Manhattan GMAT Critical Reasoning GMAT Preparation Guide, 4th Edition: Book Review:

by on May 24th, 2010

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.

Overview

Manhattan GMAT Critical Reasoning GuideThe 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.

Pros

  • 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

Cons

  • 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

Bottom Line

4/5 Stars

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.

11 comments

  • hello dana
    is there any differnce between the 3rd edition and 4th edition

  • I actually have not reviewed the 3rd edition of this book. However, from what I recall, the main differences between this edition of the guides and the third edition is that the older ones reference the OG 11 for practice. However, if you want to double check, I'm sure you could compare the table of contents for the two (I wanted to do this for you, but could not find the table of contents for the 3rd edition).

  • hi dana
    i've powerscore's LSAT logical bible....do u think it is valuable?

  • Yes, in fact the PowerScore CR Bible is a cut down versio of the LSAT book. However, you won't need all the chapters. Some of the questions covered by the Logical Reasoning Bible are just not tested on the GMAT.

  • Hi Dana

    I spoke to u through this forum in october.
    I had scored a 560 in my first gmat attempt.
    You had suggested me few books that I should go through and by the end of it I am done with following:
    kaplan verbal and 800, official guide, verbal guide, manhattan sc, powerscore cr.
    I have been giving my tests and the scores have varied from 600-660. verbal score between 28-40 ( usually 30-33) and quant 43-51 usually (45-48), something I did not score during my practice tests when I was about to give my first attempt. The last test I gave was a kaplan Cat and scored a 650 with 29 in verbal and 49 in quant.
    I have my gmat in 8 days and i am in a desperate need of a 700. please suggest how should I go about it.
    I get max. wrong in rc in verbal section.

  • Your verbal score can definitely pull you up to a 700! I'd say focus on the verbal for the time being. You have some awesome books there, and I can't recommend anything else except reviewing them in these last 8 days. You should probably focus on stuff you got wrong from the OG. Now, RC is pretty hard to improve upon in a short time span. However, I did this video once about RC, you may find it useful: https://www.beatthegmat.com/mba/2010/08/25/gmat-science-reading-comprehension (I swear I was having a horrible hair day)

  • Hi Danaj,

    Which is the best book for Integrated reasoning ? I was considering of buying MGMAT Fifth Ed. - Integrated Reasoning & Essay. What are your review on this book ?
    Should i go for it or are there books available

    Regards
    Sachin

  • Unfortunately I have not reviewed any other IR books, so I can't really tell you. This one seemed very reasonable.

  • Hi Dana,

    I am facing a little trouble with CR. I have the OG, Kaplans standard book for gmat that gives a brief insight on CR. I liked the explanations in Kaplan but when i got back to the OG questions, I felt that the explanations don't really help. And OG explanations anyways dont help. I looked at Powerscore CR but i guess it has been discontinued for some reason. What do u suggest i should buy for CR? 

  • Are you sure you looked in the right shop for it? The book is still available on amazon and the first search result when you look for "Powerscore Critical Reasoning Bible."

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