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6 GMAT prep books that students swear by

Amelia Carruthers
Last Updated: 8 October 2021 • 5 min read

If you’re currently preparing for the GMAT (or Graduate Management Admission Test), you’ll have noticed the sheer amount of GMAT study material out there.

Consisting of four sections (analytical writing, integrated reasoning, verbal reasoning and quantitative reasoning), the GMAT is a notoriously tricky test. It’s the first step for any MBA candidate though, with high scores needed for top colleges.

Comprehensive GMAT books are a significant investment, so it’s important to know the guides you’re buying are worth the money. To help you prepare with confidence, we’ve compiled our picks of the 6 best GMAT preparation books.

With student reviews, content overviews and key features explained, if you’re looking for the best GMAT prep book out there, look no further. Here are the 6 best GMAT books, ranked from good to great, to absolutely indispensable.

The 6 best GMAT preparation books

  1. Ace the GMAT: Master the GMAT in 40 Days
  2. GMAT Prep Book (Mometrix Test Preparation)
  3. The PowerScore GMAT Critical Reasoning Bible
  4. GMAT Prep Plus (Kaplan)
  5. The GMAC GMAT Official Guide Bundle
  6. All the GMAT: Content Review (Manhattan Prep)

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

Ace the GMAT is based on the principle that high-scoring test-takers do so by understanding how to solve recurring problems appearing on the GMAT.

Whilst you may wish to supplement this book with additional GMAT study material, it does provide fantastic analysis of over 200 problems that are key to mastering the major GMAT question types.

As well as providing answers and full explanations, each question is categorized by type (“classification”), rated by difficulty (“chilli rating”) and supplemented with problem-solving strategies (“snapshot”).

What’s more, students love Ace the GMAT’s study schedule and progress tracker – manageable with 2-3 hours of study over 40 days. 

Pros:

  • Clear presentation and simple question rating system.
  • Complete coverage of all the GMAT sections.
  • Perfect for test-takers without much time to spare!

 Cons:

  • The last update was 2016, meaning some content is out-of-date.
  • Lack of in-depth coverage – best when paired with supplementary guides.
  • No additional practice questions for self-led study.

2. GMAT Prep Book (Mometrix Test Preparation)

Next on our list, Mometrix GMAT prep books are concise and easy to read, with step-by-step tutorials and explanations of difficult concepts.

Despite its short length, the mometrix guide is filled with all the information you need to succeed on the GMAT exam. 

Instead of just describing concepts in passing, this study guide explains GMAT principles in detail, with plenty of practice questions.

Many of these concepts are also linked to online review videos, for students that thrive on visual and audio learning.

Pros:

  • Simple strategies for thinking through problems.
  • A budget-friendly option with detailed answer explanations.
  • Full length practice tests and video tutorials.

Cons:

  • Limited in-depth reviews of subject information.
  • Practice questions can feel relatively easy.
  • Video tutorial coverage could be more complete.

3. The PowerScore GMAT Critical Reasoning Bible

Many students argue that PowerScore publications are some of the best GMAT preparation books out there – and we don’t disagree!

Whilst this edition focuses exclusively on critical reasoning skills, it can be paired with other PowerScore GMAT books including Sentence Correction, Reading Comprehension and the Verbal Bible.

PowerScore titles aim to help learners recognise question types and understand why they have achieved right or wrong answers. Specific strategies are outlined for each question, with common student errors identified and explained.

Pros:

  • Skills-focused, featuring common mistakes and strategies.
  • Detailed content coverage.
  • Realistic practice questions that mimic the real GMAT exam.

Cons:

  • No online practice tests for supplementary work.
  • Explanations can be overly lengthy.
  • Expensive as multiple GMAT books are required for full coverage.

4. GMAT Prep Plus (Kaplan)

As a leading test prep publisher, you’d expect great things from Kaplan, and their GMAT books don’t disappoint.

With over 1,200 practice questions and six full-length online practice tests (as well as reliable study strategies), students have praised their comprehensive approach. 

With the purchase of Kaplan GMAT study material, you also gain access to academic support provided via their dedicated GMAT Facebook page. On those days where you need a bit of a boost, this really makes a difference. 

Pros:

  • Written by veteran GMAT teachers and tutors.
  • A publisher with over 80 years of exam prep experience.
  • Detailed content coverage and six full-length tests. 

Cons:

  • Some online resources cost extra.
  • More detailed explanations needed for difficult topics.
  • Questions sometimes feel overly simple.

5. The GMAC GMAT Official Guide Bundle 

If you’re looking for the best GMAT prep book available – then you can’t go too far wrong with the official guide! That’s why it almost topped our list.

Published by the Graduate Management Admission Council, the three book bundle provides super realistic practice questions with an additional online interface for testing, flashcards and performance metrics. 

In the books, you’ll get an overview of the format and content of the exam, information on scoring, as well as detailed content, explanations and sample responses. One of the very few downsides is the lack of full-length practice tests to build stamina for the real thing. 

Pros:

  • Over 1800 realistic practice questions, organised by difficulty.
  • Published by the GMAT test providers.
  • Reasonably cost effective when purchased as a bundle.

Cons:

  • No full-length practice tests.
  • Practice questions and explanations can feel simplistic.
  • Less focus on test-taking strategies.

6. All the GMAT: Content Review (Manhattan Prep)

All the GMAT officially tops our list and is awarded the title of best GMAT prep book out there!

Manhattan Prep don’t over-emphasise the use of quick tips and tricks, and instead focus on improving your performance with a mixture of study skills, methods and comprehensive knowledge.

This bundle is an updated and expanded version of the top-selling 10-book Complete GMAT Strategy Guide set – giving students the full GMAT learning experience.

Content has been reviewed and streamlined, and also includes a year-long subscription to a web portal and additional practice tests. Everything you need to succeed!

Pros:

  • Six full length CAT tests to simulate the real GMAT.
  • Comprehensive coverage for deep-understanding.
  • Effective test-taking strategies and revision methodology.

Cons: 

  • Fairly expensive, but offers extremely detailed coverage.
  • Not ideal for those who’ve left revision to the last moment.
  • Practice questions are sometimes on the more difficult side.

If you’re looking for GMAT study material, any of the books on this list are a great place to start. The best GMAT preparation books all feature clear and concise explanations, plenty of practice questions and give you a thorough understanding of the test itself.

With a multilingual team of expert educational consultants, Edvoy provide impartial advice and application support to international students. Explore Edvoy to start your study abroad journey today.

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Amelia Carruthers
Written By
Amelia Carruthers

With a background in academic publishing, education and digital marketing, Amelia Carruthers is a freelance writer with a love of history, philosophy and the written word.

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