It's hard to beat a series written by the authors of the actual GRE exam. Practice problems are on point: the style and complexity of questions are in line with what you would expect on test day.
The series does not provide "tricks" and strategies like other test prep companies that are designed to help you with shortcuts and pattern recognition. The answer key descriptions are also not very comprehensive.
On a budget and in a time crunch? This book features 6 practice tests and a comprehensive answer key for each question. You also get mobile access so you can access materials from any device, any time.
Kaplan tends to err on the side of less-difficult questions, especially in the quantitative section, compared to the actual exam. You should not rely on this book alone if the quantitative section is not your forte.
Got time and money to go the full-mile? Manhattan Prep digs deep into every topic of the test and provides simple, effective techniques and strategies to help you master each section.
The depth and breadth of the questions can be overkill, and there are some typos in the math problems. Manhattan Prep tends to err on the side of slightly more difficult questions compared to the actual exam.
Ideal for those in a time and budget crunch. Princeton Review provides great frameworks for organization and problem solving. Excellent for verbal prep and vocabulary drills.
Similar to Kaplan, Princeton Review's math questions tend to be on the less-difficult side. This book falls behind in both quality and quantity of quantitative questions.
Fun to read; you will not get bored with the introductions, descriptions, and strategies. Provides insightful tricks and tips to narrow down choices.
Brand recognition: we are unsure who the actual authors of this series are. Also, this book alone is not comprehensive enough to provide a well-rounded preparation.
We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
The GRE General Test is a requirement for admission to nearly every graduate program in the country.
Taking a standardized test can be a very stressful experience, so preparation is key if you want to ace the GRE and get into your dream program. Fortunately, there are many GRE books on the market to help prepare you for the exam –but if you want to study as effectively as possible, it all comes down to finding the right one.
The sheer number of options on the market makes choosing a GRE book pretty difficult, though.
To find the right option for your studies, you need to consider factors like the book’s layout, the quality and quantity of its practice questions, and how many practice tests it includes, to ensure that it complements your studying style.
Jennifer Blair has been writing about education and test preparation products for the past 12 years. She has worked as an SAT and GRE prep tutor and has tested a variety of test prep books and other tools to figure out the best options for boosting exam scores and streamlining the studying process.
At BestReviews, we don’t accept products from manufacturers, so you can trust that our recommendations are completely unbiased.
We conducted field and expert research to get a better feel for the top GRE books on the market. Our hard work allows us to pass along all the info you need to make the best choice for your studying needs.
If you’re ready to buy a GRE book, take a look at the product list above for our top recommendations.
For general tips on choosing a GRE book, continue reading our shopping guide.
The GRE General Test is usually taken by individuals who’ve completed an undergraduate degree and are considering graduate school or business school.
In fact, thousands of graduate and business schools around the world accept the GRE General Test for admission; it’s the most common admissions test for those types of graduate programs.
If you’re applying to law school or medical school, however, you’ll need to take other specialized admissions tests. The LSAT is for law school admission, while the MCAT is the admissions test for medical school.
Time management is one of the most important skills to master during your studying. You only have 3 hours and 45 minutes to take the GRE.
We spent 32 hours researching over 100 GRE prep books before choosing our top 5. We then purchased our top choice and tested it in our office to make sure it lived up to its claims.
The GRE General Test is a computer-based test offered throughout the U.S. and in most other countries. It features three main sections: Analytical Writing, Verbal Reasoning, and Quantitative Reasoning.
The test typically begins with a one-hour Analytical Writing section, followed by two sections of Verbal Reasoning with 20 questions. Each section must be completed in 30 minutes.
The test ends with two Quantitative Reasoning sections. These sections contain 20 questions each and must be completed in 35 minutes.
The GRE evaluates the skills required for graduate study, such as analytical writing, critical thinking, verbal reasoning, and quantitative reasoning.
GRE prep books offer specific testing strategies based on the contents of previous tests, which can help give you an edge.
With plenty of realistic practice questions, you’ll learn how to effectively analyze the answers to help narrow your options.
By familiarizing you with the layout and types of questions that the exam offers, a book can help instill confidence when it comes time to actually take the test.
A GRE prep book can help you learn to manage time effectively during the exam.
Make a list of all the graduate programs that you’re considering, and compare your GRE practice score against the average score of the students they accept.
Every GRE prep book should contain practice tests to help you evaluate your progress.
Choose a book that contains at least two tests. This allows you to test yourself early in your studies, then again at the end.
For the best results, choose a book with four or more practice exams, which provides more opportunities to simulate taking the exam.
Everything Needed for Prep
With three different study guides, the GRE Super Power Pack offers all the information you need to master the GRE. It includes four authentic GRE exams, including two online versions, as well as 600 real practice questions with detailed answer explanations. You even get tips from the test maker for answering each type of question.
A GRE book’s layout can be very important in determining how useful it for studying. It’s best to choose a book — or set of books — that breaks down the exam by section, so you get an in-depth look at the Analytical Writing, Verbal Reasoning, and Quantitative Reasoning parts of the test.
In addition to explaining each section and how it’s graded, a prep book should ideally have a section devoted to questions solely for each part of the exam. That allows you to concentrate on that section and the types of questions that give you the most trouble.
Some books may go even further in breaking down the exam by providing chapters devoted to particular concepts that are important for each section of the GRE test.
Finally, the book should have a section thats contain practice tests to help you evaluate your progress as you study.
By preparing you for the layout and types of the question that the exam offers, a GRE book can help instill confidence for when you take the actual test.
In addition to understanding the specific concepts that the GRE covers, it’s also important to develop effective test-taking strategies for the exam to boost your chance for success.
Look for a book that helps develop strategies such as proper time management, when to skip over questions, and how to prevent easily avoidable mistakes during the test.
The GRE General Test is offered at approximately 700 test centers in over 160 countries.
All GRE books provide sample questions for the Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning sections of the exam. However, it’s important to consider how many sample questions a book offers and how much they resemble the questions you’ll find on the actual exam.
It’s also important for the book to provide detailed explanations of the answers so you can be sure that you understand the concepts behind them and avoid mistakes in the future.
Some books offer as few as 600 practice questions, while others offer up to 2,200. Be sure to choose a book that caters to your preparation level. The practice questions should be based on actual GRE exams so you can be certain that you know what to expect on the exam.
The score range for the GRE is 130 to 170. The average score for those who take the exam is 150.8.
GRE books vary in price based on whether you’re purchasing a single book or a set of study guides. You can typically expect to pay between $15 and $80.
For a single GRE book that covers all sections of the exam in one volume, you’ll usually pay between $15 and $30.
For a GRE book set that features an individual volume for each section of the test, expect to pay between $45 and $60.
For a GRE book set that features individual study guides for the various math and verbal concepts on the test, you’ll usually pay between $60 and $80.
Product in depth
Kaplan: GRE Prep Plus 2018 Practice Tests + Proven Strategies + Online + Video + Mobile
Personalized and Mobile
The Kaplan GRE Prep Plus 2018 is ideal for anyone who wants to study on the go. It features two full-length online practice exams, as well as a full-length written exam for easy review. With over 2,200 practice questions, you’ll get detailed explanations of the correct answers to help familiarize you with the necessary concepts to ace the test. The book even allows you to create a personalized study plan through the performance summaries you receive after each test.
Don’t wait until the morning of the exam to get all the things you’ll need to bring with you ready. Pack your ID, any necessary paperwork, snacks, and other items the night before.
Cramming doesn’t work very well for the GRE, so avoid studying the night before you take it. Try to relax instead by watching a movie, listening to music, or reading a good book.
A healthy meal can help boost your concentration for the test. Stick to fruit, veggies, and some protein rather than a high fat meal.
It’s best to get to the exam center early so you can check in easily. Arrive at least 45 minutes before your scheduled time.
When you take the GRE test, dress in layers. If you get too warm, you can easily take off a layer to make yourself more comfortable.
Avoid comparing yourself to other students during the exam. You don’t have to work at the same pace as others.
All questions have the same value, so pass over those you can’t answer right away and return to them later.
All questions on the GRE test have the same value, so pass over those you can’t answer right away and return to them later.
Q. What type of GRE book works best if you prefer to cram?
A. If you like to get all of your studying done in a short amount of time, look for a single book that address all of the GRE’s sections in one volume. It should also offer test-taking strategies that can help you understand general patterns that occur on the exam.
Q. What type of GRE book works best if you prefer to study in advance?
A. If you prefer spreading out your studying over weeks or months, look for a set of GRE books with a volume that focuses on each section or concept covered by the exam. They’ll provide the best opportunity to learn the subject test content inside and out in a slow, methodical manner, even with a bit of e-learning is a factor.
Q. What’s the best way to use the sample tests in a GRE book?
A. Take one of the practice tests before you even begin studying. It will give you a good idea of which areas you need to focus on while you’re studying. You should take the other sample exams at regular intervals during your studying, so you can see how you’re progressing. Be sure to take the tests in a realistic manner — time them so they feel like a real exam.
Kaplan: GRE Prep Plus 2018
Practice Tests + Proven Strategies + Online + Video + Mobile
Kaplan has a great reputation for developing robust materials, even though the content is not always on par with the actual test questions. The DVD, online access, and additional support materials are bonuses on top of the book itself.
GRE Set of 8 Strategy Guides
If you want to do a full comprehensive prep, short of paying $1,000 for an actual prep course, and have the self-discipline to get through each and every book, this is your choice. Note: this series is best if you have a minimum of 6+ weeks available.
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