Guide to GMAT Test Prep Courses


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In March, the New York-based Princeton Review launched a new LiveOnline course. Along with its interactive classroom, Princeton Review offers “break-out” rooms, which are essentially in-class tutoring sessions. Say you’re in class listening to a lecture about sentence completion. If you don’t quite understand what the lead teachers is explaining, “raise your hand” virtually and signal your confusion to the teaching assistant. She will then open up a new interactive screen and take the time to explain the portion of the lesson to you until you’re comfortable returning to class.  “At any point, you have extra help with your online classroom,” says Shadna Wise, executive director of test-prep marketing.

For Princeton Review’s online experience, students are equipped with headsets and text chat as well as customized homework assignments. The prep company prides itself on personal attention – so much so that at the beginning of the course, teachers hand out their personal email and cell phone numbers for direct contact. “Instructors are all on the clock,” Wise says. “We do factor in the midnight night owls.” Like most other test-prep companies, Princeton Review teaches online or in-person, but they also offer private group tutoring for custom lessons at a lower cost. The average group size never surpasses three students. In-person classes tend to range from six to 12 students, and LiveOnline enrollment is between 12 and 15 on average.

Along with providing a variety of classroom formats, Princeton Review has a robust self-study presence. The Online Student Center refreshes key class concepts, recommends drills and practice questions and gives you access to your fellow student community. If after all this, you’re not satisfied with your score. Take the course again for free. Wise says she’s uncomfortable declaring the average student’s score improvement. For Liz, a second-year real-estate finance major at NYU’s Stern School of Business, Princeton’s private tutoring helped her jump 200 points between a diagnostic and her GMAT. With only five weeks to study, Liz, who didn’t want her last name used (thanks, Google!), says the private attention and demanding homework schedule made the difference between a 490 and a 690. “I was accountable. Buying books on your own makes it a lot harder to pace yourself.”

Erica, a strategic communication director in Manhattan, agrees. “I took the course mostly for the discipline of having the class. Princeton Review teaches you the methods, but then you have to do a lot of practice problems.” However, she was disappointed by the makeup of the in-person class. “A student who’s trying to crack 700 is next to a student trying to crack 400. Sometimes we’d stop on a basic math question. I think it slowed down the class.” Erica also found Princeton Review’s CAT-scoring algorithm misleading, saying, “I did much worse on the tests; not sure if that was part of their plan.” The outcome is the most important part, of course – Erica scored a 690 and is headed to The University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

Princeton Review offers small-group tutoring for a pair or trio of students and forms groups based on aptitude. They’re looking to formalize a similar online option. Take a practice test and sample Princeton Review lessons.


Classroom GMAT Course

21 hours of three-hour class sessions and unlimited online access to drills and lessons. Princeton Review’s Classroom GMAT Course offers diagnostic scoring on tests, LiveGrader for AWA analysis, homework review, advanced quantitative drills, seven CATs and free instructor help. Also includes the Princeton Review and GMAC manuals as well as an one-and-a-half online information session.



GMAT LiveOnline

Princeton Review’s LiveOnline classroom is taught by two teachers and provides you with customized homework that focuses on your weaknesses. It includes math and verbal workshops, sentence-correction drills, access to recorded lessons for review and in case you miss a class. Choose the five-week or 11-week course, and you get 120 days access to course and practice materials. Also includes seven CATs, the Princeton Review and GMAC manuals as well as a headset.



Small Group Tutoring

18 hours of personal attention for groups curated based on aptitude.

$1400 per person

Private Tutoring

Princeton Review’s one-on-one lessons include admissions consulting, and there are three tiers of teachers.

$1800 for 18 hours with a Standard tutor

$2700 for 18 hours with a Master tutor

$4500 for 18 hours with a Premier tutor

GMAT Online Private Tutoring

Princeton Review’s real-time classroom utilizes two-way audio, a customized program and schedule, 18 hours of instruction and 100 multimedia lessons. This option includes 120 days access to course and practice materials, seven CATs and Live Grader. Taught by master and premier tutors.

$1926 for 18 hours


GMAT Online

Princeton Review’s GMAT Online is the same as LiveOnline except without the live teaching sessions. If you want to set your own schedule and work at your own pace, this is for you. Includes more than 20 hours of interactive online prep, 120 days access to course and practice materials, LiveGrader, email support from teachers and online discussion groups. Also includes Princeton Review and GMAC manuals and customized homework. 120 day access.


GMAT ExpressOnline

For procrastinators, busy people with little time or those in need of a refresher, there’s the GMAT ExpressOnline course that lasts for 30 days. It includes two CATs, diagnostic scoring, LiveGrader and instructor support.


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