GMAT Exam Preparation: 9 Best GMAT Prep Books You Shouldn’t Miss


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Doing well on the GMAT examination can open doors for you in the best business schools of your choice. It is understandable to be nervous about this exam that plays a significant role in you Business School admission process. Naturally, you would want to utilize as many resources to prepare for GMAT as you possibly can. However, with a range of books and online resources available, it can become challenging to determine which one would actually be useful.

To make it easier for you, we have compiled and reviewed the best GMAT prep books to get started with your preparations with the right resources.

10 Best GMAT Prep Books

GMAT is the most trusted and widely used standardized test that assesses the readiness of candidates applying for business schools. It is used in more than 2,100 universities and institutions in the world to test the skills that are crucial for management and business programs. It includes four sections – analytical writing, integrated reasoning, verbal, and quantitative.

To score higher in GMAT, you need to use the best prep resources available to you. Let’s go over the 10 best GMAT prep books that may prove highly useful for your preparations:

1.     GMAT Official Guide 2021

This guide is the first book people get their hands on when starting their GMAT preparations. Why is that? The GMAT Official Guide is written by the experts who prepare the questions for your GMAT exam! What better study resource than this guide?

The GMAT Official Guide by GMAC comprises of questions from easy, medium, and hard level. Although, this guide mostly focuses on easy to medium questions. There is no doubt that the questions found in this guide are of high quality, but the explanation of the answers are pretty vague. Therefore, we suggest keeping a supplemental material that can offer you proper explanation.

The 2021 version was recently released and includes 92 new questions as compared to the 2020 guide.  It also includes 174 additional questions in its online questions bank. Not only this, you can also practice your concepts with the help of 163 online flashcards that comes with this guide!

2.     Manhattan Prep GMAT Strategy Guide Set

This ultimate set is surely a complete guide to the GMAT exam. It doesn’t just teach you the right tricks, but also help you understand the fundamentals of the questions. As a result, you won’t be relying on guess work on the day of your test.

This strategy set comes with 10 or 8 guides, focusing on individual sections of the GMAT exam. You can either buy these strategy guides individually or in a bundle. Aside from these excellent resource books, it also provides you with a year long access to web material and practice tests. Indeed, one of the best GMAT prep books out there!

Learning from these guides will strengthen your skills to ensure you perform exceptionally well in the test. The latest edition of these guides set combines the three verbal and quant books into subject books with different sections. This edition is more organized as compared to the previous editions, with cleaner formatting that provides a better study experience.

The practice questions are almost the same but the language has been updated to make more similar to the actual GMAT tests. If you want to form strong basics of the concepts than this one is for you.

3.     Nova

Worried more about the math questions and want a book more focused on math materials? Nova GMAT course offers plenty of math practice advice and material. While this resource is not very up-to-date and is still listing the requirements for April 2018 GMAT requirements. However, it is still an effective guide to practice the sample questions.

This book uses a similar studying philosophy as the resources published by Manhattan – it challenges you with questions that have are a little more challenging as compared to their usual difficulty. This approach is preferred by many as it helps the candidates in being better prepared by encouraging them to utilize their upper skills.

4.     Kaplan GMAT Complete 2020

This GMAT prep book has been highly rated by both reviewers and test-takers for offering an authentic GMAT preparation. It will help you practice the questions for all question types and concepts with thorough explanation of all answers for better understanding.

Best of all, you can even get one on one support from one of the Kaplan faculty members through their Facebook page! However, there aren’t many latest updates incorporated in this book.

It offers six practice tests, with more than 500 online quiz bank that allows you to customize the practice tests by selecting the topics and difficulty levels. You will find questions that aren’t very easy to solve in this book as compared to other GMAT prep books.

5.     PowerScore Verbal Trilogy Bible

PowerScore is well-known as an LSAT critical reasoning bible! LSAT is actually the critical reasoning section of GMAT … on steroids. So, you can imagine this book is one of the best GMAT prep books out there to help you in practicing the most complex type of questions that appear on GMAT.

This book is highly recommended for the candidates going with an academic approach to critical reasoning. It is highly accurate, particularly in comparison to the critical reasoning in Manhattan resources.

This trilogy includes three GMAT books – sentence correction, reading comprehension, and critical reasoning. It comes with concepts and explanations, along with a thorough methodology. However, this book doesn’t come with practice questions, which means you need additional resources to practice them alongside.

If you are looking to grasp a stronger concept of the verbal section, go with this book. You can either buy these books individually or as a set.

6.     Veritas Prep Complete GMAT Course

This GMAT course comes with 12 guides, along with a detailed overview of all the subjects covered in GMAT. It also offers a higher number of practice questions as compared to Manhattan resources, and also includes challenging and unique questions for better preparations.

Unfortunately, this book doesn’t contain the answer key, offering guidance to solve problems. It has received rather mixed reviews by instructors and test-takers alike. While it covers every topic in-depth and is pretty similar to the Manhattan prep resource, the lack of explanation is a problem for some. On the other hand, it offers better learning through more challenging questions.

All the guides in this course are loaded with practice questions, and it also gives you access to an online guide that includes even more questions you can practice. This is a good resource if you are looking for practice questions and not too worried about the explanations or already have a resource for that.

This course can make an excellent companion with the official GMAT guide.

7.     The GMAT Official Advanced Questions by GMAC

This advanced guide is another best GMAT prep book to add to your resources. It includes around 300 complex questions for all sections in the tests, which makes it an effective supplemental resource if you are hoping to attain more than 700 scores on the GMAT exam.

It was released in 2019 and is still a highly helpful GMAT prep resource. The limitations and strengths of this book are similar to other resources created by GMAC – highly challenging practice questions but with vague explanations.

This book also focuses more on DS questions as compared to PS questions in the Quant section. However, all the verbal questions are evenly distributed. This is a great resource if you are aiming for higher score and already have a strong understanding for the concepts of each section. 

8.     GMAT for Dummies 2020

This incredible guide is focused more on the strategies for test-taking, including methods to help your time management skills, elimination process, guessing strategy, and ways to handle every type of question.

This book includes a CD that has flashcards and seven adaptive practice tests. It is even available on Kindle for easier access and is one of the best GMAT prep books to get your preparation started. However, keep in mind that this book should be utilized as a reference book.

Avoid using it as a proper textbook, instead, make use of it as a reference or supplemental resource. It isn’t for comprehensive reading but is perfect for recapitulation. Why include this book in our list? Because each candidate must have a detailed book explaining the GMAT exam, ways to take it, strategies to prepare for it, crucial areas for more focus, and to understand the reasons behind the GMAT segments. The thorough and well-explained knowledge in this book isn’t available in other resources.

Combine this book with the official GMAT guide or the Manhattan guide to get a clear understanding of the concepts. This is also highly effective to use right at the end of your preparation and before your exam to refresh your memory and practice the concepts you already know and want to sharpen. 

9.     The GMAT Roadmap: Expert Advice Through Test Day by Manhattan GMAT

This book is indeed a roadmap offering a blueprint for you to follow as you start preparing for GMAT. Keep in mind that this resource isn’t particularly aimed towards content knowledge, but instead helps you establish an excellent preparation strategy.

This GMAT roadmap guides you in mapping out your studying, creating ,and sticking to an effective game plan, while also helping you handle your test anxiety. Aside from this, it also gives you access to six online practice exams.  

This book is a great way to start getting a better idea about the GMAT concept and managing your preps. It effectively takes you through each step of the studying process to help you attain a better understanding and knowledge.

It also includes solid tips for studying by instructors and test takers to take full advantage of the study sessions. There are also study tips for international students. It provides a detailed overview of the different test sections, the test itself, like the skills tested, section order, and section length.

10.  Ace the GMAT: Master the GMAT in 40 Days

Are you struggling to develop the right GMAT strategy? This book is the solution for you. Everyone knows just one book isn’t sufficient to prepare for GMAT properly. If you have a book that guides you in the study areas, then you need another one that helps you with your exam strategy. This book is a great addition to your GMAT prep resources.

This guide covers practice questions, the types of questions one can expect in the exam, and also offers a highly-detailed study planner that assists you in determining what is essential to prepare every day. This course has been designed by keeping the average candidate in mind to help them throughout the preparation. This guide is even used by many trainers and teachers to help prepare students for GMAT. While good study materials for GMAT can come from various sources, books are the excellent way to get started. You must invest in a GMAT book that will help you thoroughly prepare for the exam and achieve your goals. Do your research before investing your money in books with poor strategies or incorrect information, as this would only reduce your chances of scoring well.

How Do I Register for the GMAT?

You have to register for GMAT at their official website. Create and account first and then select the location, time, and date of the test and then you will be registered. You can also register for GMAT by calling the GMAT customer service.

Top 5 GMAT FAQs

What Material Is Tested on the GMAT?

Every section of the GMAT assesses the essential skills the students would require in business schools and in the professional field.

The analytical writing has a 30-minute essay, which examines your skill of analyzing the specified argument and effectively communicating in English. In the integrated reasoning, you have to analyze and synthesize data presenting in various formats, including charts, graphics, and texts, and from other sources to resolve the given problems.

The quantitative part assesses your secondary-level math skills, and your skills of solving and analyzing numerical problems, evaluating graphs, and your ability of determining if there is sufficient data to solve the question.   

The verbal test examines your skill of applying logical reasoning to arguments, apply grammar guidelines, and comprehend difficult reading passages. It tests your skills of reasoning, writing, and reading in English language.

What’s a Good GMAT Score?

The average score for GMAT is about 550, but you need 600 or more to get admission in the major business schools. The top ten business schools prefer students with 700+ score. For Stanford or Harvard or other elite programs, you need 720 or higher score to get in.

The aim is to get a score that will help you in getting into the business school of your preference. It is essential to find out the required minimum score of the school you are hoping to get in on the website.

How Long Should I Study for the GMAT?

There is no right or wrong answer here. The amount of time you must study is based on your existing skill level, your unique circumstances, and the target score you are aiming to achieve. A good rule of thumb is preparing for the GMAT at least three months in advance, especially if you want to improve the score by around 30 to 50 points. You would have to put in around 10 hours of studying every week.

However, if you are looking for a substantial increase in the score, you must start studying six months in advance. This provides you with sufficient time to work on your weaknesses and score higher.

How Is the GMAT Scored?

All the sections in GMAT are separately scored. Your overall score, which is between 200 and 800, reflects the mixture of your quant and verbal score. The individual quantitative and verbal scores are between 0 and 60, integrated reasoning score is between 1 and 8, and the analytical writing is scored between 0 and 6.

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