1,467 of 1,475 people found the following review helpful
on January 29, 2006
The secret for the GMAT is practice and stamina.
For my own preparation, I used The Princeton Review, Kaplan's Book and ETS' The Official Guide for GMAT Review.
I will go through the advantages and disadvantages of each, and explain why The Official Guide for GMAT Review was the best of the three and why you should give it more time than the others.
- Good review sections (both quantitative and verbal)
- Practice tests similar to the GMAT
- Online tests are easy to review
- Provides you with a test strategy on how to crack the questions
- Explicitly advises you to practice also with The Official Guide for GMAT Review
- Does not explain why a choice is wrong
- Not enough practice questions
- Good quantitative review sections (appendix was great)
- Interactive software for reviewing the Kaplan GMAT strategies
- Practice tests similar to the GMAT
- Practice tests and sections are difficult, this creates in you a sense of urgency
- Plenty of practice questions
- The software interface is old and slow, you are left to work with a little box on the screen
- Practice tests and sections' answer choices are not very well explained
- The questions are far fetched and do not fall in the spirit of the GMAT, this might lead you the wrong path
The Official Guide for GMAT Review:
- More than plenty of practice questions
- You might get the same or similar questions on the GMAT (like I did)
- The practice questions are organized by level of difficulty, the last ones are the most difficult
- Free PowerPrep software that has two practice tests exactly similar to the GMAT in look and feel (free online tests at the mba dot com website [...])
- The practice questions reveal actual GMAT test patterns
- Absence of test taking techniques
- The skills review sections are poor
- Only the last 200 questions in every practice section will be like the ones you will see on the GMAT (unless you perform poorly)
This Official Guide from GMAC should be the cornerstone of your preparation, simply because the questions are from past tests and are very thoroughly researched. This will allow you to develop insight into the test mentality.
Equally important the correct and the wrong answer choices for each question are explained in detail. You will learn the various ways used to lead you in error and consequently, you will develop the feel to spot and eliminate wrong answers.
The rules of grammar on which the GMAT Sentence Correction questions are based are best outlined in this guide. I had a lot of difficulty with the Verbal section until I read through the explanations here.
Overall, this book shows you all the tricks of the GMAT. I did not have bad surprises when I took the actual test; it seemed that I had seen all the questions before.
190 of 191 people found the following review helpful
on March 20, 2007
This book, coupled with the Official GMAT Verbal and Quant Review Guides (by the same company, GMAC) is enough to give you a thorough understanding, of the type of questions that can be expected in the GMAT and the reasoning needed to answer them correctly. I found the reasoning provided with each answer, especially useful. Another nice thing about these books is that the questions are arranged in increasing order of difficulty. So, if you find some questions very easy, just jump a few questions forward. The only setback with these books is that they do not give detailed explanations in the 'concepts review sections'.
You will need to turn to other books/websites to get tips and tricks for the exam. I recommend Princeton for this purpose: The Princeton guide gave me very clear and effective test taking strategies that helped me a lot. I highly recommend NOT USING Kaplan, especially to take practice tests. The scoring is very tough, and you are tested in areas that are absolutely unnecessary for the GMAT. Also, very low scores on these tests are discouraging. I highly recommend taking the two Powerprep practice tests available for download from the GMAC website. These tests consist of 'retired' GMAT questions, and are very much identical to the actual GMAT. Your scoring on these tests would be identical to your actual GMAT score.
My practice scores are as below (in chronological order):
Powerprep Test 1: 630 (35 days before my GMAT)
Princeton Test 1: 650
Kaplan Test 1: 600
Princeton Test 2: 670
Princeton Test 3: 700
Princeton Test 4: 720
Kaplan Test 2: 530 (One day before my GMAT - Very, very discouraging!!)
Powerprep Test 2: 750 (One day before my GMAT)
Powerprep Test 3 (Reinstalled): 760 (with some repetitions from Powerprep Test 2)
GMAT: 750 (Verbal 40, Quant 50)
My GMAT Prep consisted of lots and lots of practice, analysis of my practice test results, and noting down where I erred, and making sure that I did not repeat my mistakes.
111 of 113 people found the following review helpful
on February 21, 2008
After 3 months of study, I just took the GMAT last week. This is my first and only attempt at the GMAT-CAT. In fact this is the first standardized test I have taken in 12 years. Overall I am happy with my score (770 Q51 V44).
The only study materials I used were:
- Official 11th Edition
- Official Verbal Review Guide
- Official Quant Review Guide
- Official GMATPrep Software (sent to you once you schedule your test)
- Manhattan GMAT Guides (reviewed for techniques only)
The three official books are the absolute bible for sample problems. I am a firm believer in quality over quantity. I NEVER did any problem that was not provided by the real GMAT company...NONE. Using problems written by other vendors is not needed, and could be counter productive. I would rather fully understand 200 official problems, than slog through 1000 non-official problems.
- First master all the problems in the printed official guides (11th, Verbal Guide, Quant Guide). NOTE: Getting the correct answer is not the same as "mastering" a question.
- Any problem you miss or find changing, repeat many times (even after you may have memorized the answer). Keep repeating the problems, until the basic skill is fully understood.
- Keep accurate records every time you do a problem (correct / incorrect, easy / challenging / stuck).
- Focus on core concepts. In truth, the GMAT tests very few concepts, but will use these simple building blocks to construct an unlimited number of tricky problems. Know the core concepts, become aware of the tricks, and the rest is timing.
- Only once the printed materials are exhausted (took me about 2 months), then you should "graduate" to the GMATPrep software. This should be used mostly for developing timing skills. In the end, you need to gain the confidence to flex your time during the actual test. You should be able to answer simple questions quickly, so you can invest more time in higher value problems.
This book is not a problem solving technique book. You will not find tips and tricks. Basically this is book should be considered a "question bank". In the quantitative section it will provide the questions and an answer key...period. For the verbal section, it will provide very useful detailed explanations of the correct answers. If you are you looking for a book on techniques, I would recommend the well organized Manhattan book set.
Bottom-line: you need this book for any serious attempt at the GMAT.
33 of 33 people found the following review helpful
on September 12, 2007
Here's how one old geezer (47 y/o) prepped for the GMAT. I started in late June 07 and first bought the Princeton Cracking the GMAT and Math Workout books. I worked through all the quantitative sections in those books and skimmed the verbal (I am far weaker in math than verbal). That took about a month. Then I bought the GMAT Official Guide and again worked through the quantitative areas and skimmed the verbal. That took another 4 weeks. In the meantime I had signed up for the test and received the GMAT prep software. I took the first practice test in mid-July and scored 560. That was fine with me because I only needed to score 500 or better to get into the grad program I wanted. When I completed the Official Guide (about three weeks later) I took the second practice test and scored 680. I reviewed certain math topics for another two weeks and took the test Sept 6. My official score was 670, not Harvard-worthy but plenty good for someone who took their last math class twenty years ago. So my advice in a nutshell is use the Princeton books, the Official Guide and take both tests on the GMATprep software. The practice tests are great for acclimating yourself to the actual test taking environment and learning how to pace yourself. And don't be afraid to guess on math questions- a wild guess is better than taking 5 minutes to work out one problem. Good Luck- believe me, if I can do it you can too.
203 of 231 people found the following review helpful
on November 3, 2005
The previous comment about all questions in RC and CR being the same is incorrect. There are definitely new questions in both the Reading Comp and Critical Reasoning sections (I would say at least half the RC passages are new whe compared to the 10th edition). That said, there are a few things for any person preparing for the GMAT to consider.
Do you already have the 10th Edition?
If you do, this might not be necessary. There are less questions in the 11th Edition than the 10th Edition overall. One reason for you to HAVE to take the new version over the 10th is that you have used up all the questions in the old book.
Its way more expensive than the older version. Originally the 11th edition guide was set for $32.95 retail (pre-release stated price)but now, the website and everywhere else is pricing it at $36.95. Again, unless you have done all the questions in the 10th edition, or can't get your hands on the 10th edition anywhere, you might want to consider the 10th rather than the new.
Supposedly, the explanations for the answer choices have gotten better. I have yet to review the answer choices, but i must say that the answer explanations, in the 10th Ed, in nearly all the Verbal sections were absolutely useless. If you used their methodologies to arrive at the answer, you are more likely to hurt yourself than to help yourself. The explanations in the 10th edition were not systematic, so it always relied on internal logic for each question. More often than not, GMAT questions are similar to one another and I am sure the people at ETS (The people who wrote this book) knew that, but they seem hesitant to reveal the "tricks".
Overall it's not a bad book. Considering I been staring at my green/blue 10th edition for so many years, its nice to see a bright orange cover and nicer paper material inside the new book.
As for actual functionality, if you have a guided instructor, the 10th and 11th edition might not be that big of a difference. If you are working alone, and the rumors are true about better answer explanations, then you might benefit from the 11th Ed.
Irregardless of which one you decide, I really want to emphasize - all GMAT students MUST practice with the Official Guide. There is nothing out there that develops "air-tight" questions free from inconsistencies like the GMAT does. You can always use additional questions from various vendors as supplements, but the Official Guide is a must for your foundational GMAT preparation.
27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on February 17, 2006
Don't panic if you get low scores on Powerprep practice exam. Check out my scores:
Kaplan (first try): 530
Powerprep 1: 600
Powerprep 2: 590
Powerprep 3: 610
Actual GMAT score: 670 (88th percentile)
This book is GREAT practice, as the problems are all old GMAT problems. Keep in mind that the HARD problems are in the last 100 questions of each section. The easy ones are in the first couple hundred, and might waste your time.
This book has answer explanations, but NO tips or tricks. Definitely use this book along with the Kaplan and/or Princeton review books. The tips and tricks are what help you solve the tricky problems in the limited time available.
31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
on October 31, 2006
I just took the GMAT and used this book and the Kaplan 2007 book (and CD) to study. I would definitely recommend starting and ending with this book (and use the Kaplan one in between for its larger qty of questions and tests). I started with the diagnostic test and then worked through the sample questions. I found the practice tests to be excellent at reproducing the actual GMAT, both in the type of questions and the scores (I got a 760 on the GMAT and a 770 and 720 on the practice tests). Unfortunately, there are only two tests, which is why I used the Kaplan book for more practice. Kaplan was good for practicing your speed, but it's not very good at teaching you the concepts you need to know. It completely missed some math topics, and tested you extensively on things you didn't need to know. Also, the verbal section of Kaplan is crap...the sentences are poorly worded (and sometimes just wrong) and it's frustrating if you're trying to figure out what good english should be like (since I wasn't educated in an ivy league, my spoken english can be rather...bush-like). It's also very frustrating/discouraging because my scores on the practice tests were between 550 and 650. My recommendation is to start with this book to get a feel for things, then use Kaplan for mass quantities of stuyding, and then finish up your studying with this book again so everything that you actually need to know is fresh on your mind for the test.
22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on August 14, 2006
Weighing in with over 800 pages, 800 practice questions and answers, and a bright orange cover, this book is the best twenty-two bucks you'll spend on preparing for the GMAT, hands down. When you're in the market for practice questions, your number one priority is authenticity. Since the Official Guide is written by the same folks who write the test itself, it doesn't get any better than this.
There are some drawbacks. The section overviews are well-nigh worthless, and the explanations are often opaque. You'll never find the "faster way" in this book, but if you're working with a tutor, that's what he or she is for. The book claims that questions are organized by difficulty level, but there are no markers to indicate what those difficulty levels are; also, I suspect they are organized only in the most general manner.
Most students will start with the Diagnostic Test (section 3), which is actually one of the more challenging parts of the book. The questions, on average, are set at about the level of a 600-650 test taker. Because the diagnostic is not adaptive, your score (the book provides a conversion table) is not all that predictive of how you'd do on the computer-based GMAT.
In other words, this book is far from being the perfect GMAT resource, but because it is the one location where you'll find hundreds of authentic test questions, it's a must have. It should be at the center of your preparation from day one.
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on August 23, 2007
I recently went through the whole GMAT experience. I purchased this book and borrowed the Princeton Review 2006 edition. The Princeton Review book is great for preparing for the test. It especially helped on the Sentence Correction Section and gave some good insight on the Critical Reasoning and Reading Comprehension. The book also gives a very good math review. While there were a couple of items that I felt like it missed, it is still by far the best Math Review out there. I read the Princeton review book first and did all the practice questions in it first. As for the practice exams, I felt that they were very accurate and on the same level as the real GMAT. I received two 710s on the Princeton Review practice exams. I also got this Official Guide. It has lots of questions as advertised. The review sections were pretty weak. The one major thing it does provide is insight to how the test makers think. When reviewing their answer explanations, you start to build up an idea of their logic. It helps come test day. I also used the GMATPrep software to take a practice exam 2 days before the test and scored a 730 on it. On test day, I felt fully prepared. When you are finishing it, you feel like you did worse than you really did. In the end, I got a 760 which I am happy about. I could not have got this score without both books. If you just need a decent score and are only going to spend money on 1 book, I would buy the 2006 Princeton Review edition. If you are striving for the best, get both. Good luck!
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on June 12, 2008
If you're taking the GMAT, you must work through this book. I made the mistake of buying every study guide out there (Kaplan, Princeton Review, Barron's...), but on the day that I walked into the test center, the Official Guide was the only book that I had used.
I took the GMAT a single time and scored a 770. Here's how I did it:
1. I bought the Official Guide.
2. I bought Jeff Sackmann's two e-books, The "GMAT Math Bible" and the "Official Guide to GMAT Review" and used them to work through each problem in the Official Guide.[...]
3. When doing a set of problems from the Official Guide, usually 10 to 15 at a time, I timed myself. Anytime I took longer than 2 minutes to complete a a problem or I got it wrong, I read Sackmann's explanation and re-did the question from scratch.
4. I worked through the Math Bible methodically, trying to do at least one full chapter a night.
5. Six weeks before I took the test, I[...] This is the official site of the GMAC, and the only place that you can access these two practice tests that use the same scoring logarithm as the actual test. Two weeks before my test date, I took the second practice test.
All in all, I spent about two months studying for 1-3 hours a day - and I work full-time, so it wasn't easy. But it was worth it. You *need* the Official Guide if you're studying because it's the only resource with actual questions from the GMAT. The rest of the books out there use made-up problems and many of them aren't very accurate. Because the Official Guide doesn't rate each problem's difficulty, you should consider a companion book (like the ones mentioned above) that rate the problems and offer better explanations.