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Hello!

I am beginning to GRE prep but do not know which book to buy to get started. I heard the 5lb book of problems by Manhattan Prep and Magoosh prep course is good. I am not sure if I want to take a course yet, but want to know if the 5lb book will suffice or do I need to supplement with other books? I did take the MCAT in the past with a below average score after a poor attempt of self-studying and 1 round of prep course.

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I suggest Magoosh. I used Kaplan books the first time I took mine and didn't do so great (298). The second time I prepared with only Magoosh and my total score went up by 7 points.

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All you need is Magoosh and ETS GRE book which is written by the company that writes the GRE. Magoosh will teach you everything, I had to relearn the math, and the tips for the reading/comprehension was a huge help.

I borrowed a buddy's Kaplan book and had I only used that I would have seriously done horribly. I really did not think Kaplan was any help at all, a better use would have been for toilet paper to be honest. 

I only had to take the GRE once got a 309 and 4.0

Edited by JD2012

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Magoosh's online course is great for relearning concepts, as is watching Khan Academy videos on youtube. For me, I felt the ETS books were the best at replicating the questions as it's written by the makers of the test. Buying their books and registering for the exam will also get you 4 online practice tests and 2 written practice tests. Personally I found the replicating testing conditions and taking these to be great, as it helped relieve some of those test-day nerves beforehand. Good luck!

 

PS - the magoosh vocab app is an absolute must I think! Going through the vocab flashcards alone must have raised my Verbal scores by several points

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I found the official ETS book to be more than sufficient. I went through that maybe two weeks beforehand and ended up with I think 163 verbal, 168 quant, 5.0 writing.

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I only used the 5lb book and free online tests through ets and other websites and got a 309. I got the flash cards from manhattan prep and that was worthless.  

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I just studied for my GRE so I have some good experience with a lot of the services.

1. Buy the official GRE guides. Verbal, Quant, and the Overall Book. Do the 2 free practice exams and I would even consider buying the two additional practice exams because they offer explanations and a diagnostic. You can find explanations online for the two free exams. These sections should be done under test conditions. 

2. I used Magoosh extensively. I would use their study plans as a basic rough guide. Their verbal section is excellent and very comparable to the exam. The best part of their program is free though. That is their vocab flashcard app. If you do anything study these flashcards so you know the "GRE Definition" of each word. 

The negative part of their program is that they don't zero into your problem areas. I only recognized this late and that was my mistake. Also, if you follow their guide then you learn about certain important subject areas, like reading comprehension paragraphs, only at the very end of the study plan.

I didn't like that they would have you answer all different types of questions in practice instead of focusing on one area. 

3. I used Manhattan GRE's 5lb book also. It has a huge amount of questions. That combined with Magoosh is just an enormous amount of questions for you to go through. However, I didn't like Manhattan's vocab questions. I didn't use them. Their fill in the blank questions and matching questions for vocab were incredibly dependent on needing to know their list of vocab words, which doesn't match words ETS uses in their own books and tests. Stick with Magoosh for vocab questions.

4. I watched a lot of youtube videos on harder questions like strategies for hard RC paragraphs and DRT questions. Find your weaknesses and find people on youtube who teach these subjects.

5. Magoosh recommends you read from different sources that are more technical and about subjects that don't interest you in order to get used to reading and retaining information. I found their recommendation of the website Arts & Letters Daily for a constant source of different articles. Make sure to write summaries of these articles. Very simple translations of the sentences and main points. This will help you get used to interpreting information the way you need to on the GRE.

I ended up getting a 326 on the GRE. 167 Verbal and 159 Quant. The Verbal was about where I was testing and the Quant was about 5 points lower than I was testing. I wish I had focused more on my problem areas for Quant rather than follow Magoosh's plan of general learning most of the time. Oh, I should add I'm a non-traditional student. It's the first time I've studied algebra since the Clinton Administration:)

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