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What’s the Best Book for Improving GRE Vocabulary?
Our Top Picks

Last Updated On: May 10, 2021

Most GRE test-takers dismiss the vocabulary aspect of the examination as something to think about later. After all, knowing how to ace the quantitative reasoning sounds the most challenging.

But, we are to tell you that your vocabulary can also make and break your GRE goal. Thus, we have compiled a shortlist of the best GRE Vocab Prep books to help you decide which one is worth your investment this 2020.

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Editor's Choice
The GRE Vocabulary Builder Workbook
The Vocabulary Builder
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#2nd Best Choice
GRE Power Vocab
GRE Power Vocab
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#3rd Best Choice
Essential Words for the GRE
Essential Words for the GRE
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Top 3 GRE Vocab Prep Books

1 - The Vocabulary Builder Workbook (Editor's Choice)

The GRE Vocabulary Builder Workbook

The first one on our list is the Vocabulary Builder Workbook, authored by a Magoosh Review Expert.

The book has an extensive list of words, covering more than the other vocabulary resource materials mentioned below.

Aside from many new vocabulary words, Vocabulary Builder Workbook also gives helpful tips on understanding unfamiliar terms with their useful suggestions.

Written by a reputable expert working for Magoosh, we think you can get clear definitions of vocabulary words that might come out in the GRE. Others have noted how the layout needs improvement, as the book is not that easy to navigate.

Pros
  • Extensive coverage
  • Lots of new vocabulary words
  • Helpful tips
  • Reputable author
  • Clear definitions
Cons
  • Lacking lay-out

2 - GRE Power Vocab

GRE Power Vocab

The GRE Power Vocab prides itself on its engaging content, which our research has revealed to be a massive bonus for students.

After all, studying for a major test like the GRE can get overwhelming and tedious, and having a fun book to help you learn is a perk.

The book has a regularly updated vocabulary list and organized structure and even comes with a diagnostic exam.

Lastly, among the three books that we have reviewed here, the GRE Power Vocab is the one that is said to be the handiest.

However, an extensive review of the book has allowed our team to discover inaccuracies in the book's definitions and tips. Like the previous book, you also have to be ready with supplemental information when using the GRE Power Vocab.

Also, shipping issues were reported, with some books arriving bent or slightly damaged to the customers.

Pros
  • Engaging content
  • Updated vocabulary
  • Organized structure
  • Handy
  • Complete with a diagnostic exam
Cons
  • Shipping issues

3 - Essential Words for the GRE

Essential Words for the GRE

To complete our top 3 list, we also recommend the Essential Words for the GRE. This vocabulary reviewer has detailed GRE practice tests and a relatively lower price than the other two mentioned previously.

Users have commented on the relevance of the examples and how the book has very comprehensive coverage.

The exercises are also stimulating; even our team found them challenging and made us want to research a lot of our answers.

As much as we enjoyed the book, our team has also noted some inaccurate explanations, proving detrimental for test-takers. Again, we recommend that you have a ready supplemental source when studying to ensure that you learn correct information only.

And answering the whole book takes much more time compared to the other two. If you do not have the luxury of time to spend on studying just the GRE vocabulary portion, this might not be a good option.

Pros
  • Detailed practice tests
  • Relatively cheap
  • Good examples
  • Comprehensive coverage
  • Stimulating exercises
Cons
  • Contains inaccurate explanations
  • May take time

"I know the price of success: dedication, hard work, and an unremitting devotion to the things you want to see happen."

 

- Frank Lloyd Wright, architect, writer

Helpful Tips When Studying

man studying inside the library
  • Review your vocabulary words list religiously.

Based on our research and experience, specific sets of words frequently appear on the GRE. Take time to learn what these high-frequency vocabulary words are and review them religiously. You can divide your list into groups to make it easier and more effective to absorb.

  • Use flashcards.

Flashcards are good study tools to use on any exam. They come in handy, especially when the exam day is nearing. Some GRE prep review books come with flashcards, but you can also create your own, especially when you’re learning unfamiliar words.

  • Make reading a habit.

We couldn’t emphasize this enough. As per our experience, most words you’ll encounter on the GRE will come from magazines and newspapers, so don’t skip the morning paper. When you see a term used in context, this strengthens your knowledge of word usage and definition.

What is the best option for studying Vocab GRE?

We won't deny that having a proven resource gives more assurance of results to happen, though. Our team finds the Vocabulary Builder Workbook (VBW) to have the most potential among the three references listed above.

An expert from Magoosh, one of the most reputable GRE review centers, wrote the book that contains about double the number of words compared to the other two. Also, only the sample sentences needed revisions in the VBW, unlike the other two, where the definitions themselves could be questionable. But, the choice is yours to make.

The GRE Vocabulary Builder Workbook

Our #1 Recommendation

The Vocabulary Builder Workbook

  • Extensive coverage
  • Lots of new vocabulary words
  • Helpful tips
  • Reputable author
  • Clear definitions
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About the author

Jordan Coleman

Jordan Coleman

Jordan is a teacher who is in love with English literature and quality content. He uses his teaching experience to help both his own students and others around the world to improve their knowledge and self-confidence.

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