Here is Dana’s analysis of the Kaplan GMAT Verbal Workbook.
The Kaplan GMAT Verbal Workbook covers two sections of the GMAT: the Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) and the Verbal section, but students will probably want to invest in the book for the latter. As a resource that provides both strategies and practice problems, the book does not disappoint – I was actually pleasantly surprised by the high quality of some of the chapters. But, as is the case with most unofficial material, I didn’t think the questions exactly matched actual GMAT questions. However, this workbook complements the Official Guide Verbal Review nicely, since the Kaplan book provides good strategies that the supplement lacks.
If you are having trouble with verbal but do not have enough time on your hands to go through targeted guides (such as the Manhattan GMAT Sentence Correction guide or the PowerScore Critical Reasoning Bible), you should consider using the Kaplan GMAT Verbal Workbook for more in-depth strategies, since the book will certainly take your prep a step further than simply using a general strategy guide alone (such as Kaplan GMAT Premier Live Online or The Princeton Review’s Cracking the GMAT).
Besides the tips, the book also contains various drills and 250 GMAT-type questions:
- 96 Sentence Correction
- 82 Reading Comprehension
- 72 Critical Reasoning
- The Kaplan Verbal Workbook provides a good strategy guide plus 250 questions at a decent price, so you’ll be getting a good deal for your money. Also, I think it is worth your time to attempt their targeted verbal exercises for your verbal muscle
- Some of the chapters in this book are particularly useful. The “Reading the GMAT Way” chapter neatly encapsulates what I believe is great strategy insights for Reading Comprehension (a section test takers find hard to improve upon), while the Appendixes covering grammar, style and usage and idioms are also worth mentioning for their comprehensive (although condensed) nature and as quick reference material
- The quality of the explanations seems to have improved as compared to Kaplan’s general strategy guide, with a more detailed analysis of wrong answers
- The book provides a good midway between just studying from a general guidebook and going for section specific resources
- Questions do not seem to be arranged in order of difficulty, so if you’re only looking for advanced practice, it may be hard to navigate to those difficult questions in the workbook
- Critical Reasoning could have been covered better, in my opinion. After providing useful advice for the Sentence Correction and the Reading Comprehension sections, the book runs out of momentum for this last verbal section. The fact that the practice questions in the workbook are not official is most evident in Critical Reasoning, since the authors fail to mimic the structure and feel of real Critical Reasoning questions. I would also have loved to see more of the boldface type of Critical Reasoning question, the one students seem to fear the most, but unfortunately there’s only one such question
- While I have not used an older edition of the book, I suspect that this fifth edition is largely the same as compared to previous editions, which means that if you already have an older version spending the extra money on a new one might not be worth it. The text should have been edited more carefully, since the authors mention ETS as being the administrator of the test (it is currently GMAC and Pearson). This has not been the case for about four years now!
The Verbal Workbook gets four out of five stars. It narrowly missing the fifth star because of Critical Reasoning “issues”. All in all though, as I’ve said, this book is definitely worth your time if you’re looking for something more than what a general strategy guide provides. The workbook presents itself as a balanced mix between strategy and practice problems, something that most guidebooks fail to accomplish.
If you’re interested in purchasing the Kaplan GMAT Verbal Workbook, click here.
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