Monday, November 1, 2010

What is the Newly launched Beat the GMAT practice questions all about ?



Beat the Gmat is launching a new version of its 'Beat the GMAT practice questions' tomorrow, 2nd November. Since I've used a few other products online that also provide additional practice to GMAT test takers, I was very curious to learn more about it when Eric, the VP and founder of beatthegmat.com asked me to do a review of the new version. So here goes..

Overview
This product has over 700 quant and verbal questions to practice with. You can choose to (1) View the dashboard - your performance in terms of statistics e.g. time taken to answer questions, percentage of correctly answered quant and verbal questions, etc (2) Practice a custom session according to the type and difficulty level that you want to practice (3) Review your answered questions by understanding their difficulty level, your response time against the average, along with an option to flag the question you would like to review/practice.

Features 

Video explanations - Each question comes with a video explanation, which gives an in-depth explanation of the question itself and the reason why each option is right or wrong. Although these video explanations do not explain how to approach that particular type of question directly, one slowly gets the hang of what to look for and what constitutes the right answer. For example, while explaining the reading comprehension questions it aptly explains the need to understand the underlying meaning of certain sentences, rather than relying on only fact finding.

Personalized practice - A test taker can create a custom practice session by specifying the type of Math/Verbal question, difficulty level, number of questions, etc. One feature I liked about the customization options is the feature to set the difficulty level to 'Adaptive' mimicking the GMAT adaptive behaviour. Another striking feature is the option to practice questions that a user would have flagged in earlier sessions. So incase its a good question that catches you off guard or you take a lot of time to solve, you can practice to improve your performance by creating a session of these flagged questions. These are features I have not found in other online GMAT practice products such as Grockit and gmatclub.

Review progress - The review provides good insight into the strengths and weak areas as exhibited by the questions answered during various time periods, so you can gauge your improvements as you keep practicing . You can jump to any of the questions in the review table to view the full question, your answer and the video explanation. However, one additional feature which would be very useful would be to provide graphs providing the test taker's week-on-week and/or session-on-session progress in various sub-areas.

Quality - Neat interface that provides a healthy mix of quality Math and verbal questions. Although the videos do not provide tips and tricks directly, they provide clear, concise and coherent explanations that would help an average GMATer understand the approach to take while solving the question.
The quality of questions vs the real GMAT correlate for the most part. I did feel the real GMAT sentence correction questions were much harder than the few I practiced with in my review account (has only a sub-set of questions), but I would say that this is the case for most GMAT products (books and online products). The quality for Math correlates with the real GMAT and does not go overboard, like Manhattan CAT Math goes. The quality of the video explanations is excellent and explains how one can conclude on the correct option.

For anyone who has exhausted their OG practice and looking for a at-home product, the BTG practice questions is a useful adaptive and personalised product.

Disclaimer : I am to receive a few premium accounts of this product for my efforts to do this review. My aim was to review the basic features of the product and to give a view on the quality of the questions available, based on a healthy sample. Although I have given a comparison, regarding certain aspects, with other GMAT products, my intention has not been to directly compare any of the products comprehensively, but to help give readers a point of reference.

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