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Best GRE Books - Updated Aug 2017

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Best GRE Books - Updated Aug 2017 [#permalink] New post 30 Jul 2014, 23:16
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Best GRE Books


In this post i will try to compile a list of the most popular and best GRE Prep books currently available on the market. Choosing the right book for preparation will go a long way helping to achieve a 320+ score. On the other hand selecting a down standard book can completely throw you off and can result in disastrous results. The main concept to understand it is very hard to make a GRE standard question. Not every Math or Verbal question is a GRE question. ETS follows a very strict standard while designing a GRE question. How well the book authors can replicate that decides the usefulness and quality of the book.
The purpose of this post is to help you choose the right book from the useless ones. :!:


The Official Guide to the GRE Revised General Test, 3rd Edition
Official GRE Quantitative / Verbal Reasoning Practice Questions, Second Edition - Must Have

Published by the creators/owners of the GRE. Must have for the advantage of having access to real GRE questions but will need Strategy/Study guide to build up math/verbal skills and test-taking strategies.
Strengths:
1. Real GRE questions
2. The questions, both quant and verbal, in the book are still pure ETS original material.The best and probably the only thing you need for the best score.
3. The content are well organized per se.
4. The practice questions follow actual GRE test patterns - great to have one's ear trained, esp. in verbal
Weaknesses:
1. NO new questions
2. The book does not contain any strategies or helpful tips.
3. The math concepts review section is fairly good but should be improved and enriched.
4. Some of the topics like Parabolas or Absolute value Graphs are missing from the math section.
Other Notes: Full review 05/04/2017.









The Official Guide to the GRE Revised General Test, 2nd Edition
Published by the creators/owners of the GRE. Must have for the advantage of having access to real GRE questions but will need Strategy/Study guide to build up math/verbal skills and test-taking strategies.
Strengths:
1. Real GRE questions
2. 4 fresh practice tests. (CD attached in book)
3. Very good for basics.
4. The practice questions follow actual GRE test patterns - great to have one's ear trained, esp. in verbal
Weaknesses:
1. The book does not contain any strategies or helpful tips.
2. Explanations are a bit lacking.
3. Mostly low and medium difficulty questions. Not very helpful to a person aiming to get above 320.
4. Some of the topics like Parabolas or Absolute value Graphs are missing from the math section.
Other Notes: Full review.






Manhattan Prep GRE Set of 8 Strategy Guides, 4th Edition
Not to be over-zealous but I would say the most comprehensive self-prep money can buy
Strengths:
1. Very in-depth overview of every GRE subject in 8 dedicated guides (each is 100-200 pages long)
2. Includes access to 6 new online practice tests with explanations.
3. Hundreds of additional targeted practice questions available online (get free access by using the codes inside of each book)
Weaknesses:
1. Requires Official Guide for best results (additional practice questions)
2. Manhattan GRE’s focus on tough vocab, however, may unnecessarily intimidate students and, paradoxically, leave them unprepared for the actual exam.
Other Notes Manhattan GRE Review
Brand New Review 08/01/2017









Cracking the GRE with 4 Practice Tests, 2016 Edition
Strengths:
1. Straight to the point.
2. They explain what might come in the GRE and try to teach you the ETS mindset
3. Practice exercises are challenging.
4. Sound strategies to tackle Math and Verbal section are given.
Weaknesses:
1. Has many spelling and numerical mistakes.
2. Doesn't explain much theory, only some i.e. math principles. They just explain how to solve the problem. Their approach is that they will only explain what comes in the GRE. For me it's better to have a solid theoretical explanation.
Other Notes Full Review









Barron's 6 GRE Practice Tests
Strengths:
1. Practice Questions are very much in actual GRE standard.
2. The reading passages can be quite challenging, though the questions tend to be more straightforward and less tricky than actual GRE questions.
3. So for practice, the questions are helpful, but to really hone one’s chops one would be better served with Manhattan GRE online practice tests or Magoosh.
Weaknesses:
1. Text Completion and Sentence equivalence questions are not upto the mark of GRE.
2. Some of the passages are very dense and difficult. Others are quite straightforward. Some passages are far, far longer than anything you’ll see on the GRE (800 words vs. 450), and even these passages have only three, not the requisite four, questions.
3. What does this all mean? Well, the test is not really well standardized. To exacerbate this situation, even the TC/SE questions are not of similar difficulties throughout the sections. So sometimes you’ll get a very difficult section with a super long reading passage and other times you’ll get a much easier section.
Other Notes Barron's 6 GRE Practice Tests Review
Brand New Review 08/01/2017









GRE: Practicing to Take the General Test 10th Edition
Strengths:
1. This is a version of the old GRE. Still, these are questions created by the writers of test, so the traps are classical GRE.
2. The Reading Comprehension passages are still tough and make for good practice.
Weaknesses:
1. The strategies and exercises at the beginning of the book, and the explanations the 10th edition provides for one of the tests, are without exception awful.
2. Lots of practice, but not much else.
Other Notes: Full review
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Last edited by bb on 29 Oct 2017, 05:37, edited 28 times in total.
Update 08/01/2017
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Re: GRE Prep Books [#permalink] New post 15 Apr 2015, 10:15
Excellent reviews. I'm relying on Manhattan 5 lbs book(great for quant, not so for verbal), Official ETS(great for sample practice questions though not enough of them) and GRE Verbal Grail(great for RC). Haven't prepared much for quant as i feel comfortable tackling gre quant problems. Will update here if I come across new books that are helpful
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Re: GRE Prep Books [#permalink] New post 22 Aug 2015, 18:02
Is there any major difference between 2nd and 4th edition of Manhattan Prep GRE Set of 8 Strategy Guides. Thnx in advance...
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Re: GRE Prep Books [#permalink] New post 22 Sep 2015, 08:15
Hi there! I'm new to this whole chatroom ordeal. I hope that I am able to get some quality information from my fellow GRE pep students. I recently took the practice test offered by The Princeton Review. Needless to say, I did not scored well. I received a 139 on the verbal section and a 130 on the Quant section. I am looking for a prep book that will best serve me in scoring well on this exam.

I'm looking into getting The Official Guide to the GRE by ETS and its supplemental materials. I'm also looking into the 5-1b GRE Questions Prep Book by Manhattan Prep. I heard that Kaplan's 2016 Premier edition is pretty good-However, there are mixed reviews as to what it offers. Some say that it lacks quality questions and strategies for the Quant section while others believe that it's the best supplement to the actual ETS guide. Also, I read that The Princeton Review, Cracking the GRE 2016 is best for those who are beginning their preparation.

I would love some insight on this before I make this important investment.


Thanks
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Re: GRE Prep Books [#permalink] New post 23 Sep 2015, 22:22
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mstinasucceeds wrote:
Hi there! I'm new to this whole chatroom ordeal. I hope that I am able to get some quality information from my fellow GRE pep students. I recently took the practice test offered by The Princeton Review. Needless to say, I did not scored well. I received a 139 on the verbal section and a 130 on the Quant section. I am looking for a prep book that will best serve me in scoring well on this exam.

I'm looking into getting The Official Guide to the GRE by ETS and its supplemental materials. I'm also looking into the 5-1b GRE Questions Prep Book by Manhattan Prep. I heard that Kaplan's 2016 Premier edition is pretty good-However, there are mixed reviews as to what it offers. Some say that it lacks quality questions and strategies for the Quant section while others believe that it's the best supplement to the actual ETS guide. Also, I read that The Princeton Review, Cracking the GRE 2016 is best for those who are beginning their preparation.

I would love some insight on this before I make this important investment.


Thanks



Hi mstinasucceeds,

The score of 130 and 139 in Quants and Verbal is fairly low. It is possible that you might require more than one set of books to get to a Good GRE Score. Ideally you should be initially looking for a book that has a significant amount of theory and practice problems. The best book in this segment would be Kaplan Premier. Kaplan has more than ample practice problems as well as a each topic is preambled by a section called the Kaplan's method of solving, which is extremely useful to brush up your rusty concepts.

Another good book which offers similar services is Barron's GRE. However in terms of quality of Questions and also theoretical sections Kaplan is better than Barrons.

After you have completed the Kaplan premier you can start Manhattan's 5lb book. Manhattan's 5lb book is a huge library of Questions with more than a 1000 questions in Math and English sections. However there is no theory sections before the chapter. Ideally this book is used to polish your already existing Math and English skills so people rarely start their prep with this book.

If you find that you still need better theoretical overview you can consider investing in Manhattan's Set of Eight Strategy Guides. These 8 strategy guides span across the subjects from RC and analytical Writing to Arithmetic in Quants. The distinct advantage of this is its modularity.Since you may require only one of the 8 you can buy that separately.

A good substitute of Manhattan 8 strategy guide is the ETS's Quant and Verbal Reasoning books. The quality of these books are at par with Manhattan and they have original GRE questions listed, however they are not as modular as the Manhattan's 8 strategy guide.

After you have completed the Manhattan 5lb book you could, rather you must, solve the ETS GRE book from cover to cover. It is the greatest resource of GRE questions available. While the practice problems are not as many as in Manhattan but all the questions in this book have appeared in the actual GRE exam.

I think you could also consider a tutoring service such as Magoosh. They have a very well developed program for GRE and they have extensive video libraries of tutorials and tips and tricks. A tutorial service will vastly accelerate your learning process. Furthermore after you complete each book/material you should give a GRE Mock Test and measure your improvement.

Here is a link of Free GRE tests available online

Apart form all of this you need to start building your GRE vocabulary now. There are ample Free vocab builder Apps available online you can make use of them. There are also resources such as Barron's 500/ 800 frequent GRE words. Vocabulary is essential for getting a good Verbal score.

To sum up:



Stage 1: Concept Building



  • Tests and SWOT analysis(very important step!)

Stage 2: Skills Polishing


  • Manhattan's 5lb book
  • ETS GRE
  • Manhattan's 8 strategy guides/ and or ETS Quant and Verbal Reasoning.

Best of Luck with your test prep.
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Re: Best GRE Prep Books [#permalink] New post 30 Mar 2017, 20:12
Excellent review..!
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Re: Best GRE Prep Books - UPDATE 08/01/2017 [#permalink] New post 06 Sep 2017, 02:26
Hi Guys,

I am not sure whether i can post my question in this thread.
I am new to GRE prep. I took an ETS Power prep practise test yesterday. I got 157 in Math and 142 in verbal. My desired score is Math - above 165 & verbal - above 150. Can you guys suggest some study tips and books which i need to follow for achieving my target score considering the fact that there are 45 days more for my D-day.

Thanks!
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Re: GRE Prep Books [#permalink] New post 05 Nov 2017, 17:22
sandy wrote:
s

Hi there. Question, I noticed you're linking Kaplan to a "GMAT" book. is that right? What sections of the book shall we focus on? Thanks.
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Re: GRE Prep Books [#permalink] New post 05 Nov 2017, 20:06
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Frida94 wrote:
sandy wrote:
s

Hi there. Question, I noticed you're linking Kaplan to a "GMAT" book. is that right? What sections of the book shall we focus on? Thanks.


I think that was a glitch. It should be Kaplan GRE.
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Re: Best GRE Books - Updated Aug 2017 [#permalink] New post 06 Nov 2017, 22:49
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I've created a list with my Recommended GRE Books, and a GRE Study Plan.


A Comprehensive List of ETS GRE Official Materials / Other Recommended Materials / GRE Study Plan



When preparing for the GRE, one must remember to use official materials (materials written by ETS, the maker of the GRE) whenever possible. Third-party strategy and learning guides certainly have a place in the GRE prep process, but far too many students waste their GRE preparation time by using non-official test questions from companies such as Kaplan, which are often far different than the real thing--particularly with regard to GRE Verbal Questions, where it is difficult, if not impossible, for 3rd-party questions to fully replicate the wording, tendencies, and “feel” of official ETS questions.


Here are all of the GRE official materials from ETS that you can currently find:


  • PowerPrep Online (Free): 2 free computer-adaptive tests (CATs) containing 160 real GRE questions per test (320 total), along with a Test Preview Tool (18 additional questions and 2 more essay questions)
    Powerprep Plus Online ($40 per test with 90 days of access): 2 more CATs ($40 each with 90 days of access) that you can only take once per purchase. 80 real GRE questions per test, and 320 real GRE questions total, along with a Test Preview Tool (18 additional questions and 2 more essay questions)
  • Paper-Based GRE Practice Test (old version): Beware: only 22 questions on the old paper-based test are unique: the other 78 questions overlap with the free PowerPrep Online test #1. Do not take these paper-based tests until after you take the PowerPrep online tests, or your diagnostic score might be less realistic due to question repetition.
  • Paper-Based GRE Practice Test (new version): Beware: only 37 questions on the old paper-based test are unique: the other 53 questions overlap with the free PowerPrep Online test #2. Do not take these paper-based tests until after you take the PowerPrep online tests, or your diagnostic score might be less realistic due to question repetition.
  • The Official Guide to the GRE General Test, 3rd Edition: 296 real GRE practice questions, including 57 additional math exercises.
  • Official GRE Quantitative Reasoning Practice Questions, Second Edition, Volume 1: 150 additional GRE Quant practice problems, along with answer explanations / test info.
  • Official GRE Verbal Reasoning Practice Questions, Second Edition, Volume 1: 150 GRE Verbal practice problems, along with answer explanations and information on the test.
  • The Official GRE Super Power Pack (includes books #5, 6 and 7 in one bundle, sometimes at a lower price than the individual books)
  • The Official GRE Value Combo (includes books #6 and 7 in one bundle, sometimes at a lower price than the individual books).


If you add up all the unique questions in these official resources, it totals about 1,300 official questions, which for many students is more than sufficient for a full GRE preparation. However, many students need more learning, strategy and practice than the official materials can provide. With that in mind, here are some additional 3rd-party GRE strategy and learning guides that I can recommend (I have linked to my own Amazon customer reviews of the books when applicable):






You might also want to consider purchasing the Manhattan Prep GRE CATs, which do not include real GRE questions, but are still (mostly) realistic and make for good practice if you need more than 4 CATs. The first exam is free, and you can buy 6 more for $39.

I do NOT recommend Kaplan or Princeton Review books, which are decent for mid-level scorers, but too simplistic for the student who aspires to high GRE scores.

GRE Study Plan - How to Study for the GRE


There is no one “right way” to study for the GRE. Some students prefer to jump in head-first and take a diagnostic practice test right away. Others are much more cautious, wanting to learn the topics well before taking an exam under test-day conditions.


In general, I would make a few suggestions:


  • Study frequently and for short durations. I suggest studying 3 times a day for 50 minutes each, or 2 times a day for 75 minutes each. Spend most of your time trying practice problems (active), not just reading or watching videos (passive). Check the correct answer / answer explanation to each question right away for optimum learning--learning is best done when your thoughts are still fresh.
  • When you get something wrong, it’s a precious opportunity to improve. Don’t rush it! Avoid the temptation to just check the correct answer, and move on. Instead, force yourself to evaluate all the answer choices, and to try the questions again from scratch, as many times as needed, until you’ve mastered them. Check the correct answer only after you’ve tried the question again. Repeat this process as many times as possible until you’ve mastered the material.
  • Don’t take too many full practice tests, and don’t always practice with time pressure--you need to learn how to crawl before you can learn how to walk.
  • Try to use real GRE questions whenever possible, but be willing to use 3rd-party materials if you need extra practice in a specific area.
  • On Quant, be willing to go back to the basics if necessary, by drilling certain math concepts over and over until you are more confident. The Cliff’s Notes Math Review for Standardized Tests book is helpful in this regard.
    Improve your vocabulary. Vocab is very important on the Verbal section of the GRE. You may have heard (also linked above) that I co-wrote a popular GRE Vocab Book.
  • Don’t give up. Most people have to take the GRE several times before they reach their desired score, and the GRE ScoreSelect policy allows test-takers to hide any GRE scores that they don’t want their potential grad programs to see.


Good luck! I hope that you found this doc helpful. For the rest of my GRE Action Plan, click here. To read my AMA on reddit, which contains additional GRE Prep recommendations, click here.

-Brian McElroy
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Re: Best GRE Books - Updated Aug 2017 [#permalink] New post 07 Nov 2017, 11:05
skypetutor wrote:
I've created a Google Document with my Recommended GRE Books, and a GRE Study Plan.

Hope it helps,
Brian


Amazing! Thanks!!
Re: Best GRE Books - Updated Aug 2017   [#permalink] 07 Nov 2017, 11:05
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