The 7 Best GRE Prep Books for Effective Study
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GRE prep varies by person and learning style, which is why we’ve provided you with 8 of the best GRE prep books to be chosen from. Regardless of what program you plan to enter or your target score, you will be able to find a suitable and helpful GRE prep book that is going to get you the score you wish for. This is going to take just as much work on your end to make this happen, so roll up your sleeves and let’s jump into the best GRE prep books so that you can get to preparing to crush the GRE!
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In a hurry? Check out our top 3 GRE books:
7 Best GRE Prep Books for 2020
Manhattan Prep 5-lb Book of GRE Practice Problems
Manhattan Prep’s 5lb Book of GRE Practice Problems makes the top of our list of the best GRE prep books. This massive books contains more than 1,800 practice problems that take a crack at every topic that you will be tested on when you take the GRE. Although you are technically buying a book full of practice problems, the book is organized into 33 chapters where similar problems are grouped together such as Circles and Cylinders, Ratios, Sentence Equivalence, and more!
The practice problems in this book have been created to mirror the actual problems you will encounter on the GRE in terms of style, form, and content. Rather than passively reading through prep materials, you will actually learn by doing. Through practice, students preparing for the GRE can build their math and verbal skills using simple instructions and step-by-step application so that they can actually remember how to use these skills on test day. Detailed
What sets this book apart is their 30-50 practice problems for each topic, which can help you develop an understanding of the nuance between different kinds of math problems. There are over 500 pages of just math problems alone, which can be especially helpful when it comes to cementing these topics by the time you arrive to the GRE.
When you first open the book, you will have the chance to take a verbal diagnostic test as well as a math diagnostic test so that you can see approximately what you would score on the GRE without any further preparation. This can be extremely helpful for those who have a score they are aiming for to get into the specific program of their choice. You will also be able to see where to focus more of your efforts, as you don’t have to get through all of the problems in this book. Everyone’s GRE prep varies based on his or her strengths and weaknesses and those who do best on the GRE know where to focus their time effectively.
When you purchase this book, you will receive a unique URL that will allow you to access more online practice problems that are created to simulate real exams via computer.
- Over 1,800 realistic practice problems in the book as well as online
- In-depth explanations help you increase accuracy as you work through problems
- 33 chapters group together similar concepts for easy studying
- Heavy emphasis on math quant section for those who struggle on this
There are no full-length practice tests that can simulate taking the actual GRE. You will need to purchase these online or free through the GRE website for supplemental practice.
This book of practice problems and explanations will help build your speed, accuracy, and confidence in the math and verbal sections of the GRE and comes at a great value!
Official GRE Super Power Pack
The official GRE Super Power Pack (and each of the books that you can also purchase individually), are the only GRE prep books that are put out by the makers of the ETS. This makes it among the top of our list of the best GRE prep books because you get real GRE official practice tests to work with. We love Manhattan Prep for their practice problems and ability to build speed and confidence on the GRE, but there is still a lot to be said of working through real GRE problems under simulated GRE testing conditions. You simply cannot recreate the experience without actual problems that others have taken on the GRE.
Included in this bundle are 3 GRE prep books by ETS, The Official Guide to the GRE, Official GRE Verbal Reasoning Practice Questions, and Official GRE Quantitative Reasoning Practice Questions. The latter two books of this set, Verbal Reasoning Practice and Quantitative Reasoning Practice will also appear later in our list as the best books for Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning. You could purchase each of these books separately, but if you intend on purchasing more than one of these official ETS books, you’re going to get better savings by opting for the bundle.
Across the Official GRE Super Power Pack, you will have the opportunity to take 4 complete, real GRE tests – 2 of which you can find in the physical books and 2 online, where you can simulate the computer-delivered testing method. You will work through over 600 real practice problems and also be able to understand the ins and outs of the questions with detailed answer explanations. You will get tips on how to answer questions by the test makers themselves as well as the chance to see some sample Analytical Writing essays and the raters’ comments.
- 4 complete real GRE tests (2 simulate computer testing experience)
- Over 600 real GRE practice questions and detailed answers
- Sample Analytical Writing essays and raters’ responses
- Money-saving bundle price versus purchasing separately
These books provide wonderful real GRE practice problems and tips but does not have in-depth content on strategy involved on the test.
This Super Power Pack is the best GRE prep book for actual GRE practice problems and familiarizing yourself with actual test questions. We recommend supplementing with strategy content either through helpful blogs or books.
Making it third on our list of the best GRE prep books for overall study is Kaplan’s GRE Prep Plus 2020. This newer edition was released in June 4, 2019 and differentiates itself from its previous edition by adding 500 additional practice questions with detailed explanations.
Contrary to the shortcomings of the previous Manhattan Prep and ETS Super Power Pack, the Kaplan GRE Prep Plus serves as a great study guide with strategies for the GRE as well as tips on applications for grad school. This serves as a much more comprehensive way to study for the GRE rather than just working through practice questions to help concrete strategies. Included in this book and online are a combined 1,700 practice GRE problems as well as timed practice sets for every section of the test.
Utilizing their online computer-based testing format, you will be able to view individual performance summaries to help enable you to personalize your study plan. Although these are not official GRE tests, they do a great job matching questions to the same formatting and difficulty that you will see on the GRE as well as help reduce test day anxiety since you will have experience with how the adaptive testing formatting works.
- 1,700 practice GRE problems
- 5 full-length practice tests online, 1 full-length practice test printed in the book
- 6 exclusive videos featuring strategies for GRE question types and grad school app tips
- 8 online Verbal practice sets, 8 online Quantitative practice sets, 5 online Analytical Writing practice sets
- Higher score guarantee or your money back
The questions on this test are not official GRE practice problems, meaning that for truly authentic questions, you should purchase these additionally from reputable sources.
This is the most comprehensive prep book (plus online resource) for strategy and simulated GRE testing. For authentic GRE practice problems, we recommend supplementing with some ETS official GRE practice tests.
Magoosh GRE Prep
Magoosh is shaking the test prep industry a bit with their low-cost alternative to the commercial test prep products that used to dominate the scene. This affordable GRE study guide makes it among the top of the best GRE prep books list for its helpful and thorough lessons in Math and AWA. Whereas the first few prep books mentioned here do a fabulous job in polishing you up on practice GRE problems (both official and unofficial), Magoosh’s GRE Prep book is able to explain the GRE in ways that will create deeper understanding on what the GRE actually tests you on.
Unlike the other books that make our best GRE prep books list, Magoosh’s GRE Prep Book does not come with thousands of practice questions to work on, but the ones that they do provide (130 total) are of high quality and have pretty robust explanations. They show you the level of difficulty for each question as well as what percentage of their online students answered a question correctly. This can be a game changer in terms of really grasping how you are doing in your GRE prep compared to other students.
As we said, unlike some of the more practice-based books that make our list of the best GRE prep books, this one by Magoosh is going to walk you through some of the basics of the GRE starting at the beginning with Chapter 1. Meet the GRE and Chapter 2. How to Study. Similarly, before diving into the Quant section, they introduce you to the Quantitative Reasoning Section and what kinds of questions you will see. For some who are already well-versed in what the GRE is testing you on, this may not be necessary. But for those who are looking for a bit of extra guidance and understanding as they work through practice questions and study materials, then this can be of great help and effectiveness!
In this book, they provide you with a 1-month Study Schedule, but you can also find other Magoosh 2, 3, and 6-month study schedules.
- 130 practice GRE questions and detailed explanations
- Detailed study schedule to help you stay on track and study effectively
- 1 full-length GRE practice test (created by Magoosh)
- 1-month Study Schedule utilizing Magoosh products
- Stats for each practice question including level of difficulty as well as percentage of online students who answered it correctly
This book does not come with official GRE practice questions (or enough practice questions in general) and would need to be supplemented with either their online offering or another practice problem book.
This is a very affordable study guide that will get you well-versed on the GRE quickly. I would recommend using this book as a supplement to whatever official GRE practice sets you purchase.
Related: How Hard is the GRE, Anyways?
Best GRE Prep Book for Analytical Writing
Vibrant Publisher’s GRE Analytical Writing
For those who are struggling on the Analytical Writing portion of the GRE, we recommend Vibrant Publisher’s GRE Analytical Writing: Solutions to the Real Essay Topics – Book 1. Generally, what you will find with the overall best GRE prep books, is a heavy emphasis on the Quantitative / Math section, as this is where students generally need the most help. But for those who want to go a bit deeper in the Analyzing an Issue and Analyzing an Argument tasks, then you will be able to understand these tests as well as how they are scored. Because there is limited time on the test, being prepared on how to develop your responses will be a huge help for GRE test day.
What you will get in this book is 30 sample Analyze an Issue essays and 30 sample Analyze an Argument essays. The book provides a rubric for forming responses, strategies for interpreting the topics, as well as an approach for answering each of the essays provided in the book. You will also have the opportunity to read a sample essay as a benchmark.
Essentially, once completing these essays and having a good grasp on key points to ask yourself when reading through the issue, taking the AWA section of the GRE will be a simple and straightforward process.
- 30 sample Analyze and Issue essays and 30 sample Analyze an Argument essays
- Strategies for response as well as rubric
- Scoring guides for Analyze an Issue and Analyze an Argument tasks
The biggest criticism you will find about this book is the spelling errors. If you are peevish about seeing “their” when it should be “there,” then this may not be the book for you.
For those who need an extra hand in prepping for the essays and suffer test-day anxiety, then this is going to help you walk into the GRE with utmost confidence.
Best GRE Prep Book for Verbal Reasoning
ETS Official GRE Verbal Reasoning Practice Questions
The Best GRE prep book for Verbal Reasoning is the ETS Official GRE Verbal Reasoning Practice Questions. Previously mentioned earlier as part of the ETS Super Power Pack, we find this book to be especially helpful for those who really want to home in on increasing their Verbal Reasoning section score but don’t need the other books in the set. What’s great about this book is that it only features official GRE questions, so that you can experience what these questions look and feel like. Oftentimes, questions that have been created by third-parties just don’t have the same behavior as the kinds of verbal reasoning questions you’ll find on the actual GRE.
Included in this book are 150 real GRE Verbal Reasoning questions as well as an overview of the section itself by the actual writers of the test. When it comes to getting prep materials from subject matter experts, getting it from the ETS is as close to the source as you can get.
The questions offered in this book are grouped by the question type and difficulty level so that you can build your test-taking skills. Additionally, there are mixed practice sets with in-depth answers so that you can learn from each question.
Additionally, you will get an overview of the Analytical Writing section including strategies, sample tasks, and sample scored essays.
- 150 real GRE Verbal Reasoning questions as well as in-depth answer explanations
- Created by the ETS itself and includes tips and insight on questions from the source
- Questions are grouped by question type and difficulty level
This book does not include any computer element where you can work on real GRE Verbal Reasoning questions in a simulated computer test day atmosphere.
This book should be on everyone’s list for its real GRE Verbal Reasoning practice questions. If you aren’t using real GRE practice questions, then this must be an addition to your GRE preparation to be successful.
Best GRE Prep Book for Quantitative Reasoning
ETS Official GRE Quantitative Reasoning Practice Questions
Much of what was just said for the ETS Official GRE Verbal Reasoning Practice Questions can be applied to the ETS Official GRE Quantitative Reasoning Practice Questions book as well. You’re going to get 150 real GRE Quantitative Reasoning questions paired with in-depth answer explanations. These questions are grouped by question type as well as difficulty.
Included in this book is also a GRE Math Review that covers the topics you’ll likely need to know for the GRE. You’ll learn about the GRE Quantitative Reasoning test content, scoring, as well as strategies and tips from the test makers themselves.
- 150 real GRE Quantitative Reasoning questions as well as in-depth answer explanations
- Created by the ETS itself and includes tips and insight on questions from the source
- Questions are grouped by question type and difficulty level
This second edition is quite similar to the first edition with the exception to some changes in the math formatting, so you should plan on buying one edition or the other. But not both.
Working on real GRE Quantitative Reasoning Questions is the best way to prepare for the real thing. We recommend this book for anyone who is struggling on this section or would like to have added confidence on test day!
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