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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+

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