Top 5 Best GMAT Study Guides: An Independent Review
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Top 5 Best GMAT Study Guides: An Independent Review

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If you are an aspiring business school student, you know how critical it is to get into the right business school. And the first step to standing out among the many applicants is getting a great score on the GMATChoosing study materials for the GMAT wisely is critical for test score success, and we want to help you navigate the many choices that are available.

So, here is a list of the top five best GMAT study guides.


1. The Official Guide for GMAT Verbal Review 2016 with Online Question Bank and Exclusive Video

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The GMAT Verbal Review 2016  stands out for its focus on the verbal portion of the exam.  The Verbal Official Guide is an essential source of GMAT practice and a recommended book for anyone taking the GMAT. 100% of the reviews for this guide were 4 stars or better. 

With 25% new content (76 new questions) and more than 300 retired questions from the GMAT, reviewers find this guide to be an essential practice tool for the GMAT, and the critical reasoning portion to be the strongest part of the 2016 update.

This guide includes an online question bank with customizable practice sets and answer explanations. The online software keeps track of your time and progress. While the online portion of the guide may reuse old questions, the questions are organized in order of difficulty for better study focus.

Overall, users felt the guide lacked difficult practice questions, and some students found the explanations for sentence correction somewhat cryptic.

Through this guide you also gain access to mba.com, the official website of the GMAT exam.  Here you will find a one-stop site for graduate management education, applying to business school, and the GMAT exam. You can also register for the exam, and find over 6,000 graduate management education programs.

Pros

  • Online question bank with customizable practice sets and answer explanations
  • 300 verbal questions with answers and detailed explanations
  • Questions organized in order of difficulty to focus your study

Cons

  • Online software has a tendency to repeat old questions
  • Guide does not provide enough difficult practice questions
  • Explanations for sentence corrections are difficult to decipher

Buy The Official Guide for GMAT Verbal Review 2016 with Online Question Bank and Exclusive Video here for $14.23

The Kindle version provides the same exact material and can be a more cost-efficient option.  You’ll also eliminate the need to carry around large books and spend time working in front of a computer screen in advance of the GMAT exam. You can buy the Kindle Version for $9.99 here

Would you rather get everything you need to prepare for the GMAT® exam in one package?  Buy the GMAT 2016 Official Bundle Guide for $46.13 here ,or the Kindle version for $43.33 here 

 


2. The Official Guide for GMAT Review 2016 with Online Question Bank and Exclusive Video – 15th Edition

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This official guide has 25% new content and real GMAT questions from past tests totaling 907 questions.  Reviewers find this guide to be the most comprehensive resource available for the official GMAT. This guide received the most reviews with 72% receiving 4-stars or better.  

Practice sections in this guide follow actual GMAT test patterns. Users find that the guide provides a strong overview of the integrated reasoning section. Overall, questions are of easy/medium difficulty with a small handful that are difficult. Finally, there is a 75% content overlap with the previous 2015 edition.

The guide provides online resources containing a question bank with over 900 practice questions, 50 integrated reasoning questions, comprehensive grammar and math review, actual essay topics, sample responses and scoring information. The questions are organized in order of difficulty for better focus.

You can also visit mba.com, the official website of the GMAT exam, your one-stop site for graduate management education, applying to business school, and the GMAT exam.

Pros

  • Online question bank with over 900 practice questions
  • 50 Integrated Reasoning questions online
  • Diagnostic tests to help you maximize your study time
  • Comprehensive grammar and math review
  • Actual essay topics, sample responses, and scoring information
  • Questions organized in order of difficulty to focus your study

Cons

  • 75% overlap with the 2015 edition
  • Questions are EASY/MEDIUM difficulty in general (with only 5 questions at the 750+ level)
  • Formulas do not re-size in Kindle version, making reading difficult
  • Does not include any test-taking strategies

Buy The Official Guide for GMAT Review 2016 with Online Question Bank and Exclusive Video 15th Edition for $30.19 here

The Kindle version provides the same exact material and can be a more cost-efficient option.  You’ll also eliminate the need to carry around large books and spend time working in front of a computer screen in advance of the GMAT exam.  You can buy the Kindle Version for $23.99 here

Would you rather get everything you need to prepare for the GMAT® exam in one package?  Buy the GMAT 2016 Official Bundle Guide for $46.13 here ,or the Kindle version for $43.33 here 


3. Complete GMAT Strategy Guide Set (Manhattan Prep GMAT Strategy Guides

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Ranked #1 in Amazon for business school guides under the business and money section, as well as #4 for GMAT tests, The 10 Manhattan Prep GMAT Strategy Guides is a great guide for those looking to score in the top percentiles. Each of the 10 guides were written by active instructors who scored in the 99th percentile or better. The Manhattan Prep GMAT guides are consistently reviewed by students as offering the opportunity for dramatic score improvement and 89% of reviews were 4-stars or better. 

Each book delves deeply into a single area of the exam, providing detailed and specialized instruction. Used together the guides produce a substantial learning impact, helping students develop all the knowledge, skills and strategic thinking necessary for success on the GMAT.

Additional resources include 6 full-length, computer-adaptive practice exams, over 200 additional free practice questions, new strategies for solving problems more effectively, topical sets of official guide practice questions and detailed answer explanations.

These books don’t emphasize tricks or easy ways to obtain a 700+ score, instead they methodically cover each of the areas tested and should provide all the resources you need to be succesful. The books are also reasonably sized for travel.

The books come with year-long access to web materials and practice tests, and allow you to stop in the middle of a test and resume later.

Pros

  • Guides were written by active instructors who scored in the 99th percentile or better
  • Each book provides detailed instruction into a single area of the exam
  • Gain access to six full-length, computer adaptive practice exams
  • The books come with a year-long access to web materials and practice tests

Cons

  • Lack of online features
  • Questions tend to be much harder than on the actual exam

Buy the Complete GMAT Strategy Guide Set for $155.78 Here

 


4. Kaplan GMAT Premier 2016 with 6 Practice Tests: Book + Online + DVD + Mobile (Kaplan Prep Test)


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The Kaplan’s GMAT Premier 2016  is a comprehensive prep system that includes both book and mobile-enabled online components with 75% of reviews for this guide being 4-stars or better. 

The Kaplan’s GMAT Premier 2016 includes 1,200+ practice questions with detailed explanations, 6 full-length practice tests and a 200-question online quiz bank for customized quiz creation and review of GMAT practice questions. The material is solid for math and verbal, and there are over 49 pages covering integrated reasoning. 

In addition you’ll find the mobile-enabled online resources include exercises and quizzes with 18 online drills, fast-fact videos for additional learning, and academic support from Kaplan faculty via a faculty Facebook page.

Access to online resources expire after 6 months and there is no DVD for tests.

Reviewers recommend Kaplan’s GMAT for a quicker prep plan but if you are seeking to improve your GMAT score by more than 50 points, this book may not have the depth you require. We recommend the Manhattan Test Prep Study Guide.

Kaplan does guarantee that if you study with this book, DVD, and online resources, you will score higher on the GMAT—or you’ll receive a full refund.

Pros

  • 1200+ practice questions with detailed explanations
  • 6 full-length practice tests and a 200-question online quiz bank for customized quiz creations
  • Online exercises and quizzes with 18 online drills
  • Fast-fact videos for additional learning
  • Kaplan money back guarantee

Cons

  • Access to online resources expire after 6 months
  • Lack of depth for those seeking score improvement of greater than 50-75 points
  • NO CD/DVD – online content only for tests

Buy the Kaplan GMAT Premier 2016 with 6 Practice Tests for $23.71 Here 

The Kindle version provides the same exact material and can be a more cost-efficient option.  You’ll also eliminate the need to carry around large books and spend time working in front of a computer screen in advance of the GMAT exam. You can buy the Kindle Version for $22.52 here

 


5. Cracking the GMAT Premium Edition with 6 Computer-Adaptive Practice Tests, 2016 (Graduate School Test Preparation)

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The Princeton Review  provides plenty of material and strategies to help get you ready for the GMATs. It includes complete coverage of all GMAT topics including math and verbal skills. Bulletted chapter summaries provide for quick navigation resulting in 83% of reviews for this guide giving it 5-stars.

Online resources include 6 full-length, computer-adaptive practice tests for real-world practice, score reports and answer explanations. You will also find practice “bins” with over 180 questions, drills for each test section in the book, instant scoring for both the book and online tests, and a diagnostic exam section in the book to help you assess your scoring range.

This guide provides online access to their exclusive premium portal which includes video tutorials with expert advice from leading course instructors, excerpts from other Princeton Review GMAT titles, multi-week study plans, examples of successful b-school essays and interviews with admissions officers.  The special “GMAT Insider” section provides information about admissions and financial aid, the MBA and your career, writing winning essays, and everything you will need to successfully apply for Graduate School.

Finally, the guide provides techniques to help avoid traps on the GMAT, tips for pacing yourself and key strategies for working smarter and not harder, and being successful.

Pros

  • Provides techniques to avoid traps on the GMAT
  • Online resources including 6 full-length, computer-adaptive practice tests
  • Access to exclusive premium portal with video tutorials, expert advice and more
  • Access to special “GMAT Insider” section for information about admissions, financial aid, writing winning essays and more

Cons

  • Review concepts are not well-organized

Buy the Cracking the GMAT Premium Edition with 6 Computer-Adaptive Practice Test, 2016 for $28.55 here

The Kindle version provides the same exact material and can be a more cost-efficient option.  You’ll also eliminate the need to carry around large books and spend time working in front of a computer screen in advance of the GMAT exam. You can buy the Kindle Version for $22.99 here


Heavy, Inc. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to Amazon. Our product recommendations are guided solely by our editors. We have no relationship with manufacturers.
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