The importance of GRE can not be underestimated by any student who wants to take admission in a graduation course. Because of the high level of competition one has to prepare exclusively for it, leaving all other matters aside. There are a variety of sources one can choose from; chiefly there are online courses, coaching centers, books for preparation and software packages for preparation. Each source has its own pros and cons. In case you prefer to study from a book then there are some very good ones available in the market.
A good book for GRE preparation would mean the one which has both, explanation of concepts and practice questions. If either of these is missing in a book then purchasing it proves to be unsatisfactory. In such a case you have to buy more than one book, one for concepts and the other for practice. Further the language of the explanations should be simple and lucid. Such a book is a pleasure to go through and you will feel like studying form it. You don't want a book which has a style and language which is difficult to understand and you eventually don't feel like even picking it up for studying. Such a book becomes more of a burden, neither can you study from it, nor can you throw it away. A large number of books available in the market also have a CD of instructions and practice tests along with them. This is a remarkable feature of a good GRE preparation book. The instructions are easier to understand when someone is verbally explaining them, instead of your reading through the book and it helps those who have to appear for CAT by giving them practice of the computer adaptive tests, before they go for the real one. This way they don't have to look for taking the GRE practice tests elsewhere.
Big Book of GRE is one highly recommended book for preparation. This book is a compilation of 27 real test papers along with answer keys. ETS had released this book and that makes Big Book the official document for tests practice. There are no other tests in this book prepared solely for the purpose of practice, nor is there any explanation of concepts and strategies or list of formulae. Big Book is just a collection of genuine test papers. This book is not printed any more.
The most significant feature of the GRE Big Book is that it was released by ETS. ETS itself conducts and administers the GRE and consequently this book is the most reliable source for preparation. It does not contain tests which were prepared for mere practice but those which were actually administered in the test. There is no other such book available which contains the original tests. With such a large number of actual questions available in the Big Book, there is seldom a need for any other practice material for the test. Moreover when you have such a source at hand which contains the true tests then all other sources seem unauthentic. The Big Book consequently becomes a must for those who are appearing for the test. Many students claim to have benefited by using this book, to the extent that some of the questions were actually repeated in their test! ETS carries out a number of researches before making any sort of change in their paper format, question type, difficulty level etc. It is not easy to change the question pattern for GRE; a lot of research goes into it. This means that a large portion of the Big Book still remains worthwhile. The Big Book is considerably useful for vocabulary. This is because of the fact that the difficulty of vocabulary was a lot more when the papers in the GRE
Big Book were administered than it is at present. The questions on vocabulary in any test tend to be repetitive to a certain extent. If you go through all the vocabulary questions then there is a good chance of your scoring well in the Verbal section of the test. The reading comprehension passages will give you a fair idea and practice of the type and standard of questions asked. Reading comprehension question from other sources might be either too easy or too difficult as compared with the real test.
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