Tuesday, May 5, 2009

GMAT Tutoring

Patrick Curtis, a first-year student at Wharton and founder/CEO of WallStreetOasis.com emailed to inform me of a new GMAT tutoring service that WallStreetOasis has just launched. Details of the service can be found here. At first glance, it looks good to me*, at least price-wise and concept-wise.

My GMAT tutoring experience:
I personally used Veritas tutoring and was only marginally satisfied. I paid $2,800 for 14 hours of private tutoring, which was their least expensive in-person tutoring package. (Insert cartoon character with eyes popping out here.) It took over three weeks to get matched with a tutor, which was unacceptable because I had initially planned to take the test within four weeks of signing up, which the company rep told me was a reasonable expectation. Veritas did pay the fee required to change my test date, but the lack of follow-up and unresponsiveness left a very bad taste in my mouth.

Once I had a tutor, I liked her a lot. She did what the WallStreetOasis program promises to do -- focus quickly on trouble areas (e.g., data sufficiency, sentence corrections) to maximize score increase. I took the test late last summer after using just eleven hours of tutoring over the course of three weeks (effectively wasting $600). I broke the 700 threshold and scored 6.0 on the writing portion. My quant score hovered around the 80th percentile, which I was not happy about, but in the interest of sanity, summer vacation, and essay-writing, I decided not to retake it.

Generally, my tutor's value-added service was focusing my energy on my personal trouble areas of the GMAT in a very short period of time. I got a reasonable score the first time I took it, so I can't complain too much, and I should also mention that the reason I signed up for Veritas is because a friend (now at Darden) got an 800 after using their private tutoring service. Wow.

In a nutshell, I think tutors are a good idea for the time-strapped applicant who has some extra cash. I like the WallStreetOasis service because its minimum package is 5 hours for $875. Had it existed when I was studying for the GMAT and had I had one or two recommendations from satisfied customers, I likely would have signed up for this intro package and added hours if necessary.

Quick request:
Good luck, and please let me know if you have any experience with a GMAT tutoring service you would like to share. Also, has anyone seen a good post on admissions consultants? I didn't use one to prepare my applications, but would like to link to a post that discusses them in my sidebar. Thanks.

*I have no personal experience with this particular service. Buyer beware.


Charles said...

The guy with the 800 makes me want to hire a Veritas tutor for myself, but I have to wonder if the inflexible packages are really worth it. There are tons of independent GMAT tutors out there who don't require students to purchase a certain number of hours, and their prices are usually lower.

Quality obviously varies, but there are some great GMAT tutors on, say, craigslist or gmatix. Also some very crappy ones, but it might be worth the effort to sort through them if you're trying to save some cash.

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