I posted a similar version of this message back in October, but I am excited to see Empower as an official GMAT Club partner so I am re-posting my review of the course in hopes to help others think of alternative study options to reach their score potential!
Summary of my background:
Undergrad: Top 50 school on East Coast
Major: Communications (i.e. non quant or STEM)
Career: A few years in financial services and currently working in education management
I literally studied for the GMAT for over a year. I originally signed up for a big test prep company (Manhattan GMAT) late in the summer of 2013 and took the full live course. I went to every session and tried to follow all the homework, but didn't feel like their course was the most appropriate learning technique for me. It was very formulaic and the concepts weren't breaking through for me. Nothing against my Manhattan instructor (he was excellent), I just felt like the group classes weren't the best learning environment for me as everyone in the class was at very different stages/ability levels at the time. In January of 2014 I scored a 600 on my first attempt (Q35, V37). Although not bad for a first attempt, I knew that this score wasn't really good enough to get into any of my dream schools in the top-15. While my verbal was in the 80%, my quant was really weak only in the 30th percentile range.
I took a month or two off and then started studying again in March. This time I tried to self-study and then use a professional "tutor" for some one-on-one instruction via Skype. Quant was my major weak area, and I tried to spend most of my time studying this section, but it seemed like I couldn't break through even with the tutors help. My approach to word problems was shaky and I didn't feel confident at all on DS. I took the exam for the 2nd time in June and scored a 610 (Q35 V38). I was devastated and started to think that a top GMAT score just wasn't in the cards for me.
Around the same time, I heard about EmpowerGMAT through a good friend of mine. She raved about the course so I decided to take the plunge and give it a shot as a sort of a last resort (I had already spent a lot of $$$ on GMAT Prep so I was very skeptical). I signed up in July 2014 and used Empower for approximately 3 months until I took my exam at the end of September 2014.
The Empower Quant modules literally changed everything for me! I finally started to understand how to approach and ATTACK problems. I finally got the idea that I needed to write everything on the pad and stop trying to do Math in my head.
Empower teaches you tactics of how to approach all types of problems to maximize efficiency on test day. Furthermore, it really goes into a lot of detail about question types and which ones really matter (in terms of your score) and which ones likely count for very little. This was huge for me as I was able to focus on the Quant topics that accounted for the highest point proportion and prioritize my studying time. This also gave me a much better idea of which questions I should be strategically eliminating on test day to remain on time as I always had a pacing problem on Quant as well. For the first time on Test Day, I was able to fully complete the Quant section without rushing to pick random answers at the end. I know this was huge in terms of my overall score on the section. As you can see I jumped from Q35 to Q47 in one exam which is a massive improvement.
The Verbal sections were very solid also. I was already pretty strong in this area, but I thought their SC framework helped me get sharper on identifying splits and errors. And they have a good fundamental approach to CR questions which I think is really valuable to those who may be struggling in that area of the test.
I knew from my practice that my scores would trend up but still wasn't expecting a 700 to be honest. I think that besides the actual tactical approach to the exam, I realized how important the mental aspect was. I started looking at the test as a challenge to attack! One of the best things Empower taught me is how to be MENTALLY FIT during the exam, ready to attack the test. I sat up straight, kept good posture, took my breaks, and did a few breathing exercises during the exam to keep me calm. To use Empower's line, I starting to think like an "assassin". I realized that although these small tricks may seem trivial, everything counts when you are trying to maximize your performance on a high-stakes exam such as the GMAT! As they say, luck is when preparation meets opportunity. I am a true believer of that after my GMAT journey.
I'm sharing my testimonial in hope that it convinces some of you to KEEP PUSHING and DON'T GIVE UP. I spent over a year studying for this exam and there were definite moments of serious self-doubt about whether I could do this (even though I have always done well in school). This exam for many is more about perseverance and dedication rather than luck and natural intelligence.
I hope you all continue to keep fighting on your journey and please consider using EMPOWER GMAT for your preparation (especially if you are someone like me who used other prep resources to no avail). EMPOWER was literally a GAME CHANGER for me and I know it can be for some others.
I applied to schools in the 2nd round this year and so far here are my results:
Yale (admitted with scholarship)
Michigan (admitted with scholarship)
Kellogg (still TBD)
All the best in your journey!
Was this review helpful to you? 31 out of 33 people found the following review helpful
Reading this just inspired me to study more than ever before! I've been dragging this GMAT since January and I've just been feeling almost discouraged really. Did my CAT and I got 430, I really want to hit that 700+ mark. And then I'll be fit to do the real exam
I stumbled upon empowergmat via their 5 days for 5$ event that they had back in June 2015 and wanted to try the course out as I was looking for study tips and tricks to improve from my 690 in my 2nd GMAT attempt. I wanted to reach 730+ but had already exhausted all the available resources. I enrolled myself for the 5$ event and I was surprised to see the the depth and clarity in their verbal video tutorials by Max and the follow up questions not only cemented what you learned in theory but also taught you about the common traps. After the first day itself I enrolled myself for 1 month and as they provide a month to month billing (highly transparent and helpful for short term commitment that I was looking for!), it proved to the boost that I needed to push my score from 690 to 750 in 1 month.
Max's appraoch to CR completely changed my thought process and it made me more confident of dealing with 700+ level questions. The SC approach was straightforward without the use of unnecessary grammatical jargons. RC was taught with an eye out for achieving maximum accuracy while not going abvoe the average time per question.
Rich's test it and triage approaches in quant not only helped me in undertsanding the various time saving strategies, these also helped me in understanding the mind of the test maker at GMAC.
All these strategies worked wonders for me in the actual GMAT and I was able to clearly see why the incorrect answers were incorrect. Once i had this undertsanding, i was more confident with my answers.
I would definitely recommend EMPOWERGMAT to retakers who are looking at a highly compressed preparation schedule that will give them amazing results.
Was this review helpful to you? 14 out of 14 people found the following review helpful
After taking the GMAT for the first time last December, I felt like even though I had a solid foundation for the material, my approach still needed a little work. I had already gone through the video lessons offered through Magoosh and learned the Quant basics in the Target Test Prep course leading up to my first attempt. I came away from my first test feeling alright, but like there had to be a better approach to the questions. I emailed Rich directly and asked him for some insight. He was glad to look over my enhanced score report and offer his thoughts on moving forward from there. He had mentioned the Test It method, and it definitely sparked my interest. I ended up going through the all of the lessons on the Test It and Test the Answer approach and review lessons offered through Empower a few times and ended up coming out of my second attempt 20 points higher! So much for not being able to improve an already over 700 score. I could not have done it without Empower's approach to questions. I was able to triage every question right away and get through the entire test. Thanks Rich!
I loved EMPOWERgmat for many reasons. First, the quality of the practice and the explanation videos was top-notch and conducive to efficient learning. Another thing I loved about it was that it was easy to customize - you could easily focus more on the topics that you needed help with over the ones that you had a better understanding of. Personally, as an undergraduate student, I appreciate online courses in which you can make your own schedule. Whenever I had a problem or an issue, the EMPOWERgmat team was extremely responsive and helpful. EMPOWERgmat helped bump my score up almost 100 points, and I would highly recommend to anyone taking the GMAT!
**Please note that my score is out of the new shortened version of the GMAT.
The score pops up. A flush of mixed emotions hit you immediately. You, telling yourself that you just wasted 3 months of prep because you took that "blue chip" course. You, telling yourself that you won't give up. That you will face the devil in the eye (which is really just an outdated HP monitor) until you achieve your desired goal.
Like you, I took the GMAT expecting a slightly higher score than my practice scores would suggest. Hitting that 720 gold standard, you feel it within arm's length reach, only when test date hits and you realize that the whole experience is a shady blur - just like when you stepped off a roller coaster ride...
Anguished. Dissapointed. Anxious. I reached out to one of the most active users on the forum - Rich Cohen from EmpowerGMAT. He gave me a few suggestions and tough love and we got started. Back to business.
Unlike most courses, Empower takes a different approach to the GMAT. It emphasizes efficiency throughout their curriculum. No more are you trying to worry about complicated coefficients in quadratic solutions or tinkering with a multitude of logical scenarios, only to find yourself scanning through the CR prompt - again, and again, and again.
My biggest takeaway from the course is the emphasis on reading. The course provides you guidelines to improve your reading technique. This ultimately helps with knowledge retention as reading comprehension has a much higher level of impact on your GMAT score than before the recent change.
Overall, I highly recommend those that are retaking the GMAT to give Empower a try. They have a 24 hour trial period that could ease you into the structure of the program. The total "retake" course that they provide should take a hungry, aspiring MBA candidate somewhere between 3 and 6 weeks to complete end to end.
Was this review helpful to you? 1 out of 1 people found the following review helpful
After 2 failed attempts and 20 months of frustration, i came across the gold dust of EMPOWERGMAT. After the last failed attempt (Sep 2017), I am determined to give one last attempt. During this time, i stumbled across some of the demo videos of EMPOWERGMAT and instantly thought that course would be a right fit for me. I got in touch with the Rich and the converstaion made me signup for the course. I signed up for the one month program. Their verbal strategy is very especially the small tips (which made a huge difference in my exam) given by Rich. Their explanation of the concepts are top notch.
Max's approach to the CR and SC has completely changed my thought process and RC was solely focussed on picking the right answer.
These clear methods made my preparation very easy and in the end made me reach my dream score of 720. I would recommend the course to every one
After a 610 on January 26th (2018), I have decided to purchase a month of the Empower Gmat course. Before, I did just the OG exercises, but they clearly weren't enough for me, since they only gave me the basics of the Gmat, not the solution to the most difficult questions.
Result after just more than a month: 670 (Q48 V34), and I am aware that my score could have been even higher.
Max and Rich teaching method is incredibly easy but very effective: many small lessons with exercises in between.
My passion for mathematics brought me to enjoy more the quant part than the verbal one, even though I had the most important increase in V (from 28 to 34).
(And their slogan “Gmat assassins aren’t born, they are made” is not just a slogan but a lesson to keep in mind while preparing for the Gmat).
I started my gmat training in January 2018. After reading about several GMAT prep companies I decided to give EMPOWER a shot. I have been very impressed with the results i have received. The tactics provided for the quant section helped me in reducing the time spent per question and raised my quant score significantly.
I was relatively weaker on the verbal section, and the CR box, and the reading pace suggestions really helped to improve my accuracy on RC and CR.
Overall I am very glad that i signed up for the course. Another big advantage of the course is that it allows everyone to study at their own pace. Though the recommended EMPOWER duration for GMAT prep is 3 months, i was only able to dedicate 7 weeks, and therefore the structure format of the course, allowed me to move faster and still cover the entire course materials.
I had studied the GMAT curriculum from a coaching institute earlier and that too for about 3 months. But when I started with the mocks, it got difficult for me to finish on time especially in the Verbal section as I always ended up missing questions. Also, in Quants my scaled score was completely stuck on a 42 out of 60. No matter how much I practiced, there wasn't any improvement somehow, barely a point or so. In my mocks I was always in the range of 550-600. I gave my GMAT and scored a 560. I knew no way to push my score as I had pretty much exhausted the Manhattan mocks and practiced from Official GMAT Prep, Veritas and sources. That's when I read about EmpowerGMAT online and enrolled for just a month as the college application deadlines were around the corner.
I must say EMPOWER has been my savior. Rich and Max taught me different ways to attack questions and how to save time. TEST IT technique in Quants worked wonders for me and my Quants score got pushed up. This technique actually helped me solve questions in less than a minute and earlier similar questions took at least 2 mins. TRIAGE technique has been a marvel. My score got pushed from a 560 to 690, all thanks to EMPOWER. The team is way quick with their reverts, whenever I had some issue or doubts, I mailed it to the team and got a revert in maximum 2 hours. This course is MUST for anyone aspiring for a high GMAT score! Kudos!
After about 1,5 month of thorough studying (Manhattan booklets, OG's) I took the GMAT. Real bummer, I scored a 530 (needed at least a 600). It was obvious that my approach wasn't effective at all, so I began to look for other online prep companies. I came across EMPOWERgmat. What I liked at first is that you can try it out for 24 hours and after that you pay a monthly fee of $99,- and that's it - you get acces to all the content and you can choose your x month study plan. I only had about a month so I chose the 1 month study plan. The content is simply great. EMPOWERgmat got the GMAT all figured out and knows exactly how it works. They arranged the topics in such order that you're optimally prepared upon test day. They have mini clinic videos - explaining the best techniques and tactics for a particular subject. Furthermore they back-up every question with a short, but powerful explanation video. For me it was almost fun, preparing for the GMAT this way, since I knew that everything I was doing, was the right thing at the right time. The support team is awesome as well. Whenever you have a question they almost immediately reply.
In my month of preparation with EMPOWERgmat I only got to finish about 40% of the content, but still got up 110 points - I mean that's just amazing. I firmly believe that if one completes all the content from EMPOWERgmat (preferably in a 3 month study plan - this gives you a life besides the GMAT), the 700 is an easy target.
I would recommend everyone to go with EMPOWERgmat, they are great!
(skipped AWA & IR)
Was this review helpful to you? 1 out of 2 people found the following review helpful
Hey Pieteeerr! Did you exclusively go through the videos and practice in Empower for your last month, or did you also do practice tests and OG problems sprinkled in there? I'm in a similar boat with only 1 week to go now... I studied thru all the Manhattan GMAT books and got a pretty disappointing score, 560... and need to up it as much as possible in the next week. Thanks in advance! A
2Commented by Pieteeerr on March 05, 2018
I also did the practice tests and OG problems that were in the course content. I did however occasionally skip a practice test or did it somewhat later, so I could focus on practicing some concepts I still found hard.
If you have just a week left, I'd advise to go to the TRIAGE clinic first. It's a simple, short, but very effective strategy.
3Commented by angelayee on March 06, 2018
Thanks Pieteeerr! I'll keep plugging away, and will refer to the triage clinics in the next couple days!