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Author Message
Director
Status: Professional GMAT Tutor
Affiliations: AB, cum laude, Harvard University (Class of '02)
Joined: 10 Jul 2015
Posts: 773
Location: United States (CA)
Age: 40
GMAT 1: 770 Q47 V48
GMAT 2: 730 Q44 V47
GMAT 3: 750 Q50 V42
GRE 1: Q168 V169
WE: Education (Education)

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08 Oct 2017, 18:01
2
Top Contributor
I'm a Harvard grad, 99% GMAT scorer and professional GMAT tutor since 2002. I understand that my rates are not affordable for most students, so here is a quick guide to finding a great GMAT tutor at an affordable price.

1) How many years and hours of experience do you have? Are you part-time or full-time?

Notice that I said years and hours. I’ve always thought that having “x years of experience” at anything is a very misleading statistic. If I practice piano 1 hour per year for 20 years, then that means that I technically have 20 years of piano-playing experience…but I still won't be very good at piano, of course. That's why total hours of experience matter far more than total years of experience--and it is generally accepted that one needs at least 10,000 hours of practice to become a master at anything. Who wants to trust their scores to a "hobbyist" GMAT tutor?

2) How many students have you tutored? What types of scores/improvements have they achieved?

There is nothing wrong with a tutor who teaches other subjects such as the GRE, LSAT, SAT or ACT--these tests all have similarities, and having additional teaching experience is always a good thing--but you also want to find someone who has significant experience with the GMAT exam specifically--one who has worked with a wide variety of students at all score ranges.

An average GMAT score improvement is somewhere between 50-200 points, depending on the starting score. Beware tutors who make outrageous promises of massive score improvements--improvements of 250 points or more are possible, but extremely unrealistic. Remember the adage: if it seems to good to be true, then it probably is.

3) Do you have telephone references?

This is a good question to ask immediately after your tutor starts boasting of his/her students' average score improvements. Don’t take the tutor’s word for it—insist on finding personal references who can back up the tutor’s claims. Most skilled GMAT tutors will have former satisfied clients who are willing to divulge their identities for the purpose of serving as a reference. Just make sure that you’re not contacting the tutor’s brother, sister, mother, best friend, co-worker, roommate, etc--it needs to be an actual GMAT student who doesn't have a prior relationship with the tutor. Also, don't settle for an email--insist on a phone call, since a phone reference is easier to verify.

4) How many times have you taken the GMAT? When was the last time you took the test?

This is an important one. Can you believe that many GMAT instructors for the top companies have never even taken the test themselves? Having a great (700+) GMAT score is not a guarantee of a great tutor, but great GMAT tutors should be able to score at least 700 consistently…and prove it. Recent scores are important, too. If the last time the tutor took the test was 10 years ago, for example, then those scores can't be trusted--the GMAT has changed a great deal since then, and it has become much more difficult, which is why GMAT scores older than 5 years old are no longer valid. You want a tutor who is fully up-to-date with all the exam changes.

5) What were your own scores on the GMAT?

A skilled GMAT Verbal tutor should be able to score at least 40/51. A skilled Quant tutor should be able to score at least 45/51. Perhaps more importantly, however, your GMAT tutor must have met or exceeded the scores that you are trying to achieve.

6) May I please see a copy of your personal score report?

There are plenty of tutors out there who claim perfect 800 scores, for example…but very few of them are actually willing to verify their scores and/or share their score reports with you. Why is that? Well, why do you think? I suggest that you either utilize the “verified GMAT score” feature on GMAT Club, if your tutor has a GMAT Club profile, or ask the tutor to provide you with the link to his/her personal score report, which you can access with the tutor’s date of birth. This score report will show all tests taken (and cancelled scores) within the last 5 years.

By the way, I wouldn't trust a picture of the tutor's GMAT score, or a PDF, or any sort of digital document that is provided by the tutor or hosted on the tutor's own website. In the computer age, photos and PDFs can easily be doctored. Don't settle for anything less than the tutor's official student score report! The tutor should be able to provide you with a unique URL that directs you to the Pearson Vue website, where you can securely download a PDF file of your tutor's student score report. If your tutor is telling the truth about his/her scores, then he/she should have nothing to hide.

7) Do I have to pay for multiple hours up-front? Are you open to negotiation on your rates?

Beware the GMAT tutor who requires you to commit to a big package of hours up-front. Skilled, experienced GMAT tutors will be willing to earn your trust by allowing you to "pay as you go."

As far as negotiating a lower price, it doesn't hurt to ask. Most of the best GMAT tutors are self-employed, so if it's a slow time of year for tutoring, then your GMAT tutor might be willing to cut you a deal. The worst the tutor can say is no, so it's certainly worth a shot. Many tutors are willing to negotiate a lower rate in exchange for up-front payment, for example...but make sure to meet with your tutor for a trial lesson before you commit to a pre-paid package of hours.

Good luck!

-Brian

Moderator: DisciplinedPrep