Should I Hire a GMAT Tutor?
If you’ve spent any time studying for the GMAT, you’ve probably been inundated by test prep options: on-demand online classes, interactive in-person classes, self prep, or one-on-one-tutoring. As deadlines approach, deciding on the test prep option that’s right for you can be pivotal in determining whether you’re able to get the score that you need in the timeframe you’re shooting for. So this is a big decision. Now, I know what you might be thinking: this guy is a GMAT tutor, so he’s obviously going to extol the benefits of hiring a GMAT tutor to the exclusion of all those other options out there. But the reality is that GMAT tutoring isn’t absolutely necessary to get a good score. Certain types of test-takers tend to benefit more from a GMAT tutor. Read below to see if it makes sense for you to hire a GMAT tutor.
You’re a busy professional
You want to go to a top business school, and you know you need to conquer the GMAT to get there. But you also know that your work obligations limit your study time each week, and that a large class might not provide the structure, accountability, or customization to best make use of the precious study time you have available. In this case, a GMAT tutor might be right for you. The reality is that a good GMAT tutor will, above all else, maximize the efficiency of your study time. Seasoned GMAT tutors should be able to quickly diagnose your weaknesses and to craft lessons and homework to ensure that the ROI on your study time is as high as possible. Here’s an example of a former client who was in just such a situation.
You’re re-taking the GMAT
You’ve already prepped on your own (be it self prep, a class, or another tutor) and have taken the test, but your score still isn’t where you want it to be. You’re frustrated and a bit confused because you know a lot of the content, and you’re not sure how to adjust your studying to make the next step. This is another case where a GMAT tutor can be hugely beneficial. A good GMAT tutor will get inside your head, identifying what it is about your approach and methodology that is limiting your performance: maybe you’re not as strong at the core content as you thought you were, maybe you have misconceptions about the scoring algorithm that are adversely impacting your time management strategy, or maybe you’re good on the above but have never developed the kind of rigorous methodology necessary to achieve consistency across your practice tests and the real thing. The unfortunate reality is that sometimes you simply don’t know what you don’t know, and in such cases, the objective perspective of a seasoned GMAT coach can oftentimes help you see gains far more quickly than if you tried to go it alone. Equally importantly, if you’ve been studying for a while, you may have exhausted the traditional GMAT resources available through the forums, mba.com, etc. GMAT tutors (the good ones, at least) will often have access to thousands of GMAT questions that you may not have seen elsewhere and could assign bespoke problem sets targeting the exact areas you need help on.
Deadlines are near, and you need to cram
As a general rule, I advise setting aside three to four months to study for the GMAT. But sometimes life gets in the way. Maybe you decided last-minute to apply, and you only have a month to study before applications are due. Or maybe work and life obligations made you put the books down for an extended period, and you’re picking them back up with only six weeks left to submit the GMAT. In such situations, a tutor can often be instrumental. Crunched for time, you need to make sure that you’re squeezing as much as possible out of your study time, including focusing on your weaknesses, using the right materials, and implementing proper study habits. A good GMAT tutor should be able to help with all of these issues, with a particular emphasis on studying the right way. Far too often, I’ll see students “cram” for the GMAT the same way the might cram for a traditional exam: study as many hours per day as they can, memorize as much as they can, and do as many questions as they can. But the GMAT is a reasoning test, and developing the proper framework for approaching questions is far more important than learning a ton of rules divorced from how they’re actually tested on the real thing. Good GMAT tutors will teach these skills and assign your homework with the goal of making sure you’re making concrete, measurable gains in the proper habits and methodology that the GMAT is designed to reward.
You have a learning difference
For test-takers with learning differences, the cookie-cutter approach of a large class or online course often limits how much and how quickly they absorb the relevant content and methods. These courses are designed to benefit the most typical test-takers, and if you learn differently than such test-takers, your progress in your studies might end up being slower than you were hoping. Good GMAT tutors are versatile and adaptable in their approach, and they should be able to craft both what and how they teach to your specific learning style. Equally importantly, a good GMAT tutor will assign homework that ensures that you’re learning at the pace suitable to your needs and that you’re properly practicing all of the important habits and methods that the large online courses might gloss over.