If you are reading this now, chances are you are planning to start preparing for the GMAT. It is an important and consequential decision, whether you are a fresh graduate or a corporate employee with several years of experience. The GMAT Preparation process takes a lot of time and effort. Deciding to spend your time, effort, and money on securing admission into a B-school is a significant commitment, so before you sign up for the GMAT, you should consider the exam syllabus and how you will go about preparing for it.
The GMAT syllabus is divided into a total of 4 sections, namely, Analytical Writing Assessment, Integrated Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, and Verbal Reasoning. Let us shed some light on the sections of the GMAT syllabus:
Analytical Writing Assessment
The time limit given on this assessment is 30 minutes. It includes a single essay question for the purpose of communication and argument analysis in the form of a critique.
The time limit allotted for this section is about 30 minutes. It consists of 12 multiple-choice types of questions. Graphic interpretation, multi-source reasoning, and table analysis types of questions are primarily included in this section.
The time duration allotted to complete this section is about 62 minutes. It comprises about 31 multiple choice type questions on problem-solving and data sufficiency.
The time limit provided to complete this section is about 65 minutes. It consists of 36 multiple choice-type questions involving critical reasoning, reading comprehension, and GMAT sentence correction.
How to Begin Your GMAT Preparation?
Preparing for the GMAT exam is a challenging and time-consuming activity. There are books, online courses, in-person classes, and more; that is available for a candidate at any level of their GMAT preparation. The foundation of your learning itself should be strong so that it is easier later on to achieve your desired GMAT score in the final exam. The best way to begin your GMAT preparation is by making a detailed schedule for the upcoming weeks of study.
Books are essential for the preparation for a standardised competitive exam. Whether you are looking to get into a foreign university or one within India, preparatory books are vital to your journey of securing a seat at your dream B-school. Luckily, a lot of GMAT preparation books are available, and you can find one that works for your needs and preparation strategies.
It is important to devise a strategy of your own in order to ace a competitive exam. Many GMAT test prep books even guide you through planning your own strategy around your personal schedule, so that you can maximize your study schedule. Luckily, there are several types of books available for all the stages of preparation in GMAT.
Take a look at some of the best GMAT books available for you to prepare yourself thoroughly for the GMAT.
How Do You Choose a GMAT Prep Book?
The most important question in your initial stages of GMAT preparation is, how do you choose the best GMAT prep book for your study? Here are a few parameters to consider when choosing a GMAT prep book:
- It should be an updated edition: The very first thing you should look at is whether there is an updated, latest version of the book available. The syllabus often changes, and it is important that the book you use is up to date with the latest syllabus and exam information offered by GMAC. Practice questions and mock papers will also be updated with each fresh edition.
- It should be a reputable publication: There are several books for GMAT preparation that are tried and tested in terms of quality and content. These books have been used by students worldwide, time and again, and are proven to have good quality preparation content. Make sure the book you buy is a reputable one, and if you are purchasing it online, check for reviews.
- Make sure you know what each book offers: Some GMAT prep books cover particular sections, such as Verbal Reasoning, or Quantitative Reasoning, whereas others are even more specific and focus on specific question types, such as Sentence Correction (Verbal Reasoning). Yet others only have mock papers and sample questions – if you need one of these, make sure you choose one with detailed answers and explanations. Choose a book that fits with the study plan you have devised for yourself.
- Choose multiple resources: This is a crucial tip – don’t just choose one prep book or one source of information. You can use a prep book in tandem with an online resource, or in-person classes. This will help you understand what mode of study works best for you, and what part of the preparation you should focus the most attention on.
Books to Ace Your GMAT Exam
- GMAT Official Guide 2021
The Graduate Management Admission Council or GMAC offers an official guide for GMAT aspirants known as the GMAT Official Guide, which is updated on a yearly basis. It comprises all the levels of questions, such as easy, medium, and hard. A brand new feature that this book includes is flashcards.
The 163 online flashcards are there to help you prepare better and test how much you have learned about all the concepts. The 2021 edition offers a total of 174 additional questions as a part of its online question bank. Most of the online bank questions belong to the Integrated Reasoning section. This is the most commonly used GMAT prep book, as it is offered by the test providers themselves.
- Jeff Sackmann’s Total GMAT Math
If you are someone who needs to hone their mathematical skills, the Total GMAT Math by Jeff Sackmann is a necessity for you. It acts as a great resource to gradually build up and strengthen your maths knowledge and skills. A little bit of basic math knowledge and a good foundation in mathematics will help you get through this book, as it covers all the essential topics extensively.
This book provides the simplest ways you can get an overview of all the topics without repeating the basics over and over. The only thing you need to do for the GMAT Quant section is refreshing your basic maths knowledge, and this book helps you do just that.
- GMAT for Dummies
GMAT for Dummies is a book that especially pays attention to test-taking strategies in detail. You need to plan and strategize for your test well to score high in the GMAT exam. The book is all about helping an individual through their plan for timing, guesswork, the process of elimination, and offers other tips and tricks that are helpful for performing well in a limited time frame.
It also comes with special features such as flashcards and a CD comprising a total of seven computerised practice tests. As you can see, it is the perfect guide with which you can get closer to your dream of getting into a great B-School.
Practice makes perfect, and hence, regular and timed practice tests are required to prepare for the GMAT. After garnering all the knowledge and skills from the books that are mentioned in the list above and also from GMAT books online, you should keep attempting the practice tests. As some of these books already come with practice tests, conducting timed tests at home will be accessible and convenient for you.
Apart from that, you need to set your time for the preparation and tests accordingly before the exam date comes close. Generally, an 8-week study plan is recommended, but it is wise to start preparing three months before to make sure you score well. Ultimately the goal is to get admission to the business school of your dreams, and the only way to achieve that is through diligent planning and preparation.
- What are the different sections of the GMAT exam and how are they scored?
The GMAT exam has four sections: Analytical writing assessment, Integrated reasoning, Quantitative reasoning and Verbal reasoning. The AWA section is scored on a scale of 0 to 6 with a half-point increment, the IR section is scored on a scale of 1 to 8 with a single point increment. Lastly, the quantitative reasoning section and verbal reasoning sections are scored between 0 to 60 with one point increment.
- Which is the best book to prepare for the GMAT exam?
There are several books available online and in the market that can be purchased to begin your preparation for the GMAT exam. However, it is advisable, to begin your preparations using the GMAT Official Guide 2021 that you can either purchase or receive upon registering for your GMAT exam.
- What is the validity of your GMAT score?
Your GMAT score is valid for 5 years. However, few universities may ask for a recent score depending upon their requirement. Hence, it is best to check with the admissions office of your targeted business school or university.
- Is the GMAT better than the GRE for MBA admissions?
While universities accept both the GRE and GMAT test scores as part of their admission requirements, GMAT is a more preferred test by most business schools when compared to the GRE due to its acceptability across several master courses. However, if you are uncertain about the program you wish to study, it is better to opt for the GRE since it offers greater flexibility when compared to the GMAT exam.