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Best GMAT Verbal Prep Books (Reviews & Recommendations)

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Best GMAT Verbal Prep Books (Reviews & Recommendations) [#permalink] New post 08 Apr 2009, 19:34
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Best Verbal GMAT books - general GMAT guides and specialized books for Critical Reasoning, Sentence Correction, and Reading Comprehension.



!
This thread is officially retired. See the Best Verbal Books 2012 post here






1. General Verbal Review Materials
1.1 Official guide for GMAT Verbal Review 2nd Edition
Excellent for additional verbal practice questions, but don't expect to find any grammar rules or verbal strategies here.
Strengths:
1. 300 real GMAT questions
2. Real GMAT questions retired from past tests
3. The practice questions are organized by level of difficulty
4. The practice questions follow actual GMAT test patterns - great to have one's ear trained.
Weaknesses:
1. The book does not contain any strategies
2. It does have a few short review sections but they are very weak
3. Mostly low and medium difficulty questions. Not very helpful to a person aiming to get above 700.

Note: See detailed comparison between First and Second Editions here: the-official-gmat-verbal-review-1st-edition-vs-2nd-edition-83882.html?view-post=628557#p628557



1.2 GMAT Verbal Bible: A Comprehensive System for Attacking GMAT Verbal Questions
Great alternative to Kaplan Verbal Workbook but not as good as dedicated PowerScore books (CR and SC)
Strengths
+ Great SC Material
+ Great CR Material
+ Great RC strategies
+ Condenses information into all-in-one verbal workbook that competes well against Kaplan GMAT Verbal Workbook
Weaknesses:
- Less practice/instruction than SC Book
- Less practice/instruction than CR Book
- Almost no Reading Comprehension practice (section includes only 2 passages with 4 questions each)
- Overall could use more practice questions (true about all PowerScore books)
Bottom Line:
If you are looking for a great all-in-one Verbal workbook that you can cover in a few weeks, this is a great choice - it condenses 700 pages of PowerScore books into 400. However, minuscule number of practice questions, especially in the RC section, make it unattractive.





1.3 Kaplan GMAT Verbal Workbook
Good Verbal review but only 650-700 level. Specialized books recommended for a higher score.
Strengths:
1. Realistic strategies for every part of Verbal section
2. Useful Idioms and Vocabulary list
3. Good paper and publishing quality
Weaknesses:
1. Few hard verbal questions
2. Some questions (CR) are not very representative of the "authentic" questions

Other notes: All the practice questions from this book are available on CD-ROM that comes with Kaplan Premier Program





1.4 Princeton Review Verbal Workout for the GMAT
Slightly outdated and fairly basic(600-650 level).
Strengths:
1. Could be a good book for non-native speakers or beginners, maybe...

Weaknesses:
1. Strategies seem to focus on "tricks" and unrealistic assumptions
2. Could use more practice questions
3. Generally easy practice questions
4. Paper quality
Other notes: The new edition of the main PR book Cracking the GMAT(with DVD) does a much better job at covering the verbal section than this book.





2. Critical Reasoning

2.1 The PowerScore GMAT Critical Reasoning Bible
Considered the best GMAT book for Critical Reasoning questions.
Strengths:
1. Clearly divides the CR question types and provides with specific strategy solutions for each type
2. Gets the results - this is the most recommended book on GMAT Club for CR
3. Well laid out, making learning easy and quick
Weaknesses:
1. Though more questions are available than in the MGMAT book/online quiz bank, it could still use more practice questions
Note: This book is very similar in terms of strategies or tips to the MGMAT CR book; there is no value in owning both
For chapter by chapter book notes, see this post: summary-of-the-powerscore-cr-book-82539.html





2.2 Manhattan GMAT Critical Reasoning
Second best - comes with access to MGMAT's 4 online CAT tests yet refers to the OG for practice questions
Strengths:
1. Strategies that work
2. Explanations to the OG questions are very clear
3. Comes with access to 6 online CAT tests (all Manhattan GMAT books have this feature)
Weaknesses:
1. Requires purchase of OG 11 or Verbal OG. No practice questions in the book - instead it provides reference to questions in the Official Guide
2. Online question bank is comparatively small
Note: This book is very similar in terms of strategies or tips to the PowerScore CR book; there is no value in owning both





2.3 LSAT Critical Reasoning
If you need to turbocharge or nuke your Critical Reasoning this may be a book to consider. Note - not a pure GMAT book and does contain significant amount of irrelevant information. With that said, a good source of 700+ questions.
Discussion of LSAT materials for use on GMAT











3. Sentence Correction

3.1 Manhattan GMAT Sentence Correction
Highly recommended. Considered the best book for SC.
Strengths:
1. Thorough coverage of GMAT grammar concepts
2. Convenient layout
3. Access to 6 Online MGMAT CAT's
Weaknesses:
1. Practice question are not provided but refer to the 11th edition of the Official Guide and the Official Guide Supplements
Other notes: One of the most referenced books for SC on GMAT Club forum.






3.2 The PowerScore GMAT Sentence Correction Bible
Very close second book for CR.
Strengths:
1. In-depth coverage of relevant grammar points
2. Convenient layout, which simplifies reference to needed material
Weaknesses:
1. More focus on grammar and rules, less on strategies and methods
2. Could use more practice questions





3.3 GMAT Club's Ultimate GMAT Grammar
Ultimate Grammar Book for the SC section of the GMAT.
Strengths:
1. All SC areas covered and explained in detail
2. 500+ exercises and 500+ GMAT-like SC questions
3. GMAT idioms with explanations and examples, tables, usage, problematic words, etc
4. Optional section on punctuation and also section on articles and other often ignored subjects/topics that international students struggle with

Weaknesses
1. Not yet - maybe a tad too long - 294 pages. We suspect a few typos may be found






3.4 Kaplan GMAT Verbal Foundations
Great for non-native speakers and those very rusty with grammar.
Strengths:
1. Focus on areas that are often disregarded such as Infinitive and Gerund verb usage, modifiers, commonly confused words, etc
2. 200 GMAT-style questions and 100+ other questions and quizzes
3. 4.5 pages of GMAT Idioms with explanations and examples
4. Good section on style - word choice, being concise, being appropriate - esp. what words/contractions not to use

Weaknesses
1. Several areas could be strengthened (article usage)
2. No index







4. Reading Comprehension

4.1 Manhattan GMAT Reading Comprehension
Winner by default but deserves high remarks for trying.Strengths:
1. The only GMAT book fully dedicated to RC (contains 69 questions)
2. Comes with RC passages and questions unlike the other MGMAT materials that only refer to OG
Weaknesses:
1. Too few practice questions to deliver a significant score improvement






4.2 GRE Prep for RC from Princeton Review
Might be a good additional material if RC is the stumbling blockStrengths:
1. Contains good practice passages and questions for RC
Weaknesses:
1. Is not designed specifically for GMAT and contains some GRE-specific sections








4.3 PowerScore LSAT Reading Comprehension Bible
For hardcore RC practice only! Usually not necessary and only to be used by 700+ applicants. It is a level higher than GMAT.
See a review of this book by bmillan01 review-of-powerscore-s-rc-bible-86718.html









Other Books You May Find Helpful:
Fiction books to read for GMAT - improve your RC/SC and enjoy doing it.
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Last edited by bb on 07 Sep 2011, 21:25, edited 25 times in total.
Verbal Official Guide updated
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Re: Best GMAT Verbal Prep Books (Reviews & Recommendations) [#permalink] New post 16 May 2009, 23:28
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Book Bundles and Study Plans at a Glance
Standard PlanAdvanced PlanUltimate PlanBeyond Hardcore Plan
General Strategy Books
Explain how GMAT works, provide general principles and strategies, give an idea about weaknesses, provide practice tests
Kaplan Live Online
+ comes with 6 practice tests
Kaplan Live Online
+ comes with 6 practice tests
Kaplan GMAT Advanced
- Poor guidebook, more of a question collection
Kaplan Live Online
+ comes with 6 practice tests
Kaplan GMAT Advanced
- Poor guidebook, more of a question collection
GMAT Test Simulation Booklet
+ Great for practice
Kaplan Live Online
+ comes with 6 practice tests
Kaplan GMAT Advanced
- Poor guidebook, more of a question collection
GMAT Test Simulation Booklet
+ Great for practice
Quant Books
Refresh math principles, fill gaps, and learn patterns
Kaplan Math Workbook
- missing probability and combinations
Kaplan Math Workbook
- missing probability and combinations
MGMAT Number Properties
4 Quant MGMAT Guides
Kaplan Math Foundations
4 Quant MGMAT Guides
Kaplan Math Foundations
Probability and Combinations for Dummies
Verbal Books
Refresh grammar rules, aquire CR and RC strategies
Kaplan Verbal Workbook
OR: PowerScore Verbal Bible
CR: PowerScore CR or MGMAT CR
RC: MGMAT RC
SC: PowerScore SC or MGMAT SC
CR: PowerScore CR or MGMAT CR
RC: MGMAT RC
SC: PowerScore SC or MGMAT SC
SC: Kaplan Verbal Foundations
CR: PowerScore CR or MGMAT CR
CR: LSAT Critical Reasoning
RC: MGMAT RC
RC: LSAT Reading Comprehension
SC: PowerScore SC or MGMAT SC
SC: Doing Grammar
Practice Questions
Additional practice
Official Guide 12th
+ 900 retired real GMAT questions
Official Guide 12th
+ 900 retired real GMAT questions
Verbal Official Guide
+ 300 retired verbal GMAT questions
Quant Official Guide
+ 300 retired quant GMAT questions
Official Guide 12th
+ 900 retired real GMAT questions
Verbal Official Guide
+ 300 retired verbal GMAT questions
Quant Official Guide
+ 300 retired quant GMAT questions
Princeton Review 1012
+ Great target practice
Official Guide 12th
+ 900 retired real GMAT questions
Verbal Official Guide
+ 300 retired verbal GMAT questions
Quant Official Guide
+ 300 retired quant GMAT questions
Princeton Review 1012
+ Great target practice
Paper GMAT Tests
+ Official Retired tests available from GMAC
Tests
Simulated Practice GMAT tests
GMATPrep, Kaplan, Free testsGMATprep, Kaplan, MGMAT, some GMATClub testsGMATprep, PowerPrep, GMAT Focus, Kaplan, MGMAT, GMATClub testsGMATprep, PowerPrep, GMAT Focus, Kaplan, MGMAT, PR, GMATClub tests

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Re: Best GMAT Verbal Prep Books (Reviews & Recommendations) [#permalink] New post 07 Jun 2009, 10:07
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Thanks for the information.

I have already given the test once and scored 640 :(, tho I have been scoring well in my full lenght tests.. I completed the following for my first GMAT:

1. Kaplan Premier Program - 2008 Edition
2. Princeton- Cracking the GMAT 2008 Edition
3. OG11
4. Manhattan SC Grammar Guide

Can you please tell me which which books i shud do for my second preparation? Also recommend from where I should take full length test (I purchased 800 score tests, but found the relatively easy)

Thanks-
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Re: Best GMAT Verbal Prep Books (Reviews & Recommendations) [#permalink] New post 07 Jun 2009, 15:43
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Take a look at the Kaplan Math Foundations or Kaplan Verbal Foundations - these are not strategy books but rather the "meat and potatoes" of gmat designed to get your basics fully covered.

For tests - try the GMAT Club tests (Math is 700+ level - I can guarantee you will find them very hard).
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Re: Best GMAT Verbal Prep Books (Reviews & Recommendations) [#permalink] New post 17 Jun 2009, 05:08
I'm am planning to begin studying for the GMAT. I would like to start with critical reasoning, as I find it more fun than the other topics. I noticed the PowerScore CR is the most highly recommended, followed by Manhattan as a close second. In looking on Amazon I notice the PowerScore book is dated 2005, and the Manhattan is dated 2009. Is the Manhattan book perhaps preferable due to it being more current? Any tips for a newbie are appreciated also.

Thanks so much!
Ken
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Re: Best GMAT Verbal Prep Books (Reviews & Recommendations) [#permalink] New post 17 Jun 2009, 09:13
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kenboyer wrote:
I'm am planning to begin studying for the GMAT. I would like to start with critical reasoning, as I find it more fun than the other topics. I noticed the PowerScore CR is the most highly recommended, followed by Manhattan as a close second. In looking on Amazon I notice the PowerScore book is dated 2005, and the Manhattan is dated 2009. Is the Manhattan book perhaps preferable due to it being more current? Any tips for a newbie are appreciated also.

Thanks so much!
Ken


Welcome to the GMATClub Ken!

The reason Manhattan GMAT Book was published in 2009 was to catch up with the new version of the Official Guide 12 edition. Manhattan books use questions from the Official Guide rather than offer their own practice. I would not worry too much about the publication date - both books are excellent and you will do well with either. The strategies and approaches have not changed.
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Re: Best GMAT Verbal Prep Books (Reviews & Recommendations) [#permalink] New post 20 Jun 2009, 17:35
Guys,

I am looking Verbal practice work book along with some online tests.

I have MGMAT SC 2003 edt. Is it advisable to get the latest one. I will get 4 practice test. But i belive the SC rules will be the same. So Not sure. Please advise.

I have gone through the Kaplan MAth + Verbal book. Is it advisable to get the Verbal alone for additional workouts.
on the whole i am looking for strong verbal workout book and online exams to calculate my score.
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Re: Best GMAT Verbal Prep Books (Reviews & Recommendations) [#permalink] New post 20 Jun 2009, 19:18
tkarthi4u wrote:
Guys,

I am looking Verbal practice work book along with some online tests.

I have MGMAT SC 2003 edt. Is it advisable to get the latest one. I will get 4 practice test. But i belive the SC rules will be the same. So Not sure. Please advise.



Personally I think the 3rd (for OG11) and 4th (for OG12) editions of Manhattan SC book have a good amount of new content that is quite useful. If you are in the US I would recommend taking a look at it at Borders or Barnes and Noble before buying.
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Re: Best GMAT Verbal Prep Books (Reviews & Recommendations) [#permalink] New post 20 Jun 2009, 19:21
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tkarthi4u wrote:
Guys,

I am looking Verbal practice work book along with some online tests.

I have MGMAT SC 2003 edt. Is it advisable to get the latest one. I will get 4 practice test. But i belive the SC rules will be the same. So Not sure. Please advise.

I am not sure how the 1st/2nd edition compares to the 3rd/4th. I know that 3rd and 4th are the same in terms of theory and the only difference are the question references.

If you get the 4th edition, you will need OG 12 to do exercises or OG 11 if you buy the 3rd edition. However, buying any of those editions you will get access to 6 tests. You will most likely gain nothing in terms of grammar. Another option is the PowerScore SC but most argue that it won't add any points either for SC. However, you will get some practice questions - not many but some.

My recommendation would be to get PowerScore SC and then Manhattan CR or Manhattan RC so that you get the 6 practice tests.

Quote:
I have gone through the Kaplan MAth + Verbal book. Is it advisable to get the Verbal alone for additional workouts.

Yes. Verbal workbook has a a couple of the practice sets at the end of the book overlap with the exercises on the CD/DVD/Online, but those are only "additional" questions, so you are still getting quite a few questions and great tips - both Math and Verbal Workbook are worth their $15 value in terms of info they provide. However, if you have done Manhattan SC, you probably won't gain much and will cover the SC section in a few days.
Quote:
on the whole i am looking for strong verbal workout book and online exams to calculate my score.

Just get Manhattan RC and Manhattan CR - that's the best combination based on the feedback by many.

Have you covered OG 12 completely? If yes, then go the PowerScore route - you can get a PowerScore Verbal Bible - good all-in-one workbook
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Re: Best GMAT Verbal Prep Books (Reviews & Recommendations) [#permalink] New post 21 Jun 2009, 00:34
Thank you.

As said above i will try Manhattan CR, RC and Power SC.

But i have gone through OG 11. How different is OG 12 from OG11. Do you advise me go through it before my exams.
Is it completely different with new set of questions.
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Re: Best GMAT Verbal Prep Books (Reviews & Recommendations) [#permalink] New post 21 Jun 2009, 09:16
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tkarthi4u wrote:
Thank you.

As said above i will try Manhattan CR, RC and Power SC.

But i have gone through OG 11. How different is OG 12 from OG11. Do you advise me go through it before my exams.
Is it completely different with new set of questions.



30% of questions in OG12 are new.
See this discussion - it answers that specific question: the-official-guide-for-gmat-12-merged-76806.html
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Re: Best GMAT Verbal Prep Books (Reviews & Recommendations) [#permalink] New post 07 Jul 2009, 09:31
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Re: Best GMAT Verbal Prep Books (Reviews & Recommendations) [#permalink] New post 08 Jul 2009, 13:50
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If you have Kaplan Premier Program, you probably won't find Kaplan GMAT Verbal Workbook all that useful. All questions in the verbal workbook are also in Premier Program's CD-ROM.
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Re: Best GMAT Verbal Prep Books (Reviews & Recommendations) [#permalink] New post 08 Jul 2009, 14:40
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bucktooth911 wrote:
If you have Kaplan Premier Program, you probably won't find Kaplan GMAT Verbal Workbook all that useful. All questions in the verbal workbook are also in Premier Program's CD-ROM.


Please be specific about the overlap.
In my experience the overlap is only for the 3 verbal sets included in the back of the book, which are provided only as additional practice rather than core exercises. All of the strategies, target practice (70% of the book) does not overlap. In my view - the valuable portion of the book does not overlap - please let me know if I am off.
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Re: Best GMAT Verbal Prep Books (Reviews & Recommendations) [#permalink] New post 08 Jul 2009, 15:35
bb wrote:
bucktooth911 wrote:
If you have Kaplan Premier Program, you probably won't find Kaplan GMAT Verbal Workbook all that useful. All questions in the verbal workbook are also in Premier Program's CD-ROM.


Please be specific about the overlap.
In my experience the overlap is only for the 3 verbal sets included in the back of the book, which are provided only as additional practice rather than core exercises. All of the strategies, target practice (70% of the book) does not overlap. In my view - the valuable portion of the book does not overlap - please let me know if I am off.


Sorry, I should clarify. The overlap is with the practice tests and not with the strategies/appendices/etc.

In the versions of the Kaplan books I have (Verbal Workbook 3rd edition and Premier Program 2006), all of the practice sets (9 sets in Part 3 of the book) overlap with those available in Premier Program CD-ROM.
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Re: Best GMAT Verbal Prep Books (Reviews & Recommendations) [#permalink] New post 09 Jul 2009, 22:44
hi BB,

Could you pls suggest me some books in which fundamentals and strategies are good??
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Re: Best GMAT Verbal Prep Books (Reviews & Recommendations) [#permalink] New post 10 Jul 2009, 22:25
which would you suggest for a basic Verbal review:

1) Kaplan GMAT Verbal Workbook

or

2) Powerscore Verbal Bible

thanks for the help and the great list!

Iggy
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Re: Best GMAT Verbal Prep Books (Reviews & Recommendations) [#permalink] New post 10 Jul 2009, 22:28
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iggy614 wrote:
which would you suggest for a basic Verbal review:

1) Kaplan GMAT Verbal Workbook

or

2) Powerscore Verbal Bible

thanks for the help and the great list!

Iggy



PowerScore Verbal Bible for sure
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Re: Best GMAT Verbal Prep Books (Reviews & Recommendations) [#permalink] New post 11 Jul 2009, 07:37
Thanks for the reply bb! :)

What if I decide to get a “specialized book” for each of the Verbal sections? Do you still suggest getting a more general Verbal workbook?

For example, do you think it’s useful getting Powerscore’s Verbal Bible if I get the 3 Manhattan GMAT strategy guides? Or would it be a waste since I already have the specialized books which probably cover the same subjects but more in depth?

Thanks for the help! This site is amazing!!!

Iggy
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Re: Best GMAT Verbal Prep Books (Reviews & Recommendations) [#permalink] New post 12 Jul 2009, 19:07
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iggy614 wrote:
Thanks for the reply bb! :)

What if I decide to get a “specialized book” for each of the Verbal sections? Do you still suggest getting a more general Verbal workbook?

For example, do you think it’s useful getting Powerscore’s Verbal Bible if I get the 3 Manhattan GMAT strategy guides? Or would it be a waste since I already have the specialized books which probably cover the same subjects but more in depth?

Thanks for the help! This site is amazing!!!

Iggy


You can get just the specialized books - I doubt your score will increase much by using both the PowerScore Verbal Bible and then specialized MGMAT Guides. You only have so much time. I'd rather invest it into basics (Kaplan Verbal Foundations or Doing Grammar).

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Re: Best GMAT Verbal Prep Books (Reviews & Recommendations)   [#permalink] 12 Jul 2009, 19:07
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