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PrepScholar GMAT Review
Our comprehensive review and analysis of the PrepScholar GMAT prep course
When it comes to prepping for the GMAT, you have a ton of prep course options to choose from. And among all these possibilities, one popular choice is the ultra-affordable course offered by PrepScholar. Since 2016, they have been providing students with a 100% online prep package that boasts over 100 hours of practice work and a highly customized study plan. However, with their low cost and rise out of seemingly nowhere, many students want to know just how effective this course is. In this detailed review, we dive deep into the PrepScholar GMAT prep course and see just how they measure up against competitors.
To help set the stage, PrepScholar offers 3 course options. First, they have a true budget option named the “Resource Pool Online GMAT Prep,” which comes with 2 months of access to over 500 practice questions and answer explanations. This is their most affordable course option, with a price tag of about $100. It’s a good option for students wanting some quick hit study, but does not include the customized study plans that PrepScholar is known for.
Next up is the “Self-Guided Online GMAT Prep,” which will cost you about $250. With the higher price, access time increases to 3 months, with 750 practice questions, 5 GMAT strategy lessons, and a diagnostic test to get you started.
Then there is PrepScholar’s most popular GMAT prep option, the “Completely Customized Online GMAT Prep.” All odd names, I know. With this package you get 4 months of access to over 1,200 practice questions, 100 hours of content, 10 GMAT strategy lessons, a higher score guarantee, and their customized study plan. At just under $400, this package is largely more affordable than most competitors’ courses (except maybe Target Test Prep and Magoosh), and offers some serious bang for your buck.
Pricing and course options current as of date of publication.
Evaluation of PrepScholar’s GMAT Coursework
I’ll start by making one thing clear about this course. If you are the type of student who learns best in a classroom setting or with live online instruction where you interact with your teacher and classmates, PrepScholar might not be the best course option for you (in which case check out our rankings of the best GMAT courses). And this is because PrepScholar’s GMAT prep is 100% online. Their course is completely student driven and is best suited for self-motivated students. You really need to be able to push yourself along.
With that out of the way, as far as self-paced prep courses go, I was actually pretty impressed with PrepScholar’s curriculum and coursework. Even though PrepScholar’s pricing is generally lower than its competitors, you can tell they don’t cut corners when it comes to prep materials. Offering over 25 video lessons and 1,200+ realistic practice questions, they are somewhere in the middle of the pack in terms of quantity of content. For the most part, this is fewer video lessons and practice questions than most other GMAT companies provide. However, I personally found the content contained in both the video and text lessons to be comprehensive and insightful.
The text lessons include blue sidebars with helpful information, yellow text boxes you can open for more details, and lighter blue boxes with example practice problems followed by step-by-step solutions. I was a big fan of the structure and content of these lessons overall. And as an addition to the main content review lessons, PrepScholar offers a number of strategy lessons that dive into test taking tips and strategies. These offer helpful hacks and shortcuts for getting some quick score jumps. I didn’t find them to be the most robust strategy offerings I’ve seen across GMAT courses, but helpful nonetheless.
In addition, each of the practice questions are accompanied by a thorough problem explanation so you can learn from your mistakes. It is in these problem explanations where our team sees a huge value add, as they really get into the meat of the issue to help you fully understand the topic at hand. These robust problems explanations carry over to the simulated exams as well. In total, PrepScholar gives you the opportunity to take up to 4 full-length, realistic practice exams.
That’s not as many as some of its competitors, but we believe it should be enough for most students to get the job done and be ready to roll on the day of the exam. And in any event, I found PrepScholar’s practice exams to be more or less a dead match for the real thing. I thought they did an excellent job mimicking the content and difficulty of the real GMAT, a pretty tough task.
In line with their “Study Smarter, Not Harder” approach, and what really sets them apart, is PrepScholar’s proprietary algorithm and customized study plans. Starting with the initial 60-question diagnostic exam and continuing throughout your GMAT prep, you will have a customized study plan that is specific to your strengths and weaknesses. What’s great about this is that your study plan is constantly updating as your skill level changes and you can actually see your assigned work shift around. I love this feature, as it allows you to focus in on areas where you need the most improvement and pulls back on subjects you’ve mastered.
Overall, our team was really impressed with the quality of PrepScholar’s course structure, adaptive study plan and realistic practice materials. Their lessons are solid as well, though don’t go quite as deep as what you get with some of the bigger players.
User Experience and Digital Platform
PrepScholar’s digital platform is straightforward and user friendly. Simple enough, you are able to access everything you need from the Dashboard, Progress, and Strategy tabs at the top of your screen. From your dashboard you can see your current weekly assignments, with the option to take a peek at future assignments. On the right side of your dashboard you can see how many hours you’ve studied, your weekly goal, how much time you’ve spent studying, and a graph showing your overall skill progress.
What I really liked about the online platform though, is that everything is color coded. Your progress, for example, is illustrated with different colored bars. Green indicates core learning, purple illustrates advanced, and gold reveals mastery. When reviewing your assignments and quizzes, you can quickly identify your correct (green) and incorrect (red) answers. Your quiz review also provides you with color coded information to show how your answers compared to other PrepScholar students.
GMAT Tutoring with PrepScholar
If you are thinking that you might need a bit of individualized help, your PrepScholar course can be supplemented with private tutoring from an instructor who has scored in the 99th percentile on the GMAT. To be clear, tutoring is a pretty standard offering these days, but tutoring from a 99th percentile scorer isn’t.
As with their online courses, the tutoring packages are offered in three different tiers. With each tutoring option you will have access to their Completely Customized Online GMAT prep package. Your access times, however, will vary based on which option you choose. With the three tutoring packages that range in cost from about $800 to $3,400, your access time will be either 1 month, 3 months or unlimited, and your tutoring hours will range from 4 hours to 20 hours.
While I didn’t personally use a PrepScholar tutor, I’d expect them to be pretty strong. Assuming these are the same folks that wrote and filmed their lessons, they obviously know what they’re doing and are strong communicators. However, if tutoring is what you’re really after, rather than just as an add on, I’d say check out Princeton Review.
Content Access Periods
Access to your PrepScholar GMAT online course content is totally dependent on which course option you purchase. In short, it will either be for 2, 3 or 4 months. This is far more restrictive than the access times offered by their competitors, and if you need more time than that to study, PrepScholar GMAT might not be the best choice for your particular needs. Overall though, 4 months should be enough time to get the job done for most students.
Considering that PrepScholar GMAT prep is 100% online, you’d probably assume that you’d be able to access your materials through a mobile app. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. With today’s students being busier than ever, and using their mobile devices for most everything, we find the lack of a mobile app a bit disconcerting. It’s not the end of the world, just a slight disappointment.
PrepScholar Score Guarantee
With perhaps the most generous score guarantee we’ve encountered, PrepScholar is so sure that their resources will get you fully prepared for the GMAT that if your score does not increase by at least 60 points, they will refund the cost of your course. There are some fine-print items that must be met for the guarantee to apply, but nothing unreasonable. Without a doubt, this type of guarantee is generally unheard of, and should give you some solid reassurance.
Verdict: PrepScholar GMAT Prep Course Review
The bottom line with PrepScholar is that they offer a highly affordable GMAT prep course that delivers some pretty solid study materials. Their lessons aren’t nearly as robust as those from Princeton Review or Kaplan, but do cover all the topics on the GMAT. While lacking production value, I nonetheless found them to be effective. In addition, we really like the quality of the explanations that accompany the practice questions, as they address both the correct and incorrect answers to help you fully understand the material.
But without a doubt, the shining star in PrepScholar’s GMAT prep arsenal is their adaptive technology. We really like that you never move forward until you’ve grasped a subject, and you won’t be wasting any precious time on areas you’ve already mastered. Overall, PrepScholar provides comprehensive and high quality lessons, practice questions and exams. That, combined with their highly intuitive and customized study plans, makes PrepScholar GMAT a solid choice for students looking for a flexible and affordable prep option. I wouldn’t hesitate to go with them if they fit the bill based on what we’ve laid out here.