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A beginner’s guide to GMAT Materials:
The first thing any MBA aspirant should do is visit official MBA/GMAT site …spend some 2-3 hours there. (or even 2-3 days!) & read as much as you can. The information published there is unbiased, genuine, authentic, eye-opener & myth-breaker.
Then you should download a sim CAT GMAT test available there: name is GMAT Prep; it’s of ~25MB size.
The site mba.com will help you understand: what’s GMAT in general terms, its significance, its structure and the way company conducts the test worldwide.
(I will not go into GMAT structure in detail since that’s not the purpose of this article. Let’s focus on resources/study materials for GMAT! )
You’ll obviously need some books to prepare for GMAT. GMAC, the organisation that sets GMAT test, published three books recently, known as official guides.
They are: (Follow the link to read reviews about these books)
- The Official Guide for GMAT Review, 11th Edition
- The Official Guide for GMAT Verbal Review
- The Official Guide for GMAT Quantitative Review
they are nicknamed as orange, purple and green guides respectively. (Note that the article first published in early 2007/late 2006; today OG 12th edition & 2nd edition of Verbal & Math guides are available You can check the detailed review in my GMAT books review page.)
Official guide 11th edition is THE book you should start with and end your preparation.
You should trust these guides along with GMATPrep software (mentioned in 2nd para).
Although these guides and a simulation software for CAT (computer adaptive test) are fantastic for the practice problems, they don’t provide study strategies…
In short: when it comes to problems solving in practice sessions, nothing beats above mentioned materials. But for strategies and tactics (read shortcuts! ) you need to look for some extra materials.
Other books I would recommend:
Kaplan GMAT 2008 Premier Program (w/ CD-ROM) (Kaplan Gmat (Book & CD-Rom)) (latest edition with CD : best buy /2006 edition will also do ( both are same) : comprehensive book, covers everything)
Cracking the GMAT with DVD, 2008 Edition (Graduate Test Prep) or Click here for older and cheaper version by Princeton review (Caution: it doesn’t have C A T in its DVD; good strategies & comprehensive, covers everything though )
Kaplan GRE & GMAT Exams Math Workbook: Fourth Edition (Kaplan Gmat Math Workbook) ( very elementary good for starters & weak at math : not recommended )
Kaplan GMAT 800, 2007-2008 Edition (Kaplan Gmat 800) (for advanced students who want to score higher I purchased it; caution: AWA essay section not included )
- Sentence Correction GMAT Preparation Guide (Manhattan GMAT Preparation Guides) (PURE GOLD I CANT WRITE MORE :A MUST HAVE BOOK FOR ‘weak in SC’ )
- All books from Manhattan GMAT store. Lately I have become a fan of Manhattan GMAT thanks to Stacey Koprince.
(I’ll write an article exclusively for recommended books some time soon.) By the way, these books offer good strategies to attack GMAT; they’ll show you how to approach each section and each problem individually.
But then for taking the test in one go you need to have a patience, faith and stamina. & for that, you need to take as many GMAT simulation tests/ CATs as possible.
[Note: Do not rush and sign up for just any sim CATs available on would wide web.]
Following are the GMAT prep companies you should trust: Reason : they have done enough research to come near to the real GMAT test… (still they are not as near as GMAT Prep or POWER Prep)
[Note that I am not talking about GMAT coaching institutes but the online resources for practice tests ]
- mba.com (nearest possible)
- manhattangmat.com (?near? quant tough)
- 800score.com (easier)
- kaptest.com (tough)
- pricetonreview.com (neutral)
They offer good Sim GMAT tests.
Note that I have not mentioned about other books or other sites for practice tests which simplymeans they are NOT worth your time & money. Caution: This has exception of Veritas Prep. I haven’t had chance to review their products.
Now let’s have some non-brand materials,
Materials those are freely available on cyberspace and have no copyright issues.
BeattheGMAT’s flashcard (best flashcards you could get )
Sahil’s Grammar Notes
Spidey’s Sentence Correction Notes & some more docs such as Rajat-nda’s notes.
You will get above documents anywhere online, just search around on GMAT related forums. The reason why I am so selective in mentioning about the resources is, people just take any darn test or soft copies of books available on internet just to end up in pracitsing non-GMAT questions.
Therefore I am with trusted and reputable resources. I insist…
DONT WASTE YOUR TIME IN STUDYING AND PRACTISING WRONG SETS OF PROBLEMS.
…still if you want more practice problems then download thousand series by scoretop
- 1000 SC
- 1000 CR
- 3000 RC
Again, these documents are available freely everywhere on internet. Note that documents do not have explanations to the problems. You will have to join some GMAT realated online forums to discuss those problems. I am not pro-1000 series doc as such but I feel these documents are one of a kind. You’ll never get such a great no. of questions compiled in a single document and that too absolutely free!
[OK! After some time getting into GMAT prepeparation/studying environment, you should start realising the easy methods to solve the problems, you should be able to discover some shortcuts. Key is you should examine the strategies that are discussed in prep books and use them according to your needs & study-style.] If you see these signs you know that you’re going in the right direction. All the best 🙂
Post GMAT course for getting admission into MBA programs
While prepping for GMAT you should also be aware of the b-schools you want to apply. You must have a long term plan & You should do some research on the b-schools that suits your long term goal.
For such informations you have b-schools’ own web-sites which give all information about MBA programs you desire/along with plenty of other good sites:
There are MBA admission consultants, ready to give you free advice & assessment. Check them out!
Above blogs update several times a week; keep tab on all these site & be informed. I think that’s enough for now. Feel free to comment. & yes, subscribe, spread the word! for world peace!
PS: If you like this article, you might like to take a look at this one too: GMAT in a month: strategy.