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Is there a course you recommend? Please let me know. I'm leaning towards PR because of their renowned SAT prep. (Which I took.) But I don't know if they're good with teaching the GMAT. Also, I'm curious to know if anyone has taken Veritas. They have an aesthetically pleasing website but I would like to know if they are successful in GMAT prep. Any response would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
I took the Princeton Review course and was not completely satsified. PR can be broken down as follows:
90% - strategies and tips/tricks
10% - concepts and theory
There is nothing in the course that is not available in the books(bought at your local retailer). I also felt that my instructor moved too fast because of the short 8 week course length.
However, I didn't take Kaplan because Kaplan doesn't provide you with any study material - you need to go to the course location to use material.
I have been using the Official Guide - and so far, my practice test scores have been improving.
My recommendation - take one of the two Power Prep Tests from GMAC and see how your score is - if it's like really bad then consider taking a course. Taking a course might be helpful if you've been out of school for a long time. Kaplan vs Princeton? I don't think there is really any advantage from one or the other, I suppose whatever fits in your schedule.
But I hear that the classes are pretty much the same as how you describe the Princeton classes. Also, there is a slight chance that the teacher will focus on a subject a lot more than you would need, in turn taking away from others, because of the majority wanting a more extensive review on that.
I've been thinking of doing the online classes though since its half the price of in class sessions.
I agree with the Princeton Review bit. I did the course too. The course is quite shallow in content.
I feel that on the Gmat you rarely have time to try tricks especially in the Verbal section where you can't take a chance.
The one good thing about the Princeton bit is the tough questions list they give you in Maths it is worth a look.
I am actually collecting some reviews on Kaplan and other prep services - I will open a section on these in the end of May. Here is some feedback I got from a friend about Kaplan; however, she said that it was all up to her, that she scored so well.
I could not have done it without Kaplan. I went in the first day, wondering if the seemingly large sums of money I paid for KaplanтАЩs services would be useful to me, and with apprehension I listened to the first lesson. I was told that the class should raise my GMAT score by 60 or 70 points, and I was told that this was a giant point hurdle to overcome. So, to begin we took a practice test for an initial raw score to access our position. I made a sorry 500. Worse, I had cheated and taken twice the allotted time (it was a take home test). I felt awful. I was sure I would never make a score that a respectable business school would consider. I knew that it was not because I was unintelligent, but I was certainly at a disadvantage since I had not even taken a test in eight years, had not completed any math classes past eleventh grade algebra, and am thoroughly dyslexic! I know, I sound impossible, but I have determination, and though test taking and math are difficult for me, it is a matter of applying oneself - of that I was aware. I went through the weeks of classes and did every problem available to me in the workbooks. Since I was at such a severe disadvantage, I worked ever more diligently. The classes were somewhat banal, but the message was terrific and clear, it is not about being knowledgeable about the material, but familiar about how the questions had embedded tricks and how to identify them. It also touted that one of the important aspects of taking the GMAT is being comfortable with the format and the time structure. Kaplan offered computers that were available almost around the clock that simulated the test just about perfectly. For a month I worked every day at my workbook and three Saturdays I got up early and pretended that the day had come, and I took a simulated test. At first, the results were okay, but after I settled down and understood the routine, I excelled. I scored 690. Now, be aware that the literature they provide you with is riddled with mistakes of every kind, presumably because they update them so often, and classes are only useful if you have done the assignments and have questions to ask regarding the material. The simulated tests only work if you are dedicated and nothing works at all if you are un-motivated. For a person like myself, who has the ability to learn and understand, but no background to turn to for interpreting the material, and a fear of tests in general, Kaplan provides the tools to be successful. When I went to take the actual test, my score fell a bit from the high score I got on the practice tests, but I had improved over 150 points, and was perfectly acceptable.
I think Kaplan Online is great. It's basically the same as the Kaplan course except you don't have to show up to classes because the lectures are videotaped and stored on-line. You get a great CD with tons of practice quizzes and simulation CATs. You also get great online workshops and quizzes. Bottom line, there's more than enough to get you well-prepared for the GMAT. I personally believe that you can only study so much for the GMAT. A lot of the exam is testing your natural ability to think creatively in a very short period of time.
Actually, PR's course materials are unique to the class and you can't get them in bookstores. I mean, they use the OG that you can get elsewhere, but the PR materials are exclusive. Almost worth the cost of tuition for those alone.
If the class is going too fast for you though, or the instructor doesn't cover something you need help with, just stick around afterward and talk to him - a big part of the benefit of their course is the free help outside of class. You gotta take advantage of that if the class time isn't doing it for you. Get what you paid for, you know?
I have taken the Kaplan and Princeton courses and I used to teach for Veritas, but I will try to be as unbiased as possible.
Kaplan and Princeton review give you less hours and make you take supervised practise exams (on your dime -- you pay for the time). Veritas has the most hours per class (42) and you take exams on your own time.
Veritas requires that their instructors all score above 750 (99+%) on the GMAT and we must prove it. Kaplan require 95% and Princeton review only 90.
Veritas is a new company and their material and training techniques are in flux. The support materials are not as mature or complete as those of the big 2. However, they hire VERY good instructors (I have met many of them at our training conference), pay them well (to attract good talent) and give them considerable freedom to apply their own techniques. Veritas de-emphasizes "tricks" and does a good job of teaching solid principles, teaching solution strategies by question type. There is a LOT of homework. Princeton Review and Kaplan have tons of experience in test training, but I felt as though the techniques were "tricky". The Kaplan and Princeton review books and materials, however, IMO are very good and well organized, especially the Math and Quant workshops. However, you can buy the books for $20 anywhere. I will honestly admit that I use their stuff to teach fundamentals and supplement my own materials (why reinvent the wheel?) IMO, PR and Kaplan are interchangeable, but I would pick Veritas every time.
I currently teach for Manhattan GMAT, based in New York, but recently expanded to a few major cities like Chicago, Boston, San Francisco, Los Angeles/OrangeCounty/SanDiego. I live and teach in Southern California. In my opinion, we are the best and I jumped ship because I really believe in the company, even though I really enjoyed working for Veritas and my students were all very satisfied. In addition, Marcus and Chad, the owners, are great guys and are very accomodating to their students as they try to grow their business. Like Veritas, Manhattan GMAT only hires instructors with 99%+ scores and significant teaching experience. The priority to teach students and classes, however, is in no small part determined by our student reviews, which tends to weed out the more ineffective teachers. The materials are top-notch, and I actually learned a few new techniques that I have adopted over my own (something that did not happen at the other three).
If you live in on of the major American cities, or you can afford private tutoring done via the internet and phone, I highly recommend Manhattan GMAT. (I spend a fair amount of time here so you can browse through my postings to get some idea of the quality of my teaching. All of my peers are as good, or better!).
AkamaiBrah Former Senior Instructor, Manhattan GMAT and VeritasPrep Vice President, Midtown NYC Investment Bank, Structured Finance IT MFE, Haas School of Business, UC Berkeley, Class of 2005 MBA, Anderson School of Management, UCLA, Class of 1993
Thank you for you comments on the Prep-Courses. Do you have any comments on TestmastersGMAT? They also hire teachers who scored 99 percentile in the gmat and they teach 60 hours of Gmat classes. Which one is better Manhattan GMAT or TestmastersGmat?