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GMAT

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ETS, Official Guide to the GMAT, 9th Edition

IMPORTANT: The most current edition of this book is the 10th edition; if you have a choice, do not buy the 9th edition, buy the 10th!

Buy the best GMAT book NOW!!In a word, this is a great book!

We use this book as the basis for our GMAT preparation--we require all of our students to do all of the exercises in this book before they take the test.

This book has LOTS of practice authentic practice questions. There is no substitute for official GMAT questions--the questions in the practice books are just not the same. Many of the practice books have mistakes and address topics that are not really related to what you will see on the GMAT. It is very easy to doubt these questions and to find fault with them. However, official GMAT questions are not like that--you will almost never be able to find fault with them.

However, this book has MANY problems--it is not a perfect solution for GMAT preparation. Some of the questions are too easy, especially the math questions--many of our students have said that the questions on the real test are much harder than the ones in the book. Many TestMagic students can get over 90%ile on the math section and they think the math in this book is too easy.

Moreover, the explanations are hard to understand--they are written for college professors!! It doesn't make sense--obviously, if the questions were difficult for you, you need explanations that are easy to understand. These explanations are written in the same style as the reading passages--not very helpful for many people!

In fact, many of our students quickly finish this book and need more. Unfortunately, there are no other good materials available. This book is not enough.

Finally, some of the reading passages are shorter than the ones on the real test. We actually called ETS to complain about this and we were told, and this is a quote, "Well, we were just trying to give people an idea of what the test was like." In other words, the reading will be about as hard as the hardest passages in this book--prepare yourself!!

 


 

GRE

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Buy the "Big Book" NOW!"The Big Book"

ETS was in a good mood when they released this book to the public.

Like all official materials, this book is unbeatable for quality of questions. None of the other practice books can come close to the quality of questions you will find in this book.

This book contains 27 actual, full tests which were administered in the past. This is more than most people would ever need to practice. However, this book contains NO explanations or strategies--it's pure practice. If you need strategies or explanations, you will have to look elsewhere.

Finally, some of these tests were given years ago. Like all the other tests, the GRE has evolved and some of the question types that you will see in this book will not be on your tests. For example, the real GRE reading passages are actually pretty long (four or five paragraphs) even though some of the passages in the book are quite short (one paragraph). Moreover, students who can score in the 90 %ile on the math section will find the math in the book too easy.

All in all, you can beat the value. This book is the bible of GRE test prep.

GRE PowerPrep Software

I have to say that ETS got it right this time! If only they would release more software like this, we would all be much happier.

The biggest problem with most of the other products out there is that they invariably have mistakes, have questions unlike those you will see on the real test, or give you a score that has nothing to do with the score you'll get on the real test. Furthermore, in every other book or software program now published, the math will be easy if you are scoring in the 90%ile and above. This product has NONE of these problems--you will get hard problems if you are good in math; and, since this product is "fresh," it contains material similar to that currently on the tests. Some of the older materials are outdated and contain questions of a type no longer tested on the GRE.

So, and I almost hate to say it, this software is PERFECT!!! Well, almost perfect--the only real drawbacks are that you CANNOT review your answers after the test and there are no explanations. However, this program contains two full, actual tests--the score you get on this will be your real score. Even after you take the two tests, you could actually take them a few more times--the program actually contains something like a thousand questions and each time you take the test, you get a different variety of questions, depending on your level/performance.

In a word, this is a GREAT product. I wish there were more like it!!



Good luck on your test!!

 


Dictionaries

Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary

Buy this book NOW!!Noah Webster wrote the first American English dictionary in the 1806 and his name has come to be synonymous with the word "dictionary" in the US. As a result, every dictionary in the US that wants to make any sales calls itself a "Webster's."

The M-W, however, is the original and still the best. I have every major American English dictionary in publication, and several British dictionaries, including the Random House, the Webster's 3rd (the unabridged dictionary), Microsoft's dictionary, the Oxford Dictionary, and several learner's dictionaries.

Frankly, the differences among the top three,i.e., the M-W, the Random House, and the Microsoft (on CD), are not that great--choose a word like "efficiency" and see how each is defined. You might think they were all working together. That said, I have so say the M-W is still my favorite. Further, the M-W dictionary is consistently rated #1 in surveys of academics and language scholar.

I am a professional language and test preparation instructor and rely on good dictionaries for precise definitions of words. The M-W consistently gives clear, accurate dictionaries and apposite examples. One extra feature that helps word lovers like me understand the words better is that M-W lists definitions in the order that they came into use, with the most recent usage last. This type of listing is extremely helpful for understanding how a word has evolved and what it is about that word that remains and what is not essential to the meaning. Such an understanding of words is essential for GRE and SAT preparation and is one of the main reasons I regularly turn to the M-W.

In short, it's your best option for an American English dictionary.

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