This blog concerns not the GMAT Official Guide itself, but two supplementary volumes. The recent second edition GMAT books were:
This year, with the publication of the OG2015, GMAC released even newer editions:
This blog will discuss what these books are and what the difference is between the two editions.
The Review Books
Fundamentally, these are practice books with more official practice problems, problems that do not appear in the GMAT Official Guide. Think about that: more official GMAT practice problems, from the very people who write the test. Is this a recommended study resource? Of course, of course, of course. There is absolutely nothing better with which to practice than the official GMAT practice questions, and especially if you have already exhausted the questions in the Official Guide, this would be a new batch of questions you could try.
Both review books have the introductory sections for the questions, explaining the question type: these sections are identical to those in the OG. Also, the Quantitative book has the “Math Review” section, identical to that in the OG. The Quantitative volume contains 176 Problem Solving questions and 124 Data Sufficiency questions. That’s 300 practice math questions, above and beyond what’s in the OG. The Verbal volume contains 18 RC passages & 104 Reading Comprehension questions, 83 Critical Reasoning questions, and 113 Sentence Correction questions. That’s 300 practice verbal questions, above and beyond what’s in the OG. Again, these are highly recommended study tools.
I will just issue a caution here. Generally, students need a lot of practice to prepare adequately for the GMAT. Some students begin with the noble intention: I will only use official material. Well, that’s great in theory, but in practice, many times these students work through the entire OG, then need to study more and have already used the best resources — not an optimal situation! In the Magoosh study plans, we recommend starting with other questions, Magoosh questions and MGMAT questions, and as you build skills, working up to the OG questions, so that you get the most from those high quality questions.
Second edition vs. 2015 edition
Now, what is the difference between #1 & #3? between #2 & #4? Well, very much like the OG2015, these new books, #3 & #4, are absolutely identical to the earlier editions, #1 & #2, in terms of the printed copy. Same 300 Verbal questions, same 300 math questions. Same introductions, same explanations. The books are identical except for different colors in the designs.
BUT, as with the OG2015, what you get with #3 & #4 that you don’t get with #1 & #2 are the same questions presented in an online form. With each new book, you get the exact same 300 questions in a online format, which, theoretically, is slightly more GMAT-like.
If you own #1 and/or #2, should you invest in the new books? Well, only if you want to practice the same questions in an online format. This seems a small gain for the price of new books.
If you own #3 and/or #4, would it make sense to buy #1 or #2? No, there would be absolutely no reason to do so.
If you are starting now, which ones should you buy? Well, if the prices are comparable, definitely get #3 and #4, which have all the questions in #1 & #2 as well as the same question presented in an online question banks. If you can find #1 & #2 for considerably cheaper, and you don’t feel the need to practice the same questions online, then it might make sense simply to get #1 & #2.
If you have run out of questions in the OG, or anticipate doing so, and want more questions, these books are the very best places to go next. Each hard copy volume gives you 300 practice questions, and each of the 2015 editions comes with the same 300 practice questions also presented in an online form. Together, these books present 600 new questions not found in the OG.
If you have any experiences with these books that you would like to share, please let us know.
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