Best GRE Prep Books

Review & Comparison, Last Update August 28, 2019
Want to be able to pass your GRE test from the very first attempt and get excellent scores? It is possible if you equip yourself with one of the best GRE prep books. Containing a detailed study guide and a lot of practice materials, a GRE prep book will help you get ready for the exam in an efficient and structured way. ...Read more ...Read less
BEST 2019
PROS
CONS
OUR VERDICT
BOOK TYPE
CONTENTS
NUMBER OF PAGES
 
PROS

Along with all the necessary step-by-step info on all GRE test sections, you'll get access to expert videos that will showcase special techniques on how to reduce stress and anxiety on the test day and better focus on answering the questions.

CONS

The wording of some questions might seem tricky. 

OUR VERDICT

The GRE Prep Plus 2020 by Kaplan is by far the most comprehensive GRE test guide that contains detailed reviews on each test section and offers GRE-format questions along with key answers. This edition cleverly combines testing strategies with full-length practice tests. Backed by 80 years of expertise, Kaplan's approach has helped many undergraduate students. Give it a try!

detailed parameters
BOOK TYPE

Kindle version

Paperback format

CONTENTS

Practice tests, Proven strategies, Online tests and question bank, Expert video tutorials

NUMBER OF PAGES

708 pages

PROS

This edition provides real practice tasks and exam questions along with detailed answers, explanations, and handy tips from the original test creator that will help you grasp the general approach and principle of each question type.

CONS

The practice books might contain similar content.

OUR VERDICT

The Super Power Pack is a bundle of 3 books including a general guide and 2 practice booklets. What makes it stand out is not the whole wealth of practical exercises or 4 trial tests but that all materials you'll find in those books are collected and actually created by ETS, the official GRE test maker. So, you'll get the most GRE-like experience to ace your real exam.

detailed parameters
BOOK TYPE

Kindle version 

Paperback format

CONTENTS

Official guide to the GRE, Official GRE quantitative practice, Questions, Official GRE verbal practice questions

NUMBER OF PAGES

250 pages

PROS

The biggest forte of this book is that it's created by test experts based on actual feedback from thousands of students who have already passed the Magoosh premium program. So, they review the most common mistakes made by the test-takers and offer ways to avoid them.

CONS

The Kindle version is somewhat hard to navigate. 

OUR VERDICT

Written in a simple accessible language and a friendly manner, the prep book from Magoosh is very easy to read and will help you quickly get into the concept that stands behind GRE testing. Giving a detailed overview of each exam section, it is arguably one of the best GRE prep books if you seek GRE tricks, tips, and strategies.

detailed parameters
BOOK TYPE

Kindle version

Paperback format

CONTENTS

Practice questions, Video explanations, Full-length tests, Hundreds of helpful lessons

NUMBER OF PAGES

468 pages

PROS

In this textbook, you'll find 800 words with in-depth definitions you need to know to succeed with your GRE exam. More than that, there is a variety of sample sentences using those words to see how they function in a different context.

CONS

The antonym section is not detailed enough.

OUR VERDICT

If you seek to strengthen your vocabulary and language skills, this GRE prep book by Ph.G. Barron is for you. It's a well-organized and thought-out vocabulary workbook that sets up diverse techniques for learning words and will help you enlarge and enrich your vocabulary with the words that often occur in the test to feel more confident during the exam.

detailed parameters
BOOK TYPE

Paperback format

CONTENTS

Suggested study plans, High-frequency GRE words, Essential words for the GRE,  Common suffixes, Post-test answer keys, Root roundup, Root roundup review

NUMBER OF PAGES

432 pages

PROS

Despite an impressively large volume and about 1800 included practice problems, the book is perfectly systematized and conveniently structured, so, you will easily find the material you need to focus on.

CONS

It will take a long time to study the whole book.

OUR VERDICT

Made up by the best tutors and instructors, the Manhattan Book of GRE Practice Problems is one of the biggest practice books dedicated to all possible GRE questions and their explanations. Distinguished by an advanced quantitative section, it will especially suit those targeting to fill out their quant loopholes and improve their quant score.

detailed parameters
BOOK TYPE

Kindle version 

Paperback format

CONTENTS

1,800+ Practice problems, including new mixed timed sets, Cheat sheet of key math rules, Micro drills to test individual skills

NUMBER OF PAGES

1056 pages

Kaplan Test Prep Plus 2020

The Most Comprehensive Test Guide

You are about to prep for the GRE test and don’t know where to start? With the GRE Prep Plus textbook from Kaplan, it will be an easy start. It’s a flagship prep guide from one of the biggest educational organizations that is considered one of the most comprehensive GRE prep books for now, hence, its popularity. And it’s not a marketing ploy to boost the sales. Backed by more than 80 years of expertise, they know everything about the test and can help give you an advantage.

In more than 700 pages, you will find literally everything you need to know about the exam and how to maximize your score. You’ll get a detailed step-by-step guide on all test sections, including analytical, reasoning, verbal, and quant skills. The math sections in this book are really strong, which is a real find for those undergraduates who didn’t take any math courses. In the Prep plus, they targeted all types of topics and questions you’ll have to deal with during the exam. Thus, the book offers as many as 1700 questions, all made up and revised by Kaplan’s leading experts, and supplemented by detailed answers with in-depth explanations to help you get into the concept that stands behind those problem-focused questions.

Each type of question comes accompanied by practice sets along with 5 full-length online tests to help you dip your toe in the water and get a test-day experience in the same computer-based format. Besides, one full-scale test is also included in the book for quick and easy reference. More than that, each online test is followed by a smart report evaluating your performance. This option will help you reveal your strengths and weaknesses, determine the areas that need more attention and training, and, as a result, hone your skills.

Review of Kaplan Test Prep Plus 2020 GRE Prep

Train Your Knowledge and Your Nerves

The area where Kaplan’s GRE Prep Plus really shines is the test-taking strategies. By analyzing your mistakes, getting to the core of the questions, and completing a whole lot of practice tasks, you will work out proper approaches to the assignments of all difficulty levels and figure out the crucial points you’ll have to bear in mind while passing the real exam.

In contrast to other competitor prep books, the Kaplan’s textbook also provides access to a variety of online resources to optimize and make the best of the test preparation process. Apart from the above-mentioned online tests and result reports, you can use the online question bank and benefit from video tutorials where experts will give actionable advice on practical tactics and study planning. Additionally, you can watch online videos that will showcase special techniques on how to reduce stress and anxiety on test day that might hinder you from focusing on the exam. It is essential to stay calm and concentrated to duly manage the time and complete all test tasks.

To wrap the things up, the GRE Prep Plus from Kaplan is a perfect choice for those applicants who understand the test content and just need a brush up on their knowledge, yet, feel less secure in how to pass the exam and seek some solid instructions on how to ace the test.

Kaplan Test Prep Plus 2020 GRE Prep in the use

 

Educational Testing Service Official

A Smart Bundle

The gist of the whole test preparation process is not significantly improving your knowledge level (though you’ll definitely learn some new info) but rather getting the exam-like experience to be well-armed for the real test. And, probably, no resource will help you better than the actual test maker. This is where the GRE Super Pack from ETS will excel.

ETS delivers the only official GRE test prep guide in a bundle of three books. You’ll get a textbook called the Official Guide to GRE and two practice books titled the Official GRE Quantitative Reasoning Practice Questions and Official GRE Verbal Reasoning Practice Questions accordingly. The titles are self-explanatory and give you a clue as to what materials you are going to have. This way, the Educational Testing Service divides theory and practice to help you better organize your study process and easier focus on some specific areas and topics that you feel need more attention and diligence. Besides, such division makes it much easier for the test-takers to digest the information contained in the study guide and memorize some key points.

To have a closer look into each part's content, the Official Guide to GRE is the biggest of the three parts and provides general guidelines and useful details on the test format and each test section. The textbook is clearly organized, so, if you need to find some specific info, be sure, you’ll find it quickly and without a hassle. The two workbooks are smaller in volume and closely focused on practice questions, both quantitative and vocabulary. You’ll get over 600 real test practice questions to brush up on your knowledge, check your educational level and significantly raise it by boning up on those practice books.

Review of Educational Testing Service Official GRE Super Power Pack

Helpful Perks from the Test Maker

While many other prep books and online courses desperately try to mimic GRE exam questions and quizzes, with the GRE prep bundle from ETS, you’ll get original GRE questions. That’s the advantage no other prep materials can beat. In the workbooks, you’ll find a whole wealth of actual GRE questions and practical tasks accompanied by the test maker's own tips to help you work out the skills and the proper approach to cracking those tasks. Besides, you’ll be able to pass 4 complete GRE tests. Two of them are available online and two are given in the book. Computer-based versions will let you dive into the real atmosphere of the exam day, see how you’ll do and feel when passing the test, and get real scores with feedback on mistakes.

Another feature that sets the ETS bundle apart from other similar materials is an expressly strong analytical writing section. The Official Verbal Reasoning practice book contains in-depth info on how to approach each of the two essays. There are even sample essays with relative scores and detailed explanations behind each score to give you an idea of what ETS considers a good and bad essay.

All things considered, the GRE Super Power Pack from ETS is literally everything you need to get ready for the test. It’s a hugely valued practical resource providing the most GRE-like experience and saving you the need to buy any other prep materials.

Educational Testing Service Official GRE Super Power Pack in the use

Additional Info

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Magoosh Kindle Edition

Affordable Basic Prep Book

There is a whole lot of GRE-related information floating around the Internet, from more or less valuable prep materials offered by GRE prep course providers to some dubious instructions and recommendations given by those who have already taken the test. It is easy to get confused and buy an abundance of materials that won’t help you achieve the desired result in the end. If you seek clear advice on the GRE test with expert recommendations and need a simple and comprehensible prep guide, we strongly recommend turning your eyes to the Magoosh prep book.

Magoosh is a reputed provider of online test preparation courses, perfectly covering GRE topics and questions. In the book (also available in the Kindle format), they managed to combine the best of their online program with valuable test-taking recommendations from their top experts. On 468 pages, they provide GRE overview from top to bottom with thorough discussions on each test section. Thus, in the first two chapters, the book will introduce you to GRE basics and then will proceed with in-depth analysis on test sections from quantitative reasoning to analytical writing to give you insight into the kind of questions you are going to face during the real exam.

Many GRE applicants often fail to duly prepare for the test since they can’t plan their studies in a proper way to embrace all knowledge areas and touch up on the necessary skills. The Magoosh prep book really shines in this aspect. It provides a detailed study schedule for the month and even gives you free access to many online resources to engage other helpful Magoosh products in the preparation process. Even more, you can also access other study plans for a quick prep or extensive GRE training with day-by-day schedules.

One more advantage of this book we can’t overlook is its considerably lower price as compared to other similar prep books that makes the Magoosh a fairly affordable GRE prep guide.

Review of Magoosh Kindle Edition GRE Prep

Get Down to GRE Secrets

At a glance, it might seem the Magoosh textbook is not too much different from many other prep books available on the market. Yet, there is one thing that sets it apart from competitors. Rather than polishing your knowledge on practice issues, the Magoosh GRE guide helps you better understand what the GRE will test you on. In other words, this book can become a real game-changer when it comes to getting into GRE concepts and learning the test cracking tactics.

With that said, instead of hundreds or thousands of questions and tasks, the book provides only 130 practice-based questions, all well-thought and meticulously selected by Magoosh test tutors and maintained by comprehensive explanations. What’s more (and that is by far the biggest forte of the Magoosh prep book), each question is followed by the stats on difficulty level and the percentage of correct answers based on online test data. This way, you’ll be able to evaluate how you stand against other students and grasp the general approach to answering GRE questions. In addition to questions, you’ll also have one full-length test with answer keys to practice GRE-like experience and analyze your mistakes and a whole chapter on analytical writing with prompts and clues to improve your essay writing skills. It’s notable that all explanations are given in simple conversational language and are easy to digest.

To cut a long story short, the GRE prep book from Magoosh is recommended for those who seek GRE tips, trick, and strategies rather than extensive knowledge practice.

Magoosh Kindle Edition GRE Prep in the use

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


 

Philip Geer Barron's

Level up Your Vocabulary

While many GRE applicants seek ways and methods to master GRE strategies and approaches, the basic skills should not be overlooked as well. And a good command of language is one of the must-have skills for acing the GRE test. GRE vocabulary goes far beyond words and phrases you use in your everyday speech. It’s much more challenging and aims to check your ability to express your thoughts in a more exquisite way and juggle words depending on their contextual meaning. Seek to strengthen your verbal skills and enlarge your word stock with GRE words? This is where the Barron’s Essential Word for the GRE will come into play.

Right off the bat, it is not the habitual complete GRE study guide many other companies offer. It is a specific workbook designed to help you learn more words and worked out by Philip Geer, an experienced language educator and GRE tutor who helped numerous students to enhance their writing skills and improve their verbal scores. The author knows everything about GRE vocabulary. So, he selected 800 college and graduate-level words that most frequently occur in GRE tests and provided their deep analysis and usage profiles.

Considering the fact that they are rather advanced words, the list of 800 words might seem overwhelming. Yet, first, you don’t have to bone up on them all and secondly, the whole list comes accurately organized to help you better memorize the meanings of the words. The author did a great job of breaking the total number of words into 10-word units, each followed by fine-grained definitions and fill-in-the-blank exercises. Not only does this approach make studying easier and stress-free but also it allows you to see how words function in different contexts.

In addition to word explanations and sample sentences, the book contains a comprehensive root section that analyzes the word roots and teaches you how to decipher the meaning of unknown words by breaking them into parts and defining their roots.

Review of Philip Geer Barron's Essential Words for the GRE

Monitor Your Progress

Meant for self-studying, this workbook by Philip Geer provides all the necessary tools for the test applicant to check their knowledge, control their progress, and even arrange their study process in a proper way.

Thus, the introduction chapter is followed by the pre-test that will let you evaluate your current vocabulary level and detect the weaknesses you need to work on. Further on, you’ll find study plans to help you duly schedule and pace your prep process to learn more effectively and without feeling exhausted. Quick quizzes after each section of words will help you cement new words in place. And finally, at the end of the book, there is a post-test to monitor your progress and check how you have improved your vocabulary.

All in all, the Barron’s Essential Word for the GRE is a simple, comprehensive, and very helpful vocabulary workbook that sets up diverse techniques for learning high-frequency GRE words. It will make an ideal complement to any general test guide and will become a real find for those who need high verbal scores to enter top grad programs in education, law, psychology and MBA programs.

Philip Geer Barron's Essential Words for the GRE in the use

 

Manhattan Prep 5 lb.

The "Big Guns" in GRE Practice - Manhattan Prep Book

Are you well-versed on GRE and already know your weak points? Are you looking to fill in your knowledge gaps via extensive practice? If so, the Manhattan Book of GRE Practice Problems will get you covered.

Though the book has no theoretical wrap up on the general test, it provides tons of practice questions, quizzes, and drills on each exam section. It’s a heavy-weight practice tool in every sense as you’ll get a 1000-page volume that weighs about 5 lbs. Yet, for those who need to hone their skills and polish their knowledge to perfection, the book offers by far the largest collection of GRE-like questions and tasks.

Once you hold this giant in your hands, it might seem you will get lost on those endless pages. However, despite an impressively large volume, the book is thoughtfully systematized and conveniently structured, so, you will easily find the material you need to focus on. All in all, the Manhattan Prep Guide comprises about 1800 realistic practice problems. But don’t let this daunting number muddle you up. All that array of data is neatly organized into 33 chapters grouped by similar problems, such as sentence equivalence, reading comprehensions, ratios, etc. All questions mirror real GRE questions and are sorted by the difficulty level, test section, and skill. The book provides from 30 to 50 practical problems on each topic to help you feel the differences and nuances between various types of tasks. Via practice, you’ll build and strengthen your verbal and quant skills. Meanwhile, thorough analysis and answer explanations given after each question will help you learn how to apply those skills on the test day.

In addition to all sorts of practical study materials, the Manhattan prep book will give you a chance to check your verbal and math skills. By taking verbal and math diagnostic tests, you will see your potential GRE score as well as the weak areas that need more focus.

Review of Manhattan Prep 5 lb. Book of GRE Practice Problems

With the Quant Problems on the Spot

Overall, the Manhattan GRE prep book targets both verbal and math skills improvement. But at a closer look, the book is more focused on quant problems. It boasts a truly excellent quantitative section that takes over 500 pages. Algebra, arithmetic, and geometry, ratios, equations, fractions, and more math problems are all based on high standards. There separate sections even for combinatorics, standard deviations, and inequalities that are skipped in many other prep books. Some questions and problems might even appear a bit more difficult than those you’ll come across on the real test. But if you need to boost your quantitative score, with the Manhattan practice book, you can rest assured you’ll have more than enough practice to tackle any GRE math tasks.

To sum it all up, the Manhattan Book of GRE Practice Problems is one of the biggest practice books dedicated to all possible GRE questions and their explanations. It will especially suit those targeting to fill out their quant loopholes.

Manhattan Prep 5 lb. Book of GRE Practice Problems in the use

 

What Is a GRE Prep Book?

If you are going to enter any graduate, business or law school, you are about to take the GRE test that is an obligatory admission requirement. GRE or General Record Examination is a standardized and computerized test developed, maintained, and owned by Education Testing Services (ETS). The test is accepted in dozens of countries worldwide to evaluate the applicants’ competence and educational level and check whether they are ready for further academic work. GRE aims to estimate your preparedness in verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, and analytical writing. The first two sections are scored from 130 to 170 while analytical writing is assessed from 0 to 6 in 0.5-point increments.

To ace the test and get the scores you want, you need to do some thorough study before taking a shot. Yet, how to choose from the tons of GRE study materials available today? What will best suit you? Of course, you can use the tutor services or study by yourself. If the latter is your scenario, GRE prep books are definitely the choice for you. Offered both in paperback and electronic format, they make a more affordable alternative to rather expensive prep courses. Normally compiled by experienced GRE tutors and instructors, the prep books cover not only general test info but also contain a lot of practice materials and get into tips and strategies that will help you properly approach the test. Besides, there are workbooks focused on some specific test section or skills.

Those who plan to get an MBA degree, most likely than not, will be required to submit their GMAT score and might want to take a look at our selection of GMAT prep books. And if you choose an electronic version of your prep books, a good e-reader will come in handy.

What Features to Compare

Since GRE is an extensive test, it will take you a long time to get well-prepared. So, getting the best GRE prep book containing proper study materials is essential to crushing the exam. With hundreds of textbooks available today, it might be hard to make up your mind and find the right book for your needs and study style. Hence, never choose haphazardly and first take a look at what makes a really good prep book.

Book Type

As we’ve already mentioned, prep books are provided in paperback and electronic formats. Yet, this is just about convenience. If you are a fan of traditional books and relish turning the pages, a paperback version will best suit you. Besides, conventional books have a convenient table of contents to guide you through and help you quickly find the information you need. Meanwhile, if you are an active user of an electronic reader and not eager to carry a heavy or bulky textbook in your bag or backpack, a Kindle edition is your optimal choice. Most prep books are actually offered in both formats for your preference.

Coverage and Layout

The book content is by far the most important aspect to consider since it is this that will largely define what skills you are going to brush up on and what you will learn about the test. With that said, first, objectively gauge your knowledge level and decide whether you need a general test overview with in-depth revision of questions and topics that might appear in the test, or if you seek a detailed guide on some part of the test.

Another point of attention is how the info is presented in the book and how easy it is to digest and perceive. This will help you estimate whether this study material is for you and how fast you’ll be able to grasp and memorize the info.

Guidance

With a GRE prep book at hand, you should be able to draw out your own study plan, space out the preparation process to use your time in the most efficient way and get the best of the whole process. For this purpose, a good textbook normally contains solid strategies, clear advice, and sound tips on how to navigate through the test, manage the time frames set for each section, and find the right answers.

Question Bank

GRE is predominantly a question-and-answer test. Yet, the questions are often ambiguous and that’s done deliberately to evaluate your reasoning and analytical skills. That’s why a wide variety of questions mimicking those you’ll come across in a real test with thorough answer explanations are of the utmost importance.

Practice Tasks

Skill comes with practice. So, comprehensive and diverse practice tasks are an integral part of any GRE prep book. Look for all possible tasks from practice questions on different sections to trial full-scale practice tests that will help you realize what is the real exam like and gain more confidence.

Did you know?

GRE Myths and Interesting Facts

The Graduate Record Examination has been the benchmark of the diligent educational background of grad and business school applicant for decades (since 1949). The test is known for its demanding standards, complex approach, and tricky questions, hence, there are a lot of myths and misconceptions growing around it. So, let’s have a look at some interesting facts about GRE to clarify what is true and what is false.

Myths

  • A single composite GRE score is most important. That is probably the biggest GRE myth that makes applicants chase the perfect score (340) or get at least 300. Yet, the truth is that your official GRE report will display the score on each section, which means you’ll get three scores. And while many schools set up a general GRE score for admission, there is also a lot of universities that have a minimum score requirement in each section. Each grad program varies based on the nature of the degree you are applying for.
  • GRE is similar to GMAT. Though alike in some aspects, these two tests are still not the same. While GMAT is more quant oriented, GRE is more focused on verbal patterns. And even if you have successfully passed GMAT, it doesn’t mean you’ll ace GRE.
  • You need to know every single word in English to succeed with GRE. That is not true. You really need to memorize a lot of really tricky words you don’t even use in your everyday language, yet, the test is focused on understanding the vocabulary in a certain context. And your skill of juggling with words is more important.

Facts

  • Today, GRE is valid in more than 160 countries worldwide, greatly expanding your educational opportunities.
  • Every year, the GRE test is taken by more than 675 000 people in about 230 countries.
  • Statistically, most test-takers pass the test from the second try.
  • The average score for quantitative and verbal is about 151, though the highest scores are not rare as well.
  • Despite the opinion that GRE quant tasks are hard to crack, the whole thing is in the approach while the tasks are basic high-school level math.

GRE Test Anxiety Managed and Controlled

It is pretty common for the students to panic and get anxious before or during the test. Yet, it often happens that stress becomes the major hindrance on the way to successfully passing GRE since it distracts you from concentrating on the questions. Here are some useful tips on how to calm down and take your nerves under control before the test.

  • Take the time you need. Haste makes waste. Give yourself enough time to learn the test format and procedure in details. Study each test section in pace and have enough practice to acquire the self-confidence you need.
  • Analyze your errors. Analyzing your performance on practical tasks will help you detect your weaknesses and work on them.
  • Exercise your success. Thorough test prep is a must, however, daily meditation and relaxation also help. Give your mind a break and visualize your success, it will become of great use to combat the panic during the exam.
  • Sleep is important. Don’t study to exhaustion and have a good night’s sleep both while preparing and right before the exam. You’ll have enough rest and won’t feel tired.
  • Put comparisons aside. Never compare yourself to your peers. Work your own way and grow your knowledge. This test is not a competition but rather a single fighter battle. It’s your battle and your personal achievement.
  • Stay positive. Get rid of any negative thoughts that feed anxiety. Think positively. Don’t worry about how others perform and focus on moving forward.
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Publish Date: 2019-08-27 14:47:28