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Should You Take a GMAT Course? The Pros & Cons of Professional Test Prep

GMAT course

Read time: 4 minutes

Do you need to take a GMAT course to score high on the exam? No. Plenty of students study on their own and do very well.

But do you have the self-discipline, confidence, and academic skills to structure your own GMAT prep? If you’ve been out of school for a while, or have significant math or verbal challenges, this is where self-study becomes more risky.

Add a fulltime work schedule to the mix, and you’ve got a strong case for professional GMAT help.

A GMAT course can’t guarantee your success on test day—but it can offer a competitive advantage to busy people with rusty study skills.

So is it worth it? Let’s look at the top pros and cons of professional GMAT prep, and you can decide for yourself.

Pro: A Good GMAT Course Takes the Guesswork out of Prep

This truly is the biggest benefit to taking a comprehensive GMAT course. A quality training program of 100 hours or more absolutely takes the guesswork out of prep.

This type of course will cover every inch of the exam, and prepare you tackle every type of question, across every topic.

You won’t have to spend hours researching and test-driving problem-solving strategies—your instructor has already identified proven techniques, and will teach them to you.

The certainty you get with a good course can really boost your confidence. Plus, it’s a guaranteed time-saver. Everything you need to know is condensed into a few classes, and then you just need to keep practicing those techniques up until the exam.

Con: What if Your GMAT Course Doesn’t Boost Your Score?

This is a question of return on investment—and it’s definitely worth asking. What if you pour time and money into a GMAT course, and your practice scores don’t budge?

First off, if you’re putting in maximum effort, and see little to no score improvement, you’re probably not taking a quality course.

Most test prep companies carefully track score improvement rates among their students—to ensure the courses they provide yield consistently positive results.

The company can’t guarantee you a bump in score, but they should provide hard evidence of a solid track record.

We also recommend looking at user experiences (such as Google Reviews) to see whether students are getting real results from training, before you enroll in any GMAT course.

Extra tip: Some companies offer trial classes so you can test-drive training before buying. Look for this option on the company website.

Pro: A Quality GMAT Course Comes With Tons of Study Resources

This is another time-saver for busy students. Prepping for the GMAT involves a lot of leg work. You need to find authentic practice questions and mock tests, research all the content areas on the exam , and identify the best step-by-step procedures for solving problems.

A good GMAT course does all of this for you. Your training should include all the study guides and practice tests you could possibly need. You won’t have to find these resources on your own, and figure out which materials can be trusted.

Con: A Quality GMAT Course Won’t Come Cheap

Affordability is perhaps the biggest “con” for prospective GMAT course students. These training programs are indeed pricey. The best way to protect yourself from over-spending, is to find a program that offers the best bang for your buck.

Look for things like an unlimited course repeat policy. Some companies will let you take your entire GMAT course again and again, free of charge, so you can keep practicing tough topics and continue to improve your score.

It’s also key to look at other benefits that add value to your training, such as:

  • instructor experience (look for at least 5+ years of fulltime test prep experience)
  • small class sizes
  • high average score improvements
  • high-quality training materials
  • availability of special discounts

Remember: not all GMAT courses are created equal. Your dollars will stretch further with some companies than with others. Do your research, and ensure you’re getting the best all-around value for your tuition.

Pro: You’ll Get Access to a GMAT Expert + Peer Support

Studying on your own for the GMAT can be isolating and stressful. While some students thrive on the solitary approach, others find it difficult to stay motivated, and suffer from anxiety.

Gaining access to an expert GMAT instructor, and working with likeminded peers, can help diffuse some of the stress of test prep. There’s strength in community, and something to be said for sharing the prep experience with fellow test-takers.

Con: You May Have to Travel to Take the GMAT Course

Don’t live near a major GMAT test centre? You may find you’ll have to travel to take a quality GMAT course. If you don’t have friends or family to stay with, this means incurring additional costs for a hotel or Airbnb.

Your best bet is to find a weekend intensive, rather than a program that spreads classes out over several weeks, so there’s less back-and-forth required. Online training is also a viable option, but tends to feel less personal and motivating.

Another solution is to find a friend who is also interested in taking the GMAT course, so you can split the costs of travel and accommodations.

Struggling with other pros and cons related to GMAT prep?

Can’t commit to a course right now, but need help with a topic?

Click here for a list of free GMAT workshops and prep resources

Taking the GMAT in Toronto and looking for a reliable course?

Click here to explore Quantum’s #1-rated GMAT course

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Free GMAT Prep in Toronto: 4 Totally Free GMAT Workshops to Attend this January

GMAT prep

Read time: 4 minutes

Live in Toronto and plan to take the GMAT in 2018? Chances are, getting down to some serious GMAT prep is one of your top new year resolutions.

But once the holidays are over, the decorations come down (and the frost sets in), studying is probably the very last thing you feel like doing!

Don’t give up just yet. There are numerous GMAT events happening in the city—each one designed to help kick-start your prep (and resist the urge to hibernate).

The best part? They’re all totally FREE.

Free GMAT resources and workshops are truly excellent ways to get practical, proven support from experts—without the cost of a professional GMAT course.

It’s amazing how many test-takers either don’t know about these events, or simply don’t take advantage.

Get ahead of the curve! Take out your calendar, and reserve yourself a spot in at least one of these incredibly helpful upcoming GMAT events.

Free Event #1: Introduction to GMAT Workshop

The Introduction to GMAT Workshop should be your top priority and first stop. It offers a complete “GMAT orientation” to anyone who is new to the exam (hasn’t taken it before).

During the 4-hour event, students get a guided tour of the exam, including its overall structure, the contents of each section, and how scoring works.

Not sure how to approach studying? At the Intro to GMAT workshop, an experienced instructor walks students through a 5-point study plan, including how to find quality study materials.

You’ll also work through several practice questions as a group, and learn some helpful problem-solving techniques and tips.

Overall, this event is the best way to beat procrastination and really get the ball rolling on your GMAT prep.

The January Intro to GMAT Workshop fills up fast though, and the registration deadline is almost here—so grab a seat before it’s too late.

Register for the Next Intro to GMAT Workshop in Toronto

Free Event #2: GMAT Mock Exam

Were you planning to take a mock GMAT exam at some point during your prep?

Many students wait until they’ve studied a bit before taking a mock, to improve their chances at a promising score—but this approach defeats the true purpose of the practice test.

Mock exams should be taken before you’ve done even a single practice question, as a way to measure your baseline score, and identify key strengths and weaknesses.

You’ll need this information to map out a targeted GMAT prep plan. The baseline score is also crucial for tracking future progress.

So don’t wait to take the mock. Reserve your spot at the upcoming January exam happening at Ryerson University’s Ted Rogers School of Management.

See when the next Mock GMAT Exam is scheduled

Free Event #3: GMAT Math Refresher

Many, many students feel anxious about tackling GMAT math questions. Even though the exam tests only middle school and high school math concepts, the Quant section can be very intimidating.

In fact, “math anxiety” scares away a sizeable number of test-takers every year—smart, capable people who would rather give up on attending a top B-school than face the exam.

Don’t be one of them! Attend a free GMAT Math Refresher and get a complete overview of every type of Quant problem you’ll face on the exam.

Work through basic arithmetic, algebra, and geometry problems as a group, and learn some helpful techniques for tackling Quant questions.

This is a great event for building up your math confidence, debunking GMAT math “myths”, and learning how to prepare for this part of the exam.

See when the next GMAT Math Refresher is taking place

Free Event #4: GMAT Integrated Reasoning Workshop

Integrated Reasoning (IR) is one of the toughest sections on the GMAT. IR questions ask students to analyze multiple streams of data by applying several skills at once: logical reasoning, math, and reading comprehension.

Out of all the problems you’ll face on the exam, IR questions are considered the most reflective of real-world business challenges.

But this section is also the newest on the exam, having been implemented just a few years ago in 2012. Since then, it’s been a source of confusion for both test-takers and B-school admissions teams.

Why is it scored separately from the rest of the exam? How much weight does your IR score carry? What’s the best way to attack each type of IR question?

If you’re not sure how Integrated Reasoning works on the GMAT, or how to approach prep, do yourself a favour and attend a free workshop.

The Demystifying Integrated Reasoning Workshop is the ideal way to understand each of the four IR question-types, work through some problems, and find reliable study tools.

See upcoming dates for January IR Workshops

And there you have it. Four genuinely helpful, totally free events to jumpstart your GMAT prep. There’s no better way to shake off January fatigue and get moving toward your B-school goals.

Bonus Event:

So busy that you can’t attend a live GMAT workshop? No problem. There’s even something for the over-booked, over-worked student. Get yourself a spot at the Secrets of a Successful GMAT Study Plan Webinar.

Attend online and get all of the tips and practical advice available at the live, Intro to GMAT workshop.

Didn’t see what you needed here? Looking for a complete list of free Toronto GMAT events, or workshops taking place in other cities?

Click here for a comprehensive schedule of upcoming free GMAT events