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Official Guide 14 ed (2015) Review - Disappointing

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Official Guide 14 ed (2015) Review - Disappointing  [#permalink]

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New post 09 Jul 2014, 20:35
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Official Guide for GMAT Review 14th Edition.


This week GMAC has released the Official Guide 14th Edition for sale. Here is my analysis and review - I am generally disappointed.

First of all - if you own the previous version (13th edition of the OG and 2nd edition of Quant and Verbal Guides)), there are no new questions in the this bundle. The only reason you may want to purchase these is to have the online quiz engine available to you (see screenshots I uploaded)

Strengths
1. Real GMAT questions retired from past tests
2. Online quiz engine allows you to build practice sets using the OG but it is very weak and cumbersome (more below)
3. Practice questions follow actual GMAT test patterns (it's great to have one's ear trained, esp. in verbal)
4. Overview of the Integrated Reasoning section (50 questions online)

Weaknesses
1. The quiz system is very simplistic and cumbersome. For example I have no idea how to start working on question 10. I have to restart from the beginning every single time and it seems it is not even tracking what questions I have attempted??? Very odd... perhaps I have been spoiled with good GMAT Prep and other CAT Test interfaces. I am struggling here.
2. Questions are EASY in general (only about 5 questions are really a 700-level) based on GMAT Club member feedback. Here are the hardest ones: Official Guide Main Book (V Diag 25, PS 218, DS 129, DS 131, DS 141). The Quant book is the especially easy one.
3. Does not include any test-taking strategies. Though it has a few short review sections for each area, they are weak and very unfriendly
4. Questions are predominantly low to medium in difficulty which is often not representative of questions one encounters on the test
5. We really could have used some new questions. The official Guide questions are generally on the EASY side.
6. There is a 100% overlap with previous edition of the Official Guide. 13th Edition has an 83% overlap with the 12th edition. 12th edition has a 66% overlap the 11th edition.

Online Questions:
All questions are now available online in this odd quiz system. They can be accessed here: https://gmat.wiley.com
You will need to have a special code that is included on the back of the OG books. It does not look like access expires. See a screenshot below of the code card/pouch.


P.S. If you own the previous 13th edition and 2nd edition of Quant and Verbal Guides, I could see some still buying the book for the advantage of having the online practice quiz access, but the issues that the online quiz engine has I would not buy it.

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Re: Official Guide 14 ed (2015) Review - Disappointing  [#permalink]

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New post 10 Jul 2014, 07:53
Hi all,

I have a few questions which came up after I read this post:

I just started to prepare for the GMAT and I am using the Manhatten books and the OG. My primar focus is on the practice questions of the OG, but I just read here that those are too easy?! Which other source would you recommend then, to practices quant and verbal questions if I am aiming for a 700+ score? What about the problem sets in the Manhatten books? Are those useful?

I always thought that the best way to prepare for the actual exam is solving all the questions in the OG (+ going through the answer explanations) because those are actual questions from past exams.. That's why I am a little bit confused right now, and would really appreciate your help and some information about other sources for practice questions.

Thanks in advance!
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Re: Official Guide 14 ed (2015) Review - Disappointing  [#permalink]

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New post 10 Jul 2014, 08:31
bb wrote:

Official Guide for GMAT Review 14th Edition.


This week GMAC has released the Official Guide 14th Edition for sale. Here is my analysis and review - I am generally disappointed.

First of all - if you own the previous version (13th edition of the OG and 2nd edition of Quant and Verbal Guides)), there are no new questions in the this bundle. The only reason you may want to purchase these is to have the online quiz engine available to you (see screenshots I uploaded)

Strengths
1. Real GMAT questions retired from past tests
2. Online quiz engine allows you to build practice sets using the OG but it is very weak and cumbersome (more below)
3. Practice questions follow actual GMAT test patterns (it's great to have one's ear trained, esp. in verbal)
4. Overview of the Integrated Reasoning section (50 questions online)

Weaknesses
1. The quiz system is very simplistic and cumbersome. For example I have no idea how to start working on question 10. I have to restart from the beginning every single time and it seems it is not even tracking what questions I have attempted??? Very odd... perhaps I have been spoiled with good GMAT Prep and other CAT Test interfaces. I am struggling here.
2. Questions are EASY in general (only about 5 questions are really a 700-level) based on GMAT Club member feedback. Here are the hardest ones: Official Guide Main Book (V Diag 25, PS 218, DS 129, DS 131, DS 141). The Quant book is the especially easy one.
3. Does not include any test-taking strategies. Though it has a few short review sections for each area, they are weak and very unfriendly
4. Questions are predominantly low to medium in difficulty which is often not representative of questions one encounters on the test
5. We really could have used some new questions. The official Guide questions are generally on the EASY side.
6. There is a 100% overlap with previous edition of the Official Guide. 13th Edition has an 83% overlap with the 12th edition. 12th edition has a 66% overlap the 11th edition.

Online Questions:
All questions are now available online in this odd quiz system. They can be accessed here: https://gmat.wiley.com
You will need to have a special code that is included on the back of the OG books. It does not look like access expires. See a screenshot below of the code card/pouch.


P.S. If you own the previous 13th edition and 2nd edition of Quant and Verbal Guides, I could see some still buying the book for the advantage of having the online practice quiz access, but the issues that the online quiz engine has I would not buy it.

Attachment:
photo.JPG


Attachment:
2014-07-09_1336.png


Attachment:
2014-07-09_1337.png


Attachment:
2014-07-09_1337_001.png



Hi,

I am planning to purchase this edition. However, I am not sure whether the online question bank overlaps with the practice questions in the book.

Could you please throw some light on this aspect?

Regards,
lakhyajd87
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Re: Official Guide 14 ed (2015) Review - Disappointing  [#permalink]

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New post 10 Jul 2014, 08:59
Thanks for this review! I'm using this in conjunction with the empowergmat course. Unless they recommend it. I am not buying it.

Posted from my mobile device
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Re: Official Guide 14 ed (2015) Review - Disappointing  [#permalink]

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New post 10 Jul 2014, 09:44
I agree - I was a bit disappointed, and especially if you already have OG13, then I recommend only getting OG14 / OG2015 on iTunes or on Amazon (depending on whether you have / prefer using your iphone or kindle, & you can always use your computer...).

Unless you either don't have OG13 (and prefer to use a hard copy vs. online), or don't mind lugging around 1 or 2 very large books, I would opt to get the digital version.

The biggest cons / negatives I've found so far in my limited use (since I got digital OG14 this week) have been:
(1) There are NO new questions!, and (2) not being able to see / keep track of which questions you have done.

These are the two biggest negatives (and they are BIG negatives), but also (3) in practice mode, you have the option to select "view answer" w/ explanation or "next question". At first this is a little confusing; you don't select + confirm as you do with GMAT Club tests / GMAT Prep sets etc., and also the time continues while you review the explanations. This makes no sense, although you can get around this somewhat by selecting "view answer" & then pausing, and sort of reading around the "exam paused" message to review the explanations.

The positives are mainly (1) not having to lug around the big OG book, and (2) the online practice sets. So I probably would have still bought OG14 / OG2015 even if I had known that it has the same exact questions. I just wish that OG14 & the new OG Verbal & OG Quant reviews had at least some new questions, let you see which OG question you are doing, had a bit of a better interface (GM Club & Prep are MUCH better), and had other features - such as the ability to select how many DS, PS, SC etc. Q's to include in a practice set vs. simply whether to include PS/DS easy / hard etc. For example GMAT Prep allows you to do a set with 15 PS and 12 DS Q's, and you can select any combination of easy / medium / hard Q's that add up to 15 & 12.

Long story short:

*If you do not have OG13 yet: It's still worth it to get OG14 (hard copy or digital); a silver lining to having the same exact Q's is that it will still follow any course's previous study plan, and OG14 gives you the option for online sets, so it's still definitely the better choice vs. OG13.

*If you already have OG13: There is no reason to get the hard copy of OG14, but getting the digital version still has some useful pro's, such as allowing you to essentially carry the OG in your pocket, and of course providing the online set feature, which I like especially because you don't have to skip around hundreds of pages to view the explanations.
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New post 10 Jul 2014, 09:52
sorry, not able to follow.
what is the OG14 digital version? you mean kindle version?


matjung wrote:
I agree - I was a bit disappointed, and especially if you already have OG13, then I recommend only getting OG14 / OG2015 on iTunes or on Amazon (depending on whether you have / prefer using your iphone or kindle, & you can always use your computer...).

Unless you either don't have OG13 (and prefer to use a hard copy vs. online), or don't mind lugging around 1 or 2 very large books, I would opt to get the digital version.

The biggest cons / negatives I've found so far in my limited use (since I got digital OG14 this week) have been:
(1) There are NO new questions!, and (2) not being able to see / keep track of which questions you have done.

These are the two biggest negatives (and they are BIG negatives), but also (3) in practice mode, you have the option to select "view answer" w/ explanation or "next question". At first this is a little confusing; you don't select + confirm as you do with GMAT Club tests / GMAT Prep sets etc., and also the time continues while you review the explanations. This makes no sense, although you can get around this somewhat by selecting "view answer" & then pausing, and sort of reading around the "exam paused" message to review the explanations.

The positives are mainly (1) not having to lug around the big OG book, and (2) the online practice sets. So I probably would have still bought OG14 / OG2015 even if I had known that it has the same exact questions. I just wish that OG14 & the new OG Verbal & OG Quant reviews had at least some new questions, let you see which OG question you are doing, had a bit of a better interface (GM Club & Prep are MUCH better), and had other features - such as the ability to select how many DS, PS, SC etc. Q's to include in a practice set vs. simply whether to include PS/DS easy / hard etc. For example GMAT Prep allows you to do a set with 15 PS and 12 DS Q's, and you can select any combination of easy / medium / hard Q's that add up to 15 & 12.

Long story short:

*If you do not have OG13 yet: It's still worth it to get OG14 (hard copy or digital); a silver lining to having the same exact Q's is that it will still follow any course's previous study plan, and OG14 gives you the option for online sets, so it's still definitely the better choice vs. OG13.

*If you already have OG13: There is no reason to get the hard copy of OG14, but getting the digital version still has some useful pro's, such as allowing you to essentially carry the OG in your pocket, and of course providing the online set feature, which I like especially because you don't have to skip around hundreds of pages to view the explanations.
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Re: Official Guide 14 ed (2015) Review - Disappointing  [#permalink]

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New post 10 Jul 2014, 10:26
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lou34 wrote:
Hi all,

I have a few questions which came up after I read this post:

I just started to prepare for the GMAT and I am using the Manhatten books and the OG. My primar focus is on the practice questions of the OG, but I just read here that those are too easy?! Which other source would you recommend then, to practices quant and verbal questions if I am aiming for a 700+ score? What about the problem sets in the Manhatten books? Are those useful?

I always thought that the best way to prepare for the actual exam is solving all the questions in the OG (+ going through the answer explanations) because those are actual questions from past exams.. That's why I am a little bit confused right now, and would really appreciate your help and some information about other sources for practice questions.

Thanks in advance!


The OG questions are perfectly fine. In fact, the OG questions should be THE source you use when preparing for the actual GMAT. I have followed this board for awhile and have noticed that some posters seem to rate all of the OG questions as 'easy' except for a few half-dozen. Not all of us have quant backgrounds after all or are aiming for Q 51s. And by 51, I am referring to 90%-ile, which is where you will likely encounter the relatively difficult problems that will make the OG problems seem easy. In any event, you don't need a 90%-ile Q score to get a 700+ (but yes for 750-800).

Anyhow, as a non-quant person, I'd say that the OG Q problems are excellent practice and line up pretty closely to what you will see on the four GMAT Prep tests and the actual exam, if you are not going for that 90%-ile Q score. Also, it's good that you are using the Manhattan GMAT books. If you purchased one and have access to their GMAT Navigator, their software gives you relative difficultly level of the problem compared to the location of the problem in the book (OG problems start out easy at problem #1 and increase in difficulty with the number, supposedly). For example, question #210 should be a difficult problem given the high number, but it may be a relatively easy problem for that difficulty level according to the Navigator.

I'd say OG Verbal is pretty spot on with the actual exam. I actually think OG RC is a tad more difficult than the actual exam because the OG is in print, and the computer highlights passages, one question at a time etc.

It's good that you are using Manhattan, but note that their Q on the CATs are a bit more difficult in general than GMAT Q (at least to me, and others have echoed this as well). My Q average with MGMT is about 42 and on the Prep tests it's 45-46. However, their Q CATs are great because they really prompt you to think conceptually about a problem, which is really helpful for the actual test.

The problem sets in the Manhattan books are good practice and mimic OG questions, but are not the real, actual questions of course. They are a pretty decent simulation.

Manhattan books are great for learning and applying strategies... the OG does not give much, if any insight into strategy (why would they?). However, OG's CR verbal explanations are pretty helpful.

So yes, if you are aiming for a 700+, stick with the OG, use Manhattan books for strategy, use Manhattan's GMAT Navigator for answer explanations, and take the Manhattan CATs. Also, some posters on this board have insightful ways for solving problems.

And, the Q answer explanations in the OG are pretty awful... some answers are insightful but overall they are not great. Again, I'd use Manhattan's GMAT Navigator... their explanations are pretty clear (includes video) and they solve the problems using common sense (not gobbledy-gook like OG). In many cases, the OG answer explanations are the most inefficient way to solve problem.
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Re: Official Guide 14 ed (2015) Review - Disappointing  [#permalink]

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New post 10 Jul 2014, 10:47
Thanks for the quick review bb. It's great to have a review that's from a reliable source!
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New post 10 Jul 2014, 12:08
[quote="sunita123"]sorry, not able to follow.
what is the OG14 digital version? you mean kindle version?


Hi Sunita - Yes sorry by digital I mean basically kindle or iTunes / iphone (or any other e-reader) :-D

Just fyi what I said about OG 2015 also applies to the OG verbal & quant review books that have been recently released and also have the same questions but with the new question bank option: I'd say if you already have those in hard copy version to buy amazon / kindle or iTunes / iphone / ipad versions as well (if you opt to buy any version).

They are cheaper than the hard copies, however I'm not sure if there is a difference regarding the time limit; I could have sworn that I saw from Wiley (the site that runs the online question sets) when I activated my online access for OG14, Q-Review and V-Review that my access will expire in 6 months.

Can someone who has bought the hard copy / copies shed some light on whether this 6-month window applies to all access-code activations for the online banks??

Hopefully I won't still be studying too much for the GMAT in 6 months anyway (although in a sick way it's addictive!!!).

Thanks!

PS***I will double check and repost ASAP if I am mistaken about the 6-month access, but again I'm pretty sure that I got a message saying that I have access to the question banks for 6 months...If this is the case, I would recommend holding off on activating the Quant + Verbal review book online banks and save them for the weeks leading up to the big test day!***
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Re: Official Guide 14 ed (2015) Review - Disappointing  [#permalink]

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New post 10 Jul 2014, 23:23
bb wrote:
This week GMAC has released the Official Guide 14th Edition for sale. Here is my analysis and review - I am generally disappointed.

Excellent analysis, BB!

I guess most new test takers (who haven't read this analysis) might still find it 'safer' to stick to the newest edition.

But for folks who have already invested in the earlier edition, spending more money on this one may not help much.

Btw, there might be some confusion of whether this is OG14 (the thread title) or OG15 (from the cover page).
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New post 11 Jul 2014, 01:57
Really it's disappointing for everyone who ducked in SC in exam. I was expecting GMAC to release new SC problems matching to the type appearing in real exam. Since last one year people are reporting that difficulty level of SC problems is unexpectedly increased and OG does not give true reflection of SC questions appearing in exam. Further, old questions available on forums were designed to test grammatical aspect, but for this new meaning aspect, which GMAT is testing abundantly these days, ratio of number of questions in OG 13 is quite low. :(. GMAC must release at least 50 SC questions similar to questions appearing in real exam.
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New post 11 Jul 2014, 12:28
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Hello GMATClub community! Rebecca from GMAC here. We really appreciate you posting this review, and giving us your feedback. I wanted to jump in and clarify a few things: First, you are correct that the new edition does not contain any new questions. We hope we were transparent about that in our marketing, and apologize if there was any confusion otherwise. As for test-taking strategies, we do include a video from Larry Rudner, our chief psychometrician, with study tips and strategies. You can also check out mba.com for more of our free resources! We definitely suggest you take a look at our most recent blog post, 5 Steps to Building GMAT Practice Sets, with tips and strategies for getting the most out of the new online software: http://www.mba.com/global/the-gmat-blog ... -sets.aspx.

I passed your feedback on the OG2015 software onto our product team. We always welcome suggestions from the community!

Again, thanks for taking the time to review our book. We always appreciate hearing back from the GMAT test-taking community.

Rebecca
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New post 11 Jul 2014, 12:47
Hi Rebecca,

What about the new verbal review book? does it have new questions ?

Further, is it true that sentence correction problems appearing in exam are a bit different from what available in OG ?
On gmatclub many students shared such common story that what they prepared from official material didn't help in real exam. Please refer following one of the threads.
real-gmat-sc-experience-136558.html

Regards,
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Re: Official Guide 14 ed (2015) Review - Disappointing  [#permalink]

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New post 12 Jul 2014, 12:47
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lakhyajd wrote:


Hi,

I am planning to purchase this edition. However, I am not sure whether the online question bank overlaps with the practice questions in the book.

Could you please throw some light on this aspect?

Regards,
lakhyajd87


It is IDENTICAL. Please read the review closely.
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New post 12 Jul 2014, 12:48
MBACrystalBall wrote:
bb wrote:
This week GMAC has released the Official Guide 14th Edition for sale. Here is my analysis and review - I am generally disappointed.

Excellent analysis, BB!

I guess most new test takers (who haven't read this analysis) might still find it 'safer' to stick to the newest edition.

But for folks who have already invested in the earlier edition, spending more money on this one may not help much.

Btw, there might be some confusion of whether this is OG14 (the thread title) or OG15 (from the cover page).


Thanks! I have added the 2015 into the Subject to clarify but I agree, it is confusing to have a 14th edition that was published in July of 2014 and has a BIG 2015 on the font cover
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New post 12 Jul 2014, 12:49
GMATHEW wrote:


PS***I will double check and repost ASAP if I am mistaken about the 6-month access, but again I'm pretty sure that I got a message saying that I have access to the question banks for 6 months...If this is the case, I would recommend holding off on activating the Quant + Verbal review book online banks and save them for the weeks leading up to the big test day!***


I did not see this warning/notice, so definitely welcome any clarifications about expiration of access.
Thank you!
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New post 13 Jul 2014, 07:34
Hi Rebecca,

GMAC/Wiley really needs to fix the online software. In order of priority:

1. The online app needs to register the questions that have already been attempted. Until this is fixed the online practice is basically of no use since very few of us would be completing an entire section in one siting. I am a bit suprised that this issue has crept in - even the most basic of online practice modules would not in each session give you the same questions from the question bank.

2. When one is checking the answer, the timer should automatically pause. Makes no sense otherwise.
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Re: Official Guide 14 ed (2015) Review - Disappointing  [#permalink]

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New post 14 Jul 2014, 00:20
bb wrote:
lakhyajd wrote:


Hi,

I am planning to purchase this edition. However, I am not sure whether the online question bank overlaps with the practice questions in the book.

Could you please throw some light on this aspect?

Regards,
lakhyajd87


It is IDENTICAL. Please read the review closely.


Hi BB,

Thanks for the review and response. Is there any considerable change in GMAT scoring pattern? Like IR score will also be considered or any other changes?

Greetings!!
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New post 14 Jul 2014, 05:57
PiyushK wrote:
Hi Rebecca,

What about the new verbal review book? does it have new questions ?

Further, is it true that sentence correction problems appearing in exam are a bit different from what available in OG ?
On gmatclub many students shared such common story that what they prepared from official material didn't help in real exam. Please refer following one of the threads.
real-gmat-sc-experience-136558.html

Regards,
Piyush


Hello, Piyush. The 2015 series marks a shift to annual editions of the three guides. It’s too early to say what will be changed in the 2016 series and whether/how many new questions the three books will have, but we can expect an update of some sort next year. I'm sorry I don't have more information available to you, but I will certainly share more updates with the community when I have them.

As for your question about Sentence Correction, the OG Guides should give you a good overview of the types of questions you can expect to see in the exam. Because the GMAT exam is computer-adaptive, individual testing experiences will vary. We frequently hear-and take note of-feedback from students. Many students feel the guides were an excellent representation of the exam. The best strategy is to prepare for all question types so that no matter what the test throws at you, you will be ready for it!

Good luck!

Rebecca
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Re: Official Guide 14 ed (2015) Review - Disappointing  [#permalink]

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New post 14 Jul 2014, 06:00
bb wrote:
GMATHEW wrote:


PS***I will double check and repost ASAP if I am mistaken about the 6-month access, but again I'm pretty sure that I got a message saying that I have access to the question banks for 6 months...If this is the case, I would recommend holding off on activating the Quant + Verbal review book online banks and save them for the weeks leading up to the big test day!***


I did not see this warning/notice, so definitely welcome any clarifications about expiration of access.
Thank you!


Hi, everyone! You will be able to access the online question bank for six months once you activate the code. Thanks for letting us clarify that!

Rebecca
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Leah
Customer Care Coordinator
Graduate Management Admission Council® (GMAC®)
gmac.com | mba.com
GMAT Club Bot
Re: Official Guide 14 ed (2015) Review - Disappointing   [#permalink] 14 Jul 2014, 06:00

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Official Guide 14 ed (2015) Review - Disappointing

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