Can you succeed using an older version of the GMAT Official Guide?
Yes. 100%. At some point (a long time ago…) I was doing most of my GMAT tutoring sessions at the New York public library using a five year old copy of the OG.
GMAT content has remained remarkably stable over the past couple of decades (since the transition from paper to computer adaptive testing). So, from a content perspective an older version of the guide is the same as the latest and greatest.
GMAC doesn’t do a great job at explaining this. Wonder why?
And there are many people out there who don’t know the difference between buying and older vs newer guide. Hence, this post to provide some daylight on the subject and help you figure out what Official Guide you need for your GMAT prep.
Are there any advantage to buying the newest version of the GMAT Official Guide?
Again, in terms of content: no.
So what are differences?
If you buy a new version of the guide then you will get access to an online question bank. Those questions are the same ones from the guide itself but you do have the advantage of accessing remotely, creating mini timed quizzes, sorting by question type/difficulty, and saving questions into an error log.
So from a functionality perspective you might like having the newest version.
That said, if you aren’t going for gold and just need a passable GMAT score or simply don’t have the budget for a new book then you will be just fine with an older version of the Official Guide.
How old is too old?
There is such a thing as too old. I would go for Official Guide 2016 or newer. There were some improvements in the 2016 guide (overlap with other resources taken out) so it’s worth not going older than that.
What about the Quant and Verbal Guides?
Same idea. You don’t need the newest unless you want the online question bank access. And go for 2016 or newer.
Any other suggestions on GMAT Materials?
There are a whole bunch of different official practice materials available. Most are helpful. Some are duds (anything to do with the Essay or IR). As a studier it can be tough to know when to use what (don’t blast all your practice tests in the beginning of your studying!). We’ve got a breakdown of everything on our GMAT materials page. Feel free to comment here or on the materials page if you have any questions!