REVIEW: Manhattan GMAT’s 6th Edition ALGEBRA Strategy Guide:

by on December 24th, 2014

Manhattan GMAT’s 6th Edition Strategy Guides have finally arrived. Information about the same has been discussed in Stacey’s two part article linked here: Part 1 and Part2.

The below review is for the ALGEBRA Strategy Guide which is Guide No 2 in the set of 10 Strategy Guides.

Overview

The Algebra Guide covers algebra in all its various forms (and disguises) on the GMAT, helping us master both fundamental techniques and nuanced strategies for solving algebraic problems. The books has a nice cover page, uses easy to understand language and consists of 213 pages, some 35 pages more than the previous edition. It offers latest approaches for students looking to score in the top percentiles.

The strategy guide comes with a nice cover page and has a good look and feel.

IMG_20141219_154001[1].jpg

It contains the following chapters (in order):

PEMDAS, Linear Equations, Strategy; Choose Smart Numbers, Exponents, Roots, Quadratic Equations, Strategy; Combos, Formulas, Inequalities, Strategy; Test Cases, Extra Equations Strategies, Extra Formulas Strategies, Extra Inequalities Strategies.

Major Updates since the Last (5th) Edition

  • Introduction of 3 entirely NEW Chapters on Important Strategies. These include Choosing Smart Numbers, Testing Cases, and Combos. One of the main highlights of the book.
  • More practice problems in the problem set that appear at the end of every chapter for most of the chapters.
  • New sections have been added with chapters wherever needed. For example: Fractions and Exponents section (Exponents chapter), Formulas that Act on Decimals and (Formulas Chapter), etc., to bring all relevant content pertaining to one chapter at one place.
  • Most of the important information is presented using italics in the latest edition as compared to bold in the last edition.

Buying Information

The book can be purchased from various sources. It can be purchased from Manhattan GMAT’s website here or from Amazon here.

Price

It is currently priced at $26 as per the information available on Manhattan GMAT’s website.

Pros

  • Book is designed in a clear and an effective manner and is indeed comprehensive.
  • Each chapter discusses in good detail the quant concepts we need to know for the GMAT.
  • Problem Sets following each chapter help in reinforcing concepts.
  • The strategy guide contains 3 entirely NEW chapters. These chapters are devoted to strategies that will help us solve quant problems more efficiently and more effectively. More details on these techniques have been discussed here.
  • The organization of the chapters has been done well, streamlining learning in an effective way.
  • A nice introduction to Data Sufficiency with sample problems during the end of the book is a welcome addition.
  • The book does a good job of mimicking the style of questions found on the actual exam.
  • Access to this strategy guide gives access to 6 online Manhattan CATs, Algebra online question bank of 25 questions of varying difficulty and 5 GMAT Interact Lessons. (The online resources won’t be available until we register our product on the website and are available for one year from the date of registering.)

Cons

  • In my opinion, it would have been better if all or a piece of the text specifying/conveying important information be made to appear in either italics or bold. There are still such portions of text from different chapters that appear with a normal font. For example stating that the sign of the inequality reverses/flips when we divide or multiply by a negative number (Chapter 9 on Inequalities) would be more visually appealing to a student if we make the entire sentence or the word ‘reverse’ to appear in either bold or italics. Similar instances exist in a few other chapters as well.
  • Some problem sets do not have more practice problems. For example, in my opinion, picking smart numbers, discussed in chapter 3, and testing with cases, discussed in chapter 10, are useful strategies and there are only 3 practice problems at the end of each of those chapters.

Bottomline

Manhattan GMAT, as always, has come up with a great strategy guide on Algebra. The book is thorough, comprehensive and effective with great strategies to complement. It provides more than 100 practice problems and is worth one’s time, provided one is willing to devote that much :) .

Rating: 4.7/5

P.S. – If you are going back to study mode after a good gap of years, you may find the information in the book a bit tempting. So, you may want to start with a Quant foundation book (Manhattan GMAT’s Foundations of GMAT Math strategy guide, for example) first before getting your hands on this strategy guide. This is just a warning and in no way be taken as a critique to the book.

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

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