GMAT and GRE test preparation is a great business. Students’ hopes, dreams, and potential careers can rest on the outcome of a three-hour multiple-choice test. Admissions committees tell us that they view candidates’ academic potential holistically, and they do. You cannot change much about your undergraduate record but can influence your own GMAT or GRE score.
That’s where test prep comes in — and the people preparing materials and teaching courses know that good performance on those courses will make a difference in students’ opinions. Or do they?
In our big fat survey of GMAT and GRE test-takers, with responses from 859 P&Q users, we saw a direct correlation between high scores and high recommendations. It’s in fact, quite linear.
That’s the way it looks in the aggregate, but consumers of test prep materials, courses, and instruction can be a fickle bunch. In a previous story on our survey, we looked at 11 major providers of test prep platforms. For the results of the survey, we grouped together all users of the test prep company’s platform, whether the student used it with a tutor, on top of a class, with both, or on their own.
Here’s what we learned from those who reported score increases (and yes, a few reported score decreases). The firm with the highest average score increase, or 91.3, was Manhattan GMAT. Magoosh came in for the silver, and E-GMAT, third place for the bronze. The numbers were close, but all three beat the average score increase of 83.3 points.
We figured the company that led to the highest score would lead to the happiest customers, but in this case, things aren’t always that linear. Manhattan Prep was not the most highly recommended provider, in fact, it came in third after Target Test Prep and GMAT Club.
Let’s look at the questions asked and how users of each of the services ranked them.