Best GMAT Prep Books and Resources (2024)

Best GMAT Books - image by Magoosh

This post was updated in 2024 for the new GMAT.


 

Top GMAT Prep Books (2024)

There’s so much great online material out there for the GMAT. But GMAT books still have their place in the canon of study materials! If you prefer non-digital study resources or eBooks, you definitely have a huge array of materials to choose from. So how do you pick?

Never fear! Here are our recommended best GMAT prep books. The table gives a brief overview, but you can also scroll down for more information, as well as our summary of the best free GMAT study resources out there!

Category #1 #2 #3 #4
Book All The GMAT set The Official Guide to the GMAT Review GMAT Math Prep Course The PowerScore GMAT Critical Reasoning Bible
Publisher Manhattan GMAC Nova PowerScore
Pages 1912 866 (OG), 188 (Quant), 420 (Verbal), 270 (DI) 516 434
Most Recent Edition 7th 2022 2021 2022
Practice Tests/Questions 6 practice tests 1400+ questions 600+ math questions 600+ verbal
Approx. Price on Amazon (New) $166 $99.99 $19.95 $33.24
Notes The 8th edition debuts in July 2024. It will be fully updated in print and online for the new test format. The 7th edition is only updated online. 4 books. Worth buying for the official practice material from GMAC. Worth buying if you need additional challenging math practice. The CR book has the best reputation and will be most valuable in prepping for the new test format.


 

An Important Note on Buying Old Editions

We know that prepping for the GMAT and applying to MBA programs can get expensive fast. Students often ask us if it is really necessary to buy the newest edition? The honest answer is: You don’t need to always buy the newest editions of the GMAT study materials. More often than not, the newest edition of a GMAT book is essentially identical to that of the year before. The covers tend to change noticeably (thrilling new colors!), but the contents stay unabashedly unaltered. Simply put, you can’t assume that a new GMAT book is better than an old GMAT book. Often, they’re equally helpful.

However, sometimes the test does change, like it did in 2023. In these cases, particularly when the change is major, it’s vital that you start with the most newest material. Books from before the 2023 test update are, without question, inferior to newer books. You want to be sure to buy GMAT prep books published after the 2023 format change to maximize your prep.

Table of Contents

We’ll start with four paid resources and then look at four free ones.

We know that you’re busy and have probably already done your fair share of research on the available options. Feel free to click the links below to jump ahead in the post. No judgement.


 

Manhattan Prep’s GMAT Books (MGMAT)

The best GMAT prep book award goes to Manhattan Prep’s All the GMAT series. This full set (purchasable on Amazon.com) is a truly comprehensive guide to the whole GMAT. Don’t just learn a bunch of nifty tricks; learn the fundamentals behind the questions. That way you won’t just be flailing about on test day, relying only on guessing strategies.

The 7th edition currently consists of three books – All the Verbal, All the Quant, and Integrated Reasoning + Essay. With the change to the new GMAT test format (called GMAT Focus from 2023-summer 2024), the IR and Essay sections have been eliminated. If you buy the 7th edition now you’ll be getting the excellent test prep quality Manhattan Prep books are known for but with slightly outdated books. However, the books come with digital supplements explaining test changes and letting you know what not to study in the printed books. Your digital materials will change to reflect any test changes. Important note:in order to access the digital materials you will need to use a one-time use access code. If you purchase these books used the code will likely already have been used and you will not be able to access the updated material.

Manhattan Prep is releasing a fully updated new set of books–the 8th Edition–in July 2024. This new edition will be fully updated in print for the new test format and combine Quant and the new Data Insights section into one book. Our recommendation:if you need to start studying now and only plan to use books, the 7th Edition is a good choice. However, if you are planning to get started with an online course and want to supplement your studying with books, waiting until July for the 8th Edition isn’t a bad idea.

This brings us to another point: not every Manhattan book is built equally! In general, the Quant material is of a higher standard than that of the Verbal. The Quant material is marginally more difficult than what you’ll see on the test, while the Verbal questions are noticeably easier.


 

GMAT Official Guide Books by GMAC

The GMAT Official Guide 4 book set

Books in general aren’t the ideal or only way to prep for the GMAT, because:

  1. The test is taken online with a computer, so it’s best to prep with one!
  2. And books aren’t adaptive (of course!)
  3. However, when you’re out of GMAT materials online, the GMAC Official Guide (OG) is a solid book to have on your bookshelf. In fact, some would argue that the GMAT OG material is the actual bible of GMAT preparation, and the rest mere apocrypha. After all, the main book and its three companion books that focus on Verbal, Quant, and Data Insights are made by the brilliant people (GMAC) who actually write the questions you’ll see on GMAT test day.

    • With that said, we suggest that you don’t rely on the Official Guides for strategies (the way you would with MGMAT), instead using official material for the best source of high quality GMAT questions.

    The 2024-2025 bundle is what we’re linking to in this article and it comes out at the end of May 2024. But, the 2023-2024 bundle was updated for the new test format and, therefore, is a good option for studiers wanting to save a little money. We highly recommend not purchasing an OG from before 2023-2024 to make sure you are studying materials for the most recent iteration of the test.


     

    Nova

    Nova Math Bible-best GMAT books-magoosh

    Need even more math questions? Nova’s GMAT Prep Course has a wealth of math practice material and advice. The newest edition, released in 2024, has been updated for the new GMAT test format. Magoosh’s experts have taken a close look at Nova’s books over time and found them to have some flaws. However, they can still be useful for those who want to do more math problems and have worked through other question banks.

    Understand that this book uses the same studying philosophy as Manhattan’s resources: it prefers to challenge test-takers with questions slightly more challenging than their supposed difficulty. Some might prefer this approach, which tends to over-prepare students by testing the upper limits of what is tested on the exam, but for others, the process could be disheartening.


     

    PowerScore

    PowerScore GMAT Critical Reasoning Bible (book review)

    PowerScore built its reputation as an LSAT company with its LSAT Critical Reasoning Bible. For those who don’t know the difference between GMAT vs. LSAT, the LSAT is the GMAT Critical Reasoning section on steroids. So, you can bet that PowerScore really knows how to dissect one of the most difficult question types on the GMAT. We’d recommend it as a supplement for those wanting an academic approach to CR. It also seems consistently accurate, especially compared to Manhattan’s CR resources.

    The 2022 edition is the most up-to-date publication. Compared to its 2021 and 2019 counterparts, the biggest difference comes in the form of a bigger font which makes it easier to read, if ever so slightly. The question problem set for each chapter hasn’t changed. Because of that, borrowing from a friend or buying second-hand will be just as useful as purchasing the most recent edition. The new GMAT format eliminated the Sentence Correction question type, making the Verbal section all Reading Comprehension and Critical Reasoning questions. This renewed focus on CR makes it an even more important section to master.

    The chapters explain how to easily take apart arguments through the recognition of their different parts (premises and conclusions), and to select the strategies for attacking each question type. Additionally, the book will also show the most frequently used ‘wrong answers’ that GMAC uses to trick test-takers. If you don’t mind a more academic approach to CR strategy and appreciate dissecting problems rather than learning through trial and error, then this book will be highly valuable in your test prep journey.

    Expect an in-depth study aid, and prepare to be thumbing frequently between the chapters and the book’s expansive glossary. You might very well feel that you’re ready for either the GMAT or the LSAT after diving into learning about logical fallacies and cognitive traps.

    Best Free GMAT Exam Resources

    Remember: Just because a resource is free doesn’t mean that it isn’t high quality. A lot of students begin prepping for business school and start to think that the number of dollar signs in front of something is a symbol of quality. Sure, there’s often a correlation there — but cost:quality isn’t a causal relationship. Most students will use a mix of paid and free resources to prep.

    Here are the best free resources you can start using right away.

    Resource Company Why You’ll Love It
    Magoosh.com Magoosh Wide range of free resources, including study schedules, eBooks, video lessons, and practice questions.
    GMAT Math Flashcards Magoosh Available for Android, iPhone, or web. You can study anywhere.
    Beat the GMAT Beat the GMAT Forum for GMAT students and instructors. Honest reviews on GMAT prep options.
    GMAT Club GMAT Club Forum for GMAT students and instructors. Honest reviews on GMAT prep options.


     

    Finding the Best GMAT Books and Resources

    The first step in preparing for the GMAT is finding the best resources. With the welter of test prep companies touting their respective books, this first step can be downright daunting.

    Over the years, the Magoosh team has logged hundreds of hours purchasing and researching dozens of GMAT books and resources. In this article, we look at GMAT books and several additional resources, including material from GMAC, Manhattan GMAT, Nova, and Powerscore. But good GMAT study material can come from many other sources. What’s important is that you seek out as much high-quality GMAT prep as possible! If you’re looking for something more than self-study GMAT books, we recommend you check out our review of the best GMAT prep courses.

    Editor’s note: none of the following content is sponsored! Magoosh has purchased each of the best GMAT prep books reviewed below to ensure the most objective reviews possible.

    All product names, logos, and brands are property of their respective owners, and the use of these names, logos, and brands does not imply endorsement.

    Author

    • Mike MᶜGarry

      Mike served as a GMAT Expert at Magoosh, helping create hundreds of lesson videos and practice questions to help guide GMAT students to success. He was also featured as “member of the month” for over two years at GMAT Club. Mike holds an A.B. in Physics (graduating magna cum laude) and an M.T.S. in Religions of the World, both from Harvard. Beyond standardized testing, Mike has over 20 years of both private and public high school teaching experience specializing in math and physics. In his free time, Mike likes smashing foosballs into orbit, and despite having no obvious cranial deficiency, he insists on rooting for the NY Mets. Learn more about the GMAT through Mike’s Youtube video explanations and resources like What is a Good GMAT Score? and the GMAT Diagnostic Test.

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