Best GRE Prep Books

  • Best GRE Prep Book
  • Rating: 5
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  • On August 25, 2016
  • Last modified:August 29, 2016

Review Summary:

Are you looking for the best GRE prep book and guides for 2016 and 2017? Have a look at our hand-picked list of the Top 10 best GRE books and read reviews on why we think these guides are the most effective study books for the test. You may also want to check out our overview of the best GRE prep courses.

Manhattan Prep GRE Set of 8 Strategy Guides, 4th Ed.

Best GRE BooksComprehensive does not begin to describe the content provided in the Manhattan Prep GRE Set. Offering eight individualized guides to each of the main topics tested on the GRE, this set – now in its revised 4th edition – offers a plethora of information and strategies as well as six online practice tests.

Nevertheless, as each of the topics is contained in a separate book, the information and guidance provided does not feel overwhelming. The eight books include guides on Algebra; Fractions, Decimals, & Percents; Geometry; Number Properties; Quantitative Comparisons and Data Interpretation; Word Problems; Reading Comprehension & Essays; Text Completion and Sentence Equivalence.

Because of the vast amount of content contained in these eight guides, this set is not useful for the last minute crammers. But for those with time and a dedication to the GRE, this is one of the most useful and best GRE prep book systems.

The Official GRE Super Power Pack

Best GRE Prep Books OfficialWhile the Official Super Power Pack will not win any awards for its ability to provide sophisticated tips and techniques on writing the GRE, it is still essential to have access to materials from ETS, the official writers of the GRE.

This discounted bundle consists of The Official Guide to the GRE and two books filled with authentic GRE practice questions for Verbal and Quantitative Reasoning. In addition to offering a good introduction to the test, these books provide plenty of practice, detailed examples of real answers provided by test takers, and expert commentaries by those who actually grade the GRE. Moreover, the set, together with its accompanying CD-ROM, provides four authentic GRE practice tests.

Test-takers should note that this set does not give many tips or “tricks” on writing the exam and some of the explanations are overly complex and difficult to understand. This means that it requires supplements in the form of other study guides. Nevertheless, given their official nature and authenticity, these books are a must-buy and easily make it onto our list of the best GRE prep books.

Kaplan GRE Complete 2017 (Online, Books, Mobile)

BEST GRE Prep Books KaplanKaplan now offers “GRE Complete”, designed to be a full-fledged test prep system.

GRE Complete 2017 includes Kaplan’s three best GRE prep books: GRE Premier; GRE Math Workbook; and GRE Verbal Workbook. Together, they deliver thousands of practice questions and explanations. In addition, test-takers get online access to a customizable GRE Quiz Bank with over 1,000 questions; five adaptive GRE practice tests that simulate the real exam; online study plans; and a DVD with information and advice on test-taking and graduate school applications.

The heart of this set is the top rated GRE Premier book. Written in a format that is easily digestible, this book’s main strength lies in its easily employable test writing strategies, its wealth of practice materials, and its full-length practice test (in addition to the 5 tests that this set also offers).

Overall, this is a truly excellent, feature rich study companion offered at incredible value. The combination of top books, GRE question bank, mobile access, and online tools provides for highly effective GRE preparation. With its mobile-enabled study resources and iPad download, the set is also ideal for studying on the go.

Cracking the GRE Premium Edition 2017 with 6 Practice Tests

 Best GRE Preparation BooksA good comprehensive foundation book, The Princeton Review’s Cracking the GRE Premium Edition 2017 offers a general overview of the test and general lessons on strategy as well as individualized tips and strategies for each section of the test. The book also includes access to online video tutorials and advice as well as two full length GRE practice tests with detailed explanations. Moreover, the book provides access to four additional online tests, downloadable study guides, and other resources.

In general, as in previous editions, the book’s main strength lies in its explanation of the verbal section of the test. For the math section, however, its explanations are often too simplistic or insufficient.

Apart from its weakness in the math area, the book is well written, easy to understand and very effective at building confidence in test taking abilities.

McGraw Hill’s Preparation for the GRE Test 2017

Best GRE prep book 2017

McGraw-Hill’s latest offering for the GRE provides a systematic guide to surmounting the test. Beginning with the provision of a diagnostic test, which allows test takers to identify their shortcomings, this book covers each of the aspects of the GRE by providing a review of substantive concepts, examples of each of the different questions types a test taker may encounter, as well as tips and tricks for navigating specific sections.

In addition, this study guide provides helpful tools for engaging with the test’s analytical writing tasks. Of particular note are the five additional full-length sample GRE tests – with answer explanations – it offers (in addition to the diagnostic test). This enables test takers to practice, practice, practice and hone their GRE test taking skills.

McGraw Hill has also fully embraced technology with this book by offering test takers access to the Premium Practice Test App. This enables students not only to take full practice tests on their tablets or smartphones, but also provides access to 20 instructional videos on selected GRE topics. It also helps students develop study schedules through use of the McGraw-Hill Test Planner App.

Providing helpful, easy-to-understand explanations and interspersing strategies, Preparation for the GRE Test is extremely reader-friendly and useful for improving GRE skills. These qualities, combined with the online apps, make this title one of the best GRE prep books currently available.

Barron’s GRE
Best GRE Books Barrons 21st edition

Available now in a newly revised edition, Barron’s GRE is a highly comprehensive books that offers individualized coverage and strategies for each section of the GRE (Verbal, Analytical, and Quantitative).

In addition, this guide offers a diagnostic test and two model tests with detailed answer explanations. Moreover, readers get free access to Barron’s Online GRE Course, which includes features such as video tutorials, quizzes and additional practice questions, and a GRE study iPad app.

While the book itself may not be as easy to read as others on our Top 10 list of the best GRE prep books, those who already have a good basic knowledge of the tested skills can benefit from the book’s approach to mastering the tougher questions.

GRE Math Prep Course (Nova’s GRE Prep Course)

Best GRE BooksFocusing only on the Math section of the GRE, this book does a superb job of breaking down the constitutive elements of the Math part of the test.

Importantly, this book categorizes each of the different types of math questions into their own section, such as Fractions, Geometry, Averages, Graphs, etc. This allows a test taker to focus on building up skills for each type of math question.

Even better the book breaks down the sample problems into difficulty levels of Easy, Medium, Hard, and Very Hard, enabling the test taker to slowly work their way up the difficulty chain.

While this guide could do more to offer advice on tips for strategy and avoiding traps, overall, this is one of the best GRE books and a must for surmounting the test’s Math section.

Cliffs Notes Math Review for Standardized Tests

Best GRE BooksFretting about math on the GRE? No need to with this almost 500 page manual of math assistance.

In addition to devoted sections to every type of math problem one could encounter on the GRE, CliffsNotes offers a well thought out strategy to mastering the extensive contents of this book. The book provides test takers with a diagnostic test that is designed to be taken at the outset with the aim of highlighting areas of weakness. Test takers can then focus on problem areas.

This is a very thorough book that helps build up math skills from the ground up. A must buy!

GRE For Dummies with Online Practice Tests

Best GRE Prep Book DummiesWritten in an easy and engaging style, typical of the Dummies series, the latest GRE for Dummies book still provides a good review of all of the components of the GRE. However, it now also comes with full-length online GRE practice tests and practice questions.

To be sure, the difficulty level of some of the practice questions could stand to be higher, but overall this is a solid and fun book, which still makes our Top 10 List of the best GRE prep books.


Essential Words for the GRE (Barron’s GRE)

Best GRE BooksAn essential tool for increasing your vocabulary, this book – now in its 4th edition for 2016-2017, provides an extensive 800 word list of the most frequently occurring words on the GRE. In addition, it gives instructions on learning common roots and prefixes as a means of deciphering new, unknown words; a pretest which highlights areas of weakness; concise definitions for words on the word list, and practice exercises to confirm test takers’ understanding of new words.

Helpfully organized into 10-word bite sized units, this book makes a seemingly insurmountable task like learning 800 new words into a manageable activity.

Highly recommended as one of the best GRE prep books for the test’s Verbal Reasoning section.

Best GRE Prep Book

RankingPublisherBook TitlePagesYearPractice TestsPrice Range
1Manhattan PrepGRE Strategy Guides187220146$$$
2ETSOfficial GRE Super Power Pack118120154$$
3KaplanGRE Complete176620166$$
4Princeton ReviewCracking the GRE Premium57620161$$
5McGraw-Hill EducationPreparation for the GRE Test57620166$
6Barron’s EducationalBarron’s GRE62420152$
7Nova PressNova’s GRE Prep Course4682015N/A$
8CliffsTestPrepMath Review for Standardized Tests5122010N/A$
9For DummiesGRE for Dummies with Online Practice20153846$
10Barron’sEssential Words for the GRE4322016N/A$


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