Amazon.com: Customer Reviews: Integrated Reasoning and Essay Strategy Guide, 5th Edition (Manhattan GMAT Strategy Guides Book 9)
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on August 31, 2013
This book is suppose to do a number of things according to its covers:
1. "Illuminates the Two Initial sections of the GMAT"
2. "Teaches Effective Strategies for the New IR Section."
3. "Enables Optimal Performance on the Argument Essay"
4*. This book is also "Updated for The Official Guide for GMAT Review 13th Edition"
(*I am sure some of you are wondering why #4 is relevant. I will get to that point in a bit.)
5. "Includes 6 Free Online Exams"

To rate this book, I will explain whether this book delivers the above 5 promises on the cover.

IR section:

Long story short, this book does indeed provides comprehensive overview of IR section.
So item #1 on the cover is true.
At first, I thought it was organized little bit weird because this book breaks down the problem types into two types (IR quant and IR verbal) instead of the actual problem types (table, graphs, etc).
However, this approach works and helped me understand what these problems are about.

On the flip side, I didn't feel that the "strategy" in the book was very good.
Below is the strategy of the book:
1. Understand the prompt
2. Understand the question
3. Plan your approach
4. Solve the problem
I mean, come on. I don't need to buy a book to know this "4 step approach".
I was hoping to get some tips on how to get through the problem quickly because I kept running out of time during practice test.
This book didn't really help in that regard.
So item #2 was not true for me.

Essay section:

Again, this book provides comprehensive overview of essay section as it did for IR section.
So item #1 on the cover is true.

It also gives you insight on how essays are graded and how you can improve your essay score.
This really helped me figure out the right writing style to use for essay section.
Essay section is not like Verbal and Quant section where you can check the score after taking a practice test.
There is really no way to know how well you are doing with Essay section unless you buy the essay grading software from MBA.com.
I was rather nervous about essay section but this book provided some good insight and that was very helpful.
So I would say item #3 on the cover is true.

Now, do you remember item #4 on the cover?
4*. This book is also "Updated for The Official Guide for GMAT Review 13th Edition"
When you read through the essay section of this book, this book basically advertises "The Official Guide for GMAT Review 13th Edition". It literally tells you to go to Chapter 11 of "The Official Guide for GMAT Review 13th Edition".
Why the hell do I need to buy another book to use this book? Why isn't this book a standalone product?
I wouldn't say this is a bait-and-switch but it is kind of like a bait-and-switch.
So item #4 on the cover is true but in a bad way.

Misc:

Now to one of the best part of this book, item #5 on the cover.
5. "Includes 6 Free Online Exams"

When studying for GMAT, I realized that it is very important to build mental stamina, to familiarize myself with the GMAT problems and to train myself to work under time pressure.
When I was studying, I did as many practice exams as possible.
Manhattan GMAT website provides 6 practice tests (1 free + 5 paid) that are invaluable to test takers.
I found these tests rather difficult but it was really helpful because the actual GMAT was easy compared to the practice test.
Also, note that this book is much cheaper than the full version of the book but provides the same access to practice tests.

In conclusion, I gave this book 3 start because it only delivers 3 out 5 promises on the cover.

1. "Illuminates the Two Initial sections of the GMAT" - Good. This book provides comprehensive over view of IR and essay sections.
2. "Teaches Effective Strategies for the New IR Section." - Bad. Strategy in this book is basically pointing out the obvious and was not helpful
3. "Enables Optimal Performance on the Argument Essay" - Good. Explains how essays are graded and how to improve the score.
4*. This book is also "Updated for The Official Guide for GMAT Review 13th Edition" - Bad. This book basically advertises the full version of the book.
5. "Includes 6 Free Online Exams" - Good. Extra practice test for cheaper price.
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on August 29, 2014
You can really get prepared for the GMAT exam by using this book. Have "fun"... Hah! Nope the exam wasn't fun but thanks to this book and a couple of others I scored high enough to get admitted to a good graduate program. Don't kid yourself. The GMAT is NOT an easy exam. This is a great book you can use.
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on January 3, 2013
The good thing is that the book actually relaxes you about the IR section. Shows you how to look beyond the questions. Some of the strategies are helpful and when I started reading them I actually developed some on my own. There isn't much to practice on in the book but they do give you a special code in the end page for 6 full-length computer adaptive exams which are very useful considering how hard it is to find full exams. But what the book did for me is that it taught me how to overcome the panic and annoyance with the IR questions. I actually started to enjoy them and appreciate their trickiness. The Writing Strategy Section was ok, it points out the things that you should bear in mind to get a high grade. In general, I am very happy with the Manhattan books, they have helped a lot! Especially with Math so I would recommend them all, including this one.
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on October 23, 2012
I was really disappointed in this book. It barely tells you any strategies for the questions other than read the question and use the skills you learned from quant and verbal. And there are no practice problems, just a few examples. There are some practice essay prompts, but they basically tell you if English is your first language and you write well you don't need to worry about the essay because most B-schools won't even read essays that score a 4 or better. The only good thing about purchasing this book was access to the "six" practice exams. I put six in quotation marks because one of the free tests is available to everyone without buying anything, and I had already taken it before buying this book. It is not a full exam and does not include IR or essay practice. So really you get 5 full length practice exams by buying something from Manhattan. HOWEVER if you buy any of the other Manhattan books you also get these tests- they only have 5 tests total available with the same questions no matter how many books you buy. I am glad I have access to more practice tests but this is a really weak resource. If you want a much better explanation of IR with strategies for the section, targeted strategies for each question type and lots of practice problems check out Cracking the New GMAT 2013. I got it from my library for free.
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on July 29, 2012
This book is primarily about strategies for solving IR section, but whats the point of all those strategies when you do not have sample problems to practice on. I would recommend to spend your money on sample problems instead.
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VINE VOICEon December 4, 2013
Mostly strategy.. and that's a good thing. This book series has a tough job in some of the verbal areas of focus. I think everyone would like to see both strategy and practice but this subject matter of the GMAT essay is really a tough one to practice. I loved the section on describing the IR and I also thought the essay part was quite useful... for it's strategy purpose. In summary, a book that lays the truth about the GMAT on the table and let's you decide which strategy works for you.
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on October 7, 2012
Although IR comes before the quantitative and verb sections, Manhattan offers sound advice in focusing of quantitive and verb review before devoting much time to IR. Likewise, developing the analytica skills for CR should come before spending much time on the Argument Essay. Buying the book provides access to Manhattan's online resources--another reason to buy this book.
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on June 24, 2012
Quick delivery. The book has some really good hints and quick tips. I am only halfway through it, but so far I feel like I'm learning how to conquer the integrated reasoning section.
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on November 26, 2014
This book has a ton of insight in regards to the IR section of the GMAT. It also provides some great practice tips for the essay (e.g., some neat tricks to use in Microsoft Word).
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on October 11, 2013
Good for people who doesn't know anything about integrated reasoning. Good for understanding how to write argument essay. But for advanced and test I wouldn't recommend it
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