The new GMATPrep software and the $25 GMATPrep Question Pack have been around for nearly a year now, but I have a funny feeling that the GMATPrep Question Pack is still somewhat underutilized as a GMAT study resource. So in an effort to encourage you to use the GMATPrep Question Pack—and to use it wisely—here are answers to a few questions that I’ve been asked about it over the past year or so.
This is the first part of a two-part series; I’ll post part two next week.
Q: Does the GMATPrep Question Pack actually contain new questions, or do the same questions appear in the GMAT Official Guide or somewhere else?
A: Let’s face it: GMAC has a funny habit of selling recycled questions. The (rather expensive) GMAT Focus tests overlapped the GMAT Official Guide and the GMAT Quant Review Guide, and GMAC still sells crusty old GMAT Paper Tests that are filled with questions that appear elsewhere.
But the GMATPrep Question Pack seems to contain good, fresh, retired questions, and the official GMAT blog insists that the GMATPrep Question Pack exercises don’t appear anywhere else. So I think it’s safe to say that the Question Pack really does contain completely new questions. Pretty exciting.
Q: Is the GMATPrep Question Pack worth the money?
A: Absolutely. I’m completely convinced that there is no substitute for good, official GMAT questions. They’re infinitely more valuable than “knockoff” materials produced by GMAT test-prep firms. So you don’t want to pass up any opportunity to practice with real, retired GMAT questions.
Considering that you’ll pay $250 just to take the GMAT—and considering that you’re likely to invest more than $400,000 in an elite MBA if you include the two years of forgone wages—$25 for a set of 404 official GMAT questions is a pretty serious bargain.
Q: Does the GMATPrep Question Pack contain newer questions than the Official Guide?
A: Presumably, yes. Although we don’t know exactly when the GMATPrep Question Pack exercises were actually retired, it’s probably safe to suspect that the questions are relatively new. Some of the GMAT Official Guide questions are also fairly new, but others are at least 20 years old, and have appeared in several editions of the GMAT Official Guide.
Q: Does the GMATPrep Question Pack include answer explanations?
A: Yup, it does, though I should warn you that the explanations don’t always offer the easiest way to do each question. But the same is true of the GMAT Official Guide, and I think we’ll all agree that a slightly flawed explanation is far better than no explanation at all.
Q: How hard are the questions in the GMATPrep Question Pack?
A: Well, the questions are divided into “easy,” “medium,” and “hard” categories, and I think those labels are reasonably accurate. Some of the “hard” questions are absolutely brutal, and they’re a good representation of the nastiness that you’ll see on the actual exam if you’re doing well. So there’s something for everybody in the GMATPrep Question Pack, even if the “easy” questions are unlikely to offer a very good workout for anybody with 700-level GMAT skills.
In case you’re curious, the GMATPrep software includes 90 questions for free, an addition to the 404 questions that are sold for $25. Out of the grand total of 494 questions, 146 are “easy”, 199 are “medium,” and 149 are “hard.” So even if you completely ignore the “easy” questions and the questions that you would get for free, you’ll still have an additional 300 “medium” and “hard” questions. And that’s a pretty good deal for $25.
Q: Will I see any of the GMATPrep questions on the actual exam?
A: Sorry, no. You’ll see a completely fresh set of creative, difficult GMAT questions that aren’t published anywhere else. So learn everything you can about the concepts underneath the GMATPrep questions, and learn how to approach completely new questions. Because you’ll see plenty of them on your actual GMAT exam.
Q: Why can’t I review the GMATPrep questions anymore? I did them, but I can’t access them in the same order. WTF?
A: Yeah, the nice people at GMAC are really great at writing standardized tests, but they apparently aren’t very good at developing software. There are all sorts of goofy glitches and quirks in the GMATPrep software, including some bizarreness when it comes to reviewing the questions you already finished.
The best advice? Immediately after completing any questions from the GMATPrep software, take screenshots of them, regardless of whether you’re doing an actual practice test or just the Question Pack. It’s the only way to be 100% certain that you don’t lose an opportunity to review the questions after completing them.