4 Best Prep Books for GRE Aspirants

4 most popular and suggest books by and for the GRE aspirants

Table of Contents


Choosing the best books for GRE aspirants is our main concern here but first, the question that comes to mind is, Why Study Abroad in the first place?

See, Studying abroad is what most people dream of. Whatever may be the reason, whether it is the obviously better career options, better salary prospects or just to get or have a different perspective of things. Going abroad to study is something which almost every year millions of students try for.

And I’m sure you understand the reasoning behind this. You might feel satisfied and successful in your life, but only if you explore the rest of the world will you really know the true meaning of not just success but life in general.

The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.” 

In no way is the quote used to justify the fact that the opportunities here in our country are few and limited. But, just to give a perspective of what the world has to offer and the countless benefits of studying abroad.

Key Takeaways

  • Graduate Record Examinations or GRE is one of the ways to enter top graduate schools, mainly in the United States and Canada.
  • Factors like the quality of questions, comprehensive answer explanations, etc. have to be taken into account while choosing any prep book.
  • While choosing the right study material is necessary, but if you are not disciplined and hard-working, then these resources are of no use at all.

The Graduate Record Examinations or GRE is one such way, which will help you land in top graduate schools, mainly in the United States and Canada. 

GRE is one of the world’s largest assessment programs for graduate admissions and is conducted by Educational Testing Service (ETS). Over half a million individuals across 160 countries take the GRE General Test every year. And more than 1,200 business schools around the world accept the GRE scores.  So, definitely, you have to be extra special to even stand a chance.

Thus, a person while embarking on such a journey, needs a lot of tools to make the traverse somewhat easier. Choosing the correct and relevant study material is a very important aspect towards the preparation of any competitive exam, be it GMAT, GATE, CAT, etc., and not just GRE.

While embarking on such a journey, a good prep book is your one true companion. Yes, many people might think that books have gone obsolete in this new age of digital technology, but people like myself, who understand the real worth of them might strongly disagree.

Saying that you also have to understand that GRE prep is time-consuming and you should be fully engaged in learning. Thus, investing your time in unworthy GRE books won’t serve neither your needs nor your purpose.

How to select the right GRE Book

Choosing the best GRE prep book depends on numerous aspects. But, the factors such as authors, quality of material stand out the most.

Still, to give you an idea, the following are a few of the things which have to be kept in mind while choosing a certain prep book – 

Quality and Quantity of Questions 

The number of questions on offer and the quality of questions greatly impact the student’s preparation. 

It is important that the difficulty level of the questions matches the real exam pattern.

Realistic GRE-Like Questions 

Books that have real-like GRE practice questions should be preferred significantly. Since it is an adaptive exam, you will have to know the real pattern of the exam along with the difficulty level.

Comprehensive Answer Explanations 

Even, the biggest question bank is worthless if there are no proper explanations to the questions. 

A book that has detailed answer explanations to each question type along with tips/tricks to solve them should be preferred. 


At the end of the day, the way a book presents content matters a lot in the preparation. The right GRE book breaks down every section into sub-sections to help grab the concepts easily. 

From the analytical to verbal and quant section, all the areas must be given due attention.

List of top book recommendations for the GRE

Taking into consideration, all the above points and several other small but sure factors, here is a list of some of the most popular books followed by the aspirants and suggested by the experts –

ETS Official Guide

The GRE revised general test is the only official guide and one of the best books for GRE out there.

Educational Testing Services (ETS), the maker of the GRE, offers the only official guide to the test. 

Known as the authoritative guide to the GRE for a good reason, because it’s made by the same company that creates the test.

ETS’ Official GRE Guide is one of the most recommended test-taking guides. This guide has a good reputation because it can prepare you for exactly what you should expect on the test. 

This guide comes with four complete real tests (two are available using the included CD-ROM), hundreds of authentic test questions, detailed descriptions of the Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning Content Areas including tips for answering each type of question, and an overview of the two types of Analytic Writing Tasks you will encounter on the test including scored sample responses with actual raters’ comments.

Manhattan Prep’s 5lb. Book of GRE Practice Problems

Manhattan Prep, a leader in test-taking readiness, offers a wide range of products to help you prepare for the exam.

Manhattan Prep, a leader in test-taking readiness, offers a wide range of products to help you prepare for the exam. 

They offer 8 test-taking strategy guides, focusing on each of the test content areas including Algebra; Fractions, Decimals, & Percents; Geometry; Number Properties; and Word Problems. Also available from Manhattan Prep is the book “Reading Comprehension & Essays GRE Strategy Guide,” 500 Essential Words: GRE Vocabulary flashcards, and more.

Yes, as the name suggests, this book is one of the heaviest of all the prep books for GRE, but don’t get mistaken thinking that the quality is compromised for the quantity.  Close to being a perfect GRE study book, this book is ideal for students of all prep levels. 

The practice questions increase in difficulty levels to target your skill range and test your weaknesses.

Kaplan’s GRE Prep Plus

Kaplan's GRE prep plus is one of the most popular books for GRE.

This is one of the most influential prep books out there and is the preferred choice of most GRE aspirants, thus making it one of the best book for GRE preparation. If you want to have it all, this is the best option you should go for. 

Kaplan’s GRE Prep Plus 2021 provides you a complete rundown of the GRE exam, starting from an advanced explanation of every section, a 500 question quiz bank, detailed chapters, and numerous full-length mock tests.

There is one mock test in the book and another two online as well that help in understanding the ETS way of the exam. 

Overall, GRE Prep Plus features more than 2,200 practice questions with full explanations that test a student’s appropriate GRE skill at various difficulty levels.

Barron’s Gre

Barron is a very popular name in the testing industry and the GRE preparation book clearly stands up to the name.

Barron is a very popular name in the testing industry and the GRE preparation book clearly stands up to the name.

Barron’s GRE book comes with one diagnostic test and two full-length models of the actual test structure reflected in the GRE exam. 

Additionally, not only are all answers provided for the sample tests but the book also provides comprehensive explanations for the answers as well to help you fully prepare for what you will face on the GRE. 

With this book, you can also access Barron’s online GRE Course and iPad app as well for essay preparation. The GRE book offers instructions on how to complete each and every section of the test, tips, and tricks for being successful before and during the test, and numerous practice questions to get you ready for test day.


GRE preparation involves lots of practice and patience. Choosing the correct study material is a key stage in your preparation. There are tons of other GRE books and free online material available as well, but only a very few of them offer the content which can actually help you crack GRE. 

But, even after saying all this and recommending you all these books, at the end of the day, it is only up to you how you utilize all these resources. 

A disciplined and strategic approach only will help you ace any competitive exam.

What are the top colleges in India which accept the GRE score?

Indian School of Business (ISB), Institute of Management (IIM), Ahmedabad, and Institue of Management (IIM), Bangalore are some of the top colleges which accept the GRE score.

What are the subjects in which the GRE subject test is available? 

The GRE Subject Test is available in Biology, Chemistry, Literature in English, Mathematics, Physics, and Psychology.

How long are the GRE scores valid for?

The GRE scores are valid five years from the end of the testing year when you took the test. When your scores expire, they are deleted from the ETS database and can never be accessed or sent to schools again.

What is the duration of the GRE Exam?

The GRE is about 3 hours and 45 minutes long which includes the 1-minute breaks after each section and a 10-minute break after third section. The analytical writing section is always the first.

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