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Finally I have one of the first copies of the Advanced GMAT Quant book in my hands (after pre-ordering it back in October 2010)! I have spent the evening going through it in quite a bit of detail and here are my thoughts:

I got 49 on my quant but at first, I was not very comfortable with questions but as I got to know the book, it is actually very manageable. (and not so intimidating). I am giving it 5 stars for the effort and content; there are weaknesses, but they may not be relevant to you. The book is deisnged for someone who has already covered the 5 MGMAT Math books and/or is scoring above Q44 (70th percentile). That's actually the qualifications outlined on the second page of the book and I strongly agree - do not attempt this book/questions before you have become comfortable with math basics and are at a good level.

Book Overview

The book consists of 9 chapters: 0. Introduction (they even start numbering chapters at zero)[3g, 0e] 1. Problem Solving Principles [4g, 5e] 2. Problem Solving Strategies & Tactics [12g, 14e] 3. Data Sufficiency Principles - this is a very helpful section as DS resources are few and in between [6, 9e] 4. Data Sufficiency Strategy & Tactics [16g, 15e] 5. Pattern Questions (these are progressions/etc)[8g, 15e] 6. Common Terms & Quadratic Templates [5g, 28e] 7. Visul Solutions (Geometry, Statistics, Tables, Charts, etc) [14g, 10e] 8. Hybrid Problems [4g, 10e] 9. Workout Sets (150 GMAT-style questions)

[3g, 0e] stands for 3 GMAT-like questions and 0 exercises Total GMAT-style questions: 150 in the sets + 72 in the examples Total exercises: 106

Pros

- Very innovative approach to DS questions (emphasizes consistent approach and involves rephrasing) - Designed as a class, teaching you through different questions - Many new (advanced and innovative) strategies for PS and DS - I like that the PS and DS sections are addressed separately as it is important to distinguish them even though they may cover the same material - Step by step review of questions in the book as you move along - Super-detailed explanations - Comes with online Question bank (no access to CAT's though) - 150 GMAT-like questions in the back (uncommon for MGMAT since they most often utilize the questions in the OG)

Cons

- Many question types are mixed together (I found it a bit distracting since I am a single-tasker but it may work for you) - Guessing strategies (this never works for me). I appreciate another, more advanced approach, but I never seem to be able to use them. I just choose to guess and move on - Some chapters such as #6 are very short (could we have split others perhaps?) - Some questions are perhaps too hard? (such as the first three that are clearly there to give you a "reality check") - No listing of additional OG questions to practice with (would be good to revisit them even if they were covered in the other 5 guides) - In the chapters, the fractions are written in short hand (1/3) - kind of surprising - No cheat sheets for things to be memorize (I believe one should know squares, primes, etc)

I guess if you are wondering whether it will face the fate of [[ASIN:1419553429 KaplanGMAT 800]], I would say not quite. Unlike that book, here you will find a number of strategies structured very well in a flow of a book rather than a collection of hard questions.

My Suggestions

- Read explanations to every question. Even if you got a question right, it does not mean, yo solved it correctly (that is you used the correct approach or found all the shortcusts). You will be surpised sometimes and will pick helpful tips even from explanations of questions you got right - Follow the actual strategies (DUH). You bougth the book because of them. Yes, there are questions, but the value is in the strategies. Don't just take the fish - go for the fishing pole - IF you are not comfortable with something and the book does not cover it, don't just glance over it and move on - research and investigate. Get the book or someone to explain to you the missing components - Memorize the common math elements such as primes, squares up till 20. E.g. what is 15*15? or square root of 3 is approximately how much? 2 to the power of 5 is?

This is it so far. I will edit the review as I continue to discover new elements in this book. Good luck on your GMAT! Let me know if any questions about the book.
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25 May 2011, 08:20

Super review, I wish I could start on it but my basic math is still very fragile.. Im not sure what my current level is.. I'll take a mock test to find out.. Hopefully I can start soon with that

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25 May 2011, 10:05

Thanks for the review bb.

2 questions -

1) Do you think it is necessary to have completed the previous Manhattan GMAT quant books before we pick this one up? Are some strategies revisited or referenced? The reason I ask is because I have never read the other Manhattan GMAT books. I am retaking the GMAT in July and I am currently scoring in the 44-46 range. I am working towards a Q49 or Q50. I just finished revisiting all the basics in Total GMAT Math and I am going to move on to the Extreme Challenge Set by Jeff Sackmann. 2) How do you compare the 150 questions and the explanations in Advanced GMAT quant to the 100 questions in the Extreme Challenge Set?

1) Do you think it is necessary to have completed the previous Manhattan GMAT quant books before we pick this one up? Are some strategies revisited or referenced? The reason I ask is because I have never read the other Manhattan GMAT books. I am retaking the GMAT in July and I am currently scoring in the 44-46 range. I am working towards a Q49 or Q50. I just finished revisiting all the basics in Total GMAT Math and I am going to move on to the Extreme Challenge Set by Jeff Sackmann.

It is OK. As long as you are scoring at 44+ range, you should be fine. I think the book is very helpful for the advanced use. I am not 100% clear as to how holistic it is but will definitely help at $15 level. I liked it quite a bit (but this was based on 2-3 hours going through it). I have not covered every question at this point.

Quote:

2) How do you compare the 150 questions and the explanations in Advanced GMAT quant to the 100 questions in the Extreme Challenge Set?

Let me ask this to the MGMAT team and see if they have a good answer.
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26 May 2011, 07:18

Hey bb, A really helpful review, indeed! Before I order this book, I just want to know if this book will be something worthy side-by-side the GMATClub.com's Math Tests? Thanks in advance!

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26 May 2011, 07:36

Great review! My experience with Manhattan is that they`re great with question solving strategies and with explaining concepts, but produce sample questions which vary in quality and organization. This book seems to hold up with what I`ve seen.

Hey bb, A really helpful review, indeed! Before I order this book, I just want to know if this book will be something worthy side-by-side the GMATClub.com's Math Tests? Thanks in advance!

I have not covered every question yet, so can't speak very intelligently from that perspective. On the surface, the book is very good, esp the explanations but the question count is about \(\frac{1}{4}\) of the GMAT Club test content and then you have the questions in the book vs. actual test timed experience. They are two slightly different things.
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26 May 2011, 17:03

Hey bb, thanks for the review! I am going to purchase this book from Amazon, can you just verify that I am buying the right book because I thought it was coming out on the 31st but apparently its already out on Amazon :S. Anyway, here is the link _________________

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26 May 2011, 20:57

bb wrote:

I have not covered every question yet, so can't speak very intelligently from that perspective. On the surface, the book is very good, esp the explanations but the question count is about \(\frac{1}{4}\) of the GMAT Club test content and then you have the questions in the book vs. actual test timed experience. They are two slightly different things.

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31 May 2011, 01:41

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Hi all,

I had posted a review on Amazon and bb asked me to post the same here , so here it is. Let me know if you have any additional questions regarding the content:

Makes you a better fighter and a smarter fighter, but does not teach you how to fight

Before I elaborate on the 'What the heck?' title of my review - skip to the 6th paragraph if you only want to read my review of the book as the first 5 paragraphs are me explaining, albeit in a more profound way, what you may already know about the GMAT; if you want to cut to the chase - it's a fantastic book but I deduct one star because it contains a few errors here and there.

So about the subject of the review - One of the most appropriate analogies that I have heard regarding the GMAT is that 'prepare for the GMAT as you would prepare for a boxing match' - you know you are fighting a very accomplished opponent , you do not have a clue about what kind of punches that opponent will throw at you but ,if you truly want to beat that opponent, you can very well prepare well enough to be able to anticipate what type of punches that opponent will throw at you and counter those punches when they do come.

I am a GMAT retaker - a quick summary of what my standing was prior to my taking the GMAT the last time: 1) I could easily solve at least 95% of all Official Guide (OG) problems 2) On the 2 GMAT Prep tests, I scored a 710 and a 730 respectively 3) Aside from the OG, I practiced over a 1000 questions from pretty much every well known resource out there

Yet, I bombed the actual GMAT when I took it

Don't let my example frighten you - the exam is very beatable (25,000+ people score in excess of 700 each year right?). Aside from the primary mistake, which I am going to elaborate on in this review , I also didn't sleep much before the exam and , on top of that, drove over an hour through traffic infested San Francisco, thereby already stressing out my mind before even sitting down for the test. So yeah, for starters, get some sleep and book your test date early so you don't have to drive 50 miles to nearest test center that has a slot available at your preferred date/time.

In my case, the results documented in Point # 2 were an anomaly (I still believe that the GMAT prep tests are the most accurate indicator of how you will perform on the actual test), but points 1 and 3 , if not carried out correctly, represent classic mistakes that test takers make over the course of their practice. The mistake I speak off is believing that 'the harder you work, the better will be your results'. Now don't get me wrong, I am not recommending you ignore that very true principle (far from it), rather, I am recommending that, in the case of the GMAT, you slightly modify that statement to 'the smarter you work, the better will be your results' - this is where 'Advanced GMAT Quant' comes in.

As 2 of the more famous people in the GMAT world (BB and Eric) have pointed out in the reviews before mine, 'Advanced GMAT Quant' is for you if you fall in to ALL of the below categories:

- You are consistently scoring in at least the 70th percentile but are finding it hard to crack into the 90th percentile (aka you already a good fighter). - You have gone over all 5 of the Manhattan Quant supplements INCLUDING the advanced sections and are comfortable with the material taught in those guides - You realize that it is better to have more than 1 strategy in your repertoire to solve each question type - You are prepared to forget(only for the GMAT of course)everything your teacher taught you about solving questions the mechanical way or , as Manhattan puts it - 'a quick and dirty method that is not theoretically elegant'.

I know a host of GMAT takers who studied no more than 2 weeks and scored 700+ and also know a host of test takers who studied many months and did not go past 650. What differentiates the 2 is that the former group of people , put simply, just got 'it'. By 'It' i mean that, those test takers understood that the GMAT operates on a fixed template and there is only so much manipulation the GMAC can do, meaning that if you understand how the GMAT works, i.e. you are prudent about the common traps (damn you inequalities!), know how to filter out the right information and basically understand what is being tested, you are very likely to succeed on this test. Of course there is the small matter of actually knowing all the topics and their concepts but that part is self explanatory and , moreover, is not the purpose of this book; this book teaches you how to master the 3 examples I just listed out regarding the GMAT template. So if you are picking up this book without knowing properties such as '3 consecutive integers are always divisible by 3' or the '1-x probability theory', you will find this book extremely challenging as the writing style of this book is such that, it assumes you know pretty much all the general theories that are covered in the manhattan quant guides.

As this book correctly points out, the more complex problems do not necessarily require advanced computing , rather, the test makers just twist around the information making it very challenging to understand the problem at first glance (remember the test makers understand that all problems should be solved within 2 minutes and a majority of GMAT test takers may have had minimal to no exposure to 'advanced math')

What this book does teach you are concepts such as 'how to eliminate answer choices just by looking at the information provided and comparing that to the answer choices. A simple example is that 'if the question asks 'If Y is a positive integer, what is the value of (-y)(y) and there are 3 positive answer choices and 2 negative answer choices, after going through this book, you will not be scared to eliminate all the positive answer choices before even beginning to solve the problem as you know that whatever the answer, it has to be negative.

I think Eric and BB did a fine job of listing out the Pro's of this book so I will focus on some of the weaker points of this book:

1) Errors - The only reason why I deducted 1 star. Having diligently studied 40% of the book, (will edit my review should my opinion change after fully completing the book) there are some errors that are downright dangerous and provide the incorrect information. A few that stand out are:

Pg: 83 #7 - IS M not equal to 0 , is m^3 > m^2 - An experienced test taker such as myself can understand that, Manhattan meant to say 'IF M not equal to 0' but it may confuse other test takers on what the question is asking for.

Pg 86 #3 - Wrong answer choice is circled - This is redeemed by the fact that the answer explanation shows 'D' to be the correct answer but it broke my heart for a second when I saw the answer to that seriously complex problem that I solve was circled as 'A'

Pg 106 Try-it #4-9 - This one is downright dangerous - it's a data sufficiency question that shows (1) to be a^2 = b^2 but , when you see the explanation, the correct information was a = b^2.

2) Be careful as some of the strategies used in this book may subconsciously make you unlearn the direct safe approach that should always be used as the first line of attack. The book does highlight the safe approaches but embracing the plan B 'dirty' approaches may unsettle your understanding of the fundamentals if you consistently keep practicing the plan B approaches.

So far, I have not found any of these errors to be 'deal breakers' because the answer explanations make you realize the original mistakes but , initially, those errors can be frustrating.

To summarize, this is a fantastic book for those of you who are comfortable with the concepts for all Quant topics tested on the GMAT but are having trouble applying these concepts to the more challenging problems. After diligently studying this book, you will be less fearful of employing tactics such as 'eliminating answer choices before even beginning to solve the problem, using approaches that your math teacher would have given you a 0 for if you tried those tactics in high school, able to recognize patterns allowing you to dissect the question to get to the relevant information (gmat template)etc. There are some errors but , so far, none of them are detrimental enough to over ride what is otherwise a fantastic, unique book that , mostly successfully, tries to get you to understand how to crack the 'GMAT code'

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31 May 2011, 07:02

This is a thorough explanation! Thank you! My book arrived yesterday but I don't plan on touching it until I go through the other 5 MGMAT Math Guides! I am scoring around 43 for Quant so I think this book should help me out.
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01 Jun 2011, 14:08

Nice post Ravish. Could you let us know approximately how much time it takes to cover the entire book? I will probably want to solve just about enough problems to get a handle over the key concepts introduced in the book.

Hey BB, thanks for your review. I request your thoughts here too.

I have just about 4 weeks left for my GMAT and I have started with the GMAT Club tests with a plan to take one test every day. I am learning a great deal from these tests and was wondering whether you think it worth the time to go over this book? I have reached a reasonable success rate on the OG12 problems and I do score consistently above 45 on the MGMAT Quant section, but I still struggle with timing on the 700-800 level.

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01 Jun 2011, 16:22

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AriBenCanaan wrote:

Nice post Ravish. Could you let us know approximately how much time it takes to cover the entire book? I will probably want to solve just about enough problems to get a handle over the key concepts introduced in the book.

Hey BB, thanks for your review. I request your thoughts here too.

I have just about 4 weeks left for my GMAT and I have started with the GMAT Club tests with a plan to take one test every day. I am learning a great deal from these tests and was wondering whether you think it worth the time to go over this book? I have reached a reasonable success rate on the OG12 problems and I do score consistently above 45 on the MGMAT Quant section, but I still struggle with timing on the 700-800 level.

I expect to be fully done with the book by this Weekend (received it on Friday and skipped one day of studying) so I think one can complete the theoretical section of this book (each chapter and it's respective questions) in about a week. I can't comment yet on the workout sets as I am yet to begin those but , I would say that it would take another 4-5 days to complete those plus repeat practice so '2 weeks' tops assuming at least 2 hours per day of diligent studying.

Regarding whether or not this book is for you, it depends on whether a majority of the answers that you get wrong during practice are due to your not remembering a concept or due to your falling for a trap/ not able to dissect the question correctly etc. , if it's the former, then the Manhattan guides are your go to source; if you seem to have trouble with the latter, then this is the book for you.

I just completed the question set in the data sufficiency strategy section and they are fantastic. Not only are they grouped together based on the type of error one can make i.e. not plugging in smart numbers / carrying on information in statement 1 to statement 2 etc. but a considerable number of the answer explanations show both , the path of solving that makes you fall for the trap as well as the correct way that the question should have been solved.

If the 150+ questions in the workout set are of a similar quality, I would say that this book is worth it for the question sets alone.

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01 Jun 2011, 16:39

Thanks for the quick reply Ravish. I guess I'll go ahead and order the book while I ponder over how I am going to find the time to study it. I am hoping that even if I were to consume only about 50-60% of the book in the time I have remaining before the GMAT, it would be beneficial.

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