Manhattan GRE 3rd Edition Book Review

For those of you who read my review of Manhattan GRE 2nd edition (MGRE)—indeed who’ve followed my advice by picking up a copy or two or MGRE—you may have been awaiting my review of the latest, 3rd edition guides. Nope, that’s not me setting up to tell you how I’ve decided not to write a review. I am writing a review…only the review is very, very short. So here it is:

The same.

Improve your GRE score with Magoosh.

That’s right – that’s the end of my review. The 3rd edition of the MGRE books is, except for a few cleaned up typos and geometry diagrams, exactly the same as the 2nd edition. Oops wait…I totally take that back. The MGMRE 3rd edition is markedly different. Gone is the bland cover of the 2nd edition; each cover comes with a different teacher student duo, apparently in rapture over the wonders of the GRE. I will say this much: at least Manhattan GRE puts real life MGRE instructors on its covers (Kaplan, Princeton Review and the others put stock photos of a person who in all likelihood doesn’t know the difference between GRE and GED).

Okay, I’ll stop being snarky. The thing is I’m a bit disappointed. I was looking forward to an entirely new set of questions. Better yet, I guessed that MGRE had been sending its instructors, throughout the course of the year, to take the Revised GRE. Within the pages of the 3rd edition, we would find refined techniques detailing problems that the GRE had begun to favor: double matrix questions, complex average questions, and four-sentence long jumbo Text Completions.

When Manhattan GRE released its 2nd edition nobody had even taken the Revised GRE. So I’m somewhat dismayed that insights gained from actually taking the test have not, in the least, informed this latest iteration. It’s like Manhattan GRE still have not taken the Revised GRE.

Nowhere is the lack of an update more problematic than on the Text Completion and the Sentence Equivalence guide. In the 2nd edition guide, we had ridiculously obscure words and not so ridiculously tangled syntax. As the Revised GRE is all about the latter, many simply ended up learning obscure vocabulary and were shocked test day when some of the words were so straightforward…and the sentences convoluted and nuanced.  Now with the 3rd edition, we have exactly the same.

After my little rant, you may find it surprising that I still recommend MGRE. Why? Well, many of the strategies are still very helpful. After all, the test hasn’t completely morphed into a totally different beast since last year. The helpful Reading Comprehension tips, especially the Critical Reasoning-style questions, totally blows away anything else out there. The math still provides a solid foundation. And finally, you have access to the six free online tests. The tests simulate the high-pressure environment of the GRE.  Even some of the Sentence Equivalence and Text Completion questions are somewhat more up to the standards of the GRE (which means more twisted sentences, less obscure vocab). Though, to the best of my knowledge, the questions in the six on-line tests have not changed since last year.

It may also likely be that once all of the 2012 GRE books are released, not a single one will have updated the material. Same content, different covers. (Who knows, Nova may be releasing a 2012 edition that still covers the old GRE). Thus, I can hardly fault Manhattan GRE for not changing anything in its 3rd edition. So for another year, Manhattan GRE is the king of the Revised GRE books.

Grade: A- (strategies)/B- (content/practice questions)

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  • Chris Lele

    Chris Lele is the Principal Curriculum Manager (and vocabulary wizard) at Magoosh. Chris graduated from UCLA with a BA in Psychology and has 20 years of experience in the test prep industry. He's been quoted as a subject expert in many publications, including US News, GMAC, and Business Because. In his time at Magoosh, Chris has taught countless students how to tackle the GRE, GMAT, SAT, ACT, MCAT (CARS), and LSAT exams with confidence. Some of his students have even gone on to get near-perfect scores. You can find Chris on YouTube, LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook!

29 Responses to Manhattan GRE 3rd Edition Book Review

  1. Shalini lodha April 3, 2015 at 12:07 am #

    Manhattan edition 3 vs edition 4. Is there any difference ? I purchased the edition 3 because it was cheaper.

    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele April 3, 2015 at 3:38 pm #

      They are basically the same book; there is no major difference between the two.

      Hope that helps!

  2. Vikas July 29, 2014 at 12:12 am #

    Hi Chris,

    Need your help at the earliest as I didn’t get any reply for my last post.

    I’ve PDF ‘s for all MGRE sets, and now I’m planning to Magoosh for coaching. Please let me know do I still need to buy any books apart. And also I already started Magoosh words, do I need to take any other material to cover more words?.
    Last question, which is the best site/books to take practice tests?
    Please reply ASAP.


    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele July 29, 2014 at 3:13 pm #

      Hi Vikas,

      Hmm…that’s weird. Not sure what happened to the other comment. Sorry :(.

      To answer your question: those materials should be sufficient, except you’ll want to pick up the Official Guide to the GRE, which has two book-based practice tests and two CD-based tests (a total of 4 practice tests).

      As long as you write down/make Quizlet flashcards with words you encounter in practice sessions you should be prepared for most of the words you’ll see on the test.

      Good luck 🙂

      • Vikas July 29, 2014 at 7:45 pm #

        Thanks a lot Chris, does Magoosh provides premium plan for 3months instead of 6?And what abt the price for 3months? Bcs i didn’t see the same in the website.

        • Rachel Wisuri
          Rachel July 30, 2014 at 9:40 am #

          Hey Vikas!

          We don’t have a plan that lasts 3 months. 🙁 We only have 1 month ($79) and 6 months ($99) plans.

          Let me know if you have any further questions about this!


  3. Nitesh July 27, 2014 at 11:04 pm #

    hi chris!!

    i am just feeling helpless, i am just confuse what should i refere MANGOOSH OR Mgre for praticing the quant and verbal.

    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele July 28, 2014 at 11:48 am #

      Hi Nitesh,

      It’s a tough call. What I recommend is that you buy one MGRE guide and sign up for the Magoosh trial (which is free). That way you can compare each to see what works better for you.

      Hope that helps 🙂

  4. Matt September 5, 2013 at 9:34 am #

    Tried calling Manhattan a few times and can’t get a straight answer. Have you heard any reports on whether the MGMAT and MGRE Math books virtually the same? The sections all cover the same material and other than adapting it to the unique questions types (and foregoing the dreaded Data Sufficiency problems) do you know if these can be used interchangeably?

  5. sai July 23, 2013 at 4:53 am #

    Iam having Manhattan 2nd edition… it need to brought the edition. …..pls tel me……

    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele July 23, 2013 at 10:34 am #

      Nope, no need. The two editions are virtually identical :).

  6. obasima June 24, 2013 at 7:17 am #

    Hello Chris,

    Please, If I purchase a used MGRE book, would I still be able to gain access to their online practice questions?

    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele June 24, 2013 at 1:26 pm #

      Hmm…not if somebody has used the practice code at the back of the book. If they have–but haven’t completed all the tests–then you should still be able to use those untouched tests.

      Hope that helps!

    • obasima June 24, 2013 at 4:19 pm #

      Thanks so much Chris.

      • Chris Lele
        Chris Lele June 26, 2013 at 10:59 am #

        You’re welcome :).

  7. Obasima June 24, 2013 at 7:12 am #

    Hello Chris,
    Thanks so much for your selfless nature in giving these brilliant advices. Very helpful
    Please, I am very weak at maths, you can compare me to a 6th grader who needs to be introduced to the basic foundation of quantative maths. My greatest challenge is algerbra and geometry! When I look through the GRE ETS book, it is like a strange language to me and have no idea where to start or for most part, what they are talking about!. I had to start by learning what even basic things like radius and pie means etc….yes, that is how bad it is!
    I realized you and others have spoken so highly of the manhattan gre books. however, I am wondering for someone who need help right from the root, would that be the best gudie for me, or does the mgre assume you know the basic rules of these quantitative maths?
    Someone has recommended the “Barrons maths the easy way” as a way to start. However, if the mgre is going to help me with the infancy steps that I need, then I do not want to wast my time with the Barron maths the easy way. Rather, I would prefer to plug myself right into the gre mode with a book which would help me with my needed basics and still teach me the gre strategies, and not beat about the bush.
    Please what do you think? Would i be safe with the mgre or I need a basic resource first and work my way into the mgre?
    Counting on your usual sage advice

    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele June 24, 2013 at 1:30 pm #

      Hi Obasima,

      I appreciate your candor — and your willingness to tackle the GRE quant :). So…starting with MGRE may actually not be the best way to go. Start basic. The McGraw Hill Conquering the GRE Math is a great place to start! You get plenty of practice on anything from roots to radiuses. The questions are never advanced, but are only used to make sure you can nail the fundamentals. At that point, you can “graduate” to the MGRE books.

      Thanks for the kudos, and hope that helps!

      P.S. if you are struggling, let me know, and we can find some other ways to get you up to speed on quant :)!

  8. maddyk August 21, 2012 at 2:11 pm #

    Hi Chris,

    I jumped at the chance for discounted pricing and signed up recently.
    I have two related questions – which of the eight Manhattan prep books should I buy, given that I had previously (2006) got 660v/760q in GRE. I’m mostly interested in the 6 exams I get to unlock, but would like to supplement Magoosh with the book.
    And, according to widely available ‘conversion’ charts, my previous score according to the new matrix is 324. Is this a good estimate? What would be a good goal?


    • Chris Lele
      Chris August 22, 2012 at 2:22 pm #

      Hi Maddyk,

      That’s definitely a strong score. I’d say a good goal is 335. Of course it won’t be easy, but why aim low :).

      In your case, maybe picking up the MGRE RC book would be best. Just one book will give you access to the online tests.

      Let me know how your prepping goes and if you are able to break into the 330s.

      Good luck!

  9. Lebena August 16, 2012 at 2:14 pm #

    Hi Chris

    You guys are doing an amazing job! Keep up the good work! I was wondering if I need to invest in the ETS official guide if I was planning to buy the Manhattan GRE series. I also wanted to know if it would suffice buying the 1st edition rather than the 3rd edition as the former series is sold at a lower price. Furthermore is it possible for you to comment on the feasibility of securing a good score if I am planing to start my GRE preparation from next week? I intend to take the test in November. I currently live in the UK and wish to pursue a Ph.D in I/O psychology programmes and most of the universities I’m looking at asks for a minimum of 1250 no clue what this tallies to on the new scoring scale.

    Any advice/feedback would be much appreciated.

    Kind Regards


    P.S. I currently work full time as a HR officer.

    • Chris Lele
      Chris August 22, 2012 at 2:29 pm #

      Thanks for the kudos :).

      So first, make sure you get either the 2nd. or the 3rd. edition of the MGRE book. The 1st. edition is for the old version of the GRE. Secondly, depending on which areas you need to brush up, you only need to buy one book from the MGRE set in order to access the free online tests.

      Secondly, I’d definitely recommend picking up the 2nd. edition of the GRE Official Guide. To really get the flavor of the questions you’ll see test day, you’ll need this book.

      As for your timing, now is a great to start prepping. The 2-3 month study guide could be helpful:

      As for a score conversion, this chart should be helpful:

      I hope that helps :).

  10. Mike August 2, 2012 at 9:02 pm #

    Great review! I just bought the reading comprehension/essay book from Manhattan GRE 3rd edition. Do you know if the vocabulary list at the end mirrors what is likely to appear on the GRE? Is it the same word list from their flashcards? I’m working through your ebook, but I would like a vocabulary list from a second source and don’t know which word list is best! Thanks!

    • Chris Lele
      Chris August 6, 2012 at 12:47 pm #

      The MGRE words definitely mirror what you’ll see test day. So it’s a great idea to combine those words with the Magoosh list. After that you could even pick up the Barron’s Essential Word list. There will be significant overalp, but you’ll be able to plug up the holes in your vocabulary :).

  11. Rina August 2, 2012 at 11:17 am #

    Hi Chris!
    Thanks for the review. I’ve been looking all over to find differences between the 2nd and the 3rd. about the MGRE online practice test, are they any different? I wonder if I buy the 2nd one, will I still get the same free practice test as the 3rd edition?

    I also want to ask if Magoosh plan to conquer the GRE subject tests especially Math. If you are, you could be a life-saver 🙂


    • Chris Lele
      Chris August 2, 2012 at 5:08 pm #

      Hi Rina,

      Sadly, it doesn’t seem if MGRE’s new online practice tests are new. Nevertheless, 6 tests is still a pretty decent amount of practice material.

      As for subject tests, Magoosh only deals with the general exam. Sorry :(.

  12. Paola August 2, 2012 at 11:13 am #

    I bought the 500 advanced cards from Manhattan. Are these too over the top as well? Or will I see them on the GRE?

    • Chris Lele
      Chris August 2, 2012 at 5:10 pm #

      That is a great question, and I am surprised somebody has yet to ask it.

      The words in the 500 all seem to be pretty relevant to what you’ll see test day.

      Hope that helps!

  13. Asish August 1, 2012 at 10:49 am #

    Thanks for the review , you saved me some bucks.I guess ETS Second Edition too is the same as the first apart from the 2 additional Tests.

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