The Best GRE Prep Books of 2021

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Are you looking to continue your education past your undergrad? Have you decided to attend graduate school? If you answered yes to either of these questions, you’d want to know more about the Graduate Record Exam.

The GRE is a test you’ll need to take to get into the right graduate school, and it can be intimidating to take. The timed test and difficult questions will require you to study your pants off to earn competitive grades. Luckily, we have a comprehensive guide for you!

We have compiled a list of the best GRE prep books you can use to help achieve the score you want on the tests. Be it verbal, quantitative, or analytical sides of the exam. Our list will narrow your search for the best guide available.

There are many guides out there you could use. You could look up “best GRE prep book Reddit” or “best books for GRE preparation Quora” and find a few surface-level answers. These searches might provide you with useful pdfs but lack in-depth discussions about the GRE prep books they list. Our list will show you the best books you can invest your study time into, how to choose the book that’s right for you, and why each book is worth studying from.

If you want to just get back to studying, get our top choice for GRE prep books here
Our Top Favorite
The Official Guide to the GRE General Test
Our Top Runner Up
GRE Prep by Magoosh
Book Title
The Official Guide to the GRE General Test 3rd edition
GRE Prep
Prime Eligible?
Our Top Favorite
The Official Guide to the GRE General Test
Book Title
The Official Guide to the GRE General Test 3rd edition
Prime Eligible?
Our Top Runner Up
GRE Prep by Magoosh
Book Title
GRE Prep
Prime Eligible?

Last update: 2021-07-28

Our Favorites for Best GRE Prep Books:

We’ve found that these are the best GRE verbal prep books. They touch upon other subjects, such as quantitative and analytical reasoning, but their verbal is strong.

The Official Guide to the GRE General Test 3rd edition by Educational Testing Service

The GRE is written by the Educational Testing Service (ETS), and they have an extensive resource library to help those looking to take the test. Their questions in the practice test are unparalleled by the others in the market. ETS’s Official Guide to the GRE General Test is a must-have for recently graduated undergrads or those looking to go back to college years later.

What Makes It Unique:

  • The Official Guide to the GRE General Test is unique to the others because it is written by those who write the official test. This means their practice problems are close to what you’ll see on the actual GRE. If you’re looking for a realistic test, this book is for you!
  • The practice tests provide you with valuable insights into the answers. They detail what you did right, wrong, and everything in-between.
  • ETS provides good strategies to approach quantitative questions during an exam. Their answer key shows the best method to solve a problem, simplifying the study process.

Why Choose this GRE Prep Book:

  • This book is useful as a starting point, primarily when used for the questions.
  • The book does cover quantitative reasoning, but these sections are left lacking in thoroughness. If your weak point is quant, you’ll want supplemental instructions.
  • This book’s cost is about average, but there is an option of buying a more massive bundle called The Official GRE Super Power Pack that includes separate verbal and quant books. However, you’d do fine just getting The Official Guide to the GRE General Test alone and use the material found online.
On Sale
The Official Guide to the GRE General Test
  • McGraw-Hill Education
  • Educational Testing Service (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Last update: 2021-07-28


5 lb. Book of GRE Practice Problems: 1,800+ Practice Problems in Book and Online (Manhattan Prep 5 lb. Series) by Manhattan Prep

Be careful not to drop this five-pound tome, as it is an incredible tool to help you prepare for the GRE. This affordable book by Manhattan Prep is the perfect guide to better your chances of acing the GRE. It covers all areas of the GRE from concepts to question types, and you won’t be disappointed in choosing this book as a study guide.

What Makes It Unique:

  • This book’s size allows it to be cover many concepts through the use of practice problems.
  • It might not be the best verbal prep book, it covers the quantitative section in-depth, devoting about half of its pages to mathematical questions.
  • The book offers thorough explanations of the quantitative concepts you’ll need to know. Within these explanations, Manhattan Prep provides alternative methods to answer questions so that you can expand your mathematical toolkit.
  • New copies include valuable online resources so you can get one of the best GRE prep books 2019 pdfs.

Why Choose this GRE Prep Book:

  • The 5 lb Book of GRE Practice Problems is more of a compendium of practice problems and less of a sourcebook. You’ll want to use this book in addition to other materials to study for the exam. This book is for those who are already familiar with the GRE; it is not an introductory book.
  • The book has nicely divided sections so you can target trouble areas. It has a primary focus on the quantitative sections, so if you struggle with math, this book can help you.
On Sale
5 lb. Book of GRE Practice Problems: 1,800+ Practice Problems in Book and Online (Manhattan Prep 5 lb)
  • Book - 5 lb. Book of gre practice problems: 1, 800+ practice problems in book and online (manhattan prep 5 lb series (2019 edition))
  • Language: english
  • Binding: paperback

Last update: 2021-07-28


Runners Up for Best GRE Prep Books:

The runners up on our list are useful for studying for the GRE. Both Magoosh and Kaplan are big contenders for the best GRE prep book.

GRE Prep by Magoosh.

Magoosh prepares a powerhouse in the GRE prep world. They make some of the best GRE prep materials, online and in print. Between their free apps and print material, you won’t go wrong, selecting anything by Magoosh to prepare for the GRE.

What Makes It Unique:

  • Magoosh’s GRE Prep is thorough and covers the verbal, quant, and analytical sections of the GRE clearly and concisely.
  • The material is approachable to those of all skill levels. Whether you just finished your undergrad or took a few years off, this book helps you understand what will be on the test.
  • The pacing of the material is methodical, especially in the quant sections. GRE Prep builds upon its lessons, so you aren’t left behind.

Why Choose this GRE Prep Book:

  • Magoosh is a reliable source of GRE study material. Many who use Magoosh’s products, such as this book or apps, claim that they are comparable to the content put forth by ETS.
  • This book has competitive pricing, and you get a lot of value for what you pay!
  • Using the physical book here with the online vocabulary lists and tests provide excellent preparation for the GRE.
On Sale
GRE Prep by Magoosh
  • Magoosh (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 468 Pages - 01/10/2017 (Publication Date) - RTC Publishing (Publisher)

Last update: 2021-07-28


GRE Prep Plus 2020: 6 Practice Tests + Proven Strategies + Online + Video + Mobile (Kaplan Test Prep) by Kaplan Test Prep

The Kaplan GRE Prep Plus combines study material in physical and online forms with this neat package. It helps those who know little about the GRE and provides an excellent introductory experience to the testing process.

What Makes It Unique:

  • The practice tests in the GRE Prep Plus 2020 offer good, but not great questions. The problems on the practice tests, online or in the book, are typically more relaxed than what you’ll find on a real exam.
  • Kaplan Test Prep excels at providing practical testing skills and strategies so that the GRE won’t overwhelm you when you take your seat at the testing center. The diagnostic test helps you figure out where you stand in terms of testing ability.
  • An interesting studying strategy in the writing selections of the book is how they teach you to self-grade. Learning introspection can help you catch mistakes when you’re on the writing portion of the GRE.

Why Choose this GRE Prep Book:

  • The GRE Prep Plus 2020 provides a lot of material to study from. However, you can find some of the same information online for free, without the purchase of the book.
  • Kaplan offers online support that can help explain stuff you don’t understand, even after going through the book.
  • The book can be a bit wordy, but overall, all the items you receive are user-friendly.
On Sale
GRE Prep Plus 2020: Practice Tests + Proven Strategies + Online + Video + Mobile (Kaplan Test Prep)
  • Kaplan Test Prep (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 708 Pages - 06/01/2019 (Publication Date) - Kaplan Publishing (Publisher)

Last update: 2021-07-28


Value Picks for Best GRE Prep Books:

If money causes an issue with studying for the GRE, there are plenty of free online resources to view. However, if you prefer a physical copy of a book, the Princeton Review has an option you can use, but don’t discount the previous entries on this list!

by The Princeton Review

The Princeton Review’s Cracking the GRE Premium Edition stands out because it’s focused on the written portion of the GRE. When compared to Kaplan, Manhattan, or even ETS, The Princeton Review gives solid advice on how to better your analytical abilities.

What Makes It Unique:

  • Cracking the GRE provides effective ways of approaching the critical thinking/analysis portion of the GRE.
  • In addition to the practice tests, there are small quizzes in each section to help you get a better feel for where you’re at in the study process.

Why Choose this GRE Prep Book:

  • This book is cheaper than other GRE test material, but not by much. If you are tight on cash, then this book could fit into your budget.
  • This book lacks depth in the quantitative sections, so you would need other materials to supplement this portion of the GRE.

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How to Pick the Best GRE Prep Books for You?

If you’ve gotten this far, you’re probably wondering which GRE prep book you should rely on.

Many factors go into choosing the right GRE prep book. What book provides the best questions? What book effectively covers quantitative concepts? What am I buying, and why should I buy it?

This section will ask you questions to make you think about what the GRE prep book is best for you. Use these questions when approaching study material beyond what is listed here on “The Best GRE Prep Books.”

What is your plan for taking the GRE?

So, you’ve decided to take the GRE, how do you plan to ace it? You can take classes, hire a private tutor, you can ask others how they prepared for it. Depending on how you’re going to study will entail whether you need to buy a prep book altogether!

If you’re taking a course on the GRE, your instructor might suggest a prep book, and that’s fine. Listen to your teacher; they are recommending the book for a reason.

How good are you at taking exams?

Test anxiety is a real challenge students face in their education. By now, you’ve likely taken many tests throughout your education and have a grasp on how well you do on them.

Many GRE books provide strategies to mitigate fear and prepare you for taking a standardized test.

For example, let’s take Kaplan vs. ETS GRE prep. You’ve narrowed it down to these two publishers. ETS writes the questions for the GRE, so their questions are excellent.

Kaplan has questions, but they make up for it with effective test-taking strategies.

If you struggled with test anxiety, Kaplan might be your better prep in a Kaplan vs. ETS showdown.

What areas do you struggle with the most?

Some people struggle with reading comprehension, other mathematics. Nobody is the best at everything.

If you know what your strengths and weaknesses are, you can better select a GRE prep book.

Manhattan Prep’s quantitative sections are excellent. The Princeton Review has useful parts on writing.

Wrapping Up the Best GRE Prep Books

Wrapping everything up, here are the best GRE prep books we went over today:

Our Top Favorite
The Official Guide to the GRE General Test
Our Top Runner Up
GRE Prep by Magoosh
Book Title
The Official Guide to the GRE General Test 3rd edition
GRE Prep
Prime Eligible?
Our Top Favorite
The Official Guide to the GRE General Test
Book Title
The Official Guide to the GRE General Test 3rd edition
Prime Eligible?
Our Top Runner Up
GRE Prep by Magoosh
Book Title
GRE Prep
Prime Eligible?

Last update: 2021-07-28

The GRE is a challenging exam, and you’ll need to study consistently to do well. Our list of the best GRE prep books has some of the best guides to aid you in your studying.

If you are looking for realistic practice questions, you can’t go wrong with ETS’s Official Guide to the GRE General Test. They are the ones who write the GRE, so you might want to check them out. If you’re looking for a quantity of questions, use Manhattan Prep’s 5 lb. Book of GRE Practice Problems.

Choosing what book to use to study is a decision left to you. While our list provides some great resources, you must decide for yourself what book is right for you.

In addition to our suggestions, look for online resources, such as ETS’s website. You might find some useful pdfs or flashcards to help study.

There is a world of information out there. Hopefully, this guide helped narrow down your choices.

Looking for more help on your entrance exams? Check out our other entrance exam guides here.

Professor Conquer
Professor Conquer

Professor Conquer started Conquer Your Exam in 2018 to help students feel more confident and better prepared for their tough tests. Prof excelled in high school, graduating top of his class and receiving admissions into several Ivy League and top 15 schools. He has helped many students through the years tutoring and mentoring K-12, consulting seniors through the college admissions process, and writing extensive how-to guides for school.

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