The following book review was written by Dana Jinaru. Dana is currently a finance student in Europe and also serves as a moderator for Beat The GMAT. As a self studier, she scored a 770 on the GMAT.
Here is Dana’s analysis of the Manhattan GMAT Critical Reasoning Guide.
The Manhattan GMAT Critical Reasoning Guide is the first in a series of three Manhattan GMAT books developed for the three major question types students will see on the GMAT verbal section. This resource presents itself as a reasonable alternative to the PowerScore Critical Reasoning Bible as a complete guide to Critical Reasoning (CR).
As compared to other general GMAT guides, the Manhattan GMAT CR guide is pretty thorough in its analysis of CR, but less so when you put it side by side with the CR Bible from PowerScore. For instance, the latter devotes entire chapters to some relatively rare questions (such as Resolve the Paradox or Evaluate an Argument), while this Manhattan GMAT book simply groups these topics together in a single chapter, with approximately one page of theoretical review per rare question type. However, Manhattan GMAT does offer more practice problems: 75 (50 in the book and 25 available online) versus only around 50 in the CR Bible. Note that I believe there’s no value in owning both books – the overlap in concepts is just too big to justify purchasing both.
- The questions are well-written and seem to be in the style of official GMAT questions. You’ll also get some extra practice for specific concepts at the end of the first two chapters
- Offers access to the 6 computer adaptive tests by Manhattan GMAT, tests that are widely considered to be good indicators of your current level
- Handy lists of real GMAT questions (from the OG 12 and the verbal supplement, 1st and 2nd editions) are presented at the end of each chapter, so that you may practice your newly acquired skills on official material as well
- The theoretical review is not as thorough as the one in the PowerScore CR Bible. It could use more practice questions and strategy tips for the minor question types (some of them are covered in only half a page)
- At times, this book seems to overemphasize note-taking techniques. While they are certainly handy on occasions, some students (such as myself) prefer not to use them as much on the relatively short CR passages
- As opposed to the CR Bible, the Manhattan GMAT Critical Reasoning Guide argues that you should read the question stem before reading the stimulus. I personally have found that this strategy does not work for me: my main reason for this is that students—once they’ve read the question stem—tend to get stressed out if they cannot find the answer as they read and thus lose sight of the structure of the argument. However, some students do work more efficiently by using the strategy advocated in the Manhattan GMAT guide
The Manhattan GMAT Critical Reasoning Guide gets four stars out of five for a solid theoretical review, handy Official Guide for GMAT Review lists and good practice questions. While its theoretical coverage could use a bit more work, this book is overall a good investment of time and money.
If you’re interested in purchasing the Manhattan GMAT Critical Reasoning GMAT Preparation Guide, 4th Edition, click here.
Read more book reviews in the Beat The GMAT Book Recommendations section.