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