Top GMAT Books Rankings & Reviews

Hi there! I get way too many questions about which GMAT Books to buy. And answering them every time based on each individual’s requirement can be repetitive. So I decided to put down all the data I could collect and organize it here. Here you will find the list of TOP GMAT and MBA Admissions books. You will also find reviews (pros/cons), rankings, ratings, my recommendations and as to who should buy what! Enjoy!

These are the top GMAT Books ranked. I have considered best selling rankings at Amazon, Average ratings, activity, etc along with my judgment to rank them. The list shows the names of the book with my recommendation, people who should consider buying them and amazon ratings.

Top GMAT Books!

Rank Books Recommendation Who Should Buy? Amazon Ratings
1 The Official Guide 12th Edition VHR E 4.3
2 Manhattan GMAT Set of 8 Strategy Guides VHR WB 4.9
3 OG for GMAT Verbal Review 2nd Ed HR MP 4.2
4 PowerScore GMAT Critical Reasoning Bible HR NASP 4.7
5 Manhattan Sentence Correction GMAT VHR E 4.3
6 Kaplan GMAT 2012 Premier with CD-ROM HR E 3.8
7 OG for GMAT Quantitative Review 2nd Ed R NP 3.8
8 Advanced GMAT Quant (Gmat Strategy Guides) NA NA 4.7
9 Manhattan Word Translations HR WB 4.8
10 Kaplan GMAT 800: Advanced Prep VHR NAS 3.8
11 Manhattan Number Properties GMAT Strategy Guide HR WB 4.5
12 Princeton: Cracking the GMAT, 2011 Edition RWR BO 3.4
13 Kaplan GMAT Verbal Workbook HR NMSP 4
14 Manhattan Reading Comprehension GMAT Strategy Guide R NMSP 4.7
15 Kaplan GMAT Math Workbook RWR WB 2.9
16 Manhattan Equations, Inequalities, and VIC’s R WB 4.4
17 PowerScore GMAT Sentence Correction Bible HR NMSP 4.6
18 The Ultimate Math Refresher HR RC 4.1
19 Manhattan Critical Reasoning GMAT Strategy Guide R NMSP 4
20 Manhattan Geometry GMAT Strategy Guide R WB 4.4
21 Manhattan FDPs GMAT Strategy Guide NR WB 4.2
Legends

  • My Recommendations:
    • VHR = Very Highly Recommended
    • HR = Highly Recommended
    • R = Recommended
    • RR = Recommended with Resevations
    • NR = Not Recommended
  • Who should buy?
    • E = Everyone
    • WB = Weak Basics
    • NP = Needs More Practice
    • NMSP = Needs More Strategies and Practice
    • NASP = Needs Advanced Strategies & Practice
    • BO = Basic Overview
    • RC = Refresh Concepts
  • NA = Not Applicable (Haven’t read/reviewed)

Top MBA Admissions books

  1. Great Applications for Business School
  2. How to Get Into the Top MBA Programs
  3. The Best Business Schools’ Admissions Secrets

Reviews (Pros & Cons)

The Official Guide for GMAT Review, 12th Edition
  • Published by the creators/owners of the GMAT.
  • Access to 900+ REAL GMAT questions retired from past tests.
  • The practice questions are organized by level of difficulty.
  • Excellent for training your ears to the actual GMAT questions.
  • Contains a 100-question diagnostic test.
  • It is not a strategy guide: don’t expect solving techniques.
  • Not even a study guide: Review sections are very brief and low level.
  • Very few questions actually above 700 level: not useful for those aiming high.

OR


Kaplan GMAT 2012 Premier with CD-ROM
  • Solid review of fundamentals and essential strategies on both Verbal & Maths – BEST book for starting.
  • Great value for the money: 6 Full tests, Diagnostic Test, practice questions on CD & online Quizzes
  • Nice and easy layout of the book makes it easy for fast learning – could be finished in 2 weeks very easily.
  • Lots of online resources: 15 online video lessons, live online classes, etc.
  • A new chapter and practice questions highlighting the new 2012 Integrated Reasoning section
  • Several questions overlap with other Kaplan book
  • Highly deflated CAT scores – discouraging only if you don’t know about it.
  • Not sufficient for advanced topics: won’t cut it for 700+ dreamers.
  • Access to the online components expires after 1 year: only reason to buy a new edition.
  • Windows Vista incompatible CD-ROM – may have been fixed.

OR


Manhattan Sentence Correction Strategy Guide
  • Only GMAT relevant grammar – time saver and clutter-free.
  • Indepth review of each grammar topic.
  • Nice structure makes it easy to read and can be finished very fast.
  • Structured according to error types: easy to spot weak areas and improve them
  • Recommended for all levels of test takers – beginner to advanced.
  • Great value for money: Access to 6 online GMAT Tests online which are similar to actual GMAT.
  • Best feature is OG 12 and OG Verbal Grid corresponding to each topic.
  • Comes in Kindle Edition.
  • Very few practice questions included.

OR


The Official Guide for GMAT Verbal Review, 2nd Ed
  • 300 additional REAL questions that look and feel just like the ones on the test, at a very good price.
  • SC Manhattan lists corresponding problem from this book – Great to have both together.
  • Similar to the OG, explanations for answer choices, both correct & incorrect, are clearly formulated
  • Questions are arranged in order of difficulty – works great for tweaking weak areas.
  • Duplicates lots of questions from OG 12 and previous editions.
  • Again not 700+ level material.
  • Not a strategy or study guide. Must be accompanied with an extra Verbal Guide.

OR


Kaplan Verbal Workbook

  • Most balanced book in terms of providing strategies, basic concepts & practice problems.
  • Very useful Appendixes covering grammar, style & usage and idioms.
  • Very good strategies, especially for RC.
  • Fills the gaps in the SC Manhattan book with great sections on Usage and Idioms.
  • Good value for money: 250 questions, concepts and strategies.
  • Valuable for even ambitious or advanced test takers.
  • Duplicates lots of questions from other Kaplan books and CD-ROM.
  • CR is better covered in Kaplan GMAT 800.
  • Seems to have a random order of difficulty.

OR


The Official Guide for GMAT Quants Review, 2nd Ed
  • 300 additional REAL questions that look and feel just like the ones on the test, at a very good price.
  • Manhattan Strategy guides list corresponding problem from this book – Great to have them together.
  • Similar to the OG, explanations for answer choices, both correct & incorrect, are clearly formulated.
  • Questions are arranged in order of difficulty – works great for tweaking weak areas.
  • Again not 700+ level material.
  • Not a strategy or study guide. Must be accompanied with an extra Verbal Guide.
  • Answers are not the always the best answers. Many a times you can find easier ways.

OR


Kaplan Math Workbook

  • Condensed math reviews in one place: only reviews math concepts needed for the GMAT
  • Illustrates concepts, strategies, techniques and t raps using problems.
  • Lots questions and quizzes – good balance of study guide and question bank.
  • Targeted sections on Word problem and data sufficiency questions.
  • Again not 700+ level material.
  • No probability or combinations review: big hole which has to be filled by other sources.
  • Shame that this nice book is strewn with errors. So check for their online errata.

OR


Manhattan GMAT Strategy Guide Set (MGMAT 5 quants + 3 verbal)
  • Hands down the best set of books if you are consistently scoring poorly.
  • Number Properties, Word Translations and Sentence Correction are top-notch.
  • Great great great value for money: you save around 30% buying the set rather than individual guides.
  • Each of the 8 guides comes with access to an online database of 25 practice problems.
  • Tremendous supplement for Official Guides: grid references to the OG, OG Verbal & OG Quants.
  • Access to a lot of practice questions and 6 online tests (very good tests)
  • Nice neat tricks, if you don’t already know them.
  • Comes in Kindle Edition.
  • Again not 700+ level material – atleast for quants.
  • Requires way too much commitment and time.

OR

Kaplan GMAT 800

  • Hands down the toughest material available out there.
  • Great value for money: lots of tough and new questions.
  • Excellent RC and CR sections: best theory, techniques and question type categorization.
  • Can be finished very quickly. Structure is nice and highlights major takeaways from each problem.
  • Teaches you the concepts with the help of problems and detailed explanations.
  • Structure is dense: not for the weak hearted.
  • Not enough advanced topic problems in quants.

OR


PowerScore CR Bible

  • Detailed analysis of CR concepts, question types: Undoubtedly the best CR Prep available in the market.
  • Questions resemble the actual GMAT test: next best to OG in that respect.
  • Great explanation for answers, incorrect and correct choices.
  • Explains the process of formulating a CR question: Terrific approach.
  • Quick reference section is a great time saver: excellent as a last minute refresher.
  • Clear navigation helps get help on specific question types very easily.
  • Great resource for those aiming 720+
  • Not enough practice problems for the price you are paying: has to be used along with OG and OG Verbal
  • No free paper/CD/online tests.
  • Lacks focus on bold face CR questions.

OR


PowerScore SC Bible

  • Highly in-depth analysis of SC concepts.
  • Chapters on parts of speech: invaluable for those who struggle with English Grammar.
  • Great explanation for answers, incorrect and correct choices.
  • Nice balance between concepts, strategies and problems.
  • Clear navigation helps get help on specific question types very easily.
  • Great resource for those aiming 720+
  • Not enough practice problems for the price you are paying: has to be used along with OG and OG Verbal
  • No free paper/CD/online tests.
  • Might feel like more on rules, less on strategy.

OR


Manhattan Test Simulation Booklet

  • I wish I had used these. I think it’s a must have for anyone set out to destroy the GMAT.
  • The booklet and pen are exact replicas of what you will get at the Test Center!
  • Helps you get used to scribbling while solving questions on a dry-erase board with a dry-erase marker pen: not easy!
  • Helps you overcome some level of anxiety
 

OR

GMATing Top Picks!

18 Comments

  1. Hi Mukul,

    Very nice and informative website. Can you please tell me what should I refer if I want only practice test and exams for the next two weeks. I’ve my GMAT in month end. I want to only practice and practice. Any online test packs that I must buy? or any Book or CD which has only practice tests? (obviously apart from the ones that you have already mentioned)

    Thanks
    Debjeet

  2. Don’t forget to have a look at the Spidey SC notes. Contains some common GMAT SC question types and traps.

  3. Debjeet, you can purchase test packs from Manhattan, Princeton review or Kaplan.
    Or you could try the Grockit website, it has a huge trove of customizable questions which you can use for free on a 3 day trial basis and then go on to purchase a login if you like it.

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    Nearly 900 management institutes all over the world (almost all of them in the US) require GMAT scores from each applicant. The GMAT tests the fundamental skills – Reasoning and Comprehension included – and does not require any subject-specific theoretical study.

    The test is designed in such a way that it would be unlike any other test you would have taken at school or college. First, the test has no question paper or answer sheets, nor does it have the same set of questions for all the examinees. Further, it does not give you the option of not answering a question (unless, of course, you run out of time at the end). All this because the GMAT is now an entirely Computer based test – the keyboard and mouse do the work of a pen or pencil. The test is scored out of 800 (in multiples of 10), and most scores fall in the range of 500-600. However, a score of even 800 is not unheard of!

  5. Hi Mukul,

    Accidently, i came to ur blog, and i found it to be very interesting and inspiring as well. I will be taking the long journey to crack the GMAT in a couple of days. I want to know a couple of books for Math prep. I went thru your list of books but could not come to a conclusion. Please suggest me books for Math Prep.
    Thanks,
    Durgesh

  6. HI Mukul,

    I have an overall work-ex of 6+yrs in IT. I am now planning to give GMAT for further avenues in life. I have certain questions tough if you could guide please…

    1) I generally have times on weekends as opposed to weekdays. In that case how much time would I require to complete the GMAT study?

    2) I wanna start from scratch, obviously since have not been in touch with studies since work. I also have gone through the reviews given for various study material. What would you suggest me as a starting material that would make my base strong along with problem solving strategies so that I can later think of advanced material?

    Thanks

  7. i want to appear for GMAT.. which books should i refer?? m studying B.E. in computer science in india.. pls do gv me a suitable reply as soon as possible..

  8. The one thing I would add to your post is that both the Official Guide and the Manhattan GMAT books have been updated.

  9. Hi Mukul,

    I am planing to start my prep for GMAT. I have no time constraints. I want to get 750+ in my GMAT, I have seen blogs and surfed a bit over the internet. I am a starter and have no experience with GMAT/GRE in any way. I am planning to buy latest Manhattan 8 book series and latest OG. Do you think, If i practice rigorously through just these 2, can i get my 750+ ?

    Thanks,
    Gaurav

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