With the recent release of part of the Official Guide for GMAT 2018, a lot of prospective business school students are wondering – what are the differences between the 2018 guide and the 2017 guide?
That’s a good question and one that could very well help you be best prepared for the exam when your time comes.
Let’s examine a few differences between these guides so you can make a more informed decision.
Consider What’s New (and What Isn’t)
Each iteration of the Official Guide improves upon the previous version to keep the guide up-to-date with changes to the GMAT.
For 2018, the Official Guide features more than 130 never-before-seen questions (as each edition boasts over its predecessor). More importantly, according to GMAT Club, the 2018 edition will feature an updated look to reflect the changes being made to the GMAT later this year. Having a guide that closely aligns with the new-look test could prove even more beneficial than access to 130+ new questions.
Perhaps most exciting is that the Official Guide 2018 has improved practice set and quiz features. This includes the ability to track your progress across different practice sets and quizzes, as well as the ability to archive old practice tests for later viewing.
GMAT Club also reports that the online experience with the Official Guide 2018 will be totally revamped, making it much more user-friendly.
All that being said, much of the content of the books remains the same. In fact, in a side-by-side comparison of the publisher’s description of the Official Guide 2017 and the Official Guide 2018, the descriptions are exactly the same.
Consider the Timing
As noted above, only certain parts of the Official Guide 2018 are available. As of this writing, the prep materials for the quantitative and verbal sections have been published, so you can pick them up from the publisher, Wiley, right now.
However, the integrated reasoning questions are not yet available and won’t be until later this summer. That means that if you’re taking the GMAT soon, the 2018 guide won’t be a complete resource for your studies.
Instead, consider using a 2017 guide to prep for exams through the end of this year. If you plan to retake the GMAT in the new year, watch for the full release of the Official Guide 2018 and pick up a copy this fall.
Consider the Cost
As of writing, the cost difference between the Official Guide 2017 and the Official Guide 2018 is negligible.
Ordering directly from the publisher, you can get the 2017 guide in paperback for $45.95 or ebook for $29.99. Comparatively, Wiley offers the newer 2018 guide for in paperback for the same $45.95 price.
Making a Decision
Given that the 2017 and 2018 guides are priced virtually the same, the primary differences are in what’s been updated between the two editions.
As noted above, there are new questions in the 2018 book, but not an overwhelming amount. More important are the changes to the format that give you a peek at the new GMAT format that will be rolling out this fall.
Also of interest is the revamped online experience, which, up to this point, has not been good. If you intend to make use of the online materials, it might be worth it to hold out for the 2018 guide.
But, in the end, if you’re taking the GMAT sooner rather than later, the Official Guide 2017 is probably a better bet, simply because the full version of the 2018 guide isn’t yet released.
However, if you’ll be testing in the new year, stay tuned for the release of all the Official Guide 2018’s materials so you can begin preparing for the new-look GMAT.