The 8 Best GRE Prep Books

These study guides will help get you accepted into grad school.

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Studying for the GRE is time-consuming enough; you don’t need to waste valuable time and money on prep books that won’t serve your needs. The best GRE prep book for you depends on many factors, including what kind of graduate program you’re looking to get into, the skills you need to develop to ace every section of the test, and the disparity between your current and goal scores. We’ve compiled a list of the highest quality GRE prep books, categorized according to what test-takers are often looking for.

Most Comprehensive GRE Guide: Kaplan’s GRE Prep Plus

Kaplan’s GRE Prep Plus gives you a rundown of the GRE from top to bottom, starting with a detailed explanation of each section of the exam, followed by three full-length practice tests (two online, one in the book), a 500-question online quiz bank, and a chapter devoted to each GRE math skill and question type. Overall, GRE Prep Plus includes over 2,200 practice questions and answer explanations, testing every relevant skill at every difficulty level.

After each practice test you take with Kaplan’s GRE Prep Plus, you’ll also get a detailed breakdown of your individual performance. This assessment will help you determine your own strengths and weaknesses and will allow you to tweak your GRE study plan as you go along. Other online resources include timed practice problem sets and video lessons from Kaplan instructors on test-taking strategies and study tips.

Best Full-Length Practice Tests: ETS Official GRE Super Power Pack

The best full-length GRE practice tests are, of course, those written by the authors of the exam. The Educational Testing Service’s Official GRE Super Power Pack, available on Kindle and in print, includes three official prep books for the GRE: The Official Guide to the GRE, the Official GRE Quantitative Reasoning Questions and the Official GRE Verbal Reasoning Questions. Purchasing the Power Pack as a bundle allows you to save significantly on what you would spend by buying each book separately.

The Official GRE Super Power Pack includes four full-length GRE practice tests, with questions written by the same people who write the official exam (so you know they’re legit). Two of the tests are in the book, while two are available online. Your purchase will also give you access to 600 real practice GRE questions, tips from the test makers about how to best approach each GRE question type, detailed answer explanations for each practice question, sample GRE essay responses, as well as a variety of additional online practice resources.

Best Testing Strategies: GRE Prep By Magoosh

If you’re after GRE tips, tricks and strategies, GRE Prep By Magoosh might be a good fit.

GRE Prep By Magoosh includes over 150 well-written practice questions, but the tips and tricks are its biggest draw, all written in the accessible, conversational tone that Magoosh’s bloggers and instructors are known for. The book includes a comprehensive overview of the GRE and a detailed description of each section and question type, as well as common mistakes made by test-takers and ways to avoid them. If you have trouble scheduling or planning out your study sessions, there’s a section here to help you with that. There’s also a chapter devoted to the analytical writing section that includes sample prompts for you to incorporate into your GRE study sessions.

Best Vocabulary Review: Barron’s GRE Essential Words

To ace the GRE, you’ll need to have a solid grasp of difficult vocabulary and how to apply it in sophisticated literary and analytical contexts. Barron’s GRE Essential Words will introduce you to the 800 most common vocabulary words used on the GRE and their definitions.

After a pre-test that will help you assess where you’re at in terms of your familiarity with essential GRE vocabulary and how far you need to go, you can use the word list and its accompanying sample sentences and passages (with vocab words used in a variety of contexts) to create flashcards or practice quizzes. The book also includes pre-written practice exercises that will test you on each of the vocabulary words more than once. Once you feel you’re ready, take the book’s “post-test” to see how far you’ve come and where you still might need to improve.

Best GRE Verbal Guide: Princeton Review’s Cracking the GRE Premium Edition

The verbal strategies and explanations in Princeton Review’s Cracking the GRE are top-notch. If you struggle with the reading, grammar or vocabulary on the GRE, this is an ideal prep book for you.

Cracking the GRE includes in-depth explanations of each GRE question type, four full-length GRE practice tests, as well as additional online practice resources. Drills allow you to get extra practice with math and reading comprehension passages in particular. In particular, students who want to improve their verbal skills will appreciate the GRE vocabulary list, which includes definitions and sample sentences for all the most common complex/high-level GRE vocabulary words. In-depth score reports allow you to thoroughly assess your own strengths, weaknesses and progress as you study.

Best Math Review: McGraw-Hill Education’s Conquering GRE Math

While nearly every GRE prep book provides at least some guidance in math, a math-specific prep book might be called for if you struggle with quantitative reasoning. McGraw-Hill Education’s Conquering GRE Math is available for Kindle and in paperback. Practice with three full-length GRE math sections, and review relevant GRE math in the areas of number properties, algebra, arithmetic, word problems and geometry, in detail.

The book also includes step-by-step tips for approaching every GRE math question type, including multiple choice, numeric entry, quantitative comparison and data analysis. With hundreds of realistic practice questions, McGraw-Hill Education’s guide to GRE math can provide a source of drills as part of your regular study sessions, or for brush-ups if you’re really trying to boost your math score.

Best Practice Quizzes: Manhattan Prep’s 5 Lb. Book of GRE Practice Problems

This hefty 33-chapter tome, Manhattan Prep’s 5 Lb. Book of GRE Practice Problems contains over 1,800 realistic practice questions. If you’re looking primarily for drills and quizzes to incorporate into your GRE study sessions, this is the perfect GRE resource. In particular, this prep book is a great find for students at all levels, as you can use it however you like and complete the questions in any order.

The practice questions are organized by difficulty level, question type and skill tested, so you can effectively target and hone in on your weaknesses. Each practice question is followed by analysis and an answer explanation. Purchasing this book also allows you to access a variety of online resources, including a substantial GRE practice question bank, Manhattan Prep’s archive of difficult GRE questions, as well as an online introduction to the GRE.

Best Analytical Writing Guidance: Manhattan Prep’s Reading Comprehension/Essays

Manhattan Prep’s Reading Comprehension & Essays GRE Strategy Guide packs in a great deal of value. The in-depth guide to the reading comprehension and analytical writing sections of the GRE starts off with the basic principles of the reading comprehension section and the “testing rules” to follow if you want to ace it. Next up is a detailed explanation of both short and long GRE passages and practical ways to absorb them quickly and effectively.

The book continues with practice questions for both short and long passages, answer explanations and ways to recognize each question type, so you know how to approach each one without wasting any precious exam time. After the reading comprehension sections, Manhattan Prep’s strategy guide includes a comprehensive guide to the GRE essay section, including practice prompts.

With your purchase of the prep book, you also get one year of access to Manhattan Prep’s online GRE practice tests.

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Dorwart, Laura. "The 8 Best GRE Prep Books." ThoughtCo, Sep. 7, 2022, Dorwart, Laura. (2022, September 7). The 8 Best GRE Prep Books. Retrieved from Dorwart, Laura. "The 8 Best GRE Prep Books." ThoughtCo. (accessed February 6, 2023).