GRE Best vs Worst Books

The list of best and worst GRE books is mentioned below.

Best GRE Books

1. The Official ETS Guides

Made by the test makers themselves, this source is the most reliable of all sources! The practice questions in these guides come closest to the actual GRE test. The practice tests at the end of each guide must NOT be missed under any circumstances!

There are numerous resources available – both online and in bookstores – for GRE preparation. This plethora of choices often end up leaving test-takers confused as to which book should they select for their preparation. To make this choice easier for test-takers, Scholar Den offers detailed reviews of popular preparatory resources to help test-takers make an informed decision.

2. GRE Big Book by ETS

If you are looking for Data Analysis questions on the quant side and reading comprehension questions on the verbal side, then this is the best resource available. However, a word of caution: The questions in this book are based on the old GRE pattern (prior to 2011). Therefore, this book is NOT recommended as a primary resource of preparation; it should only be used for Reading Comprehension and Data Analysis portions.

3. Scholar Den GRE Prep

For the real GRE experience, whether you are looking for quality questions or video tutorials, do check resources on the website. It provides an excellent video tutorial and high-quality questions both on the quantitative and verbal sides. It also has a feature that assesses individual performance maintains error logs and highlight whats your strengths and weakness. As per student reviews, this is becoming the best GRE prep resource in recent years, and based on students’ experiences, they are improving their score 3 times (15 points) better than other available resources.

4. The Manhattan 5 lb

It’s a book comprised of practice questions only. If you have exhausted the other resources in terms of practice questions, you can focus more on the quantitative sections (especially probability, statistics, and word problems) than on the verbal sections since the verbal section is not reflective of the questions and vocabulary you are likely to encounter in the real GRE test.

The downfall of these resources is that the practice questions on both verbal and quantitative sides are outdated. Similarly, the vocabulary of the verbal questions is very difficult and it is not the correct reflection of the real GRE test.

5. The 8 Manhattan Guides by Manhattan Prep

The set of 8 guides includes six guides for quantitative and two guides for verbal. This is the best resource to hone both your quantitative skills since it provides a comprehensive description of each section, loads of practice questions along effective strategies for approaching questions. The practice problems at the end of each topic are comprehensive and provide an in-depth explanation of answers. 

6. Magoosh

The Magoosh subscription comprises video tutorials for both verbal and quantitative sections of GRE. It’s a good resource for those users who have good fundamental concepts of both verbal and quantitative topics.

However, it’s not recommended for those students whose fundamentals are weak. If you are scoring less than 155 in each section of your GRE verbal and quant, then you should not use it, as it doesn’t focus on fundamental concepts.

7. Barrons GRE Guide

Although the guide provides numerous questions for practice, they do not reflect the difficulty level expected in the real test. 

Worst GRE Books

After we have covered the best books, now we will focus on the worst books that you should avoid. The following book’s contents are not reflective of the real GRE test 

  • Nova’s GRE Prep Course Book and the Nova GRE Math Bible
  • 1,014 GRE Practice Questions, 3rd Edition by Princeton Review
  • Princeton Review – Cracking the GRE with 4 Practice Tests, 2014 Edition
  • Kaplan – GRE Premier 2015 with 6 Practice Tests
  • McGraw-Hill’s GRE 2014 Edition, McGraw-Hill’s Conquering the New GRE Math, McGraw-Hill’s Conquering the New GRE Verbal and Writing, McGraw-Hill’s 6 GRE Practice Tests

To understand how to prepare for the GRE test, you should this article’s Step by Step Guide to the GRE.


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