Standardized testing remains a massively important part of the education system. At most levels of schooling, from elementary up to graduate, students are given standardized tests. The most important test for graduate school is the Graduate Record Examinations, better known as the GRE, which is administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS).
The importance of testing strategy underscores the fact that when it comes to preparing for the GRE, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with the structure of the test itself, not just the material. The GRE is divided into three sections: verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning and analytical writing. Both the verbal and quantitative reasoning sections have multiple-choice components.
One of the best ways to prepare for this test is to invest in GRE test prep books and materials so you know what to expect. We’ve rounded up some of the best GRE test books to help you or your family prepare for this critical test. Some test prep books come with full sample tests, giving you a chance to get to know the structure of the test, while others place a focus on the material itself. That means that if you’re confident in your knowledge but a nervous test-taker, or vice versa, there are options for you on this list.
1. The Official Guide to the GRE General Test
When preparing for the GRE, this book is the first one you should pick up. This book is developed and distributed by the Educational Testing Service, which is the organization that offers the GRE. The book features two full-length tests that have actually been administered in the past. Plus, there are sample questions to practice with, and ETS provides test-taking strategies and advice. This book is available in paperback or kindle format.
Pros: Test book produced by the makers of the GRE. Two complete tests, plus practice questions and test-taking advice.
Cons: While it says that four tests are included, only two are printed, and the other two are online tests on the ETS website. Also, this, the third edition, has minimal changes compared to the second.
2. Manhattan Prep 5 lb. Book of GRE Practice Problems
Manhattan’s paperback GRE book has over 1,000 pages and weighs a substantial five pounds, giving you ample opportunity to practice the material. It’s also available in a Kindle format if you prefer. Manhattan also offers an online companion to the book, allowing for active engagement through online testing activities. With the online material factored in, over 1,800 practice problems are provided.
Pros: Tons of practice problems offered, plus detailed explanations for questions you answer incorrectly. Online material is available with purchase.
Cons: There are more quantitative problems than verbal, which may be a problem for those who want to beef up their verbal testing skills.
3. GRE Vocabulary Flashcards
If you specifically need help bolstering the verbal reasoning section of the GRE, then these flashcards can be a worthwhile addition to other testing materials. The cards provide a word, its definitions, synonyms, pronunciation and usage examples. When you register your purchase online, you’ll get access to a full-length test to practice. Since these cards are only words, they won’t help you with the quantitative section or familiarize you with the structure of the test, which is why this is best bought as a supplement to other materials.
Pros: Ideal for improving vocabulary. Includes access to Kaplan’s online materials, including a full-length practice test. 500 cards included, which come in their own box for storage.
Cons: These cards are only for the verbal section. Cards themselves could be more sturdy.