Manhattan GMAT Number Properties GMAT Strategy Guide, 4th Edition: Book Review:

by on August 13th, 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 Number Properties Guide.

Overview

Manhattan GMAT Number Properties GuideThe Manhattan GMAT Number Properties Guide is the first in the series of five MGMAT guides devoted specifically to the quantitative part of the GMAT. This book in particular deals with divisibility, the properties of positive and negative numbers, powers of real numbers and the order of operations. The authors of the book do a great job in covering these topics, building up from the basics to the harder topics.

The book is structured in two parts, a basic-intermediate part and an advanced one (which you are advised to attempt only if you’ve already clearly understood the first). Besides the theoretical review, the first part features 100 “in action” problems (mostly similar to Problem Solving questions, but some with no answer choices), while the advanced section contains 66 of these problems.

Pros

  • Extensive theoretical review of number properties, possibly the most exhaustive that I’ve read so far. The authors also put these concepts to work in various problems that are explained in great detail (I’ve seen one question explained in more than two pages!)
  • Provides access to 6 online computer adaptive tests, considered to be among the best in the industry in terms of accuracy of the scores. The code you use to register online also allows you to practice using an extra 25 questions on the topic
  • Each of the two sections (basic-intermediate and advanced) has a handy list of problems from the Official Guides that test the concepts discussed so that you may practice in a targeted manner
  • Features quite a few challenging problems – even some that are explained in the theoretical part of the book caught me off-guard! As such, I think the book is a great resource for some advanced practice

Cons

  • This is probably one of the most “intimidating” books in the whole series of 8 MGMAT guides. The book earns points for its comprehensiveness, but at times it seems that they supply rules and tips that are only rarely tested on the GMAT. If you already have a firm grasp of the basics and you’re just buying the guide as a refresher or advanced resource, then you’ve probably stumbled upon a gold mine. However, if you’re an English major who’s been out of school for 6-7 years, then I think you might want to schedule around two-three weeks to go from cover to cover!
  • While Data Sufficiency does get its own chapter and there are quite a few examples of Data Sufficiency in the book, I believe they could have done an even better job on the topic. The book seems to focus too much on rephrasing DS questions, which is not a bad idea at all; however, it seems to have missed a few details about this question type (i.e. never confuse a “No” answer with insufficient information). More practice questions would have also been a plus

Bottom Line

5/5 Stars

An impressive collection of both theory and practice, the Manhattan GMAT Number Properties Guide gets five stars for its completeness of the subject coverage. However, test takers be warned: this is no easy book, so be sure to pick it up well in advance of your test day!

If you’re interested in purchasing the Manhattan GMAT Number Properties GMAT Strategy Guide, 4th edition, click here.

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

17 comments

  • I couldn't agree more. Out of the MGMAT books I have studied, I think this one was the most helpful.

  • Great book. My background in math can be described with a question I asked my wife 3 months ago "honey, what is an integer?" and the fact that I scored in the 6th percentile on my diagnostic (quant). Three months later with the guides (including number properties) I am scoring 60th percentile in the quant. As the author of the article said, this is a book if you are serious with the test.

  • The Official Quant Guide is not enough because it does not cover the theory needed for the test. It's mostly a collection of practice questions. I'm not entirely sure if you need all the MGMAT guides, but the Number Properties and Word Translations ones are definitely useful for anyone. It depends on your level if you need the rest

    • Okay, well I'm an engineering student and hence have been doing maths, so I'm not rusty or anything. However, the DS questions are quite hard IMO, and something I'll probably need a lot of practice on. So out of the 5 quant guides you recommend getting two?

  • I can't make a super airtight recommendation because you say you're not rusty, but I can't know for sure if you remember the how to calculate the area of a sector of a circle, for instance, something that is covered in the Geometry guide. If you're really confident with the quant, then buy just the two guides listed above. However, the entire set would be more complete.

    • Okay great, thank you! :)

  • I have the Official Quant Guide. Apart from this, is this one book enough or should I invest in all the other MGMAT quant books as well in order to get above 750?

  • Alright thats what I'll do then. Thanks a lot Dana.

  • Dana, I have read you say somewhere in one of your book reviews that 'Data Sufficiency' is one of the weak points of the Manhattan guides.

    Can you recommend any books to improve the 1.Theoretical aspect of DS 2.Practise DS questions ?

    I'd appreciate a thoughtful answer.

  • I think Veritas has a really nice DS guide, check it out! I've also reviewed that book too, you can see the review in the books section of the Marketplace.

    • Your review of the Veritas's DS guide is not yet in the Marketplace's book section. Maybe the BTG people haven't published it on the page yet.

  • Thanks Dana,
    I have read all your reviews and they have helped me a lot. I see that over a period of time you've reduced the length of your comments when answering queries. But, I'd be grateful if you could take the time to advise me regarding the following questions too :-

    A)I have 4.5 months(6-8 hours a day) to prepare for my GMAT and I have not started my preparation yet. Without preparation I scored 590 on the veritas.com free practise test. My Maths was excellent when I was at school(I won a state level olympiad) and my English isn't bad either(I am a voraciosus reader). Do you think I can touch 760+(99th percentile) when I take GMAT 4.5 months later? What was your score when you first took a mock test?

    B)Is the following a good set of books for someone who is aiming high and has time(I have zeroed upon them after reading all your reviews !):-
    QUANT
    1.The Whole Manhattan set of books for the Quant section
    2.Veritas for Combinatorics & Probability
    3.Veritas for Data Sufficiency
    4.The books I studied at school for Geometry
    5.Some book for statistics related questions
    VERBAL
    1.Manhattan GMAT Sentence correction
    2.PowerScore Sentence Correction
    3.Power Score Critical reasoning
    4.Manhattan GMAT Reading Comprehension
    5.Veritas Reading Comprehension
    6.The Official Guide 12th Ed
    7.The Official Guide for GMAT Verbal Review, 2nd Edition
    8.The Official Guide for GMAT Quantitative Review

    C)If you were to make changes in the above list of books, how would you change it

    D)Am I correct to assume that Quant is more about 'Practise', Verbal is more about 'Concepts and Pattern recognition'. If that is true then, should I study the above books dealing with Quant just once and then look for new books? Would it be strategicallt sound to read the books for the verbal part atleast twice/thrice?

    E)Where can I find a lot of hard questions to practise(particularly w.r.t Quant)?

    Feeling very grateful,

    Harman

  • Thanks Dana ,
    I have read all your reviews and they have helped me a lot. I see that over a period of time you've reduced the length of your comments when answering queries. But, I'd be grateful if you could take the time to advise me regarding the following questions too :-

    A)I have 4.5 months(6-8 hours a day) to prepare for my GMAT and I have not started my preparation yet. Without preparation I scored 590 on the veritas.com free practise test. My Maths was excellent when I was at school(I won a state level olympiad) and my English isn't bad either(I am a voraciosus reader). Do you think I can touch 760+(99th percentile) when I take GMAT 4.5 months later? What was your score when you first took a mock test?

    B)Is the following a good set of books for someone who is aiming high and has time(I have zeroed upon them after reading all your reviews !):-
    QUANT
    1.The Whole Manhattan set of books for the Quant section
    2.Veritas for Combinatorics & Probability
    3.Veritas for Data Sufficiency
    4.The books I studied at school for Geometry
    5.Some book for statistics related questions
    VERBAL
    1.Manhattan GMAT Sentence correction
    2.PowerScore Sentence Correction
    3.Power Score Critical reasoning
    4.Manhattan GMAT Reading Comprehension
    5.Veritas Reading Comprehension
    6.The Official Guide 12th Ed
    7.The Official Guide for GMAT Verbal Review, 2nd Edition
    8.The Official Guide for GMAT Quantitative Review

    C)If you were to make changes in the above list of books, how would you change it

    D)Am I correct to assume that Quant is more about 'Practise', Verbal is more about 'Concepts and Pattern recognition'. If that is true then, should I study the above books dealing with Quant just once and then look for new books? Would it be strategicallt sound to read the books for the verbal part atleast twice/thrice?

    E)Where can I find a lot of hard questions to practise(particularly w.r.t Quant)?

    Feeling very grateful,

    Harman

  • A) Yes, I believe you can get that score over the period of time of 4.5 months. I've seen great improvements (including someone going from a 470 to a 760 in one month). It's all about the quality of study though: put in a lot of work, but focus on really getting to the core of each problem instead of just skimping through. My first practice test score was a 700.
    B) and C) There will be some overlap between the books you list (i.e. Manhattan GMAT SC and PowerScore SC). I think I would hold off buying the "doubles" until you're done with one set of stuff - and see if it's necessary to have more materials at all. If you're confident enough on your time and think you won't burn yourself out, then buy them all, but I must warn you: that's a lot of work.
    D) I think they're both about pattern recognition to some extent. However, quant combines that with solid theoretical knowledge, while verbal is more about your reasoning and "feel for words." I strongly believe that you can get back to the questions you missed and review questions that seemed most interesting to you, no matter if they're quant or verbal. It depends on your disposition too though, cause for instance I could never review CR questions because I had a special thing for them that made me recognize the answer immediately...
    E) There are plenty of good practice questions in the resources you've listed. There's also an Advanced Quant book from Manhattan GMAT if you're into more.

    • Thanks a lot for your prompt reply Dana. Keep up the good work and please keep replying to people's questions please. I got more info on reading your replies than many other blogs combined.

  • Hi Dana,

    Thanks for the review. I agree, this book is a must-have. I learned a lot from the first section of this book. However, do you recommend studying the second part of this book, i.e. the advanced section? My worry is that I am sort of pressed for time and that I might get confused with all the additional notes per topic (given that I was already able to have a good grasp of the first section). Help, please. Thank you!

  • It's always a balance between the time we have and the "perfection" of our studies. If you feel comfortable with the first half, I think you're OK to take the test - although for instance you may miss a couple of questions that would take your score from 750 to 700.

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