Building GMAT Fundamentals with the Khan Academy
We are hit over the head over and over again about how the GMAT is not a content-based test and how you only need the most basic quant skills to do perfectly well on the GMAT. That’s true. And in fact most of the essential GMAT Quant skills you probably learned by the time you were 14 years old. But, the fact is that it’s been a long time since high school and you may not have done a heck of a lot of math in the past 10 years. Where does that leave you in terms of the GMAT? Honestly, you are in the same boat as a lot of other people. Many of my students start off not very confident about their GMAT Quant fundamentals and therefore not confident about their GMAT Quant in general.
What can you do to boost those GMAT Quant fundamentals?
Two words: Khan Academy. Yes, Khan was the megalomaniac nemesis of Captain Kirk in Star Trek but the Khan Academy is an organization dedicated to producing online teaching content for FREE. If you are unsure about a basic math skill look it up on Khan Academy and watch the associated video lessons. These lessons are great for getting you up to speed. For this purpose the Khan Academy is a great companion in your GMAT studying. Realize that it may take a while to get through all of this fundamental GMAT Quant content. That’s OK. Set goals. Make a GMAT study schedule. Focus on developing good GMAT study habits.
The GMAT Khan Academy: Limitations
Yes, Khan Academy also has GMAT explanations. Some of them are excellent and many of them can get you on the right track. However, just like the explanations in the Official Guide, the explanations at the Khan Academy don’t always explain GMAT questions in the most efficient way. This is not a bash on Khan – not at all. Thank you Khan for this wonderful resource. However, once you get to the point where your basics are solid enough that you are approaching more nuanced GMAT questions you may want to look to a more specialized GMAT site, take a GMAT class, or hire a private tutor. The GMAT forums: GMAT Club,Beat the GMAT, and Manhattan GMAT have some excellent explanations. You have to look around a bit and sort through some of the muck but hey: they are free!
GMAT Khan Academy Suggestions
The amount of material in the Khan Academy is overwhelming. I’ve taken a tour through the site and selected a basic GMAT Quant curriculum to cover the vast majority of the fundamental skills that you need to earn a great GMAT score. This would be an excellent thing to work through before taking a class or hiring a tutor so that you can get the most out of those services. I’ve arranged the lessons in an order that makes the most sense in terms of skill building but feel free to jump around depending on your needs. I know it looks like a lot to do and yes there are a bunch of new things to learn but some of these lessons are pretty quick (especially in the Arithmetic section). Still – be patient with your GMAT preparation. Play the long game. Invest in your fundamental skills and you’ll be on your way to MBA and GMAT success in no time.
(See following page for Andrew’s recommended Khan Academy Study Videos)