avatar
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    Re: a little advice, and review of study aids

    Hey sea of green. Although ETS only has a few official essay questions in test format, it does provide a pool of essay topics. For example, the Issue pool is provided from ETS at this link:

    Introduction to the GRE Issue Task (For Test Takers)

    Overall, I'd recommend practicing with questions that are directly from ETS or are adapted specifically to resemble the structure and difficulty level of ETS questions. Way too many GRE questions are floating out there where clearly the goal is to just write really hard questions, get you to struggle and bang your head against the wall, but then claim that pain that you feel is "improvement" lol. So yeah, definitely focus on the ETS questions first, making sure you understand how to do as many of them as possible.

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