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ETS has released the Third Edition of its GRE Official Guide. It’s almost exactly the same as the Second Edition, so you can use either one interchangeably.
If you have a Second Edition already, there’s no need to run out and get a Third Edition.
If you have a Third Edition and want to know what’s the same and what’s different, read on.
What’s The Same
No GRE-like problems have been added or removed. All but six of those problems are identical in both editions, and the changes to those six are minuscule. (More on those changes later.)
So much has stayed the same that in fact, it’s easier to point out what’s different.
A smidgen of math strategy has been added. For instance, on pages 108 through 113, you’ll find three new problem-solving steps and 14 new strategies. These strategies are also mentioned at the end of some explanations, which otherwise remain the same.
A little more non-GRE-like practice has been added to Chapter 7, Math Review. For example, you now have two more exercises in the Data Analysis exercise set than before.
Finally, some pages are formatted a bit differently. As a result, the page numbers of many GRE-like problems have changed. Here’s how to find the new page number of a problem:
GRE Official Guide: Second Edition to Third Edition Problems Pages Conversion Guide
Second Edition 47-74: same new page number.
Second Edition 110-128: add 5 to get new page number (115-133), with a few exceptions:
#8 on Second Edition p. 115 is on Third Edition p. 119.
#2 on Second Edition p. 118 is on Third Edition p. 122.
#1 on Second Edition p. 127 is on Third Edition p. 133.
Second Edition pages 145-163: add 10 to get Third Edition page number (155-173).
Second Edition pages 309-472: add 24 to get Third Edition page number (333-496).
What About Those Six Changed Problems?
Five of the six are Quant word problems. In each of those five, all that really changed is that “male” and “female” are no longer used as categories for people.
Here’s an example: instead of male and female purchasers of a product, one problem now talks about purchases made online and those made in a store. A couple of other tiny edits were sometimes made. But the underlying math is exactly the same in all cases.
Quant Problem Changes
#11 on Second Edition page 148, Third Edition page 158. This is the one that’s now about online and in-store purchases. A couple of wrong answers have changed, too.
#15 on Second Edition page 160, Third Edition page 170. It used to be about heights of male and female students in a class. Now it’s about the heights of two kinds of penguins. And those heights are now in centimeters, not inches. Yikes, the metric system!
#1-3 on Second Edition pages 161-162, Third Edition pages 171-172. The master chart for this set used to be about female and male faculty. Now it’s about adjunct and non-adjunct faculty. #3 also uses the category of medical doctors in place of tenured faculty.
In addition, a non-GRE-like exercise dropped its male/female distinctions: #13 on old page 297. The replacement problem is actually pretty new.
Verbal Problem Changes
Finally, one Verbal problem has changed, but not for this reason. All male/female references in Verbal problems remain the same.
In #3 on page 72 (same for both editions), an answer choice has been swapped out. Old choice C was not as anchored in the given passage as it should have been, we suppose.
We wish there were plenty of fresh new Official Guide problems for everyone to chew on and prep with. But there aren’t, so here we are.
To be clear, we strongly recommend using the Official Guide, whether you grab the Second or the Third Edition. No other book gives you direct access to the mind of the GRE test-writers. No other book delivers retired official GRE problems to you. These problems should be a core part of your preparation.
But don’t worry about Second vs. Third Edition. Get whichever one is handy. 📝
Chris Ryan currently serves as the Vice President of Manhattan Prep. He has an MBA from the Fuqua School of Business (Duke) and a 99th percentile GRE score. His love of teaching has manifested everywhere from his days as a high school physics and chemistry teacher to his GMAT and GRE classes at Manhattan Prep.