Best GMAT Prep Books
Graduate Management Admissions Council (GMAC)
The Princeton Review
GMAT Prep Plus 2020
GMAT Official Guide 2020
Cracking the GMAT Premium 2020 Edition
All the GMAT
Veritas Prep Complete GMAT Course Set
By the Numbers
1st Edition, 2019
3rd Edition, 2019
Amazon Best-Seller Rank
Practice Questions – 1,200+
Full GMAT Tests – 6
(1 in book and 5 online)
Practice Questions – 1,100
Full GMAT Tests – 0
Practice Questions – 180+
Full GMAT Tests – 6
Practice Questions – Hundreds
Full GMAT Tests – 6
Practice Questions – 1,000+
Full GMAT Tests – 1
Online Prep Course
Other GMAT Prep Books
GMAT Complete 2020
GMAT Official Guide 2020 Quantitative Review
Verbal Workout for the GMAT
GMAT All the Verbal
Access to online and mobile features
Book is from the actual GMAT test-makers
“GMAT Insider” section packed with business school admissions info
Online study syllabus and interactive video lessons
Access to their online course and a money-back guarantee
If you want to crush the GMAT and get into the business school of your dreams, you’ll probably want some help in prepping for the test. If you have been shopping for a GMAT prep book, you’ve probably noticed that there are dozens of different books on the market. Before you make that financial commitment, you’ll want to know what makes the best GMAT prep book. You don’t want to waste your time or money on a product that won’t help.
What makes an excellent GMAT prep book?
How do you know which GMAT prep guide is right for you? The best books will show you a clear path to success, offers tips and strategies, give you plenty of practice, and ultimately—help you ace the GMAT!
Here are some critical factors you should consider before buying.
- Does it have realistic practice questions?
- Does it have clear, solid, and understandable advice on how to navigate the test?
- Does it come with multiple full-length tests?
- Does it give you detailed and easy to understand answer explanations?
- Does it give you access to additional resources like online practice and video lessons?
We have taken the guesswork out of the process and have come up with the top five GMAT test prep books out there! We based our rankings on several categories that make GMAT books useful learning tools. We cover the pros and cons of each GMAT study guide and cover the features and benefits that make our picks the best option for you. After the dust settled, Kaplan’s GMAT Prep Plus 2020 seemed to be the best overall product. Kaplan’s book offers a large number of practice questions and tests and offers access to some of Kaplan’s excellent online content like their customizable question bank and expert video lessons. But, after you have read our reviews, you may end up choosing a book that works better for you.
The Best Prep Books for GMAT at a Glance
Veritas Prep Complete GMAT Course Set
Yale graduates Chad Troutwine and Markus Moberg founded Veritas Prep in 2002. They both scored in the 99th percentile of the GMAT and formed a company that offers fantastic GMAT test prep services via their online prep course and series of print study guides. Veritas Prep uses the motto “learn by doing,” which focuses on completing as many practice problems as possible. You won’t find a more robust set of GMAT test prep books than Veritas Prep’s Complete GMAT Course Set. Along with 12 in-depth guides to all of the skill areas needed to crush the GMAT, you’ll get access to more than 1,000 practice questions and 12 practice tests. You’ll also get access to an online portal of GMAT prep resources like comprehensive solutions to the problems, free access to their online question bank, and a free adaptive GMAT practice test.
- 12 prep books covering all areas of the GMAT
- Frees access to their online question bank
- Access to their online course
- A money-back guarantee
- Most expensive option we reviewed
- Only one full adaptive test
Manhattan Prep’s All the GMAT
Manhattan Prep was founded in 2000 by a former New York public school teacher and offers a wide variety of prep services, including online prep and high-quality study guides. Their best-selling GMAT prep books are “gold” and can help you ace the test. You are paying quite a bit more than most prep books (except for the Veritas books), but the price tag is well worth it. All the GMAT takes what was in 10 books, and have created a collection of three books that include the GMAT All the Quant Guide, the GMAT All the Verbal Guide, and the GMAT Integrated Reasoning & Essay Guide.
- 6 free GMAT practice tests
- In-depth explanations for each topic
- Teaches the fundamentals behind the question
- Tests are adaptive, just like the actual test
- Need to invest time to go through them all
Kaplan – GMAT Prep Plus 2020
Kaplan has been a trusted name in educational services for 80 years. It all began in 1938 when founder Stanley Kaplan started tutoring students in the basement of his parent’s Brooklyn home. Today, Kaplan is one of the world’s largest educational service providers. Kaplan offers GMAT prep in several options that you can customize to suit your needs. One of Kaplan’s biggest selling points is its wide range of prep course offerings and printed GMAT study guides.
If you are looking for a comprehensive GMAT study book, then consider picking up GMAT GMAT Prep Plus 2020. It is a great resource if you have just started prepping for the GMAT, and will give you a strong base knowledge to build on. This study guide is jam-packed with resources. You’ll get six full-length GMAT practice tests (one in the book and five online), in-depth detailed answers, and strategies/tips to handle different types of problems. If you want to go digital, they’ve got you covered. You’ll also get a DVD, an iPad download, and a mobile-enabled version for traditional and online learners.
- 6 full-length GMAT practice tests
- Detailed answers with tons of strategies and tips
- DVD and mobile-enabled versions
- Access to their customizable online Qbank
- Questions not as hard as the GMAT
GMAC’s GMAT Official Guide 2020
What makes The GMAT Official Guide the best prep book for practice questions? It’s written by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), the actual authors of the exam. That means that the questions in this study guide are really close to the ones you’ll see on the actual GMAT. The book starts off with a detailed description of each section of the test and includes over 900 realistic questions, and detailed answer explanations for each one. To boost your quant and verbal skills, they have comprehensive math and grammar review. You also get access to a treasure trove of online practice resources, like customizable sets of questions that you can compile into quizzes. This will help you work on your weak areas.
- Written by the makers of the GMAT
- Exam mode during practice test is identical to what you’ll see on test day
- Online flashcards
- GMAT essay topics along with sample responses
- Review sections are not comprehensive
- No full-length tests
The Princeton Review – Cracking the GMAT Premium 2020 Edition
The Princeton Review is a top educational services company and offers a variety of online courses and top-notch study guides. Cracking the GMAT Premium 2020 Edition provides comprehensive subject coverage of all GMAT and contains drills for each exam section. You’ll get access to six computer-adaptive tests online, complete with score reports, and detailed answer explanations. If you are in a time crunch, Princeton Review is famous for offering shortcut formulas and tricks to solve different questions, saving valuable you study time. Premium online content includes multi-week study guides, online video tutorials, examples of successful business school essays, and the “GMAT Insider” section, full of on admissions and financial aid to help you get into your dream business school.
- Six full-length CAT practice exams
- Best prep book if you have a short time to prepare for the GMAT
- Access to online tutorials and the “GMAT Insider”
- Tips and strategies on solving questions
- Verbal and Quant sections too easy
- Not organized intuitively
What’s the Best GMAT Prep Book?
Let’s review the features of the five best GMAT prep books on the market, compare them to each other, and rank each of them overall.
What Should I Look for in a GMAT book?
Full-Length Practice Tests
When it comes to crushing the GMAT, there is one rule—practice! That means you need to find the GMAT prep book that has as many practice tests as possible. It’s okay if they are not all contained in your book, most good GMAT books give you access to plenty of online tests. The more exams you take, the better you’ll know the material and will improve your test-taking skills for exam day.
We ranked GMAT books with the most full-length practice tests higher in our review because we feel that this is an important feature. The good news is you have a choice. Kaplan, Manhattan Prep, and Princeton Review all give you access to six full-length tests. Veritas Prep Complete GMAT Course Set include one, and the GMAT Official Guide 2020 did not offer any full-length tests, even though they have great practice questions. Kaplan seems to have the best explanations for the GMAT questions, so they get the nod here.
Best for Practice Tests: Kaplan’s GMAT Prep Plus 2020
Plenty of Realistic Practice Questions
The same methodology applies to practice questions—the more, the better! However, the number of questions can’t be the only factor. Having realistic questions helps you acquaint yourself with the style of GMAT questions and practice the skills you need to do really well on the test. It is also important that the questions are at least as hard as the real GMAT, follow the same pattern, and have adaptive scoring.
The GMAT Official Guide 2020, Kaplan’s GMAT Prep Plus 2020, and Princeton Review’s Cracking the GMAT Premium 2020 all have over 1,000 practice questions. But, if you are looking for GMAT questions that are the most realistic, you have to go with the GMAT Official Guide 2020. The test questions come directly from the authors of the GMAT.
Best for Practice Questions: GMAC’s GMAT Official Guide 2020
Comprehensive Answer Explanations
It doesn’t matter how many questions are included; the book is worthless if it doesn’t explain the answer in terms that you understand. All of the best GMAT prep books will give you the answer keys, but the best will have comprehensive, detailed explanations of why each answer is correct. Once you understand how the problems are solved, you will have the skills and strategies you need to crush the GMAT. A book gets bonus points if they also include tricks and tips to solve them. This helps you develop skills that are useful across all areas of the exam.
Kaplan’s GMAT Prep Plus 2020 stands out as the prep guide that offers the most complete and understandable answer explanations. GMAC’s GMAT Official Guide 2020 also does a great job in this area, providing detailed explanations for all of their practice questions.
Best for Answer Explanations: Kaplan’s GMAT Prep Plus 2020
Helpful Test-Tasking Strategies
It will take more than subject knowledge to ace the GMAT. You need to build solid test-taking strategies that you can call on during the test. Skills like time-management, quick answer elimination, dealing with stress, and good guessing will save you time and get you to the right answer quickly. The best GMAT prep books will also offer strategies tailored to your learning style and study habits. These tips and tricks to the GMAT must also include subject-specific advice to help you strengthen weaker areas.
Both Kaplan and Princeton Review have awesome sections (in the book and online) on test-taking tips and strategies. But the Princeton Review’s Cracking the GMAT Premium 2020 Edition is famous for its shortcut formulas and tricks to solve different questions, this prep book will save you valuable study time.
Best for Test-Taking Tips: Princeton Review’s Cracking the GMAT Premium 2020 Edition
All of the best GMAT prep books have great reviews, and each has a long list of features and resources that will help you on your quest for a top GMAT score. Let’s see what makes our reviewed programs scream, “Buy Me!”
- Kaplan’s GMAT Prep Plus 2020 offers access to online, mobile features, and their customizable Qbank.
- GMAC’s GMAT Official Guide 2020 offers the most realistic practice questions because they are the makers of the GMAT.
- The Princeton Review’s Cracking the GMAT Premium 2020 Edition offers access to the “GMAT Insider,” an excellent resource for applying to business schools.
- Manhattan Prep’s All the GMAT is the most comprehensive set of GMAT prep books and offers access to their online study syllabus and interactive video lessons.
- The Veritas Prep Complete GMAT Course Set provides you access to their online course and offers a money-back guarantee.
Best Overall GMAT Prep Book: Kaplan’s GMAT Prep Plus 2020
Buy Kaplan’s GMAT Prep Plus 2020 if:
- you want tons of practice tests.
- you want the most detailed answer explanations.
- you want to take your test prep with you on your mobile device.
Buy GMAC’s GMAT Official Guide 2020 if:
- you want a prep book written by the makers of the GMAT.
- you want online flashcards for lots of review.
- you want to practice test that is just like “test day.”
Buy Princeton Review’s Cracking the GMAT Premium 2020 Edition if:
- you want six full-length adaptive tests.
- you want access to inside info on getting into the best business schools.
- you want useful tips and strategies on solving the problems.
Buy Manhattan Prep’s All the GMAT if:
- you want a prep book the teaches you the fundamentals behind the question.
- you want plenty of adaptive practice tests.
- you want a prep book that covers each topic in depth.
Buy the Veritas Prep Complete GMAT Course Set if:
- you want a complete set of books that covers all areas of the GMAT.
- you want access to their online course.
- you want a money-back guarantee if you’re not happy with the books.