The following book review was written by Dana Jinaru. Dana is currently a finance student in Europe and also serves as a moderator for Beat The GMAT. On May 13, 2009 she scored a 770 on the GMAT.
Here is Dana's analysis of PowerScore's GMAT Verbal Bible.
The PowerScore GMAT Verbal Bible is the third GMAT prep book released by PowerScore, a company known for its top notch verbal preparation tools. This book is designed to cater to the needs of students having trouble with the entire verbal section of the GMAT and presents itself as an alternative to the Kaplan GMAT Verbal Workbook. However, the Kaplan book is more practice-oriented, while the PowerScore guide seems to be more focused on detailing strategy and concepts.
The Verbal Bible seems to combine topics from two other GMAT guides by PowerScore, the Critical Reasoning Bible and the Sentence Correction Bible. I have personally compared the Critical Reasoning (CR) section of this book with the entire CR Bible and the differences are limited only to the omission of some comparatively unimportant chapters (for questions that did not appear as much on the test) and fewer practice problems. A section on Reading Comprehension is added to complete the trilogy of question types that appear on the verbal part of the GMAT. This is why buying all three GMAT prep guides from PowerScore is not recommended, because you will see significant overlap among the materials.
As was the case with the CR Bible, the Verbal Bible contains relatively few GMAT-style questions. While each chapter does contain a section of drills to enforce specific concepts, the number of GMAT-type problems you'll find at the end of chapters is:
- 31 Critical Reasoning
- 8 Reading Comprehension
- 77 Sentence Correction
- Good coverage of the concepts, strategies and traps of the various verbal questions. While not as exhaustive on CR as the CR Bible, for instance, the fact that it condenses all the most important points into fewer pages is a plus for students pressed for time
- High quality questions are a known feature of PowerScore materials and this book does not fall short of these high expectations. Both GMAT-style questions and drill format questions are carefully crafted and each answer choice is explained in detail
- The book is a pleasant read, especially since the authors try to take you behind the scenes of the process of writing a GMAT question. Understanding this process ensures a better familiarity with the test, thus improving your performance
- Only a handful of practice questions! This is particularly obvious for the Reading Comprehension section: only two (relatively short and easy) passages for GMAT-style practice. There's also an issue of balance here, since there are considerably more sentence correction questions than critical reasoning or reading comprehension questions
- Too much emphasis on theory in the Critical Reasoning section of this book. Note that concepts from this section are often referenced in the Reading Comprehension section later, so I advise you to go over the former first
- No clear advice on note-taking in the verbal part of the GMAT: I would have loved to see the authors' position on this issue, since people often debate whether it is advisable to take notes while you read
- A few editing errors in the Sentence Correction (SC) part, since it was made by cutting out chapters from the SC Bible: for instance, chapters are not correctly numbered or the authors mention twenty extra practice questions when there are only ten
The PowerScore Verbal Bible is not without its faults (the biggest being the small number of practice questions), but overall it gets four stars out of five: complement this book with the Official Guide for the GMAT Verbal Review, and you'll have a pretty good set of tools to attack the verbal part of the GMAT.
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