You’ve probably heard of the GMAT before, and if you haven’t, then you might guess by the name that it is a type of standardized test used in the education world. The GMAT is an entrance exam for business school that is 3.5 hours long. It tests specific skills that are important for management and business progress. GMAT also assesses analytical writing, problem-solving, data analysis, critical reasoning skills, and more. It is testing someone’s ability to face real-world business decisions.
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4 MAIN GMAT SECTIONS
There are four main sections of the GMAT, and each section has a different focus.
- Analytical Writing Assessment: This section is in essay form and measures your ability to not only think critically but also to communicate clearly. There is only one question here in which you will analyze an argument and critique the reasoning of that argument.
- Integrated Reasoning: This section consists of 12 questions and measures your ability to analyze data. The kicker here is that information is presented in multiple formats for you to evaluate. You might see graphics, tables, and other formats of questions as well.
- Quantitative Reasoning: This is where the majority of the math questions will show up on the test. This section assesses your ability to analyze data and problem solve based on the conclusions you have drawn from that data.
- Verbal Reasoning: This is like the English section of the GMAT. Here you’ll test your ability to read, understand, and evaluate written information. You’ll not only have questions based on comprehension, but also on grammatical concepts and sentence correction.
Because of the variety of elements on this test, it is likely that you’ll need to study for this test based on your own strengths and weaknesses. You might have a solid foundation on all of the subjects and just need a simple refresher. Or you might feel stronger in one area than another. No matter which approaches you take, we’ve come up with a list of books that can help you study.
TOP THREE COMPREHENSIVE BOOKS
It’s hard not to recommend the Official Guide as the best overall study book for the GMAT. This book is made by the creators of the GMAT itself, so the practice questions presented in this book are going to be the closest to the actual test. It teaches some of the reasoning behind the questions too so that you can better understand how to tackle answering each question. With 1,900 practice questions, you’re sure to get some good exercise out of this book.
This option comes highly recommended because of its interactive video lessons and six computer-adaptive GMAT practice tests. It’s like taking a prep course in the comfort of your own home at your own pace. The overall package has three books for you to use and online resources for you to use as well.
This option is for those who want to score higher. Maybe you’ve taken the test before and are looking to raise your score, or maybe you are wanting to push yourself. Either way, this book will give you some of the hardest questions from previous GMAT tests for you to use as practice.
BEST GMAT PREP BOOK FOR EACH SECTION
Analytical Writing Assessment:
- Manhattan Review’s “GMAT Analytical Writing Guide” – Learn how to best approach the GMAT’s writing section with this book. This book will teach you how to analyze a variety of arguments by identifying flaws and methods of reasoning. Then, it will teach you how to write about that argument and how to construct your essay as an effective response. It includes solutions to 40 real argument topics, as well as both strong and weak sample essays to review.
- Manhattan Prep’s “GMAT Integrated Reasoning & Essay” – This book is a 2-for-1 in the world of reading and writing. With this, you’ll learn time management strategies to help you answer questions more efficiently and write more effectively. You’ll also get to practice some problem solving strategies for both sections as well, with a specific focus on the four different problem types that show up on the integrated reasoning section.
- Manhattan Prep’s “Foundations of GMAT Math” – This is a good review of basic concepts you’ll need to be successful on the test. It has over 900 practice problems and online resources as well. While it may not be comprehensive enough on its own, it’s definitely a good place to start for the quantitative section.
- Kaplan’s “GMAT Math Workbook” – This book gives you an in depth review of some of the most used math concepts on the quantitative section of the test. From basic concepts like geometry and algebra to strategies for questions focused on data analysis and problem solving, you’ll get all the essential math skills you need to score well on this section of the test.
- Manhattan Prep’s “Advanced GMAT Quant” — This advanced book option is for those who feel good about their math skills and are ready to raise the bar. You’ll level up with this option as you study techniques for some of the most difficult questions known to show up on the test.
- Manhattan Prep’s “GMAT Foundations of Verbal” – Like the name suggests, this option presents the foundations needed for this section of the test, such as reading comprehension, critical reasoning, and sentence correction. This is a good review that gives you examples along with explanations.
- PowerScore’s “GMAT Critical Reasoning Bible” – This book is the best when it comes to understanding how to analyze an argument. It teaches you how to break down GMAT argumentation and shows you how to analyze the answer choices to distinguish between right and wrong answers.
- The Critical Reader’s “Complete GMAT Sentence Correction Guide” – From key grammar concepts to strategies for attacking each question type, this option focuses on the sentence correction component of the verbal reasoning section. While it is filled with 150 GMAT style multiple choice questions and explanations, it is even better paired with the Official Guide for GMAT Review for an even more in depth study.
Studying for the GMAT is an investment that takes time, energy, and dedication. These books are a great place to start, but finding some good online resources is also beneficial. Once you have gone through a book, take some online practice tests that will mimic the actual test taking experience.
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