If you want to get into a good business school for your MBA, you need to do well on the GMAT exam. We want to help you find the best GMAT Prep Courses so you can get that high GMAT score.
If you’re truly serious about doing well in your business management career, you’ll need a Master’s degree in Business Administration. Your MBA teaches you the skills you need to do better as you get into upper management positions. Your degree will also make you more likely to succeed if you decide to start your own business.
Your MBA also gives you greater chances for promotions into the upper management echelons. In fact, the average salary of a person with an MBA jumps by as much as 50% compared to someone with only a Bachelor’s degree.
Of course, where you got your MBA degree is important. The best business schools are selective, and they tend to pick from applicants with high GMAT scores. The GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test) is a test you should take before you’re accepted to a good business school. Your score in this test is a huge factor in whether you’re admitted to the business school of your choice.
Some schools are more selective than others, and they may require a higher GMAT score from their applicants. For example, the average GMAT score of incoming students at the Wake Forest School of Business is 582.
But for the best business schools, the average GMAT scores of incoming students are much higher. Here are the average GMAT scores for students of the best business schools:
- Stanford Graduate School of Business-737
- Wharton School of Business at University of Pennsylvania-732
- Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University-724
- Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago-726
- Harvard Business School-729
- Sloan School of Management at MIT-716
- Columbia Business School-725
- Haas School of Business at UC-Berkeley-715
Basically, the GMAT is the business school version of the SAT. And just as you prepared for the SAT while you were in high school, you want to prepare properly for the GMAT to get into a good business school. For that, you’ll want to consider the best GMAT Prep Courses.
How to Prepare and Make the Most of Your Course
You can study for the GMAT on your own, of course. However, you need to study for it properly, which is why GMAT prep courses are so important.
Whether or not you study on your own, here are key tips that should help you prepare for the GMAT.
1. Practice with Official GMAT Questions
The GMAT is run by the Graduate Management Admissions Council (GMAC), and the GMAC also offers practice questions for you to try out.
Check out these practice questions, so that you can familiarize yourself with the GMAT format. These practice questions will be very similar to the real thing in terms of content, tone, and visuals. That way, you won’t feel awkward with a new test format you haven’t encountered before.
2. Shore Up Your Skills
As you take the practice tests, you will realize that the GMAT checks your fundamental knowledge in math, grammar, and reading comprehension. The GMAT test itself has 4 sections: AWA (Analytical Writing Assessment), IR (Integrated Reasoning), math, and verbal.
That means you need to shore up these basic skills and fill in any gaps in your fundamental knowledge of these subjects.
3. Improve on Your Mistakes and Weaknesses
Nobody’s perfect and it actually pays to acknowledge this and identify your weaknesses. Taking the practice tests allow you to recognize any patterns in the mistakes you make. You should then realize what you need to work on.
Many of the students who take the GMAT make careless mistakes because they fail to read the entire question and so miss important details. If you tend to skim passages (or even questions), practice reading newspaper and magazine articles more quickly without skimming.
All in all, you can get the guidance you need using GMAT prep courses, which you can take online or in person. Other options include getting some tutoring or perhaps trying other online sources. You can also try apps for GMAT preparation, and of course, there are also many good books on preparing for the GMAT.
Keep in mind that each section has a half-hour time limit, so you need to practice devoting just enough time to each question.
Top 7 Courses
With so many possible GMAT prep courses to choose from, we’ve compiled a list of the best options.
This is one of the most highly regarded GMAT prep courses around, as you can use your desktop PC or even your smartphone to access the lessons. There’s a free 7-day trial with at least 20 questions and lessons, without a credit card requirement.
They’re so effective that they’ve improved the GMAT scores of their students by an average of 90 points. In fact, if you have a Premium subscription and you’ve taken the GMAT before, they offer a money-back guarantee that you’ll improve your overall score by at least 50 points. There’s also a no-strings-attached 7-day money-back guarantee.
Here are some of your subscription options:
Self-Study: Math + IR
At $219, this is a good option if you are already comfortable with the verbal aspects of the GMAT. This subscription gives you a year’s access to the content that focuses mainly on Math and Integrated Reasoning. However, there’s a “pause” option that allows you to then continue your studies after a certain time.
This option comes with a study schedule and checklist. The lessons cover every math and IR concept covered by the GMAT, with at least 175 video lessons.
Then you also have at least 720 practice questions, and each one comes with its own video explaining the question and answer. You can even practice with the very same online whiteboard used in the actual GMAT.
If you need some help, there’s email support. You also get a money-back guarantee that, if you’ve taken the GMAT before, this subscription will boost your math score by at least 3 points.
Like the Math + IR option, this gives you a year’s access, study schedules, email assistance, the ability to “pause”, and the online whiteboard. This costs $249, but it goes down to $219 if you want to focus on your GMAT prep for the next 30 days.
This time, the lessons cover all the GMAT sections: math, verbal, IR, and AWA. You get at least 340 video lessons, and at least 1,300 practice questions with the explanation videos for each one. You take at least 2 practice tests, though you can take more if you want.
Based on your practice tests, you can get a fair idea of how you’ll do with the GMAT with this plan’s score predictor. However, the guarantee offered here assures you of a refund if you don’t improve on your previous GMAT score by at least 50 points.
Guided Study: Tutoring + Premium
You get everything offered in the Premium plan, plus tutoring. The whole plan costs $799, so it’s actually a bargain. That’s because you get 6 hours of tutoring, with 1-on-1 video chats. The scheduling is flexible, so it’s all up to you.
The tutors all have several years of experience on the job. Many of them have multiple degrees or Master’s degrees, and some are currently working on their PhDs.
- Costs are quite low for what you get- Many of the other GMAT prep courses offer something similar to the Magoosh Premium Plan but cost 4 times as much.
- Great flexibility- You can set your own pace. This includes the “pause” option that actually lets you access the lessons for more than a year.
- The score predictor- It suggests the lessons you may want to check over again, based on your performance on the practice questions.
- App available for download
- Could use more practice questions
The Princeton Review offers personalized private tutoring, but you may want to go with an online approach instead. The private tutoring costs at least $1,800 and you may want to save some money.
This is an online study course that usually costs $499, but you often see discount coupons on the site. When we last visited here, this plan was available for $399.
This comes with an assurance that you can repeat the entire program for free, if you’re not completely satisfied with it the first time around. In addition, if you’ve taken the GMAT before, you get a refund if you don’t score higher after taking this GMAT prep course.
This course gets you a 1-hour session with your own personal GMAT guide for whatever you need. You’re able to take 10 practice tests, with 83 adaptive drills with 3,000 questions. The algorithm here gives you an easier or harder question each time, depending on how you answer the previous question.
That means the drills find your weak spots, so you can focus on improving on them. You can answer the course’s series of questions that focus on your weaknesses, or you can even create your own set of questions. The plan includes the latest edition of The GMAT Official Guide in ebook form.
This is the next plan, and it costs $1,399. But you can often find discounts that drops the price down to $1,099. While there’s an “in-person” version, you may want to check out the online version instead.
With this, you get online recorded lessons, plus 10 practice tests. These tests come with detailed explanations for each question, so you really learn every time you practice. You can set a custom less plan too.
For guidance, you now get 27 hours of live lessons from GMAT tutors. With the GMAT Explanation Sessions and Office Hours for extra Live Online time from the tutors, you don’t have to figure things out for yourself.
This costs $1,899 but with discounts it can go down to $1,499. If you’re really serious about boosting your GMAT score to get into a good school, then you should really consider this plan.
It guarantees a minimum of an 80 point increase from your previous GMAT score! If you haven’t taken the GMAT yet, you can then take their practice test. Once you get that score, you can then at least find some assurance that you’ll get most of your money back if you’re unable to get an increase of at least 80 points.
This guarantee does require you to take the course seriously, with a minimum number of lessons taken. The plan offers a total of 47 instruction hours. These include at least 10 hours of explanation sessions on the verbal and math topics, another 10 hours for advanced GMAT questions, and 4 hours of 1-on-1 with a live instructor. You get 10 full-length practice tests, along with at least 4,480 practice drills.
- Lots of practice questions, exams, and drills
- Feedback on your essays
- A good reputation since 1981
- No mobile app.
- A bit expensive, though the plans offer a lot
If you’re impressed with the Princeton Review because it’s been around since 1981, then you’ll be awestruck with Kaplan. It’s been preparing students for exams since the late 1930s.
You can choose between 2 plans. Both plans offer these features:
- Access for 6 months
- An MBA admissions guide with 2 prep books
- At least 5,000 practice questions with an adaptive algorithm
- At least 140 hours of online practice and instruction
- 9 full-length adaptive practice tests
- The “Official Test Day Experience”, which involves a practice exam at an actual testing facility
So what’s different?
The features here include 30 hours of archived episodes of The GMAT Channel, plus 14 hours of recorded instruction. All these features (including the ones listed earlier) go for $599.
This costs $799, so what do you get for the extra $200? Of course, you get everything that’s in the first Self-Paced version. The PLUS here includes the self-paced GMAT Math Foundations. With its $299 value, you already get more than your money’s worth.
But there’s more. You also get at least 30 hours of elective live instruction on the GMAT Channel, on top of the 30 hours of archived episodes.
- An actual test experience
- 5,000 practice questions
- Affordable options
- No app
- Access is only for 6 months
This is another famous brand in the GMAT prep industry, with lots of awards to their name. With the Internet, they’ve been able to tutor more than 1.2 million students from more than 190 countries.
They offer a 10-hour private tutoring package for $2,450. There’s even a GMAT Boot Camp that’s available online or in person that will cost you $2,699.
But there are more affordable options with the Interact GMAT Course. This course offers self-paced online lessons. The Interact algorithm assesses your right and wrong answers and then adapts the lessons to your strengths and weaknesses.
You also get video lessons which are written and delivered by their carefully chosen teachers. All of these teachers scored in the 99th GMAT percentile, so they’ve proven themselves.
This comes in 4 different versions:
Interact: Verbal Only
This costs $549, for which you get a prep course that focuses just on your GMAT verbal skills. You get:
- 21 interactive verbal lessons
- 6 practice tests
- 2 strategy guides
- Various online tools
Interact: Quant Only
This also costs $549, but this time the focus is on math. You get:
- 16 interactive Quant lessons
- 6 practice tests
- 2 strategy guides
- Various online tools
Interact: Full Course
This covers every topic covered by the GMAT, so it’s a bargain at $999. The features include:
- At least 35 interactive lessons
- 6 practice tests
- 5 strategy guides
- Various online tools
- Mobile app
The mobile app here gives you access to the 1,100 practice questions, along with the explanations. You’re also able to track your progress in specific subjects, so you can focus more on areas where you’re weak.
Interact: Full Course + Coaching Sessions
You get everything that’s included in the Full Course, but this time you get 3 1-on-1 sessions with a GMAT expert. That personalized coaching will cost you an extra $400, so the total cost is $1,399.
- Set your own pace
- A full set of online tools, including an app
- Option for live instruction
- Live instruction is just 3 hours
- Just 1,100 practice questions
You can take the first few lessons for free, with no strings attached. But that may be enough to convince you to sign on, since Veritas students boost their GMAT scores by an average of 140 points. Yes, that’s amazing!
Veritas offers an On-Demand Course with 3 versions to choose from.
GMAT On-Demand: Self Study
This is the basic package, which costs $699. In return, you get:
- Diagnostic Test
- 12 Interactive video lessons
- 12 practice tests
- 5,000+ practice problems
- 2 hours of live instructor help daily
- 1 year of full access
- Free Admissions Consultation
The free admissions consultation helps you with the non-GMAT portion of getting into the business school you want. These include help with interviews and other aspects.
GMAT On-Demand PLUS: Self Study + Tutoring
You get what’s offered in the basic On-Demand course, but you pay $1,100 because you also get 3 hours of tutoring. These tutors all scored in the 99th percentile of the GMAT, so they know what it takes to do well here.
These tutors can identify your strengths and weakness, as shown in your practice tests. That way, the two of you can work together to create a custom study plan to shore up your weaknesses.
- Video lessons are engaging and not too long
- 5,000 test questions to practice with
- Tutors know what they’re talking about
- Quite expensive
You’re best off with the Premium package here, as it covers all the areas on the GMAT. This costs $589, and gives you 6 months of access to the prep course. You also get a guarantee that you’ll improve your old GMAT score by at least 70 points.
- 1,500 practice questions with an adaptive algorithm
- 4 GMAT practice tests
- 12 verbal quizzes
- 22 intro interactive lessons to build your logic and skills
- 24 interactive video lessons to teach you to solve the questions quickly
- 22 practice sections, with 3 phases
- 3 essay reviews
- 1-on-1 consultancy to help with your MBA application
Exampal is all about efficiency, which is why they don’t use 5,000 questions. According to their experts, you don’t need that many practice questions. In fact, Exampal was designed to boost your GMAT preparation in just 100-120 hours. Study for about 2 hours a day for 2 months and you’ll be right on track.
Exampal uses a credit system, which you can use for extra features. These credits can be used for private tutoring, or being able to submit another essay for AWA.
If you don’t boost your GMAT score by 70 points, you also get a refund.
- Refund policy if you don’t get a 70-point boost
- Credit system lets you get extras
- Fast and simple
- Some people prefer more practice questions
- Credit system can be annoying (with leftover unused credits, for example)
This is also known as Target Test Prep, or TTP. The good news about them is that their methods are effective, as attested to by lots of previous students. However, they’re focused on the Quantitative portion of the GMAT only.
If that’s your problem area, then this is an ideal solution. Why pay for help in other GMAT areas that you don’t need?
You have 3 plans, but they differ only with the amount of time access they offer. The Flexible Preparation plan lets you pay $99 a month. The Dedicated Study plan costs $299, and gives you 4 months of access. With Maximum Leaning, It’s $399 for 6 months.
All these plans offer the same things:
- At least 500 individual lessons
- At least 800 videos, in HD
- 3,000 GMAT practice questions
- Custom practice engine
- Live support
- Learning analytics
You’re also able to try this out for 5 days for $1. At least there’s no automatic rebilling, as it will stop after the 5 days.
- Specialized focus on math.
- Lots of practice questions, videos, and lessons
- No app
- No 1-on-1 tutoring
Magoosh vs. Princeton Review
We listed Magoosh and Princeton Review at the very top of this list for a good reason. They’re among the best in the industry. Pick either one, and you will get your money’s worth.
But they’re not exactly the same, so which one is better for you?
If you don’t have a large budget, then there’s no doubt that Magoosh is your best option. They offer features you can get from other prep courses, but at a fraction of the cost. When it comes to value for money, nothing beats Magoosh.
Princeton Review costs a lot more, but then you just get more practice questions. The Princeton Review has proven itself since starting back in 1981. They sure know what they’re doing. If you want to pay more for a time-tested prep course, Princeton Review is a terrific option.
If you need to prepare for the GMAT, these prep courses can help. The key to finding the best GMAT prep course for you is to match your needs and your budget with the features you can get.
Your best bet is to use the free trials if they’re available. That way, you have a better idea of what you’re getting with your money. Some people can succeed with self-study if they have the discipline. If they need guidance, tutors will be invaluable. Just match your needs with the features you can get, and you’re on your way to boosting your GMAT score.