GMAT prep courses are designed specifically to help students prepare for the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT). Hundreds of universities across the country require applicants to submit their GMAT test results when applying to their MBA programs, which makes high scores extremely important. Test prep courses teach a combination of knowledge-based content and test-taking skills to help prepare students for this exam, in an effort to improve the student's final test score. There is wide range of GMAT prep courses available, and students should research their options well before deciding which course is best suited for their specific needs.

Top 8 Most Reviewed GMAT Prep Courses

Kaplan Test Prep offers a range of GRE test options as well as frequent specials and free graduate school guides. Choose from personal tutoring, live online instruction and self-paced learning, or sign up for a GRE bootcamp.

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What features matter most?

Customized courses

One-type-fits-all GMAT test prep courses may not work for all students at all skill levels. Many prep centers have found ways to customize their prep courses based on each student's preferences, current knowledge and skill set in order to enhance the learning experience.

  • Course options: GMAT test prep courses run anywhere from a one-day seminar to six months or longer of training to meet the specific demands of each student, with both weekday and weekend classes available to better accommodate the students.
  • Adaptive learning: High-quality adaptive learning technology allows test prep centers to test students' basic knowledge and testing skills, allowing the prep center to create a customized GMAT test study plan that is best suited for each individual student.
  • Individualized support: In addition to instruction prep training, many test prep centers also offer one-on-one tutoring or online homework support services to help students continue to learn even when they are not in the classroom.

Teacher experience

Be sure to look for a GMAT prep course that has experienced teachers that have successfully completed this examination. This will ensure that the correct information and test-taking skills are taught in the course, which will increase your chances of obtaining high quality and useful testing resources.

  • Experience teaching: Having previously taken the GMAT examination is not enough. Instructors should also have several years of teaching experience in order to effectively teach core knowledge requirements and test-taking skills.
  • Top rank on GMAT: Enrollees should not just look for instructors that have taken the GMAT exam but instructors that have ranked very high on the exam, such as in the 99th percentile.
  • Company experience: An instructor is only as good as the company they work for, so enrollees should look for GMAT prep center with a proven track record of success.

Course material

With an examination as important as the GMAT test, classroom instruction is not enough - students should also be provided with plenty of resource materials. When it comes to classroom material, it is important for students to determine if the resource material is theirs to keep or if it is only available to them for a limited time, such as until the end of the course or for a one-year period.

  • Workbooks: Many GMAT prep centers have several workbooks that are used both in the classroom and for homework, which focus on different sections of the test.
  • Resource material: Resource material may include information on the GMAT test, test-taking tips, detailed answers to practice question or other pertinent information.
  • GMAT guide book: While students can purchase the official GMAT guidebook on their own, it is an extra benefit to find a prep course the includes the valuable resource guide.

Test-taking strategies

A large portion of the GMAT exam is structured like a standardized test with multiple choice type questions. The remaining portion of the exam is a written test. Students should look for a GMAT prep course that teaches important test-taking strategies.

  • Multiple-choice questions: Students can improve their GMAT test score by using a variety of proven test-taking strategies for answering multiple-choice questions.
  • Writing tips: GMAT test prep courses often teach valuable writing tips that let the students know what type of writing prompts to expect and how this section of the exam is assessed.
  • Text anxiety: Some prep courses provide students with relaxation techniques that can help to reduce test anxiety on examination day.

Practice tests

Practice tests give students a good idea of what the actual GMAT examination is like and should include all major sections, such as analytical writing assessment, verbal, quantitative and integrated reading. Completing several practice tests prior to the official examination date can also help students study better and alleviate test anxiety.

  • Practice questions: Most GMAT prep courses include hundreds or thousands of practice questions that are similar to questions that are actually on the exam.
  • Computer-generated practice tests: Computer-generated practice tests may or may not be timed and can give the student a general idea of what the GMAT test will involve on examination day.
  • Time practice test: Students should look for a GMAT prep course that offers at least one three-hour timed practice test to give them some experience as to what the official test will be like.

Guarantees

Some GMAT test prep centers offer a money-back guarantee or the ability for the student to retake the course at a later date. Sometimes this type of guarantee comes with specific conditions.

  • Money-back guarantee: A few prep centers offer a money-back guarantee for students that are completely unsatisfied with the course.
  • Grade improvement guarantee: Many test prep centers offer money-back guarantees if the student's test score does not improve by a set amount, such as by 50 or 100 points, on their next examination that is taken within so many days of completing the GMAT prep course.
  • Free repeat course: Some companies allow students to retake the GMAT prep course for any reason, but students may be required to take the course by a set deadline, such as within 90 days.

What are different types of GMAT prep courses?

Classroom courses

A classroom-based GMAT prep course is one where students physically attend classes at a test prep center, which are primarily located in major cities. Each session is taught in person by experienced instructors and may include lectures, testing and question-and-answer sessions. Each class meets on a set day at a specified location, and students are expected to attend all classes.

Live online courses

Live online courses are typically exactly like a classroom course, except the student is watching the instructor live from their computer or mobile device. As with the classroom course, the sessions are done at a set date and time, and each student is required to attend each class. Though the student may not have the same person-to-person connection with the instructor as they would with a classroom course, many live online courses are set up to give the online viewer an opportunity to speak to the instructor and ask questions.

One-on-one tutoring

One-on-one tutoring means that one instructor works on an individual basis with one student at a time. Tutoring can be done face to face or online through a live video streaming session. A tutoring schedule is generally set up on an individual basis, but students are expected to attend every tutoring session.

Streaming video courses

Streaming video course are pre-recorded and made available to the students on an on-demand basis. The benefit is that the student can create their own schedule and move through the material at their own pace. The downfall is that no instructor is available to answer questions or to help solve specific test problems.

Writing assessment prep

The writing assessment part of the GMAT test is quite different from the other portions of the exam and therefore it requires different test preparation. Students who are concerned with this portion of the exam should find a prep course that provides a GMAT writing assessment and/or specific training for the writing portion of the test.

Who's it for?

College seniors

College seniors who are planning to apply to master's program, especially a business program, at a college or university that requires GMAT test scores. It is advised that the student takes the exam at least two months prior to applying to these programs.

Graduate school enrollees

College graduates who either just completed their college education or received their degree years ago and now want to earn their master's degree. A GMAT prep course will serve as a refresher course to prepare test takers for the actual exam.

Previous GMAT test takers

People who have already taken the GMAT examination but did not perform up to their potential. A GMAT prep course will provide valuable test-taking skills and comprehensive knowledge needed to increase one's overall score.

Company reviews

  • Veritas Prep

    Veritas Prep offers both in-person classroom prep courses and live, online GMAT prep courses, as well as HD video streaming test prep support and individualized tutoring. Since its inception in 2002, it has taught more than 100,000 students and now has test prep centers in more than 90 cities, located in 20 different countries.

    • Best for Students preparing to take the GMAT examination who want to improve their score.

  • Sherwood Test Prep

    Sherwood Test Prep focuses only on in-person, classroom test preparation services that include classroom instruction, test-taking skills and tips for dealing with test anxiety and stress. Currently, there are more than 50 different test prep centers in 25 states across the country and Washington, D.C.

    • Best for as well as those that do not want test anxiety to affect their overall GMAT test scores.
    • Not so good for Students who prefer classroom instruction

  • Next Step Test Preparation

    Next Step Test Preparation offers only one-on-one test preparation tutoring services, which is done through live video conferences or in person at one of their 22 locations. Course plans are customized based on how each student learns best and their current skill level. The test prep center will plan tutoring sessions around the student's schedule for added convenience.

    • Best for Students preparing for the GMAT exam who require individualized and customized training.

  • Testmasters.com

    Testmasters.com is a Houston-based company that offers test preparation services at the primary school, secondary school, college and graduate school level. Since its inception in 1991, the company has expanded to include GMAT prep course locations in more than 100 cities in 48 states and Washington, D.C. They offer classroom instruction, online prep courses and one-on-one training.

    • Best for Students who have already taken the GMAT exam and want to improve their test scores, as well as first-time test takers who want to prepare for the exam.

  • The Economist GMAT Tutor

    Unlike some other test prep companies, The Economist GMAT Tutor focuses solely on test preparation for the GMAT exam. More than 6,000 enrollees have completed this course, and The Economist GMAT Tutor boast an average 81-point increase in students' GMAT test results. It offers online instructional support and individualized essay marking to prepare for the writing assessment portion of the GMAT test.

    • Best for Students taking the GMAT exam as part of their enrollment into a master program in business, such as the MBA program.