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New GRE Book Reviews

Most Recent Post Update: September 2016

Looking for an honest review of a GRE prep book? Chris Lele has reviewed all of the most popular prep material that’s been released from the time of the official GRE switch (in August 2011), through the present day.

So, whether you’re browsing the GRE prep section at your local library or wondering how many $$ to spend on Amazon, consult this list of reviews before making your selection. It’ll help you get the most value out of your money and time.

Don’t want to click through our list? Two options:

1) Head straight to our highest recommended GRE books: Best GRE Books & Book Reviews

2) Search the Magoosh GRE Blog’s most recent book reviews: Click here to browse

Magoosh GRE Book Reviews


Free GRE eBooks

Also, our very own (free!) eBooks:


GRE Article of the Month Series

Finally, in addition to our eBooks, take a look at our Article of the Month series. Each post comes with an academic-level article and accompanying vocabulary list, to help improve your vocabulary-in-context skills. Click the image below to see the entire series:

Article of the Month

Let us know in the comments if there are any other books or materials you’d like us to review!

Magoosh students score 12 points better than average on the GRE. Click here to  learn more!

Most Popular Resources

297 Responses to New GRE Book Reviews

  1. sky November 18, 2016 at 9:11 am #

    Hi Chris,

    I am a beginner in regards of GRE, and have been reading couple of posts here to get a grab of what materials I should follow. Just wanted to have a heads up from you, I did attempt the ets test, but I am taking lot of time to answer each question, so needless to say, I am taking lot more time than I should be.About the test, I do feel verbal is a wee bit easier than quantitative, but I think I could beat the verbal may be if I had a good base of vocab. But though I still am taking more time to understand the comprehension based questions, so at times I had to take a pause and go back and check the correct answer. Also I am out of university for a while, so my math base needs some polishing too. I do get the answers once I check it, but sometimes I have to understand why what works in a certain way, maybe because of the fact that I don’t remember certain math rules.So in short, I need practice in both the verbal and quantitative sections, though may be verbal is little bit less harder it seems, at least for now. So kindly please suggest which study plan from magoosh I should follow, as there are one which is more verbal oriented, and another one that is math oriented, probably there is another third one too. Your advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for the great works here.

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert November 20, 2016 at 11:01 am #

      Hi Sky,

      Based on your description, I would say that you may want to use with the 3-Month GRE Beginner Study Schedule. This schedule will guide you through the Magoosh content for both Verbal and Math, and help you build a strong foundation. However, please check out our other options as well here.

  2. Danny y0 September 15, 2016 at 3:13 pm #

    i hear a lot of cases where people study only 400 500 words and do comparatively better than many others doing a 1000+ words. Obviously without doing words attempting the vocab section will be a challenge but is it not possible to do 500-800 words. I am asking because i would rather put my time and energy into the quantitative section and get a higher percentile there.

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert September 17, 2016 at 6:51 am #

      Hi Danny,

      Yes, you can definitely do 500-800 words. There is no perfect number of vocab words to practice. In fact, as you do more practice problems, this is another opportunity to stretch your vocab muscles outside of purely learning vocab words. If you want to focus more on the Quant section, you should feel free to do so! I would just recommend to not neglect the Verbal section and just continuously stretch you muscles with vocab as well. Good luck!

  3. Hooman September 11, 2016 at 7:04 am #

    Hi magoosh !
    I have enough time,is this book suitable for gre??
    ‘GRE Word List: 3861 GRE Words For High GRE Verbal Score,by Franklin Vocab System ‘

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert September 11, 2016 at 9:01 pm #

      Hi Hooman,

      Happy to help 🙂 We haven’t reviewed that resource and I’m not familiar with it personally, but in general we advise students to learn vocabulary in context, not through word lists! That is, don’t make the mistake of memorizing a bunch of words without ample reading. Just memorizing definitions isn’t enough to do well on the verbal section–you have to understand how words are used in different contexts! To improve your verbal score, it’s essential to read, read, read as much as possible. This will improve your knowledge of vocabulary in context, your ability to process complex sentences, and your reading comprehension skills in general. Make flashcards of key words you don’t know and make sure that you are focusing your efforts on vocabulary in context. We actually have a Google Chrome extension that highlights common GRE words so that you can read them in context!

      So, I can’t give you a good opinion either way on this resource. Before you use it, however, I would suggest that you check the list against the words that you see in our vocabulary eBook and flashcards. Are they similar? If not, you may want to compare this book to other vocab sources, or reconsider your vocabulary source. The most important thing is that you find a source that works for you 🙂

  4. Magoosh Test Prep Expert
    Magoosh Test Prep Expert January 28, 2016 at 12:29 pm #

    Hey Raihan,

    You can see our most recent book reviews here (sorry for the late response!):

  5. Mayank September 10, 2015 at 10:22 am #

    Also,I stumble upon this LSAT RC book which have some great reviews
    I also had this googled and find a great recommendation for LSAT
    Can you please have a look into this book and tell me and other GRE aspirants if to follow this book passionately?

  6. Mayank September 9, 2015 at 7:07 am #

    Hey Chris!!
    I’ve been following your blog for a month and found that you don’t seem to recommend any perfect book for vocab.
    Can you recommend me any book /course (Apart from magoosh) which provides great strategies and ample practice material? Also I’ve seen in one of the comments that LSAT material is also great for GRE vocab ,can you justify it and recommend me some LSAT books?

  7. free games pro evolution soccer 2014 August 24, 2015 at 12:29 pm #

    My family members every time say that I am wasting my time here at web, except
    I know I am getting experience all the time by reading such nice articles.

  8. lavnish August 24, 2015 at 2:30 am #

    Hi Chris, i hv applied for the magoosh premium pack and my aim is to score 330..
    My study sets are:

    manhattan 8 guides
    ets official quant reasoning
    manhattan online test series

    manhattan rc
    ets official verbal
    barrons 1100
    manhattans flash cards
    magoosh apps

    and for overall practice:manhattan 5lb
    i just wanted to ask whether major tests wordlists are good for gre?what all things i should do to get to 330?

  9. Netra August 20, 2015 at 8:54 pm #

    I am plannning to give gre in october 2015. My aim is to score 320+. Please help me with some guidelines for achieving the same.

  10. Anwesha July 6, 2015 at 2:46 am #

    Can anyone tell me if GRE Bible is a good software for gre prep.

  11. Rashmi June 20, 2015 at 10:50 pm #

    Hi Chris,

    I am planning to take GRE again in the month of august. I had scored 313 (155:Q and 149:V; 4: AWA) the previous time.

    I had prepared on my own then using the free E-books provided by your blog, ETS official guide to the GRE , and the high frequency wordlist provided by Barron’s. My target is more than 328 this time.

    Being an engineering student, I would manage to score 170/170 in the Quant section with a bit more practice ( I am not overconfident here , I just wish I do) . But i lag behind in RC. I am in a dilemma on which book to follow. I had practiced RC from the Manhattan too. It would be very helpful if you suggest me some. Thank you.

  12. Amanda May 12, 2015 at 6:03 pm #

    Hey Chris! Thanks so much for all of the book reviews. You rock! :-). I was wondering if it were possible if you could do reviews for the following two books from Cliffs Notes:

    * Cliffs Notes Math Review for Standardized Tests
    * Cliffs Notes GRE Math Review

    My weakness is math and so I wanted to get the McGraw Hill book as a supplement (following the suggestion in Mike’s Math beginner study plan). I went to Barnes and Nobles to check out the book to see if it was helpful. However, the book was not what I needed. I was disappointed and so I went on amazon to look for an alternative. That is how I found these two books. However, I would love if you could give your opinion on them. Perhaps if you find these two books helpful (as a set or one or the other) it could be an alternative to the Mcgraw one. Thanks Chris! 🙂

    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele May 14, 2015 at 5:02 pm #

      Hi Amanda,

      Hmm…it’s been awhile since I’ve taken a look at the Cliffnotes math review. I remember them being pretty good, but I don’t think I ever did a proper review. I’ll make sure to order those books now, and do just that :).

      For the time being, I’d say use the Cliff Notes books; they might be very helpful, esp. if McGraw Hill didn’t work out too well (it is a little “busy” and disorganized).

      Hope that helps!

      • Alexander June 10, 2015 at 1:45 pm #

        Hi Chris,

        5 lb. Book of GRE Practice Problems, 2nd Edition is out now for 8 days already.

        Can you please do the review and inform us is it worth of buying, or first edition from 2013 will do just fine ?

        • Chris Lele
          Chris Lele June 11, 2015 at 5:45 pm #

          Hi Alexander,

          I’ll order the book and get out a review as soon as possible :). I was a little cynical, since these editions seems to be the same year after year. But I did a quick “look inside” on Amazon and it appears that this content might be different.

          • Alexander June 11, 2015 at 5:49 pm #

            I am looking forward to your in depth review.

      • Alexander June 11, 2015 at 4:44 pm #

        Hi Chris,

        5 lb. Book of GRE Practice Problems, 2nd Edition is out now, from 10 days ago !

        Can you please review this new edition of book and provide us with info is it wise/recommended to buy it, or first edition from 2013 will do just fine ?

  13. Arpan September 6, 2014 at 8:46 pm #

    could u please review verbal workout by princeton ? Is it advisable to use it for extra practice?

    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele September 8, 2014 at 1:58 pm #

      Hi Arpan,

      What I say for the Princeton Review general book pretty much holds true for the verbal. Only a good resource for somebody starting off at a very basic level.

      Hope that helps!

  14. Franklyn July 5, 2014 at 6:06 am #

    Hi Chris,

    I want to signed up for Magoosh Premium, after reading all the comments on the blog, you seem to recommend the Manhattan practice questions and the ETS official guide a lot. My last score was 155 Q and 149 V, I can afford to buy the Premium Magoosh and ETS but not MGRE, are these sufficient to improve my score to at least 160/160 ?


    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele July 9, 2014 at 1:14 pm #

      Hi Franklyn,

      You definitely don’t need MGRE. It’s just another option for students who have exhausted the official materials and/or Magoosh. It seems like people do very well using only those two. Indeed, I can’t think of too many testimonials in which students even mentioned using MGRE. My recommendations of MGRE are based on the quality of content, mostly.

      Anyhow, 160/160 can be yours just with Magoosh and ETS 🙂

  15. Eve July 2, 2014 at 5:23 pm #


    I wonder if you can review the book GRE Verbal Grail. I can’t seem to find much reviews about that book on the web.

    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele July 9, 2014 at 1:25 pm #

      Hi Eve,

      Actually, I reviewed it a long time back. In short, it was very disappointing and hastily put together. The Amazon review seems glowing (though there are only 2 reviews). Regardless, I would not recommend it to anybody.

      Hope that helps!

      • Eve July 9, 2014 at 2:24 pm #

        Thanks so much.

  16. Preethi June 19, 2014 at 12:36 am #

    Hi Chris 🙂

    I have taken Magoosh monthly schedule and have started practicing GRE verbal and quant problems… I have my exam on September 2… Will i be able to achieve more than 320 score if il follow this correctly?? I jus need your help..

    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele June 19, 2014 at 2:38 pm #

      Hi Preethi,

      It is really hard to say what score you will achieve–since I don’t know what your score was at the beginning or where currently score in practice exams. I wouldn’t want to promise anyone scoring a 290 that they can score 320 (only a few of our thousands of students have gotten a point increase close to 30).

      The key is to knowing your baseline (where you currently score) and improving at various increments. So when you increase by 5 points, you work at increasing by another 5, etc. That much I can promise you.

      So let me know where you are currently scoring and I can give you a better answer 🙂

      • Preethi June 20, 2014 at 3:16 am #

        Hi Chris 🙂

        I am taking the exam for the second time where lastly i had scored 300 with verbal 148 and quant 150… So im trying my best to improve this time and magoosh is actually helping me out in a better way than my other books which i referred last time..

        • Preethi June 20, 2014 at 3:17 am #

          Sorry i mean quant 152…

        • Chris Lele
          Chris Lele June 20, 2014 at 11:37 am #

          Hi Preethi,

          A 320 is def. possible–we’ve seen that kind of improvement before. Try to follow one of our study guides, if you haven’t already. And let me know how your prepping goes? Remember, first aim for a 310 (take an ETS mock test). Once you hit that then 320 is near :). If you get stuck, or “plateau”, anywhere along the way, I’m there to help :).

          • Preethi June 21, 2014 at 6:59 am #

            Thanks Chris :)… il let u know the updates once i take the practice test!!

            • Chris Lele
              Chris Lele June 23, 2014 at 11:00 am #

              You are welcome 🙂

  17. mahesh May 15, 2014 at 11:06 pm #

    i wanted to know…does manhattan 5lb book provides the 6 online practice test?

    • Rachel Wisuri
      Rachel May 16, 2014 at 10:14 am #

      Hey Mahesh,

      As Chris has mentioned below, no, this book does not provide you with access to the 6 online tests. 🙁 You’ll need to buy one of the strategy guides to get access to those!


  18. reza March 25, 2014 at 8:09 am #

    Hi Chris.
    Thanks a lot for
    I am planing for 330+ during 7-8 months. I studied 1100,800 Barron’s, Word smart and 800 words of 3500 that I think are good. I want to review them also read the Articles of he New York Times, The Economist, The Atlantic Monthly, and the New Yorker every day. A long with them I want to study the below materials respectively:
    1.Big book(RC,TC) and Gmat(CR,Math)
    2. Magoosh
    3. Manhattan(5lb, volumes 7,8)
    4. Full tests(Manhattan, Barron’s,ETS and other practice tests)
    Do you think these sources are enough an my plane is good for achieving my goal?
    Best regard

  19. Katherine February 22, 2014 at 12:34 pm #

    Hi Chris,

    My main struggle has been the verbal part of the test. I have gone through the text completion and reading comprehension books and would like to get more practice applying thier strategies. What book would you recommend for verbal questions? I have the 5lb book but from what I gather from your review and actually doing the problems is that it’s not a true reflection of what I’ll be seeing on the test. Any recommendations for finding better practice problems?

    Thank you!

    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele February 24, 2014 at 8:09 pm #

      Hi Katherine,

      I can’t think of any better practice than the official materials. Right now the 2nd edition tests offers hundreds of verbal questions (this includes 4 practice tests — 2 on CD and 2 at the end of the book). In May, which is still a few months off, ETS, the same people who write the 2nd edition book, as well as the test itself, will release a verbal guide with all new questions.

      That should definitely give you a feel for the way the verbal questions are constructed.

      Hope that helps!

  20. Bharat.S October 16, 2013 at 6:39 am #

    Hello Chris,
    Thanks for all the support you guys are lending out there!!!
    I have been following your advise regarding preparation and consideration of books. I am preparing quantitative from Manhattan series. For verbal, i am still confused.
    I have downloaded your free resource – GRE Vocab Flashcards. Are they enough for my preparation in this short time. Also, what to study first? Vocab or RCs ?
    Can you please advise me on this?
    Thanks in advance!

    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele October 17, 2013 at 11:46 am #

      Hi Bharat,

      For Verbal you might want to try the Magoosh product or the Manhattan product (as you are currently doing for math). The Magoosh flashcards are great for vocab but you will need to do GRE verbal questions. The vocab prep will dovetail more nicely with practice on the TC/SE. Still, you should mix up RC in there. Not only does vocab show up in the passages, but it is good to keep improving both your TC/SE skills and RC skills at the same time. You don’t want either to atrophy :).

      Good luck!

  21. siddharth diwanji July 25, 2013 at 4:38 am #

    hey chris could you review “verbal grail by aristotle prep”. i have the book but i think it is tad easier . i am juxtaposing it with 5lb.

    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele July 25, 2013 at 5:09 pm #

      Hi Siddharth,

      I’m not going to put a formal review out for it, because it is such a small company, and few students have asked about it. Also, I wasn’t at all impressed by the book, but I don’t want to write a review just to bash the book. I would definitely not recommend it to any of my students. It seems rush and unfinished, and the questions aren’t GRE-like.

      Hope that helps!

      • siddharth diwanji July 26, 2013 at 5:24 am #

        thanks chris yeah. it does seem a bit rushed .
        but if you had to give it a grade what will it be …..

        the thing is it is too easy to be misled and there only an scintilla of verbal books available which are gre relevant.

        • Chris Lele
          Chris Lele July 26, 2013 at 1:23 pm #

          You’re right, there is a dearth of material out there. I’d give it a ‘D’. Again, I wouldn’t recommend anybody use it.

  22. Anirudhan July 5, 2013 at 7:09 am #


    I just signed up for the Magoosh GRE prep a couple of days ago. From what I have seen till now, the Magoosh team has done a splendid job with the course. I just cam across the new updated version of Princeton review’s practice questions. Its 1007 practice questions now, done by 7 from the 1014 of the last edition. While you did mention that the last edition was full of typo’s I was wondering whether the necessary corrections have been carried out in their latest edition and whether it is worth procuring.


    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele July 5, 2013 at 1:48 pm #

      Hi Anirudhan,

      I’ve yet to see the newest version! I’ll pick up a copy and give it a review. I’m not that optimistic, though, since in the past many of the typos have persisted from edition to edition. Hopefully, the cutting down of seven questions betokens something different this time around.

      Regardless, I’ll put up a review soon :).

  23. Sanjna June 5, 2013 at 10:55 pm #

    Hi chris!! Wondering if you could do a review on the 5lb manhattan book of practice problems… I have already exhausted the 8 book series and wondering if this had anything additional? Also can u suggest a good book for practice problems alone?

  24. Andrea March 23, 2013 at 4:58 pm #

    Hello Chris!, I love your work!, this book review really helped me.
    I have a question…I will buy dome flashcards, but I don´t know which ones are better. The Barrons?. Princeton? or Manhatan Essential Words? or Manhattan Advanced words?

    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele March 26, 2013 at 10:58 am #

      Thanks for the kudos :).

      My take on flashcards is go for ones that offer clear definitions (so you’re not always running for the dictionary). Also, example sentences are great.

      Between Barron’s/PR/Kaplan there really isn’t too much difference. They are all pretty mediocre compared to the MGRE flashcards. These have helpful example sentences, additional useful info. (that can really make words stick).

      The flashcards are also nice and robust and not flimsy like the Kaplan cards. The best part is there is a ring you can “load” the flashcards onto. That way you don’t lose them, and you don’t have to take the entire 500 every time you leave the house.

      Hope that helps :).

      • sagar April 16, 2013 at 12:57 am #

        I was wondering about what is the difference between Manhattan gre series of books 1 to 8 and the manhattan 5lb single book.
        which book is better and between these two in which one i’l get to practice more actual like GRE questions.

        • Chris Lele
          Chris Lele April 16, 2013 at 3:48 pm #

          Hi Sagar,

          The main difference between the two books is that the 5 lbs. book only has questions, whereas the books (1-8) focus more on strategies and foundation. Sure, there are questions in these guides, but they function more to instill concepts than as actual GRE question. So you definitely want to pick the 5 lbs. book if you want practice questions.

          Good luck!

          • Celestine June 3, 2013 at 1:15 am #

            Chris what about the Holy grail verbal book by Aristotle prep. Did you review this one? Heard some mighty fine things about it.

            • Chris Lele
              Chris Lele June 3, 2013 at 11:29 am #

              I have yet to review it. It doesn’t seem as anyone has even reviewed it on Amazon yet. So what have you heard about it?

              • celestine June 3, 2013 at 6:42 pm #

                Well it was only published this year, and is a newcomer for sure. I think It still needs some time to generate “presence”. What I’ve read from users on other forums is that it is indispensable to getting an almost perfect Verbal Score. But I take that with a grain of salt. Nonetheless, it would still be swell if you can check it out, and add it to your authoritative review list. You’re really good with that.

  25. Shelly March 21, 2013 at 8:17 am #


    If I want to focus on the verbal section over the math section, which book would you recommend most? From what I read of your book reviews, it would seem that you recommend Princeton Review’s Cracking the GRE, 2013 Edition…what about Princeton Review’s Verbal Workout for the New GRE, 4th edition? Which is better in terms of both strategy and content?

    Also, after reading your reviews, it would seem MGRE offers the strongest prep for the math section?

    Thank you very much!

    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele March 21, 2013 at 3:50 pm #

      Hmm…good question…I’m not actually sure I would put Princeton Review at the top, unless you are struggling on either verbal or math, and want a good high-level intro. So sure, as a place to start PR Cracking the GRE is a decent place.

      The verbal workbook is also okay. There are plenty of practice questions, but they are not really like what you’ll see on the test in terms of difficulty. Ultimately, you’ll want to get the GRE Official Guide by ETS. Strategies and layout is pretty bad, but the practice questions are great.

      For the math section, MGRE is definitely the best. Still, you’ll want to supplement your study with actual questions from ETS.

      Hope that helps!

      • Rwiddhi Chakraborty August 17, 2016 at 6:18 am #

        Hello Chris,
        Thank you so much for an exhaustive set of articles! Youre helping tons of us here.

        One question: I’m currently using magoosh vocab builder and the mgre study guides. I also have the 5lb book, and the official guide.

        Could you suggest some good resources for verbal strategy and explanations? The ets book contains only questions.


        • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
          Magoosh Test Prep Expert August 21, 2016 at 9:28 am #

          Hi Rwiddi,

          Have you considered becoming a Premium Student with Magoosh? We have comprehensive video lessons with strategies for solving every type of verbal question, along with over 550 high-quality practice verbal practice questions. Each of our questions has an in-depth video and text explanation, and you have access to our team of test prep experts when you have a question. You can get limited access to our program with a free trial here: 🙂

  26. Shanks March 12, 2013 at 3:46 am #


    I am planning to give GRE in Sept 2013 so I have around 6 months to prepare. I have read the blogs and questions , based on that I have chalked out the necessary books

    To begin with, I am buying ETS official guide and soon signing up for Magoosh Premium.
    I am planning to go for following-

    1. MGRE online tests
    2. Magoosh
    3. Nova’s


    1. MGRE (esp. online tests)
    2. Magoosh
    3. Barrons 1100 words

    I am aiming 330+… So, plz. suggest if I need to refer anything else. Also, if I am going in the right direction as a beginner.

    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele March 12, 2013 at 1:17 pm #

      Hi Shanks,

      This is a great study list for a beginner 🙂 The only thing I can think of adding is GMAT quant and LSAT official materials, once you’ve gone through all these materials and have seen yourself improve substantially. You’d probably want to be in the 320 range by this point.

      Let us know how the studying goes, and if you have any questions along the way :).

      Good luck!

  27. Thom September 6, 2012 at 4:16 am #

    Hey Chris, thanks for answering all the questions here. It is of great help to all of us.
    I have one short enquiry to you. As you have said, the Second edition of the ETS’ GRE prep is having the material from the first book plus new exams. But even this prep is insufficient really. This is why I will subscribe to magoosh. I was wondering how many times you and your colleagues have taken the New GRE in order to prepare questions for your content? I mean, we are not allowed to take paper out of the test room, so how do you do it. Great memory.?

    • Chris Lele
      Chris September 6, 2012 at 4:50 pm #

      Ha! No, no, we are not using our photographic memories to recapitulate the content and rebrand it as Magoosh (that would be illegal, and require mnemonic prowess of which none of us are capable).

      I take the test from time to time, little recon. sessions, just to see if the content is changing in any way. I try to make sure that the questions in the product best reflect the content I see test day. Then it is off to my muse as I do my best to conjure up questions that match the sophistication and nuance of those found on the actual test.

      Glad we’ve been helpful!

    • Shanks March 13, 2013 at 1:39 am #

      Thanks Chris. I must say you guys are doing an awesome job with Magoosh. I wish you all the best with your organisation. I will be in touch with you post Platinum registration.

      Looking forward to your guidance in upcoming months.

      • Chris Lele
        Chris Lele March 13, 2013 at 2:12 pm #

        Welcome aboard :)!

        Let us know how the prepping goes :).

  28. Anish September 2, 2012 at 9:07 pm #

    Hey Chris !

    You Guys are awesome . Before i run into my query ; a big heartfelt “THANK-YOU” for your blog.

    I have attempted GRE once in august and scored 313 ( v :153 , q:160)
    Unhappy,not satisfied 🙁 i am giving it on more try in october!
    I had used KAPLAN , Barrons,ETS material with Kaplans Online 5 tests for my earlier preparation.

    SO this time around i want to go out for materials which would really help me boost my score and those i have missed earlier.
    What would you suggest me ?

    After surfing the blog i feel :
    Q: Manhattan + Nova
    V : ETS + Manhattan
    Manhattan online Tests.

    I guess thats the right way to go about.
    would that suffice ?

    Thanks a lot again.

    • Chris Lele
      Chris September 5, 2012 at 3:41 pm #

      Hi Anish,

      Thanks for the kudos! I’m happy the blog has been so helpful :).

      As for your study plan, the material is strong except for a couple of things.

      First, make sure to use official material (ETS) for Quant as well. Secondly, don’t forget Magoosh. We offer plenty of practice for both the Quant and Verbal part (and our TC/SE reflect the questions you will see test day):

      Hope that helps!

  29. Liang August 29, 2012 at 3:36 pm #

    Hi Chris,

    I was wondering if you heard of the Kaplan GRE Math Book ( and the Kaplan GRE Verbal Book ( and what your opinions of them are? I can definitely use the extra questions, but not sure how indicative they are to the ones I will be seeing during test day.

    Thanks, Liang

    • Chris Lele
      Chris August 29, 2012 at 4:15 pm #

      Hi Liang,

      I’m not a really big fan of the Kaplan questions. The math ones are okay, in that they provide extra practice questions, though the questions tend to be much easier than what you’ll see on the test. Verbal though – esp. Text Completions and Sentence Equivalence are pretty awful (I tell my students that by doing these questions they will only hurt their scores).

      Hope that helps!

    • Chris Lele
      Chris August 30, 2012 at 3:27 pm #

      Hi Liang,

      Yeah, in general these questions are no different in terms of quality as the general book. Basically, I wouldn’t waste your time and money with them. There are far, far better ways to prep for the New GRE that fall outside of Kaplan.

      To get a better sense of other resources out there, click on the reviews of any of the books above. Then let me know if you have any questions :).

  30. sandeep August 29, 2012 at 9:52 am #


    I have bought Manhattan gre prep books. I have gone through 1st 3 volumes i felt very bad for all the 3 .

    I was not satisfied with it any of practice questions were dead easy i feel its ok for rookie .

    those practice questions are not even upto that of Princeton Reviews supplementary set.

    what should i do have already spent about 100$ for it.

    please suggest me some good books for practice. I have very short time for prep.

    i cannot afford more than 50$ for books anymore please help me

    • Chris Lele
      Chris August 29, 2012 at 4:20 pm #

      Hi Sandeep,

      The MGRE guides are exactly that: they are intended for the rookie. The questions are straightforward and aim to make sure everybody, including those who haven’t seen math in a decade, understands a given concept.

      What you are forgetting is that the MGRE books come with 6 free online tests. That’s right – just scratch the back of the books and enter the code in to the MGRE site. The quant here is much more difficult — it is actually more difficult than the questions you’ll see test day — and much, much more difficult than PR. If you think those questions are dead easy, then that’s great. You’ll definitely be ready for test.

      So don’t worry – you shouldn’t have to spend any more – just work through the online tests!

      • sandeep August 30, 2012 at 9:25 am #

        Thank you Chris

        I haven’t tried those online tests. I have just started to prepare for GRE. After going through it I really felt sad because there are no questions to practice at difficult level for testing standard.

        Please suggest me some good books for practicing with difficult questions.which will surely improve my standard to higher level.

        Is nova ok for practicing math.
        What should i follow for verbal ? i have no idea how to proceed.
        Please guide me

        • Chris Lele
          Chris August 30, 2012 at 3:30 pm #

          Here is the breakdown (in no particular order) of sources of difficult content:

          1. MGRE online tests
          2. Magoosh
          3. Nova’s


          1. MGRE (esp. online tests)
          2. Magoosh

          And that’s really it (besides official material, of course).

          Hope that helps!

          • sandeep August 31, 2012 at 5:44 am #

            Thank you Chris
            That was really kind of you for answering me. Thank you so much.

  31. Shahid August 29, 2012 at 7:51 am #

    Hey Chris,

    I want to give my GRE Exam in October and I haven’t started my preparations yet. Is one month enough to get a very good score (above 320 atleast)
    As for the prep books, which combination is better?
    1) Official ETS Guide + Manhattan set of 8.
    2) Official ETS Guide + Gruber’s complete GRE Guide + Barrons’s new GRE + Princeton Review.
    I plan to start studying from 1st Sept and give my exam in mid-October. Is that enough? I am very good at Math but my vocabulary needs some brushing up.
    The reason I didn’t mention magoosh is that I want to give the exam in a month’s time or 45 days. Your suggestions please? 🙂

  32. Shikhar August 18, 2012 at 3:27 am #


    The Official guide for Gre Revised version has Raw Score Conversion from (0-50) but on the official site it says 20 questions each section that makes 20+20=40. Please correct me if I am wrong, else tell me the procedure as to how should i convert raw score(0-40) to the range.


    • Chris Lele
      Chris August 21, 2012 at 3:41 pm #

      Hi Shikar,

      You are definitely not wrong. The thing is I don’t know how well that scale equates with the actual GRE, meaning the computer based test. So it is hard to say exactly how many questions one can miss and still receive a score of x. I would say the 0-50 should give you a rough idea.

      Hope that helps!

  33. Janine August 2, 2012 at 11:58 am #

    Thanks for the book reviews! I’ve already recommended this site to a lot of my peers! Two questions for you:

    1) Is the latest version of Princeton general guide (2013 edition) still rife with errors/typos? Has it improved from the 2012 version?

    2) Between Manhattan, Barrons, Kaplan, and Princeton, which company has the best practice questions that most closely resemble the GRE (I have already decided to look at practice questions for ETS and Magoosh)? I want a high score in all the sections, so I’d rather have a test that was too difficult than too easy.


    • Chris Lele
      Chris August 2, 2012 at 5:02 pm #

      Hi Janine,

      Glad Magoosh is helping you out (and thank for the recommendations :)).

      As for your questions:

      1. The two editions were virtually identical. I don’t know if they cleaned up the typos. I didn’t catch any differences between the two books when I scanned the explanations.

      2. Definitely Manhattan GRE. Their practice tests for quant. are very similar to the real deal, but actually tougher. Some of their Text Completions can also be quite devious.

      Hope that helps 🙂

  34. Nick August 1, 2012 at 12:19 pm #

    Hey Chris,

    My plan is to take the GRE in the next month or so, but the only book I have at the moment is the Kaplan GRE Premier for 2013. My concern is that not much has been updated since the 2011-2012 edition (which was given a fairly poor review). I’m particularly worried about the vocabulary in general, do you have any suggestions for me? I’m looking for something with both good content and practice.

  35. Gulu July 31, 2012 at 6:59 am #

    HI Chris,
    When we buy any Manhattan book, we get 1 year access to 6 free practice exams. I was checking on the Manhttan website they are giving 6 practice tests for 30$. Do you know if these tests(which are of 30$), are different from the 6 free practice tests ?

    Thanks in advance

    • Chris Lele
      Chris August 1, 2012 at 5:30 pm #

      Hi Gulu,

      Actually, I’m not positive, but I’m guessing those are the same tests. Maybe you could follow up with Manhattan themselves. They should be able to give you a better answer :).

  36. Samantha July 28, 2012 at 3:27 pm #


    Would you recommend buying the Manhattan prep vocab flashcards? If so, which set (essential, advanced or both)?

    Im looking to improve my verbal score, which materials would be worthwhile to use? I heard that Barron’s Verbal workbook is good, what about their vocab flashcards?


    • Shubham July 30, 2012 at 9:55 am #

      Hi Samantha,

      A quick advice!

      If you are planning to buy Manhattan vocab flashcards, then, rather go for any of its verbal book( RC or TC/SE) as these books contains both essential and advanced list plus you can get free access to 6 online test.

    • Chris Lele
      Chris July 30, 2012 at 11:41 am #

      Hi Samantha,

      There is no magical vocab list. Start with one and once you’ve worked through it continue on to another one. Ideally flashcards are much better than a list. Vocabulary work book is excellent. Always revisit words you’ve already learned. And make sure you have a strong grasp of how word is used in context :).

    • Gulu July 31, 2012 at 3:49 am #

      Hi Samantha,
      I would suggest you to buy “Ultimate Vocabulary software”. In this some you can create your custom word list and it also contains an in-built dictionary. For every word, it gives you 50 random sentences showing its usage. I have used this one and I am able to remember 4000 words in 3 months.

  37. manu July 27, 2012 at 10:48 am #

    I took my gre . i scored 311(152v and 159Q). my target score was above 325. I have taken coaching at princeton review(india). i completed barrons list, tests, og tests, MGRE tests. I dont understand how to improve more? I am intersted in magoosh. can you can assure me that magoosh helps me find out my mistakes? and that I would reach my target score(i will really work hard on my part)? I really need ur suggestion chris. and i read on ur blog that you are preparing practice tests. when will u release them? i want to really improve on my verbal score. i need your suggestion. and does the 30-day plan include all the content in the premium plan?

    • Chris Lele
      Chris July 30, 2012 at 11:56 am #

      Hi Manu,

      I think Magoosh can definitely help out with your verbal score. Our questions tends to be tougher than PR’s. You’ll get exposure to lots of vocabulary words, and you will also have the timer to get you into shape :).

      As for the 30-day plan it includes all of our content :).

  38. Prem July 26, 2012 at 10:53 am #

    First of All thanks for giving such a helpful information for prep of GRE.
    I ‘m planing to take GRE in the end of October 2012 .I am dam sure that i ‘m very good @ maths.But i want to check If i’m Or not.
    so suggest me any online link where i can check my maths.
    i want to archive 170 out of 170 in math..suggest me Books and study plan.
    i ‘m not too good in verbal but i can study and prepare and work hard.
    Suggest me word list and books which i have to do (any word list which can help me to get more marks in Verbal sec. even i can prepare more than one word list suggest best there by ranking)so i can get more than 160 .

    suggest me android free apps which can help me too.

    In short I want to get 331+ score and i can work hard for that.
    so help with study planing and books which i must review before facing GRE exam.
    and i am plaing to buy 30 days magoosh GRE. so i can add up more.

    Thanks in advance . .

    • Prem July 26, 2012 at 11:01 am #

      one more question.

      I am planning to buy 30 days magoosh GRE. Can I able to go through all the video tutorial given in 30 Days pack ? , If I can be on-line 5 to 6 hours a day..
      and Can I get access all the videos and practice session in 30 days pack…?(same as given in $99 subscription pack)

      Thank again for help me.
      Such a good site.
      God bless “MAGOOSH”. 🙂

      • Chris Lele
        Chris July 26, 2012 at 3:19 pm #

        Hi Prem,

        Thanks for the positive words. With 5 to 6 hours a day you can definitely go through all of the videos in 30 days. Good luck, and let us know if you have any more questions :).

    • Chris Lele
      Chris July 26, 2012 at 3:28 pm #

      Hi Prem,

      Our two ebooks will be very helpful. Let me know if you have any questions after going through them:

      Hope that helps!

      • Prem July 26, 2012 at 8:21 pm #

        any other books for math n verbal Listed above…!!

  39. Anisha July 24, 2012 at 11:09 am #

    Hi Chris,

    Have found your website too helpful for us to get started and know more in deep about GRE .I have doubts regarding the books to be taken for Verbal and vocab part.My weakness is english and i want to get the best scores i can in GRE.By this website i can list out the books :
    MGRE(6&7), ets official guide, barrons and magoosh (vocab e book).

    Is any other book i hav to look for? is flash cards way too important ? without barrons can i make it? plz help me out in this.

    Thank you.

  40. ParthVader July 24, 2012 at 7:36 am #

    Hi Chris,

    I have been following your web site for the last few days, along with many others, read mixed reviews about n number of books with x number of editions and versions each. I wasn’t this confused writing my undergraduate research project!

    I hope you can give me some simple advice based on your honest assessment of my current progress. I started studying 2-3 days ago. Have 2-3 months to train/prepare. Graduated in Aerospace Engineering with lousy-ish 3.0 GPA and need an optimum GRE score (>330, 5.5/6) to be even considered for any graduate program.

    MATH: In the last 3 days, I have read through the ETS Math Review and successfully attempted 99% of the exercises on the first go and had mostly calculative error/silly stuff on the remaining 1%. I think I need loads and loads of ridiculously hard and not so hard questions that are as close as possible to the real thing. I need to be 100% certain of getting a 170/170 when the day comes.

    Consider verbal and AW at average, yet I need to be 100% prepared for all eventualities on the day.

    Until I read your ‘C’ review for princeton review, I had shortlisted the following material based on forums, reviews etc. I thought maybe magoosh, 2 general guides and 1 or 2 for each section, from the following.

    1. ETS Official Guide 2nd ed (General strategies, 4 sample tests)
    2. Cracking the GRE 2013, PR (general strategies, 4 sample tests)
    3. GRE Bible (lots of verbal practice, math just like NOVA apparently, insightful AW, tests)
    4. PR Word Smart GRE (just 300 something pages of lots of words etc.)
    5. MAnhattan 8 (but just the math?)
    6. Magoosh subscription

    I have no material right now. My preparation has come to a standstill because I would rather that I touch the right material than have to unlearn stuff. Please tell me HOW MANY BOOKS TO BUY and which ones? Also, if I buy magoosh, how exactly would I use this with the others. Basically, I need a strategy as well.

  41. Wasseem July 21, 2012 at 3:46 pm #

    Hey Chris

    I recently took the GRE’s and I didn’t get the score that I wanted for the verbal section. I got a 150 in the verbal section and I’m looking to get in the 155-160 range. I’m looking to take it again in about 6 weeks. I used Princeton Review for strategies and although it provided me with some good pointers, I feel it didn’t get the job done for me. Do you feel the Reading Comprehension book from Manhattan series along with Magoosh Verbal is enough to get me the score that I’m looking for? Is there anything else you would suggest?

    Thank You,


    • Chris Lele
      Chris July 24, 2012 at 4:17 pm #

      HI Wasseem,

      The Princeton Review is at best a starting point. It only gives a vague sense of the actual questions you’ll get test day, and is essentially far easier than the real GRE. Both Magoosh and MGRE have questions that are actually more challenging than those found on the actual test. That way, you’ll be ready for test day :).

  42. Arjun July 21, 2012 at 11:26 am #

    Hi Chris, I plan to give gre in about 6 months. I’m currently pursuing engineering and feel that my math base is pretty solid. Now, considering my mediocre GPA, it’s imperative that I absolutely crack the GRE.

    Now after adequate surfing and internet research, I’m still a little lost on what book I should be referring for Math. It’s of paramount importance that I crack a 165+ in Quant, and Similarly for verbal. So I have come to the conclusion that I’ll buy the ETS official Guide and the Conquering the New Gre Math. I’m unsure about the latter, as I heard that they are “too prmitive” ( again.. only on the Internet)

    Is there any other avenues that I should be focusing on? Any other books for EXTRA practice? Or should I buy them once my initial Preparation is done


    By the way, It’s awesome how promptly, you reply to doubts on this forum. Kudos. 🙂 🙂

    • Chris Lele
      Chris July 24, 2012 at 4:14 pm #

      Hi Arjun,

      I appreciate your resolve – the 165+ territory is definitely difficult to crack. Doing so is tough – but not impossible. It would be a good idea for you to take a baseline to see where you stand. If your Quant is pretty strong I wouldn’t necessarily recommend the McGraw Hill, which is for students who are sub-150.

      For difficult problems to help you get into the 160s, Manhattan GRE and Magoosh offer the most questions out there. MGRE has six free on-line tests, which have quant questions more difficult than those found on the actual test. Including ETS material, these should be your materials.

      Let me know if that helps!

      • Arjun July 25, 2012 at 2:22 am #

        Hi Chris,

        Due to monetary constraints, I wont buy the MGRE, immediately. Though in due course of time, I plan to buy that and join Magoosh too.

        Thanks though.

        Keep up the good work. 🙂

  43. Arun July 17, 2012 at 8:21 pm #

    I have started preparing from 2 days for GRE and I would be taking the test on 16 august.
    Please tell me which book to buy for VERBAL section.I am good and quant and can satisfy my needs with some online questions.
    Please recommend something where I can practice alot and I donot want to join coaching and prepare all by myself.

    • Arun July 18, 2012 at 11:38 am #

      and Yes I want particularly for verbal section…..

      thnx in advance 🙂 🙂

    • Chris Lele
      Chris July 18, 2012 at 3:46 pm #

      A good place to start with verbal is our ebook:

      As for a general verbal book, there is no one that is very strong. Barron’s is a good place to start. Manhattan GRE is good for RC, and you get access to its 6 on-line tests.

      Hope that helps!

  44. Akhilesh July 17, 2012 at 7:31 am #

    Hi Chris,
    I am willing to appear for GRE next year. I am completely new to GRE. Can you please suggest how should i start my Preparation and what book should i follow. I am not so good in Vocab. I have just bought Barron’s New Edition book but there is nothing for enhancement of Vocab. Is it not required to go through those wordlist that used to be a part of Barron’s earlier editions. Please recommend some book for vocab as well.
    Please Suggest

  45. Rahul July 16, 2012 at 8:17 am #

    I wonder what you guys think about this list on

    Their definitions are much more extensive and example sentences are taken from actual sources like The “learn this list” mode works really well for me.

    • Chris Lele
      Chris July 17, 2012 at 8:58 pm #

      Hi Rahul,

      This is a great site! Thanks for the link :). Yet another helpful vocab resource to help those prepping for the GRE.

  46. Subhadeep Samantaray July 16, 2012 at 12:31 am #

    Hi Chris,

    I am appearing GRE on Aug 6th. I have finished the 6 free mock tests from Manhattan GRE, 2 from Barron’s and also did all the questions in Magoosh. Can you suggest any other good resources for mock tests.

    Thanks in advance

    • Chris Lele
      Chris July 17, 2012 at 8:54 pm #

      Hi Subhadeep,

      Wow, you’ve gone through quite a lot. Beyond those tests, unfortunately, there just isn’t too much quality tests out there. Have you seen the new on-line test by ETS yet?

      • Nikhil July 24, 2012 at 5:10 am #

        Thanks for this, Chris! I took this mock test from the ETS under timed conditions and converted the raw scores. Here’s what I got:
        163/170 for Verbal and 161/170 for quantitative. Let me if these are competitive scores!
        Also, I’m aware of the caveat that the GRE is an adaptive test and there may be questions in areas I’m unfamiliar with appearing on test day.

  47. Shubham July 14, 2012 at 11:36 am #


    I am planning to buy Manhattan GRE 6 online test pack. I need few reviews about it.

    How is its level when compared to ETS GRE real test?

    I am asking because everywhere I find straight forward math questions(except in Magoosh whose quality is great 🙂 ), so just wanted to know the case with Manhattan GRE test series.

    If not this then is there any other good test series anybody would suggest.

    • Chris Lele
      Chris July 17, 2012 at 8:52 pm #

      Hi Shubham,

      The MGRE practice tests are really strong in quant as well. I would say they are as difficult as ETS if not more difficult. Magoosh, I’d say, is still the most difficult quant-wise.

  48. Adit Popli July 9, 2012 at 7:27 am #

    Sir (chris) ,i have gone through many of your reviews related to GRE and i must say that the amount of research you have done and the way you have presented them is nothing but IMPRESSIVE!! You are doing a great work!!
    Before going through your articles i wasn’t sure about how to start my preparations and how to go about it over a period of the next few months,but now i know how to go about it!!
    Thanks to you!
    Keep up the good work!! 🙂

    • Chris Lele
      Chris July 9, 2012 at 3:36 pm #

      Thank you so much for your kind words :).

      I am glad you have found this site helpful. Good luck in your studies!

  49. Nikhil July 8, 2012 at 6:43 am #

    @Chris: Thanks for these reviews and for patiently answering all of our questions.

    I have a month left to the test. I have worked through most of the “Math Bible” by Nova and although you cautioned maths tyros to look away, I plunged in head first. I’m very comfortable with the Easy and Medium graded problems and also with a few Hard graded ones. Should this be sufficient background work for the test?

    • Chris Lele
      Chris July 9, 2012 at 3:34 pm #

      Hi Nikhil,

      That’s great you are already handling the more difficult problems. I think tyro-wise, Nova is not good in terms of instilling fundamentals (so you must have been pretty strong already :)).

      In answer to your question, it depends on which score you are aiming for. If you are looking to break 165, then you need to get your hands on as many difficult high-quality questions as possible. Magoosh offers a lot of practice. As does Manhattan GRE (at least on their online tests).

      Good luck!

  50. Gaurav July 5, 2012 at 2:50 pm #

    hey chris…
    can u please i tell me whether the kaplan on line tests are at par with the original GRE..
    i mean in terms of difficulty and scoring…

    • Chris Lele
      Chris July 6, 2012 at 5:22 pm #

      Hi Gaurav,

      I have not actually taken any of the Kaplan tests to determine their difficulty. My recommendation on Kaplan is based on its books. I am unimpressed with the level of the questions in the book – so content wise it is definitely not taking the actual GRE. As to whether the Kaplan scores correlate with the actual GRE, it seems that scores within the Kaplan test fluctuate drastically, so it is difficult to say.

      Hope that helps!

  51. Nishanth June 26, 2012 at 5:46 am #

    Hi Chris,

    I have planned to take the GRE after 4 months.I have very poor knowledge in English.I would like to know the name of the books which will be helpful for me in improving my skills in

    2)Reading Comprehension
    3)Sentence Equivalence
    4)Text Completion

    Please Suggest the books which I should follow (From Basic to Hard Level) in the above mentioned areas.
    As i have no access to Internet I Couldn’t Join the online classes in Magoosh.

    Thanks to you in Advance

    • Chris Lele
      Chris June 27, 2012 at 2:32 pm #

      Hi Nishanth,

      For vocab, Barron’s 1100 Words is good for non-natives. Reading comprehension is a question of developing your reading skills. Start by reading on-line sources such as Time magazine. Work your way up to reading found in the Economist. This process–for native and non-native speakers alike–can be found in our vocab Ebook:

      Hopefully, all your questions will be answered in these pages. The study guides will help you on both verbal and quant :).

  52. Alok June 24, 2012 at 7:34 am #

    Hey Chris,

    Apologies for posting this irrelevant matter in this thread. But I have been waiting for a reply since 4 days.

    I was going through the Magoosh GRE ebook and came across the example of solving for the third side of a triangle.

    The question is: if x>0 and 2 sides of a certain triangle have lengths 2x+1 and 3x+4 ,then which of the following could be the third side of the triangle?

    The answers marked in the PDF are 4x+5,6x+1 and 2x+17.

    However according to me the answer is only 4x+5.

    6x+1 cannot be valid since if x=5,6x+1=31 while 5x+5(sum of two other sides)=30. The third side should have a length lesser than the sum of the other two.

    2x+17 cannot be valid because at x=1,2x+17=19 while 5x+5(sum of two other sides)=10.
    The third side should have a length lesser than the sum of the other two.

    Correct me if I’m wrong.

    • Sivabalan Umapathy June 26, 2012 at 10:58 pm #

      Hi Alok

      Check all the values on spectrum x>0.

      For values o 100 ), first and second statement will hold true

      • Sivabalan Umapathy June 26, 2012 at 10:59 pm #

        Correction, for values > 100, first and third statement will hold true

        • Sivabalan Umapathy June 26, 2012 at 11:22 pm #

          Sorry – I have a non English local (which i switch) and it caused few issues in my last 2 posts: So let me clarify all the my comments here

          For Values 0<x 100: Statement 1 & Statement 3 holds good

          -> Hence all 3 statements holds good

    • Chris Lele
      Chris June 27, 2012 at 2:23 pm #

      Hi Alok,

      I apologize for not getting back sooner :). This is definitely a tricky question, one that gave me pause for a second. The key word in the question though is ‘could’ – meaning you can find instances to disprove an answer choice, say 2x + 17. However, the question is not asking ‘must be true.’ So as long as we find a value for x whereby the answer choice could be true, then that answer choice is correct. For instance, I could choose to plug in 5, giving me:

      2(5) + 17 = 27
      2(5) + 1 = 11
      3(5) + 4 = 19.

      This is a valid triangle, because the sum of the two shorter sides exceed the longest side, and the length of the shortest side exceeds the difference of the other two sides.

      Let me know if that makes sense :).

  53. Alok June 20, 2012 at 10:14 am #

    Hey Chris,

    Can you review “GRE Answers to the Real Essay Questions
    By Mark Alan Stewart”?

    I came across this book today when I was looking for a book that steers the reader into being structured in approach for constructing essays and formulating responses to AWA section of the GRE.

    I have roughly 4 months of time left for preparation. I went through Barron’s,PR and official guide to GRE. I’ve covered the math section completely and skimmed through the verbal.

    I am currently going through the wordlists in Barron’s and Big book. Once I’m through, I plan to read articles from good sources everyday. Please share the enumeration of the sites if you have a compiled list.

    Thanks in advance

    • Chris Lele
      Chris June 20, 2012 at 3:22 pm #

      Hi Alok,

      Yes, in my next round of GRE book reviews, slated for around Aug. when the new GRE book comes out, I’ll definitely include this one. If you need a more urgent response, I could always pick up a copy and let you know that way.

      As for learning words in context, check out the Magoosh ebook (I recommend publications to read):

  54. Sivabalan Umapathy June 20, 2012 at 3:53 am #

    Hi Chris
    Great reviews & thanks!

    If I ask you to leave out the practice questions, layout, and focus only on ‘strategies’, which book do you think fares best among the list ?

    FYI. Am a 36 year old working professional in a cutting edge technology. My work experience is now pushing me to take up grad school again ( I already have a masters ).


  55. Subhadeep June 13, 2012 at 7:44 pm #

    Hi Chris,
    I am facing problem in reading comprehension. I have read “Manhattan’s RC & Essays” and “Cracking new GRE 2012”. Can you suggest any other book or source which will be helpful for me ?

    Thank You

    • Chris Lele
      Chris June 14, 2012 at 2:08 pm #

      Hi Subhadeep,

      I recommend the ETS Official Guide for practice questions. Princeton Review is heavy on tips and very light on actual practice material. Apply the strategies to the questions in the Official Guide. Also, make sure you do the mock tests from Manhattan GRE as well.

      Let me know how that works!

  56. Amy June 11, 2012 at 4:14 am #

    Dear Chris,
    I found my reading comprehension still weak. Could you please recommend some more materials for me to practice? I’ve already finish the questions in Magoosh, and might need more.
    In addition, do you know where I can get some MOCK exam?

    • Chris Lele
      Chris June 11, 2012 at 3:42 pm #

      Hi Amy,

      Manhattan GRE provides excellent mock tests. By only buying one of its books you get access to six on-line tests. Plenty of opportunity to practice RC. You should also pick up the ETS Official Guide to the GRE, which gives you plenty of practice on hard RC passages (and offers a free on-line test).

      Hope that helps!

  57. Nana June 10, 2012 at 4:07 pm #

    hi, I still have one more question. Are the Magoosh content different from MGRE, or they are the same content with different forms: one in computer based and one in paper. I bought the Magoosh prep course already but I still want to have additional material. I plan to buy MGRE if they are different from the Magoosh which I already bought. Could you please tell me if they are different.
    Thank you in advance.

    • Chris Lele
      Chris June 11, 2012 at 3:37 pm #

      Hi Nana,

      Magoosh and MGRE are different companies. There is zero overlap in content. So for more practice problems, def. pick up a copy of MGRE.

      Hope that helps!

  58. Nana June 10, 2012 at 9:13 am #

    I would like to ask for your advice.:)

    I saw some books of third edition of MGRE on amazon. I intend to buy them, but they are so new that I did not see any review of them on Amazon yet. I would like to ask is that they would be as good as the second edition. What is the difference between this third edition with the second edition. Is that the third edition would be more close to the revised GRE cause they may be updated during experience of last year. Should I buy the third edition now or should I buy the second edition cause I saw many good feedback on the second edition already.

    Thank you very much in advance:)

    • Chris Lele
      Chris June 11, 2012 at 3:35 pm #

      Hi Nana,

      From what I hear there really isn’t too much difference between the editions. Some minor typos were corrected, etc. So definitely do not feel you have to buy the 3rd edition.

      Hope that helps 🙂

  59. Lynn June 9, 2012 at 10:24 pm #

    Hello Chris,

    How would you rate the Kaplan in classroom GRE review course as compared to the Magoosh review courses. I really need to do well on the GRE and I am comparing my options. I don’t have a lot of money to spend on a review course so I need a quality product that is inexpensive.

    Thanks ,

    • Chris Lele
      Chris June 11, 2012 at 3:32 pm #

      Hi Lynn,

      I think the most fundamental difference is price: we are much, much cheaper. Second the format is completely different. With us you know who you are getting as a teacher (I teach the Verbal :). The best part you can always pause videos and go back when you don’t know something. Classroom approaches tend to teach to one format, so you can easily get left behind (or have a teacher who doesn’t know his or her material). Then there is the question of material: judging from Kaplan’s book material (which is pretty abysmal), I wonder how much better its classroom material could actually be.

      Let me know if you have any other questions :).

  60. jay June 9, 2012 at 8:58 am #

    hi chris

    I have barrons and ets for gre. I want to further practice the verbal section. Which book would you suggest? I can’t afford the manhattan set of books. what is the best option?


    • Chris Lele
      Chris June 11, 2012 at 3:27 pm #

      Honestly, I think Magoosh is a great source for questions. We are just ramping up our verbal questions and will have around 500 total questions (and that’s not including our lesson videos). If you can get us on sale, then we turn out to be a little more affordable than MGMAT (you can also buy just the verbal side of Magoosh, which makes things even cheaper :).

      • jay June 11, 2012 at 8:29 pm #

        I’ve already taken the trial membership.When I’m logged in, on the top it says that if I upgrade I’ll have access to 700 questions (for both math and verbal). So when you say that you’re gonna add 500 questions , doest it mean that in totality I can do 1200 questions? Also, i read about the one month plan. Is it still on? I think that suits me the best because i have the GRE exam on 4th july (and hopefully I wouldn’t have to give it again). What do you think?


  61. Leila June 8, 2012 at 3:13 pm #

    Hi Chris,

    I have three months to prepare for my GRE exam. I am aiming for a perfect Quant score and a decent Verbal score. I am a college level Math tutor by profession so I know the concepts inside out. However I am bad with computer based – timed tests and end up making a lot of careless errors. I would appreciate if you can recommend some prep material that would improve my speed and accuracy.

    I know I am buying Magoosh Premium- I really need those practice questions! Should I buy Manhattan Quant set too even If I am good with concepts?

    You have mentioned that Princeton Review is good for strategies. However I feel like some of their strategies especially for Quant are -frankly speaking- really lame if you are aiming for top percentile…for example ‘Plug-ins for basic algebra’ and ‘Low Hanging Fruit principle’. With that said, I can see how they would help people with weak math backgrounds. Can you please comment on it?

    -Should I give up on Princeton and just stick to ETS, Magoosh and maybe Manhattan? Will that be enough?

    I am flexible about verbal but 80 + percentile would be ideal 🙂 English is not my native language so my vocabulary is limited (not that I am any better with native tongue). I did my undergrad from a well known school in US and aced my writing courses so I am hoping that 80+ percentile is not an unrealistically high goal for revised GRE verbal- *fingers crossed*.

    – What do you think about Manhattan Essential and Advanced Vocabulary?
    – Is it enough if I just use ETS, Manhattan and Magoosh for verbal too?


    • Leila June 8, 2012 at 8:40 pm #

      Just to clarify, my issue with the low hanging fruit is that we wont have enough time to go back and forth. In case of difficult problems, I would rather do what Manhattan suggests…*Don’t skip the question. Make an educated guess first and then mark it before moving on to the next question. Get back to it in the end… if time allows*

      Plugging in is just not working for me. I find it much easier to use algebra directly. Plugging in takes longer especially if we pick a bad number.

      Please advise.


    • Chris Lele
      Chris June 9, 2012 at 9:13 am #

      Hi Leila,

      So yes, definitely give up on The Princeton Review. Its strategies are only useful for those starting at a very low level and only need to score around the average mark (even then, one would have to use TPR in conjunction with other texts).

      For you I’d recommend Manhattan, not so much for the books and the strategies, but for the 6 free practice tests. Simply doing enough practice questions in similar conditions (i.e. high caliber questions, computer format, timed) and pinpointing why you make careless errors (many keep an error log) should help you score in the top percentile.

      And for Verbal, Magoosh, MGRE, and Official should be all you need :). The Manhattan cards are helpful, but don’t forget other strategies such as reading-in-context. I talk about all these in-depth in Magoosh’s ebooks. Have a look!

      Let me know if that helps 🙂

  62. lavanya June 7, 2012 at 11:28 pm #

    Thank you chris.Can i send you my AWA,so that you can correct it and let me know if i’ ve to improve on anything?

    • Chris Lele
      Chris June 9, 2012 at 9:18 am #

      Hi Iavanya,

      Unfortunately, we do not offer any AWA critiques. You may want to try a forum, such as, to see if anyone will provide feedback on your essay :).

  63. lavanya June 7, 2012 at 1:55 am #

    I want to know whether it will be sufficient to prepare from barrons,ets and princeton rev.
    But i ve got the old PR?IS it alright if i prepare from old PR?im planning to give my exam in a month. So please suggest few books which wil help me.
    thank you

    • Chris Lele
      Chris June 7, 2012 at 2:30 pm #

      Hi Iavanya,

      I would not recommend the old PR book as that pertain to a different test: the old GRE.

      The books I’d recommend depend on the areas in which you need the most work. Overall, MGRE is the best, followed by Barron’s, The Princeton Review, and then Kaplans (at least amongst the major publishers). ETS is in a class or its own–and is a must own.

      Hope that helps 🙂

  64. Ram Sharma June 6, 2012 at 5:50 am #


    I’m a big fan of your blog. Very helpful and the way contents are organised is equally great. I am planning to join you Quants study plan at offer since my quants are weak. My friend has the entire Manhattan GRE preparation series of 8 books but they are first edition and not the second edition which you had suggested in your book review. I wanted to know if its worth to study from the first edition Manhattan GRE prep series published in late 2010 as extra practice (the books are for free 🙂 ) along with Mongoose ?? Can you please tell if the books are relevant for practice or there is lot of changes with respect to the newer second edition for Quants only

    Thanks and regards,

    Ram Sharma

    • Chris Lele
      Chris June 6, 2012 at 3:57 pm #

      Hi Ram,

      I think the first edition books are for the old GRE. Make sure to use the 2nd. edition and up. (There shouldn’t be too much difference between the 2nd. and 3rd. editions). As for Mongoose, I’ve never heard of it. Is it an on-line product?

      Let me know if you have any other questions, and glad to hear you like the blog :).

  65. Anir Raj June 4, 2012 at 12:53 pm #

    Hey Folks,

    Thanks for the reviews – having all the books reviewed together is very helpful -especially since they are comparative. However – I am still not sure which book(s) to get (expected; Ignorance is the prerequisite for action !).

    I saw the 2013 editions of some of these books are coming out – could I request you to review those when you can (i.e. as soon as they are out :))? The Princeton one is already avlbl in amazon, Kaplan is coming out 5th June, and for Manhattan some of them are marked for 5th and others 3rd July. I guess it will make sense to get the new ones – since much of your complaint about the previous editions were they were ‘hurried’.

    I’m planning to take the GRE in a few months – am in a full time job, so the exact dates will depend on my progress. My Background is in engineering and I’m planning to get into MS. So I will need a high quantitative score – which book do you think is best for that? I don’t think I will need detailed explanation on simple problems – however refresher material for reference will be helpful (since I am out of touch for some time and do not have access to the old books). Also – I saw the book ‘CliffsNotes Math Review for Standardized Tests’ have good reviews in Amazon – what do you think of that one?

    For Verbal – I know there is no simple checklist for a good score- but as far as word lists go which one will you suggest? Do you really need to tackle the Barron’s >3700 Word list?
    I already have an old barron’s, and current editions of some of these books are available in my local library (except Manhattan). So I am okay with using different books for different sections.
    Or is Manhattan the answer to all my woes and worries? Also – which one has the best (closest to actual) full length tests?

    A lot of questions – thanks a ton once again for the help you are going to give, and have already :).


    • Chris Lele
      Chris June 4, 2012 at 3:22 pm #

      Hi Anir,

      In a nutshell there is no perfect text. You will need a combination of texts, of which ETS is the most important in order to approximate the questions you will see test day.
      Could you create the perfect study plan from non-MGRE books? Well, they are all lacking, as you noted they were rushed. Even if you pick and choose the best, from a content standpoint, they are all wanting. As for strategies, the combination of texts will definitely be helpful.

      Will the new editions rectify this? It is highly unlikely. Over the years the standard format is to take a picture of a new student, slap it on the cover and call it a new edition. Kind of sad – but true. I would actually be surprised if this time around is any different.

      For a non-book based approach, don’t forget Magoosh. We actually release new questions and update content all the time. We are releasing a few hundred verbal questions that we hope faithfully capture the flavor and difficulty of those found on the actual test.

      Hope that helps, and don’t hesitate to ask any other questions :).

      • Anir Raj June 6, 2012 at 6:06 pm #

        Hi Chirs,
        Thanks for the insights. I will grab the Manhattan books then, and the new official ETS when it comes up, for now.
        Cheers, and keep the suggestions coming

  66. SANJNA June 4, 2012 at 3:11 am #

    hi chris!
    i have been reading reviews for all of these books all over the internet and it has left me completely confused.
    correct me if i’m wrong
    1. the official ETS guide is a must have
    2. the manhattan series is excellent for quant but not verbal
    so what do you suggest for verbal? and what kind of flashcards do you suggest? kaplan or barron’s?
    also is manhattan series enough for quant or do you suggest something along the lines of cliff notes to go with it?
    it would be great if you could suggest a set of must have books for someone who is average at both math and verbal..
    thanks in advance 🙂

    • Chris Lele
      Chris June 4, 2012 at 3:04 pm #

      Good questions!

      Manhattan is by no means bad for verbal. It is, for the most part, better than most. The truth is none of the publishers are strong for verbal compared to ETS. If you included the 6 practice tests, Manhattan is still better than any of the other books out there.

      For flashcards choose the one that works best for you. Meaning if you like the definitions and example sentences than stick with that one (there is no magic list of words, meaning Barron’s words aren’t more likely to show up than Kaplan’s).

      You might also want to check out Magoosh’s Vocabulary E-book that expands on the answers here, and offers up hundreds of useful words and definitions. Enjoy!

  67. Shashi June 3, 2012 at 4:37 am #

    is manhattan gre good for verbal, what rank would you give for verbal and which is best of lot for verbal, apart from ets and which website that offers pracise sets are good??

    • Chris Lele
      Chris June 4, 2012 at 2:50 pm #

      I would say Manhattan Verbal is pretty strong in the RC. The SE and Text Completions tend to be stronger on the six mock tests, than in the actual book. Then there is always Magoosh :). We are releasing 250 verbal questions very shortly!

  68. james May 29, 2012 at 5:36 pm #

    I see there are a lot of concerns about reading comprehension. Honestly the single greatest piece of advice that Magoosh has given me is the recommended reading list.
    Along with list of 1200 vocabulary words that I’ve cherry-picked from various sources (Magoosh, Barron’s 1100 word list, The New York Times, words from the ETS official guide, and Manhattan GRE’s practice tests), I’ve been reading 8 scholarly articles a day, whether they be from The Best American Scientific Writing 2011 (a very amazing and thought provoking read), The Best American Essays 2011, and articles from The Economist, The Atlantic, and The Scientific American, I’ve already seen my verbal scores (especially in the reading comprehension) increase. In fact, I’ve gone from mid 500’s with only getting a few reading comprehension questions right, to today; I got a 700 on the Manhattan GRE verbal section, and after a brief analysis of test statistics pertaining to the verbal section, I was thrilled that I only missed a question or two perfection on that area specifically, as before it was my biggest verbal weakness. So, in conclusion I say to everyone, read read read and then…read some more, while keeping an eye on you’re vocabulary lists. I promise vast improvements will come.

    • Chris Lele
      Chris May 30, 2012 at 12:03 pm #

      Hi James,

      That’s awesome :). It’s great to hear that this method is working. All too often people think that they only have to do x number of reading passages, go through a 1,000 word vocab list, and, voila, verbal prowess will be theirs.

      So yes, RC techniques and word lists will only get you so far. Becoming a word scholar (for a lack of a better terms :)) will not only help a person test day but will prepare them for the rigors of grad school.

      Let us know how you do on the test!

  69. Ashwin May 26, 2012 at 11:42 pm #

    Hello Chris,
    I am planning to take my gre test in the next 4-5 months and its been a month since I have started with the preparation.At present I am more into quant section,trying to brush up the basics at the earliest.I own a Kaplan premier refernce guide,official ets guide and have started preparing from the same.I have ordered for Manhattan’s RC and essay reference book.And I try to improve over the vocab by going though the flashcards everyday as well have subscribed to some of the newspapers website and make it a point to read atleast three or more articles everyday.
    Although of the efforts I give in,it seems I am heading towards a dead end wrt the prep and especially for vocabs and RCs.As of now I am pretty confused about which materials I need to refer to.So is manhattan’s RC enough or should I need to purchase any other material for the RCs?.As well I would like to have a Book or two with exhaustive practise sessions(for both,verbal and quant) in it.So would you be kind enough to suggest me about the reference material available in the market worth investing for.”It is difficult to judge a book by it cover”.ps:I prefer self study rather than join a coaching institute or an online tutor
    Lastly I would like to take a time off and thank you and your team for a commendable work you guys have been doing over this blog.I have to say most of the post have been helpful and motivating.Thank you and looking forward for your help.

    • Chris Lele
      Chris May 29, 2012 at 3:37 pm #

      Hi Ashwin,

      Sorry you hit a ‘dead-end’ in your prep. You may be feeling burnt out without having made any noticeable progress, but I wonder if that is really true. Without taking any diagnostic test to chart your progress, you may think that all those hours are for naught.

      So keep up the reading, and make sure you are reviewing words you’ve already learned. And make sure you are constantly practicing. MGRE has six on-line tests for free (as long as you buy a book). Take those tests. Learn from your mistakes on those tests. Learn some new words in the process. But never feel you are at a dead end :).

      For other prep materials, I recommend staying away from Kaplan. Besides the Reading Comp. section, everything is pretty much a waste of time.

      For RC, using MGRE is fine. You can practice with Magoosh as well. Especially as a self-studier, you will get a lot out of Magoosh:

      And don’t forget the blog…oh did I mention the ebooks?

      I hope that is all helpful, and keeps your GRE skills growing over the coming months.

      And don’t hesitate to ask any other questions :).

      • Ashwin May 30, 2012 at 12:30 pm #

        Hey thanks Chris for the recommendations.I have bought an MGre for RC but I would like to know if there are any other books available which has a number of passages as per the new pattern for exhaustive practise.
        Thank you

        • Chris Lele
          Chris May 30, 2012 at 4:12 pm #

          Hi Ashwin,

          Book-wise no other publisher provides the same number/quality of passages. Barron’s is probably second best. For more RC practice you can always try out the GMAT Official Guide. There is significant overlap in the two exams in RC.

          Hope that helps!

          • Ashwin May 31, 2012 at 7:47 pm #

            Hey thanks Chris for the help. 🙂

  70. Abhishek May 20, 2012 at 1:47 am #

    Hi Chris,
    I have read your new GRE book reviews. I can’t still figure out which is the best book for practicing Reading Comprehension questions apart from the limited passages in ETS. I do not require books with elaborate strategies. I require a book where I can practice RC questions and get explanations- the rationale for which matches with the thinking of experts who prepare questions for actual GRE.

    • Chris Lele
      Chris May 21, 2012 at 3:17 pm #


      I think you bring up a good point – none of the texts out there really do; RC is probably the hardest section to mimic. You could try the Official Guide for the GMAT. Also, there are a few LSAT books (published by the experts who write the test) that have full-length explanations.

      Hope that helps :).

      • Abhishek May 21, 2012 at 9:30 pm #

        Thanks Chris for your suggestions. I assume that many of your students come to you with RC questions from Kaplan and Princeton materials whose answers are baffling to say the least. I wonder if you can indicate how Magoosh helps in RC preparation?

        • Chris Lele
          Chris May 22, 2012 at 1:50 pm #

          Hi Abhishek,

          RC is a difficult section to teach and sufficiently explain. PR and Kaplan do a mediocre job at best. At worst, their rationale can be downright baffling. The worst part there is nobody to provide a better explanation. With Magoosh, we have special lesson modules that help break down different aspects of RC. The hundreds of practice questions come with both a video explanation and a text explanation. Of course, nobody is perfect. So if you have a question on anything – be it RC, Quant, or vocab – we will always respond in 24 hours, and often much sooner than that.

          Let me know if you have any other questions :).

  71. Raihan Syed May 14, 2012 at 9:59 pm #

    Hi Chris,

    I would like to THANK YOU for all your help & suggestions regarding the selection of books..especially Manhattan GRE for RC and their 6 tests… helped me a lot.. and Nova’s for Math..

    Took the test last week and scored 159 in Verbal & 160 in quant.. I am not very sure if it is a good score, but considering I started from 152-153 range 2 months back in both..I am pretty much happy with my performance..

    @ ALL —- Manhattan tests are a MUST !!! As suggested by Chris I bought one book ( buy the book in which you are a bit weak, though I recommend buying the ‘RCs & Essays’ copy. Top it up with Nova’s for math… and ofcourse.. ETS guide and 2 powerprep tests… 2-3 months with these.. 8 timed essays.. and I am sure most of you would do really well..

    Once again, thank you very much Chris and I am sorry I did not enroll myself for the Magoosh course as I am more a ‘book’ and a ‘self-study’ person.. but I am sure your course is benefiting people all over the world.



    • Chris Lele
      Chris May 15, 2012 at 11:51 am #


      Congratulations on your score! I am happy to see my recommendations are helping others :). And no worries – many people are book learners, and Manhattan is the best way to go.

      Good luck1

  72. Nish May 14, 2012 at 7:45 am #

    I am planning on taking the new revised GRE in about 4 months. I’m starting from scratch and know that I’m weaker in the math dept. I will most likely purchase the premium package and have already purchased Cliffnotes Math review for standardized test and Kaplan’s verbal workbook. Is there anything I should add or remove from the list?


    • Chris Lele
      Chris May 14, 2012 at 12:03 pm #

      Hi Nish,

      The Cliffnotes Math is a good review. Once you learn the techniques/fundamentals there, make sure you use ETS’s Official Guide for the Revised GRE. That will give you sense of the actual GRE questions.

      For Verbal, I do not recommend Kaplan’s Verbal Workbook. The Sentence Equivalence, Text Completions, and Vocab strategies are really bad that they will only hurt your score. The Manhattan GRE series is good for Verbal, as are we (

      Hope that helps, and let me know if you have any more questions :).

  73. Ana May 9, 2012 at 9:32 am #

    Hi Chris,

    About 6 months ago I took a 3-day GRE prep class at my school, and they used the Cambridge Victory for GRE book. I didn’t go back to GRE prep since, so I am kind of starting from scratch, but I still have the student book. Here is a link: . Do you have any experience with this book? How good is it? I am mostly looking for practice, and they seem to have a lot of practice problems which I like. I was just wondering how close to the real test their practice problems and practice tests are, especially for the verbal part.



    • Chris Lele
      Chris May 9, 2012 at 12:23 pm #

      Hmm…I can’t seem to access any of the Cambridge GRE content without have to pay a hefty price tag :(. Would you happen to have any of their questions in electronic form?

      The thing is I’ve never even heard of them. I definitely want to know the quality of their questions as well. That said, there is a lot of questionable content out there…

  74. Alina May 5, 2012 at 10:44 am #

    Hey Chris,

    I’m going to take GRE in September 2012, therefore I’ll have 2-3 month for the preparation. I’ve read many book reviews, but I still can’t make up my mind what books I should buy. I didn’t take any test like GRE yet.

    I think I won’t have problems with math, but my vocabulary isn’t good (I’m a non-native speaker) and I suppose than I’ll have problems with a verbal part as well. I’m not planning to buy many books as I won’t have enough time to read all of them and, in addition, it would be rather costly for me. Unfortunately, I don’t like to read on-line materials and e-books because I don’t want to spoil my eyesight (I spend too much time sitting in front of my computer).

    You wrote that MGRE books are good for both verbal part and vocabulary. As far as I understand, only 7th and 8th books are needed for verbal part & vocabulary. What will you recommend for me as the fastest & cheapest way of the GRE preparation? Will it be enough to buy just 7th and 8th MGRE books or should I buy other books like Princeton Review, Barron’s 19th Ed or ETS’s Official Guide to the GRE Revised General Test?

    Looking forward to hearing from you soon,

    • Chris Lele
      Chris May 7, 2012 at 11:29 am #

      Hi Alina,

      Good question! For verbal prep, beyond the MGRE, you should definitely have the Official Guide to the GRE by ETS. Couple with the strategies from MGRE that should be enough. If you find yourself still needing more practice, Barron’s is okay. (PR really waters down the test so I wouldn’t recommend it).

      Good luck, and let me know if you have any more questions 🙂

  75. Sri April 30, 2012 at 8:23 am #

    Hi Chris,

    About the MGRE books, you stated that buying any 1 book gives us access to the 5 online tests? I’m just wondering if this is true even if we get the 2010 edition. I find that the 2010 edition is cheaper for me to buy and I want the book mainly for the 5 tests. So, even if we buy the 2010 edition do we get access to the revised GRE mocks?

    • Chris Lele
      Chris April 30, 2012 at 2:02 pm #

      Actually, you get 6 free tests. As long as the 2010 edition is for the Revised GRE, and not for the old GRE, you should be able to access the free tests.

      Good luck!

  76. James Brown April 13, 2012 at 1:05 pm #

    Hey Chris, do happen to know if the GRE CATs are accurate predictors of actual scores? Just curious.

    • Chris Lele
      Chris April 13, 2012 at 6:43 pm #

      Hi James,

      Actually, I’m not… Are they still using the new 130 – 170 scale (despite their name and all)?

  77. Chitra April 5, 2012 at 6:47 pm #

    Hi Chriis,

    I am planing to take GRE in 3 months. I have visited lot of websites where students who have attempted New GRE, posting their study plan and their scores. Most of the students are recommending GRE BIBLE software for high scores in New GRE. Can you please review GRE bible and suggest me is it the right choice to pick up for high scores in GRE.

    Thanks in advance

    • Chris Lele
      Chris April 6, 2012 at 9:48 am #

      Hi Chitra,

      I had looked at the site before but did not look further into because the product struck me as “too good to be true.” All these perfect scores and a list of names. Seems fishy. Could you let me know where you encountered websites that featured students who were using the GRE Bible?

      • Chitra April 7, 2012 at 10:40 am #

        Hai Chris,

        I have also been to the official website of GRE BIBLE. There i have seen some reviews from students scored very high GRE score of around 330+. I was astonished for the first time when i saw the score. They were also insisting that some of Text completion questions are perfect reflection of GRE BIBLE questions. I am really confused can you please review it and help many students before they get fooled by buying that software.

        Thanks in advance

        • Chris Lele
          Chris April 13, 2012 at 6:39 pm #

          Hi Chitra,

          Like the other commenters noted, I think it best to steer clear of any advertisements on-line that sound to good to be true. If you are in doubt, contact GRE Bible and ask if you can contact any of their specific references. Any company that stands by its products–and testimonials–should be transparent and obliging.

          At Magoosh, we are always here ready to answer any questions about our product – and many of our testimonials come with faces :).

          Hope that helps!

          • marsp January 30, 2014 at 12:36 am #

            Don’t waste your time with GRE Bible. IT IS too good to be true! They are fraud! They never reply to emails and I begin to believe that they don’t even speak English! The software doesn’t work, but one month and 20 emails later, my GRE test day has passed and the guys from Pellucid have taken my money and don’t care that it doesn’t work!!!

            • Chris Lele
              Chris Lele January 30, 2014 at 11:43 am #

              Wow Marsp! Sorry to hear that :(.

              Thanks for warning others out there :).

  78. Patty April 5, 2012 at 11:47 am #

    I had a quick question regarding the Peterson’s Master the GRE 2012 edition. I had recently worked on some math problems and am now enrolled in a GRE refresher class. I took a mock math test and bombed and realized how hard it was compared to the Peterson. Should I not rely on the Peterson and use the class text the Barron’s 19th edition of the New GRE?

    • Chris Lele
      Chris April 5, 2012 at 2:33 pm #

      Hi Patty,

      For the old GRE (and indeed all the other standardized tests) Peterson’s has been notoriously bad, so I didn’t even bother reviewing its new GRE offering. I’m guessing not much has changed.

      Definitely use the Barron’s over the Peterson’s. Even Princeton Review would be much better.

      Hope that helps 🙂

  79. James Brown April 3, 2012 at 11:49 am #

    Chris, what do you have to say for the content of the math in The Princeton Review 1,014 GRE practice questions? I’m looking for more math practice and I’m in my last month before the test. My quant score looks like it’d be in the mid 600’s, I’m hoping to crack the upper 600’s and maybe even get a 700 on the quant, any suggestions?

    • Chris Lele
      Chris April 3, 2012 at 5:38 pm #

      Hi James,

      The 1,014 is littered with a bunch of typos. Little errors seem to abound on each page. If you can brace yourself for this, the extra practice doesn’t hurt. The questions aren’t nearly as difficult as those found in Nova’s, but since you are going for a 700 – not an 800 – that shouldn’t be too much of an issue.

      BTW have you tried MGRE mock tests yet?

  80. Simon April 2, 2012 at 9:10 am #

    Hi there, thank you for the list of reviews as well as the video – it was all very helpful. I’m planning on a 4.5 month study plan focused 90% on quant, with not very firm foundations in mathematics. I’m retaking as I previously got 165V/158Q which I believe is far below what I can achieve given the 5 days prep I put in!

    I’ve already studied McGraw-HIll’s conquering GRE Math which was useful as an introduction. Now my plans are:

    1. Cliffs Math Review For Standardized Tests
    2. Magoosh
    3. Barron’s New GRE
    4. Official GRE Guidebook/Powerprep

    Firstly, I note that you did not review Cliffs Math Review – what do you make of this in the context of the new GRE? I’m trying to go for comprehensive coverage rather than a cursory introduction to each part of the quantitative GRE (which is the only part I need to work on). Secondly, would you recommend Manhattan over Cliffs Math Review, combined with Magoosh (which I have already purchased) and Barron’s – or is that overkill?


    • Chris Lele
      Chris April 2, 2012 at 12:07 pm #

      Hmm, from what I can remember of Cliff’s Review is that it covers much of the basic concepts the way that McGraw Hill’s does. Pages are less busy and examples are more varied. All in all, I remember it being a pretty good review (hmm, I may have to pick up a copy and do a review).

      Throwing in the MGRE from the standpoint of prepping may be overkill. I recommend, however, purchasing one book from MGRE (say, the one on number properties). That way you have access to MGRE’s six online tests.

      With all that material–and prep time–you should hopefully score in the mid to high 160s. At any point along your journey, don’t hesitate to ask a question :).

  81. Riyadh April 1, 2012 at 3:51 am #

    Hi Chris

    Can you suggest me some good books/materials for RC? Right now i am checking barron’s and also magoosh.

    Most of the books do not have the explanation of the answers. Just the answers. I need the explanation as well to identify why my answers are wrong.

    If you have any suggestion please let me know.


    • Chris Lele
      Chris April 2, 2012 at 12:14 pm #

      Hi Riyadh,

      Hopefully Magoosh has explanations for why the wrong answers are wrong. When creating the videos, I made sure to go through most of the wrong answers, especially those I felt most students would miss. Nonetheless I didn’t account for every wrong answer. But no worries–we have an excellent (and highly responsive) support team, which will answer any questions or lingering doubts you have on RC.

      As for more material, I recommend Manhattan GRE and the ETS Official guide.

      Hope that helps :).

  82. Jeff March 29, 2012 at 2:25 pm #

    Many thanks Chris for all your insights, it is much appreciated. I was hoping you could do me one last favor, I spent some time last night, planning out the review materials I am going to use and I was hoping I could get your opinion on them:

    Do I have the right balance?
    Is it doable in a 4 month study period?
    Am I missing or deficient in any area?
    Is using the Mc-Graw Hill overkill if I use Magoosh and Manhattan for quantatitive studying?
    Being that verbal and vocabulary is weaker for me, is there any other source for verbal I’m missing out on?
    Is the ETS PowerPrep Software come with their Revised General Test book or is that something you have to buy separately?
    Is there a difference between the Barron’s Essential Words for the GRE and the New GRE 19th edition?

    * Manhattan GRE Series
    * Magoosh
    * Mc-Graw Hill’s Conquering the new GRE Math

    * Manhattan GRE Series
    * Magoosh
    * Barron’s New GRE 19th Edition

    * The Wall Street Journal
    * One or two books from the “Best American Series”
    * Manhattan GRE 500 Essential Word Flash Cards
    * Barron’s Essential Words for the GRE (1100 Words)
    * Word Smart and Quizlet

    Analytical Writing
    * Manhattan GRE Series
    * ETS’s Official Guide to the Revise General Test
    * ETS PowerPrep Software
    * Barron’s New GRE 19TH Edition

    General Test Strategies
    * Manhattan GRE Series
    * Magoosh

    Practice Questions
    * Manhattan GRE Series
    * Magoosh
    * ETS’s Official Gue to the Revise General Test
    * ETS Powerprep Software

    Many thanks once again for all your time and help in these matters.

    • Chris Lele
      Chris March 30, 2012 at 2:21 pm #

      Hi Jeff,

      Your schedule looks great. The McGraw Hill may be overkill – only get it if you need it after using the other resources.

      I’m not sure if the Barron’s Essential words differ from the 19th Edition. Also the ETS software comes with the book, so you don’t have to purchase it separately. Good luck with your plan and check in from time to time to let me know how it is going.


  83. Jeff March 28, 2012 at 8:21 pm #

    Hi Chris,

    I apologize, I completely forgot to ask you about flashcards. I know Barron and Kaplan have vocabulary flash cards and I want to use that as another source for vocabulary studying, do you recommend either of their cards or another companies?

    Many Thanks,
    – Jeff

  84. Jeff March 27, 2012 at 3:56 pm #

    Hi Chris,

    I’ve spent sometime on your website and watched some video blogs of your on youtube. I’m going to be taking the GRE this coming July and August. So I’m going to have about 3-4 months to study. I know you highly recommend Magoosh, Manhattan book series, and ETS General Test Guide/Strategies, but I was hoping you could just give me a quick summary below of your top two choices in each of the following areas below (Princeton Review, Kaplan, Barron, Nova, Manhattan, etc). Just some background on me, on the old GRE, I struggled with verbal, specifically vocabulary and analogies. While I know the new test is different with the verbal section, I still consider verbal to be a weak point of mine so please keep that in mind. In regards to the vocab section, what do you recommend is the best resources strategies for learning vocabulary words (i.e. Wall Street Journal, Kaplan vocab flash cards, etc?). Many thanks in advance for your help!

    Analytical Writing:
    General Test Strategies:
    Practice Questions:

    • Chris Lele
      Chris March 28, 2012 at 11:21 am #

      Hi Jeff,

      Sounds like you are going to use as many resources as possible. Good for you :). Here are my top two recommendations in each category:


      Nova (hard questions – old format only)
      Magoosh (fundamentals/tough questions)

      Sorry that was 3 🙂




      ( flashcards, gleaning words from WSJ,

      Analytical Writing:
      (Question bank from ETS)

      General Test Strategies:
      Magoosh Blog

      Practice Questions:

      MGRE (6-practice tests)
      Magoosh (questions)
      Nova (Math only)

      Princeton Review

      Also, I didn’t include ETS. For questions it is the de facto. For strategies, meh. For range of concepts covered and review solid.

      In terms of your question for learning vocab, make sure to study using a variety of approaches, flashcards, in-context reading, etc. Here is a post you may find helpful:

      Hope that helps!

      • Jeff March 28, 2012 at 3:10 pm #

        Hi Chris,

        Thanks so much for the recommendations. I took the GRE a few years ago on the old system and did about avg so I want to do what I can to do above avg with scores this time. Back then, I used primarily Princeton Review and while okay, they were not great, both for their classroom course and their test prep books.

        This time around I’m going to use a couple of different sources.

        When you say MGRE, your referring to Manhattan right?

        Keep Well,
        – Jeff

        • Chris Lele
          Chris March 28, 2012 at 4:45 pm #

          Hi Jeff,

          Yep, MGRE is the Manhattan series. Definitely a good way to go, as you great tips and questions that mirror the test. You also get access to 6 online mock tests, by buying one of their books.

          Good luck, and let me know if you have any other questions :).

          • Jeff March 28, 2012 at 8:03 pm #

            Hi Chris,

            I really appreciate you taking the time out of your busy schedule to help answer my questions.

            Doing well and planning my next few months of GRE prep is really important to me so I want to make sure I chose the right sources to study from. I’m going to have about 3-4 months of study time so I want to make the most of it.

            In regards to reading in context for vocabulary, have you found amongst the NY Times, Wall Street Journal, New Yorker, or The Economist, which one has a better content of GRE words and not too difficult to read content for those words? Is one really better or stand out more than the others, or are all about the same in this regard?

            Also, which Barron book specifically were you referring to for the analytical writing section?

            The McGraw Hill book you reviewed with a A- score, do you recommend that as a good complement to the MGRE books?

            Take Care,
            – Jeff

            • Chris Lele
              Chris March 29, 2012 at 11:18 am #

              Hi Jeff,

              Not a problem :).

              For in-context vocab, it really depends on your predilections. Some find the Economist intolerably drab; others find the New Yorker intolerably snooty. Vocab density-wise, it depends which section/type of piece you are reading. To give you an idea:


              For Barron’s I was just referring to their general New GRE guide, which does a good job of breaking down the Analytical Section.

              Finally, the McGraw Hill Math book receives an A-, but only if you are really, really struggling in math and need a basic review. Otherwise, there is no use in it. The general McGraw Hill book is atrociously bad – do not use.

              As for flashcards, try It already has many of Kaplan/Barron’s flashcards ready to go in e-form.

              Hope that helps!

  85. Desland March 14, 2012 at 8:27 pm #

    Hi Chris,
    I’d like to take a moment to thank you for the tremendous job you do on this blog. I for one can say you have a very special bond with most of the people who post here.

    Ok. I have a question, I just started studying for the GRE (quantitative) then I came across this book online: Quantitative Aptitude by RS Aggarwal. After a thorough review I came to conclude that It might a good book for the GRE quantitative. However, I wasn’t quite sure so I needed a second opinion – I have Barron (I found the math section to be very easy to me), Kaplan (waste of time), and Princeton Review (not bad).

    BTW I intend to purchase access to Magoosh (GRE) but I want to brushed up the requested book. I guess I’d like to know if i will be wasting my time or if its worth a try. Below are some of the chapters I wanted to look through if you have the chance to come across the book.

    Problems on Numbers
    Problems on Ages
    Surds & Indices
    Profit & Loss
    Ratio & Proportion
    Chain Rule
    Time & work
    Time & Distance
    Problems on Trains
    Alligation or Mixture
    Simple Interest
    Compound Interest
    Volume & Surface Areas
    Races & Games of Skill
    Stocks & Shares
    Permutations & Combinations
    True Discount
    Heights & Distances

    Thank you in advance.

    Please spared grammar as English is my second language (actually fourth language LOL)

    • Chris Lele
      Chris March 15, 2012 at 1:55 pm #

      Hi Desland,

      Thanks for the major kudos. I am very happy to know that many are finding the blog posts helpful.

      This book is by no means bad – and it is definitely thorough. But therein lies the problem. For GRE purposes, there is just too much, and it is squashed together unappealingly. (True there is more overlap with the lessons you provided above).

      Also, test prep questions are misleading/tricky. Here everything is very straightforward. You receive numbers, you follow the directions, and the answer pops up.

      Of course, it couldn’t hurt doing some practice exercises (say in combinations/permutations) but your time may be better spent using test prep questions to practice.

      Hope that helps!

      • Anshul March 15, 2012 at 2:19 pm #

        Hi ,

        To add more…

        Practicing through this book will help in increasing the calculation speed as it is written keeping in mind the format of various entrance exams in India such as bank PO, management aptitude test etc where there are 120-150 questions to solve in a time constraint of 60-90 minutes.

        The exercise questions just have the answers without the explanation.

        There are a lot of printing errors in the book specially the answer key.

        • Chris Lele
          Chris March 15, 2012 at 3:30 pm #

          Thanks for your insights, Anshul 🙂

          Yeah, this book should definitely help with the mental calculator component.

          But with all the errors, this book is far from the best source of prep out there.

      • Desland March 15, 2012 at 3:41 pm #

        Thank you, Chris. I will definitely take your advice.

        • Chris Lele
          Chris March 16, 2012 at 12:07 pm #

          You’re welcome :).

  86. Uma March 6, 2012 at 12:15 am #

    Hai Chris,

    I am going to take GRE in August. I have started my preparation with “Barron’s essential words for GRE”. I am able to remember the words but, i am facing some difficulty in using the right word in the right context. Can you please suggest me some American websites or magazines where i can frequently come across most of the GRE words and get acquainted with the context usage of these words.

    And I have also gone through some of the reading comprehension passages given in GRE. I have observed that most of these passages were related to science, wildlife, Nature, Politics etc. So, can you please suggest some American websites i need to peep into in order to get used to the style of writing of these authors rather than straight away practicing reading comprehension questions.

    My queries are
    1. Is this the right approach?
    2. Suggest me some websites please.

    Thanks in advance.

  87. Bob March 5, 2012 at 7:03 am #

    Hi Chris,

    I will be taking the GRE in about a month and a half. I kind of know what I’m heading to since this will be the third time I will be taking the test (I took it previously in 2007 and 2008). The difference this time is that I’m studying using GRE prep books and other online resources (like the Magoosh GRE blog and Quizlet). Last time I took the test I had a personal coach for the math section and I did not put any effort to study the verbal section. In that way I was able to score 1120 points. This time I need a higher score to get into really competitive grad programs (I’m shooting to a score in the 1300s or 160s in the new grade scale). I’m using The Princeton Review’s Cracking the New GRE 2012, the Verbal Workout for the New GRE by PR, and Nova’s GRE Math Prep Course. I am about to finish studying the math section in Cracking the New GRE at this moment, and after I finish working on that book I am planning to divide my study time between PR Verbal Workout and Nova’s Math course. I have been studying for about 2-3 hours everyday for the past couple of weeks. I haven’t take any practice test so far, since I haven’t finish my first round reviewing the study material. Starting next week I’m planning to study 5 to 6 hours everyday until the test day. After this general intro on my study situation, now my questions. First, what is your opinion about my study strategy? I am a little worried about the math section, do you think Nova’s is a good math prep book? (there are no complete book reviews on Nova’s in the internet). I would like very much to see what can you recommend me to improve my study strategy. By the way, as you can deduce from this comment, English is not my native language, so the GRE is a real challenge for me!

    Thanks in advance for you attention and your help.


    • Chris Lele
      Chris March 5, 2012 at 12:01 pm #

      Hi Bob!

      That’s great that you are going for such a high score – given that English is not your native tongue.

      Okay, so I think you may need to change your prep resources.

      PR is pretty bad, unless you are really struggling and hoping to go from 140 to 145. The content is dumbed-down, but the strategies are great (hence it’s good for low-scorers).

      NOVA’s math is good, and bad. Difficult questions = good. No question types for the revised GRE = bad. The Verbal – because it was not very good in the first place and is now obsolete – is bad. Speaking of NOVA here is a complete review we just put up on the blog:

      For Verbal I would recommend MGRE and Magoosh – you can read all the reviews in the post above. Once you’ve embarked with the new texts/resources I can definitely help you refine your study plan to help you best take advantage of those 5-6 hours.

      Hope that helps 🙂

      • Bob March 8, 2012 at 8:59 pm #

        Hi Chris,

        Thanks very much for your response. I followed your advice and I just got the MGRE books for the Verbal section. I already have Nova’s Math Prep Course (I think I have a different book you reviewed, the one I have is only for the Math section and it was published in 2011). Since I am under a limited budget, I couldn’t afford to get the MGRE complete set of books. I was wondering if you can help me with some advice on my study plan. I already studied the PR Cracking the New GRE, so I practiced the strategies they suggest for the verbal and math sections. I will be taking the GRE in a little more than 4 weeks and I will have the chance to study for 5 to 6 hours everyday until the exam day. I’m not sure if I will have enough time to cover all the topics on the MGRE verbal books and Nova’s. Since I will be applying to very competitive grad programs, I want to get a high score in the GRE (around 160). I know it will be difficult to get such high score, taking into account that English is not my native language, but I will do my best.
        Again, thanks very much for your thoughtful advice,


        • Chris Lele
          Chris March 9, 2012 at 1:39 pm #

          Hi Bob :).

          I think that should be enough time to do all that you have to. Remember buying just one MGRE book gives you access to 6 on-line tests. Thread those tests in over the 4 weeks and you should improve (make sure to go through your mistakes, understanding why you missed everything, etc.)

          From a vocab standpoint, I would definitely spend a lot of time making sure you understand how words function in context. One good place is I’ve probably written over 50 vocabulary posts, some of which contain as many as 20 words. I’ve done my best to provide in-context examples.

          With all this prep, you should do well. Definitely drop a line in a couple of weeks to let me know how you are doing. If you are not on target, we can definitely brainstorm some ideas to help you get there. 🙂

  88. Mike March 3, 2012 at 5:32 pm #

    I completely bombed the gre.

    146-V, 153-Q

    I studied and learned over 400 words that I compiled from Kaplan book, Baron book and a few other books and sources and I saw less than 10 of those words on the test.

    There was even a paragraph comprehension question that showed up blank. It had the prompt, but I couldnt see the question nor answer it. This appeared on several power prep and kaplan practice tests as well…wtf?

    It wasn’t like I am trying to get into stanford grad school. The grad school that I am applying too is look for atleast a 300 GRE. And no surprise, I got a 299 lol.

    • Chris Lele
      Chris March 5, 2012 at 12:08 pm #

      Hi Mike,

      Sorry to hear about your performance. The good news is you can take the test again, and by tweaking your study approach you can hopefully do better.

      The truth is those books tout the ‘words you have to know’ while only a few of those words are going to show up. But a few did show up – and that is very important. Since many, many GRE students use Barron’s and Kaplan vocab books, if every word were to show up, then many would do well on the GRE, and the whole point-system would get messed up.

      For the GRE, you have to learn well over a thousand words to do well. But don’t despair – it obviously takes a little time. Here is one approach that you should find helpful:

      As for why you weren’t able to see the question on a text-completion something sounds off. This was on an actual GRE? If so, you have a case and can write to ETS explaining what happened. It (meaning ETS) should allow you to take the test again w/o having to pay.

  89. Ram March 3, 2012 at 6:17 am #

    Thankyou chris,

    Chris, I think we dont have such type of questions which are having multiple answers (in New GRE)…
    Am i correct?



    • Chris Lele
      Chris March 5, 2012 at 12:14 pm #

      Hi Ram,

      Oh no, there are definitely questions on the new GRE that have multiple answers :).

      Sentence Equivalence, RC, and Quant will all have them. Take a look at this official Revised GRE test:

      • Ram March 5, 2012 at 8:29 pm #

        Thank you chris,

        your suggestions are helping me a lot.

        How many MAQ’s can we expect (roughly) in New GRE?


        • Chris Lele
          Chris March 15, 2012 at 3:31 pm #

          Hi Ram,

          SE will have about 4, RC 2, and the Quant about 3 or 4.

  90. priyanka March 2, 2012 at 3:44 pm #

    hi chris

    Yesterday, I gave my GRE test and scored 153 in quants and 144 in gre.
    I am planning to give the exam one more time in the April end. To improve my score what should I do, especially in verbal? Also, my speed is less, in verbal about 12 ques/30 min and 187 ques/30min in maths . How can i increase my speed? I would like to get a very good score next time.


  91. Ram March 1, 2012 at 7:49 pm #

    Thanks chris for your suggestions.
    In the New GRE exam pattern we have multiple answers to 1 question.
    Previously, we had to select only 1 correct answer, but now we’ve got to select all the correct answers for that question.
    How many question like that can we expect in NEW GRE? or
    are all the questions in NEW GRE like that?

    Thanks Chris


    • Chris Lele
      Chris March 2, 2012 at 2:14 pm #

      Great question :).

      Actually, there are not too many questions that require more than one answer. A specific breed, called Sentence Equivalence, always has exactly two answers. One or two questions in Reading Comp. will be select any one of three.

      In Quant, things are a little more jumbled up in terms of multiple answer questions (MAQs). But most of the questions you will see in math will require only one answer (so it’s not as bad as it sounds!).

  92. Ram February 29, 2012 at 8:36 pm #

    This is Ramu from Bangalore.
    I’m taking the GRE now.
    I’m very poor in Verbal and quant.
    I’ll have to pracice more about that.
    And i would like to know about the Books for New GRE in which all the topics are well revised and the previous (New GRE) question with solutions.

    • Chris Lele
      Chris March 1, 2012 at 2:50 pm #

      Hi Ram,

      The two best resources are Manhattan GRE and Magoosh. Both come with plenty of questions and explanations. (that’s us!) provides both text and video explanations to every question.

      To learn more:

      Let me know if you have any more questions and I’d be happy to help :).

  93. Amy February 28, 2012 at 8:52 am #

    This is a follow-up regarding the online GRE prep products. I bought BenchPrep’s GRE Course, and it turned out that the company did not develop its own content and used mostly Nova’s instead. They only transformed the print material into online format and developed the application. The course and website are meretricious– they consist of nicely designed and glossy graphics, but are in fact poorly functional, marred by annoying glitches and bugs. If one assumes quality is positively proportional to price, one is wrong. It was $75 with a 50% coupon. The course does not contain any tutorial videos or video solutions as it is advertised. Aide from the apparent technical shortcomings, the worse issue is that the verbal section is conspicuously out of date. More than half of the content in the verbal section pertains to the old GRE (i.e. analogies and antonymous) only, and surprisingly, sentence improvement questions, which I remember seeing on the SAT 3 years ago, also appear on the verbal quizzes and tests in the verbal section.

    Although the course also provides flash cards for around 3000 words, a handful of them are arcane and obscure vocab that will no longer be popular on the new GRE. With only a one-to-two word explanation and no context for each word, all the nuances, connotations, and subtleties are lost, which makes studying the flash cards counterproductive for GRE vocab building.

    Nevertheless, the math section is completely updated, and the strategies are useful and might even be slightly better than Magoosh’s in some areas. Concepts and strategies are explained and demonstrated with examples. While the math topics covered are not exhaustive, they are close to being complete. The only good about this course is the math section. I bought the course and returned it within 7 days (concordant with their return policy), during which I tried to zip through most of the math section.

    I would not recommend buying this course until BenchPrep is able to deliver what is advertised, update the course, fixe all the bugs, and improve the overall user experience.

    • Amy February 28, 2012 at 12:14 pm #

      Actually I bought Barron’s online GRE Prep as well. While Barron’s is quite similar to Magoosh in terms of the course components and format, my conclusion does not change: Magoosh is still the best online GRE prep out there for its value, content quality, usability, and customer support.

      • Chris Lele
        Chris February 28, 2012 at 12:34 pm #

        Wow! Thanks for the kudos :).

        And let us know if there is any area in which we could improve. We always strive to be even better :).

    • Chris Lele
      Chris February 28, 2012 at 12:32 pm #

      Hi Amy :).

      This is such an excellent, thoughtful review that I feel any thing I could come up with would be redundant.

      Would you be open to allowing us to potentially use this as a blog post? Something to the extent of “Student Takes – GRE resource review.”

      Also your review is timely – I am posting a NOVA review later this week. I could link it to your review.

      What do you think?

      • Amy February 28, 2012 at 12:37 pm #

        Sure, but I wonder if you could edit my comment before using it as a blog post? I can already spot a few typos. :-}

  94. Anshul February 28, 2012 at 8:47 am #

    Hi Chris,

    I am planning to appear for the GRE exam in June 2012. In the GRE exam that I attempted in 2011 I got ( Q-760, V-410 , AWA -3) 1170 marks. For my next attempt I started my preparations last week and started with Power Prep to get an idea where I stand. I got 330-430 in verbal and 750-800 in Math section.
    I have All the 8 MGRE , 800 essential words from Barron and Nova’s math practice book.

    I would like to know your opinion about Word smart vs 800 essential words. English being not my native language. Though my performance is average in the reading comprehension, I face problems in the sections where vocabulary is involved, such as fill in the blanks, etc.

    I wanted to ask you, what should be my study plan? How should I progress in the weak areas?

    Thanks, Anshul

    • Chris Lele
      Chris February 28, 2012 at 12:42 pm #

      Hi Anshul,

      We have a variety of study plans you should take a look at:

      As for Word Smart vs. 800, both are great resources. I usually recommend Word Smart because of the examples sentences. The book also slightly more vocab. However the alphabetical format is a bit dull. Ultimately, it is a reference book.

      Either book you use make sure you are not just reading the book, but actively using the words you learnt in the book.

  95. Ann February 25, 2012 at 10:58 pm #

    Hi, Chris.

    Have you done a review for the Princeton Online GRE course? It’s very expensive ($699); and I’ve heard that although they offer drills and practice tests, they do not provide instant feedback on the practice questions so it takes so much more time to figure out how they got to the correct answer.

    I am scheduled to take the GRE in May but am considering rescheduling the exam for September in order to be able to focus on your 6-month study guide.

    I’ve always done well in all my undergrad course work, including College Algebra but really need to brush up on the basics. Do you think the 2-month prep will be enough? I did very well in undergrad math (Algebra, Stats) but am not sure I can recall all that info without really brushing up.

    Also, you mention supplemental material of McGraw Hill Conquering “New” GRE but the cover of the book you show is the old one- Is there one specifically for the NEW GRE that you recommend?

    I must say that I’ve been trying to get organized for GRE study for the last 5 months and have felt overwhelmed – not knowing where to start and how to structure my study time.

    I’m motivated to start working on the plan you laid out. I graduated BA with Honors so I know I’m capable of learning the info and passing the GRE but really needed a plan of study. I’m glad I found your site.

    Thanks 😉


    • Chris Lele
      Chris February 27, 2012 at 1:32 pm #

      Hi Ann,

      That’s great! Sticking to the 6-month plan will be very helpful. With the structure, I think you should definitely do well on the GRE, considering background/academic record.

      So relating to the more specific parts of the post:

      1. I have not tried the PR on-line course, but I think you are right: lack of instant feedback doesn’t really help. You are just plowing through a bunch of questions.

      2. McGraw Hill just covers very basic math concepts that apply to any of the standardized tests, SAT, (new) GRE, GMAT.

      3. The Magoosh product offers lesson videos on math fundamentals and plenty of questions to apply the lessons to. Pretty good brush up. You may consider the Manhattan GRE – any of the 8 books – for any area you feel you may be struggling on.

      Def. let me know if there are any questions I can answer before you embark on the 6-month plan…and update me along the way. I’d love to hear how it is going :).

  96. Meghna February 23, 2012 at 9:25 am #


    I want to attempt GRE in a few months and planning to buy the following books to study from. I’m very weak in the verbal and RC section and average with quant. Could you suggest if the books would be the right start?
    Cracking The New GRE, 2012 – for the overall concepts and quant
    Barron’s New GRE: The Leader In Test Preparation – For RC and sentence correction
    Barron’s Essential Words for the GRE – For Verbal.

    I also have ETS’s overall guide to practice the questions.

    Could you please suggest if this is the right approach??

  97. Harish February 21, 2012 at 5:10 pm #

    Hi Chris,

    I am planing to take the RE in May. I have started my preparation and tried to practice some Text Completion questions but I keep finding the wrong answer as I don’t know the meaning for most of the choices. Can you please suggest some books for vocabulary that I can go through before practicing Sentence Equivalence and Text Completion questions? My main concern is Verbal section in GRE. Can you please suggest me some good books for verbal section which has Text Completion and Sentence Equivalence questions to the level of GRE?

    Thanks in advance

    • Chris Lele
      Chris February 22, 2012 at 11:47 am #

      H Harish,

      Princeton Review Word Smart is a good book for vocabulary. However, do not use only this book to study vocab. You want to rely on flashcards – is good and in-context reading. Here is a good resource:

      For GRE text completions and sentence equivalence questions that are as difficult as those found on the real, I can think of no better resource than Magoosh. Take a look at our product. You can take a look here:

      Let me know if you have any other questions :).

  98. Cass February 20, 2012 at 12:19 pm #


    I’m planning on taking the GRE revised general test this summer. However, I graduated in May 2010 and have been working in my field since, so I have been out of school for a little while. I was wondering if you had a suggestion for the best book(s) for me to pick up in order to do well. I plan on spending 2-3 months studying for the GRE, and I from what I’ve read it seems like the Manhattan GRE set of 8 is the best prep, especially if you’ve been out of practice for a while like myself. Would this set alone be adequate? Or would you advise a combination of some of the other less expensive books with good coverage for different topics?

    Looking forward to your advice, and Thanks!

    • Chris Lele
      Chris February 21, 2012 at 11:28 am #

      Hi Cass,

      The best approach is definitely the MGRE and Magoosh one-two combo. The latter because we offer another type of learning – video vs. book. And our practice questions all have that annoying timer (just like the actual test!).

      Of course price is a factor – in MGRE’s case. For Writing Barron’s is good and SE Text Completion it’s okay. Kaplan maybe for medium-level reading comp. but otherwise just stay away from the rest.

      Let me know if that helps 🙂

  99. Flo February 19, 2012 at 12:16 am #

    Do you have any Strategies on self studying? Thanks so much!

    • Chris Lele
      Chris February 20, 2012 at 1:44 pm #

      Hi Flo,

      Have a look at our study guides. You can click on the study guide tab in the bar that is on the homepage. For now, here is the 30-day study guide.

      Let me know if you have any other questions :).

  100. Ravi February 18, 2012 at 6:44 am #

    Thank you very much Chris.

    I went through Magoosh verbal plan. It has just 50 verbal video lessons and 250 verbal practice questions. Don’t you think 250 is very less number? what if I want to practice more? .Video explanation for every question is very good.
    Can you please clarify this.
    What is the best way to prepare for writing section in GRE?

  101. Chris Lele
    Chris February 17, 2012 at 2:29 pm #

    The short answer: no. Avoid Kaplan 100% for vocabulary. It’s incredibly ineffective (this is from 10 years exp. watching students crash and burn on Kaplan).

    As to A) the best way of studying vocab, read here:

    And B) for the best vocab resources, I recommend:

    Magoosh blog, Princeton Review Word Smart, (on-line flashcards),
    and (for in-context vocab, a method I talk about in the link above).

    Hope that helps!

  102. Ravi February 17, 2012 at 5:57 am #

    Hi Chris,

    I want to start my GRE preparation first by improving my vocabulary and then reading flash cards. Is Kaplan New GRE verbal book good enough for this purpose? ..I want to learn new words tthat are required for new GRE…where should I start?

  103. Zac February 11, 2012 at 11:06 am #

    Hi Chris,
    I have to improve my quant score from a 610 (old format, 2 days of preparation) to >160 in the revised format.
    Which books do you recommend to study if I only have to prepare for the quant section?

    Also, what is the average quant section of magoosh members (what score can I expect if I improve my speed so that I manage to solve all questions faster than the average time shown within magoosh?)

    Thanks a lot
    & best regards


    • Chris Lele
      Chris February 13, 2012 at 12:14 pm #


      I definitely recommend Magoosh, but of course. I also recommend Manhattan GRE. By just one book, and you get access to six online tests.

      Not only do you get oodles of questions, you actually get questions that are as challenging – if not even more so – than those that you’ll encounter test day.

      As for your second question, I think the average quant score is not as important as the score improvement (many low scoring students can have a dramatic increase in score – yet the average scores will still be in the middle range).

      As far as point improvement – and this is for those who’ve retaken the test – the point increase is about 7. Here is a quick snippet from one of our success stories:

      “To cut to the chase, Magoosh was a tremendous help! My quant score went from 152 to 165, which appears to be sufficient for the program I am applying to.”

      We don’t have stats on first timers but I’m guessing the score improvement is even greater because many in this group hadn’t prepped before.

      Hope that helps!

  104. Raihan Syed February 10, 2012 at 11:32 pm #

    Hello Chris,

    Please suggest me a good ‘verbal’ practice/workout book. As suggested by you, I picked up Nova’s for math and I must agree, it was a great suggestion by you. Your suggestion would be of great help.

    Thank you very much 🙂

    • Chris Lele
      Chris February 13, 2012 at 12:21 pm #

      None of the major publishers are that good, but if I had to recommend just one book to prep from it would probably be Barron’s.

      If you don’t mind a series of books, Manhattan GRE is the way to go. Of course you could just order its Reading Comp book. There SE and Text Completions are okay. The best part is if you buy just one book you have access to their online tests.

      Speaking of on-line, I still think Magoosh provides the best verbal prep. Check out our free-trial at Here is a little teaser of our excellent lesson videos:

  105. katya February 9, 2012 at 6:46 pm #

    Hi Chris,

    i’ve started preparing for the gre with gruber’s complete just a few days ago and am wondering what do you have say about it? how soon we will be able to see the review on this one. don’t want to go too far with it if it is not worth it.

    thank you,

    • Chris Lele
      Chris February 10, 2012 at 11:50 am #

      Interesting – this is the second question I’ve had today on Gruber’s!

      Even more interesting, I just finished recording a video reviewing Gruber’s. It should be up over this weekend.

      In short, I would not rely on Gruber’s for prep. The verbal especially feels like it’s been cobbled together from old SAT and old GRE content.

      Hope that helps!

      • katya February 10, 2012 at 12:27 pm #

        Hi Chris and thank you for such a prompt reply!

        hmm doesn’t sound so great…

        so i better get something else. what should i start with, taking into consideration that i am not a native english speaker, h.e with a very decent level of the language and i’ve never taken any tests of this kind in usofa and i have at least 3.5 months to prep?

        • Chris Lele
          Chris March 15, 2012 at 3:19 pm #

          Hi Katya,

          Just caught this message (it was nested, so I’d missed it) 🙂

          So if you are just starting out and want easy to follow basic strategies, The Princeton Review is a good place to start. Once you have gone through that book and are looking for more practice, I recommend either Magoosh (if you like video learning) or Manhattan GRE (if you like the book format).

          Hope that was helpful, and sorry again for the late response :).

  106. Amy February 9, 2012 at 7:45 am #

    Hi Chris & Margarette,

    Could you do an online GRE prep product review also? More and more companies and publishers are moving online. In fact, similar online GRE prep products are currently being offered by others as well. So far I’ve found the Manhattan GRE Guided Self-Study, Barron’s Test Prep, and BenchPrep. I’ve purchased Magoosh already, and I am currently using it. While Magoosh is really great, I’ve have already gone through half of the course in a week, so I need more training material and practice problems. Since the other products are more expensive alternatives to Magoosh (the Manhattan GRE prep is a whopping $390!), and while I did some preliminary research on the companies and their products, I am still unsure whether they are worth my money.


    • Chris Lele
      Chris February 9, 2012 at 11:29 am #

      Hi Amy,

      Thanks for the heads up! I will definitely take a look at some of the self-study courses. I’m curious to see if Barron’s course is more up-to-date than the book. I’ll also give benchprep a whirl.


      • Amy February 10, 2012 at 2:42 pm #

        Thanks Chris,

        I am really looking forward to the review post! I would like to know if the Manhattan GRE Guided Self-Study course is really worth it though. I am trying to decide whether to get the set of practice books only or to get the course (which includes the books and the ETS’s official guide).

        The main difference between the books option and the course option is that the course has class recordings and additional video tutorials for math and vocab. I wonder if their videos actually offer a whole lot more on top of the Magoosh videos. I think a Manhattan GRE course review is not likely because it is too expensive.

        I have about 7 months to prepare for the GRE general test, as my planned test date is in early Sept. I am applying for Fall 2013, but should I take it even earlier?

        • Chris Lele
          Chris March 15, 2012 at 3:27 pm #

          Hi Amy :).

          So sorry about not getting back to you. These threads are so long and nested comments (such as this one) can get lost.

          Great question: MGRE books vs. review. I actually do not know much about their review but would be curious as to what they offer. Do they offer more than Magoosh? It definitely couldn’t hurt to use it, as their offerings have been consistently strong.

          But you have 7 months, so let me know how your prep is going. I will definitely not let your comment slip through the cracks again :).

  107. Dr Saurabh Malkar January 12, 2012 at 8:53 pm #

    Hi Chris.
    I am a first-time GRE test taker from India. I have employed a GRE coach for assistance in GRE prep. I would like you to help me with selecting a good GRE prep book. I currently own the Kaplan Premier. Which from amongst- Princeton review, 1014 questions, McGraw-Hill’s, Barron’s, Nova’s and The Big Book do you suggest that I should have in my possession? All these books are available with the coach, but I would like to own a few effective ones so that I can practice at home, rather than going to the coach’s premises. If you have any books in mind, which I haven’t mentioned, please do let me know. Apart from this, how can I increase my vocabulary? I make it a point to note down any new words, look it out in the Oxford dictionary+thesaurus and make a note of synonyms. I am also referring ‘Vocabulary build-up’ by Norman Lewis. Are there any other effective methods to achieve a good vocabulary?

    Dr Saurabh Malkar.

    • Chris Lele
      Chris January 13, 2012 at 11:46 am #

      Hello Dr. Saurabh Malkar,

      Congratulations on embarking on the GRE journey!

      Your vocabulary method for studying vocabulary is the one I endorse. Read and learn words in context. When possible reinforcing these words with flashcard study is helpful.

      Above, you can click on the link next to any post.

      Basically, avoid McGraw Hill completely. PR 1,014 questions is full with typos and errors – using it can cause much frustration.

      Kaplan is a mixed bag and the GRE Big Book is fine but dated (the new test is quite different). I would recommended buying the ETS book. And for plenty of practice questions, try Magoosh. We are totally computer based – just like the actual test. And you won’t have to worry about going to your coach’s premises.

      Please let me know if you have any other questions,


      • Dr Saurabh Malkar January 13, 2012 at 7:00 pm #

        Thanks mate!

  108. Surya Teja January 11, 2012 at 12:55 am #

    Hey Chris,
    I am planning to write GRE on march-2012.For starting preparation please tell me the best books to start. After searching many reviews,forums finally i figured 3-4 books are good ( I have read the New GRE Book Reviews by Magoosh). They are

    1. ETS’s Official Guide to the GRE Revised General Test Book
    2. Kaplan
    3. Princeton reviews New GRE Book.
    4. Barron’s.

    Please suggest me one of the best books to buy. It should cover the verbal and good maths tips and couple of practice tests. Recently i wrote TOEFL and got 76 (R16,L17,S22,W21). I feel i am in intermediate level in my verbal. So please suggest me the best book ASAP.

    Thanks in advance.

    • Chris Lele
      Chris January 11, 2012 at 2:36 pm #

      For beginners, Princeton Review is usually a good place to start. The questions will be easier than those seen on the actual test. As part of prep you will also want to do a lot of outside reading – The Economist,

      The new GRE is not a test you can game by picking up any of the books listed above. While practice and strategies is helpful, challenging yourself with intellectual writing is the only way to be handle what you’ll see test day.

      Hope that helps!

  109. Minu December 24, 2011 at 5:29 am #

    I am planning to take the new gre on 16th of jan 2012. I still have only about 20 days and i feel my verbal score is not upto the mark (non-native speaker). I have recently given the Manhattan Test on the net and my scores came out to be:
    Verbal-151(460/800) 51 percentile
    Quant-166 (800/800) 94 percentile
    Is the standard of Manhattan similar to that of powerprep?

    Please suggest me on how to prepare on the verbal section for the next as they are going to be very crucial for me.
    Thank You

    • Chris Lele
      Chris December 27, 2011 at 3:48 pm #

      Hi Minu,

      I am not sure how similar the Manhattan Prep product is to the actual test. I would definitely recommend taking the Powerprep test.

      As for preparing for the verbal section, I truly believe we offer the best, most comprehensive prep out there. We offer plenty of verbal lesson videos, which will help you build off the basics and allow you to confidently answer the more challenging questions. On top of that, we offer hundreds of practice questions to help you hone your skills.

      We have a sale that ends this month. Until then, our product is only 49 dollars.

      Let me know if I can answer any other questions.


  110. Bud November 23, 2011 at 5:54 pm #

    Hey, I am planning on taking the new revised GRE in a couple of months. I’m going to be tackling the GRE with these specific strategies and I just wanted your opinion if I’m on the right track or if I could change anything specific:

    1. Magoosh
    2. McGraw-Hill’s Conquering the New GRE Math
    3. Essential Words for the GRE (Barron’s GRE) 800 Word List
    4. ETS’s Official Guide to the GRE Revised General Test Book Review
    5. CliffsNotes Math Review for Standardized Tests

    Should I add or remove anything to the list?

    • Chris Lele
      Chris November 25, 2011 at 9:58 pm #

      Hey Bud,

      Assuming you are just beginning and you struggle in math than this is a good place to start. I would recommend getting Word Smart to supplement your studying of Barron’s 800 words. Barron’s definition are sometimes really vague and because Word Smart provides example sentences you get to see how words are used in context.

      Finally, as you near your test date you will definitely want to have some official material. That way you can take a full length practice test, etc.

      Hope that helps!

  111. lara October 22, 2011 at 4:38 pm #

    Hi there, my sister just showed me your site and I have been clicking around. Very helpful. The list above makes sense based on the grade, but I plan to buy 2 books only.I currently have the Princeton review book. Which other one or two would you suggest? I might buy the official guide just for the question, and that will make the third book.

    Thanks in advance!

    • Chris Lele
      Chris October 24, 2011 at 12:35 pm #

      Hi Iara,

      An even better plan would be this link (, which provides 100 free practice questions written by ETS, the makers of the test (it’s basically official guide questions on-line – though they are not the exact same questions found in the Official Guide).

      As for the second book, I would push you towards Barron’s. For quant especially they have lots of good tips.

      Hope that helps!

      • lara October 25, 2011 at 2:08 pm #

        Thanks Chris. I took the practice test provided on the GRE website and it appears that the software and the online official guide questions are very similar. Do you know if the hardcopy official guide has different questions? Would you suggest I buy the book? I would love to have a lot of practice before my exam in December.

        Also, when I took the practice test using the GRE software, my scores were V: 470-570 and Quant: 500-600. How do these scores translate? I’m taking my exam mid-December and shooting for the 600-650 range and want to know how I’m doing thus far based on this first practice score…

        • Chris Lele
          Chris October 25, 2011 at 2:32 pm #

          Hi Lara,

          So the hard-copy book contains questions found neither in the on-line official guide nor the software. I would def. recommend buying it.

          As for the translation, nobody will know until next month, exactly how the score equate. If you goal is 600-650 by mid-Dec. that is definitely possible but you would have to work diligently (

          I recommend following the 30-day study plan:

          Also, for the vocabulary, def. pick up a copy of Word Smart by Princeton Review.

          Good luck, and let me know if you have any more questions.

          • Lara October 26, 2011 at 6:02 pm #

            Thank YOU, Chris! I really appreciate it.

  112. Ritika September 16, 2011 at 2:11 pm #

    Thank you Chris. I will definitely subscribe to it. It would really help. Also, to compare on the same grounds, would Kaplan would be better or PR + Barrons?

    • Chris Lele
      Chris September 16, 2011 at 5:25 pm #

      On the whole I would stay away from Kaplan. Besides their RC, the quality of questions is very low.

  113. Ritika September 16, 2011 at 10:00 am #

    Actually, I want to know which book would you prefer for verbal for practice and strategies as I’m confused which book to select for practice and strategies. Also, is GRE coaching really necessary? Or we can master it on our own?

    • Chris Lele
      Chris September 16, 2011 at 11:59 am #

      It is a litte confusing…so PR for strategies for Verbal (but practice is a litte on easy side). For actual practice Barron’s is better (strategies are okay). The last question is a hard one – many people do perfectly fine without a coach. The right resources can often times help you reach your goal.

      Depending where you live, you can try out a GRE coach, sometimes even for just an introductory session. If you feel this is something that can help you out, then pursue it. Also, I can’t help but mention that we have a sale for the next two weeks.

      Hope that helps!

      • Jim June 27, 2013 at 3:33 pm #

        Hi Chris,

        I have an SAT book in my house, and I was wondering if you think I should use that for extra RC practice.

        Thank you,


        • Chris Lele
          Chris Lele June 28, 2013 at 1:27 pm #

          The only SAT book I’d recommend is the College Board, and that only for the Sentence Completions and the math. The reading passages are different enough that I think it makes more sense just to stick with GRE material.

          Hope that helps!

  114. Stefanie September 6, 2011 at 11:11 am #

    Are there reviews for the 7th Edition of the GRE verbal workbook or the 8th Edition GRE math workbook from Kaplan?

  115. shara August 23, 2011 at 12:00 pm #

    has magoosh published anything to prepare for the new GRE? can we find it in stores?

    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele August 23, 2011 at 12:05 pm #

      Actually, our entire product – questions, videos, etc, – is available on-line:

      We don’t offer hard-copy material for bookstores, which in many ways
      is a plus. Simply sign-up at the link above, and the questions are yours.

  116. Aditya Rao August 23, 2011 at 7:34 am #

    I wanted to suggest reviewing the manhattan gre series. (At least the verbal books – book 7&8)

    • Margarette Jung
      Margarette August 23, 2011 at 9:08 am #

      Hi, Aditya

      As of right now, we don’t have any plans to review the Manhattan GRE series, but if we do try another batch book reviews in the future, we’ll be sure to add it to the list. Thanks for the suggestion!

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