Should You Take a GMAT Prep Course?


should i take a gmat courseIn my 9-session courses, all students are invited to try the first session for free. At the end of that trial session, one or more students invariably ask me, do I need to take this course to get a good score on the GMAT?

In a word, no. In fact, I scored a 760 on my first attempt, and I didn’t take a prep course. But then again, I devoted my lunch hour to studying for more than two months straight. Every. Single. Workday.

I’d like to think I’m a smart guy, but even so, there’s no way I could have scored a 760 without putting in significant study time. That is true for 99.99% of the GMAT-taking population, prep course or no. If you want to get the most out of my class, be prepared for an hour of homework every day for the duration of the course.

To get a good score on the GMAT, you need to study, regardless of whether you take a prep course. The main point of my course is to help you study. Much of my preparation is devoted to identifying the concepts that are hard to understand when you read them, but easier to understand in a classroom/lecture environment. I also try and identify concepts that students would be unlikely to grasp from self-study alone. I spend time picking problems to go over in class that have both a standard solution and a less obvious but faster solution. As a teacher, I assume that you are a smart person who is capable of raising your score on your own: my goal is to help you raise it even higher and raise it even faster than you would without my help.

If you’re still not sure whether a prep course is right for you, take a practice test (Manhattan GMAT has a free one), then study for an entire month on your own, putting in as much time and effort as you can. At the end of that month, take a practice test from (the creators of the GMAT test). Are you happy with your progress? Great, self-study might be perfect for you! Do you think you could use some guidance at this point? You might benefit from a prep course, plus the work you’ve already put in learning the basics of the test will help you maximize the benefit you get from your class.

This is not a complete analysis of the pros and cons of each preparation method, but I hope it’s enough to help you plan your attack. If you’re still wondering whether a prep course is right for you, feel free to comment with some specifics about your situation!

  1. aarti yadav March 14, 2013 at 6:03 am

    Nice strategies and techniques to help us or guide us through this process… All i would say is that no matter what these coaching institutes teach us, i really loved these GMAT study material i found online…
    these are the best GMAT Preparation books i found anywhere
    such nicely explained concepts

  2. Amulya Mishra February 2, 2013 at 8:52 am


    Very first time I am appearing for GMAT in the month of March. Need your guidance which can help to get perfect 750 score.

  3. tennisplayer January 24, 2013 at 5:04 am

    I just finished taking an in-person, 9-week course with Ryan. Taking an in-person course is a fantastic way to kick off the GMAT prep for the following reasons:

    + the course follows the MGMAT + OG curriculum, which is really all you need for this exam
    + by the end of the course, assuming that you have done all of the assignments, you will have complete 3 practice CAT’s, will have read the 9-series MGMAT materials, the roadmap and about 40% of the OG questions
    + Ryan is a fantastic instructor! down to earth, very clear with the explanations, patient with the questions, etc. It’s really helpful to have someone to “check in” with every week.