Are Manhattan’s 8 GRE Books Worth it?

Posted by on November 7, 2017 in GRE Book Reviews | 17 comments


  • Authentic Voice
  • Comprehensive Math Section
  • Dedicated chapters to GRE concepts
  • Good Organization



  • Price
  • Typos
  • A Few Math questions are simple
  • Unnecessary emphasis on vocabulary


I would start by outrightly saying this:


“Manhattan’s GRE books are the single all-encompassing GRE prep source out there in the market.”


I find it to be a complete guide to prospective GRE students – especially those who are about to begin their prep.


Although not a single compendium, it is a series of 8 books. This format of dividing the GRE into eight different books does justice to the GRE format. Each guide thoroughly details all the critical GRE topics separately, thus replicating a pretty close-to-real feel of the GRE. The only negative aspect of this setup is that it makes the eight books a bit on the expensive side, which may prevent many students from buying all of the eight guides.


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On the selection of topics, there are few that match the authentic feel of a GRE exam.


We’ve listed out some points for you to ponder. This should help with the decision making process.


Positive Aspects:


Firstly the Manhattan Book’s voice is direct, and it engages the student. It is as if you are working with a patient tutor.


The explanations given in the books are clear. They keep the language simple, which allows you to concentrate on understanding the concepts instead of scratching your head in bemusement.


Each book focuses on a particular topic, which is central in GRE. For example, an entire book is dedicated to the algebraic portion. Another covers quantitative data analysis. Furthermore, each book has chapters dedicated to every concept within the particular subject area.


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The best part is that each chapter contains 30-40 drill set questions that can help students consolidate what they have learned. Moreover, at the end of each book, there are another 60 practice questions (of all types of GRE questions) broken down by order of difficulty, i.e., easy, medium and hard. The explanations for all the problems are very student friendly, and one hardly comes across an inexplicable statement. This is different from other books because other GRE prep books treat all concept arbitrarily and do not give students enough material to practice.


Since the Manhattan GRE is based on a series format, the individual books do not feel as if they are cluttered with a lot of material. The content is well arranged. Even though it may not sound like the most eye-catching positive feature, but a lot of jarring and cluttered facts and figures can make the students feel awkward and even scared to prepare for the exam. A perfect example of the grating and scary format is that by the Barron’s GRE book. No matter how much you try, you just don’t feel like studying from Barron’s – too much information but no structure. Manhattan eliminates that quite brilliantly.


SEE ALSO: How Many GRE Mock Tests Should I Take?


This book will help you understand the complex world of GRE and will make you better adept at solving the questions from math and the verbal section.


Some Negative Aspects:


Like I said earlier the book is pretty comprehensive as compared to the other such texts but there are a few improvement areas.


The significant issues are nominal. They do exist. Hence we have to address those for the benefit of the prospective students.


The text completions/sentence equivalence felt a bit lacking. GRE tests convoluted structure and not just vocabulary. However, most of these questions on the Manhattan guides focus more on vocab rather than on the arcane structure. The Revised GRE has scrapped the problematic vocabulary.


The drill sets at the end of every chapter are not actual GRE level questions but simple practice questions. I think Manhattan should have added some real level questions in those drill sets. Someone who is looking for a lot of practice (especially of harder level questions) will find the Manhattan guides as insufficient. Every book contains only 25-30 serious questions, and most of the other questions are not for the perfectionists.


There are a few typos here and there, plus there are a few generalized assumptions on part of the people who have given the solved answers. Even though the book tells you not to assume the answers, I guess that irony didn’t dawn on the publishers.


The section for combinations and arrangements (in the Statistics book) didn’t explain how combinations work. Instead, it just went straight into just how to fill out a chart or plug numbers into a formula.


The price is one of the things that may stop someone from going for this book as mentioned earlier. It does work a negative for Manhattan’s GRE Book. Students will always go for the cheaper option available if they are not aware of the subtle differences in the GRE practice books


In Conclusion:


To summarise, Manhattan GRE Books do deliver on most of its parts, and that allows the students to use it as a valuable resource. Yes, there are few chinks in its armor, but those can be ignored. If the price is an issue for you, you can still buy each guide separately. So if you know that Algebra is your weakest area, you might just consider the Algebra book, instead of the whole series. This will save you money!


At the end of the books, you will find a scratch code that you can use to access Manhattan’s six online adaptive tests. And I highly recommend these six practice tests.



  1. Avatar

    Sir I have 2nd edition of manhattan books …is it ok or should I go for the latest 4th edition .

    • Avatar

      There is no such difference in 2nd and 4th edition. So you can stick to the 2nd edition

  2. Avatar

    How much effective is Manhatten 5 Lb book is to score high in GRE?

    • Avatar

      It is a good book for medium level practice but generally GRE questions are now harder than those on the 5 LB book

  3. Avatar

    Sir can u please tell which book has the exact difficulty level as in GRE??

    • Avatar

      Manhattan guides are better than any other book in the market – but there is no ideal book!

  4. Avatar

    Can you please refer me a good book for Vocab section, then?

    • Avatar

      ETS official guides are really good for verbal….also Kaplan passages and princeton review for some text completions

  5. Avatar

    I would like to thank you for all the information you give. It’s a really informative article.

  6. Avatar

    i have started manhattan 8 series books, After that i want to parctise GRE model questions.
    Can u suggest me any book or website for that preparation ?

    • Avatar

      Hello – ETS is really good for practice questions – as well as Manhattan 5 LB Book

  7. Avatar

    Which would be better the 5lb book of practice problems or the 8 book set

    • Avatar

      Both complement each other. You should go for both!

  8. Avatar


    Are Manhattan’s Guides from 2011 okay to prepare for GRE 2019 or should I get the latest edition?

    Thank You

    • Avatar

      Hello, Yes they are ok – Manhattan has not changed much.

  9. Avatar

    Hey! I’m beginner can I go with manhattan series or I need to take start from any other book
    Kindly help me in this regard

    • Avatar

      Yes Manhattan is a great book to begin with

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