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Manhattan Prep Tests Don't Help GRE Quant

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Just a word of advice for fellow prospective grad students, specifically those from the non-math background and applying for social sciences degrees. GRE Quant is getting tougher by the day for the non-math background types. Quoting my own example, I had prepared using the Manhattan Prep online tests. I was scoring in the mid 150s. In the real test, I got 149. There were hardly any questions in the actual quant from the Manhattan Online testing tools. There were tons of twisted coordinate geometry questions (figuratively speaking), quadratic equations, frequency and variation and stuff. I didn't encounter any such questions in the five Manhattan tests that I give. I guess they don't update their question bank and are just ripping off paying customers. For my re-attempt, I would rather stick to all the free tests available plus other online and offline tools.

All that talk about Manhattan tests actually tougher than the actual GRE is bull***. They might have been tougher four years ago and also representative of the actual test. Not anymore. And yes I know they're adaptive and all but I'm talking about the first section here, which was also non-representative of the actual test.

PS All this advice, as mentioned earlier, is for those from the non-math background. Quant pros don't need to brag about their 160+ scores. I can counter by my 161/5.5 in V/AWA :P

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  • 2 months later...


I hope someone at Manhattan Prep reads your post.

I recommend the Manhattan 5-lb book for REPETITION of concepts (which many need), but not realism. For realism, students need to do - and analyze - ETS questions. GMAT problem solving math questions are also good practice, since they’re written with the same reasoning component as ETS GRE questions.


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  • 3 weeks later...

I found the prep book (specificially the 5 lb book) useful because I had not done any math in the past three years (linguistics major).  And the most recent math I had was calculus, not the algebra/geometry stuff the GRE tests on.  My practice scores before studying were around 153, and actual was 162 for quant (Practice was 150 verbal ahhh, and actual was 165 verbal, 5.5 writing).  The questions were useful for helping me actually remember stuff I had quite literally forgotten how to do/existed/did not recognize.  

I did do a lot of googling when I got questions wrong and re-learning concepts from high school.  I think the manhattan book has the right idea of level of math and general idea of question.  And general format (the A is greater, B is greater, both are equal, cannot be determined format took me a while to mark correctly even after calculating the answer correctly!!).  It helped me prepare for a general standardized-testing environment as well.  But the exact format is not what was on the GRE.  Their questions are good, but not line for line what is on the test.  I do agree that the GRE seemed to test stuff that I hadn't seen at all in the manhattan prep book.  And I did at least 75% of each quant prep section.  Usually 100%. 

One question I remember getting was something you could only get right if you knew how to calculate the interior degrees of a polygon.  Not sure if I worded that right, whatever.  I didn't remember that one stupid formula.  I went back to the question and figured out the dang formula based on square/triangle interior angles.  Glad I had that bit of extra time to figure out a dumb formula I was apparently supposed to memorize!  

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  • 9 months later...
  • 2 weeks later...

I actually think they are as I increased my quant score 8 points after studying for 3 weeks with Manhattan Prep materials and an online course. I had limited time, so I'm pretty confident if I'd studied for at least 6 weeks with the same materials I would have improved even more.

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I think the easiest way to improve your quant score is the use the online resource offered when you buy the Kaplan GRE prep book. You should absolutely go through the 5-lb book to remind yourself how to do everything. But once you know how to do the problems, go to the online resource. Kaplan has I think 10 different quant GRE section you can take for free. I thought they were all pretty close to the actual test and just taking those over and over again really helped me. I took the GRE twice, once after only studying from the actual books and the second time after taking all of the available timed online tests. I got a 7 point increase the second time around.

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