Top 10 GRE Math Books: To Help You Succeed on the GRE Math Test

Top 10 GRE Math Books: To Help You Succeed on the GRE Math Test

The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is a critical part of the graduate school admissions process, and the math section can be particularly daunting for many. With the right preparation book, however, conquering the GRE math section becomes a clearly outlined mission. Let’s dive into the world of GRE prep with a keen focus on the math section, exploring the top books that can help you ace it!

Introduction to GRE Math Preparation

The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) math section is not just a test of your mathematical prowess; it’s an assessment of your ability to think critically, reason quantitatively, and solve problems in a timed setting. Preparing for it demands more than just revisiting school textbooks. Here’s a deeper look into what the GRE math preparation entails.

Understanding the GRE Math Content

The GRE Math section is divided into quantitative comparisons, problem-solving, and data interpretation questions. These encompass arithmetic, algebra, geometry, and data analysis topics. While some of the content might be reminiscent of high school math, the GRE tests these topics in intricate and challenging ways. Hence, a solid understanding of the basics, paired with the ability to apply them to complex problems, is crucial.

The Role of Practice and Time Management

Practice is at the heart of GRE math preparation. It’s not just about solving problems but about solving them efficiently. The GRE is as much a test of time management as it is of math skills. Regularly timed practice sessions will not only familiarize you with the types of questions you’ll encounter but also help you gauge the pace at which you need to work to answer every question.

The Significance of Mock Tests

While regular practice is vital, so are full-length mock tests. These tests offer a holistic GRE experience, from the test’s structure to its time constraints. Analyzing your performance on these tests can provide valuable insights into your strengths and weaknesses, allowing you to fine-tune your preparation strategy.

Importance of Choosing the Right Book

Delving into the right study material is a pivotal step in your GRE journey. A well-chosen book can provide structured guidance, ensuring that you cover all necessary topics while also offering strategies to tackle each question type effectively.

Clarity and Comprehensiveness

Your ideal GRE math book should explain complex ideas in a simple, easy-to-understand manner. It should be thorough, leaving no topic untouched. A comprehensive index and clear chapter divisions can be immensely helpful for targeted study sessions.

Quality over Quantity

While a good number of practice questions are essential, the quality of these questions is even more crucial. They should mimic the style and difficulty of the actual GRE questions. Working through well-crafted problems will prepare you for the surprises the real test might throw at you.

Strategies and Tips

Beyond content and practice questions, the best GRE math books provide actionable strategies. These can range from time-saving techniques to methods for eliminating wrong answer choices. These strategies, when internalized through practice, can significantly boost your test-day performance.

In essence, the right book becomes your roadmap, guiding you through the labyrinth of GRE math preparation. It’s more than just a collection of problems; it’s a trusted companion in your journey to achieving a high GRE score.

Review Criteria for GRE Math Books

Selecting the right GRE math book can be a game-changer in your test preparation journey. The market is flooded with numerous options, each claiming to be the best. To cut through the noise and hone in on the books that genuinely make a difference, we’ve set rigorous review criteria. Here’s a deeper dive into the specific aspects we factored in:

1. Comprehensiveness

Thorough Content Coverage

An ideal GRE math book leaves no stone unturned. It dives into every topic detailed in the GRE syllabus – from arithmetic and algebra to geometry and data analysis. This ensures that you’re not caught off guard by unfamiliar questions on test day.

Clear Explanations

A collection of problems without adequate explanations is akin to a ship without a compass. The book should offer lucid, step-by-step explanations for each concept and solution. This aids in solidifying your understanding and allowing you to tackle similar problems with confidence.

Real-World Applications

Math isn’t just about numbers; it’s about understanding real-world scenarios quantitatively. The best books highlight the practical applications of mathematical concepts, making the learning process more relatable and engaging.

2. Practice Questions

Variety and Difficulty

A diverse range of practice questions, spanning various difficulty levels, is vital. The book should include easy, medium, and hard questions, providing a comprehensive practice experience that mirrors the actual GRE.

Diagnostic Tests

Top-tier GRE math books often come equipped with diagnostic tests. These help you assess your starting point, understand your weak areas, and tailor your study plan accordingly.

Answer Key and Solutions

Simply solving problems isn’t enough; understanding where and why you went wrong is crucial. An in-depth answer key, coupled with thorough solution explanations, ensures that you learn from your mistakes.

3. Test-Taking Strategies

Time Management Techniques

The GRE is a timed test, making efficient time management paramount. Stellar books equip you with techniques to solve problems faster, allocate time wisely, and ensure that no question is left unanswered.

Guessing and Elimination Tactics

Sometimes, making an educated guess is necessary. Books that teach you the art of intelligent guessing, and strategies for eliminating wrong answer choices, can be invaluable allies.

Computer-based Test Insights

Given that the GRE is primarily a computer-based test, insights into navigating the computer interface, using the on-screen calculator, and managing breaks can give you a distinct edge.

In sum, the right GRE math book is a blend of comprehensive content, extensive practice opportunities, and actionable test-taking strategies. It doesn’t just teach you math; it prepares you for the unique challenges the GRE poses.

The Top 10 GRE Math Books

Now, let’s introduce the stars of our show. These books are your best bet for a stellar GRE math score.

1. The Official Guide to the GRE by ETS

Authored by the same organization that created the GRE, this book provides an insider’s perspective on what to expect. It features authentic GRE problems and the actual test’s layout and logic.

2. Manhattan Prep’s 5 Lb. Book of GRE Practice Problems

Almost a legend in the field, this book lives up to its name, offering copious amounts of practice problems. It covers all difficulty levels and math topics seen on the GRE, with clear explanations.

3. GRE Math Workbook by Kaplan

Kaplan’s workbook is designed to offer a deep dive into every topic encountered in GRE math. It breaks down concepts into digestible sections, perfect for those needing a comprehensive content review.

4. GRE Mathematics Subject Test Solutions

GRE Mathematics Subject Test Solutions: Exams GR1268, GR0568, and GR9768” is a comprehensive guide spanning 169 pages, dedicated to unraveling the intricacies of three pivotal GRE math exams. Packed with meticulously detailed solutions, it’s a beacon for those battling tough problems. A robust eighteen-page glossary elucidates core theorems, ensuring no learner feels left in the dark. With a special focus on Calculus and foundational math, the book champions an intuitive approach, making extensive use of graphs and geometric explanations. It’s more than just a study aid—it’s a math companion, offering constructive solutions at every turn and doubling as a handy reference tool.

5. Barron’s GRE Math Workbook

Barron’s workbook is known for its rigorous practice problems and high-difficulty questions, making it ideal for those aiming for a top-percentile score.

6. McGraw-Hill Education Conquering GRE Math

This book stands out for its strategies for handling the most common pitfalls in GRE math. It’s particularly good for boosting speed and accuracy.

7. Nova’s GRE Math Prep Course

Nova’s book is comprehensive and strategy-heavy, offering unique insights into the GRE’s trickiest questions. Its approach to problem-solving is both tactical and practical.

8. Math Workout for the GRE, 4th Edition

ACE YOUR MATH SCORES WITH CONFIDENCE. Dive into “Math Workout for the GRE, 4th Edition” for a comprehensive take on tackling the GRE’s quantitative challenges. Whether math is your strength or you’ve been away from it for a while, this guide offers succinct topic reviews, strategic insights for difficult problems, and ample practice to ensure you’re prepared to achieve your desired score.

9. GRE Math Prep by Magoosh

Known for its user-friendly approach, Magoosh’s book provides clear explanations and actionable strategies, accompanied by access to a vast online resource library.

10. GRE Prep Plus 2019

GRE Prep Plus 2019: Practice Tests + Proven Strategies + Online + Video + Mobile (Kaplan Test Prep)” is an all-encompassing guide designed for holistic GRE preparation. With a blend of practice tests, evidence-based strategies, and digital resources spanning online videos to mobile accessibility, Kaplan ensures you’re fully equipped for exam success. Navigate your GRE journey with confidence, leveraging a comprehensive toolkit crafted by test-prep experts.

Tips for Utilizing Your GRE Math Book Effectively

Having the book is step one. Maximizing its potential is a continuous journey. Set a study schedule, practice regularly under timed conditions, review your mistakes carefully, and don’t just study hard—study smart.

Final Words

Conquering the GRE math section is no small feat, but with one of these top 10 GRE math books at your side, it becomes a much more manageable challenge. Remember, the best book for you caters to your specific needs and learning style. Choose wisely, practice relentlessly, and walk into the test day with confidence!


1. How long should I prepare for the GRE math section?

  • The time required varies for each person. A common recommendation is 3-6 months of dedicated study.

2. Are old editions of GRE books useful?

  • They can be, but make sure the edition isn’t too old, as the GRE format and content can change.

3. How many practice tests should I take before the actual GRE?

  • Aim for at least 5-8 full-length practice tests to gauge your stamina and get accustomed to the test format.

4. Can I use a calculator on the GRE math section?

  • Yes, a simple on-screen calculator is provided during the computer-based test.

5. Is it necessary to join a prep course if I have a GRE math book?

  • Not necessarily. A quality GRE book coupled with disciplined self-study can be sufficient for many. However, if you need more structured guidance or find certain concepts challenging, a prep course might be beneficial.

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