MasterGMAT Comprehensive Review
Let me begin by saying that I started with a 480. I chose MasterGMAT because I heard it was one of the best GMAT programs out there and that it had the highest reviews.
The MasterGMAT “program” is a web application that guides you through theory, via a series of online lessons, and then it tests you on the theory with sample questions. It walks you through each question, with accompanying text, examples, additional theory etc. In addition, and perhaps one of its strongest points, is that it encourages smart test taking strategies such as ball parking, as opposed to algebraic expressions that could lead to errors.
The MasterGMAT system is extremely powerful. You WILL learn the theory, because of how thorough, and how well written the lessons are. It gives you a framework, and structured system by which to tackle the questions, I thought this was leaps and bounds more productive than the Manhattan GMAT
system, where it seems to be: read a long, dense, boring chapter, and then try some questions. To me, it seemed too detached. With MasterGMAT, the learning, and the practicing is one and the same. It is seamless and in my opinion, more conducive to helping you truly learn and master the material.
What is the weakness?
The biggest weakness of MasterGMAT is that it is simply incomplete. I completed the system in it’s entirety, and when I switched to real GMAT problems, (from GMAT Prep, OG13, Diagnostic, Question Pack 1, etc), I was unprepared to tackle the hardest problems. I did however, feel prepared for most questions up to the 650-680 level. The MasterGMAT system simply did not have lessons, or theory for those hardest questions types, or were inadequate in preparation, simple as that.
Verbal, specifically Sentence Correction was also a major weakness. I felt that the theory provided in the sentence correction did not adequately prepare me for the hardest real GMAT SC questions. The examples provided by MasterGMAT were methodical and strictly grammatical in nature, with a limited set of structures to correct. For example, at any given question, the SC would be strictly if/whether in nature, annual/yearly redundancy, amount to/sum – where an understanding of yes/no was adequate to deduce the correct answer. I felt that when I experienced the real GMAT SC problems, that the example sentences were far more nuanced in nature, and dealt with the understanding of the intentions of the author, and more obscure rules and guidelines than were presented to me by the MasterGMAT system.
I have no strong opinions about the Critical Reasoning. The Reading Comprehension, however, was also a little kooky. The system has a database of about 10-15 different passages, and the entire course is based on those. So often, you would be tested on one passage, and then a few lessons later, be tested on that passage again with new questions, so the training here was fragmented. I’m not sure how they could fix this other than a gigantic database of endless passages, so I’m not sure if you can truly penalize them for this.
I thought the tutoring was helpful, the instructors were very knowledgable and had a very good mastery of the GMAT questions, and I never felt as if they did not know how to solve any problem I threw at them. Again the problem is they use the problems from their database of questions. I would recommend finding the hardest real GMAT questions and suggest covering those instead (once you are in 650 territory). They are extremely accommodating.
I thought the AWA was very helpful, they correct your essays, and mark them up with suggestions on how to improve, this was very helpful.
The simulation tests were extremely accurate. I was testing consistently in the 640-680 range using their sims, and I ended up scoring 660 on the real exam.
The system is powerful, and will help you learn the material. The problem is that the material is incomplete and you will not be prepared to score in the highest score ranges (700+). The material covered will most likely prepare you to score as I have, in the 640-680 range, if you cover no other additional material or utilize other sources. With additional time expended on the most difficult problems, or if you are naturally adept to GMAT type evaluations, you would likely be able to score in the higher ranges.
If I were to take the GMAT again, and was assured by Isaac (I think he is the Director) that the program had expanded its lessons and coverage of concepts and the hardest question types, I would do it again. Though, as of now, I have confirmed with them, with Andrew or Isaac (can't remember), that the new Economist
GMAT is just a restructuring of the original MasterGMAT course, and that no extra material has been added.
My final score after completing the entire MasterGMAT course: (3 months studying, over 200 hours)
My score Pre MasterGMAT
Hope this helps.