Best GRE Prep Books
The Princeton Review
GRE Prep Plus 2020
5lb. Book of GRE Practice Problems
GRE Prep by Magoosh
Cracking the GRE Premium 2020 Edition
Official GRE Super Power Pack
By the Numbers
3rd Edition, 2019
3rd Edition, 2018
1st Edition, 2017
1st Edition, 2019
2nd Edition, 2017
22nd Edition, 2017
Amazon Best-Seller Rank
Practice Questions – 1,700
Full GRE Tests – 6
(1 in book and 5 online)
Practice Questions – 2,000+
Full GRE Tests –0
Practice Questions – 130+
Full GRE Tests – 1
Practice Questions - 0
Full GRE Tests – 6
(2 in book and 4 online)
Practice Questions – 600
Full GRE Tests – 4
(2 in book and 2 online)
Practice Questions - 0
Full GRE Tests – 4
(2 in book and 2 online)
Online Prep Course
20% off coupon
$100 discount offer
GRE Tips & Lessons
Other GRE Prep Books
Access to online customizable Qbank, and expert video lessons
Six months of access to the first 15 lessons of online prep
Tips and Problem Explanations
Online access to video content
Tests are real exams from the GRE test-makers
Great for building a base
Your journey to crushing the GRE and getting into your dream college begins with GRE prep. Finding the best GRE prep book is a great way to begin. However, searching for the perfect prep guide can be daunting and time-consuming so, let us help! We have personally researched and reviewed the top GRE prep books on the market so you can get started on your path to GRE stardom.
What makes a good GRE prep book?
How do you know which GRE prep book is right for you? The best study guides will show you a clear path to success, offers tips and strategies, give you plenty of practice, and ultimately—help you crush the GRE! Here are some important factors you should consider before buying.
- Does it have practice questions that are like the ones I’ll find on the actual exam?
- Does it have clear, solid, and understandable advice on how to navigate the test?
- Does it come with full-length tests that simulate “test day?”
- Does it cover all areas of the GRE?
- Do I get access to additional resources like online access?
You can use our research of the six best GRE prep books to help you make your choice. We based our rankings on factors that make GRE prep book priceless companions in your GRE prep. In the end, Kaplan’s GRE Prep Plus 2020 seems to be the best overall product, but depending on how you learn, you may end up choosing a book that works best for you. Kaplan’s book offers a large number of practice questions and tests, and offers access to some of Kaplan’s excellent online content like their customizable questions bank and expert video lessons.
The Best Prep Books for GRE at a Glance
GRE Prep by Magoosh
Magoosh has been in the test prep game since 2011 and has helped millions of students achieve success on the GRE or improve their test scores. They are known for the online GRE course, but have taken those strategies and put them into their book GRE Prep by Magoosh. Magoosh won’t try to impress you with fancy or complicated language. They use simple terms that let you easily understand the concepts. You won’t get many practice tests, but you will get tips and strategies to tackle any part of the GRE.
- In-depth and concise explanations to practice problems
- Sample prompts for the analytical writing section
- Easy to understand language
- Useful tips and strategies from expert test-takers
- Limited practice tests
- Better used as a companion to their online prep course
Manhattan Prep – 5lb. Book of GRE Practice Problems
Manhattan Prep was founded in 2000 by a former New York public school teacher and offers a wide variety of prep services, including online prep and high-quality study guides. Manhattan Prep’s best-selling 5lb. Book of GRE Practice Problems is a steal at $20 and will help you ace the GRE, especially if you need math help. The guide offers the most practice questions of any book on the market, and the questions are good quality. Questions are grouped per topic, so you can focus on a specific subject without having to hunt for it. You can work smarter, not harder. The book has tons of practice problems and allows you free access to many of the lessons offered in their online GRE course.
- Great quantitative reasoning section
- Best-selling prep book
- Lots of practice and online access to many more questions
- Organized to target your weaker areas
- Verbal section lacks content and testing
- Intimidating size
Kaplan – GRE Prep Plus 2020
Kaplan has been a trusted name in test prep for decades and offers a wide variety of options, from several customizable online courses to their comprehensive GRE books. You’ll get plenty of content and practice tests with Kaplan’s GRE Prep Plus 2020 as well as study tips from their expert test-takers. You also get access to online resources that includes a personalized study plan that changes as you progress through the online practice tests. The practice questions include comprehensive explanations. Kaplan offers a money-back guarantee that will improve your score.
- Access to Kaplan’s online course features like the Qbank
- Option to experience “test day” at a Kaplan Test Center
- Most comprehensive GRE book
- Higher score guarantee
- Weaker math section
- Lacks focus on concepts
ETS – Official GRE Super Power Pack
The Educational Testing Service (ETS) is known for one thing—actual tests! ETS is the maker of the GRE, and if you want exact practice tests from past exams, then you should buy the Official GRE Super Power Pack. This book will prepare you best for the actual GRE by offering the most reliable and accurate practice questions out there. This collection includes guides to the General Test as well as Volume 1 of both the GRE Verbal Reasoning and GRE Quantitative Reasoning books. You’ll also get tips on how to answer each type of question right from the test-makers themselves. If you want an just an overview of the general exam, check out The Official Guide to the GRE Revised General Test.
- Questions from actual GRE authors
- Strong AWA section
- Plenty of practice tests
- Access to GRE POWERPREP online practice tests
- Weak math section
- Not as comprehensive as competitors
The Princeton Review – Cracking the GRE Premium 2020 Edition
The Princeton Review is a top educational services company and offers a variety of online GRE courses and top-notch study guides. Cracking the GRE Premium 2020 Edition covers all three sections of the GRE and contains drills for each exam section. In the book, you’ll find two full practice tests with answers and explanations and access to four more tests online. This book even includes a guide on how to interpret your practice test results so you can predict how well you did. It also has an extensive list of vocabulary terms. This Premium Edition also gets you online info about grad school admissions, testing calendars, and financial aid.
- Access to online video lessons
- Strong brand reputation for educational services
- $100 off of their online course
- Great explanations for the math section
- Reading and math areas could be stronger
Barron’s – GRE
Barron’s has been around for more than 80 years and has helped students succeed on dozens of standardized tests. From the SAT to the GRE, Barron’s has got you covered. Barron’s GRE book creates a strong base for your GRE knowledge and gives you a good dose of test-taking strategies. The quantitative and verbal reasoning sections are strong and will prepare you to tackle the GRE. Barron’s is known for its practice questions that closely match the look and feel of real GRE questions, but some of the problems could be more difficult. You’ll get two full-length tests with answer keys as well as access to two more tests online, complete with answer explanations for each question.
- Strong vocabulary review
- Great GRE verbal and quantitative reasoning sections
- Helps formulate base for building on
- Look and feel of actual questions
- Practice questions not as strong as real GRE
- May need an additional prep book to crush the GRE
What is the Best GRE Pre Book?
Let’s review the features of the top six GRE prep books on the market, compare them to each other, and rank each of them overall.
What Should I Look for in a GRE book?
Full-Length Practice Tests
When it comes to acing the GRE, there is one rule—practice! So, you’ll want to buy a GRE book that has as many practice tests as possible. It’s okay if they are not all contained in your book, most GRE books get you access to plenty of online tests. The more exams you take, the better you’ll know the material and improve your test-taking strategies for test day.
GRE books with the most full-length practice tests were ranked higher in our review. It’s no big surprise that The Princeton Review and Kaplan topped the charts with six full-length exams (in the book and online). ETS and Barron’s offered four exams while Magoosh included just one exam with their book. Manhattan Prep’s book did not include any full-length tests.
Top Pick: Kaplan’s GRE Prep Plus 2020
The number and quality of questions have a big impact on how well you are prepared for the GRE—the more, the better! However, the number of questions can’t be the only factor. It is important that the practice questions are at least as hard as the real GRE, follow the same pattern, and have adaptive scoring.
Manhattan Prep’s 5lb. Book of GRE Practice Problems has more than 2,000 questions and includes answer explanations to help you learn the material. Barron’s doesn’t offer practice problems but makes up for it in their full-length tests. The Princeton Review book does not include problems in their book but does offer a companion book with tons of practice problems.
Top Pick: Manhattan Prep’s 5lb. Book of GRE Practice Problems
You can take loads of practice tests and answer hundreds of questions, but if you don’t have a good strategy for taking the GRE, it may all be a waste of time. Advice on the GRE that you can actually use means a lot, especially if your test-taking skills are lacking or just need to be fine-tuned. The best GRE books will offer strategies tailored to your learning style and study habits. These tips and tricks to the GRE must include general hints (timing, dealing with stress, guessing) as well as subject-specific advice to strengthen weaker areas.
Magoosh leads the way with its test-taking advice and offers practical guides for studying. They help you manage all of the things that come into play when you finally sit down and take the GRE. Kaplan comes in a close second with access to their online study plans and free resources.
Top Pick: GRE Prep by Magoosh
Comprehensive Answer Explanations
It doesn’t matter how many questions are included; the book is worthless if it doesn’t explain the answer in terms that you get. The best GRE books will have detailed, easy to understand answer explanations to each question. A book gets bonus points if they also include tricks and tips to solve them. This helps you develop skills that are useful across all areas of the exam.
Again, Magoosh is a great book for those who want to see the explanations in detailed, easy to understand language. Kaplan and the Princeton review also have really good explanations and offer access to online resources to explain answers to the problems further.
Top Pick: GRE Prep by Magoosh
All of the best GRE books we reviewed have a long list of great features. So, how do they get you to bite? Any time a book can come up with something that makes them stand out, the more students they will have clicking “buy now” on their computer or phone. So, what can a GRE test prep book offer that gives them the edge?
- Kaplan’s GRE Prep Plus 2020 offers access to its premium online content like its customizable Qbank.
- Manhattan Prep’s 5lb. Book of GRE Practice Problems offers the most questions and access to 15 of their online lessons.
- GRE Prep by Magoosh offers great tips and strategies as well as the best explanations for the problems.
- The Princeton Review’s Cracking the GRE Premium 2020 Edition gives you access to their video lessons to supplement their print content.
- ETS’s Official GRE Super Power Pack offers test questions created by the authors of the GRE.
- Barron’s GRE is a great choice for building a solid base of knowledge.
Top Overall Pick: Kaplan’s GRE Prep Plus 2020
Buy Kaplan’s GRE Prep Plus 2020 if:
- you want access to tons of online practice questions.
- you want to experience what it feels like to actually sit for the GRE.
- you want a guarantee of a higher score.
Buy Manhattan Prep’s 5lb. Book of GRE Practice Problems if:
- you want to get the most questions in any of the top GRE prep books
- you want one of the best selling GRE prep books.
- you want to beef up your quantitative skills.
Buy GRE Prep by Magoosh:
- you want the best explanations to the problems.
- you want lots of tips and test-taking strategies.
- you want a GRE book that’s easy to understand.
Buy Princeton Review’s Cracking the GRE Premium 2020 Edition if:
- you want a prep book from one of the most trusted names in test prep.
- you want access to lots of its online content.
- you want access to many full-length practice tests
Buy ETS’s Official GRE Super Power Pack if:
- you want to practice using questions from the GRE test-makers.
- you want plenty of practice tests.
- you want lots of content for the math and verbal reasoning sections.
Buy Barron’s GRE if:
- you want a book with strong vocabulary help.
- you want to take practice tests that look and feel like actual questions.
- you need to build a strong base for your weak areas.