Preparing for the GMAT Focus Edition is not a simple task. While practice questions are important, it’s crucial to think in detail about test-taking strategies, as well as the theory around certain question types.
Luckily, there are many GMAT Focus Edition prep books available which will help you ace the all-important business school admission exam.
Here are five of the best GMAT Focus Edition prep books that will help you achieve a top GMAT score:
1. The GMAT Focus Official Guide
The GMAT Focus Official Guide is the number one book you cannot do without.
There is no substitute for the real GMAT Focus Edition questions in the Official Guide to help build up your understanding and intuition. There are patterns in real GMAT Focus Edition questions that are missing in questions devised by test prep companies, so much so that a seasoned GMAT coach is often able to tell real questions from imitation ones.
Part of the learning process is going over questions to deepen your understanding of concepts. From critical reasoning to reading comprehension, the book takes you through problems as well as detailed explanations to the solutions.
2. The Critical Reasoning Bible (PowerScore)
The PowerScore Critical Reasoning Bible comes highly recommended. This in-depth guide is packed with theory and mini-drills to get your head around Critical Reasoning concepts.
It covers all the strategies you’ll need for the different Critical Reasoning question types and provides good explanations to solve questions. It is well worth your time if you want to boost your Critical Reasoning understanding and score.
3. All the GMAT guides (Manhattan Prep)
Manhattan Prep's All the GMAT guides have a reputation as strong GMAT preparation resources. They provide a deep dive into each section and give a breakdown of questions. They are also relatively well laid out and easy to read, unlike many other good but unfriendlier GMAT Focus Edition resources.
The Manhattan Prep guides' weakness is that they have not been updated since the GMAT switched to the GMAT Focus Edition format in February 2024. They therefore require some adapting to the new test format, namely skipping any content related to the elements that have been removed from the test, namely:
- Sentence correction in the Verbal section
- The Analytical Writing Assessment
- Geometry in the Quant section
This therefore impacts value for money compared to official prep guides.
4. Total GMAT Math (Jeff Sackmann)
Sackmann’s Total GMAT Math falls firmly into the good but unfriendlier category. It is a great resource to build up your maths knowledge.
It covers topics extensively, but you’ll need a good foundation to get value from this book. If you are rusty with math, or you need to go over the basics, this book might leave you confused and intimidated rather than enlightened.
For those test-takers who don’t come to their GMAT Focus Edition prep with a good math foundation, Foundations of GMAT Math (Manhattan Prep) can help you fill in the gaps. It is a good refresher of math concepts, to kick off your studies by going over the basics. Note that this book only works as a foundational tool, and is not enough to really unpack all the strategies you’ll need for Quant. It also requires the same adaptation to the newer format as Manhattan Prep's complete guide.
5. GMAT Prep Plus (Kaplan)
If you are looking to better understand and improve your overall score, GMAT Prep Plus by Kaplan is another great resource.
It offers drills on every math topic, in addition to Concept Checks throughout to ensure you've mastered the key challenges of the test. It also comes with six computer-adaptive practice tests to help you arrive confident and prepared on test day.