The Best GMAT Prep Courses, According to MBA Students

You will need to take one of the best GMAT prep courses to increase your chances of admission into top-notch business schools like Stanford Business School, Harvard, Wharton, etc.

Your GMAT score helps the school judge whether you will be a successful student or not.  As such, you need to prepare yourself thoroughly to get into your dream school.

Unfortunately, the internet is awash with so many GMAT preparation courses. It might prove so daunting to know which one is truly the best.

To save you time and energy, we have asked several MBA degree students & graduates to help us put together a list of the best GMAT preparation courses worth spending money and time on. 

But first, a small preview of the GMAT exam structure, shall we?

GMAT Exam Structure

Graduate Management Admission Test is a standard requirement for those enrolling in a business school or for an MBA course.

There is a specific format the test adopts. First, it is divided into four parts, namely:

  • Analytical assessment-checks on how well you can articulate certain ideas
  • Integrated reasoning-this puts to test both your verbal and quantitative skills
  • Verbal reasoning– judges how well you can read, interpret and formulate various arguments
  • Quantitative reasoning– looks at how good you are at analyzing data and issuing conclusions 

You have a max of 3.5 hours to finish a total of 80 questions spread across the 4 sections. 

Each section has a different time frame and you can take an 8-minute break before moving to the next.

The test scores range between 200 and 800. If you score above 750, you would be at the 99th percentile.

Anything below 500 can easily come off as dissatisfactory performance for most schools.

Verbal and integrated reasoning are computer-adaptive tasks. This means, once you start, there is no going back to change an answer or skip to the next question.

Now, let’s check some of the most recommended GMAT prep courses.

Best GMAT Prep Courses Worth Considering 

Here are the top courses that will increase your chances of admission into the best business schools:

1. The Princeton Review GMAT Prep

Logo of The Princeton Review- one of the best GMAT prep courses provider.

Abbreviated as TPR, this is a fairly comprehensive GMAT course that closely mimics Magoosh in a couple of ways.

So why this course and not others in this review? Well,  firstly, it is the best choice if you want plenty of practice opportunities.

Being a long industrial player,  Princeton offers both in-person and self-paced courses. 

They have a big bank of practice questions- a whopping 4000+ to get you ready for the real battle.

The tests are adaptive, just like the real GMAT exam. The tests advance in difficulty according to your performance.

Another unique feature of this course is its ability to grade essays. A majority of the products we have reviewed so far don’t offer that.

Pricing: Starts at $699

What we like about this course

  • Practice tasks are as adaptive as the real GMAT
  • A massive bank of practice questions 
  • Offers essay grading so you can be confident with the writing part
  • Several course options for different needs
  • Top-quality video lessons

What we don’t like about this course

  • The material access period lasts only 4 months
  • One-on-one tutoring is still costly

2. Kaplan GMAT Prep Review

Logo of Kaplan- one of the best GMAT prep courses provider.

If you are in the market for a well-polished premium GMAT preparation course, don’t hesitate to try Kaplan. Having acquired Manhattan Prep, an industrial player, Kaplan has positioned itself as an ultimate contender.

This highly professional product offers both live classes and self-paced tutorials. The live classes tend to cost steeply, but they are the most efficient.

One of Kaplan’s strongest selling points is its UI. It’s visually appealing. As for the content, the videos are well edited for accuracy to avoid those uhs and umms.

There’s a golden pot of 5000 practice questions. On top of that, 9 full-length questions are computer adaptive.

On Demand is the most affordable package and is self-paced. It goes for around $999. The plan has everything an aspiring GMAT student is looking for-practice questions, a strategy guide, test simulation, and a lot more.

If you want the best GMAT prep course and are not afraid to spend more, Kaplan deserves top priority.

Pricing: Starts at: $999

What we like about this course

  • One-on-one tutor teaching
  • Multiple hours of interactive live-stream content 
  • Several practice questions to exercise on
  • Has both in-person and self-paced material

What we don’t like about this course

  • Costs quite a good chunk of money

3. Magoosh GMAT prep Review

Logo of Magoosh- one of the best GMAT prep courses provider.

There are many reasons why Magoosh always pops to the top of many online reviews. Affordability is one of them. 

Magoosh is a supremely flexible course. The lessons are short, each running for around 10 minutes. 

You are free to jump between content as you see fit. If for some reason you are preoccupied, you can pause your studies and proceed when ready.

At a fee swinging between $219 and $599, this prep course consists of 340+ video lessons. 

The access period of up to 1 year is a solid deal. You won’t worry about time running out on you.

Magoosh instructional materials come in the form of recorded video lessons, delivered in slides. 

There’s also written content, sample questions, and practice tests for interactive learning.

Pricing: Starts at $219

What we like about this course

  • Happens to offer expansive courses at favorable prices
  • Has a generous access period
  • You get a 7- trial period
  • Can allow one to take pauses whenever necessary 

What we don’t like about this course

  • Very few practice tests
  • Does not grade essays in the Analytical Writing section

4. Target Test Prep GMAT Review

Logo of Target Test Prep- one of the best GMAT prep courses provider.

Normally, you need at least three and a half months to complete a GMAT course. That’s the minimum recommended time.

However, if you feel confident that you can finish the course in under a month or are simply short on time, then you should check out Target Test Prep GMAT.

The course offers a monthly subscription package for as little as 149 bucks. This makes it one of the most affordable choices for those on a tight budget.

TTP strongly believes in the effectiveness of its product. How so? 

Well, to start, you get a risk-free, 5-day full-access trial for only a dollar. That’s outstanding. And it gets better; you don’t get auto-billed.

Secondly, there is a money-back guarantee in case you don’t like the material. 

Another alluring aspect of TTP is its intelligent analytics. It lets you revisit your weak areas in order to get the best GMAT score.

According to the platform’s own research, 90+ of their students score 700+ points. That should not come as a surprise given the rich number of video lessons as well as practice questions.

And as a bonus for subscribing to their platform, you will get free access to their verbal course.

Pricing: Starts at $99

What we like about this course

  • it’s one of the most affordable GMAT courses
  • plenty of instructor-led video lessons
  • lots of practice questions for effective revision
  • useful analytics for tracking progress
  • customizable content that adapts to your study needs
  • has note-taking templates

What we don’t like about this course

  • The verbal section is not as comprehensive. You might need to supplement it with external resources

5. PrepScholar GMAT Review

Logo of PrepScholar- one of the best GMAT prep courses provider.

If you are on a very tight budget and cannot afford premium causes like Kaplan, PrepScholar can come to your aid.

We know what you might think; won’t the content be drab? The answer is a big NO.

PepScholar’s course material is just as dependable as what you get with the likes of Magoosh.

You see, before the lessons start, the platform passes you through a diagnostic test that exposes your strengths and weaknesses. 

After that, the platform’s own algorithm will offer you a personalized study plan. The course guarantees to increase your next GMAT test by 60 points or your money back.

Where does the tradeoff come in, then? Well, while the course ticks many right boxes, it’s entirely online and self-paced. That’s not a huge dealbreaker though.

Pricing: Starts at $99

What we like about this course

  • Interactive video lessons 
  • Customizes your learning based on strong and weak points
  • One of the most affordable GMAT courses
  • There’s a 5-day risk-free trial period

What we don’t like about this course

  • There are a few practice questions 
  • There are no in-person lessons 

The list doesn’t end here. Varsity Tutors GMAT is also another ideal choice for exam preparation. Having acquired Veritas GMAT, their services should now be more expansive. Their pricing starts at $599.

The course is best suited to those who want to crush their reading in as little as 10 weeks. They offer both self-paced and assisted tutoring.

Other options that you can explore include Dominate The GMAT Course, examPAL, and Menlo Coaching.

Eye-opening Update: The Economist

The Economist course was slowly gaining fame to contend with household names like Kaplan. Their package was good and they strongly stood behind their product.

Unfortunately, as of March 2022, the giant publication house stopped offering both their GMAT and GRE courses. So don’t go looking out for them.

Things to Consider Before Selecting the Best GMAT Prep Course

Here are a few core things you need to look into before selecting a GMAT preparation course:

I. The application deadline

It would be pointless to pick the best GMAT prep course when the deadline for your school is already due. So make sure your application is timely.

II. Practice tests and questions

Practice makes perfect. It is important to pick a course that allows you to practice what you just learned.

Take a course like Kaplan (w/Manhattan Prep) for instance. They have a whooping 3000+ practice questions. That is sufficient material to cement knowledge gained from GMAT lessons.

III. Good Interface

A good-looking interface makes content consumption pleasurable. The plans, lessons, and other study materials should be in good order and easy to find.

Lessons need to flow well and follow concept connectedness for better comprehension.

IV. Access period

Now, here’s something you must pay attention to.  GMAT courses’ access period varies from platform to platform.

Some grant access for as little as 120 days, while others give you a whole year. The rule of thumb here is simple; the more, the merrier.

V. Course Options

Platforms with multiple course options usually end up being a preference for many students. Why? Because you get to pick what you want.

Take Kaplan, for example. You can choose the Exam package only and avoid course material (supposing you already had that from elsewhere).

You should also have the choice to go for either self-paced lessons or direct access to a tutor. The prices will vary depending on your selected course.

VI. Guarantee 

It’s normal for businesses to stand behind their product by offering some sort of guarantee. A majority of courses promise a certain level of score improvement.

Usually, companies that promise big, with an option for a money-back guarantee in case of ‘otherwise’, are worth giving a shot.

VII. New versus old providers

Like any other business, the GMAT course niche has as well seen an explosion of companies purporting to offer the best affordable learning experience.

Established names like The Economist and Bloomberg had joined the bandwagon. Since many people are already familiar with these names, they gave them a try.

The Economist discontinued its services in 2022 and Bloomberg has faced several quality complaints. 

Traditional names like Manhattan Review (now a part of Kaplan), Kaplan, and Magoosh have been around for long, and their track record is widely known.

So if you find yourself in limbo between a new company and a traditional provider, choose the latter. They’ve been in the game for a long time and are better placed to help you.

VIII. Read the terms and conditions & take the free trial

One of the biggest mistakes students make is not reading a prep company’s terms and conditions.

Terms and conditions contain valuable info on refund policies. You’d be surprised to learn that some prep course providers demand that you complete a certain percentage of lessons to qualify for a refund. 

If you want to avoid having to initiate a refund, then take the free trial offer to get a good feel of the material subject beforehand.

Now, let’s have a quick look at the dos and don’ts while taking the GMAT practice test.

Do’s and Don’t While Taking GMAT Practice Test

Many students rush through practice tests, oblivious to the fact that it simulates the real test. So, to help keep your guard up, here are a few dos and don’ts you need to remember:

Dos

  • Sit for the practice tests at the same time as the real test will be. This way, your circadian cycle won’t be a performance barrier.
  • Drink or consume whatever you want during breaks. This helps you understand how your body reacts to various drinks or foods so you can use those that power up your body and mind the right way.
  • Have an error tracker, not just to show you the mistakes you made, but also why you made them. An error tracker helps you fix issues that would easily escape your attention and cost you a golden score.
  • Analyze the heck out of your practice tests. This helps to minimize issues that are likely to arise during the real test. Plus, it can tell you areas that are challenging, so you put in more weight while studying those particular sections.

Don’ts

  • Take breaks longer than 8 minutes during the tests- because during the real test, you won’t get more than that. Use an alarm, if you must, to ensure you never rest for more than 8 minutes between tests.
  • Drink or eat anything while taking the GMAT practice test. Sure, a steaming cup of cappuccino will get your juices flowing. But during the real test, that option won’t be there.
  • Use your cell phone during practice time. During the real exam, it won’t be close to you.

What we are trying to say is: treat your practice time exactly as you would the real exam. Period.

Conclusion 

There you go! Now you have a comprehensive list of some of the best GMAT prep courses.

Just to wrap things up, if you are on a tight budget, we suggest you pick courses that let you subscribe to a single package rather than the whole shebang.

Examples of GMAT courses with multiple course options include Kaplan, PrepScholar, and TTP.

Before you settle on any choice, be sure to review your budget, learning style, strengths, and weaknesses. That’s all for now, happy GMAT course hunting!

Frequently Asked Questions

Are GMAT prep courses worth it?

Business schools use GMAT prep courses to determine if a student is a good fit for them or not. As such, taking this course is paramount if you are to get the mostly minimum threshold score of 700.

Which prep course is best for GMAT?

Target TestPrep is an all-intensive course for those interested in Quant. Other worthwhile choices include The Princeton Review, Magoosh, Kaplan, and PrepScholar.

What is the best online course for GMAT?

Magoosh is considered the best online course for GMAT. The content is comprehensive, classes are interactive and there are lots of practice opportunities.

The platform started entirely online and is well-founded in offering GMAT courses digitally. They even have a dedicated mobile app that is easy to use.

Can I get 700 in GMAT in 2 months?

Consensus has it that you need a minimum of 3 months to rake a score of 700 in GMAT. That is only if your diagnostic test results returned a score of 600-650.

If you scored 500 or lower, you will need roughly 9 months to inch past 700. 

How much time you will take depends on the tools you are using, your learning curve, and the efficiency of the learning process.

Is a 700 GMAT score easy?

It is not easy to get 700 in a GMAT. There are rigorous math problems and analytical texts to solve. Many of which take time, effort, and a serious amount of commitment.

Can GMAT be cracked in 3 months?

It’s possible to crack a GMAT test in 3 months if you commit 8-12 hours a day, plan well, and leverage the best tools.

Studying for GMAT in 3 months is only advisable for those looking to up their score by 100 or 200 points. 

Those with scores below 500 need to dedicate more than 3 months of study time to ace the GMAT prep course exam.

Related Readings:

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