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119 of 123 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 13 Edition Review: Not a Guidebook but an excellent source of Real GMAT Questions, March 21, 2012
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This review is from: The Official Guide for GMAT Review (Paperback)
I started GMAT Club - online MBA community; my GMAT score is 750 (49, 42), and here are my thoughts about this book:

~~~ Strengths ~~~
1. 907 real GMAT questions retired from past tests (158 new questions in this edition). The total has not changed
2. Practice questions are organized by level of difficulty
3. Practice questions follow actual GMAT test patterns (it's great to have one's ear trained, esp. in verbal)
4. Contains a 100-question diagnostic test
5. Overview of the Integrated Reasoning section (50 questions)

~~~ Weaknesses ~~~
1. Does not include any test-taking strategies
2. Though it has a few short review sections for each area, they are weak and very unfriendly
3. Questions are predominantly low to medium in difficulty which is often not representative of questions one encounters on the test
4. There is an 83% overlap with the previous edition (12th edition). Compared to 66% overlap between OG 12 and OG 11

~~~ Contents (number of questions per section)~~~
1. Diagnostic Test - 100 questions
2. Problem Solving - 230 questions
3. Data Sufficiency - 174 questions
4. Reading Comprehension - 139 questions
5. Critical Reasoning - 124 questions
6. Sentence Correction - 140 questions
7. Integrated Reasoning - 50 questions (not included in the 907 count)

~~~ What Questions Are New? ~~~
* Problem Solving
12, 13, 14, 15, 37, 49, 56, 57, 60, 61, 69, 71, 75, 77, 78, 79, 80, 81, 91, 92, 108, 110, 112, 113, 114, 117, 118, 119, 127, 128, 129, 137, 158, 163, 166, 170, 177, 178, 182, 183, 196, 198, 199, 218, 229.

* Data Sufficiency
11, 15, 18, 20, 23, 24, 25, 29, 32, 33, 34, 37, 39, 41, 42, 52, 57, 65, 70, 74, 75, 79, 80, 83, 85, 92, 96, 97, 99, 102, 109, 123, 131, 133, 141.

* Critical Reasoning
1, 3, 6, 8, 9, 11, 12, 17, 19, 22, 29, 33, 39, 49, 59, 65, 69, 74, 81, 86, 94, 100, 106, 114, 124

* Reading Comprehension
Passage 1 (Questions 1-4), Passages 4&5 (Questions 11-17), Passage 9 (Questions 37-41), Passage 12 (Questions 52-55), Passage 17 (Questions 84-86), Passage 22 (Questions 111-114)

* Sentence Correction
1, 2, 4, 7, 9, 15, 19, 26, 35, 38, 40, 48, 56, 65, 68, 71, 74, 79, 87, 97, 107, 111, 114, 132, 138

*** Why is this book valuable/must-have?
The Official Guide is published by the creators of the GMAT and therefore it is the only source of actual GMAT questions representative of what you will see on the test.

*** Why is the book not sufficient by itself?
This Guide contains only questions and lacks insightful information about the test, a math/verbal concept review section, or any test-taking strategies. To get up to speed, you will need to get a study guide such as Kaplan Premier Program or Manhattan GMAT's 8 guides.

*** How should this book be used?
This book should NOT be used as a study-guide. It is a collection of questions - think of it as a way to practice your test-taking strategies but not a way to learn them.

*** What if I own a previous edition of this book?
If you have the 12th edition, the only differences between the two are 157 new questions and IR section overview (there is an online companion for IR). Most test-takers agree that 157 new questions is not a compelling enough reason to own both editions, as the 12th edition offers enough practice. However, if you are taking the test after June 5th, you do want this book for the IR section.

*** What is a recommended study plan using The Official Guide?
There are a number of approaches that work - here is one that most find reasonable:

Step 1: Buy a GMAT Guide from Kaplan (will take about a month to cover it). Get familiar with the test and brush up on fundamentals (math and grammar); also these books will give you a good base for test-taking and timing strategies. This is enough for a 600-level score. I would also recommend to everyone to get GMAT Roadmap by MGMAT. It is a great book packed with common sense and student wisdom on how to best approach the GMAT.

Step 2: Take a GMAT Prep (2 free tests downloadable from - but don't waste these; these are free but very valuable tests. Take 1 after you go through the Guidebooks and save the second one for later. These tests will be representative of your GMAT score (plus/minus 40 points).

Step 3: (Optional - if you want a 650+ score) Get a specialized Math and/or Verbal workbook from Kaplan, the 8-book set form Manhattan GMAT, or Veritas Prep Guides and do a deep dive into the fundamentals - this is what will help you crack the test - solid knowledge of Math and Grammar. You should also look into the MGMAT Foundations of GMAT Verbal and MGMAT Foundations of GMAT Math.

Step 4: By now you should have a good understanding of question patterns, strategies, and timing. Start working on the Official Guide and honing your skills - this is especially important for Critical Reasoning questions that have certain unspoken patterns and rules that only the Official Guide offers - work through the questions to train your ear. Keep in mind that these questions are on the easier side if you are aiming for 650+.

*** What are some of the good study suggestions?
- Start with a practice test (diagnostic test)
- You need quality time. It is really the quality time (morning for some and evening for others) that provides the most retention and results
- Don't skip or move past a section until you're able to solve 90% of the questions correctly (timed of course). That is if you want 700+
- Never solve questions without timing yourself (unless it is quick drills)
- Don't jump into the hardest areas first - build confidence instead with what you know and can demonstrate progress at
- Start every new day with the review of what you have learned the day before
- Make notes for everything you cover - it helps tremendously to retain what you have learned even though you may never read them. The process of making notes is a very helpful learning experience. If nothing else works - use it
- Finally, your practice tests are a usually a very good indicator of your performance. If you are getting 600 on your practice tests, there is about a 2% chance that you will get a 700 score. Do not be surprised when you score on real test a 600

Any questions, please ask away - I reply to comments!
Good luck on your test,
BB, GMAT 750 (49, 42)
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Tracked by 5 customers

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Showing 11-20 of 26 posts in this discussion
Posted on Mar 28, 2012 4:36:50 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 28, 2012 4:37:24 PM PDT
Dims says:
Hi BB,
Your review was helpful. I am planning to give GMAT probably around July 2012. I am aiming for 700+. I am not concerned about quant. I know that I can do good in quant. I am more concerned about Verbal. I need your inputs on how to excel in Verbal.

I am currently referring OG, Manhattan GMAT Prep Sentence Correction, GMAT Verbal review - Official Guide. Can you please assist me in guiding on how to improve my Verbal skills?


Posted on Apr 1, 2012 2:08:47 PM PDT
munnaxxx says:
Hi BB, great fan of your reviews. I'd like a few suggestions from you regarding my study plan:
I purchased Kaplan Advantage last year (Kaplan Course Book, Kaplan Pocket Reference, and OG 12). I am thinking of purchasing the Manhattan 8-set of guides + the Manhattan Foundations of GMAT Verbal and Manhattan Advanced Quant. Would it make sense to also buy Kaplan 800? After reading your reviews I stuck to these publications but also liked GMAT Math Bible and the Kaplan GMAT Math Workbook, though I suppose they overlap with the Manhattan books.
In addition to the OG 12 I have, is it worth it for me to buy the OG 13, or buy the OG 12 Math + Verbal reviews for more practice?

Many thanks, regards.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 2, 2012 4:26:05 AM PDT
1. Probably not worth getting the Kaplan 800 at this point
2. You may want to get get the OG 13 for the Integrated Reasoning practice if you are taking the test AFTER June 4th. Though you can get a lot of the practice online and on GMAC's webiste, so even if you do, I would not recommend it.
3. You probably shoudl get the Supplements to the OG though they are often easier

From your prep it sounds like you are preparing for the war :) but there is no strong correlation between the amount of material and score, just the effort and score - remember that.

You have plenty of books/materials. The key is the effort and not to try to overdo it (burn out).

Godo Luck!

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 2, 2012 4:28:01 AM PDT
Hey there, sorry, missed your post somehow. Did not get a notification from Amazon.

I Would also recommend the MGMAT Foundations of GMAT Verbal. That's a good book. GMAT Club also has a book designed for international students called Ultimate GMAT Grammar - there is a free download of the first third of the book on the site. You can give it a try and see if it is worth it. I do not want to self-promote.

Best Regards,

Posted on Sep 3, 2012 8:17:33 PM PDT
Adan Tanner says:
Hi BB,

Appreciate the review.

I'm taking the test in 3rd week of November and I'm definitely aiming for above 700. I'm currently going through the 9 Manhattan GMAT books. I intend to finish going through all of them by mid October and leave 1 month for the practice questions. Now I have 2 questions:

1. If I'm doing 1-2 hours per night, 4-6 times a week, is 1 month sufficient to go through all practice exams?
2. I found me a PDF of 12th ed of the OG but now considering spending for the 13th ed just bec of the 150+ new and IR questions. Should I still shell out? I actually bought a Kaplan review book at the start of my review so I have that for my perusal as well (I'll end up w 2 review books, if ever).

Would appreciate your inputs.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 8, 2012 12:35:37 PM PDT
Hi! Sorry for the delay - I have been traveling quite a bit for work.

1. Yes.... Though one suggestion is to start taking Quant or Verbal only sections after you cover each area (unless you prep for both sections simultaneously). One month should be plenty but remember that the CAT tests will find some weaknesses in your prep which you will need to fix but if you have taken timed quizzes and exercises, those should be minimal.

2. No, don't bother getting the OG 13. There are plenty of IR resources and sample questions out there.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 2, 2012 9:58:23 AM PDT
Efrem Abate says:
Hi there,
I am planning to buy this edition, After purchase -can I acess it online? is there a disk that comes with it?could you explain please?

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 2, 2012 11:10:31 AM PDT
There is a code glued to the last page (cover) of the book. It gives you access to the IR questions.
You do not get anything else really. Hope this helps. Let me know if any other questions.


In reply to an earlier post on Oct 4, 2012 1:21:28 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 4, 2012 1:24:10 PM PDT
Hi BB,

I was going through your post and found it really helpful. I need your guidance in one of the issues, I just graduated from NYU and working in a pharmaceutical company. I am an international student and I want to gain two years of work experience before going to a B-school. So, I am planning to give GMAT next year. I am about to start my prepation but I am really confused regarding the choice of books which I need to buy to start it. I just ordered GMAT Official review. I dont know it'll be a wise choice or not. Can you please guide me how should I start my preparation along with the choices of books and what should be my study plan for 1 year time and 700+ score. Your help and guidance in this regard will much be appretiated.

Prateek Gupta

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 4, 2012 3:39:54 PM PDT
You can get a few books. The most common sets are the OG + MGMAT Guides or the OG + Veritas Prep Guides.
Some folks also use the Kaplan Premier + Verbal + Math workbook but these are not as comprehensive as the above two.

Regardless of the path, I would recommend the MGMAT roadmap.

ALso, keep in mind that studying for a shorter period of time with more intensity is better than stretching the same number of study hours over a 6+ month period.

This should be it - let me know if any other questions.
You are also welcome to google for my study plan called: GMAT Study Plan - How to Start your GMAT Prep. It goes more in-depth.

Best Regards,

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