It has always been a love hate relationship with the GMATPrep software. Every version of it has had some major flaw, but at the same time you have to love the thing because it houses the only official GMAT CATs available. In any event, each revision of the software has come with incremental improvements (happily 2.1 brought GMATPrep to Apple computers! woot!), and the new GMATPrep 2.2 continues the slow crawl forward.
Installation was a snap. I downloaded it, double clicked the install package, agreed to the terms and conditions, and entered my log-in information and within minutes I was exploring the new GMATPrep software. I have had many install and functionality issues with the last version so this smooth sailing was a nice surprise.
What’s new? There have been some solid organizational improvements in Question Pack 1, as well as a very critical functionality upgrade. While most of the changes affected the general practice component of the software, the most important change occurred on the practice test side of GMATPrep. When GMATPrep v2.0 came out, I was astounded that you could no longer review questions from the full-length practice tests after you exited the program. Thankfully, they’ve changed that. You can now review questions whenever you feel like it.
While that’s the only significant change to the practice tests, more changes happened on the practice content. In the old software the reading comprehension practice was a mess. The software would give one question from one passage and then move on to another passage. A frustrating flaw which made the reading comprehension practice almost unusable. Well, I can happily report that this issue has been addressed. The software now groups passages and questions properly if you select all of the difficulty levels. Of course, if you only select easy (or medium or hard) the software will skip around as it omits the other difficulty levels. Even if you choose random, the reading comprehension question will stay grouped. Thank you, GMAC.
Speaking of difficulty, in the new version you can select not only the level of difficulty of the question type in Question Pack 1 but how many questions you would like at each level of difficulty. That could be somewhat helpful if you want to build a practice set that might resemble a real exam. After you finish a practice set you can access the same statistics (right/wrong, time spent per question) but the new software has a dropdown menu that allows you to access statistics from your old sessions. It is a nice little touch.
Perhaps the most striking feature of the new software is (drum roll): you can exit a completed CAT exam and the software will save your results for later review. If you are unimpressed by that I completely understand. It is like a baby’s first steps: not impressive in the grand scheme of things, but pretty awesome to go from crawling to walking. Thank you lords of GMAT for answering our prayers.
The last major change: the new software has a store where you can purchase official GMAT study products. Woohoo!! I wish that they had taken the time, effort, and cash used to develop this store into developing an app for the iPad or for android so that we can have our GMATprep on the go. Also, would it be so difficult to allow us access to the question banks? And would we be asking too much for that access to allow grouping of questions by not only question type but by content type? Let us be thankful that the software has been updated and improved. We are better off today than we were yesterday and that’s not too shabby.
A few notes on how to use GMATPrep for maximum effectiveness:
1. Do not leave practice tests just for the end of your preparation. Use them throughout your practice so that you can gauge where you are and what you need to work on. You can take them 3-4 times and have somewhat valid scores (especially if you are improving and therefore seeing more difficult questions)
2. As you take practice tests go ahead and take a screenshot of any question that you are struggling with (and take screenshots of anything wrong once you see your results). This only takes a second. Yes, the program saves your tests results but it is easier to have a folder with these screenshots. And you can put them in a dropbox folder so that you have them with you on the go for review. You can apply this same method to the question pack (or any other software based resource).
3. Once you have exhausted the GMATPrep keep taking it just so that you can see all of the hard questions. Again, you guessed it, take screenshots of these toughies so that you can review them.
As always, stay positive, stay organized, and keep your goals in site. Good luck with your studies!