The Best GRE Prep Resources & Services
| TBS Staff
Are you ready to discover your college program?
If grad school is in your future, chances are the GRE exam is too. The GRE, or Graduate Records Examination, is required to apply to many graduate degree programs. It might feel unfair to be required to take another standardized test. After all, if you’ve completed (or are completing) an undergraduate degree, you probably already took the ACT or SAT. However, with the right resources, preparing for the GRE and getting the score you want can be simple, or at least achievable.
Studying for the GRE will help you become familiar with the test, develop strategies and skills, and eventually earn a higher score. There are many options when it comes to preparing for the GRE, and this list has suggestions for you, whether you prefer working on your own or with an instructor, from a book or with an app.
This article offers a comprehensive list of the best GRE prep resources and offers information to help you figure out which ones to add to your schedule, bookshelf, phone, or bookmarks tab. Below is all you need to start studying for the GRE — from tutoring and course information, to official guides, to flashcards, to mobile games, to study timers, to meditations. But first, some information about the GRE itself.
What is the GRE?
The GRE is an exam designed to test the types of skills that have been identified as crucial for success in graduate education — verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, critical thinking and analytical writing — regardless of your field of study. So, the GRE is required by many graduate degree programs because they want to be sure that you have those skills. You can take the GRE on paper or computer, whatever you prefer.
The exam has six sections: Analytical Writing, Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, and an Unscored or Research section. Analytical Writing is made up of two tasks; you are asked to analyze an issue and analyze an argument and you have 30 minutes per task. Verbal Reasoning is similar to an English test, and you’re given two Verbal Reasoning sections with 30 minutes to answer 20 questions per section. Quantitative Reasoning is a fancy name for math. You’ll have two sections of Quantitative Reasoning, with 35 minutes to answer 20 questions in each section. Finally the Unscored or Research section does not count towards your score and may be given at any point during the test. Number of questions and amount of time varies for this section.
On the Verbal and Quantitative Reasoning section, scores range from 130-170 in one point increments, and on the Analytical Writing section scores range from 0-6 in half point increments. Your composite GRE score consists of your Verbal and Quantitative Reasoning scores added together, and ranges from 260-340. And if all of this sounds confusing, don’t worry! That’s why this list exists: to connect you with resources that will help rid you of confusion when it comes to the GRE.
Should I take the GRE?
If you want to apply to graduate programs that require GRE scores, then yes! Don’t let this test stand in your way when it comes to pursuing higher education. If you’ve got the passion, undergraduate experience, resources, and drive necessary to pursue a graduate degree, then you’re plenty capable of getting a good score on the GRE. It may require work, and maybe even outside help, but with the right support and tools, you can and should take the GRE if it gets you closer to your goals. It costs $205 to take the GRE in the US, which is a pretty hefty fee. Though you should take the GRE if the programs you want to apply to require the exam, it’s a good idea to plan in study time well in advance of your scheduled test date and schedule the exam for a time when you don’t expect to be busy or stressed. That way you can avoid retaking the test unless you absolutely have to.
What are the benefits of a high GRE score?
Unlike the ACT and SAT, GRE scores don’t earn you scholarships, at least not on their own. High GRE scores can be one factor in consideration for graduate research funding, university scholarships, private scholarships, and government scholarships, but the main benefit of a high GRE score is graduate school acceptance. It’s worth talking to advisors, professors, and admissions officers at the schools you plan to apply to so that you can learn what GRE score you need to get into their program. Some programs may only be concerned with one part of your score. For example, if you’re wanting to earn an MA in English, the admissions committee may not even look at your Quantitative Reasoning scores. And vice versa, if you’re pursuing a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering, the people reviewing your application may not look too closely at your Verbal Reasoning scores. But this all varies from program to program, so ask around!
How do I prepare for the GRE?
Figuring out where to start with your GRE studying can be really overwhelming. Getting familiar with the exam, picking up skills and strategies relevant to the test, and then applying that knowledge by practicing are the main ways you can prepare for the GRE. Whether you start by prepping on your own or attending a class or hiring a tutor, you’re taking the right step. It doesn’t so much matter how you study (as long as you’re doing it in a way that works for you) as it matters that you are studying.
The courses, tutors, books, apps, and other resources on this list are an excellent way to start preparing for the GRE.
This list of best GRE prep resources is divided into 6 sections:
Knowing where to start studying for the GRE, or how to actually improve, can be overwhelming. A class with a teacher who knows their stuff can make all the difference. However, sometimes it’s tough to make it to an in-person class in the midst of school or work, graduate school applications, and whatever else your life is full of at the moment. Online classes might be the perfect solution for you. This list of online classes has a variety of options that allow you the benefits of guided study with the flexibility of online learning.
GRE Test Prep
The Princeton Review
The Princeton Review offers a number of higher education admissions services, including test prep, tutoring, admissions help, and book publishing. You may have seen their GRE prep books; they also have online courses that are more interactive and digestible than their books. If you like what you’ve seen in a Princeton Review book, and are looking for something just as comprehensive but broken into smaller pieces, check out their online GRE test prep.
The Princeton Review offers three online GRE test prep options: Self-Paced, Ultimate LiveOnline, and Private Tutoring Program. The Self-Paced option gives you access to online lessons designed for rapid mastery of GRE content, as well as “Drill Smart,” their exclusive practice tool that helps you beat score caps and maximize your score. With Self-Paced, you get access to materials for 120 days, as well as an improvement guarantee. Ultimate LiveOnline includes 24 hours of dynamic live online instruction, online lessons, “Drill Smart,” flexible test review tools, and an improvement guarantee. With the Private Tutoring Program, expert tutors work with you for 10 hours to make a plan, set goals, and exceed them.
Duration: Varies based on course
Price: $199, $999, $1800-$3000
Recap: If you’re looking to prep with an established test prep company, but need more than a book, The Princeton Review has a variety of GRE prep courses that might be exactly right for you.
You’ve likely heard of or Kaplan and potentially even used some of their many educational resources. Founded in 1938, Kaplan has been helping people prepare for standardized tests for 80 years. Even if you’ve gone to one of their tutoring centers or used one of their study books, you may not have realized that Kaplan offers a number of online GRE Prep courses. With a variety of online course options, there’s a good chance you’ll find a Kaplan GRE Prep course that meets your needs.
When you take any of Kaplan’s GRE Prep courses, you’ll connect with expert instructors in an interactive classroom. If you’re interested in self-paced prep, the Self-Paced GRE Prep package gives you access to 18 hours of recorded video lessons. Self-Paced PLUS includes the same video lessons, plus 35 hours of elective live instruction and two math courses: GRE Math Foundations and GRE Advanced Math. The Live Online course option offers 21 hours of live instruction and 35 hours of elective live instruction, and the Live Online PLUS course additionally provides 3 hours of one-on-one coaching, and the math courses offered in the other PLUS package. All courses include an official test day simulation, 7 online practice tests, 180+ hours of online instruction and practice, 5000+ practice questions, and 4 prep books. Additionally, if you don’t improve after taking a Kaplan GRE Prep course, they allow you to retake a course or get a refund.
Duration: Varies based on course
Price: $699, $899, $1299, $1699
Recap: Kaplan — a well-known name in education — offers a number of GRE prep courses to help you study for the exam, whether you want a self paced course, need some one-on-one coaching, or need to brush up on your GRE math skills.
Magoosh is an education company led by self-proclaimed education fanatics who want to help students achieve their academic goals. They offer test prep for a number of exams, including the GRE, GMAT, and LSAT. In addition to test prep courses, they offer a number of helpful apps, some of which appear in the app section of this list.
When you purchase a Magoosh GRE Plan, whether you want one month of access or six months (only $20 more!), you gain access to a large database of lessons, practice questions, study schedules, and checklists. With 200+ video lessons and 1000+ practice questions, in addition to 3 practice tests, you won’t run out of material to work with. You also get access to Magoosh educators through email assistance, and the course is guaranteed to help you improve. If you study with Magoosh and don’t improve by at least 5 points, you’ll receive a refund.
Duration: 1 month, 6 months
Price: $129, $149
Recap: If you’re looking for an affordable, comprehensive online GRE course, Magoosh likely has what you need. Bonus: their apps make studying on your own terms even easier and more convenient!
Chegg is primarily a textbook rental company, and they specialize in online textbook rentals, homework help, online tutoring, scholarships and internship matching. Chegg is dedicated to removing the obstacles that stand in the way of the education that students want and deserve. On their website, you can search free scholarships, browse course reviews, get 24/7 study help, and rent textbooks. Their GRE courses were created with Kaplan, and are led by expert Kaplan instructors.
Chegg offers several GRE prep options on their site. Their most affordable programs are GRE Prep and GRE Prep Premium. You get either one or three months of access to practice tests, practice problems, one-on-one tutoring, recorded and live lessons with expert instructors, Kaplan’s GRE Prep Plus in eBook format, and a mobile app with 500+ flashcards. If you’re looking for more teacher interaction, Chegg connects you with Kaplan’s online GRE courses: Self-Paced and LiveOnline. Prices are the same for these courses, whether you sign up with Chegg or Kaplan.
Duration: 1 month, 3 months, Kaplan courses vary based on course
Price: $99, $149, $699, $1299
Recap: If you liked what you saw with Kaplan’s GRE prep, but want a cheaper option, check out Chegg — an education company that’s all about shaking up the status quo so that students can accomplish their goals.
If online classes aren’t your thing, don’t worry! There are plenty of in-person GRE prep courses available. These classes work well for students that enjoy learning in a more traditional classroom environment. With an in-person GRE prep course, you’ll have access to your instructor and may even get personalized, one-on-one support. It can also be useful to work through the prep material with classmates so that you can share notes, learn from each other, and not feel alone as you take the exam.
GRE Test Prep
The Princeton Review
You’ve already seen them on this list, but it’s worth being aware that The Princeton Review offers in-person GRE test prep in addition to books and online courses and resources. In-person courses with The Princeton Review are offered all over the country. Classes are sometimes held at Princeton Review centers, as well as other educational venues.
The Princeton Review’s Ultimate In-Person option offers comprehensive, efficient GRE prep. Similar to their Ultimate LiveOnline course, this course includes 24 hours of classroom instruction, online lessons, access to “Drill Smart” (an exclusive practice tool that helps you beat score caps and maximize your score), engaging video explanations, and test review tools. The course is guaranteed, so if you don’t improve, you can get your money back. If you want even more personalized attention than you’ll get in a classroom setting, you can take The Princeton Review’s Private Tutoring Program, offered in-person in addition to online. You’ll receive 10 or 18 hours of individualized instruction focused on helping you make a plan, set goals, and exceed them.
Duration: Varies based on course
Price: $1299, $1800-$3000
Recap: If you want in-person instruction and a class of peers studying with you, but also need access to online resources, The Princeton Review’s in-person GRE courses might be the perfect blend.
GRE Prep Course
Manhattan Elite Prep
Manhattan Elite Prep is an education company that focuses on test preparation and admissions consulting. They offer test preparation resources for a number of standardized tests, including the GRE, GMAT, LSAT, and MCAT. Manhattan Elite Prep offers online and in-person courses, as well as books, apps, and other resources, some of which you’ll see later on this list!
Manhattan Elite Prep holds their GRE Prep Course in cities around the country and world. They offer four options for in-person GRE prep: Long Course, Intensive Course, Crash Course, and Private Course. The courses vary in length and intensity, but all Manhattan Elite GRE prep courses include course materials, access to a library with 100+ hours of instructional videos, collection of digital GRE Strategy Guides, a free grad school admissions evaluation, and daily staff assistance.
Duration: 28, 16, or 12 hours
Price: $1199, $1650, $950, $1580
Recap: If you’re looking for in-person test prep in your city, take a look at Manhattan Elite Prep course offerings. Available all over the country, their courses focus on strategy, study resources, and grad school preparation in addition to test prep.
You’ve seen them once on this list, and you’ll see them again. With 80 years of tutoring and test prep experience, Kaplan has an established brand, tried-and-true test-taking strategies, and a wealth of books, resources, and practice materials. If you’re looking for an in-person GRE prep course, look for one of their classroom offerings in your location.
Kaplan’s In-Person offering includes 21 hours of live instruction, 35 hours of elective live instruction online through The GRE Channel, an official test day simulation, practice tests, 180+ hours of online instruction and practice, 5000+ practice questions, and 4 test prep books. The In-Person PLUS course additionally includes 3 hours of one-on-one coaching and two supplemental math courses: GRE Math Foundations and GRE Advanced Math. You can also choose to work one-on-one with an instructor through an in-person GRE Tutoring package. With all in-person GRE tutoring options, your improvement is guaranteed or you get your money back.
Duration: Varies based on course
Price: $1299, $1699, $2499-$4699
Recap: Kaplan’s in-person GRE courses provide support, flexibility, and resources so that you can successfully prepare for the GRE.
While they don’t offer courses in many cities (currently only Washington, DC; Bethesda, MD; and Arlington, VA), Sherpa Prep has a unique approach to GRE prep that’s worth mentioning. Sherpa Prep offers GRE and GMAT prep and all of their courses are content-based, meaning you get test-specific content and knowledge rather than just general strategy advice. They also have highly trained and certified teachers. Sherpa Prep instructors are not only 99th-percentile scorers, they must also hold an advanced degree, have 2+ years of teaching experience, and undergo 4 months of hands-on training.
Every Sherpa Prep GRE Course is 8 weeks long and capped at 12 students. This ensures you get plenty of personalized help from your instructor and have the opportunity to thoroughly learn the material. Sherpa Prep curriculum builds from the basics to the most advanced topics, ensuring that you have a chance to learn all the content you need to succeed on the GRE. Sherpa Prep also offers options that help make sure you succeed with their course. You can attend free office hours every Sunday evening, take a make-up class for only $10, and take the entire course again for free, no questions asked.
Duration: 8 weeks
Recap: If you want a course that dives deep into both basic and advanced topics or are looking for support from an expert, experienced instructor, take a look at Sherpa Prep’s course offerings. Note: you must be able to attend classes in the Washington, DC area.
GRE Prep Courses
Local Colleges and Universities
While this isn’t a specific company, it’s worth checking if a college or university near you offers GRE prep services. Many higher learning institutions do, often through their continuing education department. Some schools offer discounts to alumni, and other schools also serve as testing centers, so it might be helpful to go ahead and study at the place where you’ll be taking the official exam.
Price, duration, and curriculum will vary from school to school. To find these prep courses, you should do a Google search for GRE prep at the college or university you have in mind. You can also call the school and ask about GRE prep services, or if you’re currently in college, check your email, ask a professor, or head to an office that provides student services.
Recap: If you’re looking for a likely affordable in-person GRE course — possibly even in familiar location — look for GRE prep courses at your local colleges and universities.
If flexibility and in-person interaction with an instructor are both important to you, a tutor might be the way to go. With a tutor, you usually are involved with setting the schedule, so you can be sure to create a prep program that works for you and your busy life. Tutors are often available to come to your home or a location of your choice, so you can cut down on a commute to class. Check out the following platforms to find a tutor that’s a perfect fit for you.
Varsity Tutors is a technology and education company that works to connect students and tutors. Through their website, you can find a tutor who’s an expert in a specific subject area (Varsity Tutors specializes in test prep!) and meet with the tutor in-person to work through your customized study plan. Varsity Tutors also offer a tutor satisfaction guarantee, so that you can be confident you’ll get to work with a teacher who matches your needs and goals.
With lots of certified GRE tutors on the Varsity Tutors platform, you can connect with the tutor you’d like to work with and request lessons with them. On the Varsity Tutors site, instructor bios include information about the tutor’s teaching philosophy, personal test scores, location, education, and hobbies. Depending on what you need to do to prep for the GRE, you can work with a tutor for 12, 24, 36, or 48 hours, and Varsity Tutors offers a discount for purchasing more hours at a time. Varsity Tutors also has numerous free resources, including flashcards, practice tests, quizzes, and a mobile app (which you’ll see later on this list).
Duration: Varies based on your wants and needs
Price: Starting at $53/hour
Recap: If you want an in-home, one-on-one tutor, but aren’t sure who to hire, Varsity Tutors has a number of certified tutors, equipped with comprehensive resources, who can help you reach your GRE goals.
Thumbtack does education or test prep, but they also do much more. They provide a platform that connects customers to qualified, local professionals. From dog training to house painting to dance lessons to GRE prep, Thumbtack lets you search for professionals who can meet your needs.
Thumbtack has a large database of GRE tutors in cities around the US, and you can find an instructor in your city by filling out a simple search form. Thumbtack will ask you what GRE prep services you need, for your grade, which sections you need help in, your level of English fluency, why you want tutoring, a little about your personality, how often you’d like to study, what duration of study sessions you’d like, when you want to begin studying, how long you’d like to study for the GRE, your schedule and availability, if you’re ready to hire a tutor today or are just researching. After you complete the search survey, you can browse tutors in your area, and request quotes from the ones that you’re interested in working with. Tutor profiles include a bio, average response time, number of hires on Thumbtack, and reviews from other students.
Duration: Varies based on your wants and needs
Price: Varies by tutor
Recap: If you want to compare GRE tutors in your area, Thumbtack is a great place to start. Browse instructors with Thumbtack’s easy-to-use platform so you can ensure you’re working with someone who fits your price point and who’s helped other students achieve their GRE goals.
If you’re looking to do some self-guided GRE studying, there are a number of helpful resources available online that will help you establish your plan and routine. The resources on this list are pretty diverse, intended to cover a wide range of needs — whether you’re looking to learn more about the GRE from the test makers themselves, take some online practice tests, brush up on math skills, talk to others about their GRE experiences, or watch videos that explain concepts you’re struggling with.
Educational Testing Service
Educational Testing Service, or ETS, is the organization that writes and gives the GRE. So you can’t get more official than their website. This is the place where you sign up for the official exam, but they also offer a number of resources. This is a good site to bookmark, because you’ll likely return here often.
GRE Home on the ETS website has information about the test, test centers and dates, registration, preparation, the day of the test, scoring, and more. There is information for test takers with disabilities and health-related needs, so if you qualify for accommodations, this is the place to go. You can also sign up for the ScoreItNow! Online Writing Practice offered by ETS.
Recap: For everything GRE, go to the test makers themselves. The ETS website has information on test registration, prep, and more.
McGraw Hill’s Practice Plus site has free test prep resources for a number of standardized tests, including the GRE. Their GRE Center has practice tests and problem solving videos to help you get familiar with the exam and improve in specific subject and concepts. The GRE Center also contains answer explanations for every question on the practice test. This can be quite useful in understanding the questions you’re being asked and also in learning to identify different types of questions within each section on the GRE.
If you’re at the very beginning of your GRE studying, the practice test offered by McGraw Hill on Practice Plus can be a great way to get a taste of the exam. Once you’ve taken the practice test, you can use the other resources on the site to understand the questions and answers, and improve on specific topics. This can also be a good site to visit if you’re working through one of McGraw Hill’s GRE prep books, as the information on Practice Plus connects with their print materials.
Recap: If you’re looking for a free practice test, plus additional GRE resources, take a look at the McGraw Hill Practice Plus GRE Center.
Math Review for the Quantitative Reasoning Measure of the GRE
Unfortunately, there’s not a Khan Academy GRE course. But, there’s some good news! ETS, the creators of the GRE, have provided a list of GRE math topics that are covered by Khan Academy. This allows you to create your own mini GRE course on Khan Academy and take advantage of their in-depth but easy-to-understand lessons, videos, and quizzes. You can find this list on the ETS website, and find the sections on the Khan Academy website or mobile app.
Math is a HUGE subject. Knowing that you’re going to be tested on math can be overwhelming. What should you study? Algebra? Geometry? Word Problems? Trigonometry? Statistics? Rather than choosing at random or just sticking with your comfort zones, studying from this list, provided by the test makers themselves, can help you focus and improve where it counts.
Recap: Use this list — provided by ETS, the makers of the GRE — to know just what to study on Khan Academy for the Quantitative Reasoning section of the exam.
GRE Prep Club Forum
GRE Prep Club
Studying can be a lonely task. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the GRE, or just want to hear from seasoned veterans, check out the GRE Prep Club Forum. With over 14,000 active members, someone is almost always sure to be online. You can read about the experiences of other test takers or ask your own questions. It’s easy to join; you can create an account from scratch or join with Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google.
Even before you join, you can view all posts on the GRE Prep Club Forum. You can browse threads with the question banks, bookmark posts and threads, and read real and verified GRE prep course reviews. Posts on the GRE Prep Club Forum range from personal stories, resource recommendations, study group invitations, and more. Whatever you’re looking for when it comes to GRE prep, you can likely find it here.
Recap: Do you wish you could just ask someone experienced all of your GRE questions? On the GRE Prep Club Forum you can do just that, as well as read other people’s posts, join study groups, and browse GRE prep course reviews.
GRE Prep Content
Don’t just go to YouTube for music videos, cute cats, and epic fails. This platform can actually be a very helpful resource as you study for the GRE. There are a number of test prep and even GRE specific channels with the answers and explanations you need to succeed on the GRE.
Whether you’re searching for the answer to a specific question, need help in a certain subject, or just don’t know where to start studying for the GRE, there are plenty of YouTube videos and channels that can help. Spend some time searching for helpful GRE content on YouTube. You can browse other users’ playlists or create your own. Many test prep companies have YouTube channels with GRE content, and many individual users have created useful, accurate resources as well.
Recap: Looking for videos that explain the GRE? Try YouTube for content by companies, organizations, and individual tutors that explains questions, teaches strategy, and more.
What’s the last book you read? As helpful as online and in-person classes and digital resources can be, sometimes nothing beats a good, old-fashioned book. The books on the list will turn your bookshelf into a toolbox of helpful resources that will prepare you to do your best on the GRE exam. Whether you’re looking for a comprehensive guide, needing to improve specific skills, or want to focus on a particular subject this list includes books that will help everyone, from the “bad” test taker to the perfect scorer. It’s worth noting that the prices listed for each book are list price; many of the books are sold for much less on Amazon, so it’s worth shopping around when you decide to purchase one of these books.
GRE Complete 2018: The Ultimate in Comprehensive Self-Study for GRE
The first “book” on this list isn’t exactly a book. If you’re wishing that you could just open a box and find everything you need to study for the GRE, Kaplan’s GRE Complete 2018 is probably as close as you’re going to get. The guide includes 3 prep books (GRE Prep Plus 2018, GRE Math Workbook, and GRE Verbal Workbook) and access to extensive online and mobile resources, including 2500+ practice questions with detailed explanations, a 1000+ question test bank that you can sort by difficulty, two full length practice tests, videos covering a range of topics, and access to one-on-one academic support from Kaplan tutors via Facebook.
This ultimate guide is the perfect place to start your self-study. Whether you’re learn best with books, on your computer, or on your phone, GRE Complete 2018 has something for you. This kit will give you nearly endless paper and digital resources as you prepare for the GRE exam. Don’t forget to take advantage of the one-on-one academic support from Kaplan’s GRE professionals, that alone makes this a valuable self-guided study investment.
Recap: More than just a book (actually 3 books, an app, an online platform, and access to an exclusive Facebook group), Kaplan’s GRE Complete 2018 is a comprehensive GRE prep resource that’s hard to beat.
Official GRE Super Power Pack
Educational Testing Service
The creators of the GRE, Educational Testing Service (ETS), offer several GRE prep books. You can get all of them in the Official GRE Super Power Pack. The set includes three books — The Official Guide to the GRE, Official GRE Quantitative Reasoning Questions, and Official GRE Verbal Reasoning Questions. Each of the books provides key information and the practice you need to do your best on the GRE
The Official GRE Super Power Pack is helpful for both practice and study. You can use it to learn more about the test, discover tips from the test makers for answering each question type, and read sample essays and reader feedback for the Essay portion of the GRE. You can also use the books in the Official GRE Super Power Pack to jump in and practice! With 4 complete practice tests (2 online, 2 in the print books) and 600 real practice exam questions, these books provide plenty of resources to test yourself and improve your GRE skills.
Recap: If you’re looking for lots of instructional and practice content, check out The Official GRE Super Power Pack, created by the test makers themselves.
5 lb. Book of GRE Practice Problems
If you want a GRE book that doubles as a piece of weightlifting equipment as you lug it around and as a sturdy door-stop once the exam is over with, pick up a copy of Manhattan Prep’s 5 lb. Book of GRE Practice Problems. This book contains 1,800+ practice questions covering all concepts tested on the GRE. Questions are organized into practice sets based on section (Verbal, Math, and Essay) and also content (Logic-Based Reading Comprehension, Algebra, Percents, etc.) so that you can easily aim your practice at your weak spots. The book also includes explanations for each question and additional online resources.
While some GRE prep books are heavy on lessons, guides, and chapters that explain the test, 5 lb. Book of GRE Practice Problems is just heavy. With short and sweet explanations, you can focus on getting in a variety of practice problems. The bulk of this book (and it is bulky!) is practice problems that will help you improve on each section of the GRE. You can start by taking the book’s subject diagnostics (one in Verbal and another in Math), and then moving on to whatever topics you need to practice. Even though five pounds is a lot of book, it’s probably best to pair this with other resources that are more than just practice.
Recap: If you practice questions to aid your GRE prep, look no further than 5 lb. Book of GRE Practice Problems.
Essential Words for the GRE
Building your vocabulary, and being able to use the words you’ve learned, is key to GRE success. Barron’s Essential Words for the GRE is designed to help you identify words you need to learn and help you retain the vocabulary that you learn. The book includes a pre-test that helps to diagnose weaknesses, a lengthy word list with extensive practice exercises, a chapter that discusses and analyzes essential word roots, and a post-test that helps you track your progress.
The pre- and post-tests in Barron’s Essential Words for the GRE are very helpful tools. By starting with the pre-test, you can pinpoint your weaknesses and study from there. This book is also helpful in that it discusses word roots and helps you connect similarities between words. You can use this book to make your own flashcards, or pair it with one of the GRE vocabulary flashcard decks on this list.
Recap: With 800 graduate-level vocabulary words, and pre- and post-tests to help diagnose where you need to study, Barron’s Essential Words for the GRE is a great vocabulary study tool for the exam.
Math Workout for the GRE
The Princeton Review
The Princeton Review’s Math Workout for the GRE is a comprehensive guide to conquering the quantitative portions of the GRE exam — even if your math knowledge is a little rusty. The books includes reviews of key test topics, strategies for tackling tough questions, and all the practice you need to get the score you want. The book contains plenty of strategy and review and is also generous with practice problems. With 275+ practice questions that include detailed answers and explanations, and 2 sample GRE math sections, this books offers you lots of opportunity to test and improve your math skills.
Though some sections of Math Workout for the GRE are probably worth studying, or at least reviewing for everyone, you can also pick and choose what you need from the book to improve your weak areas. Materials are organized by math topic; chapters include Strategic Thinking for the GRE, Math Fundamentals, The Basics of Algebra, Turning Algebra into Arithmetic, Charts and Graphs, Math in the Real World, and Geometry. Focus on your weak spots and take advantage of the many practice questions to see improvement in your Quantitative Reasoning scores.
Recap: Feeling weak when it comes to math on the GRE? Try The Princeton Review’s Math Workout for the GRE.
Verbal Workout for the GRE
The Princeton Review
On the other hand, if you’re feeling iffy on the verbal portions of the exam, you might need a copy of The Princeton Review’s Verbal Workout for the GRE. This book provides everything you need to practice your way to excellence on the verbal portions of the GRE exam. Included in the book are 250+ practice questions with detailed answers and explanations, coverage of all question types (text completion, reading comprehension, and sentence equivalence), important essay writing tips and rules for the Analytical Writing Section, practice essay prompts and sample essays, as well as vocabulary words and quizzes.
The Princeton Review’s Verbal Workout for the GRE is a straightforward book, making it easy to dive into. With only 8 chapters, it’s simple to work your way through the entire book or jump to the sections you need. Be sure to take advantage of the practice questions offered in this book so that you’re not only learning skills, but testing them as you go.
Recap: If you need to develop skills, learn strategies, or just practice for the verbal portions of the GRE, look into The Princeton Review’s Verbal Workout for the GRE.
GRE Strategy Guides
The GRE Strategy Guides by Manhattan Prep (not to be confused with Manhattan Elite Prep listed earlier; similar names, different companies) are useful resources when it comes to honing your strategy for the GRE. You can buy a set that includes all of the guides — The Algebra GRE Strategy Guide, The Fractions, Decimals, & Percents GRE Strategy Guide, The Geometry GRE Strategy Guide, The Number Properties GRE Strategy Guide, The Word Problems GRE Strategy Guide, The Quantitative Comparisons & Data Interpretation GRE Strategy Guide, The Reading Comprehension & Essays GRE Strategy Guide, The Text Completion & Sentence Equivalence GRE Strategy Guide — or you can purchase the guides individually.
Adding up to 1920 pages of resources, this set of GRE Strategy Guides is, well, a lot of guidance. That might seem overwhelming, but the books focus on helping you understand and master each type of question and concept on the GRE. Now in their fourth edition, the GRE Strategy Guides are designed for you — the student — and offer rich, comprehensive, content-driven GRE prep and strategy to help you reach your goals.
Recap: If you need help developing strategies to correctly answer each type of question on the GRE, pick up one (or all!) of Manhattan Prep’s GRE Strategy Guides.
Math Review for Standardized Tests
The CliffsNotes Math Review for Standardized Tests is an intense review of the math included in the most common standardized tests for high school and college students. This review book covers arithmetic and data analysis, algebra, geometry, and word problems. Each section includes a diagnostic test, in-depth math review, practice problems, and a chapter-end review test. Additionally, Math Review for Standardized Tests includes a chapter focused on question types and the best strategies to answer such questions.
Math Review for Standardized Tests is a great starting point in your GRE math studies, especially if you feel out of practice and aren’t ready to dive into the complex problems on the actual exam. This book can help you regain math fundamentals, so that those complex problems eventually don’t seem so difficult. By building up one skill at a time, you will develop and strengthen the math fundamentals that must be firmly in place in order for you to successfully understand the higher-level math questions and concepts on the GRE itself.
Recap: If the math problems on the GRE overwhelm or confuse you, get back to basics with CliffsNotes’ Math Review for Standardized Tests.
Bring Home the Score: A Private Tutor’s Guide to Scoring in the Highest Echelons of the SAT, ACT, SHSAT, GRE, GMAT, LSAT, NCLEX, MCAT, or Any Other Standardized Test
W. Walter Tinsley
Don’t let the long subtitle of this book scare you away. Even if you aren’t sure what “echelon” means (though you probably want to before taking the GRE!), Bring Home the Score is full of tips, tricks, and strategies to land you among the highest scorers on any standardized exam, including the GRE. From mental strategies to advice on managing an aggressive study schedule without burning out, Bring Home the Score can help you rethink your approach to studying for the exam and bring home the GRE score you want.
Bring Home the Score is not as long as the title might make it sound. At just under 100 pages, you can quickly read this book as you begin (or step back and reevaluate) your self-guided GRE study. The author shares in the first chapter of the book that his goal in writing this guide was to level the playing field and provide affordable, effective help to improve standardized test scores. He encourages you to “stand on your own two feet” as you prepare for the standardized test that you’re facing, and Bring Home the Score gives you the strategies and motivation to do so confidently.
Recap: If you’re looking for help to create an intense but manageable study schedule, need motivation for your GRE prep, or are just want to know WHY this test matters in the first place, Bring Home the Score offers advice, encouragement, and answers.
You’ve likely got a smartphone and it likely goes (at least almost) everywhere with you. Downloading GRE prep apps can be the perfect way to prioritize studying for the exam as you go through your daily routine. The following apps allow you to do everything from practice vocabulary to challenge friends to time your practice tests to calm down through meditation. Some apps pair with other courses or materials and others are standalone. Head to your phone’s app store and start playing (studying, actually!) with these GRE prep apps.
GRE Prep & Practice
Magoosh has several apps on this list, all helping you prepare for the GRE in unique ways. This app, GRE Prep & Practice — available for iOS, Android, and web — includes advice on planning for the GRE, study guides and strategies, practice questions, video lessons, progress tracking, and more. You can access all of this with the Trial version, but you get more video lessons and practice questions with a Premium account, meaning you’ve signed up for the Magoosh online course access.
This app is a good “home base” when it comes to your mobile GRE studies. You can get advice on how to study for the GRE without interrupting your normal life, brush up on a Math concept, or try some Verbal practice problems. The app allows you to track your progress, so you can watch your improvement as you study with the convenience of your phone. The Premium version of the app connects to the Magoosh online course, so especially if you’re signed up for their class, check out the GRE Prep & Practice app.
Price: Free, $149 for 6 months of Premium access
Recap: For study advice, practice problems, video lessons, and more, download Magoosh’s GRE Prep & Practice app.
GRE: Practice, Prep, and Flashcards
Varsity Tutors connects people to one-on-one in-home tutors, but they also have a helpful GRE prep app. Their app, available for iOS and Android, contains quizzes, practice tests, flashcards, videos, and diagnostic tests. The app tracks your progress, and allows you to look back at past test results. It also includes a helpful Learn by Concept feature which includes lessons on specific concepts tested in each section of the GRE.
Varsity Tutors’ GRE app makes it easy to study for the exam anywhere, anytime. You can have the app send you a Question of the Day each day, so that GRE practice becomes a convenient, daily habit. If you want to bring your GRE prep experience to life outside your phone, you can challenge a friend to practice with you, or hire a Varsity Tutors GRE tutor to help you up your study game.
Recap: If you’re looking for completely free, comprehensive GRE prep on your phone, download GRE: Practice, Prep, and Flashcards from Varsity Tutors.
Ready4’s GRE Prep app is a comprehensive prep program that makes it easy to study whenever you’ve got a little free time. The app includes practice questions, flashcards, lessons, answer explanations, and more. You can bookmark flashcards that you’re working to learn and easily access them for focused practice. The app also includes a list of 100s of graduate programs and allows you to add schools to your Top Schools List, and then compare your estimated GRE to the average acceptance scores at the colleges and universities on your list. Aren’t sure where you want to go to school? GRE Prep can match you with schools that might be a good fit based on your background, GRE scores, and future goals.
The GRE Prep app is another good home-base for your mobile studying. You can see your estimated score, attempt practice problems, brush up on a topic you’re struggling with, and browse for graduate degree programs. This is a great app to help you set goals, track your progress, and work towards a higher GRE score. In addition to the app and mobile platform, Ready4 also offers online live GRE prep courses. If you benefit from the app and are looking for more, explore those offerings on the Ready4 website.
Price: Free, $29.99 one-time purchase for Premium mobile access, $99.99 one-time purchase for Premium web and mobile access
Recap: If you want to check in with where you are, plan where you want to go, and work closer towards your goals, Ready4’s GRE Prep app has all of the tools you need.
Manhattan Prep GRE
Higher Learning Technologies
Manhattan Prep (again, not to be confused with Manhattan Elite Prep, also on this list) has created a comprehensive, one-stop GRE prep app, Manhattan Prep GRE. With a limited free version, and an extensive Premium version, the app includes 1000+ practice questions (with answers and explanations), 500+ common GRE vocabulary words, 120+ challenging practice quiz questions, test-taking strategies, immediate feedback, progress tracking, 100s of formulas and concepts for all sections of the GRE.
While you can still benefit from the free version of Manhattan Prep GRE, upgrading to Premium access unlocks a lot of material that will help you prepare for the GRE. It’s also worth noting that the practice questions in the app are the same questions from Manhattan Prep’s 5 lb. Book of GRE Practice Problems. It can be quite handy to have them in a mobile format, but don’t be surprised if you practice with the book and then encounter some of the same questions on the app.
Price: Free, $19.99 for Premium access
Recap: Manhattan Prep GRE, especially the Premium version, is a powerful little app, with lots of content that will prepare you for anything the GRE might ask.
Study Timer: Test Prep Focus
There are thousands of study resources for the GRE, and hundreds of questions on the actual test. Time management is incredibly important, both on the exam itself and as you study for the GRE. Magoosh’s Study Timer app is a test prep stopwatch that helps you make time to study in the middle of a busy schedule, and to stay focused when you do sit down to study. The concept for Study Timer is based on the Pomodoro Technique, a decades-old productivity technique. (FYI: In Italian, “pomodoro” means “tomato,” and this technique was created by an Italian student who used a tomato-shaped kitchen timer to time himself in 25-minute increments while he studied.)
When you first open Study Timer, the app asks what test you’re studying for. The GRE Timer allows you to practice a section for as long as that section lasts on the actual GRE test. The app will prompt you to study Math for 35 minutes, Verbal for 30 minutes, Writing for 60 minutes. At the end of a session, the app offers a friendly reminder to take a break. If you don’t have time for a full practice session or want to use the timer for something other than a practice test section, you can choose General Study for a 25 minute session.
Recap: Good time management is key to improving your GRE score. If you need help focusing during your study sessions, or just need a mobile exam proctor, check out Magoosh’s Study Timer.
GRE Vocabulary Flashcards
In addition to Magoosh’s GRE Prep & Practice and Study Timer apps, their GRE Vocabulary Flashcards is another resource that Magoosh offers to help you study for the GRE. The app — available for iOS, Android, and web — includes 1000 flashcards covering the most important GRE words chosen by expert GRE tutors. The app uses a fancy-sounding learning technique (Spaced Recognition Technique, or SRT) that gives simple, but amazing results. The GRE Vocabulary Flashcards app slowly adds more and more time between review of a certain word, helping your brain to remember a large number of words for a long time, which is just what you need to do to succeed on the GRE.
Though you probably need other GRE study resources to pair with Magoosh’s GRE Vocabulary Flashcards, this practice tool will ensure that you’re studying the words most likely to appear on the GRE. If you study regularly with this app, you’ll improve your memory of those hard-to-remember vocabulary words and when they show up on the official exam, you’ll be confident and prepared.
Recap: To build your GRE vocabulary — and remember the words you learn — download Magoosh’s GRE Vocabulary Flashcards app.
GRE Vocabulary Flashcards + App
This set of flashcards is unique because it’s both a physical set of flashcards and a digital app. For sale online or in bookstores, you can purchase the box of flashcards and inside you’ll find download information to access the app half of Kaplan’s GRE Vocabulary Flashcards + App. With cards for 500 of the essential words from the GRE exam, this deck is designed to help you master the Verbal Reasoning portion of the exam.
This deck of flashcards is a handy way to study GRE vocabulary, because it can go wherever you do. You can switch back and forth between the physical set and the app to ensure you’ve spent plenty of time mastering essential GRE vocabulary. The app allows you to sort cards into words you know well, words you know somewhat well, and words you don’t know at all. This deck, both in physical and digital form, is a helpful tool as you improve your vocabulary for the GRE.
Recap: Whether you love physical flashcards, want to study on your phone, or are a fan of both, Kaplan’s set of GRE Vocabulary Flashcards + App make learning essential GRE words simple and convenient.
Though there’s not a specific GRE course on Khan Academy, you can use the list of GRE math topics and their corresponding videos on Khan Academy provided by ETS, makers of the GRE, to improve your math skills using this app. The Khan Academy app is free to use and download, and you don’t even need an account to get started. Simply download the app, find the Math topic you want to study, and you’re ready to go! The videos available on the app are the same as those offered on Khan Academy’s website, just easier to work through on-the-go.
The Quantitative Reasoning sections of the GRE cover the following math topics: arithmetic, algebra, geometry, and data analysis. Khan Academy provides a wealth of helpful math instruction, and thankfully there’s a list that tells you just which ones of their units to work through. In the app, you can bookmark items, browse your recent activity and subjects, and track your progress as you accumulate XP and badges. This makes designing your own GRE math prep course with the Khan Academy app simple and even fun.
Recap: The Khan Academy app gives you anytime, anywhere access to lessons that will prepare you for the Quantitative Reasoning sections of the GRE. And who doesn’t want to earn points and badges?
Tucked away in app stores, GRE Math by Sherpa Prep is a handy app with a cute, furry, sheep-ish mascot that’s worth hunting down. A unique app that focuses specifically on GRE Math, this software gives you access to 350+ full-length GRE math lessons, 100s and strategies and shortcuts, 1000+ practice questions that are sorted by difficulty, animated video lessons, analysis of every rare and advanced GRE math concept, diagnostic quizzes, analytic and statistical feedback, and personalized error lists and study logs.
Sherpa Prep reiterates on their app (they say this on their website, too): “GRE Math doesn’t have to be scary.” Like their GRE prep classes, the app assumes that you know nothing. Material is presented like you haven’t done math in years, but concepts quickly build so that, before long, you’re working with the most difficult math concepts tested by the GRE. Though you can access the Arithmetic and Plan B Strategies for free, it’s worth purchasing access to the other topics that you’re struggling with. You can purchase 6 months of access to Number Properties and Algebra, Word Problems, Statistics and Data Interpretation, or Geometry.
Price: Free, $4.99 for 6 months of access to specific math topics
Recap: If you want to study from your phone and need to work on math before taking the GRE, download Sherpa Prep’s GRE Math.
Stop, Breathe, Think: College Collection
Tools for Peace
Meditation might sound like it belongs more at the yoga studio than in your GRE study sessions, but hear us out. Tools for Peace — a non-profit that seeks to inspire people of all ages to develop kindness and compassion in everyday life — has created a tool that can be very helpful as your study for your upcoming GRE test. Their app, Stop, Breathe, Think, has lots of meditations and mindfulness exercises available on the web, iOS, and Android apps. Even if you’re no longer a college student, take a look at the Stop, Breathe, Think: College Collection. These recordings are designed to help you tame your stress, stay focused and on task, and bounce back from setbacks as you study — all important aspects of your GRE preparation.
Adding meditation to your GRE study sessions is simple. Stop, Breathe, Think’s College Collection — designed to help tame stress, strengthen focus, and navigate the ups and downs of student life — is a perfect tool for you, the soon-to-be graduate student, as well. With Stop, Breathe, Think, you can choose a meditation on a particular topic, ranging in length from 1-10+ minutes, to help you be and feel your best as you study for the GRE.
Price: Free, or $9.99/month for Premium access
Recap: Stop, Breathe, Think can help you do just that — stop, breathe, and think — as you get ready to take the GRE. Their student-focused meditations in particular are ideal as you seek to relieve stress, strengthen focus, and stay on track as you work hard towards your goals.
Everyone learns differently so we included a wide variety of courses, books, apps, websites, and options to help you master the GRE exam. If you’re searching for colleges to apply to with your soon-to-improve GRE score, be sure to check out our 50 Best Online Colleges for 2019.
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