GMAT OG Verbal Review, 2nd Ed: Overview
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Manhattan GMAT has performed an in-depth examination of the OG Verbal Review, 2nd Edition. We've matched up the 1st and 2nd editions, classified every problem by topic, run the numbers, and drawn out the insights. Download the OG Verbal Review Problem Lists, which categorize new problems by question type, and read the analysis on this series of pages.
On August 17, the 2nd edition of the Official Guide for GMAT Verbal Review was released. We at Manhattan GMAT have analyzed the book in detail, as we did with the 12th edition of the main Official Guide earlier this year. Here are our findings.
Again, Not Radically Different
Out of 300 questions, 81 (27%) are "new to this edition," as the cover states. In other words, almost three-quarters of the problems are repeats. Look at the 2nd edition primarily as a source of 81 additional OG-level practice problems.
These 81 problems are not repeated from the 11th edition of the main Official Guide. However, a few of these "new" problems have appeared in GMAT Prep exams (for instance, Sentence Correction #36, #69, and #79). GMAT Prep has always overlapped somewhat with the printed OGs, so this shouldn’t be a big concern.
The removal and addition of various problems may constitute a very slight shift in the relative emphasis of certain topics and skills. However, the underlying content of problems, as well as their stylistic approach, is essentially the same across the two editions.
You should not over-interpret the changes that did occur between the 1st edition and the 2nd edition. Some variation is to be expected. Nothing in these changes indicates a notable shift in how to prepare for the exam.
Transition If And When You're Comfortable
Our advice is the same as it was with the 12th edition of the main OG. If you have been preparing with the 1st Edition Verbal Review book, feel free to treat the 2nd Edition as a source of additional practice. But you do not need to switch immediately.
If your exam is near, you might consider mining the 2nd Edition for a few new problems. But your time may be better spent reviewing practice problems you have already encountered, as well as doing online practice with GMATPrep, GMATFocus, or practice exams such as ours.
Shorter RC Passages, More "Strengthen" CR Questions, Fewer Idioms, More Modifiers
A few minor trends are worth noting, although these trends do not necessarily imply similar shifts on the GMAT itself.
All 4 eliminated passages were long (~350 words on average), and all 5 new passages are short (~220 words on average). This trend is more pronounced than it was with the changeover to the 12th edition.
The number of "Strengthen the Conclusion" questions rose quite a bit, from 15 to 26. In fact, most of the new questions were Strengthen questions.
The number of questions specifically focused on Idioms fell, while the number of questions specifically focused on Modifiers rose.
The meaning of each of these micro-trends is debatable. For instance, since the first editions of these review books were 100% composed of problems drawn from the 10th edition of the main OG (which was also the source of most of the problems in the 11th edition), the GMAT folks could simply be adjusting a previous imbalance. Or there might not be much meaning at all to these particular shifts in topic proportions. Do not draw grand conclusions!
Incidentally, among the repeated problems, we noticed a couple of oddities.
One problem has been repeated "out of order."
Sentence Correction #74 in the 1st edition (“The bank holds…”) is #50 in the 2nd edition, jumping backward over many intervening problems that exist in both books. Every other repeater that we’ve seen obeys the implied order of difficulty. That is, if Problem X is before Problem Y in the 1st edition and both survive, then X is before Y in the 2nd edition—except in this case. We don’t know why this happened. The original order of difficulty might have contained this one placement error, and/or the GMAT folks may have placed the problem incorrectly in the 2nd edition.
Note that the issue wouldn’t be “more data.” All these problems are retired from the GMAT. In fact, their difficulties would have been measured and set in stone during the experimental phase, prior to active service on the exam. By the way, the transition from the 11th to the 12th presented no such anomalies: all the repeaters kept their relative places in line.
Another Sentence Correction problem continues to appear everywhere it can.
"The energy source…" shows up as #55 in the 2nd edition and as #60 in the 1st edition. In and of itself, this repetition isn’t so strange. However, this problem is the lone overlap between the Review OGs and the main OGs, where it shows up as #92 in the 12th edition and as #87 in the 11th edition. Apparently, this particular problem is so nice, they put it in twice thrice four times. Why they did so is anyone’s guess.