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Reviews of Official Guide Companion 11th Ed.

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bshanfeld Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts Default Avatar
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Reviews of Official Guide Companion 11th Ed.

Post Mon Mar 30, 2009 10:43 am
I am looking for reviews of the Official Guide Companion 11 ed by GMATFIX. After a little research on my part, it appears to me that all the positive reviews for this product are coming from the same two or three people. Just strikes me as odd there aren't more user reviews if the product is truly a strong tool.

The companion may be a very useful, however, before I make a purchase decision I would like to get a more substantial sampling of user feedback.

Therefore, if you have used this product please feel free to provide your experience.

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TedCornell Master | Next Rank: 500 Posts Default Avatar
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Post Thu Apr 02, 2009 9:43 pm
LulaBrazilia wrote:
As requested, a balanced review of GMATFix OG Companion
Specs

    *600 pages
    *Chapter 1 - About the Author
    *Chapter 2 - A Companion to the Official Guide - Explains how to use the OG Companion and how it complements the OG
    *Chapter 3 - GMAT Interviews - A series of interviews with: a gmat student; a gmat tutor; a gmat program developer; an mba admissions consultant
    *Chapter 4 - Diagnostic Test Solutions - Thorough explanations of the OG Diagnostic questions
    *Chapter 5 - Problem Solving Solutions - Thorough explanations of the OG PS questions
    * Chapter 6 - Data Sufficiency Solutions - Thorough explanations of the OG DS questions
    * Chapter 7 - Advanced Speed Drills - 10 timed drills with mostly 600+ and 700+ questions.
    * Chapter 8 - Speed Drills Solutions - Solutions and thorough explanations to the speed drills
    * Chapter 9 - Reference - 4 parts: "Take-Aways List" compiles all the strategies and tips from the book in one list; "Questions Directory" lists all questions by topic and by difficulty; "Questions Frequency by Topic" measures how often each question topic appears on the test; "Scores to Percentiles Scales" shows how specific GMAT scores correspond to percentile rankings including main scores, sub-scores and AWA scores

4 Pros

    *It shows multiple ways to solve each question. Solutions are really thorough.
    *It doesn't just show solutions, but also explains strategies and gives background lessons needed to solve each question
    *By categorizing the OG questions, the OG Companion makes it easy to come up with a study strategy that is topic specific. By that I mean that if you want to practice just medium to hard Number Properties, or just basic Fractions and Decimals, you can use the reference section to pinpoint those questions.
    *In DS questions, each solution demonstrates how to solve with the same process: (1)rephrase the question (2)Anticipate statement (3)Evaluate easier statement (4)Evaluate harder statement (5)Evaluate statements together if necessary. By showing the same process for each question the book helps me see patterns from question to question more quickly.

4 Cons

    *It's not free! Some of the book is available for free from the gmatfix website but not all of it
    *It's only useful if you already have the Official Guide, so don't waste your time with this book if you don't have the OG
    *It only deals with Quant. It would have been really helpful to have the same information about verbal questions; it would have made the book over 1,000 pages I'm sure. Would have been a bang for my buck 
    *The Advanced Speed Drills are mostly for difficult quant problems, so if you're a below average scorer you probably should spend a lot of time on this section. Better off studying the OG questions/solutions. It would have been nice if there were Speed Drills at different levels

Final analysis
The OG Companion can be very useful if it's used correctly because as far as I know it's the only book that teaches gmat strategies on real gmat qs. If GMAC would just spend more time writing better solutions, there would be no need for a book like this. The book is limited by the fact that it doesn't deal with verbal, but what it does it does very well. For some harder questions, explanations that GMAC puts in two paragraphs are discussed in 2-3 pages in the OG Companion. Advanced Speed Drills are only for upper intermediate and strong quant scorers.
Great review Lula. I agree with the assessment that the greatest strength of the GMATFix book is that unlike other guides, it shows how the gmat strategies, formulae etc... are actually used to solve real GMAT questions.

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kobel51 Master | Next Rank: 500 Posts Default Avatar
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Post Tue Mar 31, 2009 12:34 pm
I like this book; you pretty much get what you paid for. Strong solutions; multiple explanations per question; a good reference section and extra practice for hard quant. I think the extra practice is similar to GMATPrep materials. Too bad it only deals with Verbal. I think it was published early this year (Jan 2009); that's why most people don't know about it.

Good idea BlindVision!

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TedCornell Master | Next Rank: 500 Posts Default Avatar
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Post Thu Apr 02, 2009 9:43 pm
LulaBrazilia wrote:
As requested, a balanced review of GMATFix OG Companion
Specs

    *600 pages
    *Chapter 1 - About the Author
    *Chapter 2 - A Companion to the Official Guide - Explains how to use the OG Companion and how it complements the OG
    *Chapter 3 - GMAT Interviews - A series of interviews with: a gmat student; a gmat tutor; a gmat program developer; an mba admissions consultant
    *Chapter 4 - Diagnostic Test Solutions - Thorough explanations of the OG Diagnostic questions
    *Chapter 5 - Problem Solving Solutions - Thorough explanations of the OG PS questions
    * Chapter 6 - Data Sufficiency Solutions - Thorough explanations of the OG DS questions
    * Chapter 7 - Advanced Speed Drills - 10 timed drills with mostly 600+ and 700+ questions.
    * Chapter 8 - Speed Drills Solutions - Solutions and thorough explanations to the speed drills
    * Chapter 9 - Reference - 4 parts: "Take-Aways List" compiles all the strategies and tips from the book in one list; "Questions Directory" lists all questions by topic and by difficulty; "Questions Frequency by Topic" measures how often each question topic appears on the test; "Scores to Percentiles Scales" shows how specific GMAT scores correspond to percentile rankings including main scores, sub-scores and AWA scores

4 Pros

    *It shows multiple ways to solve each question. Solutions are really thorough.
    *It doesn't just show solutions, but also explains strategies and gives background lessons needed to solve each question
    *By categorizing the OG questions, the OG Companion makes it easy to come up with a study strategy that is topic specific. By that I mean that if you want to practice just medium to hard Number Properties, or just basic Fractions and Decimals, you can use the reference section to pinpoint those questions.
    *In DS questions, each solution demonstrates how to solve with the same process: (1)rephrase the question (2)Anticipate statement (3)Evaluate easier statement (4)Evaluate harder statement (5)Evaluate statements together if necessary. By showing the same process for each question the book helps me see patterns from question to question more quickly.

4 Cons

    *It's not free! Some of the book is available for free from the gmatfix website but not all of it
    *It's only useful if you already have the Official Guide, so don't waste your time with this book if you don't have the OG
    *It only deals with Quant. It would have been really helpful to have the same information about verbal questions; it would have made the book over 1,000 pages I'm sure. Would have been a bang for my buck 
    *The Advanced Speed Drills are mostly for difficult quant problems, so if you're a below average scorer you probably should spend a lot of time on this section. Better off studying the OG questions/solutions. It would have been nice if there were Speed Drills at different levels

Final analysis
The OG Companion can be very useful if it's used correctly because as far as I know it's the only book that teaches gmat strategies on real gmat qs. If GMAC would just spend more time writing better solutions, there would be no need for a book like this. The book is limited by the fact that it doesn't deal with verbal, but what it does it does very well. For some harder questions, explanations that GMAC puts in two paragraphs are discussed in 2-3 pages in the OG Companion. Advanced Speed Drills are only for upper intermediate and strong quant scorers.
Great review Lula. I agree with the assessment that the greatest strength of the GMATFix book is that unlike other guides, it shows how the gmat strategies, formulae etc... are actually used to solve real GMAT questions.

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kobel51 Master | Next Rank: 500 Posts Default Avatar
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Post Tue Mar 31, 2009 12:34 pm
I like this book; you pretty much get what you paid for. Strong solutions; multiple explanations per question; a good reference section and extra practice for hard quant. I think the extra practice is similar to GMATPrep materials. Too bad it only deals with Verbal. I think it was published early this year (Jan 2009); that's why most people don't know about it.

Good idea BlindVision!

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GMAT/MBA Expert

Patrick_GMATFix GMAT Instructor
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Post Fri May 21, 2010 4:33 am
Manhattan GMAT's new product (The Official Guide Companion 12th Ed) copies the title from the book discussed in this forum, which over 1 year old.

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EricKryk Senior | Next Rank: 100 Posts Default Avatar
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Post Mon Apr 13, 2009 11:58 pm
Just wanted to add my review to the list. I got the GMATFix Official Gude Companion recently as well.

There are actually 2 versions. gmatfix.com advertises the online version, but if you ask for a hard-copy, you will be sent one (more expensive, but you may prefer it). I received a hard copy of the book, so I have access to both online and in print.

As Ascara pointed out, the online version was a bit cumbersome to work with. However, last week the website changed the display and it's now much smoother/easier. The new application uses the iPaper module to display the book. I've had no problems.

As far as the book itself is concerned, I think that it offers something for all scoring levels. Whether you are a 700+ or a 300 scorer, you need to know the basics and you need to know the different patterns that come through the GMAT. This book excels at showing different ways to solve the same question. I actually disagree with Ascara above as I think that as the questions becomes more difficult, the alternative solutions and detailed explanations and strategies become more helpful.

Something that the other reviews have not mentioned (I don't think) is the Advanced Speed Drills section. This section is specifically for high scorers. As a matter of fact, if you're scoring below the 65th percentile in math, you proabably should study the rest of the book and leave these advanced drills alone.

In data sufficiency, the solutions are a bit different. Instead of showing multiple ways of solving, every DS problem is broken down into 5 steps
(1) Rephrase Q. (2) Anticipate data (3) Rephrase/Evaluate Easier statement (4) Rephrase/Evaluate Harder statement (5) Combine statements if necessary.

Within these steps, some solutions show you two ways to evaluate the same statement (for example, algebraically or by trial & error). Almost all questions (DS and PS) are followed by specific lessons (Take-Aways) that should be drawn from that question.

The OG Companion is large (600pgs), so if you buy the printed copy, it can be a bit heavy to carry around, especially if you also have the OG. All in all though, I would say it's an excellent resource, but incomplete (there is no verbal).

On the company site www.gmatfix.com, there is a preview that gives you an idea of the different sections and of the writing style.

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bronzie35 Junior | Next Rank: 30 Posts Default Avatar
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Post Sat Apr 11, 2009 10:01 pm
Wow, 600 pages? How long did it take you to get through it?

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Apsara Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts Default Avatar
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Post Mon Apr 06, 2009 8:41 am
I'm not going to go in too much detail because there is a very good review above. I think that the PS section is great because when multiple solutions are available - the author teaches you how to 'think' about a question in a few different ways. On the other hand, DS section is just average (similar to what you will find in other test prep books) - I haven't come across any questions with multiple solutions yet.

Also you can't download the ebook as it has to be viewed online only. You have to move and scroll in multiple directions to read the text and this is quite a pain.

Overall, it's a useful tool but I wish that DS section is better. Obviously, this book will not benefit those with the scores of high 600s and above.

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LulaBrazilia Master | Next Rank: 500 Posts Default Avatar
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Post Tue Mar 31, 2009 12:11 pm
As requested, a balanced review of GMATFix OG Companion
Specs

    *600 pages
    *Chapter 1 - About the Author
    *Chapter 2 - A Companion to the Official Guide - Explains how to use the OG Companion and how it complements the OG
    *Chapter 3 - GMAT Interviews - A series of interviews with: a gmat student; a gmat tutor; a gmat program developer; an mba admissions consultant
    *Chapter 4 - Diagnostic Test Solutions - Thorough explanations of the OG Diagnostic questions
    *Chapter 5 - Problem Solving Solutions - Thorough explanations of the OG PS questions
    * Chapter 6 - Data Sufficiency Solutions - Thorough explanations of the OG DS questions
    * Chapter 7 - Advanced Speed Drills - 10 timed drills with mostly 600+ and 700+ questions.
    * Chapter 8 - Speed Drills Solutions - Solutions and thorough explanations to the speed drills
    * Chapter 9 - Reference - 4 parts: "Take-Aways List" compiles all the strategies and tips from the book in one list; "Questions Directory" lists all questions by topic and by difficulty; "Questions Frequency by Topic" measures how often each question topic appears on the test; "Scores to Percentiles Scales" shows how specific GMAT scores correspond to percentile rankings including main scores, sub-scores and AWA scores

4 Pros

    *It shows multiple ways to solve each question. Solutions are really thorough.
    *It doesn't just show solutions, but also explains strategies and gives background lessons needed to solve each question
    *By categorizing the OG questions, the OG Companion makes it easy to come up with a study strategy that is topic specific. By that I mean that if you want to practice just medium to hard Number Properties, or just basic Fractions and Decimals, you can use the reference section to pinpoint those questions.
    *In DS questions, each solution demonstrates how to solve with the same process: (1)rephrase the question (2)Anticipate statement (3)Evaluate easier statement (4)Evaluate harder statement (5)Evaluate statements together if necessary. By showing the same process for each question the book helps me see patterns from question to question more quickly.

4 Cons

    *It's not free! Some of the book is available for free from the gmatfix website but not all of it
    *It's only useful if you already have the Official Guide, so don't waste your time with this book if you don't have the OG
    *It only deals with Quant. It would have been really helpful to have the same information about verbal questions; it would have made the book over 1,000 pages I'm sure. Would have been a bang for my buck 
    *The Advanced Speed Drills are mostly for difficult quant problems, so if you're a below average scorer you probably should spend a lot of time on this section. Better off studying the OG questions/solutions. It would have been nice if there were Speed Drills at different levels

Final analysis
The OG Companion can be very useful if it's used correctly because as far as I know it's the only book that teaches gmat strategies on real gmat qs. If GMAC would just spend more time writing better solutions, there would be no need for a book like this. The book is limited by the fact that it doesn't deal with verbal, but what it does it does very well. For some harder questions, explanations that GMAC puts in two paragraphs are discussed in 2-3 pages in the OG Companion. Advanced Speed Drills are only for upper intermediate and strong quant scorers.

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carllecat Master | Next Rank: 500 Posts
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Post Tue Mar 31, 2009 11:27 am
BlindVision wrote:
If there aren't any substantive reviews on the OG Companion by GMATFix then I HAVE A SOLUTION...

How about the GMATFix team handout some FREE books to say... the first 6 people who responded in this thread, to tryout the book and write a review on it. What do you say GMATFix??? Very Happy

Help Me, to Help You!
I agree! Especially because I am the sixth who responded.

What a brilliant idea BlindVision! Very Happy

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BlindVision Master | Next Rank: 500 Posts
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Post Tue Mar 31, 2009 9:35 am
If there aren't any substantive reviews on the OG Companion by GMATFix then I HAVE A SOLUTION...

How about the GMATFix team handout some FREE books to say... the first 6 people who responded in this thread, to tryout the book and write a review on it. What do you say GMATFix??? Very Happy

Help Me, to Help You!

_________________
Life is a Test

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carllecat Master | Next Rank: 500 Posts
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GMAT Score:
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Post Tue Mar 31, 2009 9:13 am
Same situation here. There is something too good to be true with the sample provided in the other thread.
http://www.beatthegmat.com/gmat-fix-t32672.html

Someone cann tell more about this mysterious book?

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pJackson79 Senior | Next Rank: 100 Posts Default Avatar
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Post Mon Mar 30, 2009 11:44 pm
bshanfeld wrote:
I am looking for reviews of the Official Guide Companion 11 ed by GMATFIX. After a little research on my part, it appears to me that all the positive reviews for this product are coming from the same two or three people. Just strikes me as odd there aren't more user reviews if the product is truly a strong tool.

The companion may be a very useful, however, before I make a purchase decision I would like to get a more substantial sampling of user feedback.

Therefore, if you have used this product please feel free to provide your experience.
Excellent observation. I have used a fair number of products (either through purchase or sharing with others) and yet I had never heard of this product until about 3 weeks ago when it started getting flooded on this forum.

_________________
P. Jackson
Vocabulary Words & GMAT Practice Questions



Last edited by pJackson79 on Tue Mar 31, 2009 4:30 pm; edited 1 time in total

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sme0928 Senior | Next Rank: 100 Posts Default Avatar
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Post Mon Mar 30, 2009 4:14 pm
I am curious about this guide as well as the GMAT Hacks Official Guide companion. Any review/info on either of these books would be great.

Thanks,

-Steve

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