Knewton GMAT Course Reviews
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How I upgraded my 700 to a 770 (Q50, V44)
January 03 | 2012

6 out of 6 people found the following review helpful
  [ What's this? ]
       By Av joined: October 4, 2008 | 894 | 261 | native speaker
Improvement: 70 Points |  Verbal:        |  Quant:      
This review is for:  Knewton Premium Live | Location:   Online |
Unimportant Introduction

I took the GMAT for the first time in November 2008 and scored 700 (Q47, V39). At the time, I thought I had made the mark. After all, I had hit the magical 700 barrier that everyone talks about. It didn’t take long for me to realize that 700 was technically below average all of the top 10 schools. Although I had studied for 3 months prior to hitting the 700 mark, I knew I could do better, so I decided to retake the exam. This time I’d be shooting for 750.

In January 2009, I decided that I would use the GMAT Club Tests and the MGMAT SC guide to improve my quant and verbal scores. I finished 2 chapters of the MGMAT SC guide and quickly realized that this plan sucked. I was still worn out from my first attempt and I didn’t have any motivation to study on my own. To top it all off, the economy was getting worse and a lot of people were nervous about the impact on b-school job opportunities. I put the GMAT on the backburner and began to research March Madness strategies to ensure that I would get last place in the GMAT Club March Madness fantasy league.

By the time March Madness was done and I had succeeded in taking last place, Knewton was offering their course for $699. It seemed like a reasonable price and the program looked promising, so I paid for the program and chose the session that would run from June – July. So now that you know how I got back into studying the GMAT, here’s how it all went down…

I took my Knewton diagnostic test and got a dismal 640 (Q46, V32). I was pretty pissed off because I only missed 2 questions on the quantitative portion. I couldn’t help but wonder if this program was just a marketing scam. Did they sandbag my performance on the first test just to make their 50 point guarantee easier to back? I called Knewton support and they said they’d look into my results and send me an email. I never got an email.

I went forward with the course and most of it was actually pretty good. As most people will tell you, the instructors are great. The practice material is also really good. Most of their practice problems are official questions that have been rewritten. I actually liked this approach, because it gets you in the habit of looking for the pattern. Rather than seeing a random question, you see the concepts that are being tested. It’s also really helpful to practice with questions that are representative of the real exam. I was mostly disappointed with the CATs, which I thought was funny because they’re so quick to brag about having the original creators of the GMAT scoring algorithm on staff. The scoring on the Knewton CATs sucks, but I’m not sure if it’s an issue with the algorithm or simply a lack of difficult questions. It was also a little annoying that there wasn’t a good library of information to reference. The concept library was great for seeking explanations to problems you had missed, but there wasn’t a clearly organized method for reading material before you’re tested on it. This led me to seek resources outside of Knewton.

The Recommendations
Quant
For quant, I used Jeff Sackmann’s Total GMAT Math, as well as his Extreme Challenge Questions Set. Total GMAT Math is by far the most thorough quant book available for the GMAT. It starts with the assumption that you know nothing about the GMAT and ends with the most difficult subjects, such as combinations, permutations, probability, and symbolism. Total GMAT Math contains every concept that you will need on the GMAT, but it won’t expose you to every combination of concepts. This is where the Extreme Challenge set comes in. The question set contains 100 questions that are all 720+ difficulty level. What I liked most about this question set is that it requires you to solve difficult questions by combining concepts. Consider the following question:

"How many ways can you select 4 people from 5 married couples if no two people from the same couple can be selected?"

You know that order doesn’t matter, but you can’t really solve this question with the combinations approach either. What’s the solution? You use the permutation approach and divide out the number of ways they can be ordered.

(10x8x6x4)/(4x3x2x1) = 80

Jeff Sackmann’s explanations are outstanding and all of these questions appear to be based on official questions.

Verbal
SC
MGMAT SC is an absolute must. This book will teach you everything you need to know about GMAT Sentence Correction. If you’re serious about getting V40+ on the GMAT and you’re not already an SC wizard, you have to buy this book. I learned a couple odds & ends from Knewton as well.

CR & RC
I didn’t use any books for these sections, because Knewton is actually really good with these subjects. I didn’t use Knewton’s approach to reading RC passages, but their explanation of question types was really helpful. I’m probably going against what most test prep companies will tell you, but I don’t use any tricks for CR or RC. I read the passage and answer the question. For me, it was really helpful to understand the types of wrong answer choices (too extreme, out of scope, etc).

As you can see, I didn’t mention GMAT Club Tests or the Brutal SC document. I’ve tried to use these resources, but they’re just too demoralizing for me. A lot of people really like these resources, so don’t be swayed by my opinion, but just know that they aren’t the only resources that will take you to Q50 or V40+.

The Test Scores
Knewton #1 640 (Q46, V32)
Knewton #2 730 (Q46, V45)
Knewton #3 750 (Q48, V45)
Knewton #4 730 (Q48, V41)
*I lost faith in the Knewton CATs and never took the last one.

MGMAT #4 730 (Q49, V41)

GMATPrep #1 750 (Q49, V42)
-9 Quant errors, 6 Verbal errors (1RC, 2CR, 3SC)
GMATPrep #1 RT 780 (Q51, V47)
-3 Quant errors, 2 Verbal errors (1SC, 1CR)
GMATPrep #2 750 (Q49, V44)
-10 Quant errors (timing issues), 5 Verbal errors (3SC, 2CR)
GMATPrep #2 RT 770 (Q50, V47)
-6 Quant errors (finished early), 2 Verbal errors (1SC, 1RC) (finished early)

Official GMAT: 770 (Q50, V44)
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Great self-paced study program
January 24 | 2012

2 out of 2 people found the following review helpful
  [ What's this? ]
       By beattikm joined: October 18, 2011 | 0 | 0 | native speaker
Improvement: 50 Points |  Verbal:        |  Quant:      
This review is for:  Knewton Complete Prep | Location:   Online |
I'm just about finished with my 4 month self-paced study program. There are 13 "sessions" and each session has two video classes- one for verbal and one for quant. The verbal videos are approx 60 min and the quant videos are about 80 min. There is a pre and post assessment for each video as well as homework assignments for each. There are also several extra homework assignments and "extra focus lesson" videos that you can take/watch if you are struggling with certain topics. I found this really helpful. There are 6 total CATs to take throughout the course. I have taken three so far and have improved by 50 points.

Pros:
-Very well organized and easy to navigate.
-Verbal courses are well structured and full of great tips about what to expect on the GMAT with lots of strategies and tips for mastering certain types of questions.
-TONS of practice questions for every topic. It's difficult to do all of them.
-You can take the quizzes and homeworks multiple times to track improvement.

Cons:
-Since everything on Knewton is online, I expected a lot more features tailored to the user. For example, custom quizzes full of questions that I got wrong on quizzes or homeworks would be nice.
-I also expected to be able to see how difficult a certain question was or the percentage of Knewton users who corrected answered each question. Knewton says all of their questions are "medium difficult to difficult" but I disagree. Many of the questions are MUCH easier than on the GMAT and after doing a lot of Knewton questions, you start to notice slight variations of questions you've already answered in previous sessions. I found the OG questions more difficult than most Knewton question.
-You can't retake questions from your CATs. After you take the CAT, you can only review your answers and the explanations. I would prefer to be able to take the questions I got wrong again but the correct answers are highlighted on on the question when reviewing. It's not possible to go back and take the same test or same question again. This is only true for CAT's- you can take ALL homeworks and quizzes over again. I like that feature.

Overall it's a great course and has given me a lot more confidence about taking the GMAT. I don't think this course was enough to get me 100% where I wanted to be so I will balance this course with Manhattan strategy guides and the OG guide.
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mixed
January 24 | 2012

2 out of 2 people found the following review helpful
  [ What's this? ]
       By Anonymous joined: September 30, 2011 | 1 | 0 | native speaker
Improvement: N/A  |  Verbal:        |  Quant:      
This review is for:  Knewton Premium Live | Location:   Online |
Improvements:

Knewton prides itself on being a leader in technology, but all of their videos are not able to be viewed on the IPAD or the Android tablets.
A company at the leading edge of technology should have a work around to Apples stubbornness of not authorizing the ability to install adobe and with the case of the Android tablets, Knewton should develop the ability to make their videos viewable.

It is true that you can view most of their videos on tablets, but if you pay full prices, you should get all of the content that is paid for...tablets weren't developed last week...

Customer service is below average/poor. It took 3 weeks and me emailing 3 different departments for Knewton to tell me that their video is not supported on tablets. This information should be known prior to registration.

Recommend Knewton allowing a 1 week trial period for the reasons stated above....A car dealership allows a test drive before purchasing a car.

Sustain:

I am on session 3 and have enjoyed the content thus far...
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Knewton Review
May 17 | 2012

2 out of 2 people found the following review helpful
  [ What's this? ]
       By stinali57 joined: November 2, 2011 | 8 | 29 | native speaker
Improvement: 20 Points |  Verbal:        |  Quant:      
This review is for:  Knewton Complete Prep | Location:   Online |
In general the course was helpful. The videos were informative but I really did not like the practice tests. Reviewing the practice tests were a pain. The layout was really annoying and I did not feel that the math helped at all. I actually did worse in math because everything was so basic. I did like the verbal though. Although it did not cover everything I definetly improved. Another thing I did not like was how they measured your progress. It was just bar graphs but it did not really show how you could improve. Also, the concept queue is not user friendly. Everything was jammed together.
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Knewton Rocks!
May 27 | 2012

1 out of 1 people found the following review helpful
  [ What's this? ]
       By Anonymous joined: July 29, 2007 | 15 | 11 | native speaker
Improvement: 70 Points |  Verbal:        |  Quant:      
This review is for:  Knewton Complete Prep | Location:   Online |
I was very bad at quant and was having difficulty learning it on my own. I signed up for the Knewton course so that I could have a real instructor and real classes. I usually reviewed the lessons on my own time, which is another great feature of this course. I could work ahead if I needed to or skip a week if I was too busy. I did not use any of the verbal because I was fairly good at it already. The first time I took the test I made a 630 and raised my score to 700. Thanks Knewton!


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Great money back guarantee, but questions simply were not up to par
July 06 | 2012

1 out of 1 people found the following review helpful
  [ What's this? ]
       By Anonymous joined: August 2, 2011 | 15 | 1 | non-native speaker
Improvement: 20 Points |  Verbal:        |  Quant:      
This review is for:  Knewton Complete Prep | Location:   Online |
Having taken another prep course as well as the actual test before signingup for Knewton, I had a pretty good idea what GMAT questions should look like.

Unforunately, the Knewton questions really didn't represent what is ultimately on the test. Many of the questions are very basic, but what bothered me most was that the structure of the questions, the way they were posed, was nowehere near consistent with the actual test. The money back guarantee is great, and completely no hassle, so it might be worth taking a shot to boost your score significantly, but I found having to go through the course more of a hassle than anything else. About 2 classes in I realized that I would much rather be focusing in on my actual weaknesses than having to go through the entire Knewton course to qualify for the money bck guarantee.

In short, this might be a good course if you have no exposure to the GMAT, but if you have any sense of your abilities and what your weaknesses might be, I would highly suggest going another route. There's much better out there.


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What have you got to lose?
January 20 | 2013

1 out of 1 people found the following review helpful
  [ What's this? ]
       By RyanCJW joined: June 8, 2012 | 107 | 28 | native speaker
Improvement: 110 Points |  Verbal:        |  Quant:      
This review is for:  Knewton Complete Prep | Location:   Online |
Knewton saved me.

I don't have the $1000+ to put out for a program that may or may not increase my score as much as Knewton promised to. The cost of Knewton's program and that guarantee talked me into using them.

I took my first GMAT in February and got a 550 (30Q 36V). I needed a 650. So, I bought some books and eventually signed up for Knewton. I followed all of the courses, did all of the work and all of the tests but even at the end I wasn't seeing much of an improvement - that is until I took the GMATPrep tests and saw my scores from them being 620 and 660.

Once I got to the test center, I had no idea what to expect as my Knewton scores topped out at around 610 but my GMATPrep scores went up to 660. I ended up getting a 660 (41Q 40V).

I love Knewton. The way this course was delivered was perfect for me. It took a lot of work but there was so much content that you really could figure out how to do just about anything. My quantitative score went up from 30 to 41, I think that in itself is a testament to how effective Knewton is. I also really enjoyed the instructors, they made the course very enjoyable.

I could not recommend Knewton enough. With that guarantee and the price, how could you not at least try it?


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My review of Knewton
January 10 | 2012

  [ What's this? ]
       By bhatiagp joined: January 1, 2008 | 513 | 43 | native speaker
Improvement: N/A  |  Verbal:        |  Quant:      
This review is for:  Knewton Complete Prep | Location:   Online |
The Positives :

1) Very helpful set of people. They reply back to all your queries with a lot of detail and you can expect most responses back within 24 hours. I have got responses on Sunday as well, at times.

2) Online learning works . Their site is adaptive, and it generally throws questions to you which it feels you are weaker on.

3) 50 pt guarantee should work for most. I improved my score by 60 points from 660 to 720. Also I had a balanced score as Knewton focuses equally on Quant and Verbal . I have read that a lopsided high score is inferior to a balanced score with the same total.

4) Although many people feel that Knewtons questions are a rip off of the Official material, this strategy works. They drill the Test Prep Makers strategies into your head, and you are far better off doing questions that are similiar to those that you will see on the exam. The SC in verbal were a breeze, as I could spot most errors with ease.

6) Their Quant Strategy and Verbal strategy sections are excellent. They do significantly improve your skills at choosing the correct answer, or atleast chosing between 2 answers , when you are in doubt.

7) Despite many complaining that Knewton Diagnostic isnt a valid interpretation of your actual ability , the truth is that my final scores are more in line with their tests than the Official Gmatprep. This is also because many GMATPrep problems are already tackled by most of us on this forum or in the Vebal and Quant guides, while practicing.

Again for the money back guarantee , they chose the highest of your two previous scores. Either the Offical GMAT or their diagnostic.. So if you score a 660 on their test and have scored 690 on your actual test , earlier , your money back guarantee is based on your baseline of 690.
They could have very easily selected to use the lower of both scores, or just use their diagnostic for the money back guarantee. The fact that they used thehigher score means that they are confident in their material and techniques, and the overall Knewton product. I feel very comfortable in recommending Knewton to any future candidate looking for a one- two month testprep.

8) Instructors on Knewton are top notch, and the live sessions are fabulous. I attend the classes twice. Once live and once I went through the archives. It definitely helped. On many occasions the TA spent more than 20 minutes with me after class to take me through individual concepts.

9) The guys are value for money. The course isn't expensive, given the fact that they have been offering discounts on most courses off late.

10) Videos of most individual topics , where you are weak, are an excellent way to strengthen your concepts.

11) You cant rewind a live class, but at Knewton you can see at least two archived lessons on each class, with different instructors, and also attend a live class in addition to that.

12) Last but not least, Knewton promises a live Pre MBA class, which will include a live case study discussion with a Harvard Business School professor. This Pre MBA program will be offered free with their already excellent GMAT training package, making it one of the unique combinations in comparison to other GMAT training programs.

Negatives

1) The Quant sections on Knewton tests are simpler than the actual GMAT. I was able to complete all tests with 5 minutes to spare, but on my actual GMAT I was in a tight spot , trying to rush through the last few questions in Quant. I have read that their GMAT Quant questions are being revised for their CAT's to have them be as tough as those seen in the actual CAT's


Overall Review

Can confidently recommend Knewton to any candidate looking at improving his test score. They deserve a 5/5 . But I'll give them a 4.5, because they can still improve on the Quant practice tests.

Again with their killer money back guarantee , there will be no reason to regret joining Knewton . I can vouch for their program's efficacy.

bhatiagp
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Knewton -- would like to share some insights
January 11 | 2012

  [ What's this? ]
       By shaselai joined: June 12, 2009 | 1847 | 190 | non-native speaker
Improvement: N/A  |  Verbal:        |  Quant:      
This review is for:  Knewton Premium Live | Location:   Online |
i am also taking knewton and would like to share some insights as well (without making another thread). I have about 2 classes left so i am almost done. For quant they focus a lot more on PS than any other. Geometry is only one class and i believe probability is one class (my next class) as well. The verbal SC is focused the most with CR second.
The structure of the course is like:

day of class:
1 pre- quant problem set
1 pre-verbal problem set

Class
re-take pre quant/verbal problem set (only on topics you got wrong on in the pre sets)
homeworks covering the topics went over in class.

During class the teachers try to go over all the questions students may have through chat and gives almost strictly 2 minutes to answer a problem via a poll. There are on-demand videos for each class - you can view like 2-3 classes from different teachers to get a different perspective - however, the problems are the same (they use same slides).

There is a progress bar that shows a graph that breaks down the percentage of a topic taught and how you are doing for that topic. For example, if they taught all the topics on geometry it will have 100%, if you got 80% of the geometry problems right you are at 80%. They break it down further to specific topics like verbal - idioms, run-on sentences etc. so it shows you what topic you might need to work on. I am not sure how to improve upon a specific topic since they dont categorize problems by topic. I guess one way is to re-take the problem sets you got <100% on and increase your percentage that way.

i got a 640 on my official gmat, got a 620 on my first Knewton CAT and a 650 last week. My math is more or less the same ~48 but my verbal improved from 28 to 32 - i was actually a bit disappointed because i got only 9 wrong on verbal and still got a 32. My next CAT is tonight so i hope at least my verbal can get a bit better.
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Knewton -- Very helpful
January 11 | 2012

  [ What's this? ]
       By netrix joined: February 26, 2010 | 79 | 5 | non-native speaker
Improvement: 70 Points |  Verbal:        |  Quant:      
This review is for:  Knewton Complete Prep | Location:   Online |
I also enrolled for the Knewton course that was VERY helpful for me because it allow me to remember key concepts of math and gave me a lot of exercise to practice. I enrolled in the Knewton course because of the 50-points-gurantee policy. I am glad to tell that I am not going to ask for a refund.

The course was great and I did it in only one month. Of course I had to watch a lot of the lesson on-demand.
About practice test that I took:
I took the 5 Knewton’s Test and I score on average 610. Before the exam I was worried over my performance. But now, I can tell you that Knewton exam are much harder than the real GMAT exam is.
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Knewton Course Rankings
Overall Score Improvement
68 points
International Student Score Improvement
75 points
Verbal
80%
Quant
80%
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