The 8 Best GMAT Prep Books

Updated October 03, 2017 by Ezra Glenn

8 Best GMAT Prep Books
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We spent 43 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top selections for this wiki. If you're planning on going back to school for an MBA, you may need to take the GMAT in order for your institutions of choice to assess your analytical, writing, quantitative, verbal, and reading skills. Our selection of prep books will help you study smarter, not harder, and will let you face the test with increased confidence. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best gmat prep book on Amazon.

8. PowerScore GMAT Critical Reasoning Bible

The PowerScore GMAT Critical Reasoning Bible was created to teach you how to break down argumentation, recognize a variety of question types, and train your mind to distinguish correct answers from incorrect ones. It's a good choice for last-minute cramming.
  • helps improve speed and accuracy
  • also addresses reading comprehension
  • contains limited practice questions
Publisher PowerScore GMAT Critica
Model n/a
Weight 1.9 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

7. Ace the GMAT

Brandon Royal's Ace the GMAT directs your focus to mastering the art of solving recurring question types through an in-depth analysis of several major testing concepts, including data sufficiency, sentence correction, critical/integrated reasoning, and analytical writing.
  • sections divided by topic
  • designed to complete within 40 days
  • tends to skip some explanatory steps
Publisher Ace the GMAT
Model n/a
Weight 2.2 pounds
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

6. GMAC Official Guide 2018

The GMAC Official Guide 2018 delivers some of the most up-to-date success strategies and test-taking tips from the experts at the Graduate Management Admission Council. Its innovative diagnostic test helps you focus on areas in which you need the most practice.
  • 900 questions from past exams
  • shows test makers' thought processes
  • online accompaniment is a bit clunky
Publisher GMAC Official Guide 201
Model n/a
Weight 3.9 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

5. Barron's GMAT 2nd Edition

Designed with a healthy balance of test-taking strategy and subject comprehension, the Barron's GMAT 2nd Edition is a complete solution for prospective MBAs. It features detailed chapters on each skill needed for the quantitative section and includes two sample tests.
  • helpful diagnostic quizzes
  • targets common areas of difficulty
  • integrated reasoning help is limited
Publisher BARRONS
Model n/a
Weight 2.6 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

4. Cracking the GMAT Premium Edition

With six computer-adaptive practice tests, in-depth topic reviews of each section, and corresponding online video tutorials, The Princeton Review's Cracking the GMAT Premium Edition is an all-in-one solution that can assist you in boosting your score.
  • helpful tips for strategic guessing
  • bulleted chapter summaries
  • includes access to online portal
Publisher Princeton Review (COR)
Model n/a
Weight 5.8 pounds
Rating 5.0 / 5.0

3. Mometrix Flashcard Study System

If you don't want to lug around a heavy tome, the Mometrix Flashcard Study System is a great alternative. It uses repetitive methods of learning with the goal of teaching you how to deconstruct and rapidly solve the most difficult test questions you'll encounter.
  • addresses all four sections
  • printed on heavy card stock
  • helps improve response speed
Publisher Mometrix Flashcard Stud
Model n/a
Weight 1.5 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

2. GMAT Prep Plus

From the highly-regarded Kaplan Test Prep comes the 2018 edition of their GMAT Prep Plus series. At a whopping 1,188 pages, it contains more than that number of practice questions, each one with a detailed explanation of how to find its answer.
  • 5 computer-adaptive practice tests
  • one year of online portal access
  • full refund if score doesn't improve
Publisher GMAT Prep Plus
Model n/a
Weight 4.7 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

1. McGraw-Hill Education Cross-Platform

With access to an impressive total of 10 practice tests, the McGraw-Hill Education Cross-Platform aims to prepare you for success with a comprehensive regimen of written, digital, and mobile resources. It guides you in creating a personalized study plan to meet your needs.
  • helpful chapter review exercises
  • ample focus on integrated reasoning
  • offers access to digital flashcards
Publisher McGraw-Hill Education C
Model n/a
Weight 2.5 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

Do You Actually Need To Prepare For The GMAT Exam?

The Graduate Management Admission Test is an adaptive exam people take after their undergraduate program. It is used as a educational assessment tool for admission into a graduate program. It is important to understand that the GMAT is not a career aptitude test or an intelligence quotient test. It will not give the participant a score to use for their own personal understanding, but is more designed for schools and educators to judge the student’s ability in areas like problem solving, critical reasoning, and analytical writing — all based on what the Graduate Management Admission Council believes is vital knowledge to have for success in business and management. Many undergraduates think that good marks in their courses and a sufficient understanding of the concepts of business will be enough to get through the GMAT. As any GMAT veteran who has failed the test will likely admit, nothing could be further from the truth.

The GMAT is notoriously challenging. This is a great thing, as a good score on the test is often seen as a competitive edge with the admissions office. At the same time, the difficulty of the test can make it extremely stressful for students. Yet, it is a challenge that anyone seeking to earn an MBA and seek a career in business must undertake. To put the test in perspective, just over 20 percent of test takers get above the 650 mark. The statistics of test takers who score above the coveted 700 mark are even more frightening. Eleven percent of GMAT takers score a strong 700 or above on the GMAT. Rather than cower in the face of inevitable defeat, it is much more effective for a student to equip themselves with a GMAT prep book and prepare to conquer the challenge.

The best idea to help prepare for the GMAT is to create a study plan and stick to it. A great starting point is for the student to first take a GMAT practice exam to get an understanding of their personal level of understanding in each of the tested areas. From there, a GMAT prep book can help students prepare by working on their weak points and further strengthening their knowledge in areas where they are already adept.

What Will A GMAT Prep Book Cover?

The purpose of a GMAT prep book is to help prepare the reader for the structure and timing of the GMAT exam. The benefit to this is a lot of hands on experience in a form that mirrors the actual test. This can ease the stress of test day and prevent the test taker from becoming another GMAT failure statistic. To help students prepare, GMAT prep books will cover a wide variety of topics and concepts that are crucial for exam day.

There are even specialty books for those who feel they need more help in a specific area. Oftentimes, the difference between an amazing score and a failing score is one weak subject. For instance, many people struggle with the quantitative reasoning section of the GMAT. Luckily, there are quite a few books that thoroughly cover difficult topics like quantitative reasoning and critical reasoning. There are many people who fear the GMAT because of the extensive math-based portions. For instance, advanced concepts of probability, like correlation and regression, can be difficult for many people to understand, even if they have studied it before. Most GMAT prep book makers understand this, and will break concepts like these down to their most basic terms to make studying easier. Constant practice with a GMAT prep book can easily bridge the gap of understanding in cases where people are weak in one specific subject.

Many GMAT books not only prepare the reader for the subject matter, but also the structure of the test itself. This is extremely important, as knowledge on the subject matter will only be so useful if the user was not expecting to have to write an essay, for instance. Some people are terrible at essays, and require much more practice in this area. Using a GMAT prep book will help prepare them for the analytical writing assignment portion of the test with practice prompts; covering likely questions or themes, and giving content and structure tips for crafting the best possible answer.

Why Are GMAT Prep Books Important

GMAT scores are important, and not simply for admissions into graduate school. A recent review studied the long term impact of the GMAT on career success and satisfaction with both work and life in general. While many standardized tests have little bearing on a person’s self esteem or feelings of their own competency, GMAT scores actually appear to be tied to both satisfaction and success. According to the research posted to Frontiers in Psychology, having a higher GMAT score can significantly predict a greater sense of satisfaction in life. A high GMAT score is also a strong predictor of career success. Using a GMAT prep book may not simply prepare the reader for a successful test, but a successful life.

This is not to say that a poor GMAT score will leave a person destitute and unsatisfied in life, merely that there is a positive correlation between a good GMAT score and some key markers of success. This may also be attributed to the fact that people tend to have a general inability to properly self-assess. People who tend to score lower in standardized tests may take this as a sign of their own inadequacy and rate themselves lower in markers like happiness, satisfaction, and success. The reverse may also be true. People who do well on standardized tests may overestimate themselves and have overconfidence in their abilities, leading to higher subjective ideas of personal success and achievement.

While nothing can help with proper self-assessment like critical analysis of one's own life experience, the evidence remains that high GMAT scores are an indicator of success and satisfaction in life. With this in mind, opening a GMAT prep book and getting serious about studying for the exam seems like a great idea.

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Last updated on October 03, 2017 by Ezra Glenn

Ezra is a writer, photographer, creative producer, designer, and record label-operator from New York City. He's traveled around the world and ended up back where he started, though he's constantly threatening to leave again.

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