Anyone wanting to get an MBA knows how important it is to get accepted to the right business school. The best way to make a good first impression is to score well on the GMAT. It is critical to choose the best GMAT prep books with the goal of maximizing your score across topic areas. This article will give you an overview of the pros and cons of the top five GMAT study guides.
- Full Practice Tests
- Practice Questions
- Diagnostic Exam
- Progress Tracking
- Mobile App
- Official Guide for GMAT Review 2016
- Adaptive Online Exam
- Kindle / Paperback / Online
- Complete GMAT Strategy Guide Set
- Manhattan Prep Publishing
- 6 Full Adaptive Online Exams
- Adaptive Exams + 200 Practice Questions
- 10 Paperback Books / Online
- Kaplan GMAT Premier 2016
- Kaplan Publishing
- 6 (1 In Book, 5 Adaptive Online)
- Paperback / Online / DVD / Mobile
- Cracking The GMAT Premium Edition
- Princeton Review
- 6 Full Adaptive Online
- Paperback / Online
- Official Guide For GMAT Verbal Review 2016
- Kindle / Paperback / Online
GMAT Test Prep Book Reviews
The Official Guide for GMAT Review 2016
This guide features 907 questions and 25% new content along with an online question bank. This is one guide that reviewers consistently rated high for being comprehensive. It has the most reviews with 72% getting 4 stars or better ratings.
The practice sections resemble the actual GMAT test patterns. The guide provides a strong overview of the integrated reasoning part of the exam. Questions are easy and medium in difficulty with a small percentage of difficult questions. The content overlaps by 75 with the 2015 edition of the same study guide.
This guide has online resources. The resources include a question bank of more than 900 practice questions. They include 50 integrated reasoning questions. Also, it includes a comprehensive grammar review as well as a mathematics review. They do cover real-world essay topics.
In addition, the guide provides sample responses and scoring information. The questions are organized by difficulty.
It provides access to mba.com where they feature information on graduate education, apply to business school, and register for the GMAT exam.
It includes more than 900 practice questions and 50 integrated reasoning questions available online. They feature diagnostic tests that help focus your study time where you need it most. It includes a comprehensive grammar review and mathematics review. Sample essay responses and actual essay topics are also featured along with scoring information.
It has 75% overlap 2015’s edition, and most of the questions are easy or medium. The formulas are not resized in Kindle, which makes it hard to read. It does not include any review of test-taking strategies.
Complete GMAT Strategy Guide Set
This is the guide that has the coveted number 1 ranking on Amazon for business school guides. This is under the business and money section and also ranked 4th for GMAT tests and 10th for Manhattan Prep GMAT Strategy Guides. It is considered the guide for people poised to score in the top percentiles.
All 10 guides were composed by active instructors who scored in the 99th percentile. The Manhattan guides are known for dramatically improving test takers scores. For this reason alone, 89% of reviews about Manhattan Guides were 4-star or better.
The books each dive deep into one GMAT exam area. Such detailed and specialized instruction provides the type of meaningful information that details the rationale behind the exam. It provides a substantial learning impact. This knowledge and skill building provides the backdrop for the strategic thinking needed to successfully navigate the GMAT.
It also includes six full computer-adaptive practice exams. They contain more than 200 free practice questions in addition to the full exams. They include new and more effective strategies for solving problems. As detailed as the information is when it is presented, it is equally detailed in the answer section as well.
The emphasis is on truly understanding the subject matter, not on gimmicks and tricks to earn a 700+ score. The guides cover the test areas thoroughly. The books are sized for easy travel and study on the go.
The book purchases come with a one-year-long access to the company’s web materials and practice tests. This enables you to stop and come back to where you left off later.
Active instructors who scored in the 99th percentile wrote the guides. The books provide deep and detailed instruction on the exam areas. It gives access to six, full-length exams with thorough answers. Receive one-year’s worth of access to the web materials and practice tests.
The online features are lacking, and the questions are more difficult than they are on the exam.
Kaplan GMAT Premier 2016
The Kaplan Premier prep book comes with mobile-enabled online components. Kaplan’s reviews received 4 stars or better 75% of the time.
It has 1,200+ practice questions and detailed explanations. They also include six full-length practice tests with a question bank of 200-questions for customized quizzes. They focus thoroughly both on the math and verbal sections, and have 49 pages on integrated reasoning.
The mobile-enabled online access gives exercises and quizzes. It has 18 online drills and fast-fact videos. You have to act fast to use the online resources, as they expire after six months, without any access to the quizzes or tests via any book or DVD or CD.
It is considered a good go-to for quick test preparation. Though, for making improvements to your score, use Manhattan Guides. Kaplan gives its assurance that if you do not score higher when using this book and online materials they will refund your money.
It has 1200+ practice questions that include detailed explanations. It has six full-length exams plus 200 online questions to create custom quizzes. It includes 18 online drills and fast-fact videos. The money-back guarantee is a nice bonus.
Online access expires after 6 months, and there is no other way to access exam questions. They do not provide dramatic score improvement.
Cracking the GMAT Premium Edition
The Princeton Review is good at covering material and strategies to prepare test takers for their GMAT exam day. It covers all GMAT topics. The chapter summaries are in an easy-to-follow list. The Princeton Review scored five stars 83% of the time.
The Princeton Review’s materials provide 6 full-length tests that are computer-adaptive. They include score reports and answer explanations, just like you would receive in their high-priced in-classroom courses. They have practice “bins” featuring more than 180 questions and drills for the test sections. It also includes instant scoring for the book and the online tests. There is a diagnostic exam to assess the scoring range you can expect to reach.
They have an online portal accessible for people who buy this guide. It features video tutorials with expert advice from the Princeton Review’s leading course instructors. They also include excerpts from the other Princeton Review GMAT titles. They have study plans to keep people on track. They delineate what makes a good b-school essay and provide examples. They also even feature interviews with admissions officers. In short, they provide everything necessary to make a successful start at getting into business school.
The Princeton Review comes through with its “GMAT Insider” with everything applicants need to know about admissions and financial aid. They also cover career paths that open up when receiving an MBA.
Princeton Review is at the top of its game in helping test takers avert many GMAT test question traps while providing tips and training for test takers to pace themselves. The Princeton Review is all about getting through standardized tests by using smart and wise efforts of time, not necessarily by working harder.
Provides tips to avoid GMAT question traps, along with six full-length and computer-adaptive practice exams. It includes access to video tutorials, instructor advice, and admissions counselors interviews. They include information about financial aid and writing the b-school admissions essay.
Disorganized review concepts.
That rounds out the overview of the top five GMAT test preparation books that are on the market. Some provide depth while other give tips on being a better test-taker.
The Official Guide for GMAT Verbal Review 2016
The focus on the verbal portion of the exam is one way to push ahead of the often mathematically focused competition. It is important to look to an essential source of GMAT practice such as this official guide. It is a good idea to consider this book as a part of everyone’s GMAT preparation efforts. All of the reviews of this particular test preparation guide received at least four stars.
It carries 25% new content with 76 questions that are new and at least 300 retired questions from GMAT exams. What the reviewers value about this particular guide is the practice that they get from it. For this reason alone in addition to its thorough efforts on the verbal segment of the GMAT, it is considered a must-have tool for anyone taking the GMAT.
It contains a critical reasoning aspect that is the biggest part of the 2016 update also. Also, this guide provides online questions, which is excellent preparation for the online GMAT exam. It does not just spit out questions, though.
Instead, the guide allows the test taker to customize the practice sets. The explanations for the answers are also something people look forward to from this study guide.
The online software tracks both time and progress through the exam. This is an excellent tool that organizes test questions by difficulty level. Though, the one consistent criticism of the guide was that the test questions were not difficult enough. Others had difficulty making sense of the questions that dealt with sentence correction.
An added benefit of this particular study guide provides access to mba.com. That is the official website for the GMAT exam. It is like a one-stop shop for graduate management education. It has a good deal of information about applying to business school along with providing information about more than 6,000 business school programs. Also, you may also find more information about the GMAT exam itself, and even register to take the exam at mba.com.
The online questions can be customized for practice sets. It includes explanations for answers. It includes 300 verbal questions and answers featuring detailed explanations. The questions are arranged by difficulty.
The online questions spit out old questions, and the guide does not have the most difficult questions. People have trouble understanding the answer explanations about sentence structure.