GMAT Official Guide 12th Edition: Problem Solving
The 11th edition has 273 Problem Solving problems (including 24 Diagnostic problems). In the changeover to the 12th edition, 75 problems were removed, leaving 198 repeats (including all Diagnostics), and 56 problems were added, yielding 254 Problem Solving problems in the 12th edition.
Among the problem formats, Problem Solving has the lowest proportion of new problems (22%). This section also decreased by 19 problems, a larger decrease than any other question format. (At the same time, Data Sufficiency increased by 19 problems.) These changes could reflect a slight shift toward Data Sufficiency on the Quantitative section of the GMAT.
The proportion of problems in various topical categories has not changed substantially. The most significant change is that problems classified as Fractions, Decimals, & Percents have decreased somewhat in number. However, this very slight decrease does not mean that this topic has become less fundamental. Remember, slight variation is to be expected.
This graph displays the difficulty level of problems that were removed, repeated, and added. Excluding problems in the Diagnostic Exam, higher-numbered problems are more difficult, according to the GMAT. On the left, red problems were removed from the 11th edition. On the right, dark-green problems were added to the 12th edition. Light colors are repeats, as shown by a few correspondences in the middle.
Moving up the numbers, we see that the removals and the additions essentially correspond for most of the problems. Some “Medium-Easy” problems were removed, but they were replaced by Easy and Medium problems. The big discrepancy comes at the Hard end of the 11th edition. A batch of difficult problems was removed but not replaced. This accounts for the decrease in the overall number of Problem Solving problems.
A few relatively long stretches of problems were left unchanged. Generally, problems were removed or added in very small groups or individually.
- While there are several interesting and well-written new problems, the content of the Problem Solving section has not fundamentally changed.
- The only shift truly worth noting is relative to Data Sufficiency. Since the number of Problem Solving problems has fallen (and many hard problems were actually removed), the GMAT may be moving in the direction of increasing the number of Data Sufficiency problems on the test.