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Manhattan 5 lb Book of GRE Practice Problems Review

Update June 2015: Review of the second edition of this book is now available here

Manhattan GRE (MGRE) is one of the best study sources for the GRE. However, one thing they’ve always been lacking is book-based practice questions—most of their questions comprise their six online tests. Well, the folks over at MGRE have more than redressed this omission. The 5 lb Book of GRE Practice Problems has over 1,800 practice questions.

Such a massive book, clearly calls for a massive review. I’ve broken up the review into Intro, Verbal (which is broken down into different question types) and Math so you can home in on the part that is most pertinent to you.


Intro to the 5 lb Book of GRE Practice Problems

Creating a GRE question that mimics the real thing is no easy feat. This is especially the case for verbal. Just finding a reading comprehension passage that would pass ETS’s rigorous standards is tough enough (each prospective passage must meet a certain number of guidelines, and even then may not make the final cut) is a case of looking for the proverbial needle in a haystack.

Even if a GRE content writer finds such a passage, there is no guarantee that they would focus on the part of the passage that the GRE would. The prospect of writing a question in the style and manner of test writers makes creating content an even more daunting—if downright impossible—task. And let us not forget those artfully crafted distractors, or wrong answers, that can make a seemingly easy question diabolical.

I think it is safe to say that no publisher will be able to create a test that, at least to experts, is indistinguishable from the actual test. At the same time, as a test taker, you should only use prep material that comes as close to the original as possible. The implicit assumption is that the more closely material hews to the real deal, the more effectively you can practice (and, by extension, the higher you can score).

In this sense, Manhattan GRE has done a fair job: You will get practice material that approximates what you’ll see on the actual test. That is not to say that the questions in this book are perfect. It is clear that many people authored the questions in this book, and thus the quality, especially in the verbal, is inconsistent. But with one notable exception (I’ll elaborate on below), using Manhattan’s massive 5 lb book will not hurt your score GRE, and in some cases, especially on the math section, it will definitely help your score.


The Verbal

Text Completions

Ever since MGRE released its first TC/SE book, I’ve been grousing how the questions relied more on obscure vocabulary, you would never see on the test, and less on convoluted sentence structure. Fortunately, the words in the Text Completions section are not nearly as obscure. There is still the odd ‘Myrmidon’ (or two!) in there, but otherwise most the words could conceivably show up on the test.

In terms of convoluted structure, there are sentences that parallel what you’ll see on the test. However, some questions are nothing more than really basic level sentences, e.g., (It was very <blank> outside, and so John was sweating) followed by ridiculously tough words (this is something Kaplan does).

Even questions that are written in sophisticated prose don’t mirror the algorithm (for lack of a better word) used on the real GRE. That is you won’t have to decipher what the blanks have to be based on the context; instead, the word that goes in the blank is the only possible word given the answer choices, and given that you know the vocabulary. So despite the plethora of questions, many of the questions in the TC section feel more like vocabulary exercises than actual GRE questions.


Sentence Equivalence

Usually, I group SE with TC. However, the SE questions in this book were noticeably inferior to their TC counterparts. Synonymous sentences oftentimes did not result (‘to bedazzle’ and ‘to flabbergast’ create two totally different meanings). The vocab could be ridiculously obscure. For example, one question was simply worded but one of the correct answers was “bootless”, a word so obscure that it would most likely never show up on today’s GRE. This is but one example in a sea of subpar questions.

In both the TC and SE questions, there is an exception to what I’ve stated above: the verbal practice sets at the very back of the book. The quality of questions here is higher and, except for the fact that the difficulty assigned to the questions is not consistent, the questions themselves more closely parallel what you’ll see on the actual test.


Reading Comprehension

As I noted at the beginning, finding passages that are very similar to those on the test can be difficult. Again, the 5lbs. book is a mixed bag in this case: some passages were suffused with that unmistakable GRE-ness; others not so much. Many questions dealt with a specific part of the passage, whereas GRE questions tend to deal with more general meaning.

I also felt that the inference questions on Manhattan were very different from those written by ETS. Whereas the latter want you to be able to formulate big-picture inferences, I found that the MGRE questions were very literal and specific about the inference questions. When I employed the MGRE logic on the ETS inference questions, I could make a case for why the credited answer wasn’t correct. My big concern here is that students who only practice inference questions from the 5 lbs. book may struggle with the inference questions on the GRE.


Paragraph Arguments

These questions were drawn from Manhattan’s GMAT product, which is a good thing. Those questions have stood the test of time, in forums where such things are debated ad nauseam. That’s good news for test takers. Lots of questions to practice logical reasoning should definitely help test day. That said the questions have a slightly different “flavor” than the ETS questions, but overall the logical structure is similar.


The Quantitative Section

The good news is the math section is so good that I don’t have to spend another 1,000 words pontificating on the nuances of each question type. MGRE has created hundreds of GRE-like problems that are conveniently broken up into different sections. Many concepts that most prep books overlook—standard deviation, weighted averages, and combinatorics—are given their own section replete with dozens of practice problems.

I also like how the explanations are clearly presented. With many books I feel like I often have to decode the explanation just to understand what should be a relatively simple problem. Those who wrote the MGRE explanations anticipated the difficulties students would typically have and clearly addressed them.

But I do have one quibble: the questions were not assigned difficulty levels. Therefore, students may become frustrated if they miss a string of questions, not knowing that those questions were tough questions, or overly confident if they hit a patch of easier questions. Breaking the questions based not just on type but on difficulty would have improved this book.



Verbal: C+/ Math: A


By the way, students who use Magoosh GRE improve their scores by an average of 8 points on the new scale (150 points on the old scale.) Click here to learn more.

82 Responses to Manhattan 5 lb Book of GRE Practice Problems Review

  1. Rahul Goyal August 23, 2016 at 2:10 am #

    Is lb5 covers all question that are essential for GRE??

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert August 23, 2016 at 9:21 pm #

      Hi Rahul,

      The 5 Lb Book has all of the question types that you will see on the GRE. As you have seen in our review, however, we found the math questions to be much more authentic than the verbal ones. Note that this book will NOT cover strategies and concepts that you will need to know for the GRE in a systematic way.

  2. amrutha July 23, 2016 at 9:43 pm #

    where will i get this manhattan 5lb book??i mean will it fetch me 170 ?

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert July 24, 2016 at 6:44 am #

      Hi Amrutha,

      You can find Manhattan 5lb online. For example, you can order the book directly from Manhattan Prep’s website or on Amazon.

      As Chris notes in his review, the book offers a lot of great practice and we recommend it, particularly for the quant section. While I would hesitate to say that just prepping with this book is enough to score 170 on either section, the exact answer also depends on your background and strengths/weaknesses as a student.

      Hope this helps 🙂

  3. Jayraj July 8, 2016 at 7:00 am #

    Actually I have completed the Magoosh quants question pool and I have started practicing quants from 5lb. But I feel that quants in quants in 5 lb is more inclined towards calculation and its not designed to check your fundamental understanding of concepts as its discussed in Magoosh video lessons. I have also faced some questions which requires the use of calculator and their explanation itself stats that by using calculator find so and so, while in Magoosh we are taught to stay away from calculator as you can. So am i alone facing this problem or anyone else is facing it too?

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert July 9, 2016 at 9:22 pm #

      Hi Jayraj,

      This is one of the core differences between our approach and some other popular approaches. We think it is very important to deeply understand the math that underlies the trickier GRE problems. The calculator is not entirely your enemy, and you should not be afraid to use it if you truly need it now and then.

      I hope other students can weigh in on this comment and give you more insight, Jayraj! 🙂

  4. Srikanth Dodla July 8, 2016 at 12:40 am #

    Hi Chris,
    Thanks for all your inputs. Your analysis is up-to-date and fastidious, something that only can be found at Magoosh! You are really meticulous about the books selection for preparation. So thought of taking your invaluable help.

    Couple of suggestions required in the below areas:
    1) if I get manhattan 5lb book can I get access for 6 full online test? Or should i buy one of the 8 Strategy books? I have ordered 5lb book as it has good number of questions to practice which i needed especially for quant.
    2) I am really weak in verbal and vocab. I need your thoughts which book i should refer for practice for english section for TC/SE. For words i am using Magoosh APP which has words.

    Looking for your thoughts.

    Srikanth Dodla

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert July 9, 2016 at 9:42 pm #

      Hi Srikanth,

      Happy to help! 🙂

      Unfortunately, the 5lb book does not have the 6 online tests. It does, however, have a ton of practice problems, including some great TC/SE questions. If you want the online tests, you can either buy a strategy guide or simply just buy access to the tests. (I recommend the strategy guide because it works out cheaper and you get more resources!) This could be a good way to get more verbal practice by getting a strategy guide for both purposes.

      As far as other verbal advice, the most important thing to do for GRE prep is read high quality resources. I recommend The Economist as one of my favorite sources of reading, but most high quality publications will offer great reading practice. This helps you learn new words, familiarizes you with complex structure, and builds reading endurance. 🙂

      I hope that helps!

  5. Ruj June 25, 2016 at 10:56 pm #

    Hi I have scored 152 on quant in GRE. I have used barons, ETS book and Magoosh. I want to improve quant score. Can you please suggest me some more test prep material which will help me to get atleast 165 as my verbal is weak. I need to retake GRE asap.

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert July 2, 2016 at 2:40 am #

      Hi Ruj,

      Since you’re a premium member, I’ve sent this to our test prep experts. You should hear from them soon! 🙂

  6. louisa May 14, 2016 at 1:39 pm #

    HI! i was just wondering, what is the difference between the 8 strategy books and the 5lb one? Which should i get?

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert May 18, 2016 at 9:56 am #

      Hi Louisa 🙂

      Good question! Manhattan 5 lb is a book of practice problems (about 2000), whereas the Manhattan series of strategy books review the fundamental math/verbal concepts that you will be tested on during the GRE. Each of the 8 books focuses on different subjects, such as algebra, geometry, or text completion and sentence equivalence. The 8 books do include a series of practice problems at the end of each book but not as many as you’ll find in Manhattan 5 lb, which is dedicated to practice problems. For more on the Manhattan series of strategy books, I’d recommend checking out our review!

      Hope this helps 🙂

  7. sravana April 24, 2016 at 11:39 pm #

    sir,Is manhatten 5lb contains 1800+ quant problems or quant+verbal=(1800+problems)????

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert April 25, 2016 at 11:24 am #

      Hi there 🙂

      Happy to help! The Manhattan 5 lb contains a total of about 1800 questions. That is the number of verbal and quant questions combined.

      Hope that clears things up! 😀

  8. Simran January 31, 2016 at 1:56 am #

    I am in secind year right now.
    I thought of start preparaing for gre a lil from now.
    I bought the ets official guide to gre
    But i think besides that i need more to learn and practice.
    My be this book is to do later on after studying a lil.
    So for learning and starting , please refer which is good.
    1.The ets verbal and quant problems (2 books)
    2. The set of 8 manhattan books
    3. 5lb manhattan problems

    Please tell , out of these three which one to buy to start my preparation.

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert February 7, 2016 at 12:56 pm #

      Hi Simran,

      Any of those resources can help you! 🙂 The key to the GRE, especially if you are starting early on, is to have a strong foundation in both math basics and English grammar/vocabulary. If the official guide seems to challenging to you now, I would start with non-GRE resources to really build up your basic skills before turning to the tricky GRE.

      If you are determined to buy another GRE book, the 5lb Manhattan product has a lot of practice problems that you could slowly work through. I wouldn’t say you need the 8-volume strategy series unless you are very seriously working toward a GRE test date and you need to work on all the subsections they provide. Many students will pick up just a few of the series rather than the entire thing. 🙂

  9. Akshay Badami September 16, 2015 at 11:09 am #

    Hey chris!

    I was using the MGRE 5lb for practice, and well math is really good but the TC and SE are really difficult to cope up with.

    Which other material with the Magoosh GRE would be good to practice?

  10. Akshay July 4, 2015 at 10:55 pm #

    Hey Chris!! How you doing?
    I have confusion in the answer of this following question
    x and y are positive numbers such that x + y + z < 1 and xy = 1
    Quantity-A Quantity – B
    z -1

    I think the correct answer choice is D but in the given answer it's showing B.

    Source – Inequalities Manhattan 5 lb

    • yjc August 10, 2015 at 4:23 am #

      because x and y must be equal to 1
      therefore 1 + 1 + z < 1 then z < -1
      so option B, -1, is greater

      • Akshay August 10, 2015 at 7:58 pm #

        Hello yjc,

        Thanks for the comment but you haven’t considered any other cases like what if the value of x= -1 & y= -1?

        • James August 14, 2015 at 1:19 am #

          Since x and y are positive it can’t be -1

        • Guilherme September 24, 2016 at 12:41 pm #

          You could try fractions, as 3 and 1/3, z will get a negative fraction “smaller” than -1

  11. Hemant Verma April 4, 2015 at 5:47 am #

    Hey Chris

    First of all i would like to thank you for publishing such a useful information about GRE.
    Can you please provide your comments on the Manhattan online section addaptive tests and how much is it similar to actual test.

  12. Arman September 13, 2014 at 2:51 am #

    hi Chris ,your commentaries about the books are excellent.One of my problematic areas in GRE are inference questions..Now I am using MGRE 5 lb both for math and verbal questions.Here you mentioned that when you apply MGRE logic for inference questions in ETS tests then the credited answer becomes wrong. I am sorry ,but I don’t completely understand you.Can you write more about it ? What MGRE logic we should avoid during the inference questions during the Real GRE test.Thanks in advance.

  13. Pia September 10, 2014 at 9:11 pm #

    Hello! I recently gave the GRE and got a relatively low verbal score; I am planning on taking the GRE again in October. In terms of studying for my next exam, I am a little confused as to how to go about studying for it. I know my weakness is RC; I have already solved the Magoosh questions a few times, and have understood my mistakes. In terms of additional, what other problems would you recommend I do? Do the MGRE RC questions from the 5lb. form a good source of questions? From this review it doesn’t seem so? Thank you!

    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele September 15, 2014 at 11:37 am #

      Hi Pia,

      Yeah, I’m not the biggest fan of the MGRE RC questions. Some are good, but others aren’t indicative of the way the ETS “thinks” about the test. For RC practice, I’d recommend any and all ETS GRE resources. That includes, obviously, the current Official Guides: the verbal and the general. You should also pick up the guide for the old GRE verbal, which has plenty of difficult RC questions. Apart from that, LSAT RC, while slightly different, will make you much better at processing lots of information and choosing between the two answer choices that differ subtly.

      Hope that helps!

  14. zahid August 1, 2014 at 5:04 am #

    Hi chris,

    May be my question is already asked in this blog. But for clarification i want to ask you again is the purchase of 5lb book of GRE is worth for those who have already bought 4th Edition of 8 strategy book (all set) of Manhattan.

    I have 4th Edition of 8 strategy book (all set) and little bit confused about buying 5lb book of GRE.

    Please give me the answer just in one line.

  15. sahil June 23, 2014 at 10:51 pm #

    Hi Chris,
    I have recently started my prep and joined the mangoosh full course(a friend recommended).
    I don’t have any other material as of now but planning to purchase.
    My weakest section is verbal TC/SE(not because of comprehending them but because of vocabulary- I guess)
    Along with Mangoosh
    1) I am planning to buy official guide and manhattan TC/SE book(I need to buy atleast a book to get free test series)
    2) mangoosh flash cards + manhattan essential and advanced words from quizlet(not explored yet).

    320-325 is my target score.

    Any changes or recommendations from your side please mainly for vocab + TC/SE + test practice alongwith Mangoosh (Though I haven’t compared Mangoosh with any other material or course, I found it quite good.)

    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele June 24, 2014 at 11:45 am #

      Hi Sahil,

      Your plan sounds pretty good :).

      I would make sure to buy all of the ETS GRE materials (these are the guys who actually write the tests–so their practice tests are the most accurate in terms of content and predicted score).

      Also, remember that we have study guides that can help you along if you need structure. Otherwise, your plan looks solid 🙂

  16. sj April 17, 2014 at 2:13 am #

    Hi Chris,

    I was wondering the difference b/w 5lb Manhattan Prep book and the 8 series books published by the same publisher? I only want to work on my quant part to pull it up to 165. Highest I have scored so far has been 160.

    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele April 18, 2014 at 10:59 am #


      Most of the content in the 5lbs. book does not overlap with that found in the 8 book series or the accompanying 6-online tests. If you just want to beef up you quant, the 5lbs. is a good idea. Still, I’d do all 6 of the online tests, since they are slightly more difficult than the real thing and because they mimic actual testing conditions, they will help you with pacing.

      Hope that helps!

      • Christina May 7, 2014 at 11:34 am #

        Hi Chris,

        I took the GRE about 1 month ago and I am looking to retake it in 2 months. I am planning on following the 2 month plan that Magoosh offers. However, I think that I need additional help. I was thinking about attending a GRE prep course by either Manhattan prep or Manhattan review (links below). Is there one that you recommend over the other? I read your reviews on the Manhattan prep material so I am leaning toward that, but any advise about the actually course would be great.

        Looking forward to hearing from you.


        • Chris Lele
          Chris Lele May 8, 2014 at 11:56 am #

          I would definitely go with Manhattan Prep GRE. They have an excellent reputation and have been creating awesome test prep guides for awhile now. The other company I’ve only heard of in light of a recent piece of news stating that Manhattan Prep was upset that the former had taken its namesake.

          Hope that helps!

  17. reza March 23, 2014 at 4:44 am #

    Hi Chris,
    I have a question about TC. I want to study the TC of big book an Magoosh. Do you think it is better that I choose the TC of SAT or Manhatan[5lb, volum 7 of MGRE] for extra practice?

    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele March 24, 2014 at 2:30 pm #

      Hi Reza,

      I don’t think that the TC in the 5 lb. book are that great–mixed quality. That said, I still think it better to use the Manhattan book than the SAT book, because you’ll encounter the academic language that is more likely to show up on the GRE.

      Hope that helps!

  18. Rashi Berlia March 19, 2014 at 6:54 am #

    Is the material of the 8 series book overlapping with the content of 5lb book?

    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele March 19, 2014 at 2:53 pm #

      Hi Rashi,

      From what I recall, there wasn’t any overlap in the two books–but with so much content between the two of them, I may have missed something. Regardless, there shouldn’t be too much overlap.

  19. daniel February 25, 2014 at 12:48 pm #

    If this book doesn’t quite hit the mark, what book of practice problems would you reccomend Chris?

    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele February 27, 2014 at 11:55 am #

      That’s a good question–but I want to point out that I’d still recommend the 5 lbs. book for math. Even the TC/SE can be used as vocab exercises. There is also the verbal practice set at the end of the book, which I’m guessing the editors hand-picked.

      As for other books, it depends on the section. Besides official material (ETS), which you can use for every section, the book(s) I recommend depend on which section you are asking about. For reading passages, I’d recommend official LSAT or GMAT material. TC/SE is a little tougher, as there just isn’t that much out there that matches the standards of the official questions.

      Hopefully that helps somewhat 🙂

      • elango February 28, 2014 at 12:36 pm #

        if I get manhattan 5lb book can I get access for 6 full online test??

        • Chris Lele
          Chris Lele March 3, 2014 at 1:31 pm #

          Unfortunately, you’ll have to pay one of their practice guides to get access to the 6 online tests :(. But they are well worth it :).

      • Alisha March 14, 2014 at 12:02 pm #

        Is Manhattan series good for TC/SE??

        • Chris Lele
          Chris Lele March 14, 2014 at 2:56 pm #

          Hi Alisha,

          There are some decent practice problems scattered in there, but for the most part the quality is all over the place–and much of it on the so-so end. Some of their SE questions can actually be pretty bad.

          Hope that helps!

  20. Mousa Al Atiyat February 18, 2014 at 5:16 am #

    Dear Chris

    I’m so glad and pleased by all information you are providing to us highly appreciate what you are doing here along with your team.

    I need your advice on something:

    I’ve enrolled in Manhattan GRE Online course where will take a place in 15th of March 2014. I was wondering if taking the Manhattan GRE online course along with Magoosh Premium membership is enough?? I’m intending to apply for the TOP MBA Business Schools.

    as a part of the package provided by Manhattan GRE I’ve received a copy of the 5LB book and the Official GRE Guide.

    – Do you advice me to use any other materials?
    – I’m a full-time worker and I can study on Saturday’s. What is the expected preparation period that I need to get ready in my case?

    Again thank you so much for your kind support.

    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele February 18, 2014 at 12:50 pm #

      Hi Mousa,

      I’m glad you’ve found Magoosh helpful :).

      That sounds like plenty of material to me–even if you are going for a high score. You will probably get close to 1,500 questions for math and 1,500 questions for verbal.

      The “preparation period” really depends on your goal (I’m guessing at least 160 on both math and verbal; 165 on each to be competitive). If you already score consistently in the upper mid 150’s, you may only need about 6 weeks or so of prep.

      If you are starting at a lower score–or you are not noticing improvements–then you might have to bump that study time to about 12 weeks. The MGRE class should definitely help you set your goals, since, I believe, you’ll be doing a mock test every week or so. Finding your baseline score will be important, but so too will be engineering an approach to help you improve each week.

      Hope that was helpful, and let me know if you have any questions 🙂

      Good luck!

  21. rat February 16, 2014 at 2:23 am #

    Hi Chris,

    I have finished all my TC from my Magoosh account. Will it be a good investment of my time if I study 5 lb book for extra practice on TC?

    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele February 18, 2014 at 1:03 pm #

      Hi Rat,

      I don’t think it would hurt that much, but as I mentioned in the review the questions are kind of a “mixed bag”. I recommend the Official Guide for more TC practice. Also, the TC in the MGRE practice test seem to be better crafted and more reflective of what you’ll see test day.

      Hope that helps!

  22. Carolyn January 22, 2014 at 12:51 pm #

    Finding this post just took some serious weight off my shoulders. I went through your vocab pretty quickly and after going back and doing the questions I got wrong, I bought this for supplemental practice… so my mind wouldn’t get soft. I’m not expecting a great quant score and am really hoping for a 95% verbal score, and after doing these questions I was about ready to throw the book (gently.. it does weigh 5lbs) at the wall due to the most obscure words I only thought possible to run across in H.P. Lovecraft, or some real show off-y fantasy authors I’ve read over the years. I thought it was just me!

    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele January 23, 2014 at 12:29 pm #

      Hi Carolyn,

      I’m glad I saved you the agony of going through some dictionary on archaic words, or those fantasy authors you hold so dear :). Yeah, MGRE’s vocab list is slightly suspect. If you want to give your vocab a quick workout before the test, try out our Magoosh flashcards–nothing obscure, just high-frequency words. Oh, and they’re free:

  23. Don December 5, 2013 at 7:33 pm #

    Thanks for the review. One question: are you sure the questions aren’t ordered within each chapter in increasing difficulty? Have recently begun working through chapters in the book and the first questions in each chapter seem elementary.

    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele December 6, 2013 at 10:39 am #

      Hmm…there may be a general trend of easy questions in the beginning, but it seems that once you get into the middle there isn’t too much of a difference. Again, this is just my take; I’m curious, if we actually administered a section to a 100 test takers, what the distribution of wrong answers would be.

  24. Abhishek Panda November 30, 2013 at 10:44 pm #

    Respected chris sir,
    Which book should I practice so that I can come up with flying colours in vebal since you are saying that manhattan verbal is not up the mark????
    Abhishek Panda

  25. Rutvi September 5, 2013 at 4:48 pm #

    Thank you so much for your review.
    Just one concern, you didn’t mention Analytical writing session review for 5 lb book. I would like to share my views on that as how I experienced AWA in 5 lb book.

    When I went over GRE guides from ETS websites, I became overwhelmed by AWA section – sample essays. When I began to write one essay, I was tedious and feeling like how can I complete this? I had almost none enthusiasm to practice AWA. Before starting my quantitative and verbal study, I decided to go over AWA instructions in Kaplan (I already had it) and 5 lb book. 5 lb book doesn’t have specific instructions, as it is for practices only. But, after going over AWA section in 5 lb and reading their 1st explanation of prompt 1 (from both Issue and Argument), I became more clear about AWA section. I learned where I should focused for AWA, from reading prompt to conveying my ideas.

    Furthermore, their explaining style is different than other (ETS and Kaplan, for instance) GRE prep courses. In other books, they first “show” us the complicated – high level essay; and then explain about it in different part. (I became more confused, and felt like I had long way to go). However, 5 lb GRE books gives totally different approach. When I was looking for sample answer to prompt, the author first gives explanation about essay, he/she explains the thoughts were going on his/her mind while thinking about prompt, how he/she came up to their points, etc. The approach was very straightforward and understandable. And, finally, they provide their sample essay after explanation – which seems 6 point when compared to ETS guide. It also had complex structures and thoughts, but I could undertand whole essay and I can also understand how I can modify my essay.

    Bonus point of 5 lb GRE book is, it provides 10 practice prompts for essays (with explanation), whereas Kaplan offers only two practice prompts. I am looking forward to complete all of 5 lb GRE essay prompts and see myself improving.

    I am looking forward to complete all practice sections of verbal and quantitative.

    Also, for vocabulary building, which source should I use?
    I have started studying “Magoosh’s GRE e-vocab book” explained by you, it is simply great to learn and remember. Thanks to you that.

    But, apart from that, what other vocab books should I use? Does manhattan’s 5 lb book’s vocab list help?

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert February 1, 2016 at 6:37 am #

      Thanks for your detailed review of the AWA section! We really appreciate it 🙂

      In terms of vocabulary, Manhattan’s list is one of the better ones out there, and to make studying the words more convenient, Manhattan has created flashcards for the words on the list, as Chris mentions in this blog post 🙂

      It may also be helpful to learn vocabulary through books that offer quizzes and vocabulary exercises. Using books such as Word Smart (Princeton Review), Word Power (Norman Lewis), or Barron’s 1100 actually have little practice quizzes, so that way you are doing more than just memorizing words. And in addition to our Vocabulary eBook, we definitely recommend checking out our other free vocab resources:

      GRE Vocabulary
      GRE Vocabulary Flashcards
      Vocabulary Builder
      Vocabulary Flashcard eBook

      Finally, to improve your vocabulary, it’s really important to read as MUCH as possible. This will improve your knowledge of vocabulary in context as well as your comprehension. Here are some suggested reading materials:

      Vocabulary in Context
      Recommended Books
      Article of the Month

  26. Gur August 7, 2013 at 7:20 am #

    Hi Chris,

    I have read through your given review and stated replies to all those questions. I still need some form of reassurance. I am taking the GRE in about 73 days and have already bought all the manhattan prep books, including the 5lb book. I also have access to magoosh, which I got to say is an amazing portal.

    Time is limited as i am only able to devote a couple of hours everday. I was wondering if it safe for me to skip the TC/SE book from the series as well as questions listed for that part in the 5 lb book? Is it sufficient to just practice questions by magoosh over and over again. I am also using Barron’s 1100 words you need to know book. Please do advise.

    Should I still even practice the RC questions in the book? This attempt is very crucial for me and I am looking forward to scoring in the 90th percentile.

    Thank you 🙂

  27. vsn July 31, 2013 at 9:57 am #

    Hi Chris,
    I have the 5lb book and one of the eight smaller books (to access the 6 online tests). Are those six online tests the same as the 5lb practice questions? Is there an overlap?

  28. vikas June 23, 2013 at 2:15 pm #

    hi chris,

    i have manhattan’s 8 strategy guides along with 5lb book and access to magoosh video

    lessons,my primary focus is quants,i am looking to score a perfect score,could you please tell

    me how to effectively use these resources

    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele June 24, 2013 at 1:24 pm #

      Def. begin by figuring out your weak spots, and watching the relevant videos in Magoosh and visiting the relevant section of the MGRE strategy guides. As you go through these lessons make sure you actually do related practice questions.

      Once you’ve grasped all the fundamentals, then continue working on problems of increasing difficulty.

      Hope that helps!

  29. Krishnendu June 17, 2013 at 12:24 am #

    How close are the Manhattan MSTs scores to oringinal GRE scores?

    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele June 18, 2013 at 4:03 pm #

      Hi Krishnendu,

      The feedback from students is that the scores are somewhat similar. I know that is not the best answer — at the same time, I’ve never heard a student say that their MGRE mock tests were wildly different than their actual score test day.

      Hope that (somewhat!) helps :).

  30. Rohan April 12, 2013 at 4:37 am #

    Hi Chris,

    I have my GRE in two months and I wanted to buy a book with a lot of practice problems especially for the verbal part. (RC and TC) I was confused if I should buy the 5lb book by MGRE or the two strategy guides for verbal by MGRE since I wanted access to the 6 online tests as well and I read on the Manhattan website that the 5 lb book doesn’t come with the online test access. But the strategy guides don’t have a lot of practice problems. (which is what I want)

    So, please help me out on this. Would you suggest that I go ahead and buy the 5 lb book and rely on other practice tests that are available online or buy the strategy guides?

    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele April 12, 2013 at 3:13 pm #

      Hi Rohan,

      If the focus is RC and TC, the 5 lbs. book is an okay investment. My experience was the questions on the 6 on-line practice tests were better than the ones in this book. If you go ahead and buy only one of the 8 guides (I’d recommend the Reading Comprehension guide), you get access to all six tests (which is lots of content).

      Also, for lots of practice content on RC and TC/SE, Magoosh has plenty of practice questions, and we rely more on thorny passage structure than obscure words.

      Hope that helps!

  31. Apurva March 16, 2013 at 1:54 pm #

    Hi Chris,

    Thank you for the honest review. I was looking for a book which gives me ample practise questions without breaking my bank. I am a little more concerned for my vocab skills than my quantitative – this doesn’t seem to offer what I am looking for. I am looking for something which brushes my RC as nicely as possible ( read: stuff which is as close to ETS actual GRE as possible). Do you know of any other such “question bank” book?

    I do have the kaplan book – but as you rightly said some of it is ridiculously easy and some words and sentences force me to question – Are we still talking in English? The Kaplan book is more of a personal harangue than a help guide.

    Coming back to my query – I was looking for a book which just pours out (almost) unlimited questions in the range of 20$ – 25$. I just need to practise as much as I can, I know my basics. If you have anything for me, please do let me know.

    Thank you.

    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele March 20, 2013 at 9:45 am #

      I think your best bet is still to buy the MGRE book. That is, the purchase of any one book on Amazon ( which will set you back less than $15), provides free access to the MGRE six on-line tests. That’s a total of 240 verbal questions, some that are quite tough :).

      Hope that helps you get started on practice questions!

  32. Mibin March 9, 2013 at 6:57 pm #

    Hi Chris! Would you recommend practicing PA arguments from 5lb or Gmat OG? I read in your review that 5lb is indeed a good choice. But just to confirm. Thnks

    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele March 11, 2013 at 3:53 pm #

      Yes, the PA arguments are good, since most–if not all–are taken from the MGMAT product. Hope that helps!

  33. Shakeel February 24, 2013 at 9:49 pm #

    Thanks Chris for the great review of the current GRE prep material. Your analysis is up-to-date and precise, something that only can be found at Magoosh!

    I do own the complete MGRE 8 book set, as well as the ETS official GRE 2e book. My question is simple: how much value addition will this book give by complementing the MGRE and ETS? I mean, is it worth getting this (in my case)?


    • Chris Lele
      Chris February 25, 2013 at 11:59 am #

      Hi Shakeel,

      I’m guessing you should be fine with all those resources – you do, after all, get the 6 online tests by MGRE. Only if you have really burned through all these resources, meaning you’ve done the questions multiple times and have a sense of the answer, should you pick up this book.

      Or you may simply want some extra quant practice (you get access to some online MGRE challenge questions if you buy the book). Otherwise, you are probably fine with your current resources

      • Shakeel February 25, 2013 at 8:17 pm #

        Thank you.

  34. Vanan February 16, 2013 at 1:21 am #

    I recently purchased this 5 lb book.
    There seem to be a lot of questions in it.
    Is it worth practicing for Verbal to improve pacing and implement Magoosh strategies?
    Plz help Chris..! Thanks!

    • Chris Lele
      Chris February 19, 2013 at 3:29 pm #

      Hi Vanan,

      Yeah, I’m a little ambivalent on my response, given the overall mixed quality of the questions. If you feel you have run out of questions, then go through the book. I don’t think the TC/SE will hurt you per se. Again, there are a lot of good questions in there, and a lot of helpful vocab (though there are a few obscure words).

      The RC is fine, except for the type of inference questions they ask. Again, only use if you have run out of practice material.

      Hope that helps, and let me know how it goes, if you choose to work through the MGRE book :).

  35. Matt February 15, 2013 at 10:43 am #

    Thanks Chris for all your inputs, ordered this book the day I read your review. I should be getting the book today. I am preparing for my second gre attempt (targeting 75% math and 50% verbal). I lost all the hope after first test scoring 152 for maths and 150 for verbal last week. But thinking about what happened during the test, I could recollect all the simple errors I made, wasting too much time for simple problems, forgetting all basic formulas and so on..I read a gre test taker experience of improving score from 152 to 165, following the same guidelines, practicing to solve maths problems with in timel. I am following the magoosh quiz with 20 questions every alternate day, hope this new book will also help. My next next gre is on April 10th. Also I am going to try all the manhattan tests available online.

    I told my wife, this will be last my gre attempt (then I said after a pause, may be one more time ..:)

    • Chris Lele
      Chris February 15, 2013 at 3:16 pm #

      Hi Matt,

      Glad I can be of help! Enjoy all those questions. They will give you lots of practice is you aim for that 165. It is possible! Make sure you also follow the Magoosh study schedule for quant. I think it is important that, as you get better, you start doing progressively more difficult questions. The tough march from 152 to 165 will be based on incremental improvements; the only way to get there is to make sure you are doing questions that are just challenging enough.

      Hope that makes sense :).

      And hopefully this will be your last GRE :).

  36. Mibin February 12, 2013 at 10:41 pm #

    Thank you!!

  37. Mibin February 12, 2013 at 9:41 am #

    Hi chris ,
    Thnks for the review. I have purchased the MGRE guides for verbal and quant. is this book having a similar content ?? or is it having completely different set of questions?

    • Chris Lele
      Chris February 12, 2013 at 11:56 am #

      That’s a great question – and something I should put in the review. The questions in this book–besides the PA arguments that double as GMAT questions–are all new (at least I didn’t notice any redundancies with the practice tests or the books).

      To those who’ve purchased the TC/SE book, I’d say def. go ahead and purchase this book, esp. for the quant.

      • Yaman Arora February 13, 2013 at 10:38 am #

        Hey chris,
        Does this book also have free online tests nicluded with it that Manhattan offers with other GRE books?

        • Chris Lele
          Chris February 13, 2013 at 12:13 pm #

          Hi Yaman,

          Yes, it appears there is a code in the back that should allow complete access to the on-line test. There are some other tools including a challenge problem archive that are available.

          • nsrk June 11, 2013 at 6:26 am #

            I think they wont provide access to 6 MST thru 5lb book..

            • Chris Lele
              Chris Lele June 11, 2013 at 1:37 pm #

              Yeah, that makes sense…the 6-tests came bundled with the set of eight guides. It’s still a pretty good deal — shell out about $15 for one of the books and you get access to the tests.

              • Srinath August 3, 2013 at 12:09 pm #

                If we buy even a single book, do we get the 6 online practice tests? awaiting your reply.Thanks in advance.

                • Chris Lele
                  Chris Lele August 5, 2013 at 1:21 pm #

                  Yes, buy any one of the eight guides and you’ll get access to all six tests.

                  Hope that helps!

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