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Is Manhattan 5lb good for GRE? Should I use Manhattan 5lb for my GRE Preparation? Is this book enough? Is this book outdated? Is the Verbal Section good? Are the sentence equivalence questions and text completion questions close to the actual test? These are some of the most frequently asked questions regarding Manhattan 5lb. This article hopes to answer all of these questions in detail.


How is the Manhattan 5lb for GRE Verbal Reasoning Section?

Sentence Equivalence/ Text Completion Questions:

Although the Manhattan Strategy Guide on Sentence Equivalence and Text Completion does a really good job of communicating the essential concepts and gives some really nice tips and tricks on cracking this part of the verbal section, the 5lb question bank just isn’t up to the mark. The litmus test is simple, go through the ETS Sentence Equivalence and Text Completion questions and then go through the Manhattan 5lb question bank. The difference is enormous. 5lb relies too much on vocabulary and does not pay as much attention to the logical part of the sentence as is required.

As the name of the GRE section suggests, the verbal ‘reasoning’ section aims to evaluate your ability to understand and infer from complex information, it does not aim to test your ability to learn new words. The words used in Manhattan 5lb are hard and also very unlikely to appear on the exam since the ETS text completion/ sentence equivalence questions provided in the official guide do not use words as hard as Manhattan 5lb uses. A natural consequence of this is, and one that I see very often, that students spend a lot of time cramming words when what they need to do is to hone their reasoning skills.

Reading Comprehension:

Manhattan 5lb provides more than 150 RC questions. The first 50-60 questions are relatively easy and the last 100 questions are relatively hard. In my opinion, the primary role of Reading Comprehension question bank from any source is to (1)enable the student to come up with his own strategy and (2) to hone his/her reasoning skills.

Should you read the passage first or the questions first? How much time do you require to an attempt RC? And other such personal strategy related questions. No prep firm can enhance your comprehension ability exponentially in a period of one or two months, all any test prep firm can do is to provide high quality passages- and Manhattan does that. The down side of using Manhattan is that the answer choices are not as close as the one’s in the exam especially on the harder section, so Manhattan does not exactly test you in the same way as ETS does. Another downside of using Manhattan 5lb is that passages are not as convoluted as the passages that appear on the GRE generally are.

How is the Manhattan 5lb for GRE Quantitative Reasoning Section?


Quantitative Reasoning Section:

If you are a Mathematics wizard, you probably don’t need much preparation for GRE Quant, just go through the last half of each chapter. If you are not a mathematics wizard, but are familiar with the fundamentals, this book will provide you enough questions for practice. If you need help with the basics, you can use 5lb with strategy guides and hopefully you will see some improvement. I wouldn’t say that the 5lb question bank is as good as the actual questions since the ETS tends to place a lot of focus on the logical part, but the book is definitely good and can help you improve your quant score. The downside of using 5lb is that some of the questions are irrelevant in my opinion, such as the one’s with double humps in Bell Curves, and some are too easy, such as the one’s in geometry section.

Is Manhattan 5lb harder than GRE?

The questions that appear on the exam are of varying difficulty so to say 5lb is harder would imply that the questions in the book are harder than the hardest questions on the exam, which is definitely not true. A better way to think about the book is that it prepares you completely for some topics such as Algebra and Arithmetic, while for other topics such as Geometry or Sentence Equivalence, the book does not sufficiently prepare you. Also, in some topics such as normal distribution, the hardest questions are so hard that they might add little value to your prep anyway so spending time on them is not recommended. 

Is the Manhattan 5lb GRE enough for preparation?

While the Manhattan 5lb is certainly a great book and is totally recommended, the book is certainly not enough for preparation. There are at least three other books (Official Guide, Verbal Reasoning Official Guide, Quantitative Reasoning Official Guide) that all students must go through before taking the exam.

  • Sentence Equivalence/ Text Completion 30% 30%
  • Reading Comprehension 50% 50%
  • Algebra 95% 95%
  • Arithmetic 100% 100%
  • Statistics 70% 70%
  • Geometry 50% 50%
  • Data Interpretation 75% 75%