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GRE Prep Books


GRE prep books, even from the big prep companies, can be a mixed bag. They often have errors (sometimes LOTS of errors) and most contain problems and topics I’ve never seen on a GRE!

The three books I can wholeheartedly recommend are…

ets gre prep book cover.jpg

This book is chock full of good practice problems. The problems are grouped by subject. Struggling with prime factorization? Turn to that section for plenty of practice. (Each problem is fully explained.)

Or get the kindle version. After all, you’ll have to do all your work on scratch paper during the actual GRE. Might as well start practicing now. But…

BIG WARNING: The problem sets are arranged so that the first 20 or so problems are fairly easy. They are designed to make sure you have a handle on the concept. It’s only the last 5 problems or so that are actually similar in difficulty and feel to real GRE problems. DO NOT make the mistake of just working the first few problems in each section to see if you know how to do it. It won’t give you realistic expectations.

The Kaplan book has the best balance between clear explanations of techniques and plenty of practice.

Like all the books out there, it has its share of errors, but it has less than most.

It's updated for the newest version of the GRE and includes loads of extra resources. It even includes live online classes, but they aren't very good in my opinion. They are slow to get to the point and often cover topics that aren't on the GRE.

In my class, I've gone through and carefully weeded out anything that is not actually on the test.

By the way, don't waste your time memorizing the vocab in the back. There's a much more effective way to do that, and we'll discuss it in class.

I used to not recommend this book because it seemed like so many of the problems didn’t even really feel like actual GRE problems. I’ve recently revised my assessment.

There are some great practice problems in here! Although, just like in most other GRE prep resources, there are some topics in this book neither I nor my students have EVER seen on the GRE.

In my class guide, I have a comprehensive list of exactly what’s on the GRE compiled by going back through actual released GREs, and by polling my students after they took the GRE to see if there was anything on their GRE that we didn’t cover in class. If they saw new material, I added it to the course!

Other Free and Useful Resources

The resources below are free to use. Take a look!

PowerPrep Online

The best GRE practice you will get is the FREE Powerprep tests from ETS. It’s kind of crappy software–you may have trouble getting it to work on your computer–but it gives you two full practice GRE tests that are just like the real thing.

There are also three more full GREs you can take online called Powerprep Plus. These will cost you around $40 each.

Barrons Top 800 GRE Words

Start here for loads and loads of free GRE vocab words.

Info from ETS

You can find everything that ETS puts out for GRE students here, including a list of all schools that accept the GRE, the official GRE bulletin, brochures, flyers, at-a-glance publications, and more! The Official GRE Test Prep At-A-Glance includes lots of free practice problems and resources.

ETS recently released the newest Snapshot of the Individuals Who Took the GRE® General Test. It gives loads of info on GRE test takers worldwide. Want to know what is the average verbal score for German females going into mechanical engineering or the average written analytical score for American males going into psychology? This will give you all that and more!

Are there any other resources out there you have found useful? Let me know!

Class Supplement

This is a supplemental PDF you can download for classes or one-on-one sessions. It contains an outline of the course, the suggested study schedule, key formulas and rules-of-thumb, and more.

It's up to you if and how you use it. Some students like to download it and work with it on their laptop or pad. Others print it all out.

It's totally up to you, but it does have a lot of useful material.

Wordnik is a great website for helping out with GRE vocabulary. Not only does it give you dictionary definitions from 4 or 5 different dictionaries, it also gives you loads of sentences where the word is used in context, as well as synonyms, antonyms, and more. It does all the heavy lifting for you!

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