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GMAT: Kaplan or Princeton

SeptusSeptus Registered User regular
edited October 2008 in Help / Advice Forum
I've decided that I'm going to try and get into business school, and I need to ace the hell out of my GMAT.

Can anyone give any specific recommendations for or against Kaplan versus Princeton Review? It also seems as if the princeton review class is quite a bit cheaper, $1049 versus $1449. My parents would be paying for it, but it would still seem kind of wasteful if they're either similar in quality or if Princeton is better.

PSN: Kurahoshi1
Septus on

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    DJ-99DJ-99 Registered User regular
    edited October 2008
    1. Familiarize yourself with the format of GMAT questions (online, for free)
    2. Take one of the two official, computer adaptive, tests (downloaded from the GMAT website)
    3. If you do well, just buy the official GMAT review book (it's a beigey/orange looking book)
    4. After studying that book, take the 2nd official practice test.
    5. If you're getting a 750, don't waste your money on the Kaplan or the Princeton course.
    6. If you're still not getting scores that are making you happy, only then would I even consider paying for one of those courses. Seriously, the official GMAT book may be all you need, and it costs like $30. Keep in mind this is THE ONLY SOURCE of real GMAT questions. All other sources will be fine, but not "real" GMAT questions.

    Good luck.

    DJ-99 on
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    1ddqd1ddqd Registered User regular
    edited October 2008
    The classes are only worth it if you have a horrible, horrible score after taking the test once. I would do the practice tests, then maybe consider a book, but not a class. I realize some people learn better that way, but $1,000 for a class is rediculous, especially if it's test prep.

    1ddqd on
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    QuothQuoth the Raven Miami, FL FOR REALRegistered User regular
    edited October 2008
    DJ-99 wrote: »
    1. Familiarize yourself with the format of GMAT questions (online, for free)
    2. Take one of the two official, computer adaptive, tests (downloaded from the GMAT website)
    3. If you do well, just buy the official GMAT review book (it's a beigey/orange looking book)
    4. After studying that book, take the 2nd official practice test.
    5. If you're getting a 750, don't waste your money on the Kaplan or the Princeton course.
    6. If you're still not getting scores that are making you happy, only then would I even consider paying for one of those courses. Seriously, the official GMAT book may be all you need, and it costs like $30. Keep in mind this is THE ONLY SOURCE of real GMAT questions. All other sources will be fine, but not "real" GMAT questions.

    Good luck.

    This.

    Also, you don't even have to buy the book. If you're really cheap, just read it at Barnes and Noble for free. Buying it is nice, though, because you can write in it that way.

    Quoth on
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    SeptusSeptus Registered User regular
    edited October 2008
    1ddqd wrote: »
    The classes are only worth it if you have a horrible, horrible score after taking the test once. I would do the practice tests, then maybe consider a book, but not a class. I realize some people learn better that way, but $1,000 for a class is rediculous, especially if it's test prep.

    Is this from experience with the GMAT, or other tests? People have told me that taking a class for the GRE, which I was previously considering, would be a waste, but I've had some different recommendations for the GMAT.

    Also, if I just buy a book for now and try to see how I do before making a commitment to a class, which book would you recommend, Princeton or Kaplan?

    Septus on
    PSN: Kurahoshi1
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    Sheep Have WoolSheep Have Wool Registered User regular
    edited October 2008
    Hi, I own a test prep company. Prepping for a test may or may not be a waste of time - your score may be fine as is - but putting in some prep work will improve your score.

    Fortunately, most business schools take your highest GMAT score. A few do average scores, so you should check out the admission departments for any school you're interested in.
    I realize some people learn better that way, but $1,000 for a class is rediculous, especially if it's test prep.
    GMAT/LSAT/MCAT classes tend to be fairly expensive. The reason? The person teaching it should presumably be skilled at taking the test, and thus probably has gone to business/law/medical school.

    As far as an answer to your specific question: The Kaplan course is probably better because they almost always have better teachers, and I feel their GMAT material is a bit more organized/better. Is it 50% better? Probably not. Is it worth the money? That's a question for you and your parents to decide, and will probably depend on the score you need vs. the one you currently have.

    My advice: Go buy the official GMAT book. As previously stated, the Princeton Review/Kaplan books aren't "official" questions, and some of them can be pretty off the wall. Work a couple practice tests like you'd actually take the test: get up early, take it straight through with limited breaks, etc. See how you do and how that compares to what you'd like to get, then you can make a more informed decision.

    Sheep Have Wool on
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    SeptusSeptus Registered User regular
    edited October 2008
    So, Official Book is better than getting one with a CD for extra tests?

    I had been told that business schools would be looking at your previous scores if you've taken the test more than once, but you're saying that most don't factor in the previous scores at all, even if they have access to them?

    Septus on
    PSN: Kurahoshi1
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    DJ-99DJ-99 Registered User regular
    edited October 2008
    Definitely buy the official book before anything else. Like I said, it's the only one with "real" GMAT questions. If you've gone through it and are still doing poorly on the practice tests, then consider looking elsewhere for help.

    As far as looking at old scores, that's going to depend. If you get a 400 the first time and a 650 the second, they may not look too kindly on your first score. But if you get a 650 and a 750, they will probably only care about the 750. Keep in mind that what they really care about is what score they report for their rankings, and they want their rankings to be as high as possible, so the higher the score they say you have, the better it is for them.

    I believe how it works is they give you a score out of 5 based on your GMAT score. A 700 gets you a 4.5 and a 750+ gets you all 5 points, for example. Schools that do that will probably just look at your highest score (although other things equal between you and another applicant they will probably take the applicant who doesn't have a bad test score in their past).

    EDIT: Also, at $250 a pop, I would plan on not taking it more than once unless you really need to. Just make sure you're prepared the first time around. And I would recommend NOT getting up early to practice or take the real thing. Schedule it at around 2PM or something. You should be much more rested that way.

    DJ-99 on
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    BasarBasar IstanbulRegistered User regular
    edited October 2008
    I looked into business schools for a while. It is very RARE to come across one that will average your scores. They usually take your highest one.

    Basar on
    i live in a country with a batshit crazy president and no, english is not my first language

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    SeptusSeptus Registered User regular
    edited October 2008
    DJ-99 wrote: »
    EDIT: Also, at $250 a pop, I would plan on not taking it more than once unless you really need to. Just make sure you're prepared the first time around. And I would recommend NOT getting up early to practice or take the real thing. Schedule it at around 2PM or something. You should be much more rested that way.

    Gah, I was under the impression that it was the same as the GRE, which I could have taken at a computer center at our University for cheap.

    Septus on
    PSN: Kurahoshi1
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    DJ-99DJ-99 Registered User regular
    edited October 2008
    Septus wrote: »
    DJ-99 wrote: »
    EDIT: Also, at $250 a pop, I would plan on not taking it more than once unless you really need to. Just make sure you're prepared the first time around. And I would recommend NOT getting up early to practice or take the real thing. Schedule it at around 2PM or something. You should be much more rested that way.

    Gah, I was under the impression that it was the same as the GRE, which I could have taken at a computer center at our University for cheap.

    It's possible that your university subsidizes the cost. I'm not sure how "cheap" the GRE is at your school, but the GRE is usually fairly expensive too I believe (like $115 maybe).

    DJ-99 on
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    shugaraeshugarae Phoenix, AZRegistered User regular
    edited October 2008
    From my limited understanding, Kaplan (don't know anything about PR) mostly emphasizes test-taking skills, not really the information that's going to be on the test. For instance, how to use process of elimination, educated guessing, etc, to increase your chances of getting a correct answer when you don't really know the correct answer...

    a guy from Kaplan came to one of my business classes and gave us a talk about their services, and that's pretty much what I got out of it.

    shugarae on
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