If you don’t have regular access to a computer or another web-enabled device, or if you simply like using pen and paper, studying with a GMAT PDF can be another way to prepare on your GMAT preparation journey.
There aren’t many high quality GMAT PDF resources out there, but in this guide, I’ll give you links to some of the best ones across a number of categories. I’ll also talk about the pros and cons of using a GMAT PDF as you’re preparing to take the GMAT.
GMAT PDFs Overview
There aren’t many GMAT study guide PDF resources out there, and for good reason. The GMAT is a computer-adaptive test, which means that you’ll take the official GMAT on a computer at a testing center. For this reason, most GMAT prep resources are found online or have heavy online components.
While there aren’t many GMAT PDF resources out there, there are a handful of good ones that you can use in your prep. Before I talk to you about what those are, let’s learn a little bit more about using GMAT PDFs.
What Are the Pros and Cons of Using a GMAT PDF?
I’ll be honest – the cons of using a GMAT PDF vastly outweigh the pros. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t use one, however. Just keep these pros and cons in mind as you’re thinking about whether or not to use a GMAT PDF. Here are a few of the pros and cons of using PDFs in your GMAT study plans.
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Pros of Using a GMAT PDF
There aren’t many pros to using a PDF to study for the GMAT, as I discussed before. Here are a couple that may, however, convince you to use them in your prep.
#1: You Can Use a GMAT PDF Any Time, Any Place
GMAT PDFs are highly portable. Simply print them out, and you can pack them easily in your backpack or purse. It’s easier to pull out a few pages of paper than it is to lug around a computer, so if you’re often on the go and want some easy review materials, PDFs are a great supplement to carry with you.
#2: You Don’t Need a Computer to Use a GMAT PDF
If you don’t have reliable access to a computer or Internet, using a PDF will help you continue to practice without the web. If you’re a test-taker who can’t get to a computer while you’re studying, print out a few PDFs to work on. You’ll have access to practice questions and test strategies that will help you improve.
Cons of Using a GMAT PDF
There are many cons to using PDFs to study for the GMAT. Here are the three biggest.
#1: GMAT PDFs Don’t Prepare You for the Computerized Aspect of the GMAT
Perhaps the biggest con of using PDFs to prepare for the GMAT is that PDFs don’t prepare you for the computerized aspect of the GMAT. As I mentioned before, you’ll have to take the GMAT on a computer, so practicing on a computer is key to increasing your comfort and understanding of the test before test day. It’s a good idea to take at least a few practice tests on a computer before test day, or you’ll waste a lot of time trying to familiarize yourself with the mechanics of working the computer.
#2: There’s Not A Great Range of PDF Resources Available
While there are many different books and online resources available to help you prepare for the GMAT, there aren’t many GMAT PDF resources around. You’re mainly limited to short GMAT Ebook free downloads, brief content reviews (like math formula lists), or flashcards. It’s hard to find a comprehensive review for the GMAT available in PDF form and you certainly won’t get into a lot of depth on any single GMAT topic by only using PDFs.
#3: There Are Not Many High Quality GMAT PDF Resources Available
Building off of my previous point, while there aren’t many GMAT PDFs out there to begin with, there are even fewer high quality GMAT PDF resources available. Most of the reputable prep companies offer resources in print or online – not as PDFs. The vast majority of PDF resources that you’ll find from prep companies are mainly advertisements for their print or online services. A lot of other PDFs come from unknown sources, which mean it’s hard to assess their quality.
What Makes a Helpful GMAT PDF?
As with any GMAT prep resource, you want to make sure that you’re using a high quality resource so that you’re well-prepared for the test. A helpful GMAT PDF should have accurate, high quality questions, clear instructions, and should easily fit into your GMAT prep plans. In the next few sections, I’ll offer some recommendations for helpful GMAT PDFs you can use.
Best GMAT Practice Test PDFs
Taking full-length practice tests is an important part of your GMAT prep. It builds your endurance for test day and helps you get used to seeing all the content on the GMAT in one sitting. Unfortunately, there aren’t many high-quality GMAT sample questions PDF resources, especially full-length tests, out there.
GMATClub’s Full-Length GMAT Practice Test PDF Set
There aren’t many full length GMAT practice PDFs available, and for good reason. Taking a computerized adaptive test (CAT) is an important part of preparing you for the test. While a full length PDF may test the same content and be the same length as a computerized GMAT, it’s important to get the full experience of taking the GMAT online.
However, you can use GMATClub’s full length GMAT practice test PDF set to practice a full-length test if you don’t have access to a computer or to build a question bank of questions to practice using pen and paper. This resource has compiled 10 full-length GMAT practice test PDFs into one document. GMATClub is known for aggregating high quality resources that are often peer-reviewed by members of the forum.
Best GMAT Study Guide PDFs
Study guides can help you focus on one specific area of the GMAT, such as quantitative formulas. GMAT PDF study guides are a good way to work on one skill or skill area without having to purchase a book.
PrepScholar GMAT Quant Math Formulas
Our math formulas GMAT study guide PDF (link coming soon!) takes you through all of the most important formulas you should memorize for the GMAT. You won’t get an equation cheat sheet on the GMAT, so it’s important to memorize these formulas ahead of time.
This resource only gives you the formulas; it doesn’t show you how to use them in the context of GMAT quant questions. You’ll need to supplement this PDF with other quant practice in order to prepare for the GMAT.
GMATClub GMAT Math Book
The GMATClub GMAT Free Math Ebook covers every important math concept that you’ll see on the GMAT. You’ll find explanations of the major content concepts the GMAT quant section will cover, as well as sample questions for each.
This GMAT study guide PDF doesn’t go into huge depth and the questions aren’t adaptive, but as I mentioned before, GMATClub is known for its high quality resources. You can also find a huge community of users in their online forum, which means that if you have questions about this resource, you can ask questions and get answers from the people who wrote it.
GMAC’S GMAT Handbook
GMAC’s GMAT Handbook is a GMAT ebook free download that takes you through everything you need to know about getting ready for the exam. It has helpful checklists of items to remember before and after the test, including registering, making a study plan, and sending your scores to schools.
If you’re unfamiliar with the basics of registering for the GMAT, crafting a study plan, and sharing your scores, this e-book will help you get started and give you useful suggestions of other resources to check out. If you’re already familiar with the mechanics of the GMAT, you can skip this one.
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Best GMAT Flashcard PDFs
Flashcards are a great tool to help your prep. You can use flashcards anytime, anywhere, to review quick concepts, like math formulas or idioms.
Beat the GMAT’s Downloadable GMAT Flashcards
Beat the GMAT offers free, downloadable flashcards in PDF form for both the GMAT quant and GMAT verbal sections. You’ll have to register for an account to download these flashcards.
GMAT Club’s Downloadable GMAT Flashcards
GMATClub offers free, downloadable flashcards in PDF form for both the GMAT quant and GMAT verbal sections. You’ll have to register for an account to download these flashcards.
Review: Using GMAT PDFs for Your Prep
While PDFs aren’t a traditional resource to use when preparing for the GMAT, there are a handful of PDFs out there that can help supplement your prep if you don’t have easy access to a web-enabled device.
Make sure you’re using high quality PDFs when practicing, so that you’re well-prepared with accurate information.
If PDFs aren’t your style, there are plenty of other resources out there to help you prepare for the GMAT, and we’ve reviewed them all! Check out our guides to the best GMAT books, the best free GMAT resources, and the best online GMAT resources (link coming soon!), just to name a few.
If the thought of using your GMAT flashcards PDF has you raring to go, make sure you check out our guide which explains the best way to use flashcards to boost your studying.
If cost is a concern, don’t worry. There are plenty of free GMAT prep resources that you can use as you prepare to take the test. Check out our guide to some of the best free GMAT prep resources for more information.