Manhattan GMAT Foundations of GMAT Verbal: Book Review:

by on May 31st, 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 Foundations of GMAT Verbal book.


The new Foundations of GMAT Verbal book is meant to get you ready to tackle the other, more well-known guides by Manhattan GMAT, namely their series of 3 verbal guides. In case you’re just starting to prep for the test, you should know that these 3 verbal guides are some of the most popular GMAT books available. The Sentence Correction guide is exceptionally popular among test takers for its top notch coverage of this question type. Many believe that the three main books do a very good job of presenting the theory and strategy tested on the GMAT, but there’s a catch: these three guides assume that you already know some of the basics.

While it is reasonable to believe that a native speaker has no trouble in telling a verb from a noun, this might not be the case for a non native speaker (I myself am one so I can definitely sympathize). I’ve often seen non native test takes ask for recommendations regarding a basic grammar book and my answer has almost always been the same: check out some of the big brand names that publish grammar books, such as Oxford or Longman. Of course, there are a couple of issues with using such books. First, that thick grammar books is awesome, but you might not have the time to go through it, nor will you need to know absolutely everything that’s explained in it. Second, these grammar books teach British English, which is ever so slightly different than American English, particularly when it comes to idioms.

Luckily though, this book is most likely what you need if you’re struggling with the basics of grammar, so it’s most definitely one of the books I’d recommend to a non native speaker. In fact, the guide contains an appendix addressed to the Indian test taker, so you definitely get the feeling that its target audience is the non native speaker. This was something I was expecting from the very beginning, but I was also very pleasantly surprised by the Critical Reasoning part of this book. The Patterns & Flaws chapter should be included in their main CR guide, since to me it presents some of the best tips for CR out there.


  • Delivers on the promise to cover the basics of GMAT verbal. I enjoyed the writing style of this book, which seems a bit more personal and accessible than the rest of the Manhattan GMAT guides. This definitely helps, especially if you’re not proficient in English.
  • About 250 well-explained drills (165 of these are related to Sentence Correction) that help you apply the theory you’ve just reviewed.
  • The author goes to great lengths to present a detailed approach to solving some questions. Diagramming is neatly explained in this book and I have no doubts that students will understand this technique (although personally I’m not a huge fan of it). Again, all explanations are really thorough
  • Some of the chapters devoted to Critical Reasoning are really good, which makes me believe that this book might be useful even for those who already know more than the basics


  • My biggest complaint about this book actually has to do with formatting rather than content. Most of the SC drills and their answers are ON THE SAME PAGE, which makes it really really hard to solve them without taking a peek (and thus “ruining the drill” for yourself). Unfortunately, this is true for most of the drills for CR and RC as well, but it’s the most annoying when dealing with SC. I would seriously consider changing this formatting in a future edition!
  • There are very few GMAT-style questions in this book. If you’re looking for extra GMAT practice, this is not the book you’re looking for.
  • The reason why I’m not awarding this book five stars is that there’s some overlap with the set of 3 verbal guides. This is especially obvious for the idioms list, which is pretty much an abridged version of the list in the SC guide, but also applies to some parts of the chapters on CR and RC (diagramming)

Bottom Line

4/5 Stars

The Foundations of GMAT Verbal supplement is the book for you if you’re just starting out with the GMAT and have quite a bit of time to go through materials. This book is not meant to cover the entire GMAT verbal section (such as the PowerScore Verbal Bible), so you’ll most definitely need to use other resources as well. If you’re a non native speaker or if it’s been years since your last grammar lesson, then this guide is definitely worth checking out.

If you’re interested in purchasing the Manhattan GMAT Foundations of GMAT Verbal, click here.

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


    • Thanks.  dat was quick

  • Write one Review for Manhattan GMAT advanced Maths Book. I am planning to buy if its worth it

  • Haha no problem! And btw, if you found the review helpful, be sure to vote for us!

  • There is a list of RC vocabulary at the end of the book, but it's not that consistent. While it does help, this book is not meant to be a dictionary. It teaches you how to approach learning vocabulary, but I don't feel that it goes beyond the standard "make flashcards" approach - simply because this is very efficient. I would not buy this guide just for its vocabulary section, although this is useful.
    As a side note, what you describe is a symptom of a less than perfect knowledge of English in general and it will take a while to improve it. However, if you read stuff in English every day and make a point of looking up words, then it can be done!

    • I am reading a lot of stuff in English these days because i believe this is the only way to
      improve, but is there any list of GMAT vocabulary that i should learn like there is a list of
      GRE vocabulary ?

      The reason i am asking this question because few years ago a couple of my friends were
      doing GRE, so they used to learn a lot of vocab. Is GMAT vocab same as GRE vocab ? if yes,
      Is there any specific book ? or Reading English and making a note of difficult words will solve
      the problem. 


  • Hi DanaJ,

    Hope you are doing good.

    Before i got to know about this book, i was thinking about the GMAT vocabulary. While
    reading, I see lots of words that i am not able to understand, so i used to make a note
    of those words and search them in the dictionary. Can you please give some information
    on the 'vocabulary' as it is mentioned in the book and how this can help ?
    Thanks & Regards

  • There isn't a list of vocabulary you should know for the GMAT, but knowing the meaning of words in general will help you understand the texts you face in Critical Reasoning and Reading Comprehension.

  • Thank you.

  • hello, i read a lot of good things about this book but i feeling bad bcoz i cant buy it. Im living in kenya and apparently this book is no where to be found. how am i supposed to get my hands on this book.brrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

    • Try the Amazon Kindle version

  • Forgive my ignorance, but what does it means to "On May 13, 2009 she scored a 770 on the GMAT"?
    Can you give me the environment of "you scored of 770 on GMAT"? ...
    What really means "Beat the GMAT"?

    Thank you

  • I'm sorry but I don't really understand your question. I scored a 770 on the GMAT (top 1%) on that date. Beating the GMAT essentially means getting the score you want, no matter if that's 500 or 800.

    • Dear Dana,

      That's so true!

      'Beating the GMAT essentially means getting the score you want, no matter if that's 500 or 800.'


  • Hi Dana,

    i read Powerscore CR Bible. but i am still struggling with CR.

    Plus i want a good book on RC.

    and between Manhattan GMAT Foundations of GMAT Verbal and the PowerScore Verbal Bible which one is better?

    i cannot score more than 23 in verbal and 45 in quant.

    can you please suggest some good books for clearing my concepts and practice for both quant and verbal?


  • I think the PowerScore Verbal Bible is very similar to the CR Bible. In fact, some chapters are the same. I would therefore go for the Foundations book, just to avoid repetition. I also found that the Manhattan book really addresses the very basic concepts, so it could be a good place to start. For practice, nothing beats the Official Guides. On quant, I found that Manhattan series to be really good.

  • can u anyone suggest for improving verbal i got only 12 percentile in first attempt

  • WhatHappening i'm new to this, I stumbled upon this I've found It positively useful and it has aided me out loads. I hope to contribute & aid other users like its helped me. Great job.

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