Prep Books for GRE

How to Select a GRE Prep Book?

GRE or the Graduate Record Exam is an admission requirement for many business as well as graduate programs around the globe. The revised General Test measures your skills and abilities in analytical writing, critical thinking, and verbal and quantitative reasoning. If you are looking forward to take the test sooner or later, there are different ways in which you can prepare yourself - you may join a prep program online or offline, or do it all on your own with the help of books and other online resources. Here is an article listing some of the popular preparation books for you.

1. The Official Guide to the GRE revised General Test

Educational Testing Service (ETS), the creator and owner of the revised General Test offers a number of free and low-cost materials for preparation, including some of the popular books. This official guide can be called the most authentic preparation material on GRE revised General Test.

Salient Features:

  • The guide includes quite a large number of practice/test questions and two full-length practice tests. Answers and explanations are provided for all the questions in the book.
  • The book also includes test-taking strategies and sample responses for essays.
  • You get a copy of the POWERPREP II software CD-ROM, along with the Official Guide to the GRE revised General Test. POWERPREP provides you with a simulated and timed test-taking experience for the computerized version of the test.
  • The book is available in e-book format, as well. With e-book format also, you get access to the POWERPREP II software.
  • You may purchase the copies online at the ETS bookstore (
  • This official guide is available at a low price, as against many of other popular preparation books.

2. Practice Book for the Paper-based GRE revised General Test

This practice book from ETS is intended for the paper-based format of the revised General Test. This is a comprehensive preparation material covering all sections of the test, in addition to content on the test structure, test strategies and a practice test. The book is available for free download at

Salient Features:

  • It is a very comprehensive and authentic title, providing review and practice materials on all the required areas for the paper-based test, like verbal and quantitative reasoning, critical thinking and analytical writing.
  • It gives a simulated test-taking experience with the real-like question types, test structure, etc.
  • Multiple-choice questions, text completion questions, reading comprehension questions, etc. are included to reflect the nature of the real test.
  • The book covers detailed information on the test scoring process and score reporting, as well.
  • The is one of the best books that can give you a clear and accurate idea about the revised format of the paper-based General Test, with explanations on each of the test areas.

3. Barron's New GRE

Published by the Barron's, one of the biggest names in the preparation books' industry, this book is rated among the top-class books by many test-takers. The 19th and latest edition of the book reflects the changes of the revised General Test, which came to effect in August 2011.

Salient Features:

  • The new edition has questions and comprehensive preparation materials reflecting the recent changes in the test content and structure. The Verbal Reasoning and the Quantitative Reasoning sections of the book include questions pertaining to the new format. Sentence equivalence and text completion questions are included in the verbal section of book. In addition to the multiple choice questions, quantitative comparison questions and numeric entry questions (without any answer options) are included in the quantitative section.
  • A diagnostic or pre-test and two complete practice/model tests are included, with answers and explanations.
  • An overview of the revised General Test and some test-taking strategies are other useful stuff that you might find attractive.
  • The CD-ROM includes additional model tests that reflect the actual conditions of the CBT. Answers and explanations are provided for each of these tests, and the tests are scored automatically.

The list here comprises of some of the comprehensive materials for preparation. You may also find many preparation books for GRE that focus only on one area of the test like Mathematics, Vocabulary and Writing. Therefore, it is important that you choose the best from these books after analyzing what suit your needs, viz., your study approach or style, your test taking levels, and your strengths and weaknesses. For example, if you are generally good at languages and have a good vocabulary, but are weak in arithmetic, you might want to choose a book that focuses more on the quantitative reasoning skills and provide you with practice options for the writing part. Also, some might need detailed reviews on the topics covered, while some might only require pointers and practice questions. There might be recommendations and book reviews available both offline and online, and you may check with people who have already taken the test. However, keep in mind the fact that you should not go by any opinion blindly, rather understand the test content and structure first, understand your requirements, and then leaf through the contents of the book, before you decide whether it is suitable for you.

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