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If you’re hoping to gain admission to a top business school, one of the first hurdles you’ll face is the GMAT—a challenge some say is won or lost the moment you decide on a study strategy.
With so many competing GMAT prep courses out there (each making their own claims and promises) it can be very difficult for students to determine which company can be trusted to deliver real results.
Get the most out of your time, effort, and money by selecting a training program that demonstrates key markers of quality and integrity. These are the five traits students should look for to narrow down their options, and find a top GMAT prep course in Toronto.
1. Length: Longer GMAT Courses Cover More, Delve Deeper
Busy students with families or full time jobs may be tempted to choose a short GMAT prep course that promises to “condense” training into 25 to 50 hours. While short programs are undeniably attractive, they are also notorious for taking short cuts and skipping over important test topics.
It may sound daunting, but the ideal length for GMAT prep is over 100 hours. A survey conducted by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) showed that students who invested an average of 107 hours of GMAT prep scored 600-690 points on the exam. And students who put in an average of 121 hours of prep scored 700 or higher.
Longer GMAT prep programs are simply more comprehensive. They afford students the time required to properly cover foundational, intermediate, and advanced math, as well as comprehensive verbal.
Ultimately, a longer prep course saves students time and money by eliminating the need for additional training or self-study materials. Plus, truly comprehensive training dramatically improves your chances of earning a competitive GMAT score the first time around.
Concerned about the cost of a longer program? Compare test prep company websites for early bird discounts or coupons you can use to reduce enrollment fees. A good program will usually have some kind of price break or promotional special to offer new students.
2. Pre-Course Testing: Identifying Your Baseline GMAT Score
Pre-course, or “diagnostic” testing is a key trait of effective GMAT training. Students should determine their strengths, weaknesses and overall score at the beginning of the prep course, so instructors can track improvements as training progresses. No trustworthy GMAT program would begin training without first establishing your baseline score.
How much can you expect your score to rise by the end of the prep course? The best companies help students improve their scores by 160-200 points. Don’t forget to inquire about average score gains when speaking with program representatives. Score improvement is a key indicator of quality, and the reason you’re seeking GMAT training in the first place!
3. Resources: Proven Test Strategies & Quality Practice Materials
In order to achieve a competitive test score, students need reliable, easy-to-use strategies for approaching difficult GMAT questions. They need effective step-by-step procedures to recognize question types and attack them with confidence.
The quality of the strategies you learn during GMAT test prep can make or break your final score. This is especially true for students who have been out of school for some time, have rusty math skills, or are learning English as a second language.
The best companies teach proven procedures for breaking down and solving difficult problems. How do students know these strategies work? Because reliable test prep providers give students detailed manuals and a wide variety of real GMAT questions to practice at home, in between classes. Be sure to ask about what kinds of resources are included in the cost of your chosen program.
4. Reputation: Peer Reviews & Business School Partnerships
Before choosing a prep course, students should check online for feedback from past students. Scan the program’s website for testimonials, look for Google reviews, or investigate the company’s social media channels for descriptions of positive or negative experiences.
It’s also smart to look at whether local business schools are willing to endorse and partner with the program you’re considering. Students looking for a GMAT prep course in Toronto, for example, will want to see partnerships with top business schools, such as the Ted Rogers School of Management (Ryerson University); the Rotman School of Management (University of Toronto); and the Schulich School of Business (York University).
5. Flexibility: Free Repeat Courses to Improve Your Performance
Let’s say you complete a GMAT prep course, but continue to struggle in key areas, or score lower than you expected on the exam.
Will you have to pay for more training, essentially starting from square one? Not if you choose a prep program with a “free course repeat” policy.
Really good GMAT prep programs usually offer free repeats within a certain time frame. For example, after beginning a course, students have up to six months to attend and repeat classes as many times as they would like, free of charge. This is incredibly helpful for students who want to spread their prep over a longer time period, or need to improve their performance on difficult topics.
Free repeats offer better value for your money, and a bit of a “safety net” if you end up needing more support in certain subject areas. Just as importantly, a free repeat policy show you’ve chosen a prep course run by accountable professionals who genuinely care about your success.
Want to know more about your own strengths and weaknesses as a GMAT candidate? Get started with a free GMAT assessment. The assessment is your best first step toward a smarter, more personalized study plan. Click below to see how the process works.