The GRE General Test is not an easy exam, and choosing a GRE prep book that fits your learning style is vital in preparing you to ace the 2022 GRE. We’ve listed down reviews of the best GRE prep books in 2022-23 on the market, along with a comparison table and a buying guide to help you make the right choice.
10 Best GRE Prep Book Reviews
1. Kaplan GRE Prep Plus 2022
The Kaplan Plus 2022 is the best for extensive practice. The over 1500 practice questions in the book coupled with the 500 online questions are more than enough if you are looking to study for a couple of months before your test.
Besides the impressive question bank, you will get a video explanation for some of the questions. The quality and clarity of the video improved interactivity for us, but it would be even better if the video offers more insight into the analytical writing section.
We looked through the 5 full-length mock tests and the 2 mini online tests, and they were very much relevant to the actual exam. But if you are expecting them to look exactly or almost the same as the actual GRE test, it may fall short of what you want.
Alongside the 5 online full-length tests and the 2 online mini-tests, Kaplan 2022 has 1 full-length test in the book. Going by this, Kaplan’s GRE prep offers more mock tests than the other options in our review. So, if you need multiple practice tests to feel confident about the real thing, you should check this out.
- It offers more practice questions than the other GRE prep books in this review.
- The online materials justify the cost of the book to a large extent.
- The contents are pretty immersive – great for a GRE journey that spans months.
- The online practice tests are relevant to the actual GRE test.
- The explanation video provides comprehensive answer explanations and is very interactive.
- Older editions had more online content.
- This could be better with more content in the analytical writing section.
2. Manhattan 5lb. Book GRE Practice Problems
The Manhattan prep is the best for people looking to ease into their GRE preparation. The practice questions are generally arranged in a way that allows you to encounter the simpler questions before the tougher ones. This way, you will not get discouraged from all the questions you might be unable to answer correctly at the start.
Like the Kaplan Plus, the Manhattan 5lb. Book has a huge question bank. You get over 1800 practice questions online and offline. It may not be as much as what Kaplan offers, but it should be enough to keep you busy for months.
The Manhattan 5lb. offers 6 online tests and 1 paper-based test, making a total of 7 practice tests – on par with the Kaplan’s GRE Prep.
Overall, the Manhattan is a good GRE prep book, but the logical-based reading comprehension is not as solid as we hoped.
- A comprehensive GRE prep book with over 1800 questions.
- Feature online practice tests and other online materials, so you never have to carry the 5lb. book around.
- The practice test questions are pretty similar to the actual GRE exam.
- The logical reading comprehension is not quite clear.
3. ETS GRE Prep Book: The Official Guide
The ETS GRE Prep Book is the best for test-takers who want the closest practice questions to the actual exam. The book comes from educational testing service – the provider of the GRE exam – so the similarity between the questions and the actual test is not surprising.
Besides having practice questions based on the real exam, the ETS Prep Book offers 4 real practice tests (2 online and 2 in the book). It was easy to see the similarity between the said real practice tests and old GRE exam questions. Of course, all the questions were not exactly the same, but those that were different had the same patterns.
With just around 600 questions, the ETS Official Guide offers only about a third of the questions the Kaplan Plus and Manhattan 5lb. Prep offer. It may only take about a month to be done with all the practice questions if you spend around 3 to 5 hours daily.
- The questions are as authentic as can be.
- The difficulty level of the questions is pretty much the same as the real exam.
- Offers around 600 questions, which should give up to a month’s worth of practice.
- The practice questions feature-complete answer explanations.
- Not much has changed from the previous edition.
- The book could use more practice test strategies.
4. Magoosh GRE Prep Book
Magoosh GRE prep is the best for test-takers who do better when concepts are explained in simpler terms. It is also pretty great for people looking to improve their scores in the analytical writing assessment.
This book comes with just over 130 questions – one of the lowest in this review. You should be done covering all the questions within a week. Seeing that it does not have so many questions, if you are buying the Magoosh GRE exam preparation, buy it for simplicity and test-taking strategies.
The questions in this book are not real GRE exam questions. But they provide a fair amount of insight into the actual thing. So, keep this at the back of your mind when buying it.
Unlike the other GRE prep book reviews we have done so far, you have to pay for the online Magoosh materials separately. But the company includes a 20% discount coupon in this book to ease the cost.
If you need a prep book you can readily carry around in your bag, this one is a strong contender. It has one of the fewest pages of all the books in this review and is pretty lightweight. So, it wouldn’t make you too uncomfortable if you have it in your bag.
- The book is optimized for easy understanding.
- Pays special attention to analytical writing.
- Each practice question has a difficulty rating and a pass rate.
- It is pretty portable.
- You have to pay for the online practice tests separately.
- Does not offer many questions.
5. Manhattan GRE Prep Set of 8 Strategy Guides
The Manhattan Prep GRE Set is the best for people who need a topic-specific guide for the exam. It comes as a set of 8 separate books on Fractions, Decimals, & Percents, Algebra, Word Problems, Number Properties, Geometry, Text Completion & Sentence Equivalence, and Data Interpretation Guide and Quantitative Comparisons, and Reading Comprehension.
To us, the Manhattan Prep GRE Set is more focused on techniques, tips, and guidance than practice. Unsurprisingly, it features 24 sets of questions – 3 in each prep book. The 3 sets of questions are arranged in order of difficulty, so you can go from easy to hard – if that works for you.
Besides the questions in each book, the Manhattan Set offers you access to 6 online full-length mock tests – on par with the Manhattan 5 lb.
While splitting the Manhattan Prep Set into 8 parts makes for portability, it seems to somewhat distort the content of the book. But we do not think this would affect the quality of the prep set too much.
- Features a fair amount of supplementary online material.
- Optimized for focused study.
- Since each topic comes in a different book, the set offers portability.
- The explanations are generally easy to follow.
- Limited number of practice questions.
- It focuses more on quantitative reasoning than verbal reasoning.
- It is relatively pricey.
6. The Princeton Review Cracking the GRE
The Princeton Cracking the GRE Prep is the best for people who need to control their study pace. The book comes with 4 full-length GRE practice tests: 2 in the book and 2 online – not the most we saw in the books we reviewed. But it is still a fair deal for the price.
The Princeton Cracking contains stepwise solutions. It also has tips on time management, question translation, score reporting, and error minimization. Then if you’ve been bothered about adopting vital GRE vocabulary terms, the book offers a concise list that allows easy yet extensive learning.
Note that the code that offers access to the 2 online tests only comes with new books.
- Features 4 mock tests.
- Comes with practical tips for the exam.
- Offers access to online materials.
- The questions do not sufficiently mimic true GRE exam questions.
7. Test Prep Books: GRE Prep 2022 and 2023
The Test Prep is best for people looking for an all-in-one GRE book. Like the Manhattan Prep Set, it is mostly a study guide. But you will find a fair amount of practice questions inside.
One thing the Test Prep 2022 and 2023 did differently from the rest is offer tips on how to come up with a study plan. There are also pointers on how to handle fray nerves during the exam. This comes in a DVD you get after buying the book.
Basically, beyond giving a comprehensive overview of the analytical writing, verbal, and math sections of GRE standardized tests, this book offers non-academic guidance.
The Test Prep only offers 3 mock tests – one of the lowest in the review. But considering they are high-quality practice tests, we still rate the book highly.
- The book offers tips that extend beyond solving questions.
- It contains a balanced and comprehensive guide to all 3 GRE revised general test sections.
- Test Prep offers ways to tackle difficult and tricky questions.
- You get a free GRE test-taking tips DVD.
- It does not feature full-length practice tests.
8. Barron’s GRE Test Prep
Barron’s GRE is the best for people studying to improve their verbal reasoning scores. While it features high-quality quantitative reasoning content, its effects on verbal reasoning are more palpable.
The content of the book is crafted in a way to allow you to grasp vital GRE vocabulary while learning how to answer key analytical writing prompts.
Then if you are trying to breeze or pace your way through the book, you will find the summary list of each chapter. With this list, you can plan your study to suit your desired pace.
Barron’s GRE offers 4 full-length model tests – 2 online and 2 in the book. There’s also a diagnostic test that serves as a guide to help you work on your weak spots.
Overall, Barron’s GRE is top-notch. But sometimes, the tips are unclear, and this can be demotivating.
- Proven positive effect on verbal reasoning score.
- Offers access to 4 full-length mock tests.
- Comes with a diagnostic test that promotes targeted improvement.
- Includes summary lists that make creating a study plan easy.
- Some of the tips are unclear.
9. The Princeton Review GRE Practice Questions
The Princeton 1027 is the best for people who need tips that can help them raise their scores within a short period. It covers math, verbal reasoning, and analytical writing sections, partitioning each one of these sections into separate topics.
The way the topics in each section are separated makes it so easy to see the patterns in the way the GRE exams are set.
The Princeton Review GRE Prep 1027 offers 1027 practice questions – only the Kaplan Plus and Manhattan 5lb. have more. However, it has only 2 tests. The paper-based practice test is a diagnostic test, while the other one is a full-length online test. None of the other books in this review have fewer questions than this book.
While it offers in-depth explanations and a broad overview, the questions are not very current.
- Comes with over 1027 practice tests.
- Features a diagnostic test.
- It offers 1 full-length practice test.
- Not much has changed since the last edition.
10. Mometrix GRE Prep 2022 and 2023
The Mometrix GRE Prep is the best for detailed answer explanations. It touches on everything and offers both paper-based, media-based, and online resources.
Its over 650 practice questions may not be the highest in our review. But their precision overrides the importance of quantity. The 3 full-length practice tests are also not the highest in this review, but the quality makes you forget about quantity quickly.
The stepwise structure and thoroughness of the Mometrix Test Preparation Book are the foundation of its quality. For each of the 3 GRE sections, the book discusses the smallest details of the fundamentals down to the last. But it does not just discuss those details, it arranges them in a coherent pattern.
One thing the Mometrix Prep Book offers is options. If the detailed answer explanations in the book do not clarify things well enough, the stepwise video tutorials are a sufficient alternative.
Overall, this book focuses on passing the exam. With more GRE practice tests and questions, it would be good enough for long-term study.
- The content of the book is thorough.
- While thorough, the explanations are straightforward and well-arranged.
- It comes with video tutorials in case the book does not suffice.
- It could have been even better with more questions and mock tests.
Quick Comparison Chart
|Title||Kaplan GRE Prep Plus||Manhattan 5lb. Book GRE Practice Problems||ETS GRE Prep Book: The Official Guide||Magoosh GRE Prep Book||Manhattan GRE Prep Set of 8 Strategy Guides||The Princeton Review Cracking the GRE||Test Prep Books: GRE Prep||Barron's GRE Test Prep||The Princeton Review GRE Practice Questions||Mometrix GRE Prep|
|Number of Questions|
|Over 2000||Over 1800||Over 600||Over 130||24 sets of questions||Over 200||Over 200||Over 200||1027||Over 650|
|Number of Practice Tests|
|Features and Explanation Video for Selected Questions||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||Features tutorial videos.|
Before getting around to buying the best GRE prep books, it’s important to assess where you need to get started. If you only recently learned about the GRE and didn’t know much about it, your first step is to gather resources that let you know what goes on during the exam day and what comprises the GRE. It has three GRE sections that you need to understand and read about before starting studying.
Next, take practice tests on the GRE website to check what areas or sections of the GRE you need to improve on. This will help you focus on the subjects you know you’re having trouble with and will make finding a prep book easier for you. As mentioned earlier, GRE prep varies from person to person. You can either take prep courses on PrepScholar or find a suitable book that works best for your circumstances; consider the following factors:
Think about your learning style and what you’re looking for in a GRE book. For self-studying, some GRE books go over the full scope of the real GRE test in detail, while some focus more on practice questions and even give special attention to harder sections of GRE. Some books also come with CDs for those who are more adept at learning visually.
Additionally, if you’ve already attended GRE prep courses, you can get a book that was made specifically to follow up or supplement what you’ve already learned. If you need to focus on practicing, look for a GRE book with many practice questions.
The best GRE books have all the features and GRE sections that will help you ace your test. First, it should have an overview of the exam and the mechanics of how it’s scored, and what you need to do during the test day. It should also contain detailed and comprehensive reviews of each section included in the test. Most GRE prep books will have a full-length mock GRE test, but if you can find one that comes with a computer-adaptive one, it’s going to be more worth it because it simulates the real exam.
Some GRE prep books also come with a question bank for difficult question types, and some come with extra online or mobile resources that can help you study. Diagnostic tests are also convenient so that the learner can assess their current level of preparedness. Additionally, ETS official GRE offers free practice tests on their website and other free learning resources, as long as you have an account. Take note of this, too, when you’re looking for a prep book. Lastly, GRE books that contain test-taking strategies and the best GRE study tips are a big plus.
Consider how much time you have left before you’ll have to take your GRE, and buy a book that you know you can finish within the GRE time range. It’s important to study your prep book from front to back in great detail, so there’s no reason to overshoot or even over-prepare by buying a big book and then finding out that you can’t finish it.
Should I buy GRE prep books online?
If you’re buying online, make sure to check the reviews of the book you’re going for. There can be many reviews, but you might find that there won’t be many comprehensive ones. Otherwise, it’s better to go to a bookstore to buy them in person so you can better check the contents for yourself. Look through the books available and choose one or a few that work best for you.
How much time do I need to study for the GRE?
Of course, it will vary per person how quickly you learn and how much of the fundamentals you remember, but the more time you allot for studying, the better. Spend as much time brushing up on the basics of the topics as solving problems over and over. Also, spend time internalizing test-taking strategies to make your time management during test-day easier. The more information and knowledge you absorb before the GRE, the better armed you are to take it.
Do I need to take prep classes?
That will depend on you and your learning style. If you learn and study better in a classroom setting, then a prep class will be well worth your time. There are also online prep classes available if time flexibility is what you’re looking for. Magoosh GRE is one of the most popular online GRE prep course services. But if you are good at studying by yourself, and especially if you prefer learning that way, then there’s no need to take prep classes. Visual but self-study learners can also pick up GRE prep books that come with CDs.
How many GRE prep books do I need?
You have to find the best GRE books that have everything you need and suit your learning style. Some prep books prioritize fundamentals and comprehensive explanations more than GRE practice. Some books focus on GRE practice problems without going over the GRE sections. With these prep books, it’s often one over the other, and you can either choose one that fits your circumstances best or buy more than one prep book. You’re going to benefit more from grabbing multiple GRE prep books with different strengths than picking up one book that might lack content. You may find some of these textbooks as digital textbooks for 80% cheaper on RedShelf.
Choosing the best prep book is a crucial step in studying for the GRE General Test. It can be overwhelming to browse because of the full range of options available in the market, but we hope this guide makes finding the best GRE prep book much easier for you.