I took the Fall 2011 nine week MGMAT class in Evanston, IL. A room booked in the Hotel Orrignton, Evanston, IL was used for the class. Our tutor was Viren Tellis, a Kellogg JD-MBA student. He was smart, with a good sense of humor.
Who am I?
I am a mechanical engineer, working in the software development area in an US company. I have a Masters from an US university. I obtained 550 in my first GMAT and currently preparing for my second GMAT. Although I believe the review has nothing to do with my score, I wanted to disclose my score before you spend your time reading the review.
I choose the MGMAT because all the online review for the MGMAT courses and books were excellent!
When I went to take the sample Kaplan course, I was informed that shooting for 700 is not necessary! Be practical and shoot for 650+. On the contrary MGMAT did not limit the target, rather focused on content. The feedback I got from GMAT Club forum resonated with my findings.
Although I did not research much about Veritas, I felt two study sessions per week would be too much for me. I prefer studying on my own rather than sitting in a classroom.
How did the course go?
Once the class started, it went fast! I was having hard time to keep up with the home work. There was a scheduling conflict for room and we got an one week of break. I was able to finish all the homework up to that point and started working on the foundation of verbal book. When the course ended, I had about 90% content covered.
We were instructed to take an exam three weeks after the course. I did so. But I took a different route during my practice after the course. The rest is history.
How was the Instructor?
The instructor Viren Tellis was energetic, smart and funny. He would not move on to the next topic until everyone in the class understood it. He used make funny mnemonics to help us remember rules, tricks etc.
What did I like about MGMAT?
+ Content based learning
+ Access to great books, both online and offline, online video labs, online recordings of class
+ Access to online tools: OG Archer, Online Exam and assessment, question bank, forum, online classroom, weekly half hour of personalized phone help
+ Great tutors: covers a good amount of material and questions in class
+ Post exam evaluation was very good to identify my problems and get going accordingly
What could be improved?
Although I listed a ton of issues, these are just suggestions for improvement. If I researched correctly, the MGMAT content, tools and methods are superior than any other test company out there. I would strongly recommend MGMAT to the future GMAT test takers.
- MGMAT says that the course requires about 15 hours of reading every week. I spent about 20 hrs/week, but had hard time finishing it. Specially if you are working full time, it is more so.
I was creating notes during my reading, slowing me down. However, I would argue that note taking is good for you.
One class was rescheduled due to the availability of the room. This provided a great break to catch up with the home work. I wish there were one more break! This kind of break should be included in the course.
- The course is not tailored to fit a particular need. I am pretty solid at Math. But I was just sitting there doing the simple drills that did not help me much.
To solve the problem MGMAT can introduce three variants of the course: a) Math Emphasized b) Verbal Emphasized c) Same weight on both (i.e. current offering). A pre-assessment can be done online to categorize and suggest the student with better offering customized for him/her.
- The CAT assessment could be enhanced by using the graphical tool available for OG Archer. The textual representation is hard to read and categorize.
The article on practice test evaluation points out five areas to focus on during the analysis.
I. 50+%, Correct timing
II. 50-%, Correct timing
III. 50-%, Fast
IV. 50+%, Slow
V. 50-%, Slow
These areas can be presented in a graph as shown below:
It would be helpful to have the OG Archer like graphical representation for the practice tests.
- The OG Archer graphical tool is great but not available for OG 11, OG 10 etc.
Moreover, the OG archer does not show the difficulty level on the chart. It would be better if the Y-axis showed the difficulty from 200 to 800 and the size of the bubble as the %right.
- No audio material is available. This could be helpful for commuters.
- The online interface is not very user friendly. It took me a lot of time to get used to it.
Any other advice for prospective students?
- Do you research. Take the sample classes offered by different companies. Read reviews. Seek for help in GMAT Club. Find out what’s best for you before you decide.
- Take notes and do it with your own hand. The notes created by other people don’t help you much. Notes that you wrote yourself recalls the memory much better than any other notes.
- If you choose MGMAT, make room for at least 20 hrs of time per week for the home work.
- Finish the foundation book(s) BEFORE the courses begin. You won’t have time to read it during the course. If your foundation is not brushed up, the course content will be a waste.
- Take the time to familiarize yourself with the online resources. They have great resources but poorly organized.
- Replace the CR book with the PowerScore CR bible. Although the MGMAT CR book is good, PowerScore CR is much better. Please note that the course is synchronized with the book so it may cause a bit of disorientation. Rest of the materials are of excellent quality.
- Do not look for any other materials/books out there. I have tried plenty. Stick to MGMAT, stick to OG and you will be almost there.
- Use the half an hour phone session offered every week. I did not use it much. But realized it could be helpful.