The Official Guide for GMAT Verbal Review, 2nd Edition: Book Review:

by on November 9th, 2009

The following book review was written by Dana Jinaru.  Dana is currently a finance student in Europe and also serves as a moderator for Beat The GMAT.  On May 13, 2009 she scored a 770 on the GMAT.

Here is Dana’s analysis of the Official Guide for GMAT Verbal Review, 2nd Edition.

Overview

The Official Guide for GMAT Verbal ReviewThe Official Guide for GMAT Verbal Review, 2nd Edition, is a welcomed addition to the Official GMAT Review “family” of books. Since most test takers score lower in the verbal section than in the quantitative section,  you should not be surprised to learn that this is one of the most popular resources available for GMAT preparation.

As compared with other books with 100% verbal focus, the verbal supplement has the unequaled advantage of bringing you 300 official, retired questions. I cannot stress enough the importance of having real GMAT materials to practice: their quality and style is unmatched in the test prep industry! In terms of number of problems, the book contains:

  • 104 Reading Comprehension
  • 83 Critical Reasoning
  • 113 Sentence Correction

Pros

  • The verbal review offers 300 additional official questions at a decent price, so if you’re having trouble with verbal you should definitely consider investing in this book
  • As is the case with the Official Guide, explanations are neatly and clearly formulated. Each question is amply analyzed, with proper space given to the correct answer, the incorrect options and the reasoning behind the choice
  • Questions are arranged in order of difficulty should you wish to focus on harder material

Cons

  • One would expect a supplement to be centered around harder questions, but this is not the case. The overall level of difficulty is comparable to that of the Official Guide (largely easy and medium difficulty questions)
  • The strategy/tips section of each chapter is subpar, meaning that you will need an extra book or two for concepts. Consider the Sentence Correction section – its strategy section is only 7 pages long, while the GMAT tests for enough English language grammar rules to fill a whole volume!
  • If short on time, it is wise to go through the Official Guide for GMAT Review, 12th Edition, rather than to buy this book

Bottom Line

If you’ve finished the Official Guide and still feel the need for more practice, or have taken a diagnostic test and feel you’re still having trouble with verbal, then this is the book for you. Note however that you should not simply go through official questions without a guidebook at hand, since this would mean using up valuable material without building a solid foundation of knowledge of common patterns and structures. Consider the Official Guide for GMAT Verbal Review as an extra opportunity to strengthen your verbal muscle!

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you already have the first edition of this book, there’s no point in buying the second edition. The second edition contains 81 new problems (less than a third of total).  It’s not worth paying more money just to see these problems. Here’s a complete list of new problems:

  • Reading Comprehension: 1–6, 18–23, 45–49, 64–70, 91–97 (5 new passages and 31 new questions)
  • Critical Reasoning: 1, 3, 6, 9, 13, 17, 21, 25, 29, 33, 37, 40, 45, 48, 51, 54, 59, 62, 65, 70, 74, 78, 81 (23 new questions)
  • Sentence Correction: 1, 5, 8, 11, 14, 17, 22, 27, 31, 36, 42, 45, 53, 57, 61, 65, 69, 73, 79, 84, 88, 92, 96, 100, 104, 108, 112 (27 new questions)

If you’re interested in purchasing the Official Guide for GMAT Verbal Review, 2nd Edition, click here.

Read other reviews for the Official Guide series:

Read more book reviews in the Beat The GMAT Book Recommendations section.

23 comments

  • Hi Dana,

    Thanks for all the reviews you've done for the GMAT books. Would the questions in the OG Verbal and OG Quant be the same as those in the OG? Or are they entirely new questions?

    Just want to check before I make the purchases. Thanks!

  • Hey there,

    There's no overlap between the three books, you can buy them all in confidence!

  • Thanks for the speedy replies! ;)

  • Dear Dana,

    Thanks for writing review for the books. Being a GMAT aspirant, it has really helped me in deciding which books I shall start preparing with.

    One more thing, does OG-Verbal explains the strategies involved in solving Verbal questions or is it a book meant for practicing verbal questions? Which book shall I purchase for building Verbal strategies? Is Kaplan Premier the right one?

    Awaiting for your reply.

    Kush~

  • It's mostly about practice. There are a few tips, but they are really not enough. Kaplan Premier is a pretty good book, but since it's a general guide, it won't go too deep on either section. For hardcore reviews of the verbal section, try:
    - Manhattan GMAT SC guide
    - PowerScore CR Bible
    - Kaplan Verbal Workbook or Veritas Prep RC

  • THaNks for the lightening fast reply. Congrats for your rocking score.

  • Thanks! Good luck with your prep!

  • Hi Dana,

    I have completed OG-12 and I am little confused about the overlap questions in OG-10,11 and OG-Verbal Review (2nd Edition).

    I have seen that there are many overlapping questions between OG-10,11 and Verbal Review (2nd Edition). According to you what would be a better proposition to embark on ?

    Thanks in advance!

  • There are significant overlaps between the OG 10, 11 and 12. You may have noticed that the OG 10 has a lot more questions than the OG 11 or OG 12. This is because they decided to split the book into the OG 10, the OG verbal and the OG quant, which means the OG 10 is basically = OG 11 (+/- a few modifications) + OG Verbal + OG Quant.
    Since you've already used OG 12, go ahead and use OG verbal. If you also need more questions, you can use the OG 11, since there are 300 different questions in it compared to the OG 12.

  • Thank a ton Dana for the advice and spry turnaround time.

    Just one quick questions: I am looking for 750+ level questions (basically hard) in Quant and CR. Could you please suggest me some sources where I can find them. As OG that hard binned Quant questions I found medium, I wanted to try more tougher than those. Same with CR, I couldnt find quality questions like the ones at the end of OG. Please direct. Thanks again!

    PS - Could I please have your personal email contact as I want to know in more detail few things and I am diffident here in forums writing big posts. In case you are wiling to give please drop me a email at 28thjune2008@gmail.com Thanks.

  • Most CR questions in the PowerScore CR Bible are pretty tough. You could also try some LSAT sets, they're very very tough. For quant, there are few resources out there that cater specifically to students looking for a 50-51. You could use some Manhattan GMAT guides, of which the best are Number Properties and Word Problems.
    I usually do not give out my personal data. If you need more specific help, you can PM me on the forum.

  • Thanks for your much-needed advice!

    I already own OG 10. Should I also purchase OG 12?

  • There are a few new questions and the OG 10 is a bit old... However, if it's too much hassle for you to get the newer edition (i.e. you're based somewhere where amazon.com does not deliver or it would take too much for the book to get to you), just drop it. OG 10 is OK as well.

  • Thanks for quick reply :)

    I assume it would take the book a week to arrive - so that's not an issue. My main concern is amount of similar questions in both books. What do you think?

  • There are fewer questions in the OG 12 as compared to the OG 10, This is because the OG 10 was split into the OG 11, OG quant and OG verbal (first editions for the two supplements). However, some of the questions have been updated and this should be of some concern, because present editions are said to be more representative of the test.

  • Hi Dana,

    I already have 'Verbal Workout' by Princeton Review. Can I just use it instead of the OG-verbal? Oh, and would the OG 12 + Manhattan GMAT be sufficient for practicing verbal? I come from Indonesia, a non-English speaking country, so I'm predictably awful at the verbal section. Please do help.

  • I haven't reviewed the book you mention from Princeton Review, so I can't really say if it's an adequate replacement... However, it's mostly about practice, so if you already have the OG and MGMAT books you might just be fine!

    • Thanks a lot Dana! :D

  • Hi Dana, 

    Like many others, I feel fairly confident with the Quantitative section, but tend to struggle in the Verbal section. I am especially poor at managing time in the Verbal section. I am aiming for a 750+ score in the GMAT. Please suggest some tips/books/anything for improving my Verbal skills.

  • Here are my favorite resources for verbal:
    Manhattan GMT SC guide
    PowerScore CR Bible
    Veritas Prep RC book
    Official Guide 12th edition + verbal supplement (the blue book).
    As for timing, my recommendation is that you attack your overall weakness in verbal before anything. If you're a non native speaker, spend at least 30 mins per day reading high quality material. This will enable you to improve your language skills and read faster! There's also the question of timing: you need to practice with a timer every time. You can be more lenient at the beginning and give yourself more time to solve a question (but still time yourself), but as you progress you need to be increasingly careful to try to hit the right time mark. By the way, BTG has a timer built in the forums! You'll find it in every thread in the GMAT Quant and GMAT Verbal forums.

    • Thanks a ton, Dana! On a number of occasions, I spend a lot of time pondering over 2 close options (they appear close to me, at least). 70-80% of my incorrect attempts come from choosing the wrong option from the two. While I am confident that following your tips suggested above will help me reduce this count, should I be doing something else too?

  • I really liked the following article on this: https://www.beatthegmat.com/mba/2010/07/25/down-to-two-what-to-do especially the advice on re-reading the question!

  • All right then! I'll try 'cleansing my mental palate' when caught between 2 options. Thanks for the guidance :)

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