GMAT test-takers often ask about reading materials that help prepare them for the Reading Comp section of the test. While we always remind them that the reading comprehension section, at heart, is about reference and not real reading, we also acknowledge that for those who have been working too hard to pick up a book or magazine, it can be enormously helpful to re-catch the reading bug.
Here is a list of Knewton’s suggestions for real-world reading comprehension practice.
1. Magazines and Newspapers:
Magazines, newspapers and journal articles are closer in tone and length to the GMAT than are full-length books. Furthermore, each article is about a different topic, which means readers must pick up the main idea, purpose and attitude of the article within a few hundred words, a key skill on the GMAT.
As an added bonus, all of the magazines and papers listed below have websites or web archives that can be accessed without leaving the computer, many of which are free.
- New Scientist
- Science News
- Popular Mechanics
- Scientific American
- Times of London science
- Newsweek Business
- Times of London Money section
- Financial Times
- Harvard Business Review
- Wall Street Journal
- Fast Company
- Washington Post
- Foreign Affairs
- Atlantic Monthly
- New Republic
- New Yorker
- NY Review of Books
- National Geographic
Although just about any high-level reading will help test-takers sharpen their reading skills, we recommend that you pick up books which cover a wide variety of material in relatively short bursts, rather than those that encourage long, sustained reading in which you must remember lots of information. Short, focused, reading on a variety of topics mirrors the reading comprehension skills tested on the GMAT.
- The Ten Most Beautiful Experiments (Vintage) by George Johnson
- The Duck That Won the Lottery: 100 New Experiments for the Armchair Philosopher by Julian Baggini
- Days That Changed the World: The Defining Moments in World History by Hywel Williams
- The 100: A Ranking Of The Most Influential Persons In History by Michael H. Hart
- The 101 Most Influential People Who Never Lived: How Characters of Fiction, Myth, Legends, Television, and Movies Have Shaped Our Society… by Dan Karlan, Allan Lazar, and Jeremy Salter
- 100 Most Influential Books Ever Written: The History of Thought From Ancient Times to Today by Martin Seymour-Smith
- New Ideas from Dead Economists: An Introduction to Modern Economic Thought by Todd G. Buchholz and Martin Feldstein
- New Ideas from Dead CEOs: Lasting Lessons from the Corner Office by Todd G. Buchholz
- The Worldly Philosophers: The Lives, Times And Ideas Of The Great Economic Thinkers [7th Edition] by Robert L. Heilbroner
- HBR Case Studies: Keeping Strategy on Track (Harvard Business Review Case Studies) by Harvard Business Press
- HBR Case Studies: Making Change Stick (Harvard Business Review Case Studies) by Harvard Business Press
Finally, if you want to get a head start of business school, here is an excellent list of business books from Inc. Magazine. Practice reading while learning business; the best of both worlds!