We’re only a few days away from the big switch to the Next Generation GMAT and I’m sure many of you have been studying for it for a while now. In case you’re just starting out, the most important thing you need to know is that one of the two essays that are part of the Analytical Writing Assessment will be replaced by another section called Integrated Reasoning. You may think this doesn’t matter so much, given that the only score business schools really care about is the 200 to 800 score, computed from your quant and verbal scores (and neither of these two sections has changed, by the way). Not so fast! The new IR section is a bit more challenging than an essay and you need to take it right before the quant section, so you very much want to avoid getting tired and/or nervous before the main event.
This is where the Manhattan GMAT IR guide comes in. While the Official Guide 13 has a theoretical section on IR and gives you access to some 50 questions, it is insufficient for most people. That’s not surprising at all, given the notoriously underdeveloped theoretical review parts of the OG. The Manhattan GMAT guide is meant to fill in some of the gaps, although be warned: the book does reference some of the other Manhattan GMAT guides, especially the Fractions and Percents guide. This shouldn’t be taken as a flaw, however, simply because IR is a mix of quant and verbal and many (all?) of the concepts tested on this section are covered in quant and verbal. So my advice is to devote most of your time to studying for these two essential sections and spend some time later on getting yourself used to the IR question types. As a side note, if you’ve ever taken an aptitude test for investment banking or consulting recruiting, some of the question formats in IR will seem very familiar.
That’s really where the Manhattan GMAT IR guide shines. This book isn’t about covering content as much as it is about proper process and question type analysis. You will learn some new and interesting stuff (for instance, the chapter on Statistics is pretty detailed), but don’t expect to be flooded by new concepts. If you’ve studied well enough for quant and verbal, it all boils down to feeling comfortable with the new question format and the Manhattan IR book certainly covers this in enough detail for you to feel prepared.
- Detailed analysis of each question type, fleshing out a clear process for each. Explanations to examples are also very detailed.
- Provides access to Manhattan GMAT’s set of 6 practice tests, some of the best and most accurate in the industry. Plus, you also get access to their IR question bank of over 35 questions for more practice.
- Section on the essay part, with a very handy list of connectors to use in your essays. There are also some very specific tips on what to do to improve your essay score beyond the bland “read some stuff and write some stuff.” Did you know that writing a longer essay might help?
- So far the only dedicated IR book on the market, making it the default choice for most test takers.
- Sometimes actually following all the steps recommended by the book might be a bit too time consuming and tiring, especially given the relative importance of the IR section and the essay. For instance, would you really have time to analyze an essay prompt in as much detail as recommended in the book? There’s no less than a page of potential questions you could consider about the argument, in my opinion way too many for an approximately 300-word essay.
- There is some repetition in the book. It may be welcome by some, but for me some parts seemed unnecessary.
Don’t stress too much about the IR section and the essay, but don’t completely neglect them either. Browse the Manhattan GMAT IR guide and practice a bit after you’re done reviewing quant and verbal. All in all, this book and the Official Guide 13 should be more than enough for your IR and essay section prep.