Best GMAT Prep Courses for 2017

We outline the features and prices of the best GMAT Prep Courses

GMAT Test Prep

The GMAT is a tough exam, challenging the might of your mind - this is why it's a good idea to participate in the best GMAT prep course. After all, the GMATs, which are typically required for business graduate schools, unlock the doors to a lot of colleges.

However, what is the best GMAT prep course? Well, I'm going to tell you off the bat that you should be looking at the Kaplan GMAT preparation course, which will definitely help you overcome the GMAT.

Best GMAT Prep Courses for 2017 [INSERT_IMAGE]

Should I Take a GMAT Preparation Course?

Yes! You should indeed take a GMAT preparation course. The GMATs can be incredibly tough if you're not prepared, and sometimes self-preparation - if not granted the right tools - may not work out well. A GMAT Preparation Course will help you excel in areas you are weak in.

I recommend Kaplan as your GMAT prep provider because it features the exclusive GMAT Channel, which provides you with live instruction online by only the highest-rated faculty, the Official Test Day Experience, which allows you to take a practice GMAT test at an actual Pearson VUE GMAT testing facility to help you prepare for test day, and nine full-length computer adaptive GMAT practice tests, complete with over 5,000 practice questions.

GRE vs GMAT

You might be asking: what's the difference between the GRE and the GMAT? Well, there are a few differences, but the main difference lies in the focus and purpose.

The GMAT is primarily used in the business school application process, while the GRE is used for other graduate majors. However, quite a few programs give you the option of applying for school using either test. You should always choose the test that feels easiest for you. Here are the main differences between the two:

GMAT

Four Subjects: Analytical Writing Assessment (one topic), Integrated Reasoning (12 questions), Quantitative (37 questions), and Verbal (41 questions)

Total Exam Time: Three hours and 30 minutes

Question Types: Analysis of Argument, Multi-Source, Reasoning, Graphics, Interpretation, Two-Part Analysis, and Table Analysis

GRE

Five Sections: Analytical Writing Measure (two topics), two Quantitative sections (40 total questions), and two Verbal sections (40 total questions)

Total Exam Time: Three hours and 10 minutes

Question Types: Analyze an Issue, Analyze an Argument, Multiple-Choice: Select One, Multiple-Choice: Select One or More, Numeric Entry, Quantitative, Comparison, Text Completion, Sentence Equivalence, Reading, and Comprehension.

Determining the Best GMAT Prep Course

There are many factors that I used in determining the best GMAT prep course, ranging from the quality of the GMAT sample questions to the overall quality of the GMAT prep. Here are just some of the major factors used in deciding what service is best.

Practice Tests

How are the practice tests? What does the service offer in terms of tests? Are there free options as well as paid options? Are there full, detailed explanations with every question?

The best service at least has a full exam available, complete with analysis and details on how to improve. Even better is that the exam is proctored and as realistic as the actual experience granted to you by the GMAT. Kaplan provides you with all of that and more, including a quiz bank, flash cards, and The GMAT Channel.

Admissions

Does the service also offer mock interviews and other methods to help you with completing the admissions application? Is there a blog dedicated to the admissions process at the graduate business school?

Only the best services provide such an option.

Study Delivery

What delivery options does the service provide? This is a factor I considered while making the decision for the best GMAT prep courses. The service would offer not only a Live Online option but also an In Person Option. Even better is that the service provides you with a Self-Prep option, as well as private tutoring. This makes Kaplan a top tier service.

Prep Materials

How you prepare makes all the difference in the world. Preparing correctly means more efficient studying, which will undoubtedly increase your score. So how the service prepares you is rather dependent on what it offers in terms of prep coursework. For instance, Kaplan provides you with The GMAT Channel as well as SmartReports, which will analyze your weaknesses and help you improve. The more customizable the service is, the better.

Customer Support

Of course, with every business is customer support. The customer is the lifeblood of the organization: without the customer, the organization would simply die.

So how the service handles its customers is a major factor. Are the representatives kind and caring? Are the instructors top-tier? Are most, if not all, of the customers satisfied with their experience? What are all the avenues a customer can use in order to contact the service? Social media, email, phone, and live chat are just some of the important outlets a service should offer.

Best GMAT Prep Course - Kaplan GMAT Courses

Kaplan constantly innovates its content in order to suit the needs of the student. Recently, Kaplan added more exclusive features and in-depth content to its highly-rated GMAT prep courses. Here is a quick overview of what is available in terms of prep courses:

In Person

You'll receive 48 hours of live interactive teaching from only the best instructors - this includes The GMAT Channel and six three-hour sessions. Not only that, but you'll be able to take advantage of the New Study Plan that will provide you with a personalized experience.

You'll also have access to the Official Test Day Experience, over 140 hours of instruction and practice, over 5,000 questions to practice with, and nine full-length and realistic computer adaptive tests. Finally, you'll receive the GMAT Premier: Course Book Edition and GMAT Pocket Reference, as well as the complete Start-to-Finish Admissions Guide.

In Person Plus

Everything in the In Person package is included in In Person Plus, as well as three hours of one-on-one time with a GMAT expert and the Self-Paced GMAT Math Foundations course.

Live Online

You'll get over 48 hours of live interactive teaching, the Official Test Day Experience, and access to both the New Study Plan and The GMAT Channel. You'll be able to practice with over 140 hours of instruction and practice, over 5,000 practice questions, and nine full-length CATs. Like the In Person package, you'll receive the GMAT Premier: Course Book Edition, GMAT Pocket Reference, and the Complete Start-to-Finish MBA Admissions Guide.

Live Online Plus

With this package, you'll experience everything Live Online has to offer, plus three hours of one-on-one time with a GMAT expert. You'll also be able to take advantage of the Self-Paced GMAT Math Foundations course.

Self-Paced

With the Self-Paced package, you'll receive 13 video sessions with instruction, 30 recorded GMAT Channel lessons, and support via email from instructors. Included is the Official Test Day Experience and over 140 hours of instruction and practice, including over 5,000 practice questions and nine full-length CATs.

Finally, you'll receive the GMAT Premier: Course Book Edition and GMAT Pocket Reference, as well as the MBA Admissions Guide.

Self-Paced Plus

You'll obtain everything that is contained in the Self-Paced Course, as well as access to The GMAT Channel and the Self-Paced GMAT Math Foundations course.

Private Tutoring

Finally, there is private tutoring available, which includes a full In Person or Live Online course, as well as the ability to create a customized study plan. You'll be meeting your tutor either in person at a convenient location near your or online. Packages range from 15 hours to 35 hours.

Best GMAT Prep Books

So what happens to be the best GMAT prep books that you can possibly buy? It's always good to supplement your tutoring and coursework with bookwork.

Complete GMAT Strategy Guide Set

From the Manhattan Prep, the guides place emphasis on learning every concept that is within the scope of the GMAT. The test questions are also highly indicative of the GMAT test format.

Unfortunately, the questions tend to be harder than what is found on the actual GMAT exams. Yet, for covering concepts in extensive detail, the Complete GMAT Strategy Guide Set is a good choice.

2017 Official Guide Bundle

From the official GMAT board, this bundle features questions that are found on previously-administered GMAT exams. However, while this may be helpful, the review materials are not nearly as extensive. These questions, however, are as real as you can get, so it's best to supplement the Official Guide Bundle with other review materials.

Cracking the GMAT

Princeton Review's Cracking the GMAT is a pretty decent book, especially when it comes to reviewing concepts. It helps students improve upon where they are weak, but only in terms of concepts. Unfortunately, these concepts aren't exactly the most organized, and furthermore, there have been complaints about the practice questions being easier compared to the test questions.

Premier 2017

From Kaplan, you will receive what you expect when you hear of the Kaplan brand: everything you need for the exam, and nothing more. Though there are supposedly small typos within the practice test explanations, you'll rest assured in knowing that you're still receiving valuable practice with the Premier 2017.

GMAT Practice Test

There are several methods in brushing up your GMAT test-taking abilities. Here are just some practice tests that you can take advantage of:

Kaplan

Kaplan offers a full, free online GMAT practice test. Yes, the full one, in which it will take roughly four hours to complete. You can take the realistic online practice test either on your own or as part of a scheduled event. This practice test also serves as a diagnostic exam for the GMAT prep courses. You can use it as a performance tool for SmartReports and make customized recommendations.

After taking this free test, you'll have a better understanding of what the timed GMAT test is like, what question types that you'll encounter on the test, how to pace yourself throughout the exam, what areas are in need of improvement, and how you would score if you took the GMAT right this instant.

You can also practice with Kaplan's Question of the Day for the GMAT, which delivers a GMAT question straight to your inbox. You will receive daily GMAT-style practice questions, detailed answers and explanations, as well as expert strategies and tips from Kaplan-certified instructors.

Of course, you can also take either the self-proctored or instructor proctored practice tests, which both can be accessed online. The self-proctored test allows you to take a computer-adaptive practice test whenever and wherever you'd like. You can also receive a detailed score analysis and answers and explanations for up to thirteen sample questions via video instruction, all while taking advantage of Kaplan's revolutionary adaptive learning technology. You'll also learn exclusive strategies that will help you improve your overall GMAT score.

The Instructor Proctored practice test, on the other hand, will let you experience a computer-adaptive practice test under proctored conditions. You'll also receive a detailed score analysis, answers, and live explanations from expert faculty while receiving a mini-lesson and exclusive strategies from your instructor. Finally, you always have your questions answered with the live chat function.

The Mini GMAT Quiz

Brought to you by the Graduate Management Admission council, the Mini GMAT Quiz contains eight real, retired questions. There are four Verbal Reasoning and four Quantitative Reasoning questions. Once you complete the quiz, you'll need to submit your email address to access and show your score. You'll also receive answer explanations, so you'll know how to approach the types of questions delivered to you.

The Babson GMAT Simulation Test

Yes, a graduate school of business offers a GMAT simulation, but in three forms: the Micro Test, the Mini Test, and the Full Test.

The Micro Test gives you a general feel of the GMAT simulation test in only 20 minutes. You'll also receive an analysis of the errors that you make on the test. The Micro Test doesn't include a score estimate. The Mini Test, on the other hand, grants you a score estimate, and the test is just about 100 minutes. You'll receive a detailed analysis of your mistakes, as well as tips on how to improve your performance.

Finally, you'll receive the most accurate score estimate with the 2.5-hour full GMAT test. You'll also receive a detailed analysis of your performance and a comprehensive set of tips for improving both your accuracy and time management skills.

Best GMAT Prep Course Recap

I would have to recommend Kaplan as the best GMAT prep course available. The service is flexible and customizable, with a variety of approaches that cater to most students. Its SmartReports and The GMAT Channels are just a couple of exclusives that bring improvement to the Kaplan service, and that is why I wholeheartedly recommend the service. By the way, those who are interested in finding a community that is centered around the GMAT should visit the GMAT Club.

Passing the GMATs may be one hurdle, but there are a couple of other hurdles to consider when entering a graduate business school - the student loans. Perhaps you should read our review of the best scholarship websites to help you limit some of the debt you'll (inevitably) emerge with after business school.

Best GMAT Prep Courses FAQs

Q What's a good GMAT score?

A

While the highest GMAT score you can achieve is 800, though the average GMAT score, according to Magoosh, the mean combined GMAT score in 2014 was 547.35.

With that being said, a score that will place you ahead of your peers, on GMAT score range of 200 and 800, is between 650 and 700. However, the total score that will place you in the top 10 percent of all test takers is between 710 and 800.

Q How long is the GMAT?

A

As mentioned earlier in the article, the GMAT is three hours and 30 minutes long.

Q What is the GMAT?

A

The GMAT is a standardized exam designed to predict how well test-takers will perform in a Masters of Business Administration setting. In other words, GMAT scores are usually needed by graduate business schools to make decisions.

Q What does GMAT stand for?

A

GMAT stands for Graduate Management Admission Test.

Q How long is the GMAT score valid for?

A

The GMAT score is valid for five years, though they are available for reporting for up to 10 years.

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