If business school is in your future, you are hopefully already thinking about your steps in preparation. If you have selected the GMAT exam as your best choice for putting up an impressive score, a prep course is advisable. Are any of the ExamPAL GMAT prep courses right for you? In this review, we take a closer look at the ExamPAL courses to see their prices and features. You will be able to make the best decision once you have all the info.
These courses are easy to use, and easy on your budget as well. If you are wondering about the meaning of “PAL” in the brand name, it is actually an acronym for their approach to test-taking: Precise, Alternative, Logical.
- Precise refers to how you can answer a question directly. You can use your memory to answer a question, or use mathematical solutions.
- Alternative requires you to be more practical, by plugging in actual numbers for unknown equation variables to clarify the problem and speed up the solving process.
- Logical is the method you use when you focus on properties instead of mathematical equations and actual numbers along the way. This method enables you to efficiently disregard the possible wrong answers so that only the right answer remains.
This threefold approach is at the heart of the ExamPAL test prep courses, and it’s evident as well in their GMAT prep courses. But is it right for you? Only you can answer that, but you need a closer look to make a more informed decision.
ExamPAL GMAT Prep Courses Highlights
All the GMAT prep courses offer 6 months of access to the resource materials.
Each one also includes the 4 official GMAT practice tests created and offered by GMAC, which created the GMAT in the first place.
Here are the ExamPAL prep courses, prices, and features:
|ExamPAL Prep Course||Features|
|Quant ($399)||· Quant Subject Areas
o Word problems
· Integrated Reasoning
o Quantitative data
o Critical reasoning
o Data comparison
o Following a development
· Video lessons
· AI-powered practice test
· 675 credits
|Premium ($589)||· 70-point improvement guarantee
· Comprehensive coverage
· 1,500 practice questions in 22 practice sections
· 22 interactive introduction videos
· 24 interactive video lessons
· 12 extra verbal quizzes
· 3 essay reviews
· 1-hour MBA admission consultancy
· 1110 credits
|Genius ($899)||· ALL the features in the Premium
· 3 essay reviews with inline notes
· 3 live online 1-on-1 tutoring sessions
· 2 expert assessments to monitor and improve your progress
· 2580 credits
Here are the special benefits you get with the ExamPAL GMAT prep courses:
A Reasonable Number of GMAT Prep Course Options
Being able to choose from 4 prep courses (with 3 of them offering comprehensive coverage) is a good range. It’s not too limited (some brands offer only 2), but it also isn’t so many that it’s overwhelming (other brands can offer more than a dozen).
The Price Range Looks Good
Granted, the most affordable of the full coverage prep courses is at the upper reaches of the “average” price level. Most other brands offer their basic prep course at prices $100 lower.
On the other hand, the price range doesn’t go over $1,000. It’s true that you can purchase additional services through the credit system, but you’re not forced to subscribe to a more expensive course to obtain those extra services.
The Piece-Meal Credit System
This is what makes ExamPAL truly unique in the prep course industry. It uses a credit system, which lets you spend a certain number of credits for each particular feature included in each course.
Let’s look at the Premium package, which comes with an extensive list of features and resources along with 1110 credits. You can use these credits to use all the features here.
- Watching a video lesson — free (no credit spent)
- When you answer a question — 1 credit (2 credits for IR question)
- When you download an informative PDF — 10 credits
- When you take a verbal quiz — 5 credits
- When you submit an essay and get a score — 40 credits
- When you submit an essay and get a score and a summary — 60 points
- When you submit an essay and get a score, a summary, and in-line notes — 95 credits
- When you generate a code for the practice mock tests — 100 credits
- When you take a practice test — 40 credits
You can even use these credits for features that aren’t part of the premium, such as getting a 1-on-1 tutoring session. If you can’t save these credits, you’re always free to buy more of these credits to obtain these extra services. You don’t have to upgrade to a more expensive course.
The credits are even transferable. If you do upgrade to a more expensive course, your unused credits will still be in your account. You can even pass on your credits to a buddy, or sell them to other ExamPAL subscribers so you won’t have to worry about them going to waste.
Whole Range of Features
The Premium Package contains the “usual suspects” of features, but it also comes with features that other basic full-coverage packages don’t offer.
These features include the essay reviews, the 4 official GMAC practice tests, and the MBA consulting session.
The Genius package also includes the 3 essay reviews with inline notes, the 3 live online 1-on-1 tutoring sessions, and the 2 expert assessments to monitor and improve your progress. Sure, other GMAT prep packages also come with tutoring sessions, but often those packages are much more expensive.
4 Official GMAC Practice Tests
These are the practice tests that are best for you. Sometimes we’re so focused on how many practice tests a brand offers in the GMAT prep courses that we forget that many of them are not offering official practice tests. Now with ExamPAL, you can get the official practice exams included in the price of your course.
Essay Review with Inline Notes
Essay reviews are hardly standard in the GMAT prep courses, so it’s already great that it comes with the courses offered through ExamPAL. What’s really great is that you even get detailed in-line notes regarding what you wrote in your essay.
These notes pinpoint the various ways you can improve your essay writing skills. You don’t just get a general summary or score for your essays.
Live Tutoring Sessions
The Genius package gives you 3 of these sessions, and you can just add more hours as you need them. You’re not forced to pay huge bucks for 20 or 30-hour tutoring packages, especially if you realize that you don’t need them, but it’s definitely nice to have the tutoring option if you need some more personal help.
It’s great that this is part of the cheapest full-coverage package, because lots of GMAT test-takers forget that the GMAT isn’t the be-all and end-all of getting into the MBA program you want.
The MBA consultant can remind you about how to present yourself well in regards to the other factors, such as your interviews, the recommendations you receive, and the scope of your managerial experience.
This consultant can take your expected score into account and guide you to the most realistic MBA program for you. If your score is below 700, you may find it difficult to get into a Top 5 MBA program, but there are still many good options out there.
The PALgorithm isn’t just a simple bit of tech that gives you a harder or easier subsequent question, depending on how you answered the previous question. It’s much more comprehensive than that.
What it does is to optimize the way (and the speed) by which you answer the GMAT questions. That’s because some of these questions may have as many as a dozen different ways by which you can arrive at the right answer.
The PALgorithm takes all the possible methods into account, and then also notes your own performance judging from how you did with the diagnostic questions. It then combines all these factors to help you find the method that gets you the right answer in the shortest amount of time. It makes you much more efficient when taking the GMAT.
There’s a Guarantee
The guarantee basically states that you will get a score of at least 700, if your previous GMAT score is at least 630. If your previous score is lower than 630, then you’ll improve that score by at least 70 points. A guarantee is good news that ExamPAL is willing to stand behind their product. This should give you confidence if you are diligent to apply yourself.
ExamPAL has experts who can check out your progress and then suggest what to do next for your study plan. You can do your own assessments, of course, especially after diagnostic practice tests. But these experts can offer insights that you may overlook.
There are drawbacks, unfortunately. Take these factors into consideration before purchasing a plan.
Where’s the Live Instruction?
There’s no live instruction here. None whatsoever. On the face of it, this isn’t really all that bad. With no fixed live instruction class schedule to follow, your study schedule is completely flexible. You can practice and review at any time, and set a tutoring session at a time that’s convenient for you.
On the other hand, plenty of MBA applicants excel at a classroom setting. Even an online classroom is familiar and comforting, and there’s engagement and participation that you don’t get with video lessons (or even with tutoring sessions). It would have been nice if this was also an option for the students who prefer it.
No Mobile App
With everyone these days keeping their smartphone with them wherever they go, mobile apps ought to be standard features for every prep course. That way, you’re able to answer practice questions when you’re on the road or if you have a few minutes of free time in your busy schedule.
ExamPAL doesn’t have a mobile app, and that’s just unfortunate. You need a laptop or a desktop PC to access the features fully in your GMAT prep course.
While some people find actual books obsolete, plenty of people find paperbacks a comforting, solid resource material to use when reviewing. Sometimes you just want to get away from all the high tech and get nice and cozy with a real book. Maybe even use real highlighters and bookmarks instead of doing all that digitally.
Many other brands offer physical books with their packages, but ExamPAL isn’t one of them.
How many credits are needed for a private 1-on-1 tutoring session?
You’ll need to spend 250 credits.
How many credits are needed for another expert assessment?
That will cost 199 credits.
Can the GMAT credits be used for GRE services?
Yes, you can use those credits. Every 2 GMAT credits are then changed into 5 GRE credits.
How similar are the ExamPAL GMAT practice questions to the real thing?
ExamPAL based their practice questions on the actual GMAC questions. Their practice questions are very similar to the GMAC questions, but not too similar as to avoid any copyright issues.
Who Should Buy It?
Here are some statements that an ideal ExamPAL client might make:
I’m Very Busy
This is one of the defining attributes of average ExamPAL GMAT reviewers. These clients are so busy or have unusually schedules (maybe they work irregular hours) that they cannot follow a fixed schedule for online classes. That’s why they opt for video lessons and practice tests, which they can then take at any time they want.
Even the tutoring sessions can be scheduled at your convenience.
I Don’t Have Thousands of Dollars to Spare
None of the packages cost more than a thousand dollars. It’s true that you can still go into the 4-digit price range with extra tutoring sessions, but you won’t being paying as much up front as you would with other premium prep courses.
I Like the Piecemeal Approach
Everything extra here is optional. Even the standard features like practice questions aren’t forced on you. You can choose to take some of the standard features of a package, save the credits, and then use these credits for an extra tutoring session instead.
You can also improve a package with several extra features, without having to upgrade to a more expensive course.
The credit system here is terrific, as it allows you to customize your plan while you only pay for exactly what you get. In a way, ExamPAL offers you an unlimited number of packages that you can tailor as you see fit.
For the busy folks who only want to pay for what they need, the ExamPAL GMAT prep courses are just ideal.