With so many courses out there promising to be the best, how does one find the right GMAT course? This blog analyzes the key attributes students need to consider: Cost, format, flexibility, adaptiveness, terms and conditions.
Finding the best GMAT course is a minefield. There are so many courses out there, and it’s impossible to tell the difference between them. Many online prep websites have a comparison table, but they don’t always compare the same things. The best advice is to think about which attributes are most important to you and then see which course answers them best.
The main elements to consider are the interactivity, value for money/cost, flexibility, accountability, customization, access to a private tutor, and adaptive learning.
The ideal course provides all the benefits of self-study while helping you focus on what’s important for the test and score, and where to pay the most attention.
What is your format? Do you want most of your course to be in a classroom or online? Are you looking for a rich, multimedia experience? Do you want it to adapt to your needs? Asking yourself these questions is the first thing you need to do when looking for the best GMAT course.
A classroom based GMAT Course
A GMAT class makes sense if you feel comfortable in a classroom setting, your budget is very high, you are self-motivated and don’t have big gaps in your knowledge that need special attention, and your schedule can accommodate a course that meets at a specific time every week. However, as every GMAT student knows, the real work happens back at home, outside the classroom, when you practice and try to figure out solutions by yourself.
Nowadays, we can have a teacher-in-a-classroom experience online. On-demand classes will allow us to choose our own time and place. These are usually videos of a power point presentation showing the course material followed by a bulk of practice questions.
Live online courses are also an option. These have a similar experience to the old fashioned GMAT class except you watch the tutor through a screen. When taking an in-person or live-online course we should make sure that we will have enough face time.
Private tutoring makes sense if we need a very high score and an individual study plan, and especially – if we have extra money to spare in order to get additional attention and feedback or to spend more time on certain areas. If you don’t have much time and don’t like to be stuck to a classroom schedule or interrupted by others then it is preferable over a classroom based GMAT course. However, there are many ways of solving GMAT questions and there is no one way which is better for everybody. Putting cost aside, even the best private tutors only know what they see in the few questions that you’ve solved in front of them. They cannot tell you which tools are best for you. You need big data crunching computers for this.
Online computer assisted customized learning
This is a new format, developed by examPAL. Instead of reproducing the teacher-in-a-classroom experience online, examPAL uses personalized machine learning to bring the best out of each student. By monitoring thousands of other students who are tackling the same question as you, examPAL provides you with the approaches that proved most efficient for each given question. With examPAL, you work with the best possible private tutor: one who monitors each and every answer you give, sees all the answers that thousands of other students have given, and finds the perfect match between your way of thinking and what proved effective to others.
What are the terms and conditions? Many courses will offer a 50 or 70-point money back guarantee. Make sure you meet the conditions! You may be asked to send in your score report before you start the course in order to qualify. This is important for re-takers.
Is the system the course provider using adaptive in any way? Does it provide feedback if you fail or have a hard time with some question types? For in-person and live courses, does someone review your progress and how often? Do different students get different ways to solve each question (and not just different questions)?
Value for money
It’s important to check what you’re getting with the course. Understand how long the course is. Request a syllabus to figure out what exactly is covered. Check how many tests you’re getting and whether you’re getting enough exercises and practice questions. Make sure you’re able to submit essays for a review (by a human, not a machine) and if you’re taking an online course make sure that you can access the course through mobile.
In-person and traditional courses will provide you with their book bundles and often even the Official Guide for GMAT.
Self-paced and online courses tend to offer all of their resources online, saving you money, and taking advantage of additional features and functionality, such as computer-adaptive tests (CATs).
With so many companies to choose from, it is best to test them out for real.
Most GMAT Companies offer some type of free materials (practice problems, trial accounts, videos, etc.) that you can use to ‘test out’ a product before you buy it. Many courses have free trials It’s also worth looking at course reviews.
Choosing wisely means choosing a course that fits your specific needs. Good luck with your search!