|All Reviews > Cliff Smith > Cliff Smith Reviews|
Joined: Jun 25, 2018
720 Q48 V42
Improvement 110 Points
Instructor Cliff Smith
Location Indianapolis, IN USA
Total improvement 610 to 720
I originally signed up for private tutoring with a different GMAT test prep company, but after extensive work with their materials and the tutor, my score was still very far from my target. I had chosen to try to get ahead of the process knowing I still had a couple years before I applied. So I decided after months of prep and no improvement to delay it.
Two years later I decided it was time to try again, this time I signed up for private tutoring with Cliff at Veritas. What a difference this made. Their materials were much more direct and focused on how to "think like the test maker" - essentially how to play their game. Veritas' materials are centered on the logic behind the test. They teach/refresh you on the core knowledge you need then have you take a more holistic approach. No need to memorize extensive grammar colloquialisms or obscure formulas. The sentence correction section was by far my worst area the first time around, I could write well, but never enjoyed grammar. As soon as Veritas had me look at it from a logical standpoint it was like something clicked, it almost turned into a game. That subsection of my score (broken out separate from CR and RC by my ESR) jumped up to a 45. Overall my verbal section improved from a 31 to a 42 (with CR 44, RC 38) and the second half of the section I did not miss a single question.
Cliff was a calming presence that did not let me discount my ability to achieve the score I wanted. Even when I told him I had a 610, after already studying with another company, and I was aiming for above 700. He showed me tips and tricks beyond the books and online videos. He provided additional strategies on how to approach the problems that were very helpful. But most of all he felt like someone in my corner reminding me to keep pushing for the score I wanted.
My tips: do all of the skill builders, even in areas you are familiar with. They highlight shortcuts/different ways to solve that will increase your speed so you can use your time on harder questions. Watch the on demand videos but also make sure to read the books they provide. The videos are a good summary, but the books go into more detail and really expose common questions with several approaches. Its also helpful to go back through them a second time once you've "learned" all of the material. On my actual test I saw several questions that looked like they were directly out of the books I studied from with the numbers replaced, so on those questions I could smile and move forward in a very short period of time. Finally, make sure you take an OG practice test (or several), there are a few subtle nuances between how some of the questions are written particularly for CR. Veritas will give you the foundation you need, you'll just approach some problems over prepared when the answer is much simpler than what you've seen with your study material.
Improvement 130 Points
Instructor Cliff Smith
Location San Jose (Milpitas), CA USA
I have taken Veritas Prep with Cliff Smith twice. First time was back in 2003 where I scored a 710 after taking his class. Second time was in 2013 when I scored a 740 after taking his class. He is incredibly patient and focused on the key topics and strategies to take you to that next level. His Cliff's Notes are incredibly helpful on topics you haven't learned in 10+ years. Most of all, he is very supportive and responsive to questions and concerns when things aren't going well. I ended up having to take the GMAT twice this time around because I did not get the score I wanted on the first attempt. He helped me diagnose what might have happened to me on the actual exam and I went back, retook it a month later and got the score I wanted. Thank you Cliff!