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eGMAT Verbal Live Prep was the reason why I was able to show 100 point increase over the course of my 3 attempts, going from V30 to V44 in 10 months. I did start my verbal live prep program on recommendations online and after trying it out for free, I was sure that this is a good investment. I gave my GMAT prep 1st CAT and scored very low in verbal and I could see that I needed help with verbal. As soon as I had enrolled in eGMAT Verbal Live Prep (VLP), I was provided with a very detailed and systematic study plan that I should follow. This plan kept me in check all throughout and made sure that the proper foundations were laid before advanced concepts were introduced. I have no qualms in accepting the fact that I could have obtained a good score in my 1st attempt itself had I not deviated from the methods taught by eGMAT. The tutors were very helpful be it moderating strategy sessions, providing lectures via pre recorded videos or answering to the questions posted on online forums and their own question forums. The articles covering various concepts in SC, CR and RC were very well written and have been appreciated by many online forum goers.
I started with SC and I was amazed to see how seemingly straightforward concepts such as subject verb agreement, modifier and parallelism could be used to make difficult questions. Herein lies eGMAT’s greatest strength: to break down seemingly impossible to understand SC prompts into smaller segments and then analyze in detail each component of the sentence. The videos started with simple concepts and then finally went onto more advanced concepts such as modifiers and parallelism. As a non-native English speaker with exposure to English from a very early age, I was confident with my grammar rules but I was proven wrong by the diagnostic GMATPREP CAT. eGMAT showed that there is a method and logic behind every step even in SC and that if you are systematic with your approach , you can tackle toughest of SC questions with absolute ease. The insistence on understanding the meaning of SC prompts removed my fear of completely underlined sentences and led me to high timed accuracy in OG,GPREP qbank and exam pack 1. I realized the importance of following a set method to tackle a particular question type only after my 1st attempt, until when I used to employ brute force methods. eGMAT showed me that there was elegance in the ways to tackle the different questions types and subtypes. The videos were very clear, I was able to play them on any media be it windows or iOS without any issues, pre and post assessment quizzes were of particular help in understanding what needs to be focused on. One of the most useful things in their videos was the ability to see the “summary” slide that will summarize the contents of the preceding video.
Once I got a grasp of SC, I moved onto CR, following their detailed schedule and again saw that there was set method to every CR question type. The focus on understanding the conclusion, how premises relate to the conclusion, “PRETHINKING”, “NEGATION TECHNIQUE” etc techniques were hugely helpful. The videos started with the topic at hand, followed by some very thoughtfully crafted question to cement what was covered in the videos. Prethinking enabled me to understand the scope of the question, the relationships between elements in the CR prompt and understand why the incorrect answer choices were incorrect. In GMAT, every incorrect question is wrong for a particular/solid reason. If you are eliminating a choice without that reason, you will end up choosing incorrect options. eGMAT CR provided the tools to understand why is an option incorrect, be it out of scope, similarly worded but incorrect option, partially correct options, opposite choice etc. Unless you understand how GMAT can give you incorrect options based on above reasons, you will not be confident in choosing an answer (my situation in the 1st attempt). Again, I only realized the importance of applying a set method just before my 2nd attempt. eGMAT’s focus on breaking down any argument into its respective elements, understanding the linkages and prethinking provided you 70% of the total work required for answering a question correctly. Rest 30% would come from POE of options provided. I was able to increase my accuracy in OG CR questions from 55% to 90%+ with eGMAT’s CR module.
The 3rd step was finishing the RC module which again taught a couple of useful tactics to be an active reader and to be involved with the passage. eGMAT RC also provided the tools to understand why is an option incorrect, be it out of scope, similarly worded but incorrect option, partially correct options, opposite choice etc. Once you became fully engrossed with the passage (by following eGMAT’s advice), finding the correct answer via POE became very straightforward.
Finally, VLP also included IR (for free) which is a nice gesture on eGMAT’s part. The IR module videos dealt with all the different question types and provided good practice with end of the video practices.
I don’t think this review will be complete without talking about this new tool that eGMAT has come out with and is included in eGMAT VLP (as of writing this review). It is called scholaranium and is an absolute must to complement verbal practice from OG and GMATPREP. Scholaranium comes with an “ability” evaluation technique that tells where exactly do you stand (percentile wise) for a particular section (SC or CR or RC) or verbal (all sections combined). This was a very useful tool for me as I was able to do targeted practice for areas I was faltering on. I used to use scholaranium to hone my skills via sectional quizzes and even sub sectional targeted practice. The collection of 600+ questions is an amazingly crafted collection consisting of questions from 3 difficulty levels. The explanations are very detailed and are provided for all the questions and you can even post your doubts and one of the eGMAT experts will respond to your doubts soon enough.
The live sessions were very useful starting from the strategy sessions with Rajat to content based SC/CR and RC sessions. These live sessions would be repeated every month, so if you missed out 1 recording, you could go back and review it under your account page. The questions cited, reviewed and discussed during these sessions were very demanding and thought provoking. These sessions complement very well the course content presented via SC, CR and RC modules.
As for pricing is concerned, I believe eGMAT is the best online course available that is total worth the money you spent. It is cheaper than the other course providers but is definitely not lacking in any quality of content. The quantity of questions should be close to 2500 and all are high quality questions. Additionally as VLP has a validity of 6 months, I had to renew it twice but was provided a discounted price by eGMAT and really appreciate this.
To summarize, eGMAT VLP is a definite buy for non native English speakers as they understand the needs of these non native speakers and have the course tailored for them.
Although, I did select Payal under the "Instructor Name" but this shout out goes out to the entire eGMAT team. Keep up the great work you guys are doing.
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.
eGMAT quant live prep has lived up to the expectations that were created back in August 2014. The main goal of quant live prep being to push people towards scores of 50 or 51 when they are scoring 48+ in quant. This has been evident from the mock scores that I have been able to achieve be it GMATPREP (test 1: q 50, test 2: q 51).
As a part of the one of the most represented groups taking part in the MBA admission process in USA (Indian engineers ), quant comes naturally to most of us, though not many are able to score 50 or 51. eGMAT quant live prep starts with the very basics and does not assume prior knowledge of concepts of quant. This is probably their strongest point. We all know what are prime numbers, factors , multiples etc but to apply them in an official question is a whole different ball game. I admit that I did buy the course back in August itself when it was launched but the course structure did not impress me. Quant live prep 2.0 has now shown that the eGMAT team is actively looking into making the course easy to understand. There is a study plan for the entire course and it starts with the basics of a concept covered. Questions following the concept are of very high quality and they force you to think and apply the concepts learnt. The live sessions are very helpful in reinforcing the very concepts learnt. One last impressive thing about the course is the prompt replies that you get when you post questions in the eGMAT forums.
Although the course is still in its infancy but the team has done a very good job of removing fear of GMAT quant that many people have.
I got GMATCLUB tests by paying for the 6 month subscription back in 2014 but then I had to extend the subscription for 50% off (due to premium membership) as I had to push out my GMAT plans for 6-8 months later. I think everyone considers Bunuel one of the best GMAT Quant experts if not the best one. He has compiled some quality questions in both his signature collections and the GMATCLUB tests.
1. Excellent source for targeted practice (by difficulty level or by topic/sub-topic).
2. Useful to review questions that you got incorrect or spent too much time on.
3. Ability to select just quant or verbal separately to evaluate if you manage your time well for 37 or 41 questions in 1 practice session.
4. Ability to select number of questions in a given practice session, timed/untimed.
5. Interface is very similar to what you will get in actual GMAT. This familiarity to the interface is a very important aspect of training yourself for the real thing.
6. Interface for the practice/mock CAT gives you the same options that you get in GMATPREP (pause the exam if you want to, same shortcuts applicable as those in the GMATPREP software etc.)
7. Great number of questions for both verbal and quant.
8. Great pricing and collection of perks that you get with GMATCLUB test subscriptions.
1. Although @bb and @bunuel have gotten the algorithm tweaked a few times, but I felt that the algorithm wasn't really adaptive when I chose to go for quant only CATs. I saw majority of the questions (sometimes 34-35 out of 37 as 700+ level questions). IMHO, GMAT throws a lot more of the other difficulty levels to come up with the correct sectional score.
2. Verbal for GMATCLUB tests still lacks good quality questions and as such I stayed away from the verbal questions in the GMATCLUB tests.
Thank you for your review - I feel you have taken the tests a little while ago (perhaps pre Sept 2015?) Algorithm was updated to provide for a greater variety of difficulties (creating more paranoia and emulating the concept of experimental GMAT questions). This works both ways - those who score high still get easy questions and those who score low, still get hard questions. I know it is diabolical, but I can't help it :-)
Hi bb ,
Thank you for your comment. Yes, my comments are based on the version of GMATCLUB tests that was before 7th August, 2015.
REVIEWER IDENTITY VERIFIED by score report [?]
*Please note that I worked with Greg Guglielmo while he was a consultant with Critical Square*
"It all started back in June 2015 when I gave my 2nd GMAT. I scored a 690 and knew I had blown away my chance of getting into a top 10 MBA school. I come from an overly represented group of applicants. Thus, a GMAT score less than the higher end of school averages will not cut it for me. Even though I knew what the consultants will be saying about my profile with my current GMAT score, I posted my profile for evaluation on GMATCLUB. I got replies from many distinguished admission consulting firms. Of note, were 5 replies that caught my attention by the depth and clarity of their replies. This then created my shortlist. Now I had to select that 1 and postponed this decision to after my final GMAT attempt. I scheduled my next GMAT for August and was hoping to close GMAT for good then. Luckily, I was able to get the desired score and posted the update to my already-replied-to post on GMATCLUB. The next day onward I scheduled 30 minute free consultations with 6 admissions consultancies over the course of next 1-1.5 weeks. I vetted out major consultants and zeroed in on critical square based on the depth of their responses on my profile evaluation post on GC, clarity and process as explained to me by my would be client manager. The following points made my decision for me:
1. One question that clinched for me was the answer to "based on my profile etc, what are the chances to these (my list of 5 schools)." Response from Critical Square's client manager (Greg Guglielmo) was the most honest and straightforward one. I didnt want to work with a company that will give me false hopes, only to come crashing down later. Greg told me that the schools of my choice (all M7) will all be extremely difficult but not impossible given my educational and professional background. That being said, I understood the process on the very first call, leading to a better clarity on what was expected to get in a really great application package. The call lasted 1.5 hour instead of the scheduled 30 minutes and the client manager made sure that all my doubts were answered.
2. When I told Greg Guglielmo during our free consultation call that another ABC firm is offering with 40% discounts on their regular pricing, I was told that Critical square is aware and confident of its methods and thus there wont be any discounts. This only showed to me that these people do not waste anyone's time and as a paying customer, I went in with their 5 school package.
3. Pricing structure is very easy to follow and does not have the hidden costs, very transparent with addition of schools (1 price that does not change with number of schools added and when in the process!) and they do not have a "rush hour" pricing unlike other competitors (more on this later in the review).
4. Greg Guglielmo did not try to talk me out of the choice of my schools but made sure that we will have a good method of attack for whatever schools I want to apply to.
Applications: As mentioned before, I come from an overly represented group and as I was very interested in doing everything I can in getting that admit, weaving my past experience of an engineer in aerospace industry to go into a consulting role post MBA would play a massive role in how good a candidate adcoms will consider me. As an aerospace engineer, I was leading geographically, culturally and functionally diverse teams of engineers on multiple projects. This provided a good platform in talking about how MBA will help me in achieving my goals. I had the major variables already in place, it was just a matter of coming up with a coherent application story that will provide confidence to the adcoms of my success post MBA.
Now to the crux of this review, Greg Guglielmo’s process.
Once I decided on Critical Square, I was assigned the same client manager with whom I had spoken to during the free consultation call. This saved me a day or two (important in the grand scheme of things as I only had a month to submit 5 applications in R1) in bringing a new manager upto speed with what my thoughts. I went ahead with a purchase of their 4 school comprehensive plan (I was planning to add 2 schools later and I would have been fine doing this as Critical square follows a 1 price school addition price model). I went for the comprehensive (Tier 3) package as I didn’t want to be constrained by number of edits or number of times I can reach out to my client manager.
Do note that none of the admissions consultancies will write anything for you. As an applicant you must do the work yourself. At most, the consultants will help you in using the correct verbiage and provide the best way of putting the same thought forward. I made sure to choose what I thought was the main idea and tone behind the different essays. It will always be your work and not of your client manager's. As I had given my GMAT in August, the list of schools that I had gone ahead were Kellogg, Booth, Wharton, CBS, MIT and NYU. I was told in our first conversation that as Booth's deadline is less 3 weeks away, I had to push Booth to R2. We dropped MIT as a combined strategic decision while bringing in Ross for R1. I was clearly explained that by keeping Booth, we will end up messing up the other R1 applications. After this strategic session, there were a couple of more calls with the client manager to chalk about a plan of attack as there were 3 weeks left for the first application. I was also provided a very detailed questionnaire that had ~30 questions and took me close to 8 hours to complete as I knew doing this exercise will help me understand answers to questions such as why MBA, why now, strengths and weaknesses.
Once we had that figured out, I was asked to start bringing my recommenders up to speed with the process. Greg Guglielmo helped me in compiling a list of questions (most of the schools now ask same questions although with different word limits) and typical responses. I did tell my client manager that I wont be helping my recommenders in writing the recommendation as it is against the sanctity of the process. All these things had taken another week out of my applications leaving me with almost 2-2.5 weeks for 4 schools (Kellogg, Wharton, Ross (all R1) and CBS(ED)). The client manager and I created a very aggressive schedule in which I worked on close to 50 drafts of essays, and 5 drafts of resume. All these drafts were required as my initial drafts were either not answering the essay prompt or were too verbose. Although Greg Guglielmo was working with me as his 1st client (he did work in admissions at his bschool), I was fine with not working with a more experienced consultant as new hires usually work the hardest to impress the clients (professional experience!).
Few points that only made me more confident and glad that I had the support of Greg all along:
1. Comments on my drafts by Greg were top notch; very particular and even included links to places where I would be get the desired answers. I was very ably guided all along via regular and prompt emails. Without these comments, it would have taken me atleast twice of what it actually took to submit even 1 application. Prompt email replies is something I truly appreciate as a working professional as it alleviates stress to a very large amount.
2. The most important point: the time-frame for getting the comments back usually used to be <1 day (sometimes even a few hours). I never had any round of comments sent after 2 days. Critical square and Greg did not charge me extra for providing such prompt service. I used to work on my drafts till 1 AM and would get up at 6 AM only to find comments back from the client manager.
4. Greg Guglielmo would schedule weekly calls as the schedules were tight to discuss plan of action for the next week. We would discuss at length any of his comments that I would think should be answered in a different way. I did not use to incorporate all the comments but will have a good conversation with the client manager as to what should be provided to convey what I was thinking.
5. The mastery of language and ability to reduce my initial drafts by more than 400 words even was just amazing.
At the end, I did not miss a single deadline and made sure that all my documentation (essays, online applications, and recommendation letters) were submitted on time and were of highest quality possible. Greg completely understood the urgency that was required in meeting my application goals.
After submitting my R1 applications, we started working on R2 applications (Stern and Booth). In the meantime, I got interview calls from CBS, Wharton and Kellogg. Greg Guglielmo made sure that I was well prepared by scheduling 2 mock interviews before each school with 2 different people from the company so that I get to know different perspectives. Good thing is that the feedback that you get is actionable and can even ask for more sessions if needed. Final result was that I was admitted to Kellogg for class of 2018. Although, I was dinged after interview at CBS and Wharton, I am sure that the help provided to me by Greg Guglielmo was instrumental in getting those interview calls in the first place; especially at Wharton and Columbia where they have tons of engineers with my background applying every single year.
This review will not be a complete evaluation of Critical Square, unless a few suggestions/recommendations for improvements are not provided.
To summarize, my investment in Critical Square and Greg Guglielmo was worth the cost, effort put in all along made me more aware of the entire application process and provided me better insights into my strengths. Definitely and whole heartedly recommend Greg Guglielmo for MBA applications.