shradha rao
Updated 1 day, 6 hours ago

Best Books For GRE Verbal and Quant Test Prep 2019





Universities in the USA and a few other countries around the world rely on Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores as one of the factors for selecting students for their masters programs. Universities have a varied requirements for the GRE score. However, a good GRE score can definitely make that difference, and the students get to choose the university of their choice. And that's where GRE Test Prep comes in.

GRE test prep is quite tedious for the students (especially verbal); it usually overwhelms students and they get confused. Many students want to know the best GRE prep books which they can refer to for their GRE test prep. There are so many GRE books available, so here's a compilation of the books along with reviews I used for my GRE Verbal and Quant prep (includes few I didn't use as well). Hope this helps you choose the best study material for GRE.

 

List of important books for GRE Preparation:


1. ETS OFFICIAL GRE GUIDE (2nd Edition): ****1/2 stars

Tests: 
2 at the back of the book + 2 with CD/Powerprep software

How I got the book?
Friend gave me the ebook version. Did not have the CD. Downloaded Powerprep software on my laptop.

What’s GOOD: 
Official book published by the test makers!!! Thorough info about the test pattern, weightage of GRE in application process, why GRE pattern has changed, etc etc. Practice tests are, by far, the only ones which will give you a clue as to how much you can expect on the actual GRE exam. The tests at the back of the ETS book have through explanation (however, Powerprep Software doesn't provide the answers, I am not sure if the are there on the CD though). The questions in the book are segregated into “Easy”, “Medium” and “Difficult”. The questions are sophisticated and trick- giving you an overall feeling of the questions you can expect on your actual exam. Many other GRE prep books lack this element.

What’s BAD: 
No good strategies for GRE solving. Also, on closer examination of the book, 60% of the book is filled with answers/ explanations and other stuff. The practice content is a fraction of the total number of pages in the book. The book does not offer any “strategies” or “clues” or “how to approach these problem”, its mainly a repository of GRE questions.

Final Verdict:
BUY! BUY! BUY!!! A big must for all GRE mock test-takers as this is one of the best books for GRE prep. Also, supplement your practice with other GRE test prep material) for securing a good score. Do not rely on only this book for practice.

 

2. BARRONS NEW GRE (19TH EDITION): **** stars

Tests: 
2 in book + 2 on CD.

How I Got the book:
Borrowed from a friend (hardcopy)

What’s GOOD:
Diagnostic test available. This book provides sufficient and adequate practice. The CD provides 2 Model test which are respectable in difficulty-level.

What’s BAD:
No wordlist provided. (Kaplan and Princeton provide wordlists). Also the Math section is not segregated chapter-wise; rather they are segregated into “General Math Strategies” “Discreet Question Solving” “Quantitative Comparison Questions”, “Data Interpretation Questions” and “Mathematics Review”. Those who want TARGETTED Math practice will need to refer to other material (however, overall quality of questions in this book was good).

Final Verdict: 
Excellent book for GRE Verbal and GRE Quant practice. Content-wise, it is better than the Kaplan GRE book. This book provides adequate practice for GRE test-takers. Use all Barrons GRE tests for “early full-length test practice” (however, they are easier than ETS tests, so don’t be overconfident with a good score on these tests). As mentioned earlier, those who want to improve on specific areas of quant should purchase other good material for quant practice.

 

3. BARRONS VERBAL WORKBOOK ** stars

Test:
2 verbal tests (each has only two verbal sections)

How I got the book:
Purchased Online

What’s GOOD?:
GRE Good practice for Sentence Equivalence (SE) and Text Completion (TC) (NOTE: this should only be used after through and advanced GRE verbal prep). Those with strong verbal can gain confidence with this book. There are 50 practice questions for SE, 50 practice Questions for TC (1 blank), 50 practice Questions for TC (2 blanks) and 50 practice Questions for TC (3 blank). That’s a hell lot of practice!!

What’s BAD?:
Many will struggle with this book. Some questions are poorly worded and very ambiguous. RC is very, very BAD!!! All passages are 60-70 lines long (not al ALL representative of the actual GRE). Also the RCs are based on extremely vague, esoteric subjects. Even though I have praised the SE and TC sections, I must admit that some of them were too ambiguous and rely a lot of pre-supposed knowledge.

Final Verdict:
If you have limited time for prep DO NOT invest in this book. Avoid as much as possible. However, if you decide to purchase this book, rely only on the SE and TC sections. The RC practice is 100000 miles away from the ones you will get on the actual GRE exam.

 

4. BARRONS MATH WORKBOOK

Did not buy this book. Do not know anyone who did. Hence cannot review. Will be grateful if someone could do the same.

 

5. KAPLAN GRE PREMIER/ NEW GRE: Strategies, Practice and Review (*** stars)

Tests:
Two in books + access to 5 online MSTs + CD (with 10 practice tests- 10 quant and 10 verbal)

What’s GOOD:
Informative. The CD was also super easy to use and helped with practice questions/the computer format a lot! Verbal strategies are helpful and can be implemented during actual GRE exam. Kaplan has taken the trouble to do a good job in the RC department. Good list of vocabulary words - cover 90% of essential GRE words for verbal. Explanations are also given after the practice tests. CD offers 10 practice tests- good for solving while learning.

What’s BAD:
Not comprehensive. Math section is a bit rushed and elementary (The Kaplan Math Workbook is better in this area). Overall, not sufficient practice (I may be a bit judgmental here) Kaplan tests at the back of the book were moderate in difficulty

Final Verdict:
Satisfying. One of the best books to purchase since it offers good tips and strategies. The 10 practice tests are EASY but good for confidence-boosting and early practice. Do NOT rely only on Kaplan for GRE prep. The Kaplan online MST are HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

 

6. KAPLAN MATH WORK BOOK ** stars

Tests: 
No tests

How I got the book:
Friend gave me the ebook version.

What’s GOOD:
The Kaplan GRE Premier gives an overview of the Quant section. This book covers every topic in the quant syllabus. Each chapter is dedicated to a specific set of topics. All concepts to each section are properly explained and there are practice questions for every topic. This is a good book for those who are giving the GRE after a long gap in studies.

What’s BAD:
The questions were elementary and only those who are really bad at quant (130-140) will really appreciate this book.

Final Verdict:
Buy only if you are weak in GRE quant.


7. KAPLAN VERBAL WORKBOOK **1/2 stars

Tests: 
Don’t remember if there were any.

How I got the book:
Borrowed from a friend

What’s GOOD:
The book itself is mostly useful for having additional practice problems although it doesn't get too in depth regarding strategy. Most of the practice problems seemed moderate to slightly challenging level of difficulty. Good for ADDITION PRACTICE. However, the practice content was limited

What’s BAD:
60% of the book is devoted to wordlists (Kaplan GRE Premier also provides word lists) Hence practice content is limited.

Final Verdict: 
Not worth spending money on, especially for those with a strong verbal. If possible, borrow the book from someone.

 

 

8. CRACKING THE NEW GRE ***1/2

Test: 
2 at the back of the book + CD available

How I got the book?
Borrowed from a friend (hardcopy)

What’s GOOD: 
Extremely user-friendly and organized approach to the NEW GRE. Very good strategies for Verbal section. Hit Parade word lists are also A MUST for those struggling with Verbal. The TC and SE questions were a bit easy; the actual GRE SE and TC questions are more subtle. The best part of this book was the RCs. Princeton has provided through answers to the RCs (even explaining why the other options are wrong).

What’s BAD: 
Math section is not great, not similar to those one can expect on the actual GRE exam. The tests were rather easy. I havent used the CD, so cant comment about that.

Final Verdict:
This book plays down the difficulty of the actual GRE exam. However, beginner’s can benefit a lot from this book, however do not rely solely on this book for GRE prep. Do not take the 2 tests seriously but use them for early full-length test practice. If you want a 165+ in both sections, you should invest in other, more advanced prep books.

 

9. 1014 QUESTIONS FOR THE NEW GRE **1/2stars

Tests: 
1 test at the back of the book

How I got the book:
Downloaded the ebook version.

What’s GOOD: 
Doesn’t waste pages providing strategies (the Princeton Workout for New GRE triumphs in this department). However, there the book is filled with problems. Each chapter has 4-7 Practice Drill, each containing 15 questions= 60-105 questions per chapter. Hence, good for additional practice.

What’s BAD:
This book has mistakes. Do not rely on this book for tips and concepts- its only for practice. The RCs are mediocre, at best. Questions are not representative of GRE difficulty. Since this book has mistakes, it looses some marks.

Final Verdict:
Use only for additional practice. However, this book has spelling mistakes and errors. So avoid if possible.

 

10. PRINCETON MATH WORKOUT FOR NEW GRE

Did not buy this book. Do not know anyone who did. Hence cannot review. Will be grateful if someone could do the same.

 

11. VERBAL WORKOUT FOR NEW GRE **** stars

Tests: 
No Full-length quant test. However, Mixed Drill exercises are present.

How I got the book:
Bought second-hand copy.

What’s GOOD: 
This is a very well written book. The strategies for reading comprehension, sentence equivalence and fill-in-the-blanks are useful. This book is the right balance of everything. EXCELLENT Verbal strategies. LOT OF PRACTCE exercises and Question, with in-depth explanations. One thing commendable about this book- it doesn’t provide only Strategies followed by Practice Questions. There are exercises on how to “full in the blanks without seeing the options” and “fill in the blanks without options” exercises- good for strengthening GRE Verbal scores.

What’s BAD: 
No tests. However, little else to complain about.

Final Verdict: 
Good book for those who want to improve their verbal. Adequate practice. Not a must to by though

 

12. NOVA GRE PREP COURSE *** stars

Tests: 
No test. However, Math Diagnostic Test was there.

How I got the book:
Bought second-hand copy.

What’s GOOD: 
Hundreds of questions available!!!!

What’s BAD:
No book for Revised GRE pattern- this book based on old GRE pattern. Antonyms and analogies are no longer on the new GRE. For fun, you can go through them as vocabulary builders. However, you do not have to learn the strategy behind them. Quant review is similar to that available in NOVA GRE MATH BIBLE. RCs are adequate in difficulty. Do not read the introduction to GRE section- it is based on old GRE pattern. No CD available.

Final Verdict: Use for secondary practice. Since it does not follow the revised GRE pattern, use only after all other GRE prep material is exhausted. Still recommended even if it is out-dated. . However, buy second-hand version if possible. Since it does not follow revised GRE pattern, lot of people may not want to use it after you have finished using it.

 

13. NOVA GRE MATH BIBLE *** stars

Tests: 
No test available.

How I got this book:
Bought second hand one.

What’s GOOD: 
Diagnostic/Review Test available. All chapters in GRE quant are covered in detail- concepts, strategies and practice exercises.

What’s BAD: 
Although there is not much difference between the Quant in New and Old GRE patterns, Numeric entry questions are not available here. Manhatt

Final Verdict: 
Good for those who want only quant practice. Even though it follows the Old GRE pattern, the shear volume of practice questions compensate. However, buy second-hand version if possible. Since it does not follow revised GRE pattern, lot of people may not want to use it after you have finished using it.

 

14. MANHATTAN (overall review) ***** stars

Additional perks: 
6 full length MST tests

How I got the books?: 
Purchased only 3 books (2 verbal books and one quant book: WORD PROBLEMS)

What’s GOOD: 
Practically everything!!!! Manhattan GRE books offer comprehensive information, excellent practice questions. The practice execises are segregated based on difficulty level. The actual GRE questions are a mixture of “Medium” and “Difficult”. The book on “Text Completion and Sentence Equivalance” was amazing- BEST STRATERGIES available in this book!!! BEST Book for Essay writing stratergies (I only referred to this book for GRE essay writing tips)

What NOT Good:
No tests at the back of the books. However the 6 MSTs should make up for them. Very little to complain about Manhattan books. Some of the verbal questions rely on obscure esoteric words (which you may not require for the actual GRE exam) . Hardcopies of these books are damn expensive (each hardcopy book is around Rs 1000, hence all 8 books will cost around Rs 8000!!!!). Ebook versions are cheaper.

Final Verdict:
Best test prep material you can find in the market. The 6 MST tests are the second-best (after the official ETS test) for actual full-length GRE tests. My suggestion: if you wish to purchase the books, please buy the ebook ones; otherwise, borrow from your friends. If you are confused with which books to buy, buy the “Sentence Equivalence and Text Completion” and “Reading Comprehension and Essay writing” ones.

 

15. MANHATTAN 5LB BOOK OF GRE PRACTICE QUESTIONS ****1/2 stars

Tests: 
Didn’t attempt them; so don’t remember how many there were.

Additional perks: 
Purchase of the book gives 65-month access to “Manhattan Difficult Problems Archive”

How I got this book:
I purchased the ebook version (and got the additional online content!!! Yay!!! )

What’s GOOD:
If you want 2000+ sums to solve, 5lb book provides it all. Math sections are given CHAPTER-WISE, each chapter providing close to hundrdreds of GRE-like problems. Many concepts that most prep books overlook—standard deviation, weighted averages, and combinatory—are given their own section replete with dozens of practice problems. In short- THROUGH QUANT Practice.

What’s BAD: 
Reading Comprehension (RC) passages were a mixed bag- some similar to GRE ones and others a bit too vague or random. Verbal was not as good as the quant

Final Verdict: 
Must buy for those who struggle with GRE Quant. If you buy this book, you won’t need to purchase another 5 GRE books. Verbal difficulty is average, hence don’t rely on this for Verbal practice. Manhattan’s massive 5 lb book will not hurt your score GRE, and in some cases, especially on the math section, it will definitely help your score.


Login to recommend
3 recommended

6000 views

NO COMMENTS YET



MORE FROM SHRADHA RAO

Application tips and Strategies: Part 1
on 29 July, 2014

Application tips and Strategies: Part 1
on 23 July, 2014

MORE INTERESTING READS

Best TOEFL Books With Reviews
Vineel Chandra

UNCC Spring 2019
Akash Jhawar

How I scored 170 in GRE Quant
Yocket Editorial Team