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The Best GRE Books of 2015

Here at Magoosh, we’ve reviewed the best GRE review books available in 2015 and made some updates to our Best GRE Books list. While not all of these books are from this year (some are far from it), the list offers the best books on the market to keep you from sorting through the nimiety (excess … good GRE word) of bad GRE books out there.

Happy Studying!


1. Free GRE eBooks

1 Magoosh eBook

Okay, they are not really books since unless you print them, you can’t physically hold them and flip through the pages (though an iPad can add a high degree of verisimilitude to the experience). Tangible or not, the eBooks are free and they provide a wealth of helpful strategies. They’re a great way to start your GRE journey, before deciding on which book to purchase. Here they are: Magoosh GRE eBooks

2. ETS Official Guide to the GRE Revised General Test, 2nd edition

This is the holy grail of prep. If you can only buy one book, this is it. The tone of the voice may not be as friendly as almost any other book on the market. But if you can bear the dry content, you are getting by far the best practice since ETS writes the questions for the test.

Throw in two GRE computer-based tests, which are in a CD that accompanies the book, and the best GRE book on the market gets even better. Here’s the full review: ETS Official Guide to the GRE Revised General Test 2nd Edition Book Review

3. ETS’s Official GRE Verbal Reasoning Practice Questions & Official GRE Quantitative Reasoning Practice Questions

This one’s a twofer. ETS published these two new books in 2014, and boy are we glad they did. The Verbal book contains tons of new questions, written by the makers of the GRE. The strategies are nothing new (you can learn all of those from this blog), but this book is a must-buy, if only for the quality of its practice questions. The Quantitative Reasoning book, on the other hand, contains both helpful practice problems and useful new strategies. A word of warning: these new math problems are really challenging. They’ll definitely require some extra attention, and will help you up your quant game.

4. Barron’s Six Practice Tests

This book is not perfect. But in terms of sheer content, it is better than the Barron’s general GRE guide. Check out the review here.

5. Practicing to Take the GRE, 10th edition

Sure, this is a version of the old GRE, and the old, old GRE at that (the tests were taken from 1991, a year some of you had yet to enter the world). Yes, the math is much easier. Still, these are questions created by the writers of test, so the traps are classical GRE. I wouldn’t use this as a foundation for my GRE test prep, but check out the review to see if it’s a good fit for your studies: Practicing to Take the GRE, 10th Edition Book Review

The Reading Comprehension passages are still tough and make for good practice. And while they’ve cut the Antonym and Analogy sections, the antonym questions still make for good practice (the analogies contain many ridiculous words, such as names of tools and sewing implements).

6. The Manhattan GRE Series (MGRE) – Books One through Eight

3 Manhattan GRE Series

Ths series contains eight (mostly excellent) books written by those with years of tutoring experience. This fact really shines through in the authorial voice this series uses. You feel as though there is a highly intelligent, but fun, laid back tutor walking you through the material.

The six free online tests you get by simply buying any one of the eight books makes MGRE a no-brainer if you want expert guidance and great practice. I’ve got a full review here: Manhattan GRE Series

(Somewhat) Honorable mention:

The Princeton Review, Cracking the New GRE

This book is generally substandard, and if after reading my review (see below), you are surprised I’m pairing it with this top five list, then I owe a quick explanation: the inclusion of the The Princeton Review book speaks to the generally low quality of GRE prep books out there. Nonetheless, I still somewhat like this book for its helpful big-picture strategies. These strategies are mostly absent from the Official Guide (though I share similar strategies in the eBook and on the blog).

That said, two major caveats: Do not use this book if you are looking for a high score. The strategies are very generic; they apply to most standardized tests, and they won’t help you understand the nuances or advanced concepts in the GRE. Secondly, do not do the questions, unless you are scoring way below 50% and are just starting off on the GRE. From this book glean some helpful strategies that you can use on actual test questions. Otherwise, this book is not of much use.

Since this book remains almost exactly the same from year to year, here’s the review of last year’s version: Princeton Review: Cracking the New GRE 2012 Book Review



Hi all – We’ve decided to temporarily close comments for this blog post so that we can focus our time on providing support and service to the paying customers of our Magoosh GRE product – responding to every comment is very time consuming 🙂

Also, between the blog post and the answers to the comments below, we hope that you’ll find an answer to your question, as most questions and answers fall into only a few categories. I promise that we will open the comments back up as soon as we discover better GRE books! 🙂 Thanks for understanding.


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.

115 Responses to The Best GRE Books of 2015

  1. James August 23, 2014 at 5:57 am #

    Hi Chris,

    Thanks for these excellent posts.

    I had a little question, though.

    Apart from using Magoosh which is an incredible resource, I’d like to ask you whether it makes sense to scrutinize not only Manhattan’s GRE Math guides but also Manhattan’s GMAT Math guides? I have both sets.

    Thanks so much for advice ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Best Wishes

    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele August 25, 2014 at 3:10 pm #


      I don’t think it would hurt at all. Esp. on those sections you would want more insight into. There may be another technique you find in there that is more helpful. Personally, I’m not a fan of Manhattan’s overuse of tables–though that might work for you.

      Hope that helps ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Gabriel July 29, 2014 at 10:39 am #

    Hi Chris,

    I am starting to study for the GRE at the moment, and I am thinking about reading the Manhattan GRE Series (MGRE), ETS Official Guide and magooshs Free GRE eBooks.

    Do you have any sugestion of books to prepare for the TOEFL test?


    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele July 29, 2014 at 3:15 pm #

      Hi Gabriel,

      I know it’s not a book, but we (Magoosh) just released a TOEFL product ๐Ÿ™‚

      For books, there is an Official Guide, released by ETS, the writers of the test. I’d rely on that. But for a full review of the books, this should be helpful:

  3. Tafadzwa Negonde July 18, 2014 at 7:07 am #

    Hi Chris,

    Greetings from Zimbabwe! Firstly, I want to thank you for this great website and for the advice that your generously share to many people. I have a quick question. In Zimbabwe the GRE is paper based. Do you have any recommendations on the best GRE prep books to use to prepare for the paper based test? I am particularly interested in the Practice tests as I have noted that most reviews and resources pertain to the other GRE computer adaptive tests. Your responses will be much appreciated.



    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele July 29, 2014 at 1:11 pm #

      Hi Tafadzwa,

      For paper-based test, you should get the Official Guide to the GRE by ETS. It has strategies and questions by the test writers themselves. There are also two full-length practice tests at the end, so this is the book for you ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Doug July 8, 2014 at 11:19 am #

    I had a simple question regarding the Manhattan “self-study” prep course. I was considering purchasing it along with several of the other study materials your recommended. However, I wanted to first ask if you or anyone at Magoosh has had any experience with it. It seems that most of the Manhattan material has received very positive reviews but I was wondering specifically about their computer adaptive practice test and the quality of them. After all the majority of their self-study course material can be purchased separately at a much cheaper price. As far as I could see the only things you get extra are the 6 practice tests and lecture recordings. I just wanted to know if it was worth the price or not.

    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele July 9, 2014 at 10:52 am #

      Hi Doug,

      I’d definitely recommend the tests. They are good practice for test day. The quant is even a little bit harder, so that should make the real test seem a little easier. The verbal is not as strong, but there are some pretty decent questions. All in all, worth the investment, given that you only have to buy one of the 8 books to get access to all 6 tests.

      Hope that helps!

  5. Shan June 24, 2014 at 4:55 pm #

    Hi Chris,

    I purchased ETS: The Official Guide to the GRE 2nd Ed. because it seemed to be the best when it comes to quality of GRE questions. I also purchased Cracking the GRE because I thought it would be the best for strategies, but I’m now thinking I might return it and instead use online ebooks for good strategies. Would this be the best way to study for the GRE, or would you recommend another book for strategies?

    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele June 26, 2014 at 11:19 am #

      Hi Shan,

      I typically only recommend PR to lower scoring students, or those who are very new test prep. The strategies in the PR aren’t that nuanced, so you would be better off relying on e-books for strategies (or even this blog).

      As long you have the ETS guide for questions, you should be good ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Ashley June 17, 2014 at 9:53 am #

    Hey Chris,

    This is a great article to see which resources are helpful. I was recently talking to my friend and he told me kaplan quiz bank really helped him. He told me it is costly but it is worth it to do well on the GRE and he did pretty well. I already bought the Manhattan and have the ETS revised edition, I don’t mind putting the money towards another resource that will be helpful. Have you heard of quiz bank? Any suggestions on preparing for the verbal section? The verbal section is the section I need to practice. Thank you for posting a great article on the GREs, I know it helped narrow some of the resources I saw at B&N.

  7. Sambit Shankar Pattnaik June 9, 2014 at 3:27 am #

    Hi Magoosh!,

    I am already a huge fan ๐Ÿ™‚ Love the way you present everything, those free e-books and explanations are a bliss. I have got a pdf version of the Gruber’s Complete GRE Guide 2014. Is it good, shall I ue it or shall I stick to Official Guide and 5lbs ? Please suggest ๐Ÿ™‚


    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele June 11, 2014 at 10:45 am #

      Hi Sambit,

      Thanks for the kind words ๐Ÿ™‚

      As for Gruber’s do not use it: the questions are substandard to the point that it may actually hurt your performance on actual GRE questions.

      So just stick to those trusted sources ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Marina May 19, 2014 at 7:47 pm #


    I would like to know if you can recommend any GRE prep course in London. My goal is to score as high as possible, so I am looking for the most effective one.

    thank you,


    • Rachel Wisuri
      Rachel May 20, 2014 at 11:48 am #

      Hey Marina!

      Chris is on vacation, so I’ll be answering this for him. ๐Ÿ™‚

      We’re not familiar with the test prep scene in London, but we do know a lot about online prep. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’d suggest either checking out our product ( or Manhattan’s ( Hope that helps!


  9. Karishma May 13, 2014 at 5:20 am #

    Hi Chris,
    Can you suggest which book is best for practicing permutations combinations and probability based problems? Please help my GRE’s less than 1 month away

    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele May 13, 2014 at 3:16 pm #

      Hi Karishma,

      The only significant sources would be MGRE 5 lbs. book and the Nova’s manual (I’d pick up the GMAT one for comb./perm. practice). This blog also has lots of stuff on these subjects, so you should practice using those (as I see you’re doing already :)).

      • Karishma May 14, 2014 at 10:15 pm #

        Thanks Chris! The content in Manhattan and Nova is pretty deep and insightful. Just started NOVA and liked the way they have explained each problem step by step..both books cover more than 100 problems so it doesn’t seem any GRE type problem on Probability will be untouched.

        • Chris Lele
          Chris Lele May 30, 2014 at 3:53 pm #

          You are welcome! Glad those books are helping out ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Aviram May 22, 2014 at 5:56 pm #

      You can also look at the excellent tutorials offered by Khan Academy on the subject, which include permutations, combinations, and probability. I’ve used it extensively.

      • Margarette Jung
        Margarette May 27, 2014 at 5:48 pm #

        Khan Academy is excellent– Magoosh highly recommends it! ๐Ÿ™‚

        • Karishma May 27, 2014 at 9:21 pm #

          Yes I have already viewed some of the views when I was googling for certain concepts and techniques. It is quite good! Thanks Aviram!

  10. Amfrit May 12, 2014 at 11:46 am #

    hello friends,

    IF books are available online free then what is the use for paying for the same book.
    also please suggest me books for gre preparation..


  11. Katherine April 24, 2014 at 9:34 am #

    Do you recommend purchasing all these books? I am already signing up to take Magoosh .



  12. pavan April 16, 2014 at 7:02 pm #

    My comments are not making it through they still appear ” under moderation” please delete the previous comments.

    Hey Chris!

    I recently gave my gre and scored a 308( Q 153 and V 155 ), I am looking out for your suggestions on improving my Quant score,Math seems really intimidating to me.

    I did all the problems from 5 lb and also from the 6 MGRE Quant books,Yet my scores in Quant refuse to improve.

    I think I seriously need some practice,What books would you suggest so that I can practice more and score a 160+ in Quant ? Or how do I figure out what I am making wrong ?


    p.s. I have a time frame of 2-3 months and I can spend 2-3 hours everyday exclusively for Quant,Verbal is not an issue for me as I am an avid follower of Magoosh and it will help me crack 160 in Verbal this time. So would you reckon I follow the 90 day advance plan ?

    Also do you reckon I wait for the NEW(2014) GRE Books by ETS and then give the test after I practice them?

  13. Mohit Bumb April 14, 2014 at 12:26 pm #

    Great book thanks ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele April 15, 2014 at 11:00 am #

      You are welcome!

      • James May 30, 2014 at 11:24 am #

        Hey Chris I am just starting to look for study materials for the GRE that I am taking at the end of the month and I am a little overwhelmed by all of the materials out there. I am going to get The Official Guide to the GREยฎ revised General Test, Second Edition and also sign up for the “Magoosh Premium” plan. I have limited time to study because I also have finals coming up so I want to just make sure that I am making the most of my study time. Do you think the combination of the 2 resources is my best bet?

  14. Nivedita March 6, 2014 at 2:02 am #


    I am currently using Magoosh Prep and the ETS Original Guide for reference. I want to know what can i use for advanced Math prep in terms of harder questions. I am aiming really high (90,95th percentile) and have finished with the basic math prep already.

    Please advice


    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele March 6, 2014 at 2:09 pm #

      Hi Nivedita,

      The MGRE math questions are great. There are few scattered about in the 5 lbs. guide, and the ones on the practice tests are good too (there are a number of challenging ones in there).

      You might also want to check out official GMAT questions (you can find them in the 13th edition of the Official Guide).

      Finally, there are Nova quetions. They are based on the old GRE, but there are some tough ones in there.

      Good luck!

      • grestudent April 7, 2014 at 9:29 am #

        Hi Chris,

        I have the MGRE 5lbs book and the 8 MGRE study guide besides the internet.Would that suffice to get a decent score in GRE??

        BTW I am unable to make any posts as I don’t know why it does not appear even after moderation!!!

        • Chris Lele
          Chris Lele April 8, 2014 at 3:22 pm #


          It seems like your comment got through :).

          Sure, I think that’s plenty of resources. Though, technically speaking, I think every student should take a practice test from ETS, whether it is from the official guide or the one available online for free.

          Hope that helps!

  15. Milind March 2, 2014 at 7:37 pm #

    Hey, can you tell me how good are full length tests ?
    & thanks magoosh is best, I am using your free books they are just awesome. & video explaination are too good . you are really good people. thank you ๐Ÿ˜€

    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele March 3, 2014 at 1:21 pm #

      Hi Milind,

      So I spent about 10-15 minutes going through the verbal questions. I would not recommend anyone use these questions. The TC/SE are nothing like what you’ll see on the exam (some archaic words, more focus on really hard vocabulary vs. sentence structure–which is written in a down-to-earth colloquial tone. The GRE style is very different.

      I didn’t look at the RC as much. Since I ran out of my free question limit. The passages didn’t look bad, but based on my experience with TC/SE, I’m not that optimistic :).

      Hope that helps, and thanks for the kind words ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Milind March 3, 2014 at 8:29 pm #

        Thank you very much sir, for taking such efforts for me. u r really nice person. if I get low score I will definitely buy Magoosh, I have only 3 days left, till day before yesterday I didn’t knew much about magoosh but for now I know one thing that magoosh people are there to help…………thanks, you have saved my much valuable time by evaluating (that) website

        • Chris Lele
          Chris Lele March 4, 2014 at 10:54 am #

          Hi Milind,

          Glad I could help! I’m always looking for new material out there, whether to encourage students to use or to warn against using.

          Yep, we are always here to help! Good luck on the test :).

  16. Cheryl February 17, 2014 at 1:55 pm #

    Hi Chris,

    Based on your review I just bought the The Official Guide to the GRE Revised General Test, 2nd Edition. I am also going to download the Magoosh GRE eBooks. Can you recommend any particular set of flash cards that I could purchase or program that I can download to my phone. I like to carry them (or my phone) around and go through them when I’m standing line, at lunch during work, etc.


    Cheryl ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele February 18, 2014 at 12:57 pm #

      Hi Cheryl,

      Sure! We actually have a great flashcard app. Just look for it on either the Apple or the Droid/Google platforms. If for some reason you can’t find it, let me know :).

      Good luck, and let me know if you have any questions along the way.

      • Cheryl February 21, 2014 at 3:04 pm #

        You guys are awesome!!

        • Chris Lele
          Chris Lele February 25, 2014 at 10:45 am #

          You are welcome!

  17. oluwakemi January 16, 2014 at 1:28 am #

    hi, i really found this peice useful and also the testimonials from different people scoring high has further encouraged me to take the test. i have an engineering background so my maths knowledge is average but my vocabulary is zero. i have barely a month to prepare for GRE and i see you have highly reccommended Magoosh test prep and GRE official guide but as it is at the moment i cant afford both of them so i would like to know which one would be most useful especially for the verbal section and with the little time left. thanks.

    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele January 16, 2014 at 2:04 pm #

      Hi Oluwakemi,

      I”m glad the Magoosh blog has encouraged you to take the test :).

      For material, the Magoosh ebooks listed above are absolutely free! That way, you only need to spend money on the Official GRE Guide, something I highly recommend you buy.

      Good luck, and let me know if you have any questions along the way ๐Ÿ™‚

  18. Tejas January 15, 2014 at 10:33 am #

    Excellent material! Thenks for sharing it for free ๐Ÿ™‚

  19. Manish A. January 12, 2014 at 9:18 pm #

    Hi Chris,

    Thank you so much for taking your time and writing this i have a question…
    I was just wondering if magoosh is the right place to start your GRE prep?
    What i meant was ,i know that magoosh is probably the best source out there
    for GRE,but is it right place to “START” things off?

    I am bad in both quant and verbal section (its been 4 yrs,since I have done
    any math),so i thought I would start with the much easier books such as
    Kaplan..once i get hold of it,i would start studying from much more
    difficult sources such as magoosh….

    So what are your thoughts on this? Should i just start off right away from
    magoosh resources or should i refer to much easier sources such as Kaplan
    and then make a transition to magoosh?? Please provide your
    suggestion,since I am a kinda confused!

    Manish A.

    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele January 16, 2014 at 2:09 pm #

      Hi Manish,

      That’s a great question!

      Magoosh starts off very basic, go over the fundamentals. More advanced student skip much of these lesson videos and dive straight into the questions. So even if you are just starting off, Magoosh will take you from the most elementary building blocks–in both quant and verbal–and build up the most difficult.

      I’d say start with Magoosh and one of the books out there. I’d recommend the Manhattan series, perhaps just getting one or two books in the sections that you are struggling most in.

      Let me know how that sounds ๐Ÿ™‚

  20. Sai December 18, 2013 at 12:49 am #

    Hi Chris,
    You have been doing a great job in patiently answering each one of us. That is so generous of you. Getting to my point, I am from India where English is not the mother tongue. I plan to take GRE in May or June. I want to go to a good University for MS, which means I will have to aim for really good score. I have boon so confused with planning my preparation, books to use and how to write essays etc.. So it would be great if you can give me your suggestions….And I did take a trial subscription of Magoosh and it was great by the way..

    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele December 18, 2013 at 4:03 pm #

      Hi Sai,

      So the Magoosh subscription should answer many of your questions. As for books, the ones I mention in this post are the ones you should use. The Magoosh ebooks, which are free, will give you a lot of structure (they are at the top of the page). After reading these, if you still confused about how to prepare, and can tell me what you are specifically confused about, I would love to help :).

  21. Arun October 6, 2013 at 11:16 pm #

    Hi Chris,
    I find your recommendations for effective GRE preparation and reviews on books quite helpful. In your recommendation you have mentioned LSAT guides too so when you say LSAT books, which book are you actually referring to and how can I use those LSAT books for better GRE preparation.

  22. Hani August 14, 2013 at 12:04 pm #

    Hi Chris,

    I’m ok with all types of questions in math section except the probability and combination questions, do you recoommand a specific books that teach in deep this types of questions with a lot of examples.

    Thank you

    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele August 15, 2013 at 11:27 am #

      The MGRE 5 lbs. book has quite a few of these question types. Better yet, there are about 20+ combination/permutations/probability questions floating around the Magoosh blog. Some are easy, some are very, very difficult.

      Good luck!

    • aqd September 22, 2013 at 5:46 am #

      If you want to study probability and combinatorics deeply then William Feller’s Probability theory and its application is the best book.
      But it is a very difficult book

  23. Stu August 12, 2013 at 10:42 am #

    I’ve been using a combination of ETS, Magoosh and the Manhattan Prep stuff, as suggested on here, and I have to say, I agree completely. I recently tried the Princeton practice questions online and they were awful, whilst I was scoring in the 160s on the Manhattan/ETS practice ones, suddenly after a Princeton I was on 152, after going back over them realizing some of the questions in the free practice tests were wrong!

    All credit to Magoosh, ETS and Manhattan if I get a good score! Stay away from Princeton!

    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele August 12, 2013 at 1:45 pm #

      Thanks for sharing, Stu. I agree. Basically, TPR should only be used by students who are scoring really low in math and need a refresher. But if they are serious about breaking 145, then they need to use other prep material.

      Good luck on your test :)!

      • Stu October 8, 2013 at 12:36 am #

        Ended up getting a 166 (700) for the verbal, 162 (775) for the quantitative and 6.0 for the essays! Cheers for your help dude! Would definitely recommend the advice on here to anyone.

        • Rachel Wisuri
          Rachel October 8, 2013 at 10:55 am #

          Hey Stu! That’s awesome, congrats! ๐Ÿ™‚

  24. Ross August 12, 2013 at 8:36 am #

    Thank You guys!
    The e books are simply great.This is a brilliant web site. I like it a lot. Thanks for all the help!

    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele August 12, 2013 at 1:42 pm #

      You’re welcome!

  25. Ravy August 8, 2013 at 3:33 am #

    Hi Chris,
    Its been a while since I purchased the Magoosh GRE (Verbal) subscription, but could not get time to prepare at all.
    Now, that I am willing to start my preparations, I would like to ask about what books are best for the Verbal section. I have not currently purchased any of the book and is bit confused about what books should I refer to for my verbal preparations. I have one and half months to prepare for the Verbal section and can devote around 6-7 hours (or may be more) a day for my preparation. I need to score atleast 165 in the verbal section.

    Also, the Barron’s GRE 20th Edition (released on June 1, 2013, available on is out, what are your reviews about this new edition? Should I consider purchasing Barron’s?

    Please provide the final list of all the books I should consider purchasing for my preparations.



    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele August 8, 2013 at 3:22 pm #

      Hi Ravy,

      For verbal prep, in addition to Magoosh, definitely use the GRE Official Guide, as well as the two practice tests. For tough verbal content, I’d recommend using the GMAT Official Guide, for both the Critical Reasoning questions and the Reading Comp. You should also pick up an LSAT book with official tests.

      All this material should be more than adequate to help you nail the 165.

      As for the Barron’s 20th edition, it is no different than the 19th edition. At most, they typically just clean up a typo or two.

  26. Hari July 25, 2013 at 9:19 am #

    Hi Chris,

    I do have a question at the end of this (You can skip to it if the review section is too long:-)). But I thought I should share my experience with GRE prep. Since I tried a bit of many things, I hope this helps someone looking for a prep combination ideal to their stituation.

    I am giving my GRE in another 3 weeks. I studied for about 5 months and combined all the well-known prep-courses (except Manhattan). I also took a power prep test last week. Here’s a brief idea of what I feel about the courses. I must also add (being a computer science engineer), I am pretty well-versed at Math and I only needed lessons on advanced Math concepts and some practice.

    Princeton – Too basic. Especially the Math. Good for recapitulating the very basics, but way too much stress on it. Verbal is better but still lacks challenging content and GRE specific practice.

    Kaplan – Much better than princeton. Very good online quiz bank (especially quant). Has slightly tougher verbal but still lags behind in giving real test-like questions, especially in text completion and sentence equivalence.

    Barrons – The book isn’t too bad. Amazing online content though. Especially for verbal. Test-like TC and SE questions and tough RC questions as well. However, based on the power prep test, it looks like barron’s focuses more on abstract analysis of the passage rather than objective and astute analysis of its structure and content. They have great full practice tests too.

    Magoosh (Have only been through the trail version) – Nice questions. Tough Math and challenging verbal questions. I must favor Barron’s just for SE and TC though since they are more test like. But the few RC questions that I did were very good and power-prep-like. Basically, the RC questions look like they would be perfect practice for the GRE.

    Finally, the question..

    I feel pretty confident about Quant reasoning (Generally have scored 167-170 on all practice tests). I’ve made big strides in verbal too,from an average 150 (princeton free online test) to 165 in power prep (though I feel luck had something to do with this as well). The TC and SE questions on power prep were a big shock to me since they were nothing like the ones I had practiced in any prep course (except Barron’s). RC was a surprise too but a pleasant one because it was very well structured and the questions were based on logic. Needless to say, I fared well in RC (19 out of 20) and fell behind in TC and SE.
    I need some finishing touches on Verbal. I will probably take the online verbal-only course from Magoosh for some more reading comprehension practice. But I need some advice on where I can get some real GRE-like questions on text completion and sentence equivalence. Barron’s has some good questions but I am running out of them.

    Your advice will be greatly appreciated.

    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele July 26, 2013 at 2:20 pm #

      Hi Hari,

      Thank you for sharing your insights on GRE prep material. It is always good to hear from a student who has spent much time assiduously reviewing the content :).

      So in answer to your question: Definitely use the MGRE practice tests. Their verbal questions, especially the Text Completions and the Sentence Equivalence are very tough. I don’t think they are very “Power Prep-y”, as they sometimes employ obscure vocabulary (but to a much lesser degree than the SE/TC guide). Oftentimes, the sentence structure is so convoluted as to be contrived…but those quibbles aside, the MRE TC/SE are solid.

      I’d also recommend giving Magoosh TC/SE a second look. To experiment, I just signed up for a free trial and got five practice questions, most of which weren’t necessarily amongst are better questions/”Power Prep-y”. (Our most difficult question, in which fewer 10% of test takers answered correctly, also showed up — no Power Prep question is that tough. Hence not a very “Power Prep-y” question). Of course if, after you peruse our questions more, you still feel we are below the mark, let me know. I’d greatly appreciate your keen feedback :).

      That said, there really isn’t much else out there. Sure, there is veritable raft of GRE verbal questions but most, as far as the TC/SE are concerned, are not even up to Kaplan standards.

      Good luck, and let me know how your experience goes ๐Ÿ™‚

  27. Sunny June 29, 2013 at 3:05 pm #

    Hi Chris,

    I would like to “Thank you” for your efforts before I ask anything ๐Ÿ™‚

    I have read almost all the reviews about GRE prep materials but now I am confuse.
    I am good in maths but verbal section is my weakness. Since I do have sufficient time in hand, I want to do my best to get 330+.

    Can you please suggest me some good materials for verbal section? I don’t know how to start with it and in what order. It may sound a dumb question to you ๐Ÿ™ , but I will appreciate your help.

    Based on the reviews I have made following plan but I think I will have to add some more to it.

    For Maths
    – MGRE 6 Books and Online test
    – Magoosh Practice set
    – ETS Tests

    For verbal
    – Barrons 1100 words
    – MGRE Flash cards
    – Magoosh Practice set
    – Read The Newyork Times and The Economist

    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele July 1, 2013 at 2:04 pm #

      For math, the list you have is excellent.

      For verbal, I’d include the Manhattan practice tests, which, generally speaking, have a higher question quality verbal-wise than do the books (the MGRE books are great for guidance, though sometimes the questions are lacking).

      That should really do the trick. Of course, we can revisit this list, if, after significant practice, you don’t feel you are edging toward your goal.

      Let me know how it goes :)!

      • Sunny July 1, 2013 at 11:07 pm #

        Thanks Chris ๐Ÿ™‚

        • Chris Lele
          Chris Lele July 2, 2013 at 11:00 am #

          You are welcome! Good luck!

      • muns July 2, 2013 at 9:50 am #

        hi chris
        i’m concerned as acc. to ur reviews there is not even a single book which is upto the standards of actual gre verbal questions could u tel me which comes closes to the revised gre

        • Chris Lele
          Chris Lele July 2, 2013 at 10:54 am #

          Hi Muns,

          The Official Guide by ETS (they write the test) provides questions that are up to standards :). There is quite a lot of verbal content spread over the book and the two Powerprep tests. Offhand, I’d say there are over 250 verbal questions written by ETS for the revised GRE.

          Hope that helps!

  28. Hani June 17, 2013 at 10:19 am #

    I’m preparing for the GRE now, and I’m studying (math ) from Kaplan, barrons, Magoosh, princeton, and Manhattan. I can say that the best are Manhattan, Maggosh, and princeton. Manhattan have some difficult questions that discouraged me. Kaplan and barrons have easy questions not that difficult and far away from the real test.

    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele June 18, 2013 at 2:29 pm #

      Hi Hani,

      Thanks for your input! With that potent cocktail of prep resources, you should do well!

    • bablu June 21, 2013 at 4:43 pm #

      good luck hanni

  29. Wassim June 14, 2013 at 2:05 pm #

    Hi Chris-
    I’ll be attending grad school in the fall and will need to have the GRE exam done in 3 months. its been 8 years since i completed my BA and i am a bit rusty . I would describe myself as above average in Math but on the verbal i may need some help. English is not my first language but I’ve lived in the US for almost 15 years.

    i am trying to have all basis covered in my prep and i am confused with all the prep books out there. I do see that the Manhattan GRE is very good but lacks good practice problems and the verbal can be intimidating but good correct? i also the Magoosh GRE is a favorite of course and i don’t mind doing that but they both come with a price !

    Currently i am thinking of getting either the MGRE or the Magoosh online but i can’t do both and supplement those with other prep books ( ETS official and the 5ib Manhattan practice tests)

    would this be a good plan? i had two friends recommend the Kaplan but i am not reading great reviews as the MGRE.

    Thank you for your help !

    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele June 18, 2013 at 2:32 pm #

      Hi Wassim,

      Going with either MGRE or Magoosh will be a good plan. Even without extra supplementary material that should be fine. However, I still encourage getting the ETS Official Guide. It’s a must!

      As for Kaplan, I’m not a big fan–though I’ve heard their online stuff is better than their book stuff.

      Good luck!

  30. NEYOLA May 30, 2013 at 2:10 pm #


    I need to write the GRE within the next three months and would be interested in getting the highest scores possible within the range of 750-800 for quantitative and 650-750 for verbal. I know you don’t know my level in those 2 areas now and I must say I am kinda ‘match rusty’ having not written online tests in a while.

    I am better in quantitative than verbal and i would really appreciate a systematic guide to ace the test and the required resources. I am not too worried about the cost of the required books for the test.


    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele May 31, 2013 at 1:44 pm #

      Hi Neyola,

      Actually, the test has changed a lot — it is no longer out of 1600. Instead, it is out of 340, 170 for the math and 170 for verbal. While the test is different, scoring well is still a priority for most. A great way to do so is by reading our ebooks, which will familiarize you with the test: the format, the best study resources, and the best ways to go about studying.

      Let me know if you have any questions along the way :).

  31. eunice May 20, 2013 at 11:09 am #

    Hi Chris,

    When you mention MGRE guides, is that the Manhattan prep you are talking about? Or does the M stand for Magoosh?

    I only have $ to purchase one book, unfortunately, and am debating between the Barron and the PR. I have taken the old GRE before and scored poorly on quant, at ~50 percentile. However, Iโ€™m thinking that if Barronโ€™s is denser in content, it would prepare me better for the actual day whereas if I purchase the PR I might need supplementary material. I know itโ€™s hard for you to make a call, but Iโ€™m wondering if you have any thoughts based on the aboveโ€ฆ

    Tangentially, if I did the Magoosh online courses, would that alone be sufficient to give me a good score on the GREs?

    Thank you again so much, Chris!

    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele May 20, 2013 at 1:39 pm #

      Hi Eunice,

      Those are all good questions!

      I think I’d choose Barron’s over PR just because you get more questions, questions that are similar in difficulty to those you’ll see test day.

      The Magoosh courses definitely would be sufficient. Our lesson videos (they describe all the math fundamentals you need to know for the GRE) are more comprehensive than either Barron’s or TPR. We have about 500 math questions, which is definitely more than Princeton Review. Probably more than Barron’s book, but I’d have to count.

      Finally, in regards to your first question, the ‘M’ in MGRE stands for Manhattan.

      Good luck, and let me know what you decide to do :)!

  32. eunice May 13, 2013 at 9:08 pm #

    Hi Chris,

    Thanks for this blog! Just a quick question — in the article above, you say that the PR general review deserves a somewhat honorable mention bc it is better than many of the other material out there, but when I read your book reviews, it seems you give the Barron’s a generally better score yet you don’t mention it in this list — could I know which book would you recommend I invest in if I only had enough money for one?


    • eunice May 13, 2013 at 9:09 pm #

      And in addition, do you know whether there is much difference between the Barron’s 19th edition (which you reviewed) and the newer 20th edition?


      • Chris Lele
        Chris Lele May 14, 2013 at 10:20 am #

        Hi Eunice,

        I only have the 19th edition, but typically–which I guess means almost always–the follow-up guides are the exact same as the previous years. Back during the old GRE, the PR and Barron’s 1999 GRE guides were no different from 2007 ones. That doesn’t mean Barron’s is completely stagnant on the content front. They have released Verbal and Math workbooks (the verbal should be avoid), and the Barron’s 6 practice tests (which are ok).

        Hope that helps!

    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele May 14, 2013 at 10:16 am #

      Great question! I think I should have been more specific when I said that PR general review gets an honorable mention. From the standpoint of good high-level strategies and content that is sort of like “training wheels” for the GRE, PR is great. So if you are a student who has traditionally struggled with standardized tests and are starting around the 140-level, then TPR is a good book. For that matter the Barron’s is too, but I think the Barron’s is less focused on general strategies and more focused on content (which is slightly more difficult than TPR). But since Barron’s content is better, I originally have it a higher score.

      If you had to choose one, I think it depends on your level. Either way, I would recommend at some juncture picking up one of the MGRE guides based on the area where you need the most help. That will give you access to their 6 online tests, which are some of the best practice you can get for test day.

      Hope that helps!

      • eunice May 14, 2013 at 8:22 pm #

        Hi Chris,

        Thanks so much for your response! when you say MGRE guides, is that the Manhattan prep you are talking about? Or does the M stand for MAGOOSH!?

        I only have $ to purchase one book, unfortunately, and am debating between the Barron and the PR. I have taken the old GRE before and scored poorly on quant, at ~50 percentile. However, I’m thinking that if Barron’s is denser in content, it would prepare me better for the actual day whereas if I purchase the PR I might need supplementary material. I know it’s hard for you to make a call, but I’m wondering if you have any thoughts based on the above…

        Tangentially, if I did the Magoosh online courses, would that alone be sufficient to give me a good score on the GREs?

        Thank you again so much, Chris!

  33. farsa May 13, 2013 at 1:25 am #

    Thank you very much for your comprehensive reviews of books, I read all of them. however, I’m a little bit confused now and don’t know what the best book is for excelling in Verbal section of GRE, I also need a book with a good ” Text completions/sentence equivalence” section. Or let me put my words in a more clear structures, I would be grateful if you could specify the best book separately for each section of GRE, i.e. Vocabulary, Reading Comprehension, Text Completions/Sentence Equivalence, Writing, Math. Thanks in advance

    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele May 13, 2013 at 2:04 pm #

      Hi Farsa,

      There just isn’t any perfect book out there for the Verbal section. The best is to mix and match. I’d recommend:

      1. MGRE: Verbal (computer-based practice test only)
      2. 6-Practice tests Barron’s: TC/SE
      3. Reading Comp.: Official GMAT guide/LSAT guides
      4. Barron’s 1100 Words – vocabulary
      5. MGRE Reading Comp. – Strategies (passages are ok–but not great)
      6. Math: MGRE (esp. online tests)
      7. MGRE 5 lbs. book (math mostly)
      8. The Official Guide to the GRE
      9. Practicing to take the GRE (old ETS book): Reading passages and Sentence

      Also, check out our 3-month study guide, which recommends only the best resources:

      Good luck!

  34. Marisa April 30, 2013 at 5:18 pm #

    Hi Chris!

    So I’m taking the GRE in two months and I’m kind of freaking out. I’m not a particularly strong standardized test taker but I need really high scores. I feel as though I struggle most with math but I’m not the best at the verbal components either. From these reviews I think I will splurge and get the Manhattan books and use the Magoosh materials as well. Do you think that should be enough to prepare?


    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele May 1, 2013 at 11:37 am #

      Hi Marisa!

      I think Magoosh and Manhattan should be more than enough, as long as you throw in the Official Guide to the GRE by ETS (this last one contains official questions so you want to make sure to practice with it).

      With these three resources, you will get plenty of outstanding practice questions, test tips, and guidance. The Magoosh blog is also a great (and free :)) resource to help you navigate the next two months. And whenever you’re “freaking out” don’t hesitate to reach out, and we’ll help you through whichever thorny patch you are dealing with :).

  35. Roh April 1, 2013 at 1:13 am #

    Hi Chris ,

    I did try the Magoosh trial and i like the content.I want to appear for GRE in a months’s time.I can devote most of my time to studies (free for 3 weeks) .I am reasonably good at quant , my vocab is average.
    How should I approach the preparation.Shall I give any practice test to get a benchmark ? or shall i give tests only after the basic prep ? I tried few Q from various websites , my accuracy for Q is 65 – 75 % and V is 50 – 60 %.I truly believe in finding 1-2 good resources and sticking to it than going through a lot of books.Any suggestions for any books or material is welcome.


    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele April 2, 2013 at 10:33 am #

      Hi Roh,

      I understand the desire to simplify things – you don’t want to become inundated with different study material. The combination of Magoosh and the Official Guide to the GRE by ETS is a powerful coupling.

      I think benchmarking is a great way to start. Take one of the PowerPrep II tests that is on the CD that comes with the Official Guide. Then take a test every 6-7 days, making sure you review your mistakes afterwards.

      For a general prep outline, I’d go through the Magoosh lesson videos doing the quizzes at the end, so you can make sure you’ve learned and processed what you’ve seen on the videos. After about three days, you should identify your weaknesses and tailor your sessions with question types you struggle with (this is really easy to do using the Magoosh dashboard).

      Not that you have to follow this, but to get an idea of what a specific study plan looks like this could be of help:

      Also a great place to start for vocabulary is our ebook:

      Hopefully this will help you get started. Let me know if you have any questions along the way :).

  36. sakethram March 24, 2013 at 10:38 pm #

    Hi Chris,

    For the vocabulary part i am following below

    —>Magoosh vocab e-book
    —>Barron’s 1100 words
    —> 20 words a day from the newyork times articles(Topics: Music,arts,books,science)
    —>Word Power made easy
    —>ETS for practicing

    Kindly recommend books which help me to face good TC,SC and RC questions

    for the starters and medium level questions. As i need to work it from scratch could you please let me know for which book to start after your vocab e-book and word power made easy.And also for the medium-difficult practice questions!!

    For quant all i believe in my instincts and working on ETS guide anything else that you can recommend for that. I know it is rather less time to cover all the portion and books but any book that i must race through as mandate/imp before i give my exam

    Any suggestions will be added value for me!! Thanks for your continuous support!

    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele March 25, 2013 at 4:53 pm #

      Hi Sakethram,

      I like your ambitious plan :). Those are great vocabulary resources.

      To start off with easy/medium questions, PR’s General Guide and Barron’s General Guide are pretty. You’ll get lots of practice and the vocabulary/questions won’t be too difficult.

      I’d definitely stay away from Manhattan GRE TC/SE. Even the easy ones have far too many difficult words. On the Quant side though, you can’t really beat the practice of Manhattan GRE’s online tests. And don’t forget Magoosh – you can select for ‘easy/medium’ questions for verbal and quant

      Hope that helps, and good luck :)!

      • sakethram March 26, 2013 at 9:44 pm #

        Thanks again Chris!!

  37. Jordan March 18, 2013 at 3:08 pm #

    Chris, I have Bob Miller’s Math for the New GRE. Definitely should of read some review on it before I made the purchase. I was great at math in highschool in college but, it’s been quite a while. I’m looking to make exceptionally high on the quantitative section and I’m asking which books would you suggest in order to attain a great score? It seems that MGRE, ETS, and Magoosh are what you are pointing towards? And is there an order in which book you would start with? Thanks for the help bro.

    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele March 20, 2013 at 9:14 am #

      Hi Jordan,

      I think either Magoosh or MGRE is a great place to start. Both walk you through the beginning stages. Kind of like having a cool, patient tutor by your side. The ETS book, while great practice, is like that teacher who just writes on the board without really turning around to look if anybody is paying attention. But once you’ve built up your skills via Magoosh/MGRE, the ETS book is great.

      Hope that helps!

  38. Matt Z. March 1, 2013 at 11:21 am #

    Ewwwww, It turns out when I was in the process of studying a year ago I purchased Princeton Reviews book and used it exclusively… I did better than average but I didn’t do as well as hoped… Perhaps; I should have invested my time in some more pregame appraisal as you suggested.

    I will say the diagramming in the DVD is absolutely terrible for the Math Section… Trying to explain to myself that an expected “authority” on the GRE had done something dismally wrong and then decided to put it on a DVD for mass publishing gave me a massive tension headache.

    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele March 1, 2013 at 11:43 am #

      Hi Matt,

      Thanks for sharing your experience with the DVD portion of PR. I actually haven’t seen this component but it does sound disastrous.

      Let me know how the materials recon goes this time around. BTW have you checked out our book reviews page yet?

  39. lina February 23, 2013 at 11:51 pm #


    I have about 45 days to the GRE, I have completed the MGRE Math books barring the Quant comparison book. I have also completed the Magoosh ebook(English words) and Math questions pertaining to the MGRE books.

    I haven’t yet started with English and am wondering how to go about it in a smart and successful way. I was thinking of completing the 1000 questions from the MGRE vocab and going through the Magoosh RC, SC videos instead of reading MGRE…do you think that, that would be a smart idea? thanks for your help!

  40. harshitha February 23, 2013 at 9:48 am #

    hey Chris…..
    hi i am Harshitha… i have decided to take up GRE… so as a starter which book do i have to start up with????? and also i ve decided to take it 3 months later…. there’s a short span of time….. please do help me with this…..:):):)

  41. Pranitha Vangala February 11, 2013 at 2:53 pm #


    I’m so confused inregards to reading from newyork times or a similar source. I have hard time picking articles that have gre level words in it. Is there a better way to do it?

  42. Charlize Rai February 9, 2013 at 9:41 pm #

    I’ve been perusing your book recommendations, and I am curious as to what your opinion is regarding my study choices. I have done very little review, but I feel less confident in the verbal section (as I excelled in high school math, and university stats).

    For my vocab building:
    – Manhattan GRE flashcards
    – Flashcards written out from Magoosh vocab prep
    – Reading the New York Times a half hour daily and learning about the words that I do not understand in their pieces

    For my verbal practice:
    – ETS

    For my mathematics:
    – MGRE
    – NOVA as supplementary practice

    Analytical Writing
    – Practice writing every couple of days
    – Work on going through arguments/issues quickly and spending 10 minutes to draw up a quick outline

    I tend to find that I learn best by actually doing questions and such, but I am having difficulty discerning which texts have the best practice tests. My understanding from Magoosh is that ETS is obviously best (but limited number of tests), ETS 10th edition provides some good test-writing experience. Are there any other practice tests that are comparable to the GRE, and worth while writing for their practice?

    As you can see, I am also at a bit of a loss for the best materials to use to enhance my abilities on the verbal component of the exam (aside from sheer vocabulary increase). What would be ideal are a lot of practice questions that I could focus on ‘mastering’ that are similar to what would be found on the GRE in terms of difficulty, and vocabulary used.

    My exam date is booked for 6 weeks from now! EEk!

    • Chris Lele
      Chris February 11, 2013 at 10:53 am #

      Hi Charlize,

      That’s a great question – since good verbal practice material is hard to find. Really speaking MGRE and Barron’s 6 on-line tests offer some of what you’ll see test day. I think MGRE 6 on-line tests are the safest bet. Otherwise, the verbal content is pretty mixed (I’d recommend reading the review I wrote on the new MGRE 5 lbs. book – the review should be up today or early tmrw.).

      That said, give the Magoosh product a try. In terms of the vocabulary you will see, the sentence structure of the SE/TC, and the difficulty of the questions for the reading passage, our verbal segment offers the most for “mastery.” I say this not our of sheer bias but because this is the gist of what many Magoosh users who scored in the upper 160’s on verbal reported in their testimonials. We also offer the mock test option, so you can take practice tests for both math and verbal.

      As for math, make sure to throw in the ETS stuff too. With the 2nd edition and the online test, ETS offers a total of 4 practice tests (which will be helpful :)).

      I hope that answered your question, and let me know if there is anything else you need to know :). Good luck on your test! (as is, your study plan above looks solid. You should do well!).

      • Pranitha Vangala February 11, 2013 at 1:46 pm #


        I’m so confused inregards to reading from newyork times or a similar source. I have hard time picking articles that have gre level words in it. Is there a better way to do it?

  43. Ruth February 8, 2013 at 12:23 am #


    Just wanted to alert you to a grammatical error in the Princeton Review description above:

    “I still somewhat like this book for itโ€™s helpful big-picture strategies. ”


    • Chris Lele
      Chris February 11, 2013 at 10:54 am #

      Thanks! That pesky ‘it’s’ vs. ‘its’ :).

  44. Ravish Karve February 7, 2013 at 7:21 pm #

    Hey, I am using the Princeton Review Online course.
    I have so far found it and the practice tests pretty useful.
    Can you tell me what you think of this and what additional material I should be using? (“P.S: I am also using the Official Guide”)

    • Chris Lele
      Chris February 11, 2013 at 10:58 am #

      Hi Ravish,

      I haven’t seen the PR online questions recently, but from my experience they are generally helpful, esp. as a starter. I would not, however, only rely on these questions. Keep using the official guide, consider trying the MGRE 6 online practice tests, and def. give Magoosh a try. All three of these resources offer the tough-level questions you will likely see test day.

      Good luck!

  45. Srini February 7, 2013 at 4:06 pm #

    Would you also suggest using the Kaplan New GRE Verbal Workbook to study for the new GRE?

    • Chris Lele
      Chris February 7, 2013 at 5:28 pm #

      Hi Srini,

      In short – stay away from Kaplan’s Verbal book. It is one of the last books I’d recommend, and it will probably only hurt your score. You can read my review for Kaplan’s general book here:

      Good luck!

      • Anurag February 7, 2013 at 8:33 pm #

        Would you elaborate why Kaplan Verbal Workout will HURT my score. I mean general Book and Verbal workout must have some differences?

        • Anurag February 9, 2013 at 6:56 am #

          Even I am using the Verbal Workbook. As Chris pointed out , TC part is a complete waste of time.RC is good though.

          • Chris Lele
            Chris February 11, 2013 at 11:06 am #

            Yes, the RC is definitely better. I wouldn’t say it would hurt your score. It’s really the TC and the SE in which you are likely to hurt your score. The why? Well, it lulls you into a fall sense of complacency (the real questions aren’t that easy), words aren’t always used correctly, there are often debatable answer choices, and the sentence structure/writing style is nothing like what you’ll see on the actual test.

      • Srini N February 9, 2013 at 4:12 pm #

        So what would you recommend as good New GRE Verbal Workbooks?

        • Chris Lele
          Chris February 11, 2013 at 11:42 am #

          Hi Srini,

          It’s a good question. The problem is most of the “New” books are no different from last year’s editions. Though that’s probably moot, since many of those last year’s edition weren’t very good. The truth is there is a dearth of strong verbal material. What you see above is it, in terms of GRE verbal workbooks.

          MGRE has released it’s 5lbs. book – review coming out later. That said, this huge book is a mixed bag, in terms of verbal content. For books, stick to ETS as much as possible :).

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