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. On May 13, 2009 she scored a 770 on the GMAT.
Here is Dana’s analysis of the Manhattan GMAT Equations, Inequalities, and VICs Guide.
The third book in the Manhattan GMAT quant series features theory and practice on equations (with an emphasis on the quadratic equation, the one most commonly tested on the GMAT), functions, inequalities and problems based around variables (the so-called VICs). As is the case with the entire series, the book does an in depth coverage of the theoretical aspects of the topics and also provides a decent amount of practice.
The structure of this guide is similar to that of other MGMAT guides: a more basic to intermediate part (in this case, with 85 practice items) and an advanced section for those who want to take it a step further (where you’ll also find 57 questions). The only issue with the questions supplied by MGMAT is that most of them are not exactly in the style of the GMAT, meaning that most problems simply ask for a value instead of letting you choose between options. Note that they are still good practice though!
- Solid conceptual review that gets to the core of the material. Because of its two-part structure, it is a good book for both for those who are just starting out and for those who seek more advanced practice and strategy
- Comes with a code to register for the 6 online MGMAT tests (pretty decent predictors of your skill level) and 25 extra practice questions. However, the guide does rely heavily on the Official Guide for problems (you’ll see sets of questions from the OG corresponding with topics)
- I was personally impressed with the VICs chapter, because “all-letter” problems tend to scare students the most. I also enjoyed their sample problems, which combined both geometry and VICs – this is a plus, I believe, because the GMAT rarely tests just one concept but rather “mixes it up”. Their coverage of advanced functions was also pretty good
- They sometimes overuse tables and drawings in general as a technique to approach problems. While this might help if you’re a visual learner, for me it seemed unnecessary at times: drawing does take a bit and this is a timed test, so be sure not to go over the top with it. They also seem to have a thing for mnemonics and abbreviations, which might be confusing if you’re trying to remember everything
- Could have used more practice on arithmetic and geometric progressions and a few more challenging problems on equations
- Even thought the Data Sufficiency chapter does present a few interesting tips, it could have been improved by adding a few practice problems and focusing less on rephrasing from the Official Guides
The Manhattan GMAT Equations, Inequalities, & VICs guide is a comprehensive resource on these topics, featuring both a good theoretical review and some noteworthy practice. Although it does have its flaws, it is still a pretty good resource for the given concepts.
If you’re interested in purchasing the Manhattan GMAT Equations, Inequalities, and VICs Guide, 4th edition, click here.
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