Manhattan GRE Flashcards Review

One gripe I’ve always had with Manhattan GRE’s TC and SE questions is that they often use obscure vocabulary. Luckily such words did not make their way into the vocabulary lists at the back of the TC/SE guide. The list of 1,000 words, broken up into ‘essential’ and ‘advanced’, are all must-know words for the GRE. The words also have helpful example sentences.

Of course the biggest shortcoming of the list is the fact that it is a list, and not a set of nifty flashcards. Well, the good news is that Manhattan GRE has turned the entire list into a set of flashcards. But there’s far better news: from the demure, rounded edges to the very whiff of the cards, Manhattan GRE’s flashcards are a resounding success.

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Not only did MGRE transcribe their word list into flashcard form, but they also added helpful sections, such as the “More Info” and “Related Words”, both of which expand on the words. You’ll learn helpful synonyms and colorful backstories to words. I spent a good hour myself “geeking out” on the cards.

But what really shows MGRE’s attention to detail is the easy-to-use flashcard ring that comes with the flashcards. Just slip it through the holes at the corner of each flashcard and you can take any number of cards with you. That way you are not lugging the whole set around. Nor are the cards mysteriously disappearing, the way Kaplan’s tiny flashcards do. But if you buy this set and happen already to have a set of the Kaplan flashcards, you won’t miss the latter at all.


Grade: A

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30 Responses to Manhattan GRE Flashcards Review

  1. Sachin June 4, 2018 at 9:28 am #

    Hi Chris,
    I am in a big dilemma. I wanted some practice material for SE and TC. But as you pointed out, Manhattan 5lb has a lot of obscure words in the options, which is unlikely to appear in the GRE. Magoosh, I have heard, is really good. But it’s costly for me. So can you please suggest me some good study material for SE and TC preparation? I’d be grateful to you.
    Also, I want to thank you. I have read your articles and I find them very informative and useful.

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert June 5, 2018 at 10:52 am #

      Hi Sachin,

      Beyond the current official material, there are no perfect sources of SE/TC practice. With that said, the GRE Big Book— an older, out-of-print official GRE book– provides pretty good SE/TC practice. See Chris Lele’s review of the GRE Big Book for details on this.

      In addition, Manhattan has made some improvements to the quality of their SE/TC since they made the 5lb. book. Chris talks about some good alternate Manhattan materials in this article about the Manhattan GRE book.

  2. surbhi July 2, 2016 at 3:33 am #


    If i buy Manhattan advanced words flash card, will i get the access code for the 6 full length practice tests? or is it available only with the books?

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert July 2, 2016 at 6:25 am #

      Hi Surbhi,

      The flashcard set does not come with the access code for the six online practice exams. To get the code, you need to buy one of the strategy guides. For more information on what is included with the resources from Manhattan, I encourage you to explore the descriptions on Manhattan’s website 🙂

      Hope this helps!

  3. Lokin February 27, 2016 at 4:33 am #

    Hi Chris

    Am following your blogs on prep for gre. Reading blogs helps me a lot in preparing for gre. I have 5 months to go for gre. Started preparing vocabulary from magoosh flash card app but am confused whether to follow Manhattan or Kaplan flash cards in parallel and also many words across these flash cards sets are similar.

    Is it enough through only one flash card set??

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert February 29, 2016 at 10:55 am #

      Hi Lokin,

      While this is a tough question to provide a concrete answer for, I can certainly offer you some guidance 😀

      Here’s the tricky part: whether or not our flashcards are enough for you personally depends entirely on your starting vocabulary. The GRE can include many, many other words than what is on our list (or any list) of GRE vocabulary, and that is why reading extensively is VERY important no matter what level your vocabulary is at. 🙂

      While studying vocabulary is certainly an essential element, try not to think of the GRE as a simple vocabulary test. There’s no specific number of words you have to learn in order to reach a specific score. In part, this is because the GRE tests English vocab in general, not just “GRE words,” and even then, there’s more involved! That being said, the flashcards, paired with practice questions and reading, can definitely be a fantastic tool in making a score improvement–there’s no doubt about that!

      So, work through the Magoosh flashcard decks, make your own flashcards of words you don’t know as you practice reading, and you will be on the right path 🙂

  4. Ankit Verma January 19, 2016 at 3:13 am #

    which one would be a better option among MGRE advanced flash cards and MGRE essential ones?

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert January 21, 2016 at 4:27 pm #

      Hi Ankit,
      This really depends on what your current vocabulary level is. You definitely want to be solid on the 500 Essential words before moving on to the Advanced set. If you’re not sure which is best for you, you can demo 50 cards from each set for free. If you demo the Essential set and feel that you already are very familiar with the meaning and usage of each word, go for the Advanced set! If a lot of it is unfamiliar, start with the Essential 500 and save the Advanced for later when you have them mastered 🙂

  5. Sam January 17, 2016 at 11:34 am #

    Hello Chris,
    I was wondering what the size font is on the cards. If you happen to see the bottom side of the box, there is an example card–is that the actual size of the font?


    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert January 21, 2016 at 4:33 pm #

      Hi Sam,

      The actual cards and font are a little bit bigger than the picture on the bottom of the box. I’m just eyeballing it here, but I’d say the actual cards are about 20% larger than what’s on the box. I hope that helps!

  6. Lisa July 31, 2015 at 5:01 am #

    I made the mistake of purchasing an online Private Course package with Manhattan REVIEW… turns out they are not the same company as Manhattan GRE. Do you know much about Manhattan Review?

  7. Jessica January 19, 2015 at 1:58 pm #


    I was wondering how the Manhattan flashcards compare in content to the Magoosh Flashcard App. I like the app a lot, but feel like I might learn better if I have flashcards to physically handle and sort myself. I’m considering buying the Manhattan flashcards since they seem to be the best flashcard option for the GRE out there. However, I’m wondering if the essential words are basically the common and basic words in the Magoosh App. I’m thinking of just getting the advanced Manhattan cards and learning the rest on the app.

    What do you think? Are the word sets between Magoosh and Manhattan really different? Or roughly the same?


    • Scott June 17, 2015 at 10:05 pm #

      I have the same question. How do the two compare?

      • elvira September 1, 2015 at 5:27 am #

        I have the same question too…

        • Chris Lele
          Chris Lele September 3, 2015 at 4:18 pm #

          Hey guys,

          Hopefully, I can provide a satisfactory answer 🙂

          The two flashcards differ quite a bit. True, many words overlaps (it’s hard to say the exact percent, maybe 40-60%). Really, then, it becomes a subjective decision. If you feel that doesn’t justify purchasing either the MGRE flashcards or using Magoosh, then I think you’d be fine come test day.

          But if you really want to do your due diligence and be prepared as much as possible test day (this is my teacher’s voice speaking :)), then I’d recommend using both, so you’ll truly have all (or at least 95%) of the essential words.

          Hope that helps!

  8. Hima September 20, 2013 at 4:55 am #

    Hey Chris,

    Though it is difficult to attain on a fixed number, what do you think will be best number of words one should know. 500 is a safe no you think?

    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele September 20, 2013 at 11:42 am #

      Hi Hima,

      It really depends on how many words you know right now. For somebody for whom English is a second language, they will have to learn well over a thousand words. For someone who has never been strong at vocab, but wants to do well, they will have to learn at least a 1,000 words. If you have always been strong at verbal, than a 500 word brush up may be all you need to get a very high score.

      Hope that helps!

  9. Kat September 16, 2013 at 10:43 am #

    Hi Chris!

    Did you ever get a chance to review the Manhattan Math flashcards one of the commentators mentioned? I tried to Google a Magoosh review but didn’t find any. Thanks!



    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele September 16, 2013 at 11:59 am #

      Hi Kat,

      Thanks for pointing that out! That seemed to fall through the cracks–I never ended up ordering the flashcards :(. I’ve just ordered them and should have a review up in a couple of weeks :).

      • Kat September 17, 2013 at 2:25 pm #

        That’d be great. Thanks!

  10. Craig April 17, 2013 at 9:12 am #

    Chris, I am about to take the test for the 4th time. Math is on the backburner at this point. I am focused on verbal at this current time. I have wordsmart, the manhattan guides, wordnik, the other websites you mentioned, etc. Should I buy the two sets of cards? The essential and advanced, or will those words be in the wordsmart book as well? Also I have the TC/SE MGRE Ebook. They have vocabulary lists in there?

  11. Craig April 12, 2013 at 8:56 am #

    Chris, I just bought the more Math cards. Did you know about them? If so I have them, ghe 5 lb book, the mgre study guides,etc. Can I and should I supplement them together? Thanks.

    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele April 12, 2013 at 3:53 pm #

      Hi Craig,

      Which ‘math’ cards are you talking about? MGRE ones? Hmm…I didn’t know they had any. Supplementing MGRE material is a pretty good idea. Let me know if that clarifies anything :).

      • jones April 14, 2013 at 11:35 pm #

        Yes Chris, MGRE has just released Math flash Card, which I think would be worth the money.

        • Chris Lele
          Chris Lele April 17, 2013 at 9:44 am #

          Great! I’ll have to order those pronto :)!

          • Craig April 17, 2013 at 10:05 am #

            Yea for me! I helped Chris with one of the biggest arrivals of Magoosh History!

            • Chris Lele
              Chris Lele April 17, 2013 at 12:42 pm #

              Yes, a big thank you :)!

              One quick question, I notice that you said you are taking the test for a 4th time. Have you tried using Magoosh yet? Esp. for the verbal, it will definitely help your score :).

              • Craig May 2, 2013 at 6:53 am #

                I have not yet. I don’t know if I have the money for it. I have all the books from almost every company, and want to find a way to break it down where certain math and verbal concepts are taken out from the best companies. I have used the blog itself which has helped me without the video. What is your advice for all of this?

      • Erik July 22, 2015 at 7:22 am #

        I can’t seem to find the Magoosh GRE Math Flashcards app recommended in the 90 Day GRE Study Plan (Math Focused). The link provided takes you to the webpage but I can’t find the app to use on my ipad and iphone. Is there one or can you only use the website?

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