FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
All of our instructors have scored 770 or greater (top half of the top 1%) on the GMAT, but more importantly each is a gifted teacher with extensive experience.
High score is only one aspect of being a strong instructor. While having a high score is necessary to understand the subtleties of the exam, communicating them is every bit as important.
Additionally, all of our instructors work full time with the GMAT and have career level expertise with the exam, which provides a better quality experience and stronger results than working with tutors who teach as a side-gig from a plug and play curriculum and the firms that employ them.
It all comes down to preference. Qualitatively, there is no difference between our live and online offerings. In both cases, you work with a single, 770+ instructor in a live, conversational setting.
While some clients prefer face to face learning, many are surprised by the conveniences offered by the online experience in our Google-based online learning platform. In particular, our ability to overlay notes in the lessons makes review much clearer outside of session.
From a results standpoint, we see similar results with both types of tutoring, and, due to the flexibility of online sessions and the reduction in commute time for our instructors, our online rates are also significantly lower than our rates for live instruction.
Absolutely! We travel the world bringing the best GMAT instruction wherever it’s needed. We can accommodate live tutoring requests anywhere in the world, from arctic mining camps to island villas and everywhere in between.
Our first step is always to learn about each client: their academic goals, score range, and background. Then we delve deeper into their learning style, cognitive proclivities, preferred solution paths, and their background with tests like the GMAT. We also inquire about timing issues and test/math anxiety, both of which are very common, and also surmountable.
Following the initial intake conversation (which is free and typically lasts about 30 minutes), we will then work with them in a GMAT assessment session to get to know them more deeply as learners, and from there deliver a personalized assessment and study schedule, which is then reviewed and agreed upon between the client and instructor, and provides a dynamic framework that keeps the client on target and seeing results at scheduled points in the prep process.
This way every client we work with can be assured of comfort and fit before making a commitment to studying with Apex.
The majority of our clients are early-mid career seeking MBAs from finance, consulting, and business backgrounds, but we have worked with everyone from seasoned professionals with multiple advanced degrees all the way to students still at University seeking to get the GMAT out of the way for a planned MBA sometime in the future.
We specialize in working with non-traditional candidates and have extensive experience understanding the difference in approach that comes with begin trained for different vocations. Whether you’re an engineer or a pharmacist, liberal arts student or entrepeneur, we can craft a program that will put you in a position to acheive on the GMAT.
We frequently help clients who have been struggling with the GMAT for months or years with little progress before making their way to Apex. We often work with clients who either
- have already taken well known prep courses, often with middling results due to the course’s focus on the fundamentals rather than the executive thinking skills the GMAT rewards.
- worked with one or more part-time “budget” tutors, who don’t have a depth of understanding of the GMAT and very rigid ideologies.
- have been exhaustively self-prepping and struggling to understand why they’re not seeing results on the GMAT, despite having been excellent students.
Seeing an improvement in as little as a few weeks after struggling for months is a great relief and we pride ourselves on finding the best ways to teach each client individually and focusing on their specific learning style. Much of the challenge is often working with the client to unlearn bad habits as much as adopt more beneficial ones.
Those clients who seek our help from before they begin the prep process are rewarded equally well by the process, but avoid the struggle and costs of entering several programs or going it alone to no avail.
- Comfort over everything. Without a strong rapport with your instructor and personal belief in the process, one can’t hope to achieve on the GMAT. The right learning environment is the foundation of success in just about any endeavor. Whether it’s with Apex or someone else, go with your gut and find the best learning environment for you.
- You get what you pay for. Achieving a stellar score and gaining admission to a top-tier program can mean an additional $1 million+ dollar over the course of a career. When you need a professional – a doctor, attorney, or consultant, you expect to pay for those that deliver the best value. Test prep, when done properly, is a highly specialized field, and those who excel at it are talented and in-demand. We started Apex because there was a dearth of bad test prep material on the market, much of it peddled by companies with brands you’d recognize. Additionally, simply being good at a test does not make a strong teacher, and many firms simply “hire the score” and throw an inexperienced person into the classroom.
The short answer is: It depends.
The typical GMAT preparation window for someone with no experience with the GMAT and moderate ability with the fundamentals of high school mathematics, mental math, reading and grammar is from 90-120 days.
This number is different for each learner, and issues or mastery with fundamentals, performance comfort or anxiety, and ability to prep on a regular basis can shorten or lengthen this timeline.
For those not starting from scratch, there are several variables to consider. In particular, two people can be scoring a 600 on practice exams and still require vastly different amounts of work. While one person might be excellent with the fundamentals, their higher level solution paths might require work, whereas the other might have excellent technique, but require a refresh in knowledge and the application of that knowledge.
Often, the most challenging part of prepping for GMAT is not learning new techniques, but unlearning bad habits developed over years of schooling and hours of undirected or misdirected self prep.
Since many middle range scorers need to develop and master new skills, the timeline for prep may be similar to those just beginning, though the amount of work during that timeframe might be less.
This question is the core reason we like to begin any relationship with an intake conversation followed by an exhaustive assessment session, so that we may speak to the specific challenges each client faces on the GMAT.
We sure can. Especially if you’ve been prepping on your own and need a brush up on particular problem types or an extra edge with performance, a few hours with an Apex tutor can do wonders.
It’s important to remember, though, that this is not substitute for proper preparation, and that results are less predictable with shorter timeframes.
While there is no typical client, here are a few examples of common profiles and the amount of tutoring they require:
- I have some competency with the fundamentals on both the quantitative and the verbal, but probably have room to grow. I’ve taken a course/been self-prepping or have a natural comfort level, but I know there are a lot of higher level strategies that I’m missing and I’m looking for a guide for the entire exam. 20-30 hours
- It’s been a while since I was in school, and I need a complete refresher on the fundamentals. I’m also not very comfortable with standardized tests and how they work. 40 Hours
- I’m really strong on the verbal (or quant), but I’m not performing nearly as well on the other section. I need help transposing the skills that permit me to succeed on the first section, and guidance in how to apply the less familiar concepts to bring my second section up. 20 hours
- I’m a strong test taker already, and have full mastery of the fundamentals as well as comfort with the exam. I’m seeking some executive level strategies to squeeze 20-50 points more out of an already impressive GMAT score. 10-15 hours
After an intake conversation and assessment, we can speak more precisely to the skills we’d like to help you acquire, and the amount of tuition we think it will take.
Finally, keep in mind that each hour of in session tutoring should be supported by about 2.5 hours of self prep.
While we’re always able to help review or polish fundamental GMAT concepts, Apex’s curriculum is designed specifically for clients who have mastered the fundamentals.
Our focus is on problem approach and the application of the fundamentals in creative ways in order to see “past” the test and enhance GMAT scores. This means that when working with Apex, there’s no time spent reviewing concepts you’ve already mastered.
As performance increases, the challenges the GMAT presents shift. Once the fundamentals are mastered in the high 500’s, problem approach and solution paths become more relevant, followed in the mid 600’s by creative problem solving, and finally – in the low 700’s – strategic shifts in test approach that are straightforward but hard to adopt due to psychological, rather than performance factors.
At the highest levels, it is the comfort with which you approach the GMAT that is produces the difference between a 700 and a 750.
On all sections, we can work with you to enhance focus, prioritization of concepts, stronger solution paths, conceptual context, depth of understanding beyond the “rules”, and performance and decision issues that differentiate the good from the truly exceptional.
Many GMAT test takers suffer from performance difficulties. Stress, anxiety, and stamina issues can overpower even the strongest preparation.
In working with high performers, Apex has extensive experience overcoming these challenges, which often have less to do with mastery or preparation than with attitudes and training.
Especially when there is a large performance differential between practice tests and actual results, each case is truly unique. Connect with us so that we may learn about your case and speak specifically to how we can mentor you to a score representative of your abilities.
Learning disabilities present unique challenges to GMAT test takers. Since each Apex instructor works full time in the GMAT test prep space, we have had the opportunity to work with clients with a range of disabilities, including ADHD and dyslexia, to obtain stronger results. In these cases, we often liaise with a client’s learning specialists to devise useful methodologies that permit the transposition of learning strategies to a GMAT-oriented curriculum.
We have also assisted clients in navigating the process for obtaining extra time on the GMAT, and can refer you to a network of Ph.D.s, Psy.D.s, and Ed.D.s that specialize in performing assessments that the GMAC uses to make decisions about accommodations on the GMAT.
Please note that we have no professional licensing to work in any capacity other than test preparation.
The GMAT test preparation space is rife with claims about scoring increases. Many, if not all, of these claims cannot be substantiated, for the following reasons:
- There’s a major difference between going from 500 to 550 versus 700 to 750. Points (and percentiles) have different values depending on performance level. Enhanced performance has diminishing returns, so that claims of large average score increases are indicative of bringing weak scorers up to average scores. Apex specializes in bringing clients to elite, 700+ scores.
- Burnout and performance issues. A percentage of GMAT preppers don’t do their homework, de-prioritize the GMAT, or encounter performance issues that aren’t related to test preparation. Factoring these things in, many of the claimed score increases advertised are simply impossible.
- Finally, suboptimal strategies that plateau in the low-mid 600’s can produce short-term goals, but leave clients unable to perform at the highest levels. Especially if you’ve taken a course, Apex can help you unlearn these strategies in order to see the GMAT on a higher level.
At Apex, we focus on your learning process, and not your score, because with the right process the score takes care of itself.