GMAT Preparation Books: Mastering the Exam with Essential Guides

The GMAT preparation books – stepping stones to success in GMAT

A B-school aspirant has to satisfy certain requirements to qualify for admission into a top school. Most of the colleges require a big score on the GMAT as a qualifying criterion. Rigorous practice with the right GMAT exam materials could be the key to achieving a great score. A wide range of GMAT study materials are available in the market that includes GMAT preparation books. In this blog, we will review some of the GMAT preparation books that will deliver the knowledge and the right strategies to crack the exam.


What is GMAT


How does the GMAT work?

There are three scoring sections on the GMAT focus edition: – Quantitative reasoning, Verbal Reasoning, and Data Insights. Each section is for 45 minutes and contributes to the 205-805 scaled score. The Quantitative section with 21 questions measures the algebraic and arithmetic concepts. The Verbal section with 23 questions measures the ability to understand the written material and evaluate arguments. The Data Insights with 20 questions measures the math, verbal and data analysis skills.


Why GMAT preparation books for mastering the Exam?

The key to achieving a good score on the test is to understand the concepts tested in it. The knowledge alone will not be enough. It has to be combined with the right approaches to tackle the different question types. Given that each section is about a different skill, it becomes essential that aspirants should seek the help of the best books for GMAT preparation.


How to select the best GMAT books?

Deciding on the best GMAT books for your preparation would depend on what you expect out of the books. To begin with, you may need a book that helps with the basic concepts and strategies to be used. Later during the learning process, you might need GMAT study materials for practice.
The best books for GMAT self-preparation should not only teach you the basic concepts but also effective strategies that would help you reach the correct solution in a shorter time. The content of the books should match the latest test pattern. There should be detailed explanations for the questions and answers so that the aspirant can learn from the mistakes and avoid them. Though it is difficult to match the GMAT scoring algorithm, the best books for GMAT preparation should have questions that match the real GMAT questions in style and difficulty level.


The Best books for GMAT preparation:

Let us look at the GMAT preparation books in detail now. There are a few books that address all the sections of the GMAT. These books will help you to build the concepts and strategies.


The best GMAT books


1. The GMAT official guide

This book is from the makers of the GMAT and must be a part of any GMAT test taker’s arsenal. This book contains a collection of retired GMAT questions, so you get a hands-on experience of what the real questions on the GMAT look like. The content of this book aligns with the recently introduced GMAT Focus edition. The features of the book include Quant and Verbal review sections that help build the foundation. The book contains 246 math questions and 356 verbal questions across all difficulty levels. There is an additional quantitative reference sheet that contains all the basic formulas for quick review. A new chapter Data Insights is added to the book that discusses the five different types of DI questions and offers strategies to tackle these question types. The book contains only the Data Sufficiency questions for practice. Access to the other question types is available online. The only drawback is that the number of questions available is limited and may not be enough for practice. This book needs to be supplemented with solid gmat study material for practice.


2. GMAT Premium Prep

This is one of the best books for GMAT preparation, especially for beginners. This book gives insight into every section of the test and also offers strategies to tackle the different question types. This book helps you to look at the questions from the authors’ perspectives and recognize the common trap answers that beginners might fall for. The book also gives approaches to tackle the DI question types in detail. The online features include video tutorials with expert guidance. The study plans, loads of practice materials and the six full-length tests that can be taken on the companion website make this book an indispensable one for GMAT prep.

At the beginning of the blog, we said that we have to choose the books based on our needs. While the previous ones were for building the concepts and strategies, the ones we are going to discuss now will focus on practicing the skills acquired.


3. GMAT official Advanced Questions

This is another must-have from the GMAC. The book contains 150 quant and 150 verbal retired questions of medium or higher difficulty levels. These questions address some rarely tested concepts on the test, which makes this book unique. This book can also be accessed through the online question bank and Wiley app. This makes it an indispensable source for people trying to earn high scores on the GMAT.


4. GMAT Official Guide Quantitative Reasoning

This is one of the best GMAT math preparation books in town that helps in the focussed practice of the Quants section. It includes 150+ problem-solving questions with solutions. These questions are not available in the Official Guide. The questions are arranged in the order of difficulty from easiest to the hardest. The online question bank that accompanies the purchase allows the students to customize practice based on question types and difficulty levels. An ebook version is also available that can be accessed easily. There are online flashcards and Mobile app to facilitate study on the go.


5. GMAT Official Guide Verbal Reasoning

ust like the previous one, this book helps with the focused practice in Verbal reasoning. It contains a Verbal review chapter for refreshing the concepts required for Reading Comprehension and Critical Reasoning. There are over 200+ questions that are not found in the Official Guide. There are detailed explanations available for every question. The questions are arranged in the order of difficulty. The students can use the online question bank to customize their practice. Along with the Flashcards and the Mobile app, this formidable book is the best GMAT book for self preparation.


6. GMAT Official Guide Data Insights Review

Data Insights is the newest kid in the GMAT block. Though the same concepts were tested in Quants and IR sections earlier, the DI section comprising the Data Sufficiency, Graphic Interpretation, Table – Analysis, Two-Part – Analysis, and Multi-Source Reasoning questions has become part of the 205- 805 score. The book contains an additional 200+ DI practice questions -80+ Data Sufficiency and 120+ other question types. The question bank can be customized based on the difficulty level. The flashcards and the Mobile app facilitate learning on the go. This book should be a part of the GMAT study materials.

The preparation for the GMAT doesn’t stop with the books. Proper planning would include starting the preparation with a mock test that will help set a baseline. This should be followed by choosing the right books or courses for preparation. The preparation can happen online or offline too. It is advisable that the preparation course is interspersed with regular full-length tests. Each test has to be evaluated and measures should be taken to strengthen the shaky concepts and avoid mistakes. Equal attention should be given to the selection of these tests. Let us look at some of the standardized tests.


  • GMAT Focus Official Starter Kit + Practice Exams 1 & 2

This beginners’ kit can be accessed using an MBA.com account. There are review chapters for the 3 sections, 70+ practice questions from the different sections and two full-length tests for practice.


  • GMAT Focus Official Practice Exams

Other than the two free tests, GMAC also gives a bouquet of other tests namely Practice Exams 3 to 6. The tests could be brought as a bundle or a-la-carte. The tests follow the same algorithm as the real exam. They can be reset and taken twice. These tests are like icing on the cake of GMAT preparation as they are shown to give score improvement. The questions adapt based on performance. The score export that you receive at the end of the test gives detailed insights into the performance. These make the GMAT practice tests one of the best GMAT study materials.


Why is a good GMAT score important?

The B-schools consider a lot of criteria such as work experience, college GPA, essays, LORs, and of course the GMAT scores. The GMAT scores are a very important indicator of the readiness of the candidate to pursue the MBA. Also, studies show that GMAT scores correlate with performances in B-school. The B-schools are rated based on the average GMAT score of their students. Hence, if you are planning to get into a top B-school, a big score on the GMAT is mandatory. Also, higher scores are needed for merit scholarships. Some companies consider the GMAT scores while hiring MBA students.


Why is a good GMAT score important?


The GMAT preparation books alone do not ensure a great score. A good score results from meticulous preparation and learning. The student should not only learn the concepts but also apply them in practice drills and tests. These drills and tests have to be reviewed in depth. The mistakes are the best teachers in the world. The student should not hesitate to seek professional help if he or she falters in any of these steps. No wonder preparation for GMAT is like a prelude to the MBA course.

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Should I use the GMAT official guide as a part of the GMAT preparation books?

Yes, GMAT study materials should include the GMAT official guide as it contains the real questions that have retired from the GMAT. The book contains around 650+ questions covering the three different sections.

Where do I practice the Data Insights questions in the GMAT official guide?

The Data Sufficiency questions are available in the book and the other question types can be accessed from the companion website Wiley.com

Do I use GMAT study materials that are available online for GMAT prep?

Yes, GMAT is a computer adaptive test. Hence, the student must get used to the online format of test taking.

Can I take GMAT online?

Yes, GMAT can be taken online from the comfort of home. The System and ID requirements need to be taken care of. Break timings should be adhered to. Security checks will happen before and during the exams.

Do I use books other than the Official guide?

Yes, You can choose other materials for practice and the Official Guide has fewer questions. You can also use different materials for different sections.

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