Best GMAT Prep Books

Review & Comparison, Last Update March 19, 2024
If you are going to take GMAT, you will have to study hard for it. A competent tutor, reliable textbooks, and strong motivation are essential components of successful GMAT preparation. In this review, we compare the five best GMAT prep books and preparation strategies in order to help you make the process simpler and more effective. ...Read more ...Read less
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This is an updated and extended version of GMAT prep guides. It includes 10 books from previous editions and 3 ultimate books. The guides are detailed, informative, and well structured. They also include 6 practice tests.


Due to the great amount of information, book navigation seems a bit awkward.


All the GMAT is the set of books for those who target a high score and are ready to work hard. It has a lot of exercises and 6 practice tests so that you can turn your weaknesses into strengths with ease.

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Manhattan Prep GMAT Strategy Guides

Main content

GMAT All the Quant guide;
GMAT All the Verbal guide;
GMAT Integrated Reasoning and Essay guide;
6 full-length practice exams;
An integrated study plan via Atlas

Number of pages

1912 pages


This book offers more than 2000 practice questions and tasks with detailed explanations. There are also 5 full practice tests that have the same structure and computer interface as the original exam, so you'll know exactly what to wait for.


It is not suitable for express preparation. 


This set of guides by Kaplan Test Prep is one of the best GMAT prep options because it includes detailed information about the exam, thousands of practice questions, and expert guidance via videos, articles, as well as one-on-one academic support.

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Kaplan Test Prep

Main content

Analytical Writing;
Integrated Reasoning sections, including 2,000+ practice questions with detailed explanations

Number of pages

2282 pages


Every customer gets a booklet with a shortcode with this book. It gives users access to the online GMAT questions bank and a mobile app for more effective test preparation.


The questions are claimed to be ordered by level of difficulty, but it doesn't always seem true.


This GMAT Official Guide is the best book to start GMAT preparation. It has a detailed description of the exam format and its sections, includes more than 1000 questions from previous tests, actual essay topics, sample responses, and scoring information.

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GMAC (Graduate Management Admission Council)

Main content

Overview of the GMAT exam;
Over 100 real questions with detailed answer explanations;
Actual essay topics;
Comprehensive grammar and math review ;
Access to the GMAT Online Question Bank and mobile app

Number of pages

992 pages


This guide includes 250+ complex math tasks with detailed explanations. It helps students strengthen both mathematic and analyzation skills.


It is suitable for those with results of 47 points and higher.


The GMAT Advanced Quant is a math-oriented guide. We dare say it's the best pick for students who want to get the knack in the quant section and get the highest score in it.

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Manhattan Prep GMAT Strategy Guides

Main content

250+ Practice Problems (in quant section);
Online Resources (access to Atlas)

Number of pages

350 pages


This book is available in 3 different formats, one of which is an audiobook. So, you can study for the test on-the-go and maximize preparation to the fullest.


There could be more practice tests. 


The Triumphant Test Prep guide is a good choice if you want to take a closer look at the real exam and the basics. It also helps improve verbal skills, mathematics, and analytical thinking.

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Test Prep, Triumphant

Main content

Practice tests;
Simple and effective strategies

Number of pages

137 pages;
Audio file size - 2650 KB


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Manhattan Prep All the GMAT

GMAT in Detail

This set of GMAT prep books includes updated guidelines and instructions that help a student prepare for the test with maximal efficiency. The guides are quite informative, so they are deemed to be a good choice for students who target a 700+ score.

The set contains three books: All the Quant, All the Verbal, and IR + Essay guides. This is an expanded version of the 6th edition of 10-book Complete GMAT Strategy Guide Set united into three books. Each book contains instructions, tips and tricks, hundreds of examples of questions from every GMAT section, explanations, and strategies for effective time management. Every guide was created by expert instructors with 99% scores on GMAT.

Compared to some other GMAT practice books, this set may seem a bit pricey. But it is easily one of the best GMAT prep books you can find that, on top of 3 preparation guides, provides you with 6 full-length practice exams and offers full access to such online learning programs as Atlas and Navigator, which justifies its price.

The Atlas contains 2 exclusive e-books with chapters that cover the most difficult tasks from quant and verbal sections - they help you study for the highest score very efficiently. The program also includes an integrated study plan with time-management strategies and practice problem sets.

As for the Navigator, it offers you solutions for all problems given in the main Official Guide book. Moreover, you can attend a free 1-hour online GMAT prep session with a Manhattan Prep instructor. These sessions are held twice a month. They are free and open to anyone. At these meetings, an instructor guides through the test content and answers questions. These sessions are recorded and available on YouTube, so you can watch previous meetings for more information.

Review of Manhattan Prep All the GMAT Strategy Guides

Stay Mobile

Every owner of the All the GMAT can download GMAT mobile app and increase the study time greatly. Just imagine, you'll be able to read a paragraph while waiting for your sandwich to be microwaved or take a quiz in a taxi, for instance. Even 15 minutes a day within a month can make a huge impact on your results.

As for the content, this app includes more than a thousand of practice questions with answers and explanations, 15+ quizzes, and more than 800 of concepts and formulas on critical topics. Moreover, the app helps a user track the overall progress with immediate feedback and custom alerts. And finally but not lastly, you get detailed statistics that shows your weaknesses and strengths. Well, that app alone covers a lot of helpful information. But when paired with prep guides and an instructor's help, the Manhattan Prep is worth its weight in gold.

Manhattan Prep All the GMAT Strategy Guides in the use

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Last updated price $139.99
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ASIN 1506219705


Kaplan Test Prep The Ultimate in Comprehensive

Comprehensive Textbooks

Many students select Kaplan practice books for their GMAT preparation for many good reasons. But the main and most important one is organized and up-to-date information these books offer. The material is structured very well and includes tips and tricks designed to help you get a very high score on the GMAT test. The authors are so confident about their GMAT complete guides that they guarantee every test taker who studies with their materials to get a high score, or they will get their money back. An ambitious statement, isn’t it? Without further ado, let’s see what Kaplan has to offer to keep that promise.

The 2019 edition includes 4 books:

GMAT Prep Plus 2019 with 6 practice tests, proven test strategies, and a detailed explanation of each GMAT section. You will learn about formats and structures of all types of questions, basic principles, and Kaplan methods of improving every skill that is assessed during the test. The Maths part of the book covers math formulas, geometry, statistics, and advanced math practice. Finally, you get some tips on stress management in the final chapter.

GMAT Math textbook contains practice questions for every question type with detailed explanations and proven test-taking strategies to increase your score. It also has an in-depth review of the most essential math concepts and a strategy sheet with formulas.

GMAT Verbal training book covers Verbal and Analytical Writing (AW) sections. It reviews all the kinds of questions in the verbal section with explanations and test-taking strategies. It also teaches you some AW practices. In the end, authors have reviewed some essential Verbal concepts and included a strategy sheet with Kaplan Methods for these sections.

GMAT 800 is designed for advanced students who target 800+ score. This book has more than 300 of the most difficult and tricky questions explained in detail.

Review of Kaplan Test Prep The Ultimate in Comprehensive Self-Study for GMAT

Expert Guidance

In order to maximize preparation effectiveness, Kaplan gives its students full access to its video workshop. On these videos, an expert from the GMAT faculty gives very useful advice about the test. Plus, the GMAT Complete 2019 comes with one-on-one academic support from Kaplan faculty on Facebook, Qbank with 500+ customized questions, on-the-go tests optimized for mobile devices, and 24/7 support. Without a doubt, studying with Kaplan prep guides, your chances to ace GMAT are multiplied.

Kaplan Test Prep The Ultimate in Comprehensive Self-Study for GMAT in the use

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Last updated price $31.53
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ASIN 1506234968


The Graduate Management Admissions Council 2020

Straight from the Horse’s Mouth

The GMAT Official Guide 2020 is the latest edition of GMAT recommendations and instructions by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC). Designed by the makers of the exam, this book is an extremely reliable source of information.

Despite the fact that this is a one-piece guide, it covers every section of GMAT in-detail. The first paragraph is the introduction - it reviews the test structure, scoring, and makes suggestions about the most effective preparation strategies and test-taking tips. The next part includes the diagnostic test with answer keys, interpretive guide, and mistakes reviews. Once you’ve found your strengths and weaknesses with the diagnostic test, you can move to the most interesting parts of the book - the sections.

This Official Guide includes 7 paragraphs that discuss every part of the exam in detail, focusing on the most essential and difficult skills that are measured on GMAT like problem-solving, data sufficiency, critical reasoning, math and verbal. Every part shows what is measured, how to improve the final score by using special strategies and instructions, offers practice questions, and answer keys with explanations. This book offers more than 1000 questions from past exams and some additional tasks in geometry and data sufficiency.

What we find extremely helpful with this guide is that it contains actual essay topics with sample responses and scoring information. So you can analyze the text in order to have the exact idea of the structure of high-scored essays.

Review of The Graduate Management Admissions Council 2020 GMAT Official Guide

More Studying Options

This GMAT Official Guide comes with full access to the online question bank and mobile app that includes hundreds of additional questions. With this program, you can build practice drills based on the difficulty level and question types. A nice option to focus on the skills you want to master. You also have access to the key performance metrics so that you can keep track of your progress. If you want to improve your knowledge of GMAT even more, the author offers two extra guides: the Quantitative and Verbal Reviews 2020. These are perfect add-ons to this Official Guide.

Summarizing everything said above, we can conclude that the GMAT Official Guide 2020 is a wise choice for realistic GMAT practice. It has both detailed information from official GMAT makers and lots of practice tests. However, for full preparation, you might want to practice more. This is where additional guides and the mobile app come in handy.

The Graduate Management Admissions Council 2020 GMAT Official Guide in the use

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Last updated price $24.59
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ASIN 1119576067


Manhattan Prep 250+

The Best Book to Master the Quant Section

The GMAT Advanced Quant by Manhattan Prep is specially designed for those students who target the highest scores on the Quant section. With its help, you can learn the hardest and trickiest math tasks in the test.

The guide shows the primary techniques needed to solve the most difficult math problems. It includes more than 250 challenging tasks and 55 new practice problems added to this edition. Designed by the instructors who have achieved the highest score in this section, the Advanced Quant helps every test taker strengthen their Math skills and ace the Quant.

For the most part, this textbook analyses problem solving and data sufficiency advanced principles, strategies, and recommendations. It also teaches pattern recognition and sequence problems so that you can spot the pattern and eliminate unnecessary calculations, thus, saving a lot of time. You also learn to work with visual and hybrid problems which are the combination of several topics and may contain a number of different qualitative obstacles. They may concern several related areas or cover completely algebra, geometry, FDPs, etc.

Obviously, this book focuses on the toughest part of the GMAT Quant. If you manage it, you can definitely count to get 51 points. This book won’t be easy for every student though. The authors recommend this guide for those already scoring 47+ points on the Quant section of the GMAT.

Review of Manhattan Prep 250+ Practice Problems & Bonus Online Resources GMAT Advanced Quant

Simpler Doesn’t Mean Worse

As mentioned, GMAT is a computer-adaptive test that tailors the questions to your skill level. The first question is always of medium difficulty. The computer scores the answer and selects the next tasks individually for every student. So, the more correct answers you give - the more difficult the test becomes. However, if you get a question that seems simple to you, it doesn’t necessarily mean you made a mistake with the previous question.

In order to ensure that every student receives the same content, the test picks a specific number of all types of questions. So, let’s say, your answer is correct and computer calls for the next difficult question involving geometry, for example, but there are no more hard questions that involve geometry. For this reason, you might be given a simpler task. Creators of GMAT advise students to not try to estimate the difficulty of the question or predict the next questions. This strategy is not effective and steals valuable time.

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Last updated price $16.99
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ASIN 1506249930


Triumphant Test Prep GMAT:

Good Guide to Start Preparation

If we had to describe the GMAT triumphant test prep with one word, we would say it is basic. This is exactly what this guide offers to a student: basic structured information about the test in whole and its every section in particular. The biggest flaw of this guide is a smaller number of practice questions in comparison to the Manhattan Prep or Kaplan guides. But what it lacks in practice, this book more than makes up for in the strategy.

This GMAT prep guide is written in simple language. It is well-structured and easy to follow. The book is conveniently divided into four parts. The first part covers 1-2 chapters. They focus on the test: its history, structure, scoring, procedure, and syllabus for 2019. The second chapter also explains the rules and regulations of the test.

The second part of the book is about preparation for the test. This part is what makes this book stand out from the crowd of GMAT prep guides. It combines 4 chapters (3 to 6). The 3d one is about revealing your weaknesses and strengths; it helps make a study plan and includes some practice tests. The other three chapters give you detailed daily study plans for 30, 60, and 90 days.

The 3d part of the book tells about the sections of the test and skills that are measured. Thus, you'll learn the most effective techniques and strategies, tips, and clues from the acers of GMAT. In conclusion, the GMAT triumphant test prep gives extra tips to achieve a 700+ score as well as time management strategies for the test day. Positively, this guide helps a student explore GMAT inside out. It gives exactly what it offers - comprehensive instructions and strategies for the test.

Review of Triumphant Test Prep GMAT: Comprehensive Beginner’s Guide to Get Started with GMAT Practice Tests

Some General Test-taking Tips

  • Use your time wisely! Despite the GMAT accuracy is a bit more important than speed, you shouldn’t ignore the latter. On average, you have about 1.5 minute to answer a Verbal question, 2 minutes for a Quantitative one, and 2.5 minutes for every IR question. You may use an on-screen clock to track the time.
  • GMAT tutors advise avoiding skimming. Read questions and answers carefully and thoroughly so that you won’t miss any important information and other nuances.
  • Stay within time limits. If the question is very time-consuming or you don’t know the correct answer, try to eliminate the choices you know are wrong. Select the best of the remaining answers, and move on to the next task.
  • Confirm ONLY when you are ready to continue. When you're answering a multiple-choice question, the computer asks you to confirm it before moving on. You won’t have the chance to return and change your response afterward, so it is better to think twice before clicking the button.
  • Plan your essay first. The best strategy for managing the Analysis of the Argument section is to read the directions very carefully. Think about the question for a few minutes, and plan a response before you start writing. A plan helps you organize and develop your ideas to the fullest. You might also want to leave 5 minutes in the end to revise your response.
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What Is a GMAT Prep Book?

The Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) is an integral part of the business school application process. It evaluates skills that matter the most in studying for an MBA and business. It is not designed to test knowledge in one particular field - it assesses the overall reasoning skills.

GMAT is a computerized adaptive test. It is delivered solely in English. The test contains multiple-choice questions and an essay. Designed to measure high-order analytical skills including different types of reasoning, GMAT consists of 4 sections:

Analytical writing assessment (30 min) evaluates critical thinking and communicative skills.
Integrated reasoning (30min) assesses analytical thinking.
Quantitative (75min) measures reasoning skills and knowledge of basic math concepts.
Verbal (75min) evaluates the ability to read critically, analyze a text, and correct sentences.

GMAT is a challenging test, so it demands very serious preparation. Here is where a good GMAT prep book comes in handy. As a rule, a GMAT guide contains detailed information about the structure of the test, original practice tests from the previous exams, analysis and explanation of mistakes, as well as preparation tips. Such a book is designed to introduce you to the test, reveal your weaknesses and strengthen them.

Among the others, GMAT evaluates the command of standard written English, so you might also want to practice in English. There are several great online courses that will help you with that. You may also find our review of the best textbook rentals useful.

What Features to Compare

In order to make preparation more effective and increase your chances for a high score, you should know the exam structure inside out, pick reliable practice materials and study hard. The best GMAT practice book is an updated guide that contains practice tests and questions that have been retired from GMAT. It examines every section in-depth, so you know exactly what to expect on a test day.

GMAT is a computerized adaptive test (CAT). It is done on a computer from the beginning till the end and has no predictable question order. GMAT is deemed to be one of the most difficult tests, but with the right information, skills, and strategies, you can conquer it.

Its difficulty is determined by several factors. First, the computer chooses the overall hardness of questions according to your performance. This means that the difficulty level and question order will be different for every student. The test begins with random questions, and if you answer correctly, the next question will be more difficult; if your answer is incorrect, the program decreases the difficulty level. Take note that you can’t skip or return to a question, which adds more stress.

Sections and skills to master:

Analytical writing assessment consists of one 30-min writing task - analysis of an argument. It measures the ability to analyze information and critique it by using logic and strong arguments. Before you start, you might want to plan your reasoning and leave a few minutes to re-read your work. The essay is evaluated by a computer and a trained person.

The integrated reasoning section (IR) consists of twelve 4-type questions. There are:

  • Table analysis includes a sortable table of information (like a spreadsheet). The questions have several statements and opposite-answer options (yes\no, true\false).
  • Multi-source reasoning contains 2-3 sources of information which may be a combination of charts, text, and tables. The questions can be either multiple-choice or opposite answers.
  • Graphics interpretation asks a test taker to analyze and interpret a graph. The questions have fill-in-the-blank statements and pull-down menus. A student must select the option that makes a statement accurate.
  • Two-part analysis questions have 2 different components for a single solution. A test taker must select the correct one.

The IR section measures problem-solving skills and the ability to understand and evaluate different sources of information.

The quantitative section includes 2 types of questions aimed to assess the knowledge of basic math concepts, problem-solving, critical thinking, and time management skills. There are:

  • Problem-solving questions are multiple-choice questions that involve a problem and 5 solutions. A test taker must choose the best one.
  • Data sufficiency assesses your ability to understand and analyze a quantitative problem, determine the amount of data needed for problem-solving, and recognize its relevance. It includes a problem and 2 statements. You have to decide whether those statements have enough information to solve the problem.

The verbal section has 36 questions of 3 different types:

  • Reading comprehension is a set of multiple-choice questions for a text that covers a topic related to physical and biological science, social science and humanities, a business-related topic, etc. A test taker must read the passage, analyze it, and choose the best answer.
  • Critical reasoning measures the ability of a test taker to make, evaluate, and formulate arguments and a plan of action. This type of question also includes a passage and 5 answer options. The main difference with the reading comprehension is that the passage is shorter and the question requires the analysis of the given argument.
  • The sentence correction question is a statement that is fully or partly underlined. There are also 5 answer options to choose from. A test taker ought to choose the best answer paying close attention to grammar, sentence construction, and word choice.

30-Day GMAT Preparation Marathon

Undoubtedly, getting in shape with GMAT in just 30 days is not an easy task. But, with the right strategies, well-designed preparation schedule, and wise time management, you can conquer the test. This is a general monthly plan. You can use it to build your own schedule depending on your strengths.

Week 1

The first week includes a lot of organizations. You should choose preparation materials and take a full-length GMAT practice test. It lets you kill two birds with one stone. Firstly, you become familiar with the structure and timing of the exam. Secondly, you determine your scores on every section which helps you design a more effective study plan. Ideally, you get results including both your scores and the type of questions you did bad on. Then, you should make a step-by-step GMAT schedule that will help you flip your weaknesses into your strength. For example, if you do well in the Verbal section, make your preparation Quant-centric.

To-do list

Take a diagnostic test;
Make a schedule;
Sign up for the test;
Work through several lessons from the OG of your choice;
Take one GMAT prep test at the end of the week to monitor your progress;
Analyze mistakes from that test.

Week 2

Your top priorities during the second week are practice, practice, and practice. A great action plan for this week would be: work through a lesson from the OG, take a practice test or a short quiz, review mistakes, repeat all over again with the next chapter.
Tip: it is proved that understanding the rule is better than its mechanical learning. So, you should read the rule several times, think it over, and put it to use by doing a drill. If you make a mistake, try to find out why.
When you study this way, you learn faster and more effectively. Hence, you increase your chance to get a higher score.

To-do list

Complete half of your OG. Focus on the weakest areas;
Do several practice tests and quizzes;
Review mistakes from that test;
Watch lesson videos on YouTube and other online sources that you get with your OG.

Week 3

It’s time to identify your progress and your weak spots. Anyone can complete 1000 practice questions. Your top priority is to know the answer rather than answering as many questions as possible. If you have trouble with some types of questions, you can analyze the correct answer and the reasoning behind it. You can also use a GMAT forum or ask an expert’s help online.

To-do list

Continue working through the OG;
Take two practice tests;
Review your results.

Week 4

The final review before the exam. The last practice test will show you the areas you struggle in. Return to your guides if necessary.

To-do list

Complete the OG;
Complete your final practice test;
Review incorrect answers if there are any;
Revise the essential rules.

The day before the exam

You did a very good job during these four weeks. Now, the very best thing you could do is rest and have a good sleep. Don’t burn yourself out before the exam.
If you have anxiety before the test (and almost everyone does), you could try using a few techniques that help manage the stress. You can also overload yourself with happy thoughts or envision yourself solving problems that occur during the test. This will add you confidence. Doing a short quiz before the test is also a good idea. This may help you warm up your brain and increase confidence.

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Publish Date: 2019-11-06 14:07:47