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Best GRE Books vs Worst GRE Books


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Best GRE Books vs Worst GRE Books 


There are numerous resources available – both online and in bookstores – for GRE preparation. This plethora of choices often end up leaving test-takers confused as to which book should they select for their preparation. To make this choice easier for test-takers, Scholar Den offers detailed reviews of popular preparatory resources to help test-takers make an informed decision.


The Best Books


1. The 8 Manhattan guides by Manhattan Prep


The set of 8 guides includes six guides for quantitative and two guides for verbal. This is the best resource to hone both your quantitative and verbal skills since it provides a comprehensive description of each test section, loads of practice questions along with effective strategies for approaching questions. The practice problems at the end of each topic are comprehensive and provide an in-depth explanation to answers. Test-takers are strongly recommended to begin their preparation from these eight guides.


2. Manhattan 5 lb


Once you have completed the Manhattan guides, use the 5 lb book to bring the skills and strategies learned into practice. It comprises of very thorough, step-by-step answer explanations to help you decide exactly how to arrive at the correct choice. From this book, focus more on the quantitative sections (especially probability, statistics, and word problems) than on the verbal sections since the verbal section is not reflective of the questions and vocabulary you are likely to encounter in the real GRE test.


3. The Official ETS Guide


Made by the test makers themselves, this source is the most reliable of all sources! The practice questions in these guides come closest to the actual GRE test. The practice tests at the end of each guide must NOT be missed under any circumstances!


4. Barrons GRE Guide


Although the guide provides numerous questions for practice, they do not reflect the difficulty level expected in the real test. The guide is recommended for quantitative practice, but NOT for verbal practice.


5. Magoosh Online Paid account (accessible through subscription)


Magoosh is a leading global firm specializing in GRE preparation. The Magoosh subscription comprises of online video tutorials and answers explanations for both verbal and quantitative sections of GRE. In addition to online videos, it has more than 1000 practice questions and comprehensive explanations encompassing all GRE. These videos will serve as an excellent tool to enhance your skills. If you can afford 119$ for 6 months period, we would highly recommend you to purchase its subscription; however, if you need a discount code, please contact us!


6. Magoosh Vocab Flashcards


Test-takers find learning and retaining vocabulary one of the most intimidating aspects of GRE preparation. Thanks to the Magoosh flashcards, this unnerving task has been made easier! These flashcards offer an excellent selection of words ranging from a variety of disciplines. Each flashcard focuses on one vocabulary word, offers its definition, and then provides an example sentence to help test-takers retain the meaning of the word.  Thorough memorization of the Common and Basic level flashcard sets would suffice to cover 90-95% of the vocabulary portion of the actual test.


7. GRE Big Book by ETS


The GRE Big Book consists of innumerable practice questions for verbal and quantitative sections. However, a word of caution: The questions in this book are based on the old GRE pattern (prior to 2011), and their difficulty is not reflective of the current GRE pattern. Therefore, this book is NOT recommended as a primary resource of preparation; it should only be used after all other resources have been exhausted.


In addition to the aforementioned material, do not forget to take these 12 mock tests before your test date if you receive a score of 320+ in your actual test:



  • ETS Power Prep II = 2 Mocks (FREE) – A+ Rating

  • ETS Paper Based Test (ETS book) = 2 Mocks – A+ Rating

  • Manhattan = 6 Mocks – A Rating

  • Barron’s = 6 Mocks – A Rating

  • Kaplan = 6 Mocks (FREE) – B+ Rating


Check FREE Mocks Document on GRE Main Page, you can access 10 mocks for free!


The Worst Books


The following books are not recommended due to the low quality of practice questions and strategies, which are not reflective of the real GRE test:



  • Nova’s GRE Prep Course Book and the Nova GRE Math Bible

  • 1,014 GRE Practice Questions, 3rd Edition by Princeton Review

  • Princeton Review – Cracking the GRE with 4 Practice Tests, 2014 Edition

  • Kaplan – GRE Premier 2015 with 6 Practice Tests

  • McGraw-Hill’s GRE 2014 Edition, McGraw-Hill’s Conquering the New GRE Math, McGraw-Hill’s Conquering the New GRE Verbal and Writing, McGraw-Hill’s 6 GRE Practice Tests


Please note all best books are available and uploaded on the GRE Google Drive (Read Pinned Post)! Studying from one or two books doesn’t help you score +315, you MUST use multiple sources to build your concepts and strategies. Please ensure that you have already taken GRE Diagnostic Test (full length exam without preparation to assess your strengths and weaknesses (Read Pinned Post – Section 2)) before you start studying! Good luck!