Manhattan GMAT Reading Comprehension GMAT Strategy Guide: Book Review:

by on June 7th, 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. On May 13, 2009 she scored a 770 on the GMAT.

Here is Dana’s analysis of the Manhattan GMAT Reading Comprehension Guide.


Reading Comprehension GMAT Strategy Guide 7, Fourth Edition (Manhattan GMAT the new standard)Reading Comprehension (RC) is possibly the only question type that you’ll see in all major standardized tests: SAT, GMAT, LSAT, GRE, and so forth. Unfortunately, reading comprehension is also one of the hardest areas to improve as a test taker, simply because RC is closely linked your overall ease in reading and to your general English fluency. Even so, the Manhattan GMAT Reading Comprehension Guide does provide some useful strategies for attacking this question type.

This book was the first GMAT guide that is dedicated exclusively to GMAT Reading Comprehension. As such, it filled the need for a quick reference on this verbal section. The Manhattan GMAT RC guide is especially useful for non-native speakers of English, but could benefit native speakers as well by improving their accuracy and speed when dealing with this particularly time-consuming question type.


  • One of the few guides on the market that is entirely dedicated to Reading Comprehension. The alternatives to the Manhattan GMAT RC book would be general or verbal strategy guides, but they are usually not as detailed as this book (with the possible exception of the PowerScore Verbal Bible—however the PowerScore book contains markedly fewer practice problems). More recently though, Veritas Prep also launched an RC guide
  • Really good lessons on theory/concepts.  Manhattan GMAT’s friendly approach earns them points by making the learning process quite pleasant
  • Provides access to 6 online computer adaptive tests (considered to be among the best in the industry) and 25 extra practice questions. As opposed to the SC guide, this book contains quite a few practice questions: 44 in total, with good explanations and a reasonable difficulty level
  • Offers detailed note-taking tips.  This is actually one of the main focuses of the book, which is a plus compared to the PowerScore Verbal Bible.


  • I would have loved to see more about connectors and their role in passages in a separate section of the book. Tips regarding this topic sometimes pop up, but they’re not grouped together
  • The system that Manhattan GMAT uses to classify various passages and questions is a bit superficial, so to speak. For instance, the length of a passage is not necessarily what makes it difficult, in my opinion. The analysis of different question types is not as complete as it could have been

Bottom Line

4/5 Stars

As the only book to cover exclusively RC, the Manhattan GMAT Reading Comprehension Guide is a welcomed addition to the series of question-specific books available for the verbal section of the GMAT. It scores well for the number and quality of problems and note-taking strategies, but it could use some work on its classifications and theoretical review.

If you’re interested in purchasing the Manhattan GMAT Reading Comprehension Strategy Guide, click here.

Read more book reviews in the Beat The GMAT Book Recommendations section.


  • Dana will it be possible for you to write a review of the book - LSAT RC bible " by powerscore .

    The book is exclusively devoted to RC .

    Your review on RC bible can help a lot of people struggling with RC .

    I look forward to your reply .

  • Right now I'm taking a bit of time for my other projects so unfortunately it's not on the priority list. I will maybe try to review it later. Sorry!
    However, be advised that LSAT RC is pretty tough compared to GMAT RC and there are also a few different question types (as far as I know).

    • Hi Dana,

      I am planning to give GMAT early next year and looking at a score of 750+. Since I am working, my preparation duration will vary everyday and there would be days when I won't be able to spend any time at all. So, I thought I would start a little early.

      After having read most of your comments here, I have narrowed down to the below set of books for my GMAT prep.
      What I would be interested in knowing now are:

      1) The order in which I should go through these books considering that my quants and verbal skills are above average(based on my experience with a few GMAT type questions in verbal and quants. I am yet to take a full diagnostics test though.) but not excellent at the moment.

      2) Any other books that would help me for the high score I am looking for. Money and Time wouldn't be a problem and I am usually at ease with books that explain concepts in a simple way with a lot of clarity.

      The list:
      The Official Guide for GMAT Review, 12th Edition
      Manhattan GMAT Sentence Correction GMAT Preparation Guide, 4th Ed
      Manhattan GMAT Reading Comprehension Strategy Guide
      The PowerScore GMAT Critical Reasoning Bible
      Manhattan Maths Set (I am looking for maths concept building than a lot of practise problems at this point, since I am in the initial stages of preparation. So please suggest me if some other quants resource is more suited for this specific need)

      PS: Your unbiased reviews of a lot of GMAT resources and your timely replies are a boon for thousands of us taking the GMAT. Really appreciated!


  • Thanks for a quick and prompt reply .

  • Hi John,

    1) You should probably start with quant. People generally do that because there's a lot more to review, stuff you've probably learned in high school but may have forgotten. Verbal is more "soft", so to speak, it's not really about learning rules except for Sentence Correction.
    2) Can't really think of anything else... Just three observations though:
    - not sure you need the Manhattan Fractions and Decimals book. It's for beginners only I think - and you've mentioned your level is above average (I reviewed this book, but the article will go up at a later date)
    - Manhattan RC is good, but if you're a native speaker, I'm not sure how useful it would be to you. The PowerScore Bible is also useful for RC to some extent and if you have a history of good reading skills, you could pass this one
    - you might want to look into the OG supplements for extra practice (if necessary) - the two books, green one and blue one
    I think it's best you take a diagnostic from and see where you stand. This should give you an idea of how many/which books you really need and which might just end up gathering dust on your shelf.
    Glad you liked my reviews!

    • Hi Dana,

      First up, thanks for the quick reply!

      Points taken.I will give a diagnostic test and decide on what to buy/work on first from my list. I will pass the Manhattan-Fractions,Decimals and percents for the time being and buy it later on a need basis.

      And no, I am not a native speaker.Neither am I a voracious reader, so I believe I would have to buy the RC book(s) since trying to improve upon my reading skills now through reading other stuff may not work out.

      Plus, I would definitely consider investing in the OG supplements as per your advice,but I will buy them when I am getting closer to my test date when I would need more practice.

      Can't thank you enough for taking the time out to reply to our queries.


  • Hi Dana, 

    I am planning to give gmat and looking for a score of 750+.

    Just to run through with you - 

    1. To firm up my concepts of maths, I am following manhattan GMAt.

    2. For verbal, which is a weak area - I am following manahanttan for SC, power score for CR. Would like you to recommend book for RC.

    I will also be thoroughly going through OG n Kaplan for additional practice.

    Your Any other guide that I should use.

  • 1. Good choice! My favorite for quant.
    2. I think Manhattan GMAT RC is probably OK, although I did have a slight preference for Veritas Prep RC. The PowerScore CR Bible will probably help you with RC as well, it covers some of the topics in that bucket.

  • Thanks Dana. Also would like to know which part of verbal should I pick first - RC, SC or CR. also do I need to go through manahanttan gmat vocabulary for the test..

  • I always say you should start with your weaknesses first and work your way to your strengths, so that you spend more time on the things you're not so good at. So this one is really up to you to decide!

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