on March 21, 2012
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 MBA.com) - 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)