Everything You Need to Know About the New Official Guides – Part 4

by on June 15th, 2015

CAT_testI’ve just finished trying all of the new Verbal OG problems. (If you haven’t yet read my earlier installments, start here.) This installment includes my summary of All Things Verbal as well as lists of the new problems by book and question type.

Also, we’re hard at work writing new solutions to add to our GMAT Navigator program, so if you have access to Navigator, you can start to check for new solutions there in—best guess—July.

What’s new in Verbal?

Now that I’ve seen everything, I’ve been able to spot some trends across all of the added and dropped questions. For example, across both The Official Guide for GMAT® Review (aka the big book) and The Official Guide for GMAT® Verbal Review (a.k.a. Verbal-only or the Verbal supplement), 6 science passages were added (out of 11 new passages total), while only 3 were dropped. In addition, 3 social science passages were added (compared to 5 dropped) and 2 business passages were added (compared to 2 dropped).

So, in the books at least, there’s a slight shift towards science. It’s unclear whether this signals an actual change in emphasis on the test, though; these may just be the best retired passages that they wanted to use.

For Critical Reasoning, the same total number of questions were added and dropped. The differential (added minus dropped) for Strengthen questions was +8. Further, 6 of the 22 total new Strengthen questions are fill in the blank (FitB) format, and no new FiTB’s were introduced that were not Strengthen questions.

The differential for Weaken questions was -8 and for Inference questions, it was -4. I’m not entirely sure what to make of the drop in Weaken. I’ve been hearing from students that they’ve been seeing a lot of Strengthen / Weaken on the real test and not many (CR) Inference questions. The Strengthen jump and the small Inference drop seems to go along with that, but not the larger Weaken drop. (This is why I’m always skeptical about drawing broader conclusions based on changes in the books.)

As I mentioned in my first report on Sentence Correction (part 2 of this series), it is difficult to compare categories here because one SC can (and usually does) cross multiple topics. The trends I reported before still hold after my review of the Verbal supplement: meaning and sentence structure are increasingly important, and parallelism and comparisons are just as important as they’ve always been.

Ready for the problem lists?

New Verbal problem lists

The Official Guide for GMAT® Review 2016, a.k.a. the big OG

Reading Comprehension

Screen Shot 2015-06-13 at 11.02.49 PM

Critical Reasoning

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Sentence Correction

Note: we only tagged two topics per problem; many SC problems test more than two topics. Also, the order in which the topics are presented is generally whatever we happened to notice first in the original sentence or in the answers.

Screen Shot 2015-06-13 at 11.04.11 PM

The Official Guide for GMAT® Verbal Review 2016, a.k.a. the Verbal-only book

Reading Comprehension

Screen Shot 2015-06-13 at 11.14.17 PM

Critical Reasoning

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Sentence Correction

Note: we only tagged two topics per problem; many SC problems test more than two topics. Also, the order in which the topics are presented is random—whatever we happened to notice first!

V SC

Phew. I think that’s it …

A week and several thousand words later, I think that’s all, folks! Of course, I’m sure that we’ll have plenty of things to discuss over the coming weeks as we dive more deeply into all of the fun new OG questions. But for now, I hope you’ve found this review valuable and I’m going to go take a well-earned break. :)

Happy studying!

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