Finding a GMAT Tutor – Tips to Get the Best Value for Money

by Maximilian Claessens
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Finding a GMAT Tutor – Tips to Get the Best Value for Money

If you want to be as best prepared as possible for the GMAT, it’s inevitable that you’ll eventually hire a GMAT tutor. A good tutor can accurately assess your strengths and weaknesses, provide valuable feedback on your performance in the different sections of the GMAT, and ultimately have you walking into that exam room confident, knowledgeable and ready to ace it. However, finding a GMAT tutor who is really able to help you improve may seem like a daunting task. Therefore, we have written this guide to help you find a GMAT tutor and get the best value for your money.

How to Find a Good GMAT Tutor

There are a lot of GMAT tutors out there, however, and unfortunately they don’t all cut the mustard. That makes finding a good GMAT tutor so hard. For every genuinely good tutor, there will likely be a handful who are inexperienced, incompetent, or a combination of the both. There are also some tutors with whom you’ll simply lack chemistry and find it difficult to work with, competent as they might be!

The challenge, then, is separating the wheat from the chaff and finding one that both suits you and has the skills and knowledge to get you ready for the GMAT. Let’s take a look at the steps you can take to improve your odds of finding such a tutor.

If you’re still wondering whether or why you should hire a GMAT tutor, have a look at this guide.

Finding a GMAT Tutor: Things You Should Avoid

When searching listings for a GMAT tutor, you’ll find no small number of people advertising their services. It’s often instructive to look for things that you don’t want in a tutor; with that in mind, let’s look at behavior or claims that should immediately start alarm bells ringing when looking for GMAT tutors.

Avoid GMAT Tutors with a Dogmatic Approach to Methodology

Some tutors insist that they have a ‘tried and tested’ approach to acing the GMAT and will apply this one-size-fits-all solution to any student they have, irrespective of that individual student’s profile.

This is a warning sign that that tutor isn’t all they’re cracked up to be; tutoring isn’t an assembly-line profession where one single approach works all the time, and students aren’t identical and interchangeable. A good tutor will conduct a diagnostic session with you in order to figure out what you’re comfortable with, what you find difficult, and what areas you need help with that you might not even be aware of. A good GMAT tutor will then compile an individualized study plan to prepare you for the GMAT.

In a similar vein, tutors who prescribe a pre-planned course for you without bothering to check if that course is appropriate for both (a) what you need and (b) what you want are probably a no-go. Tutors generally operate in a one-to-one environment, and as such they shouldn’t be simply sticking you with some pre-written syllabus that might not be right for you – they should be tailoring each class specifically, and their course outline in general, to you as an individual student.

A good rule of thumb: if your prospective tutor suggests – or is open to – a preliminary meetup in order to assess your strengths and weaknesses, then they’re probably a keeper.

If They Guarantee a ‘Pass’, You Should Probably Pass on Them

Nobody can guarantee a pass in anything – there are so many variables on the day that it’s simply impossible to guarantee anything with any degree of certainty – and you should be wary of people making such broad, hyperbolic statements. If they’re willing to exaggerate on this point, what else are they exaggerating? Can they really be trusted to deliver on any of their promises? However, when you approach the task of finding a GMAT tutor, you’ll find that lots of tutors promise just that.

Similarly, companies or tutors who boast about their pass rates are likely exaggerating or even outright lying. How are they calculating their pass rates? What about students who started courses with them but didn’t finish, for whatever reason? What about students who failed the first time and passed their second?

Similarly, be wary of companies and tutors who use statistics and data on how much their students have ‘improved’ or their pass rate. Such data can be manipulated and/or misleading, and often ‘pass rates’ will actually be for internal mock tests rather than the real thing. Simply put: any company or individual tutor overly obsessed with statistics and pass rates probably isn’t as on the level as they pretend to be.

A good GMAT tutor is going to be honest: there’s no such thing as a guaranteed pass. All they can do is give you the best possible shot at passing by forearming you with all the tools necessary to pass the GMAT.

How to Choose a GMAT Tutor: Things You Should Look For

We’ve had a look at some of the less desirable qualities in GMAT tutors and tutoring companies – but what about the things you should be looking for to find a good GMAT tutor? Let’s take a look at GMAT tutor traits and habits that ought to give you good vibes.

Look For a Tutor That Has Taken the GMAT Themselves

This one sounds obvious – so obvious, in fact, that you might just take it as read that your tutor has sat the test themselves and not bother asking them. After all, somebody who couldn’t drive wouldn’t offer driving lessons, right?

In fact, you’d be surprised at the number of tutors that haven’t even sat the GMAT. And much as you wouldn’t trust someone without a license to teach you to drive, you’re not going to trust someone who hasn’t taken the GMAT to instruct you in it!

More than that: someone who hasn’t sat the GMAT may have quite a lot of detailed knowledge about the test, and may even do a half-decent job of preparing you for it on a superficial level, but they can’t know what it’s like to walk into that room and actually take the test. You need someone who’s been through that experience and who knows how nail-biting and stressful it is – and you should insist upon it.

It’s also key when it comes to in-depth knowledge about the different sections of the GMAT. A tutor who’s already sat it can identify why you find Quantitative Reasoning so difficult, for instance, or can give you advice on how to improve your technique and methodology for the AWA (a section that trips up a lot of candidates). You can read about these and take mock tests all you want, but there’s nothing like actually sitting them – and someone who’s done that is in a great position to properly instruct you on how to prep for them.

Hire a GMAT Specialist – Not Just a Mathematician

Some tutors will advertise themselves for multiple standardized tests, relying upon their major in mathematics to do the heavy lifting and obscure the fact that, whilst they know a lot about statistics, they know precious little about the specifics of the GMAT.

That isn’t good enough; the GMAT is a specialized test that requires a specialized teacher, and you should settle for nothing less. A lot of the GMAT problems are not pure math ones, but rather a test of your ability to both understand fairly complex math and also use logic and deduction to make inferences from that math. You need a tutor that understands that, and prepares you accordingly.

Ensure Your GMAT Tutor is Able to Accommodate Your Timetable

Flexibility is something that ought to go with the territory when you’re hiring a tutor for one-to-one sessions, but it’s sadly not always the case. Many tutors will try to have you work around their schedule rather than accommodating yours – and that’s something of a red flag.

Any good tutor will understand your requirements and work around them – and that includes your timetable. Maybe you’re working nights as you prep for your GMAT, and need early evening or late morning classes. Maybe you’re working two jobs and are only available during the day on weekends. Whatever your schedule, you need a tutor that can work with it – so ensure that’s the case when choosing one.

Tips and Tricks for Finding a Great GMAT Tutor

  • Find a company or tutor who’s willing to offer a trial class to begin with (or a heavily discounted introductory class). This will allow you to see if you’re a good fit for each other without wasting money on something you don’t ultimately want.
  • Watch clips of previous classes, if possible, for the same reason.
  • If going for a big company, find out if you can switch tutors in the event you’re not satisfied. As pointed out earlier, sometimes two people just don’t make a good fit, and you might not get along with even the best of tutors.
  • Don’t pay too far in advance with freelancers – pay for a single lesson first (freelancers are unlikely to offer trial lessons) and see how you feel afterwards.

Finding a GMAT Tutor: Pricing

Now that you’ve got an idea of what you should (and shouldn’t) be looking for in a GMAT tutor, you need to have an idea of how much you ought to be paying for one.

The first thing to bear in mind is that low cost does not necessarily imply low quality, and vice versa. There are plenty of overpriced tutors out there charging through the nose by touting qualities they either don’t have or that they exaggerate; similarly, there are a lot of very good tutors with extremely competitive rates. The only way to find out is to reach out to the tutor and see if the two of you are a good fit for each other!

Prices per hour are as varied as the tutors that offer them; some tutors will go as low as $9/hour, while high-end ones can go all the way up to $200/hour. Again – it’s worth remembering that the price isn’t a hard-and-fast indicator of how good the instructor is!

How to Find a GMAT Tutor

OK – so you have an idea what you might pay and what you’re looking for in a GMAT tutor. Now the question becomes where do you go to find one?

Online GMAT Tutors

If the post-pandemic world has gifted us one thing, it’s the ease of getting online tutors and classes, and the GMAT is no exception. Even a cursory look on Google is enough to reveal a wealth of tutors with varying levels of skill, experience and pricing. No matter your requirements, it should be pretty easy to find what you’re looking for. This makes finding a GMAT tutor much easier than ever before.

If it’s a big, established company you’re after, you could do worse than Manhattan Prep, who employ excellent tutors and offer courses that can be studied as quickly or as leisurely as you’d like. They also have a bunch of extra resources to help you get ready for test day.

Those operating with a slightly less expansive budget would do well to consider Magoosh, a cheap, no-frills GMAT tutoring company that offer simple one-to-one tutoring at affordable prices. Though you’re not going to get the low prices of some of the cheaper freelancers, you are going to get a great package for what you’re paying.

And speaking of freelancers – here is where to go if you want to roll the dice. Anybody can offer their skills as a freelance GMAT tutor, after all, and it’s far more difficult to be assured of a high-quality tutor than it is with an established company. That said, freelancers are looking to make a name for themselves, and so will set their rates low to begin with. It’s entirely possible that you’ll find a diamond in the rough. Sites like TutorOceanCorp are a great place to seek out freelance GMAT tutors.

Offline GMAT Tutors

Though less convenient than online tutors, it is possible to get face-to-face classes for those who don’t like the limitations of learning through a computer screen. The abovementioned Manhattan Prep offers offline classes in many different countries, and freelancers willing to work offline are not difficult to find.

Note, however, that offline classes present their own logistical challenges, and if your ideal tutor is located on a different continent (or even a different city) then your plans may require a rethink.

Conclusion on How to Find a Good GMAT Tutor

We hope that this article has shed some light on the daunting prospect of hunting down a good GMAT tutor, and given you an idea of what you should/shouldn’t be looking for. And always remember that a GMAT tutor isn’t for life – if things aren’t working out, part ways and try again. Before you know it, you’ll be walking into that test room with your head held high, ready to ace the GMAT!

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