Advice For Picking A Test Prep Service
It only takes a few points, either way. If you’re scraping to get into a good school, every point counts. That’s why people devote so much time to studying for the GMAT. And who wouldn’t. You’ve been out of school for a few years. This is probably the first time you’ve taken a test like this since your ACTs. And it was tough enough back then! Now, you have so many options for how to spend your time and money. Where do you even begin?
Well, it starts with the proverbial “Know yourself.” That’s the consensus from a recent column by U.S. News and World Report. In interviews with Dave Killoran (CEO of PowerScore Test Preparation), Charles Bibilos (a GMAT and GRE tutor), and Patrick O’Malley (Founder of Get Prepped, an LSAT preparation service), U.S. News lays out exactly how self-awareness will help you identify the best study strategies for you. Here are the advantages of drawbacks of each approach:
Advantages: This is perfect for disciplined self-starters who can set timelines and hold themselves accountable. Using this strategy, you only pay for books, which can cost as little as $150. This approach also enables you to learn at your own pace.
Disadvantages: If you’re a procrastinator or not 100 percent behind going to business school, choose a medium with more structure.
Additional Note: According to O’Malley, the “quality of self prep books is kind of uneven…pick up a variety of books and sort of triangulate.”
Advantages: If you need structure – and help pinpointing what’s important and how to think and prepare – this is the option for you! You’ll also benefit from working alongside peers who can help you.
Disadvantages: Classes are very-time consuming. Killoran notes that students will spend 8 hours a week in class, with O’Malley adding that students will spend double that time studying outside of it. These courses are also expensive, ranging from $1000-$1500. If you can’t keep up with the pace, you’ll squander this investment too.
Additional Note: Bibilos encourages students to sit in on a class to determine if it fits your expectations and learning style.
Advantages: Convenience! That’s what online courses offer. You can access them from anywhere – and they’re often half the cost of an on-site course according to O’Malley. Students can also choose live courses where they can submit questions or pre-recorded lectures which you can view repeatedly.
Disadvantages: As with self-study, online courses require heavy motivation and discipline. You get out what you put in.
Additional Note: For live online courses, Killoran and O’Malley warn students to absorb information instead of bombarding the message board with questions.
Advantages: Need some personal attention? Want to target your weak spots instead of running the gamut? Then, a personal tutor is the way to go.
Disadvantages: The price tag can run up to $2000. Plus, the tutor is only as good as the student. If you don’t come in with a plan, you’ll waste time and won’t get as much out of your sessions that you could.
Additional Note: Tutoring can be intense. You can’t zone out or rationalize. According to Bibilos, “you’re on the spot all the time. You can’t hide your weaknesses.” That means you need an open mind and a thick skin.
Source: U.S. News and World Report