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Best Math Fundamental Review BOOKS [#permalink]
20 Mar 2009, 19:27

Hi everyone,

From browsing the math threads, I've repeatedly read the advice to review the basics/fundamentals of math before even touching GMAT math questions. Because of the way the GMAT is structured, if you can't tackle the easy questions, you won't even see the more difficult ones-hence the need to review the basics.

My question then is for those of us who've forgotten high school math and even the most basic math, should we use GMAT math books to refresh or would books like The Idiot's Guide to Algebra or Algebra for Dummies be more appropriate?

It seems to make more sense to use the GMAT books because these books are geared for what will actually be covered on the GMAT and the development of shortcut techniques. However, would books like The Idiot's Guide to Algebra be easier to start with? I guess another way of phrasing this question is: for someone who's weak in math, and I mean really weak, as in need to review how to add fractions weak, which books would you guys recommend? The problem with alot of refresher books out there is that they don't do a good job of explaining the concepts to the math-challenged student, and I'm worried that the GMAT books are like that.

I'm about to start The Idiot's Guide to Geometry, and I'd like to know if I'm wasting my time. Am I better off just getting a GMAT math book? If so, what' a good one that really does a good job of explaining the concepts/techniques so that even someone who's terrible at math can understand it.

In the spirit of the above question, I thought we could list the most helpful math refresher books on here for reviewing the BASICS i.e. fractions, exponents, negative numbers, basic algebra, basic geometry, etc.

Re: Best Math Fundamental Review BOOKS [#permalink]
21 Mar 2009, 00:55

Expert's post

Hampster wrote:

Hi everyone,

From browsing the math threads, I've repeatedly read the advice to review the basics/fundamentals of math before even touching GMAT math questions. Because of the way the GMAT is structured, if you can't tackle the easy questions, you won't even see the more difficult ones-hence the need to review the basics.

My question then is for those of us who've forgotten high school math and even the most basic math, should we use GMAT math books to refresh or would books like The Idiot's Guide to Algebra or Algebra for Dummies be more appropriate?

It seems to make more sense to use the GMAT books because these books are geared for what will actually be covered on the GMAT and the development of shortcut techniques. However, would books like The Idiot's Guide to Algebra be easier to start with? I guess another way of phrasing this question is: for someone who's weak in math, and I mean really weak, as in need to review how to add fractions weak, which books would you guys recommend? The problem with alot of refresher books out there is that they don't do a good job of explaining the concepts to the math-challenged student, and I'm worried that the GMAT books are like that.

I'm about to start The Idiot's Guide to Geometry, and I'd like to know if I'm wasting my time. Am I better off just getting a GMAT math book? If so, what' a good one that really does a good job of explaining the concepts/techniques so that even someone who's terrible at math can understand it.

In the spirit of the above question, I thought we could list the most helpful math refresher books on here for reviewing the BASICS i.e. fractions, exponents, negative numbers, basic algebra, basic geometry, etc.

Great thread -let's get it going!

Getting an Algebra for dummies book may have been a recommendation a few years ago, when availability of GMAT books was not great, but today there are GMAT books specifically designed for applicants who have forgotten a lot of the high school math (that's what's tested). There are books on fractions, decimals, equations - pretty much all the way down to the 5th grade, which is great, because it does not leave any gray areas or weak spots - everything gets covered.

Now, why I would not recommend an Algebra for Dummies book? The only reason is Time. Although Algebra is Algebra, GMAT tests only certain concepts. GMAT Math is much more limited than what's covered in the books you are considering. Since our minds are faulty and hold only so much information, you will be storing quite a bit of information not useful for GMAT and based on your feedback/profile, filling your head with graphs is not your goal. Thus having a specialized GMAT book will save you time by omitting the concepts that are not tested and focusing your time/memory/attention on what's important.

In terms of books, here is what I could recommend:

If you are bad with math, try Kaplan Math Workbook - covers almost everything excluding probability and statistics but those are high difficulty Math questions, which you may not need to worry at the moment.

If you are horrible, consider spending more time and $$$ on math and get the Manhattan GMAT series:

So in lieu of your advice, I take it that in general, the best approach is to study using GMAT prep materials and then using resources like Algebra for Dummies, purplemath.com, and the Regent's exam as a resource to solidify or clarify the material in the GMAT prep materials? However, the prep materials would be the primary resource to study?

What I like about books like the Idiot's Guide or the For Dummies series is that they're infinitely more clear and easier to understand than purplemath or the Regent's exam websites.

Re: Best Math Fundamental Review BOOKS [#permalink]
22 Mar 2009, 16:26

Expert's post

There is definitely plenty of options and people succeed with different books. Since you may need to spend some more time refreshing what you have learned a long time ago, this may warrant a need for a different type of books, such as the Dummies one - it is ultimately about what gets the job done.

Not sure if you hate math or not (this could change things a bit) but I would walk into your B&N or Borders and peruse the books and get a feel for the ones you want to get - or get them all the return the ones you can't stand.

P.S. I do still think that using GMAT books for your prep is better than relying on general math books unless you feel you need to catch up to the GMAT Guides level as they assume certain proficiency and if that's indeed necessary, then definitely use what it takes. Push back though - definitely room for other opinions.
_________________

Like bb, he advises test takers to learn the math from books that focus on the GMAT rather than standard math textbooks or even books like the For Dummies series. The reason is that these books cover material that you won't need at all and the GMAT covers material that you may not have learned or emphasized in class. For example, in the above link, Sackman picked out which problem sets to work on because the rest wouldn't be helpful. See:

Re: Best Math Fundamental Review BOOKS [#permalink]
16 Jul 2011, 06:30

bb wrote:

Hampster wrote:

Hi everyone,

From browsing the math threads, I've repeatedly read the advice to review the basics/fundamentals of math before even touching GMAT math questions. Because of the way the GMAT is structured, if you can't tackle the easy questions, you won't even see the more difficult ones-hence the need to review the basics.

My question then is for those of us who've forgotten high school math and even the most basic math, should we use GMAT math books to refresh or would books like The Idiot's Guide to Algebra or Algebra for Dummies be more appropriate?

It seems to make more sense to use the GMAT books because these books are geared for what will actually be covered on the GMAT and the development of shortcut techniques. However, would books like The Idiot's Guide to Algebra be easier to start with? I guess another way of phrasing this question is: for someone who's weak in math, and I mean really weak, as in need to review how to add fractions weak, which books would you guys recommend? The problem with alot of refresher books out there is that they don't do a good job of explaining the concepts to the math-challenged student, and I'm worried that the GMAT books are like that.

I'm about to start The Idiot's Guide to Geometry, and I'd like to know if I'm wasting my time. Am I better off just getting a GMAT math book? If so, what' a good one that really does a good job of explaining the concepts/techniques so that even someone who's terrible at math can understand it.

In the spirit of the above question, I thought we could list the most helpful math refresher books on here for reviewing the BASICS i.e. fractions, exponents, negative numbers, basic algebra, basic geometry, etc.

Great thread -let's get it going!

Getting an Algebra for dummies book may have been a recommendation a few years ago, when availability of GMAT books was not great, but today there are GMAT books specifically designed for applicants who have forgotten a lot of the high school math (that's what's tested). There are books on fractions, decimals, equations - pretty much all the way down to the 5th grade, which is great, because it does not leave any gray areas or weak spots - everything gets covered.

Now, why I would not recommend an Algebra for Dummies book? The only reason is Time. Although Algebra is Algebra, GMAT tests only certain concepts. GMAT Math is much more limited than what's covered in the books you are considering. Since our minds are faulty and hold only so much information, you will be storing quite a bit of information not useful for GMAT and based on your feedback/profile, filling your head with graphs is not your goal. Thus having a specialized GMAT book will save you time by omitting the concepts that are not tested and focusing your time/memory/attention on what's important.

In terms of books, here is what I could recommend:

If you are bad with math, try Kaplan Math Workbook - covers almost everything excluding probability and statistics but those are high difficulty Math questions, which you may not need to worry at the moment.

If you are horrible, consider spending more time and $$$ on math and get the Manhattan GMAT series:

Hey bb first of all thanks for this amazing website, I can't tell you how much helpful it is for we GMAT aspirants.

Ok my question is that I am equally weak in maths as the one who started this post and I have completely lost touch of it after school. In short I need to start right from the basics and I mean the very basics. Now I am confused because here you recommend the Kaplan GMAT workbook or the MGMAT 5 quant guides. However somewhere you have also suggested to go for 'Foundations of GMAT Math: GMAT Strategy Supplement'. So which one should I opt for for clearing my foundations? ANd after clearing my basics which other books would you recommend?

Secondly, I have read many people suggesting only the number properties and word translations books out of the 5 quant guides of MGMAT unlike the 3 verbal guides where mostly all of them are suggested. Excuse me if I sound naive but how should one cover the rest of the topics in quant then?

Re: Best Math Fundamental Review BOOKS [#permalink]
16 Jul 2011, 20:15

1

This post received KUDOS

Expert's post

samdighe wrote:

Ok my question is that I am equally weak in maths as the one who started this post and I have completely lost touch of it after school. In short I need to start right from the basics and I mean the very basics. Now I am confused because here you recommend the Kaplan GMAT workbook or the MGMAT 5 quant guides. However somewhere you have also suggested to go for 'Foundations of GMAT Math: GMAT Strategy Supplement'. So which one should I opt for for clearing my foundations? ANd after clearing my basics which other books would you recommend?

Secondly, I have read many people suggesting only the number properties and word translations books out of the 5 quant guides of MGMAT unlike the 3 verbal guides where mostly all of them are suggested. Excuse me if I sound naive but how should one cover the rest of the topics in quant then?

That assumes your Math is good or you used another book, but that's correct - those are the 2 best books.

Re: Best Math Fundamental Review BOOKS [#permalink]
16 Jul 2011, 20:26

Quote:

Secondly, I have read many people suggesting only the number properties and word translations books out of the 5 quant guides of MGMAT unlike the 3 verbal guides where mostly all of them are suggested. Excuse me if I sound naive but how should one cover the rest of the topics in quant then?

Quote:

:) That assumes your Math is good or you used another book, but that's correct - those are the 2 best books.

Does it answer it?

I think its partly because these are the most difficult topics but the most underestimated. The weightage for these topics are also higher so it makes sense to cover those two first then you could review the rest of the topics as and when you have time.

Re: Best Math Fundamental Review BOOKS [#permalink]
17 Jul 2011, 14:19

bb wrote:

samdighe wrote:

Ok my question is that I am equally weak in maths as the one who started this post and I have completely lost touch of it after school. In short I need to start right from the basics and I mean the very basics. Now I am confused because here you recommend the Kaplan GMAT workbook or the MGMAT 5 quant guides. However somewhere you have also suggested to go for 'Foundations of GMAT Math: GMAT Strategy Supplement'. So which one should I opt for for clearing my foundations? ANd after clearing my basics which other books would you recommend?

Thanks man! Ok so for quant I have decided to go for MGMAT Math Foundations along with the 5 MGMAT quant guides since I do have a fair amount of time with me.

For verbal also I plan to use the 3 MGMAT verbal guides only. Now I am not a native English speaker. However I would like to believe that I have a good command over the English language. But I am a bit confused whether to go for any of the grammar refresher guides you have listed for non-native English speakers. I would give you an example to tell you why I am confused. I just went through about 10-12 SC question in the OG (the last questions which I assume are the toughest ones). I did get almost 80% of them right. However when I checked the grammar explanation in the answers I really didn't have much of a clue about what they were talking. In short I knew to correct the sentence without the fundamental grammar rules applied behind it. However I have heard that GMAT has certain underlying fundamentals for all its section so I am not sure whether I will always be able to get it right without properly knowing the fundamentals So do you think the Grammar book is necessary or the 3 MGMAT verbal guides will be more than enough?

Also I would just like to get your opinion on the books and tests I have almost finalized.

Books: - All 8 MGMAT guides - MGMAT Math Foundations - Kaplan Premier (Do you think I should go for this or the 8 MGMAT guides with Math Foundations is more than enough? I have heard many good reviews about it being the best book to start with and get a feel of GMAT before moving to more specialized books and I am also somewhere inclined towards it. But still what is your opinion? )

Tests: OG Prep (2 tests) Manhatttan 6 CATS Kaplan tests (Only if i end up buying the premier book because I think I can get the tests only with their books)

So do you think I should add or delete anything from this list? About time, that is not an issue I have 5-6 months with me.

Quote:

Secondly, I have read many people suggesting only the number properties and word translations books out of the 5 quant guides of MGMAT unlike the 3 verbal guides where mostly all of them are suggested. Excuse me if I sound naive but how should one cover the rest of the topics in quant then?

That assumes your Math is good or you used another book, but that's correct - those are the 2 best books.

Does it answer it?

gmatclubot

Re: Best Math Fundamental Review BOOKS
[#permalink]
17 Jul 2011, 14:19