Not all is bad in the land of McGraw. For those who struggle with many of the concepts in Barron’s, Kaplan’s and Princeton Review, or simply want more practice with math fundamentals that both publishers gloss over, McGraw-Hill’s Conquering the GRE Math is an invaluable resource.

Update November 2016: Since the writing of this review, McGraw-Hill has released new editions of its Conquering GRE Math prep book. The latest version is the 3rd edition, which you can find here. However, the 3rd edition is not much different from the 1st edition, so we largely stand by this review. Please let us know in the comments if you feel differently!

As a tutor, I see myself recommending this not only to students who haven’t seen math in ages, but, also, to those students who have certain specific concepts they need more practice on. So, if converting 0.125 into a fraction is tantamount to scaling Everest, then the hundreds of practice problems in this book will definitely help.

It is important to note that the questions in this book are not GRE math questions. They are questions that will help you better understand the basics out of which GRE math questions are constructed. Of course, the latter can seem bewildering without a strong grasp of the basics.

If I have to fault the book in one way, the layout is not that user-friendly. On some pages, one problem after another is dumped on the user. So, for someone who is already intimidated by math, the chaos of digits and mathematical notation will seem unnecessarily daunting (this is especially true on the explanations section).

But, as long as you know this going in, and are disciplined to work through this book, McGraw-Hill will help you understand concepts that may have stymied you all your life.

However, do not think that mastery of the concepts here will automatically transfer to the GRE. And, in that sense, the title is misleading: with only The McGraw-Hill Math you’ll be conquering very little of the actual GRE. For, once you’ve finished with McGraw-Hill, you’ll still have to learn the idiosyncrasies of the GRE quantitative landscape. But, with McGraw-Hill’s math, that process will no longer seem impossible.

As a math basics refresher, its grade would be an A-.

This is the fifth in a series of new GRE book reviews.