5 of the Best GRE Prep Books to Help You Ace the Test

gre-book-e1365566961180Applying for grad school? Here are five of the best GRE prep books to check out, as recommended by online tutor Marcus S...


As someone headed to grad school, you’ve likely been focusing on your major for the last couple of years or working in the real world for even longer. In either case, you probably need to freshen up your skills in one or more areas covered on the GRE. Finding a quality tutor is the best way to prepare for the test, but you should also spend time studying on your own. An experienced tutor will be able to help you with questions you have from any GRE prep book, but before you invest your money, your time, and your future in a study guide, make sure you choose from one of the best GRE prep books. Here are my recommendations:

1. The Official Guide to the GRE Revised General Test

The Official Guide to the GRE is published by ETS, the makers of the GRE, so it offers perks that no one else can match, including four real GRE practice tests. However, the creators of the GRE aren’t going to give you the best tips or tricks to hack their own test, so this book is ideally used in combination with one of the other test prep guides listed below. If you’re tight for cash, as many soon-to-be grad students are, you might consider using the free practice questions and study materials offered by ETS on their website, along with a top-notch tutor and another book.

2. Gruber’s Complete GRE Guide

Dr. Gary Gruber has spent his career tackling tests (when he wasn’t working on his Ph.D. in astrophysics — seriously!). In his Complete GRE Guide he shows you how to apply his Gruber Method of test-taking, which is a way of looking at each question with critical-thinking skills. The Gruber Guide is meant to help you on the entire GRE, but is known for its wisdom on quantitative questions. If math is your weakness, this is one of the best GRE prep books for you.

3. GRE For Dummies

You’re no dummy, but sometimes the GRE can make you feel like one. Some test prep creators think boring you to death is the way to approach an exam, but this book uses the Dummies series’ signature light-heartedness to keep you relaxed, alert, and dare we say, entertained, as you study. GRE for Dummies breaks down a complex test into bite-sized chunks of knowledge, which go down easy but add up to a healthy meal of test preparation.

4. Barron’s GRE

As one of the leaders in test prep, Barron’s offers practice questions as close as you can get to the real thing. Barron’s GRE also includes a CD with two full-length GRE practice tests, as well as access to tons of resources online, plus an iPad app for mobile studying.

5. 5 lb. Book of GRE Practice Problems

With 33 chapters, a vocabulary list appendix, and 1800 practice questions, you can see why this book weighs five pounds. You can also be sure there’s quality as well as quantity, because the 5 lb. Book of GRE Practice Problems is authored by Manhattan Prep. Among those 1800 questions, which is the most in any GRE prep book, you’ll find 200 that focus on the most difficult level of GRE questions. If you’re looking for a great score and not just a decent one, your mental exercise program should start with 5 lb. curls of this book.

Preparing for the Graduate Record Examinations isn’t like studying for a college exam. Similar to the SAT, the GRE is designed to test a wide range of abilities, not the knowledge of a specific subject, and you have to approach it in a certain way. But the GRE isn’t the SAT. You’re on your way to grad school, and the GRE is going to make sure you are serious about it. These books and an expert tutor will keep you on the right path. Good luck!

MarcusSMarcus S. tutors online in a variety of subjects. He has been trained and certified to teach classes and give individual tutoring to students in the SAT, GMAT, GRE, and LSAT for the Princeton Review. Learn more about Marcus here!



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1 reply
  1. GREGuide
    GREGuide says:

    Nice compilation of GRE Books. Almost all GRE aspirants use 5lb and OG. They are very effective for preparation


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