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Manhattan GMAT Sentence Correction (Guide 8) Book Review

If Sentence Correction prep for the GMAT were an automobile, and we watched the various publishers drive by, so to speak, the following scenario would take place.

The Kaplan-mobile would putter by, a used contraption that, during its heyday, was a serviceable car at best. We would barely see the next car, as it spews out black exhaust from its dragging tailpipe. Barely discernible through this miasma of fumes would be the words  “The Princeton Review” scrawled on the door. As for Barron’s, it didn’t even make it out of the parking lot.

Then, as our lungs recover, a shiny Bentley would roll by, engine purring like a sated kitty.

Or, to put it more directly, the MGMAT Sentence Correction guide is so much better than what the other publishers offer that the comparison does not even make sense. Sure, MGMAT has 300-pages on which to expound on every SC concept you need to know test day. Other publishers have far less space. Even then, every square inch of paper is filled with clear, helpful lessons and example sentences, questions aptly testing what these lessons impart, and thorough explanations for each test.

The MGMAT SC is so good in fact that I would not recommend it only to GMAT test takers. Do you want to become a more effective writer? Do you really want to nail the SAT Writing Section? (I’m having my more advanced SAT students use this very book). Or do you simply want to improve your grammar? Regardless of your aim, the MGMAT book will help you achieve it.

 

The Right Foundation

MGMAT has come up with a tidy, effective way of thinking about Sentence Correction: G(grammar), M(meaning), and C(concision). Setting this foundation at the very beginning, MGMAT helps the reader grow in his/her understanding of the rules of GMAT Sentence Correction.

 

Well-Organized, Reader Friendly Layout

Some books stint by putting a question or two on a page. Others dump so much information on a page that it is disconcerting as flipping through a telephone book written in Mandarin Chinese.

MGMAT strikes the perfect balance: information is never too dense to overwhelm the page, and the organization of each page (the margins, etc) always insures that you are effortlessly making your way through the nuggets of grammar truth contained within.

 

Practice Questions

Many grammar/writing books do a decent job of explaining a grammatical term. But there are often few, if any, practice questions. And any such questions tend to be shoddily put together.

MGMAT is a welcome relief: not only do you get plenty of practice questions, but those questions are also explained very thoroughly. It is true that these questions are exercises and not actual GMAT SC questions. For that, you have both the Official Guide (see below) and MGMAT CATs.

Also, I really like how MGMAT does not think in black and whites. After all, distinctions in the usage of English language are far less clear-cut than many sources would have you believe. MGMAT uses tags such as ‘Better’ and ‘Correct’ to give you a sense of the way grammar works. After going through this book, you will know why a given Sentence Correction is a specific answer instead of relying on the way an answer choice sounds.

 

Awareness of the Official Guide

Unlike other publishers, who imply that one only need buy its respective book for effective GMAT prep, MGMAT recognizes that nobody does questions like the writers. At the very end of the book is an excellent and thorough break down of every question type in Official Guide, 12th Edition.

If you’ve just gone through the chapter on Parallelism, completing the exercises in the back, you can tackle the Official Guide questions dealing with Parallelism.

 

Is MGMAT SC the perfect book?

One area in which this book could have improved—I know I’m qualifying perfection, pointing on the tiny smudge on the Bentley’s fender—but I would have like a section on grammar basics. The truth is many students need to know the difference between parts of speech, and a gerund phrase and an adjectival one. Nonetheless, these concepts are ultimately covered in the book, albeit in scattered form.

 

Overview:

Do not waste a single moment of your time flipping through the Sentence Correction section of other GMAT books. Everything is here, and it is presented so as to turn you from a grammar tyro to a grammar maven by the time you reach the end of the book.

 

Grade: A+

About the Author

Chris Lele has been helping students excel on the GRE, GMAT, and SAT for the last 10 years. He is the Lead Content Developer and Tutor for Magoosh. His favorite food is wasabi-flavored almonds. Follow him on Google+!

13 Responses to Manhattan GMAT Sentence Correction (Guide 8) Book Review

  1. domenico June 29, 2012 at 2:05 am #

    Thanks Mike, your reply is satisfactory :)

    Just yesterday I read a post on gmat club (it is by an another gmatprep company, is not correct in my opinion to post the link eventhough if someone would go to the board could easly find it) where the user explained with a well done post the 5 strategies on how gmac change the meaning of the sentence (very clear my opinion).

    So, in the end I agree with you Mike and based on that guide is always related to a modifier, conjunctions and so on……… We could have a sentence with no grammar error but without much sense…………is always an issue to spot something that is clear. The meaning has always existed.

    Often is difficult to make a choice on upper level question due to different reasons: stress, time condition, the test that is sooo long, a rule that we do not remember…….the game is hard, but we can.

    regards :)

    • Mike
      Mike June 29, 2012 at 2:14 pm #

      Domenico: I’m glad I could help you Indeed, the game is hard, but YES, you can!. Best of luck to you.
      Mike :-)

  2. domenico June 28, 2012 at 3:00 am #

    Chris (or Mike is the same ) :)

    I have a question if possible: about the increased attention on meaning in SC by Gmat, this issue is not a bit emphasized ?? gmat change the meaning of a sentence through, for instance, misplaced modifier even though the sentence at first glace seems correct……

    I mean: in the end there isn’t a great overlapping between the meaning and grammar errors ????

    what’s your opinion ?? can you say something about that ?? is important for us as students….

    Thanks . Regards

    • Mike
      Mike June 28, 2012 at 2:09 pm #

      Dear Domenico
      The question about grammar vs. meaning is a tricky one — often in substandard spoken English, the meaning is clear, even though the grammar would not withstand rigorous analysis. See this post, in which I talk about the relationship of grammar and logic:
      http://magoosh.com/gmat/2012/gmat-grammar-and-logic-spoken-english-vs-written-english/
      The soundbyte statement on this topic is: in a well-constructed GMAT SC-worthy sentence, grammar and logic and meaning must all be aligned and in synergy with one another. If the grammar points one way, but the meaning or the logic of the situation indicates something else, then it will always be wrong on the GMAT SC.
      Does this answer you question? Please let me know if you have any further questions.
      Mike :-)

  3. domenico June 28, 2012 at 2:19 am #

    no. the 5th edition is almost the same of the 4th adition, aside CR (I bought it again, albeit I had the 4th edition) because it is completely re-rewrite and worth (the same is for Integrated reasoning and awa guide: is pretty good).

    The other guides are the same, only a new cover ;)

    Hope this help

    • Chris Lele
      Chris June 28, 2012 at 1:54 pm #

      Hi Domenico,

      Thanks for the heads up! I guess I was right :).

  4. veeramani June 21, 2012 at 10:37 pm #

    am using 4th edition sc guide n i heard a new version is out in the market n is any new content added in the latest version and yeah even it would be better if grammar basics might have been added.

    • Chris Lele
      Chris June 28, 2012 at 1:53 pm #

      Veermani,

      I do not know for sure whether any new practice questions have been added. My experience has been that the new editions in books rarely add any new content. Sadly, only the cover changes.

      As for grammar basics, Magoosh is just poised to launch a grammar basics video series. Check back very soon!

    • Chris Lele
      Chris June 28, 2012 at 1:55 pm #

      Hi Veeramani,

      You might want to take a look at Domenico’s comment below :).

  5. domenico June 21, 2012 at 6:05 pm #

    This is a question on which I ‘d say: depend………based on what you are saying I say YES but if your right answers 7-9 out 15 rely on questions of 300 level the answer is NO :)) ( sorry but the GMAT forces you to think in that way ahahhahah :) I’m kidding, you are welcome :) ).

    Back to your original question I suggest you to give a read to this book http://gmatclub.com/forum/gmat-grammar-ultimate-by-gmat-club-102387.html (by the way is also a book for upper level students but cover the concepts from scratch) then study MGMAT SC guide.

    In this way you’ll cover all what you need for this area of the exam and (in my personal opinion) you have a clear look of the whole picture.

    And of course follow this blog ;)

    • Chris Lele
      Chris June 22, 2012 at 10:01 pm #

      That’s a great link Domenico! Thanks for helping out the community :). (And thanks for the Magoosh plug ;)).

  6. Faruk June 21, 2012 at 10:48 am #

    Hi,
    thanks for the wonderful review…I am a non-native speaker and really weak in English grammar..For the GMAT,do you think this book is perfect for me or do I need to start with a basic grammar book ? I can usually solve 7-9 SC questions out of 15

    • Chris Lele
      Chris June 28, 2012 at 1:59 pm #

      That’s a great question :).

      So, yes the only omission in MGMAT SC is that they do not provide a chapter on basic grammar. Still, I think the A+ is warranted because at the GMAT grammar level, MGMAT shines.

      The great news is that Magoosh is about to release its Grammar Basics lesson series. We’ll keep you posted :).


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