Coming soon to a Mac and PC near you: an updated version of GMAT Prep (available on April 2nd, 2012). Like good investigative journalists (or paparazzi) we got our hands on some of the goods as soon as possible. The goods in question? Screenshots of the latest version of GMATPrep. Macrumors on the latest iPhone/iPad/Macbook Air this is not, but people are pretty excited about this development, so might as well not wait!
Let’s take a look and point out some of the interesting new features…
It looks a lot more welcoming, not to mention informative about what each section contains. Clearly the presence of the new “Improve” section speaks to GMAC’s increased commitment to broadening what they offer with this software. I, for one, am pleased with the aesthetics, though the blue-on-blue is sometimes difficult to read.
The practice home now includes practice for specific question types and the two CAT practice exams. What’s interesting here is the running tabulation in the upper right corner: the total number of available questions and the total number you’ve completed. It also appears that you’ll be able build your own practice set of questions to include the type and number questions you want (lower left of image). On the whole, the functionality improvements that GMAC was touting earlier in the year appear to have come to pass in a significant way.
The exam review screen is part of the Practice section, and is also a completely revamped and expanded component of GMATPrep. With these additions GMAC has finally begun to provide meaningful, practice-based timing data for students to use to hone their pacing. We love the fact that this info has been included in the latest version, and can only hope that they’ll provide question-by-question timing in the “Exam results” tab, and not just averages as they do here on the “Time Management” tab. Question-by-question timing data is important because comprehensive timing assessments are only part of what’s needed to help hone and refine pacing plans. Test-takers also need to be able to identify exactly which questions they’ve mismanaged from a timing standpoint, as that will allow them to investigate why they got bogged down on a particular question, and, more importantly, how they can remedy that issue through future practice.
One other important note about this page (in fact, it’s our only real significant criticism of what we’ve seen so far): do not let the predetermined timing cut-offs for average time per question (as indicated by the the dotted lines in the graphs under the “Time taken per question…” portion) dictate how you work questions and manage your pacing. GMAC, in our estimation, is reenforcing an arbitrary “ideal average” based on somewhat faulty logic. The faulty logic here is that everyone is shooting for the same score, tests the same way, and must tackle the test in a specific fashion to get a specific score. None of these things are true. So while they aren’t telling you that you “must” try to get your average time below the dotted lines (2:01/question for Quant and 1:49/question for Verbal), it sure does seem like that’s what they’re saying. More than anything, you need to manage your test in the best way for you get the score you need. That also means pacing yourself in the manner that best suits your abilities and how you test.
We’ll be back with more as information becomes available. Until then…