Master the GMAT with Official GMAT Practice Questions

When preparing for the GMAT, it is essential that you use official practice questions. Why? The GMAT exists to assess very particular skills and abilities that predict your success in business school. The writers of the actual exam questions on the GMAT—employees at the non-profit organization ACT—follow very specific guidelines to make sure that the questions are truly assessing what the Graduate Management Admissions Council (GMAC) wants them to assess: higher-order thinking (critical thinking, pattern recognition, etc.) and problem-solving skills. Understand that the GMAT is not a math test, a grammar test, a reading test; rather, it is a test of verbal and quantitative reasoning, an entrance exam not an exit exam. As such, the goal is not to assess how well you know obscure grammar rules or difficult math concepts, but rather how efficiently and creatively you apply core knowledge to solve different types of problems.

To practice with official test material—and gain expert advice on how to approach each example problem—check out our pages covering multiple free GMAT practice questions.

Danger! Avoid Unofficial GMAT Practice Questions

A majority of unofficial questions made by test prep companies miss this mark in one way or another, particularly on the verbal side of the exam. When you prepare with too many unofficial practice questions, you develop bad habits and you don’t prepare for the type of difficulty you will actually see on the exam. There is a reason that official GMAT questions cost on average more than $2500 per question to make: expert item writers use the institutional knowledge of GMAC and ACT to create consistently “unique” questions assessing certain abilities, and then they vet the questions tirelessly to make sure they are perfect. In a word, these questions are brilliant—they are difficult to attack initially yet generally simple in retrospective analysis, a quality that is challenging for test prep companies to replicate.

Learn Expert GMAT Strategies

In this free introductory lesson from the Menlo Coaching GMAT Prep Course, veteran instructor Chris Kane explains best practices for multiple choice and data sufficiency questions.

Writing Questions to Test Higher-Order Thinking Is No Easy Task

Additionally, I would guess that of the 1000 official questions that appear as scored items on the actual exam over a certain time period, no more than 5 of those end up having marginal issues that lead to their removal as “unfair” or flawed. For unofficial questions, I would guess that number is literally 200 per 1000 (mostly subtle issues on verbal questions) with many of the other “valid” questions not really mimicking the type of difficulty for which you should be preparing. Having written as many unofficial GMAT sample questions as anyone in the test prep industry, I know how painstaking it is to create “perfect” questions, and most question writers working for the big test prep companies simply do not spend the time necessary to capture the real exam questions (mainly because the writers are financially incentivized to write them quickly, or because they don’t really understand how to build questions that test higher-order thinking).

A Curriculum Built On Official Practice Questions 

Our GMAT prep course has “Refresh Modules” to help you remember the algebra, geometry, logic and grammar you need to solve GMAT problems, and after that, we have our students practice exclusively with official GMAT questions. In both our courses and tutoring sessions, we then thoroughly deconstruct these sample questions to show students why they are truly missing them.

Only through this detailed analysis of actual GMAT questions can you really gain the skills and strategies needed to crack 700.

To highlight some of the difficulties present in real GMAT questions and the strategies required to solve them, let’s get a taste of the Menlo Coaching curriculum and deconstruct a GMAT sample question from each section represented on the GMAT.