GMATPill’s Review of Official Guide 13 (OG13) for new GMAT Exam: book is great but not a 700+ guarantee


In early April of 2012, the GMAC folks who administer the GMAT exam updated their practice exam book.

In the past 3 years, everyone’s been using OG12 (12th edition) to study for their GMATs. Certainly, every few years there’s a few updates. This update is bigger for a variety reasons.

There’s a new section called integrated reasoning, and a slight change in mix of questions for SC and for CR.

And… it’s 839 pages. O_O!!

There is no place to get practice questions for Integrated Reasoning (at least for the first few months) without getting them from the Official Guide or the GMATPrep 2.0 software. (You can get the IR separately, see link below)

83% of the OG13 questions are the same as the OG12 questions. They basically removed 17% of the old questions and replaced them with new questions – so you’re not getting *more* questions – you’re simply getting questions that are most reflective of the latest version of the exam.

There are 907 questions – 158 of them are NEW. There is an additional 50 Integrated Reasoning questions but these questions are not in the book. You have to access them with a username/password on a companion website to the book (see below)


Sentence Correction – Similar concepts. You’ll find a few more questions that might lead you to two answer choices – one of them accurately captures the meaning of the question while the other won’t.

Critical Reasoning – same, some of them wordy and you’ll have to think through.  There are more wordy ones now that ask you to fill in the blank, basically complete the logical argument and fill in the missing piece.

Reading Comprehension – as with almost all tests, there’s a reading component. This is largely the same – passages in the same areas such as humanities, science, art, history. Staying awake is the challenge so you’ll need a strategy.


Problem Solving – GMAC swaps in 45 new questions here. They vary in difficulty – but don’t be fooled. If you’re going for a 600+ and 700+ score, you won’t even see many of these easier questions. Don’t be fooled that 45 new questions here can let you “up” your game to above your scoring range – naturally on the exam if you’re doing well, you’re only going to keep getting more difficult questions and the easy ones from this book won’t really come up.

Data Sufficiency – GMAC swaps in 36 new questions here. They appear to be more difficult (the thought process is the same, just the wordiness can be annoying). But again, on the exam if you’re getting them correct, you’re just going to keep getting more and more difficult questions.


Integrated Reasoning – THIS SECTION IS NOT IN THE BOOK – it’s an online component with 50 questions which you can access with an account. The book has 11 pages dedicated to introducing you to the Integrated Reasoning section – it covers the 4 types of questions which takes up the bulk of it:

Multi-source Reasoning
Table Analysis
Graphics Interpretation
Two Part Analysis

See the IR post for more detail

If you are only interested in the IR section you can purchase it here for $10 (cheaper than $28 for the book):

The companion guide login site is here:

Key Takeaways

1) There will never be better questions to use than the ones from the Official Guide – they are after all, THE questions that have shown up in GMAT exam. In this sense, OG12 and/or OG13 are essential

2) Should you buy OG13? If you want the most accurate reflection of types of questions in the exam and are the 700+ type (meaning you’ll actually notice the type of question you’re getting wrong and that it’s “newer” than what was out there before), then yes, get the OG13.

3) Use the OG for practice – not for training. Critical reasoning question for thought: Buying OG13 will get me a 700+ score.

There is a flaw in this statement. Getting access to prior exam questions does not imply that you can answer that type of question in another form and in the amount of time that you’re alloted. OG provides practice questions – not exam strategy.

4) OG is the standard. There really is no reason to rate this book 3 star or 5 star – it’s the standard. GMAC is not here to train how your brain thinks – it’s here to give you sample questions from past exams.

GMATPill Course

We know. Studying consumes time. And what’s worse – studying with no improvement. Time wasted + no improvement.

What you’ll discover is that practice DOESN’T make perfect.

In GMATPill videos, Zeke (creator) communicates the thinking process to help you attack GMAT questions. Thinking process is the core component that will affect your overall score – and you can hear the commentary from students who have gotten into Wharton (’14, ’12), Stanford, Oxford, Darden;  Goldman Sachs and McKinsey and countless 700+ stories from Africa, Pennsylvania, India, and improvement stories. 

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