If you are planning to pursue graduate studies in the United States or Canada, the GRE exam is an essential step toward achieving your goals. The GRE, or Graduate Record Examination, is a standardized test that evaluates your readiness for advanced-level academic work. To get a good score, you need to study intensively, practice regularly, and use high-quality study materials. In this article, we will introduce you to the best GRE books that can help you prepare for the exam in a smart and efficient way.
Understanding the GRE Exam
What is the GRE?
The GRE is a test that measures your skills in verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, and analytical writing. The exam is administered by Educational Testing Service (ETS), a nonprofit organization that also develops and scores other tests such as TOEFL and SAT. The GRE is accepted by thousands of graduate and business schools worldwide, and it is typically taken by students who want to pursue advanced degrees in fields such as engineering, natural sciences, social sciences, humanities, or business.
Why is the GRE important?
The GRE is important for several reasons. Firstly, it serves as a benchmark to compare your skills with those of other students who apply to the same programs as you. Secondly, it can enhance your chances of getting admitted to a prestigious school or program, as many top-ranked institutions use GRE scores as one of their admission criteria. Thirdly, it can help you qualify for scholarships, fellowships, or other types of financial aid that are based on academic merit. Finally, it can boost your confidence and motivation by showing you that you can excel at a challenging and competitive task.
GRE exam sections and scoring
The GRE consists of three main sections:
- Verbal Reasoning (60 minutes, 40 questions)
- Quantitative Reasoning (70 minutes, 40 questions)
- Analytical Writing (2 essays, 60 minutes)
The Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning sections are computer-based, adaptive tests, meaning that the level of difficulty of the questions adapts to your performance. The Analytical Writing section is composed of two tasks: an Issue task, where you have to present your opinion on a given topic, and an Argument task, where you have to critique a given argument. Your essays are graded by trained raters on a scale of 0 to 6, in half-point increments. The Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning sections are scored on a scale of 130 to 170, in 1-point increments. There is no passing or failing score for the GRE, but you should aim for a score that matches or exceeds the requirements of your target institutions.
How to Choose the Right GRE Book
Assessing your current skill level
Before you start looking for GRE books, you should assess your current skill level in the three sections of the exam. You can take a diagnostic test, either online or in a book, to get a rough estimate of your score range. You should also identify your strengths and weaknesses within each section, by analyzing your errors and techniques. For example, you may be strong in vocabulary but weak in grammar, or strong in algebra but weak in geometry. Knowing your areas of improvement will help you choose books that target your specific needs.
Identifying your learning style
Another factor to consider when choosing GRE books is your learning style. Some students learn better by reading, some by listening, and some by doing. You may prefer books that explain concepts in-depth, with examples and explanations, or you may prefer books that present questions and answers directly, without much context. You may also prefer books that offer interactive features, such as online quizzes, video tutorials, or feedback loops. Choosing books that match your learning style will help you stay engaged and motivated throughout your study process.
Top GRE Books
The Official Guide to the GRE General Test
The Official Guide to the GRE General Test is the most comprehensive and authoritative GRE book, as it is written by the same organization that designs and administers the exam. The book contains hundreds of real GRE questions, with detailed explanations and strategies, as well as four full-length practice tests, with answers and score reports. The book covers all the topics and formats of the GRE, including the latest enhancements, such as on-screen calculators and section-level adaptive testing. The book also includes a bonus eBook with access to online content, such as videos, interactive tools, and additional practice questions. The Official Guide is a must-have book for any serious GRE candidate, and it offers excellent value for its price.
Manhattan Prep’s 5 lb. Book of GRE Practice Problems
The 5 lb. Book of GRE Practice Problems is a massive collection of practice questions, organized by topic and difficulty level, that covers all the areas of the GRE, including verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, data interpretation, and analytical writing. The book contains over 1,800 practice questions, with detailed explanations and tips, as well as six full-length practice tests, with timed and untimed options, to help you simulate the real exam. The book is also available in digital format, with interactive features and additional resources, such as flashcards and online forums. The 5 lb. Book is a great supplement to any other GRE book, and it helps you hone your skills and speed.
Kaplan’s GRE Prep Plus
GRE Prep Plus is a comprehensive GRE book that combines content review, practice questions, and test-taking strategies in one package. The book covers the basics of the GRE, such as math formulas, vocabulary lists, and grammar rules, and also offers targeted practice sets, with advanced questions that challenge even high-performing students. The book comes with five full-length practice tests, with detailed explanations and score reports, as well as online quizzes, and a mobile app, that let you practice on the go. The book also includes a section on the GRE essay, with sample responses and feedback. GRE Prep Plus is a popular and effective book, that suits students who want a self-paced and flexible study approach.
Princeton Review’s Cracking the GRE
Cracking the GRE is a lively and witty GRE book, that focuses on teaching you the tricks and traps of the exam, rather than overwhelming you with content. The book offers a step-by-step approach to each question type, with examples and strategies that help you identify and avoid common mistakes. The book also includes drills and quizzes, with targeted feedback, and six full-length practice tests, with answer explanations and score charts. The book is also available in audio format, with engaging narrators and sound effects, that make your study time more fun. Cracking the GRE is a good choice for students who want a relaxed and entertaining study experience, without sacrificing quality.
Magoosh’s GRE Prep
GRE Prep by Magoosh is a digital GRE book, that offers a complete online course, with over 200 video lessons, that cover all the topics and strategies of the GRE, in a clear and concise way. The course also includes a customizable study plan, that adapts to your needs and pace, and a dashboard, that tracks your progress and motivates you to keep going. The course features over 1,000 practice questions, with explanations and hints, as well as three full-length practice tests, that simulate the actual exam. GRE Prep by Magoosh is a popular and innovative GRE book, that suits students who prefer an online and interactive learning experience.
Barron’s GRE is a classic GRE book, that has been helping students prepare for the exam for decades. The book covers all the sections of the GRE, with abundant practice questions and exercises, that reinforce your knowledge and skills. The book also features a review of basic math concepts, grammar rules, and vocabulary words, that are essential for the GRE. The book comes with two full-length practice tests, with answers and explanations, as well as online access to additional practice quizzes and flashcards. Barron’s GRE is a trusted and affordable GRE book, that suits students who want a traditional and reliable study resource.
ETS’s GRE Power Vocab
GRE Power Vocab is a vocabulary book, that focuses exclusively on the most common and challenging words that appear on the GRE. The book contains over 800 words, with definitions, synonyms, antonyms, and examples, that help you master the nuances and usages of English vocabulary. The book also includes quizzes and flashcards, that allow you to test your memory and recall of the words. GRE Power Vocab is an effective and efficient GRE book, that suits students who want to boost their vocabulary skills in a targeted and focused way.
McGraw-Hill Education’s Conquering the GRE Math
Conquering the GRE Math is a math-oriented GRE book, that helps you tackle the quantitative reasoning section of the exam, with confidence and accuracy. The book covers all the math topics that appear on the GRE, such as algebra, geometry, trigonometry, statistics, and probability, and also offers strategies and tips, that show you how to approach and solve different types of math problems. The book contains over 500 practice questions, with answers and explanations, as well as four full-length practice tests, that allow you to gauge your progress and readiness. Conquering the GRE Math is a recommended GRE book, that suits students who need to improve their math skills for the exam.
Nova’s GRE Math Prep Course
GRE Math Prep Course by Nova is a comprehensive math-focused GRE book, that offers a complete course in GRE math, from basic concepts to advanced techniques. The book features over 500 pages of review materials, that explain in detail the most common and challenging math topics that appear on the GRE, such as functions, graphs, matrices, and geometry. The book also includes over 1,200 practice problems, with step-by-step solutions and concept reviews, as well as six full-length practice tests, with explanations and score analysis. The book is designed to be self-paced and self-directed, and can be used by students of all levels and backgrounds. GRE Math Prep Course is a valuable and thorough GRE book, that helps you master the math section of the exam.
GRE Vocabulary Flashcards by Kaplan
Vocabulary Flashcards by Kaplan is a fun and engaging way to learn and memorize the most important and challenging words that appear on the GRE. The flashcards are organized by level of difficulty, and feature over 500 words, with definitions, synonyms, and example sentences, that allow you to practice and remember the words in context. The flashcards also include online access to quizlets, that let you hone your vocabulary skills further, and track your progress. Vocabulary Flashcards by Kaplan is a handy and portable GRE book, that suits students who want to supplement their vocabulary skills on the go.
In conclusion, preparing for the GRE exam requires dedication, diligence, and the right study materials. By using the best GRE books we have listed in this article, you can maximize your chances of acing the exam, and achieving your academic and professional goals. Whether you prefer books that offer comprehensive content review, targeted practice questions, interactive features, or engaging tutorials, there is a GRE book that suits your needs and preferences. We hope that this article has helped you select the best GRE books for your study strategy, and wish you the best of luck in your GRE journey!
What does GRE stand for?
GRE stands for Graduate Record Examinations.
What is GRE?
Graduate record examinations are standardized tests that are frequently required in order to earn a place in a graduate school or business school.
Is the GRE hard?
GRE is one of the hardest tests that is aimed at highlighting the higher bracket of graduates.
What are the best GRE books?
GRE Prep by Magoosh, GRE Prep 2022, The Official Guide to the GRE General Test, and Official GRE Quantitative Reasoning Practice Questions are all good books to invest in if you’re looking for advice or practice books.