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Best GRE Prep Books and Resources 2011

With a plethora of GRE prep material that was published in 2011, from the dodgy website that promises a perfect score to choosing the best materials can be as daunting as prepping for the test. Besides Magoosh’s big list of free GRE resources, below are the best books and resources to help you prep for the new GRE.

Best GRE Verbal Prep

Reading Comprehension:

  • MGRE (Manhattan GRE)This series of books offers plenty of useful tips for tackling the reading comprehension. The critical reasoning questions especially are covered in a thorough, pragmatic way. Great for strategy and practice questions.
  • Official GuideThe best resource for both math and verbal questions. These are the people who write the test, so you should practice as much as possible with these questions to prepare for test day. In terms of strategies and techniques, this book is okay. Of course, ETS, the writers of the test, aren’t paid to hold your hand and make the prep experience far less daunting (that’s what Magoosh is for!)
  • MagooshWe offer plenty of reading questions as well as helpful lessons to help you deal with complex passages. For all our sections, we are computer-based. In fact, there is no Magoosh book. While this may strike some as strange, remember that the new GRE is a computer-based test with an annoying timer constantly harrying you. Magoosh offers the same computer based environment. After all, you don’t want your first computer practice to be the actual test.

Text Completions/Sentence Equivalence:

  • MagooshNot to toot the Magoosh trumpet but we offer the most comprehensive package with the greatest number of questions. I feel the quality of our questions, in terms of difficulty and style, mirrors the actual test better than those of any publishers out there. We offer academic-style sentences, with difficult (but not ridiculously obscure/words you’ll never see on the new GRE) vocabulary. Some students have commented on similar the questions on the actual exam are. You can’t get much better prep than that.


Best GRE Math Prep

  • Manhattan GRE – Complete PrepThey are not cheap, but the quality of the materials, from the friendly voice (like having your very own cool tutor) to a wealth of practice materials, makes the $150 price tag seem somewhat justifiable. The good thing is the series is broken up into different volumes that are about $20 each. So if you want practice with Geometry or Data Interpretation then you don’t have to spend too much.
  • Official GuideThe content is great, the explanations and math review so-so. Definitely know every concept tested/mentioned in this book, but supplement your prep with a more user-friendly guide such as MGRE or, for beginners, Princeton Review. Think of this book as your question bank. From that standpoint it is simply the best out there for both math and verbal.
  • MagooshNot only do our video lessons cover every concept in a clear and efficient manner, but also our questions allow you to practice concepts you’ve just learned. We provide questions for the beginners all the way up to questions that are actually more difficult than anything you will see on the actual test. Many students find the actual GRE math section a breeze after completing all our questions.
  • Princeton ReviewI mention this only as a good entry point for those whom math is a weakness and/or haven’t seen math in 20 years. The guide is the opposite of a complete prep book. It only touches a few concepts and has so few practice problems. (The 1,014 problems guide is so riddled with errors that I cannot recommend it).
  • Barron’sBarron’s offer a pretty in-depth look at math. This book is good for the beginner of the medium-level student. My only gripe is they have recycled much of their content from their guide to the old GRE. For the advanced student Barron’s offers little in the way of more difficult practice.


By the way, students who use Magoosh GRE improve their scores by an average of 8 points on the new scale (150 points on the old scale.) Click here to learn more.

18 Responses to Best GRE Prep Books and Resources 2011

  1. Ujjal June 30, 2012 at 12:58 pm #

    Hey Chris,
    Great stuff!
    I’ll be taking my GRE in a month or so. I’ve been getting perfect scores on quant. I want to work on my verbal. Just wanted to know if I can subscribe to your verbal only in a 30 day plan?
    Btw, I’ve completed my tutor’s material(2 books), Kaplan, currently doing Barron’s with A few Manhattan books on my shelf, waiting. Is there anything I’ve missed?

    • Chris Lele
      Chris July 2, 2012 at 7:14 pm #

      Hi Ujjal,

      I left you a reply on the thread you commented on :).

  2. Niti January 18, 2012 at 2:58 am #

    cool, thanks a lot!

    • Chris Lele
      Chris January 18, 2012 at 1:45 pm #

      You’re welcome!

  3. Niti January 17, 2012 at 6:41 am #

    Also any idea about Gruber’s Complete GRE Guide? I have heard its good for both verbal and quant. I already have ETS guide. Would like to have one book, which gives good practise for both verbal and quant, any thoughts? Thanks!

    • Chris Lele
      Chris January 17, 2012 at 4:21 pm #

      I am currently reviewing the book. So far I can say the verbal content is lacking. It feels more like SAT level content. It wouldn’t hurt to practice with these “baby GRE questions” but you can do far better than Grubers.

  4. Niti January 17, 2012 at 1:20 am #

    Thanks! very helpful..also should I buy any book for word list or would the word list be appropriately covered in ETS book? I have heard Barron’s not that great. Thanks a ton!

  5. Chris Lele
    Chris January 16, 2012 at 1:24 pm #

    Hi Niti,

    The two best sources are Manhattan GRE and Magoosh (yes, I’m not entirely objective here). Both provide hundreds of questions. The main difference is in medium: MGRE is mostly book based (a few online practice tests), whereas Magoosh is entirely video based. How you learn should influence your choice.

    Because you are aiming for a 90% quant score, I should also add that Magoosh’s math questions are more difficult than MGRE’s. Also, we offer around the clock support to answer any question you may have.

    Let me know if I can answer any other questions!

  6. Niti January 16, 2012 at 9:47 am #

    Hi Chris

    In continuation to the above question, I am planning to apply for M.A Economics next year, and it requires minimum of 90% in Quants and 50% in Verbal and 4.5/5 on AWA in most colleges. Would be great if you could suggest an additional book, considering the targets. Thanks!

  7. Niti January 16, 2012 at 9:30 am #

    Hi Chris

    I am going to start preparing for GRE, this week onwards. I have already bought the official guide to New GRE book by ETS. I am a bit weak in maths and verbal (mainly vocab). Which other book should I buy, that provides enough practise questions and explanations for both these. I will be self studying for the test, and plan to take it in April end. Thanks a lot for your advice.


  8. Vaisnavi December 23, 2011 at 2:18 am #

    Thanx a lot mam.

  9. Vaisnavi December 22, 2011 at 7:27 am #

    Does Magoosh offer section wise adaptive test in terms of sentence equivalence, text completion, geometry ranging from less to higher difficulty??

    • Margarette Jung
      Margarette December 22, 2011 at 1:18 pm #

      Hi, Vaisnavi

      Do you mean intra- or inter- section difficulty? We have the option to do both, where you can set up an adaptive practice session so the questions will adjust to your performance, or you can change the difficulty for each practice session you do (Easy, Medium, Hard, Very Hard). As for subject matter, yes, you can specify the topic or question type you’d like to practice. Hope that helps, feel free to let me know if you have any additional questions!


  10. vidya December 17, 2011 at 5:33 am #

    Hi chris,
    Which books should i refer for gre vocab?I have 2months left for my exam so will it be fruitful to use princeton wordsmart or do u like anyother book other than this?

    • Chris Lele
      Chris December 19, 2011 at 11:30 am #

      For the self-learner, Barron’s 1100 Words you need to Know is helpful. In conjunction with any vocab book, I would make sure to use Quizlet’s amazing flashcard software:

  11. vidya December 16, 2011 at 11:07 am #

    hi chris,
    for gre rc’s and cr passages,i am usineg manhattan gmat notes which i borrowed it from my main point is that willstrategies for gmat rc. in manhattan will it be useful for gre rc or not.or should i buy a real manhattan rc bk rather than mgmat rc notes

    • Chris Lele
      Chris December 19, 2011 at 11:29 am #


      Generally speaking the manhattan gmat material will help you prepare for critical reading and reasoning for the GRE. However, I would still prep with some official material – a practice test is free here:

      The main reason is the flavor of the passages is slightly different from that found on the GMAT (GMAT tends to be drier and more formulaic). The new GRE, on the other hand, runs the gamut from short humanities passages to long science passages on icebergs (the test above has this particular passage).

      You may also consider picking up the Official Guide – Practicing to Take the New Gre. The more exposure to real material the better.

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