GMAT prep course?
March 26, 2009 1:52 PM   Subscribe

GMAT: Invest in prep course or just buy a book?

I have an opportunity to participate in an employer funded MBA program. No guarantees, take the GMAT, submit scores and application package, and hope for the best. It's one of those deals where you agree to work a certain period of time in exchange for the educational benefit.

The test itself is $250. Is a prep course worth it? Or will I do just as well with a $35 book? I test pretty well, I took the GREs previously and was in a graduate program in the early 1990s.
posted by fixedgear to Work & Money (6 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Depends on how well you study by yourself. If you invest the time, you don't need a prep course. And if you don't, the prep course probably won't be worth as much either.
posted by Brennus at 1:54 PM on March 26, 2009

Why not buy a book (or get one from a library), and if it's not what you need, take the course?
posted by blue_beetle at 2:35 PM on March 26, 2009

Best answer: Don't buy "a book". Buy the Official Guide, go through it (all of it), mark every answer that is "wrong" or "unsure", and go through those marked questions three or four more times until you figure out what you don't know. The details change, but there's a finite number of concepts to master and tricks to undress.
posted by Kwantsar at 2:54 PM on March 26, 2009 [1 favorite]

Depends on how focus and motivated you are personally. If you're the kind of person that does well with a tutor/teacher to learn slightly new skillsets, then you should get the prep course. Otherwise you should have the self learning resources to do it on your own.

Currently my roommate is paying around $200 an hour for a private tutor, and while he's learning some cool and nifty tricks, it doesn't see worth the money for how I learn. He says the manhattan gmat books have best prepared him.
posted by zentrification at 3:14 PM on March 26, 2009

Best answer: Take the pracrice tests timed too, under as test-type conditions as you can. I taught test prep for years (LSAT, GRE, SAT, not GMAT) and people who got the most out of classes were people who would not otherwise have the discipline to sit down with the material or who were ESL or who really needed some of the stuff explained to them.

If I were you I'd sit down and take a practice test, timed. Then score yourself and see how far your score is from where you'd like it to be. If it's reasonably close I'd say don't even think about a class but practice and take a practice test again in two weeks and try to go over not only what you got wrong but also more stuff in the same vein. See if, on your own, you can improve yourself this way. If so, you're golden. If not, you might want to think about a class.

And yeah only rely on the Official Guide for practice tests. Other guides [I worked at The Princeton Review, I like their stuff decently] can help you with strategy but you really should take the Official Guide's tests.
posted by jessamyn at 5:54 PM on March 26, 2009 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Seconding Jessamyn on starting with a practice test and going from there. I actually think the best thing for me was to take as many practice tests as possible to get used to the types of questions and the format. It's been a while, but I believe I had the Official Guide which came with practice tests based on previous years' real tests. I actually also took Kaplan, but I think taking practice tests was much more useful. Also, I did much worse on Kaplan practice tests than I did on official practice tests, which I think is quite common (I feel like they must want you to believe that you need them). My actual score was slightly higher than what I got on the official practice tests...
posted by echo0720 at 7:02 PM on March 26, 2009 [1 favorite]

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