Updated July 31, 2018 by Melissa Harr

The 10 Best GMAT Prep Books

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Complete Strategy Guide Set
Prep Plus
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This wiki has been updated 24 times since it was first published in June of 2015. 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 choices, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki. Skip to the best gmat prep book on Amazon.

10. GMAT 800: Advanced Prep for Advanced Students

9. Complete Strategy Guide Set

8. Ace the GMAT

7. PowerScore Critical Reasoning Bible

6. Barron's 2nd Edition

5. Cracking the GMAT Premium Edition

4. Mometrix Flashcard Study System

3. GMAC Official Guide 2019

2. McGraw-Hill Education Cross-Platform

1. Prep Plus

Do You Actually Need To Prepare For The GMAT Exam?

The best idea to help prepare for the GMAT is to create a study plan and stick to it.

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.

This can ease the stress of test day and prevent the test taker from becoming another GMAT failure statistic.

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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Melissa Harr
Last updated on July 31, 2018 by Melissa Harr

Melissa Harr is a language-obsessed writer from Chicagoland who holds both a bachelor of arts and master of arts in English. Although she began as a TEFL teacher, earning several teaching certificates and working in both Russia and Vietnam, she moved into freelance writing to satisfy her passion for the written word. She has published full-length courses and books in the realm of arts & crafts and DIY; in fact, most of her non-working time is spent knitting, cleaning, or committing acts of home improvement. Along with an extensive knowledge of tools, home goods, and crafts and organizational supplies, she has ample experience (okay, an obsession) with travel gear, luggage, and the electronics that make modern life more convenient.

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