How do I Choose the Best GRE® Books?

Tara Barnett
Tara Barnett
Woman holding a book
Woman holding a book

In order to choose the best GRE® books, you must think about the ways in which you need to prepare. It is, of course, highly recommended that you obtain materials for the most recent GRE® available, preferably those that are designed for the year in which you will be taking the test. GRE® books also differ by the companies that produce them, the materials included, and the focus of the book. If you are taking a class in preparation for the test, using the book recommended by that class is likely the best option. For studying on your own, any book can be an excellent preparatory device so long as it is recent and thorough.

When choosing GRE® books for studying generally, one of the most important things to consider is whether the books will allow you to take practice tests. Learning about the GRE® in theory is important, but actually taking practice tests can be an extremely valuable learning experience. Most comprehensive GRE® books include practice tests, but some include more than others. If you can find a book that allows you to take the test in the same format, it will be administered on the testing day, which is likely through a computer, and then you will be even better prepared.

Sometimes, a student might be interested in GRE® books that address particular sections or problems in the GRE®, such as a book that deals only with vocabulary or one that covers only math. When choosing these books, paying attention to the way in which the information is taught is important as well. You should endeavor to choose a book that harmonizes with your own studying style. For example, many math books are not very good for college students who have not taken math since high school, so looking for a more basic text might be a good idea.

In addition to serious GRE® books, there are also sometimes books available that are designed to be fun while preparing a person for the GRE®. While it is important to take the GRE® seriously, turning learning into a game is an excellent motivator at any level. It is also sometimes possible to find novels written explicitly with vocabulary for this test in mind, which can help a person learn vocabulary at a leisurely and natural pace.

Most GRE® books are equivalent in terms of overall quality, although some may be better than others. There are some companies that are considered more standard or reputable than others, but differences between these companies are usually minor. If you are studying early, you can often use multiple books to improve your chances of doing well on the GRE®, although you should be sure to test your progress regularly using practice tests.

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