GMAT Test Prep: Best Study Materials

When it comes to selecting materials to help you prepare for the GMAT, the number of options can be overwhelming. One could easily list 25 different publications and online resources that are of at least reasonable quality. How do you begin to sort through this plethora of information? With over three decades of experience with the GMAT, we can help you narrow your choices. What follows is a list of the most reliable and effective study resources for the GMAT. Whether you decide to prepare for the GMAT on your own or to work with one of our test experts, here are the best GMAT study materials that we would recommend.

Best GMAT Study Materials—Source 1:

GMAT Official Guide Bundle: Books Plus Online Question Bank

There is no better source for actual test questions than the actual test-makers themselves. In this combined collection of books and access to online resources, you can practice with almost two thousand real GMAT questions taken from retired GMAT exams, with hundreds of questions of each type that appears on the GMAT:

But perhaps the greatest advantage of this Official Guide Bundle is the access it allows you to the online question banks. This database offers exposure to all two thousand questions, allowing you to customize drills to your own special needs, create your own practice sets, and filter your selected levels of difficulty (easy, medium, hard, or varying combinations). On your own personal portal, you receive a full analysis of each exercise giving valuable information such as time per question. You will also get to see your progress over time. The GMAT Official Guide Bundle is an absolute necessity for whatever means of test prep you might employ.

Best GMAT Study Materials—Source 2:

GMAT Official Online Practice Exams: 2 Free Exams, Plus Option to Purchase 4 More

Once again, there is no better source than the test-makers themselves. In this package, however, you get access not only to actual retired test questions, but also the ability to simulate a real-life question-adaptive exam with its unique set of limitations and time constraints (adjustments can be made for test accommodations as well). The first two exams are available free if you simply register at the GMAC website, and there are four additional exams available for a fee.

Typically, a student might take the first of these exams at the beginning of the preparation period and then take the remaining ones towards the end of the prep.

Best GMAT Materials—Source 3:

Manhattan Prep Online Computer Adaptive Practice Exams: 6 Exams, 6-Month Access

Though not quite at the level of actual-test quality, this package provides excellent practice with the question-adaptive nature of the GMAT. Each test is supplemented with full answer explanations (unlike the exams) and a thorough analysis of one’s performance on each test, including the time spent per question (another invaluable piece of information). Drawing from a pool of over 1,200 questions, these exams may even be reset (if a student has gone through all 6), and a reset exam will reveal many different questions not seen the first time around.

Keep in mind the industry consensus is that the Manhattan Prep adaptive exams are distinctly more difficult than the real McCoy. But this need not be such a bad thing, as long as you factor this awareness into an evaluation of your ongoing progress.

To supplement your base of study materials, Manhattan Prep also offers the Online Practice Test package with a full set of books—All the GMAT, which includes almost 2000 pages of  material, including All the Quant, All the Verbal, and Integrated Reasoning & Essay.

Best GMAT Materials—Source 4:

Kaplan GMAT Math Workbook: Single Book

Many students who are beginning their GMAT journey quickly discover that they need a thorough review of the (mostly) high school math that is covered on the test. This publication serves as a solid prelude to working with the more difficult GMAT practice tests themselves. Spanning the topics of arithmetic (including number properties), algebra, geometry, and data analysis, this book will return you to your high school math classes and refresh your memory of all formulas, theorems, rules, and shortcuts necessary to tackle the gamut of GMAT Quant material.

The material is generally less challenging than actual test questions and provides a suitable transition to the more complicated content that is covered towards the end of a typical GMAT prep program. Kaplan also offers a similar review of the verbal content of the GMAT that is also useful as a prelude to a GMAT program.

The Best Way to Use These Materials: Get Help from the Pros!

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