How to Flunk a Test

cracking the GMAT

Princeton Review: Cracking the System: the GMAT
Martz, Katzman, and Robinson

Submitter: When doing an inventory of test preparation books held at my community college library, I discovered the only three GMAT books we owned were from 1989, 1990, and 1992. What was even worse was that I had to request the books to get them back, since they were currently checked out. I shudder to think how this student will fare on the test using only these as their guides.

The 1989 one in particular is a hoot. It’s the first edition from the Princeton Review and the cover falls into the “many fonts and too many words” trap. I can only venture a guess that the test may have changed slightly in the last 21 years.

The official book from 1992 isn’t much better. Nauseating colors and inexplicable geometric shapes, complete with errata!

These books are being chucked ASAP and replaced with something more current. I’ll leave you with a few peeks inside. From the official 1992 book, a newfangled concept of electronic transmittal of mail. And the Princeton Review book gives a list of tips for the reading comprehension section that’s great–the minority passage is always positive! Words of wisdom to live by.

Holly: I can’t believe these were checked out!  Test prep books have to have a close eye kept on them for currency.  They are a high-theft item in many libraries, too, so it feels like you are always replacing them.  What measures have your libraries taken to keep these titles up to date and avoid theft?

official GMAT book

test preparation


  1. Even worse, ETS tests like these frequently go through significant revisions. The GRE has recently been completely changed to include a calculator (!!) and has completely different score report and I suspect the GMAT has done something similar as well. If you used one of these before taking the test, you would be sunk because you essentially studied for a different, discontinued, test.

    I think people who compare their library’s review materials to the official information (In this case, the ETS website) are the best insurers of currency. As to theft, mine has them in reference and makes them look so fusty no one would want to steal them and mold-up their kitchen table.

    “Nauseous” and “inexplicable” are very good adjectives for that book!

    ALSO! Public Service Announcement:
    A reminder to everyone: ETS is significantly altering the GRE in August 2011 so lay in a stock of books for the new one and get ready to trash the old ones come August 1st.

  2. And here I had students complaining that our 2005 TEAS study manual is out of date and needs to be replaced — in comparison, they have no reason to make a fuss! 😉

  3. Never mind that that sample question and explanation doesn’t even make sense — using _some_ of the profit from one thing to subsidize another thing does NOT imply there’s no profit left from the first thing!

  4. I studied a prep test book for the GREs a long time ago. When I took the test, however, it turned out that I’d studied the wrong thing for the analytical portion because they’d changed that test. That summer, I’d spent my free time completing logic problems from Dell puzzle magazines, and it turned out that the entire GRE analytical test was just like those logic problems, so without meaning to, I’d actually studied for the test. I ended up in the 97th percentile. Test prep books probably need to be recycled yearly, but in my case, it worked out okay.