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Best GMAT Prep Books

Updated April 2018
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. Read more
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

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    We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

    Shopping Guide for Best GMAT Prep Books

    Last Updated April 2018

    Ready to take the next step in your career by earning an MBA? One of the first things you’ll need to tackle is the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT).

    This computer-adaptive exam is a necessary application component for most graduate business schools.

    The GMAT measures your analytical writing, integrated reasoning, quantitative reasoning, and verbal reasoning abilities.

    GMAT prep books can help you study and prepare for this three-and-a-half-hour test.

    The best GMAT prep books have extensive review materials, multiple practice tests, and closely simulate the real exam.

    But with so many test prep books available, how do you find the right one for you?

    Over 200,000 candidates take the GMAT exam each year to gain admission to a graduate business program.

    We’re here to help. At BestReviews, we want to simplify shopping for you.

    We do in-depth research, buy and test products in our labs, interview experts, and gather data from existing customers. We never accept free products from manufacturers, so you can be sure that our advice is honest and unbiased.

    If you’re ready to purchase a GMAT prep book, check out the matrix above for our top picks.

    For more on the GMAT exam and how to choose the best test prep book for you, just keep reading.

    Thorough Preparation

    The Manhattan Prep Complete GMAT Strategy Guide Set covers every detail of the GMAT exam. Manhattan Prep’s review materials are detailed and exhaustive and will prepare you for every relevant verbal, quantitative, and writing concept on the exam. The test questions are adaptive, just like in the GMAT exam itself. And although the questions aren’t from previously administered GMAT exams, they are realistic and challenging and do a good job of putting test-takers on the spot. Don’t get disillusioned when taking the practice tests, however, as these prepare you by being significantly more difficult than the actual GMAT.

    Reasons to take the gmat

    The gmat is valued by business schools

    Your GMAT score is highly weighted in your application to a graduate business school.

    The GMAT is designed by the Graduate Management Admission Council, a non-profit collection of business schools, to examine the specific skills necessary for success in a graduate management program.


    GMAT exam scores are good for five years, and the initial fee includes up to five free score reports.

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    The gmat assesses your readiness for business management

    The different components of the GMAT test the skills you will need in a business school classroom.

    A good gmat score helps your application stand out

    The GMAT is a way to demonstrate a set of skills that may not be apparent in the other elements of your business school application.


    Nine out of 10 MBA admissions are made using a GMAT score.

    Format of the gmat exam

    The GMAT exam has four sections: analytical writing assessment, integrated reasoning, quantitative reasoning, and verbal reasoning.

    Verbal reasoning

    The verbal reasoning section measures your reading comprehension, aptitude at evaluating arguments, and ability to edit text to conform to written English standards.

    Research shows that the GMAT exam reliably predicts a potential student’s success in a graduate management program.


    Integrated reasoning

    Your ability to evaluate information in multiple formats and from multiple sources is measured in this section.

    In a world where business is increasingly driven by data, your skill at integrated reasoning is an important assessment.


    The GMAT exam is a computer-adaptive test. This means that you take the entire exam on a computer, and the questions change based on your previous answers.

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    Quantitative reasoning

    This section measures your quantitative reasoning skills, or how well you analyze data to draw conclusions.

    Don’t let the math in the quantitative section throw you off; it’s no more difficult than what you learned in high school.


    Make sure you adequately pace your time when taking the GMAT. Leaving questions unanswered at the end can lower your score significantly.

    Analytical writing assessment

    This section of the exam, often referred to as the AWA, measures your critical thinking and how well you communicate your ideas.

    In this section, you’ll be asked to analyze the reasoning behind an argument with a written critique.


    Test-takers are given 30 minutes for the analytical writing assessment, 30 minutes for integrated reasoning, 75 minutes for quantitative, and 75 minutes for verbal.

    Tips on studying for the gmat

    Select test order

    You will be given three options for the order in which the sections will appear on the test. Maybe you want to get the more difficult sections done first, or maybe you’d rather build up by first tackling the sections that are easier for you. Here are the three options:

    • Analytical Writing Assessment, Integrated Reasoning, Quantitative, Verbal

    • Verbal, Quantitative, Integrated Reasoning, Analytical Writing Assessment

    • Quantitative, Verbal, Integrated Reasoning, Analytical Writing Assessment

    Real Test Questions

    GMAC’s GMAT 2017 Official Guide Bundle lets you practice on real test questions that were used in past exams. There is absolutely no substitute for practicing with real, previously administered GMAT questions, and this book offers hundreds of them — both in review and practice test formats. With the GMAC bundle, you can rest assured that you are training yourself on questions similar to what you will see on exam day.

    Create a study schedule

    You need significant time to prepare for the GMAT exam. Many potential MBA students take two to three months to prepare.

    To study more efficiently, it helps to create a study schedule.


    Your knowledge of statistics will be tested on the exam, so it’s a great idea to take economics and statistics while an undergrad.

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    Take practice tests

    Practice tests ensure you will be prepared and confident come test time.

    Remember this is a test that lasts three and a half hours. To accurately practice, you’ll need to complete a practice test in the same amount of time.

    Math is important, but the GMAT also measures your communications skills, which are necessary for success in business management.


    Take the exam early

    You’ll want to take the GMAT exam early in your undergraduate years.

    It’s best to take it in your sophomore or junior year of college, rather than waiting until after you graduate. This way you’ll have plenty of time to retake the exam if you’re unhappy with your score, and also the math concepts will be fresher in your mind.

    Your GMAT score remains active for five years, so you’ll still have a window post-undergrad for applying to business schools.

    The GMAT evolves year to year. If you choose to repeat it, the test you take will be different each time. Because of this, you need to stay updated with your study guides.


    Q. How is the GMAT exam scored?

    A. Your points from the quantitative and verbal sections are added together, leading to a score of 200 to 800 in 10-point increments. The analytical writing assessment and integrated reasoning sections are scored separately, from 0 to 6 and 1 to 8, respectively.

    Q. Where and when can I take the GMAT exam?

    A. The test can be taken any day of the year, save certain holidays, and is available globally at designated facilities.

    Q. What do I need to bring to my GMAT exam?

    A. You must bring a government-issued ID, the list of graduate programs you would like to receive your score, and your appointment confirmation letter or email.

    Q. What items are not allowed in the testing center?

    A. You are not allowed to bring the following into the testing center: calculators, cell phones, notes, watches, cameras, music devices, books, dictionaries, writing utensils, or measuring devices. A calculator will be provided to you for the integrated reasoning section only. You are also not allowed to check your cell phone during breaks.

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