GRE Test Prep Books
There are a number of GRE test prep books that can help with preparing for the GRE. However, not all books are helpful during the GRE preparation. We have recommended the top 3 books that are even effective today if you utilize them the right way.
Most students fail to achieve their desired result during their first attempt at the GRE. A major reason behind this is the confusion they feel with the abundance of books and PDFs widely available. This makes it hard to choose the correct GRE test prep books. However, if you would like to avoid this common mistake and get it right on the first try, you should consider using the recommended GRE test prep books.
Using the right material at the right time would be greatly beneficial to you as a test-taker. As there are a variety of books available, here are our recommendations for the best books to help with your GRE preparation.
Three ETS Official GRE Books:
ETS is the official creator of the GRE test. To help students prepare, ETS published three essential books;
- The Official Guide to the GRE General Test,
- GRE Verbal Reasoning Practice Questions and
- GRE Quantitative Reasoning Practice Questions.
These three books have over 700 practice questions based on the same pattern as the real GRE. Our recommended approach for making the most out of these books is to first get yourself familiarized with the test format, which can be accessed from the Guide to the General Test book in Chapter 1 (About the GRE revised General Test), Chapter 3 (GRE Verbal Reasoning), and Chapter 5 (GRE Quantitative Reasoning).
The Quantitative Reasoning book gives you an overview of the GRE Quantitative Reasoning Measure from Chapter 1 and the Test Content from Chapter 2.
The Verbal Reasoning book covers an overview of the GRE Verbal Reasoning Measure and the Test Content.
All these chapters will help you learn about the types of GRE Verbal and Quantitative questions along with the sample questions with explanations and the test-taking tips and strategies for each section of the paper. Usually, while preparing for standardized tests, we tend to skip such tips and strategies and just focus on the preparation, but knowing how to attempt the paper is equally important. The chapters in these books will guide you on how to approach the GRE test in the most effective manner.
The books also include full-length tests for you to practice along with the mixed practice sets. It is always recommended to attempt these tests while timing yourself so that you can learn how to cope with the pressure of the actual GRE. In standardized tests, handling the time could be very crucial because a couple of spare minutes to overlook in the end could change your score massively.
Below are some important points to consider when choosing these books for preparation;
Since ETS are the official test makers, this collection of information becomes quite valuable to the test-taker. It becomes an important place for the student to start preparation so they can get a sense of what the examiners are expecting from test-takers. They are also given a glimpse into the test maker’s thought process through sections of the book that explain important tips and tricks when preparing for and taking the GRE.
The last published book was in 2016, which is not a true reflection of the recent changes in the GRE test. The Quantitative Section is quite outdated now as compared to the real exam where the quant section has become more tricky. There are no in-depth concept lessons available for Mathematics and English.
This is the best preparation kit for you if you are short on time and need to score well on the GRE.
ETS GRE Big Book: (Reading Comprehension only)
Preparing through past papers is always helpful as it gives an idea of the format of the test. This book contains 27 GRE past exams with over 5000 practice questions. However, ETS created the book in 1995, and since then, the format of the paper has changed. For example, it includes Analytical Reasoning, which is not part of the latest GRE format. Moreover, the Verbal Section has questions on analogies and antonyms, which are no longer part of the GRE.
However, the Quantitative Section, and the text completion, and the reading passages of the Verbal Section are almost the same. The book has over 600 math questions, but they are easier than the real GRE questions. In the verbal section, you can only focus on the reading passages. They are very lengthy and excellent for improving speed and accuracy.
The biggest drawback would be that this book has no explanations for the questions, so if you are stuck on some problem, you will have to find the answer somewhere else. So, it is recommended that you only buy this book if you want to improve your reading comprehension. You would not need any other book to work on the Verbal Section other than this book. But, if your goal is to work on the math section, then it is recommended to buy additional prep material, as the math in the big book is outdated.
Its reading comprehension is one of the best content available to practice GRE questions. It is lengthy and elaborate, making it ideal for perfecting your reading and comprehension skills. It provides a massive number of practice tests and past papers, so it is great for practicing and sharpening your skills.
ETS released this book 20 years ago. It also has the old GRE format. This format has been discontinued. The math questions available in the quant section are much easier than the real GRE.
Manhattan 5 lb. GRE Book:
This is one of the best books for Mathematics, containing over 2000 practice questions. There are 33 chapters with multiple practice questions and drill sets. As stated in the name, the book weighs 5 pounds! The purpose of this book is to provide plenty of practice. It will help you strengthen your understanding of the topics through tons of practice questions and diagnostic exams.
There are 33 chapters:
- Two Mini Diagnostic tests (40 questions)
- Practice questions for every topic (1800+ questions)
- Eight Mini Mixed Practice sets (80 questions)
- Mini Math Drill sets (100 questions)
The topics in this book include Algebra, Fractions, Decimals, & Percents, Geometry Number Properties, Statistics, Quantitative Comparisons, Data Interpretation in the quantitative section and Text Completion, Sentence Equivalence, and Reading Comprehension in the verbal section.
Apart from the 33 chapters, there are Appendix A and Appendix B. Appendix A contains all the math formulas and rules, which are great for revision before the actual exam. Appendix B includes 100 Math drill questions that could be very helpful to solve before the exam.
This is a very comprehensive book when it comes to providing tests and questions to practice with. It is ripe with questions and explanations across various topics.
It does not match the recent difficulty level of the questions. This book doesn’t have any lessons as it is merely for practice. The verbal practice questions have a hard vocabulary. However, the real GRE does not test hard questions.
If done right, these books can provide a good starting ground in your GRE preparation. Especially the ETS books for verbal and 5lb Manhattan for medium-level math practice. However, they are not good for lessons and advanced strategies. It is important to remember that practice questions are only beneficial to you after you are well-versed in lessons. If not, we suggest that you begin with studying all the topics and lessons and then dive into intensive practice sessions.