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Ace the GMAT: Master the GMAT in 40 Days (English Edition) eBook Kindle
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As anyone who has prepared for the GMAT exam can tell you, there is no one book that can fully prepare you for this challenging computer-adaptive test. You will need a combination of Official Practice Questions such as the GMAT Official Guide Bundle The Official Guide to the GMAT Review 2017 Bundle + Question Bank + Video, The 6 Official GMATPrep Computer Adaptive Tests from GMAC, online learning forums such as GMAT Club, and strategy guides such as this one and the Manhattan GMAT Series Complete GMAT Strategy Guide Set (Manhattan Prep GMAT Strategy Guides) in order to maximize your score. In fact, you can also read my exhaustive review of the GMAT Official Guide Bundle (linked above) for a full list of my GMAT prep recommended materials.
There are 3 main reasons why I appreciate this book:
1) It features a detailed 40-day GMAT study plan, which can help you stay disciplined and organized, even if you have much more than 40 days to prepare.
2) It does a great job of categorizing GMAT questions by type / sub-type and providing relevant practice questions / strategy advice.
3) It contains very insightful advice on the analysis of an argument essay (AWA) portion of the test, including the CCRIQ assumption identification tool (Cause and Effect, Comparison and Analogy, Representativeness, Implementation, Questionable Evidence).
Again, it is nearly impossible to write a single book that covers every aspect of a test as complex as the GMAT. However, "Ace the GMAT" is far better than any offerings I've seen from Kaplan, Princeton, or the like, and it's written in a very calm, no-nonsense tone that does not pander to the reader by oversimplifying, providing overly easy or overly complicated practice questions, or ignoring the obvious utility of the official materials and tests from GMAC. If anything, it is a bit outdated (on page 401, he refers to GMAT Club as "MBA Club"), but it is still the best all-in-one GMAT strategy guide I've found so far. Well done, Mr. Royal.
There's much to like about this book, but three things in particular stand out to me. First, I like how Brandon groups problems together in "buckets." This makes it super easy to practice particular skills and hammer away at them until they're mastered. For example, if you're currently learning "triangles," there's a whole block of questions grouped together specifically about triangles. Same for Distance-Rate problems, mixtures, probability questions, etc. This is perfect for my course, where I can assign blocks of problems to be completed immediately after watching the instructional videos on corresponding topics, but it's also useful for the student who is trying to study on his/her own. Second, the buckets of problems are arranged in increasing order of difficulty with a "chili" rating acting as a guide. Take triangle questions again as an example. The first question in that bucket is a 1-chili question, meaning it's easy. It lets the student get her feet under her. Then the questions get increasingly difficult until the student is tackling 3-chili questions, proving they're ready for higher-level questions on the GMAT as well. It's a great way to build confidence while escalating your advanced understanding of each question type. Finally, most GMAT textbooks provide answer explanations that are very traditional in nature. But as I teach in my course, the way you were taught to do something in your high school algebra class isn't always the most efficient way to solve questions on the GMAT. I like how Brandon often provides a secondary answer explanation that takes this into account and gives students alternative ways of solving the same question.
I wouldn't go as far as to say that this book is a complete stand-alone in terms of preparing for the GMAT on your own. While there's written instruction on the different topics tested on the GMAT (e.g. how to analyze arguments, how to tackle reading comprehension passages, how to think through data sufficiency questions, etc.), it's not as detailed or thorough as the do-it-yourselfer out there might be looking for (which is why I use it as a complement to the instruction I provide in my course, not a replacement for it) -- especially if you're trying to learn the GMAT from ground zero. But as a source of practice problems to get you ready for test day, there's nothing better out there -- and every prospective GMAT test taker should have this book in his/her library!