Best Free GRE Resources in 2024: GRE Study Material


GRE is a competitive exam administered by the ETS. This test is taken by students who wish to do their MS, MBA, or Ph.D in top universities across the world. Some countries that accept the GRE scores are the USA, Canada, the UK, Germany, and European nations. Before we could get to look into the GRE study materials, let us first understand what the test is about.

Content and Structure of the GRE

The GRE test is an hour and fifty-eight minutes long. The first section of the test.is the Analytical Writing Assessment, followed by two Verbal and two Quant sections. There are no in-between breaks.
The AWA section is for 30 minutes and you need to write a cogent essay expressing your view on a topic. Your analytical, organizational, and language skills will get tested here. The score ranges from 0 – 6 with a 0.5 increment.
The first verbal section has 12 questions and the second one has 15 questions with 18 minutes and 23 minutes respectively. The verbal section is designed to measure your ability to analyze passages, identify the main idea and details, understand the meaning of words and sentences, and complete the passage.
The first quant section has 12 questions and the second one has 15 questions with 21 minutes and 26 minutes respectively. The Quants section tests the basic math you would have learned in high school. The topics include algebra, arithmetic, data analysis, and geometry.

Best GRE Study Materials

There are a lot of materials available around for the GRE preparation. Some of these are paid while others are available free. Students face anxiety and confusion when they have to select the right resources for their prep. Your score depends on the materials you use. Low-quality materials would mean you are underprepared for the test and thus affect your scores. High-quality GRE study materials are the key to success. Let us look at some of the characteristics you should consider while selecting the materials-

Good Quality study materials

The GRE test can be easily tackled with the right amount of practice. The best book for the GRE should contain a good number of practice questions that are similar to the actual GRE test in difficulty level and format. The more the practice with the right kind of questions, the better the scores.

Detailed explanations

The GRE study material that you use should explain all the practice questions. This will help you understand where your mistakes are and how to fix them. Each question should have an explanation for the correct answer and also why the other options are wrong.

Strategies and Techniques

The GRE is a timed test. The best book for the GRE should provide you with the approaches and techniques to complete the test in the stipulated time and also get correct answers. Remember in the GRE it is ultimately the right answer that matters and not the means you have used to reach the answer. The approaches and techniques should be time-tested.

Free materials for Practice

GRE resources

  1. ETS Math Conventions – This resource helps you to familiarize yourself with the notations, symbols,  and conventions used in the GRE. You can learn about numbers, quantities, geometric figures, and basic trigonometry conventions. 
  2. ETS Math Review – This can be downloaded from the ETS website. It helps you get familiar with the mathematical skills and concepts that are essential for problem-solving. 
  3. GRE Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning – This material gives us an introduction to the different question types in both the Quant and the Verbal sections. This is also downloadable from the ETS website. 
  4. Khan Academy – Though Khan Academy does not cover GRE content, it contains videos that can help with understanding Math concepts, tips for Essay writing, and understanding the passages to find the main idea and details.
  5. Flashcards/Vocab Apps/High-frequency GRE wordlists – Nearly fifty percent of the questions in the Verbal section test your vocabulary skills. You need to develop a strong vocabulary to tackle these questions which can be done with the help of reliable vocab sources. 

Paid Materials

  1. The Official Guide To The GRE General Test, Third Edition – This is the ETS-prescribed book for GRE preparation. In addition to practice questions, there are two full-length paper-pencil tests available in this book. The major advantage of using the ETS official guide is that these questions are retired ones from the actual test. This is one of the sources that takes you closer to the actual test format. This is a must-have GRE study material.
  2. Official GRE-Verbal Reasoning Practice Questions Volume 1, Second Edition – This GRE study material contains 150+ verbal questions and tips to answer them.
  3. Official GRE-Quantitative Reasoning Practice Questions Volume 1, Second Edition – This GRE study material contains 150+ quant questions and tips to handle them. 
  4. Official GRE Mentor Course – This online course contains 640+ practice questions. This is developed and recommended by ETS for GRE preparation. The course content helps in skill development. 
  5. Princeton Review GRE Premium Prep, 2024 – This book covers all three sections of the test and also offers online practice tests. This book gives a clear explanation of how the test is, what the questions look like, and how to answer them.

Best Practice Tests

Practice Tests are an indispensable part of the GRE preparation. Just like the GRE study materials, the practice tests that you choose should have these characteristics:

Quality questions

The test should contain questions that are very similar to the actual GRE. Low-quality questions and tests would mean you are underprepared for the test. The best GRE mock test should contain questions that test the same concepts and are of the same difficulty level as the real GRE.

Clear Explanations

There should be a lucid explanation for every question. The explanation should show why the correct answer is correct and the others are wrong.

Easy interface

The best GRE mock test should mimic the same interface as the actual GRE. The sections should be adaptable and scores scaled according to the difficulty of the sections. 

Free Practice Tests 

  1. Powerprep Online – There are two free full-length tests available on the ETS website. You can use them with the free ETS account. Both these tests have retired GRE questions and reflect the real test. The final score is very close to the actual test. 
  2. ETS Paper Exams – These are two official tests released by ETS a few years ago. Just like the Powerprep tests, these also contain retired GRE questions. 
  3. Free Diagnostic tests – The major test prep companies provide free diagnostic tests to measure your skills. Some of them are full-length tests while others are shorter ones. Preferably use the full-length tests. 

How to make the best use of the GRE study materials

GRE study materials

  1. Choose the materials you will use for the preparation. Do not collect all the GRE study materials because you will not be using all of them. Choose the quality ones. 
  2. Make a study plan that includes regular practice. Spend an hour every day focussing on your weaknesses. Do not boost your ego by practicing topics that you are very good at. 
  3. Take the practice test regularly: One at the beginning of your prep and one at the end. In between, plan to take 3 or 4 practice tests to track your progress. Make sure these tests are timed and full-length ones.
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How much does the international GRE cost?

The cost of the GRE is INR.22550(inclusive of taxes).

How often can I take the GRE?

You can take the GRE five times in a rolling period of 12 months. There should be a 21-day interval between the two administrations.

How do I prepare for the GRE?

You can start the preparation for the GRE with a diagnostic test. This will give you a focus on where you currently stand and what the test is about. Set a target score based on your requirements. Join a prep course- either online or offline or use standardized books to prepare for the test. Learn the concepts and techniques to handle the questions on the GRE. Learn new words everyday to improve your vocabulary. Take regular tests and review them for mistakes.

How long does it take to prepare for the GRE?

The GRE is not an exam that can be crammed for. The exam is primarily a test of patterns, not facts, therefore you’ll need plenty of practice time if you want to improve your GRE score. We recommend that you study for 4 to 12 weeks for GRE preparation.

Can I use scratch paper on the test?

Yes. The center provides plenty of scratch paper and pencils for you to practice.

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