Manhattan GMAT Set of 8 Strategy Guides, 4th Edition: Book Review:

by on April 2nd, 2011

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 Set of 8 Strategy Guides.

Overview

After reviewing all of the 8 guides by Manhattan GMAT, I can safely say that this is probably the most comprehensive tool out there for GMAT hopefuls. This set of books has its deficiencies (you can check out a more detailed analysis of each of these books by searching through my reviews), but as a whole and compared to what’s available on the market, you’ll likely be covered on the theoretical side of your preparation for the GMAT.

However, I must warn you: as advertised on every Manhattan GMAT book, this series challenges you to do more on your preparation. While “more prep” translates into a higher score, it also means that you’ll need to commit quite a bit of your time if you want to go from cover to cover and also practice all the recommended problems from the Official Guides. Just so you can get an idea of the work in front of you:

  • The five quant guides have a combined “in action” problem count of over 580 (“in action” problems are largely similar to Problem Solving questions, with the difference that most of them do not contain answer choices)
  • Each of the 8 guides comes with access to an online database of 25 practice problems (so add 200)
  • They reference the Official Guides for practice, with a total of around 1500 problems!

A simple addition of these numbers (and I am not counting the questions you’ll see in the three verbal guides) and you’ll probably get a sense of the huge workload involved when prepping for the GMAT! But the rewards are worth it: I can guarantee you that even someone starting out with a 400 will easily reach a 650 by using these guides properly.

If you’re just starting out, I suggest you go online and download the GMATprep free software from the website of the makers of the test. This software contains two tests: take the first one and see how you do. If you get a score that’s more than 200 points below your target, then consider buying this whole bundle plus the three Official Guides. If you seem to be doing pretty well, I think it’s best to invest in the guides that specifically address your problem areas. However, I would recommend you buy the Number Properties, Word Problems and Sentence Correction guides no matter what. These three guides were the only ones that I awarded 5 stars to (with the rest getting largely 4 stars), simply because they are the best I’ve reviewed on their respective topics.

Pros

  • Access to a lot of practice questions and 6 online tests (some of the best in the industry)
  • Three of these guides (see above) are top notch and should be a part of any test taker’s repertoire
  • Handy Official Guides lists breaking down the problems according to the topics tested in each question
  • Detailed explanations and solid theoretical review for all the problems in the boom (whether they’re just examples or practice)

Cons

  • Be careful on the amount of time you devote to studying from these books! Going from cover to cover will be time consuming, so these books are not recommended for someone who needs to take the test in a short period of time (at least not all of them)
  • Data Sufficiency could have been better covered in the five quant guides. The lack of practice DS is a minus. However, this is not an issue exclusive to Manhattan GMAT: all the guides that I have reviewed so far have comparatively small DS sections
  • Some other resources are a bit better than the corresponding book from this bundle (see the PowerScore Critical Reasoning Bible). However, since it’s cheaper to buy the whole lot that to buy each book individually, it’s still a good investment

Bottom Line

Thorough, comprehensive, packed with practice problems. Despite the occasional slip up, these books are well worth your time – that is, if you can afford to dedicate that much!

If you’re interested in purchasing the Manhattan GMAT Set of 8 Strategy Guides, click here.

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

11 comments

  • I agree, DS could be covered in more detail. Overall, good books.

  • Great review, Dana. Thanks. :D

  • Excellent review, Thanks Dana

  • Hi,

    I am going to Start my Preparation for GMAT..is this book best for me..??i m comfortable only with quants and I struggle quiet a bit in other sections....suggest me books which cover the syllabus in GMAT other than quants...!!!

  • Hey Guru, I just answered your question in the Kaplan GMAT book page!

  • Hi Dana,

    Is 3 months, mostly weekend studying and one or two weeks of vacation enough time to go through these books?

    Thanks,
    AD

  • Tough to say... I think you'll need to do a bit of studying in the weekdays too though, to be honest. If you're faster than average, you may be able to pull this off, but I personally think it might require a bit more than that!

  • Hi Dana, 

    Do I still need to go through the GMAT official guides if I prepare from 8 manhattan guides?
    If yes then should I cover the guides first and then manhattan guides or in opposite sequence. 
    Thanks

  • Hey Joe,

    Yes, you'll still need the official guides - or at least one of them (the big, red one). The 8 books reference the OG for practice, so you'll be basically working off them at the same time. Once you finish a theoretical chapter in Manhattan GMAT, you get a list of relevant practice questions from the OG that I encourage you to go through!

    • Hey Dana,

      I have the 4th Edition books of MGMAT, do I still need to buy the new 5th Edition books, especially for the access to the online test, like in OG.

  • Hi Dana

    I took the GMAT in 2010 and got 470 score. (One of the problem was my preparation, I prepared using a calculator and was not aware that I actually cannot use a calculator to prepare and to sit for the GMAT). I am only using the OG to prepare for my test in 3 months time. I am intedning to improve my score to 700 and I intend buying the guides you recommend (MGMAT 5 quants strtegy, and
    Powerscore CR).

    Do you think that is enough?

    Regards
    Tebogo

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