This book is excellently laid out. Every chapter has new vocabulary, speech patterns, additional vocab, listening practice, dialogues and exercises. It even has a section to practice writing chinese words with stroke order included. As someone who knew absolutely no mandarin before buying this book, I found it tremendously helpful and is paced very well. I really am learning mandarin step-by-step using this book!
However, there is one issue that's preventing me from giving this a rating of 5 stars. Even though this book comes with 2 audio CDs, there is only one track on each CD, so if you wish only to listen to new vocab of Lesson 4, when you play the CD, you won't get to it unless you listen to lessons 1-3 first. They really should have put in the effort of separating out all the lessons, sections and dialogues as separate tracks to make it easier for students to play back and repeat. Hopefully if enough people tell them of this issue then they will address this for all future volumes in this series.