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Study Guide Review
Cracking the GMAT by the Princeton Review, now in its 2014 edition, promises to provide test-takers with all the prep they need to ace the test.
On the outset, this GMAT study guide certainly looks promising. It covers all subject matters tested as part of the GMAT and includes a variety of drills and practice questions with answer keys, four full-length model GMAT tests, a diagnostic test to assess strengths and weaknesses, and a DVD with instructional videos and tips by experienced GMAT tutors. There is a “How to Crack…” section for each topic, although most weight is given to the Math GMAT.
Moreover, the manual offers an introductory “Insider’s Guide” to business school with information on the admissions process, how to obtain financial aid, advice on writing essays, and others. Cracking the GMAT also provides access to additional online materials, including four mock exams with answer explanations, guidance on the Integrated Reasoning portion of the test, and extra practice materials.
There are, however, a number of potential and real drawbacks. First, test-takers should be aware that this study guide emphasizes strategies and “tricks” to master the GMAT, whereas there is less of a focus on teaching students fundamental principles and subject matter knowledge. This may be suitable for some students but is not everybody’s preferred approach. Second, and more importantly, a number of the problems/answers tend to be confusing or contain errors, which is particularly true for those covering the Integrated Reasoning section. Finally, there is an overall feeling that the editing could have been more careful, which may result in readers feeling less confident in the book.
Overall, although Cracking the GMAT does have many strengths and can be useful as an additional source of practice and review, it is not one of the top GMAT prep books.