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Master GMAT course review

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Status: Duke!
Joined: 20 Jan 2012
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GMAT 1: 710 Q49 V38
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Master GMAT course review [#permalink]

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New post 15 Feb 2012, 06:41
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I would like to share with you my thoughts about the Master GMAT prep course. I've tried adding it to here, but the list does not contain Master GMAT as an option.

I'll start from the end - this course did a great job on teaching me towards the GMAT. While it lacks on some fields, it is still recommended (with an exception).
Don't hesitate to post your questions - I'll gladly help with what I can and know.

* online system is a great way to work on YOUR own pace, emphasizing on the things you're weak and quickly skipping the things you master (adaptive course!).
* All answers have explanations, both correct and wrong.
* Works on timing on most questions.
* Bite size lessons, easy digestible.
* User interface looks great, very appealing and friendly. Makes you feel that you're playing, not busting your ass on questions...
* Increasing level of difficulty.

* Practice tests seem to be a bit easier than the real GMAT, especially in the verbal part.
* Summaries are inconvenient to work with.
* Takes time to getting used to the system deciding what will be the next topic\set of questions (you can choose on your own, if you want).
* Reading comprehension passages appear again and again, making you familiar with them.

Detailed Review:
The MasterGMAT course is composed of 2 layers - the online system, in which you learn new lessons and practice, and the live tutoring, which includes a live session (telephone, Skype, face2face) with one of the instructors. The online system went through several major changes while I was taking the course, mostly on the GUI and usability side, and I will relate to its state at the moment (February 2012).
Each time you take a lesson, you have to decide how long it will be (5-60 minutes) and what you will learn (quant, verbal or both).
After you decide on the above, you are given the opportunity to select between learning new stuff or practicing old stuff.

The teaching of new stuff is composed of bite size lessons that teach you everything you need to know. Every time you read an explanation and presses [Next], another text-box appears below the current one, and more new information is revealed. This way you're not overwhelmed by masses of information on one hand, but you can still go back and re-read the beginning of the lesson, on the other hand.

A summary of each of the lessons you took appear on the main page of your profile, and you can go back and read everything. One thing that really annoyed me is that the summaries are not sorted by types (quant, verbal) nor by topics (geometry, SC). It is just a long list of lessons, sorted by date. Since there are dozens of lessons (probably 150-200), it is really a pain in the ass finding the one you're looking for. In addition, the website is all flash based, so you can't even use the browser "Search" to find things.
After two weeks of using the system, I've decided to let go of the summaries and started making my own ones, written on paper. On 95% of time I used my summaries and not theirs. I should add that writing down things help me memorize and understand it, so It was another reason for me to go on with writing down my summaries.

As you advance, more topics are taught. After each new topic you are given the chance to exercise it, first with easy stuff and assuming you succeed, with harder questions.
Each question is displayed in a GMAT style, and you can rate how sure you are in your selection. In addition, on most questions an icon of a clock is shown, and after you select the answer, you are requested to estimate how much did it take you to solve. This way you practice a lot on timing issues, and eventually you develop the feeling of "I solved it quickly" or "this is taking me too much time", without even looking at the actual timer.
Whether you are right or wrong, an explanation appears. If you're wrong, the explanation will not reveal the correct answer, but will show why you're wrong and will give you a hint on what to do, and you'll be asked to answer again until you find the correct answer.
What I really liked is that even when you answer correctly, you can still go over the other possible answers ans see why they are wrong. On "Sentence Correction" and "Data Sufficiency" questions it really helps you learn fast.

Sentence Correction - My biggest criticism is that the SC seems to be much easier then the real GMAT. I found out about it only after taking the real test, though. I learned a lot from the SC lessons, and did most of the questions quite good, but the GMATPrep and the real test were harder. Maybe that's just me, but It surely disappointed me.

The "Reading Comprehension" section on MasterGMAT shows you the way to efficiently deal with texts. While the method works well, by the time you reach the 50%-60% mark on the course you'll already be familiar with most of the reading texts. By the time you reach the 80%, it becomes useless to re-read and write a summary of each as you surely know the main theme and ideas that are talked about in most of the passages. They have like 20 different passages, but after answering (different) questions again and again on the same ones, 20 doesn't seem like a lot.

The user Interface looks cool and clean, with colors on the things you should really notice. In general I find it good, but it lacks in usability. Some buttons are too small to press, some text doesn't show in full (lines are truncated) and other minor bugs. I feel that this is sort of childhood sicknesses because of the major change they have undergo in the past few months. One of the most annoying bugs appear on the summaries section, as I previously mentioned.

Live support - You can e-mail them with questions about the lessons and the problems you solved. Usually they answer within 2 days. In addition, you can setup an online meeting to work on a specific issue. I've done this three times, and it was nice. On the first time I've asked the instructor to give me his overall impression regarding my strengths and weaknesses, and turns out the system lists all these things, it just doesn't show it to the student. I wish this data would be available without asking, as you can learn a lot from it.
I also had my essays graded - nice feedback, short and to the point. The templates they teach you are great!

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Joined: 06 Oct 2011
Posts: 165

Kudos [?]: 65 [0], given: 10

Schools: Wharton '15, CBS '15
GMAT Date: 06-30-2012
GPA: 3.7
WE: Accounting (Insurance)
Re: Master GMAT course review [#permalink]

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New post 15 Feb 2012, 08:01
This is so helpful! Would you recommend them for quant? i know the verbal questions are easier than on the real exam ... is the same true for quant?

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Re: Master GMAT course review   [#permalink] 15 Feb 2012, 08:01
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