Review: GMATPrep Exam Pack 1


Hello GMAT-eers. Our friends at the Graduate Management Admission Council have released two brand new full-length practice tests. This is exciting news for any prospective GMAT taker, as now you have four complete diagnostic tests for your use. So let’s take a look at GMATPrep® Exam Pack 1.

 

Installation

The installation process was relatively quick and easy. If you don’t already have one, you have to create an account at mba.com and log on to the mba.com store. After paying the $39.99, the Exam Pack is just a simple download. It is important to note that you must have the free GMATPrep® software installed on your computer for the Exam Pack to open. The final step is opening up the Exam Pack and inputting the eleven digit activation code, which was emailed to you through your mba.com account. Now you are ready to tackle your two new tests.

Format

Exam Pack 1 consists of two Computer Adaptive Testing (CAT) exams that follow the exact same format of the actual GMAT. The only minor differences have to do with instructional and transitional pages being untimed on the practice test. After the initial instructional pages, you are given thirty minutes to complete your Analytical Writing Assessment, followed by an optional break. Subsequent to the break, there is the new Integrated Reasoning section, consisting of 12 questions in 30 minutes. Just like on the real GMAT, these first two sections do not utilize the CAT format. The last two sections, Quantitative and Verbal, do use the CAT scoring system.

Content

As expected, the two tests in Exam Pack 1 are nearly identical to the previous two practice tests available through GMAC and reflect the content areas and distribution of question types typical of the GMAT. There are, however, a few subtle differences. The Quantitative section especially presented no surprises in content, format, or distribution of question types. As usual, about 57% of the section was Problem Solving and 43% Data Sufficiency. The chart below lists the most frequent content areas.

Number Properties/Divisibility 6
Probability 4
Sequence/Patterns 3
Overlapping Groups 2
Simultaneous Equations 2
Area 2
Rate 2
Overlapping Shapes 2
Functions 2
Fractions/Decimals 2

 

(Note that since the Quantitative section uses CAT scoring, question types can vary for each student and test.)

Number Properties are often the most tested concept, as is the case here. However, this Quantitative section seemed to have an above average number of Statistics questions. Probability was the second most tested concept, and there were additional questions testing Overlapping Groups, Combination/Permutation, and Standard Deviation.

The biggest difference between Exam Pack 1, previous actual exams I’ve taken, and the two free GMATPrep tests came in the Verbal section. The breakdown of question types was within the normal range: 41% Sentence Completions, 32% Reading Comprehension, and 27% Critical Reasoning. (The same note must be made about the CAT scoring of the Verbal section varying question type.) However, the concepts tested in Sentence Completion questions and Critical Reasoning questions deviated from their usual frequencies. Idioms used to be one of most regularly tested concepts, but they occurred less often on this exam in favor of questions testing the comprehensibility of sentence (this is consistent with what we’ve been hearing from GMAC for several years now, so it’s not a big surprise). In Critical Reasoning, the central focus was on “Main Point” questions, which represented 45% of the total. “Evaluate” type questions have continued their rise in popularity, as they were tied with “Strengthening” questions as the second most frequent. There were no “Paradox” or “Bolded-Phrase” type questions at all. This is most likely due to a combination of de-emphasis of these concepts by GMAC and the item (question) selection criteria utilized by the CAT algorithm. Additionally, there was a new Critical Reasoning question type which required you to assess a logical flaw in a discussion.

Impact

Despite the fact that Exam Pack 1 makes no significant departures from its predecessor, its impact is remarkable. It doubles the number of complete official practice CAT style tests available, making it an invaluable tool in giving a realistic gauge of your current level of preparedness. These tests can and should be used as diagnostics to measure your progress during your course of study for the GMAT. They can show you where you are already strong, and point you to additional areas where further study is necessary. Use them as guideposts for your review of concepts and strategies. On a more fundamental level, the more practice tests you take, the more familiar you will be with the test overall. Since these tests are by GMAC, they are the closest approximation to the real thing. The more experience you have with practice tests, the less likely you are to be thrown off by something on test day. After all, smart practice makes perfect.

 

Update:

After taking the test we attempted to go back in and review the answers, however, none of the questions were saved. In fact we could not retrieve any data on the test. We emailed GMAC and this was the response:

 

Unfortunately, there is a known bug in the GMATPrep software which has caused this issue and at this point, your score is not recoverable. To prevent this from occurring in future, please un-install the current version of GMATPrep installed on your machine. If you have history data (exam scores, practice question sessions etc.) that you want to carry into the new install, make sure you click [No] when asked if you want the uninstall process to remove all data. Then download and install the latest version (v 2.2.315) which is available for download on mba.com: www.mba.com/gmatprep .  You will should be able to activate your Exam pack without any issues.  

 

It seems that if you plan to use Exam Pack 1 you should uninstall your current copy of GMATPrep and upgrade to the current version on MBA.com. 

 

Good luck!

 

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