For most, the first step toward pursuing grad school is to take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), which requires a lot of studying to ensure success. This article has a detailed list of the best GRE prep books and free GRE prep books and prep resources. These GRE study books will help you score high, which will help with admittance into a graduate or business school.
Read on to discover the best GRE prep books and learn about key features of each book and their best uses. There is a breakdown of all the essential GRE prep sections, and reasons why you should take the GRE.
Should I Take the GRE?
Yes, if you want to attend a graduate school, law school, or business school, you should take the GRE general test. Many graduate schools require students to complete the GRE general test to be accepted into a doctorate or master’s degree program.
Taking the GRE general test is worth it because it opens the door to pursuing a master’s degree or a doctorate. According to research by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), people with a higher level of education earn more. BLS also notes that chances of employment are higher with a master’s degree or doctorate.
Common GRE Sections You Need to Prepare For
- Analytical Writing section. Students must write one essay analyzing an issue and one analyzing an argument. The essay portion is always the first part administered, and each essay in the GRE has a 30-minute time limit.
- Verbal Reasoning section. The verbal reasoning section in the GRE is not always in the same place. This section tests students’ ability to analyze written English. Students will tackle a text completion question, a comprehension question, and a sentence equivalence question.
- Quantitative Reasoning section. This section can appear anywhere in the test and is based on mathematical concepts including algebra, geometry, and data analysis. It tests prospective students’ abilities to work with simple math concepts.
- Optional unscored or identified research section. The unscored section may appear in the test or as an identified research section at the end of the GRE general test. The unscored section does not count toward your total GRE score, but it should be taken seriously because it can impact future test-takers.
The 10 Best GRE Prep Books to Help You Get Ready
1. 5 lb. Book of GRE Practice Problems
- Best for: Practicing problems
The 5 lb. Book of GRE Practice Problems by Manhattan Prep has over 1,800 practice questions designed to look similar to the GRE. By purchasing this book, students will also have access to online content through Interact’s learning platform, which has fantastic online resources and interactive lessons to help students with their exam preparation.
Manhattan Prep’s guide provides easy and difficult questions for all GRE test sections, although most are quantitative comparison questions. It covers the fundamentals of math and verbal reasoning and includes a detailed explanation and easy-to-follow applications for answering questions. It’s for sale on Amazon.
2. GRE Prep Plus 2022
- Best for: Test-taking strategies, practicing problems, and comprehensive math skills review
The Kaplan GRE Prep Plus 2022 is an excellent GRE general test learning guide that provides an expert test-taking strategy, a detailed answer explanation for each question, and online access to the online Kaplan test prep practice question bank.
This guide only covers basic math skills. There are five full-length online practice tests, and after each test, you will receive a detailed individual performance summary to help you create a study plan. Students will also have access to one-on-one faculty support. You can purchase this fantastic resource on Amazon.
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3. Manhattan Prep GRE Set of 8 Strategy Guides
- Best for: Reviewing all GRE test subjects
This study material includes a book for each section of the GRE general test. It contains lessons with in-depth explanations and answer strategies. This Manhattan Prep set has strategy guides for math sections including fractions, decimals, percents, algebra, geometry, word problems, and number properties.
The Text Completion & Sentence Equivalence Guide is a comprehensive preparation guide that teaches students strategies to help answer verbal questions. The book bundle details how students can answer different quantitative questions in the quantitative section. These strategy guides are available on Amazon.
4. The Official Guide to the GRE General Test
- Best for: Learning foundational concepts and practice questions
The Official Guide to the GRE General Test was created by the Educational Testing Service (ETS), the creators of the GRE general test. This guide gives you access to two POWERPREP® full-length practice tests with realistic practice questions similar to the actual test.
It includes a test-taking strategy, sample responses to essay questions in the analytical writing section, helpful strategies, and problem-solving techniques for answering quantitative questions. You can buy this valuable GRE prep book through the ETS official website or Amazon.
5. Official GRE Super Power Pack
- Best for: Reviewing and maximizing GRE general test score
The Official GRE Super Power Pack contains three prep books: the Official Guide to the GRE General Test, Official GRE Quantitative Reasoning Practice Questions Volume 1, and Official GRE Verbal Reasoning Practice Questions Volume 1.
The quantitative reasoning and verbal practice questions books contain 150 unique quantitative reasoning practice questions and verbal reasoning questions with a detailed explanation of how to answer them. Students will also have access to four full-length tests that are structured like the real exam.
6. GRE Prep by Magoosh
- Best for: Reviewing, practice tests, and study strategies
Magoosh’s GRE Prep book is a comprehensive study guide with a detailed study schedule and frequently asked questions. This book has over 130 practice questions covering all sections of the GRE test and includes details about each question, such as the difficulty level.
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One section in this book also provides tips and examples for improving analytical writing skills. There are plenty of extra practice opportunities because it includes one practice test, an answer key, and extra tips. You can find the Magoosh GRE Prep book on Amazon, with the Kindle version typically much cheaper than the paperback version.
7. Princeton Review GRE Premium Prep, 2022
- Best for: Maximizing GRE general test score.
The Princeton Review GRE Premium Prep includes detailed GRE test-taking strategies prospective students can use to avoid traps and achieve the highest score possible. Students will review important content in this guide and receive an in-depth explanation of mathematical concepts.
The Princeton Review GRE Premium Prep is available on Amazon. With the purchase of this Princeton content review guide comes access to online video lessons, seven practice tests, comprehensive explanations, and feedback once you complete each practice test. Those who purchase this study book also receive a discount for the Princeton review online prep course.
8. GRE Complete 2022L 3-Book Set
- Best for: Improving verbal proficiency and math skills, and practice questions
Kaplan’s GRE Complete study guide is another great resource that includes three detailed study prep guides with over 2,500 practice test questions and comprehensive answer explanations for the verbal, quantitative, and analytical writing sections. These study books include one printed and five online full-length mock tests.
This guide will help you improve your math, quantitative and verbal skills. Online content also includes two mini online tests and video explanations for each question type. You can buy this comprehensive review guide on Amazon.
9. GRE Prep 2022 and 2023
- Best for: Test-taking strategies and study strategies.
Test Prep Books’ GRE Prep 2022 and 2023 provides students with a detailed review of each section of the GRE general test. This comprehensive prep book has practice quizzes for every difficulty level and complete answer explanations for each problem question.
Students will receive a study prep plan and the best test-taking tips to prepare for and ace the GRE exam. There is a chapter in the book for each test section to help you improve quantitative, verbal, math, and analytical writing skills. You can buy this comprehensive overview from the official Test Prep Books website.
10. McGraw-Hill Education Conquering GRE Math
- Best for: Increasing math score and developing problem-solving skills
The Conquering GRE Math prep book by McGraw-Hill Education offers a comprehensive overview of essential topics in the quantitative reasoning section, including geometry, algebra, number properties, and arithmetic. This is a comprehensive math resource, but you should find supporting prep material if you need difficult questions.
Students can improve their problem-solving skills by answering many different math questions, and many practice exercises help students learn how best to answer the questions. This detailed self-study guide is available on Amazon and includes three tests with answer keys.
Free GRE Books and Resources to Help You Get Ready
- Khan Academy Instructional Videos: Free Preparation for the GRE Quantitative Reasoning Measure
- ETS Free GRE Full-Length Practice Tests
- Magoosh GRE Vocabulary Flashcards
- Full-length Manhattan GRE Practice Test
- Princeton Review Full-Length Free GRE Test
- GRE Prep Course 2 by Skill Share
Best GRE Prep Books FAQ
The time allowance for the GRE is three hours and 45 minutes. Some testing centers encourage students to arrive 30 minutes ahead of time on exam day. There are specific section durations and a 10-minute break during the GRE test.
The cost of the GRE is $205. There are options to request in-depth score reports, but that comes at an additional price. There are also extra fees involved for rescheduling or changing the test location. You can find a breakdown of all the fees on the official ETS website.
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The quantitative reasoning and verbal reasoning sections of the GRE general test contain 340 possible points, and the analytical writing part is scored from zero to six.
Yes, you can get into specific graduate programs and grad schools without a GRE test score, though most graduate degree schools require students to take the GRE general test.
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