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Martin Barrett
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Best GMAT Study Materials

6 Best GMAT study materials You should Try (2023)

If you’re preparing for the GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test) right now, then you have probably noticed how much study material is available for this particular exam!

With four sections, the GMAT is a famously complicated exam, but it’s the first step for MBA candidates, and a high score is required if you want to be admitted to top colleges. 

But comprehensive GMAT books are a serious investment, so it’s crucial that you buy GMAT study material that is worth the money. But how can you tell the difference between good and bad study material?

Well, below you’ll find 6 of the best GMAT prep books so you can study with confidence and ace that test! But first, let’s take a closer look at the best GMAT study materials and the four sections it’s comprised of.

What Is GMAT?

The GMAT is a standardized test that is required for admission to business school. It is a Computer Adaptive Test and has multiple-choice questions.

It is administered and developed by GMAC to give business schools an idea of how ready applicants are for graduate-level, academic work. 

As well as your GMAT score, business schools will also look at your academic records, extracurricular activities, work experience and other factors to assess how ready you are for the rigorous MBA program. 

However, how well you do on the GMAT has the biggest influence on your MBA application. Scoring over 740 on the test will certainly improve your chances of getting into the business school of your choice! 

The GMAT exam is split into four sections. These are analytical writing assessment, integrated reasoning, quantitative reasoning, and verbal reasoning. 

Verbal Reasoning

This section assesses your reading comprehension, your ability to evaluate arguments, and your ability to edit text to written English standards.

Integrated Reasoning

This section assesses your ability to evaluate information in a variety of formats and from numerous sources. This is a crucial assessment, given how much the business world is driven by data. 

Quantitative Reasoning

This section assesses your quantitative reasoning skills, or how well you analyze data to draw conclusions. However, you shouldn’t be put off by the mathematics involved in this section, as it’s about as difficult as high school math. 

All The GMAT: Content Review (Manhattan Prep)

All The GMAT tops our list for good reason! It is undeniably the best GMAT prep book you could buy.

It is not crammed with quick tricks and tips, but instead focuses on enhancing your performance by going into different study methods and skills, and providing you with comprehensive knowledge on the GMAT.

This bundle is a more comprehensive and updated version of the 10-book Complete GMAT Strategy Guide set and gives you the full GMAT learning experience.

The content has been reviewed and streamlined, and also comes with a 1-year subscription to a web portal as well as extra practice tests. 

Pros

  • Six full-length CAT tests that are as close as possible to the real GMAT.
  • Comprehensive coverage to give you a deep understanding of the GMAT.
  • Provides great test-taking strategies and revision methodology.
  • Comes with a 1-year subscription to a web portal and extra practice tests.

Cons

  • One of the most expensive GMAT study materials.
  • Practice questions can be quite difficult. 

The GMAC GMAT Official Guide Bundle

You can’t go wrong with this GMAT study guide! Published by the Graduate Management Admission Council.

This bundle contains three books and gives you highly realistic and applicable practice questions as well as an extra online interface for flashcards, performance metrics, and testing.

The books in this bundle gives you an overview of the content and format of the test, a scoring guide, and detailed content, explanations, and example responses. 

The only downside to this bundle is the lack of full-length practice tests to help prepare you for the actual GMAT.

Pros

  • Nearly 2,000 realistic practice questions that are arranged by difficulty.
  • Published by the GMAT test providers.
  • Cost-effective when bought as a bundle.
  • Additional online interface. 

Cons

  • No full-length practice tests.
  • Practice questions are on the simplistic side. 

Also Available At

GMAT Prep Plus (Kaplan)

One of the leading test prep publishers, Kaplan GMAT prep is a reliable source for GMAT study materials, and their GMAT Prep Plus doesn’t disappoint.

With over 1,200 practice questions and six full-length online practice tests and reliable study strategies, the best GMAT Prep Plus is favored by students for its comprehensive approach.

Buying Kaplan GMAT study material also gives you access to academic support provided by their Facebook page dedicated to GMAT, which is a great source of motivation when you need it. 

Pros

  • Written by GMAT tutors and teachers with plenty of experience.
  • Kaplan is a reliable exam prep publisher with over 80 years of experience.
  • Detailed content coverage.
  • Contains six full-length tests.

Cons

  • You have to pay for some online resources.
  • Some explanations for difficult topics are too simplistic.

Also Available At:

The PowerScore GMAT Critical Reasoning Bible

PowerScore is a publisher beloved by students, and we can definitely see why!

While this edition focuses solely on critical reasoning skills, when used alongside the Sentence Correction, Reading Comprehension, and the Verbal Bible you get a comprehensive guide to every aspect of the GMAT.

PowerScore aims to help students recognize question types and understand the best ways to answer them. Each question has a strategy to accompany it, and common mistakes made by students are highlighted and explained.

Pros

  • Focuses on exam skills, and highlights common errors and strategies to avoid them.
  • Detailed content coverage.
  • Practice questions are realistic and close to the actual GMAT exam.
  • Published by a reliable source.

Cons

  • No supplementary online practice tests.
  • Explanations can sometimes be too long.
  • Can be expensive as to get full coverage you will need to buy additional GMAT preparation books.

GMAT Prep Book (Mometrix Test Preparation)

Mometrix top GMAT prep books are not only simple to read, but concise and they contain explanations of tricky concepts and step-by-step tutorials.

Although it’s one of the shorter prep books on our list, this guide is full of information you need to pass the GMAT!

Rather than vaguely mentioning concepts, this study guide goes into detail about GMAT principles and has a wide variety of practice questions. 

A lot of these concepts can also be found on Mometrix’s online review videos, if you are someone who prefers audio or visual learning.

Pros

  • Provides simple problem-solving strategies.
  • Budget-friendly.
  • Provides detailed answer explanations.
  • Provides full-length practice tests.
  • Video tutorials are available for visual learners.

Cons

  • Reviews of subject information are somewhat limited.
  • Some may find the practice questions too easy.
  • Video tutorials could be more in-depth.

Also Available At:

Ace The GMAT: Master The GMAT In 40 Days

Ace The GMAT is based on the principle that test-takers who do well on the GMAT do so by understanding how to solve problems that come up frequently on the GMAT.

Although you might want to supplement this book with extra GMAT study material, it does provide great analysis of over 200 problems that are crucial to success with the GMAT.

As well as providing answers and detailed explanations, each question is categorized by type (‘classification’), rated by difficulty (with a ‘chili rating’) and supplemented with problem-solving strategies (‘snapshot’).

Pros

  • Information is presented clearly.
  • Easy-to-understand rating system.
  • Complete coverage of all sections of the GMAT.
  • Ideal for those who are short on study time.

Cons

  • As this was published in 2016, some of the content is out-of-date.
  • Coverage isn’t as in-depth as some of the other books on this list.
  • No extra practice questions for independent study.

Also Available At:

Buyer’s Guide

To score a decent percentile rank in the GMAT, we know it’s important to get the right prep material. However, there are so many books and guides out there that it can be hard to know which guides will actually be helpful or not. 

So what should you look for when it comes to finding the right GMAT study guide? Below, you’ll find the most important GMAT prep book features and factors to take into consideration when looking for the best GMAT study materials. 

Number Of Pages

A good GMAT guide will have detailed explanations of every topic, and in order to do this it has to be a pretty hefty book! However, big isn’t always better.

For example, if a book is filled with outdated or irrelevant syllabus topics then it will be difficult to sift through the information to get to the relevant stuff.

Meanwhile, a guide with few pages will be unable to explain the important topics in detail. 

Publishers

Another important factor to consider when shopping for a GMAT prep guide is taking a look at who published the guide.

A well-known test prep publisher or expert faculty will publish strategies and content that are far more accurate than guides published by more obscure publishers. 

When you use study guides that are produced by reliable publishers it can improve your chances of scoring a higher percentile.

Plus, it is less likely that there will be errors in the content of these study guides, and it is more likely that you will be receiving relevant and accurate information. 

Readability

A book that is simple to understand and uses accessible language will be able to explain complicated concepts far more successfully than a book that is dry or overly complicated.

But how can you tell if a book is going to be simple to understand before you buy it? We recommend reading the demo pages of the guide before you make your purchase.

Up-To-Date Information

Another important factor to consider before you buy a GMAT prep guide is when it was published.

It is better to use the latest publication in your GMAT prep, as these books are more likely to have the most relevant and accurate information for your upcoming exam.

If there are any changes in the question patterns or syllabus, then the latest edition guides will be updated with this information.

Being updated on any recent changes to the exam can boost your chances of scoring highly on the test. 

Video Tutorials

Video tutorials are a great way to understand complicated concepts quickly.

A lot of people prefer to learn with visual aids rather than text-based lessons or audio tutorials, and if you’re one of those people we recommend purchasing GMAT study materials that are also supplemented by video tutorials. 

Question Banks

As well as revising study material, solving questions is also important when it comes to preparing for the GMAT.

It lets you assess how ready you are for the test, and gives you an idea of how well you might do on the actual test.

Practice questions help you identify problem areas that take up more of your time, so you can focus on them and make sure you don’t make the same mistakes.

Therefore, it’s important you buy a GMAT prep guide with plenty of practice questions. 

The guide should also have a detailed solution alongside every question, so you can identify the correct method of solving a question quickly without having to look over the course material again. 

Study Tips

No matter how much you study, it’s unlikely to obtain a good score if you are using a lackluster study plan to prepare, or you’re unaware of any tips that can help you truly succeed in the GMAT.

Therefore, it’s important to buy a GMAT study guide that has exam time management tips, study tips, a syllabus learning plan, and more.

Some guides provide tips from those who have ranked in the 99th percentile of the GMAT, so you know you’re getting study tips that have been proven to work!

Full-Course Practice Tests

The last important feature that any GMAT prep guide should offer is a variety of full-length practice tests.

Once you’ve completed course and revision sessions, it is advised to attempt full-length practice tests to determine how prepared you actually are.

These tests help evaluate your understanding of important concepts and hone your time management.

Some guides provide adaptive computer-based tests that simulate the experience of the GMAT so you’re totally prepared for test day.

These tests give you a very accurate simulation of what sitting the actual test is like, as well as providing you with a score so you know where you are going into the actual GMAT.

These guides are the most effective, and we recommend opting for these over guides that just offer paper-based practice tests. 

How Much Time Should You Dedicate To GMAT Prep?

A lot of GMAT prep guides give you digital access for one academic year.

Therefore, it is important to complete your course and question papers in this time span as you may lose access to the online resources that come with most GMAT study guides.

A lot of GMAT rankers state that it is important to establish and stick to a daily timetable to cover certain topics in order to achieve a score over 700.

However, how many hours you dedicate to study to complete GMAT prep is also dependent on your current aptitude.

If you are a quick learner and have a solid verbal/quantitative foundation, you may need less than three months to complete your prep. Otherwise, it may take more than a year for you to achieve a score over 700. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is The GMAT Syllabus?

The GMAT Syllabus is made up of topics that are further subcategorized into sections and subsections.

The four sections of the GMAT Syllabus are Verbal, Quant, Integrated Reasoning, and Analytical Writing Assessment. 

The Verbal section includes critical reasoning, reading comprehension, and sentence correction, while the Quant section includes data sufficiency and problem-solving. 

How Much Does The GMAT Cost?

In most countries, the registration fee for the GMAT is $250. However, there are additional costs on top of the registration fee that varies from country to country.

How Long Does The GMAT Test Take?

The GMAT takes 3.5 hours to complete, and this includes breaks and test instructions.

How Difficult Is The GMAT Exam?

The GMAT tests high-order reasoning skills. Over 200,000 people take the GMAT every year and the average score obtained by those who attend top business schools is 720+.

To put that into perspective, only 6% of those who take the GMAT score above 720 in the GMAT exam. 

What Is The Most Important Feature Of A GMAT Prep Guide?

Most GMAT books and guides have question banks and quizzes around certain topics. These help you identify any weak areas in your study and how prepared you are for the actual test.

However, full-length practice tests are crucial so you can simulate the actual test condition and be better prepared.

Does Scoring High On The GMAT And Getting An MBA Degree Help My Career?

Yes, completing your MBA studies in a top business school can open up many opportunities for you.

In fact, 9 out of 10 MBA degree holders state that they have seen considerable growth in their careers since they obtained their MBA degree.

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