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Are GMAT Prep Courses Worth It?

Should you hire a GMAT tutor or are you better off studying solo? We explore the value of GMAT prep courses for the GMAT exam

Tue Feb 6 2024

You’ve made the decision to study for the GMAT and eventually to head off to business school. Now, you’re probably thinking about whether or not you’re going to enroll in a GMAT prep course. Maybe you’re asking yourself: Are GMAT prep courses worth it?

GMAT test prep courses, from the likes of Manhattan Prep, Magoosh, Kaplan Test Prep, and the Princeton Review, could help boost your GMAT score.

But these GMAT classes come at a cost. Manhattan Prep GMAT courses tend to cost between $549 and $2,599, while the Princeton Review charges a $167 hourly rate, according to MBA Insight.

You can successfully prepare for the GMAT on your own, by using the GMAT Official Guide and other GMAT prep books, and get a good GMAT score—many MBA and business master’s students do. Still, there are benefits to hiring a GMAT tutor.

Benefits of GMAT prep courses


Perhaps one of the biggest benefits of taking a GMAT prep course is that it gives a sense of structure to your studying. 

Rather than having to sit down each day and decide what content you’re going to cover and how you’re going to tackle it, a GMAT course (whether it’s live or on-demand) will likely have all of the content already divided up for you into modules or blocks, so all you have to do is flip to the next page in your book. 


GMAT online coaching can also provide much-needed motivation, discipline, and accountability as you go through your GMAT test prep journey. 

Once you invest in a prep course (especially if it’s a pricey one), odds are that you will make a conscious effort to show up to each session and give it your all, so you can hopefully make the most out of what you’re paying. 

Inside knowledge

Another pro of enrolling in a GMAT course is that you will have the opportunity to learn about specific test-taking methods and tricks that can improve your timing, guessing accuracy, and overall efficiency: some things you might not learn if you’re studying solo. 

List of the best GMAT prep course providers

Benefits of studying solo 

Move at your own pace

A main benefit to studying for the exam on your own is that you have much more flexibility to move at your own pace. 

You can use the GMAT Official Guide, for example, to get familiar with the GMAT exam structure—the Verbal, Quantitative, and Data Insights sections—and test yourself with real practice questions from past GMAT exams.

Whether you consider yourself a slow learner, you’re planning to study while balancing school, work, or other commitments, or something completely different, studying on your own might be the option for you if you feel like you can’t commit to studying at a consistent number of hours and on the same days/at the same times each week. 

Choose your own study methods

Additionally, studying solo tends to work better for students who prefer to utilize less traditional study methods. 

GMAT prep courses are usually highly structured, both in terms of the way that the information is taught and also in the strategies you will be encouraged to adopt to answer the questions being asked. 

So, if lots of structure in your learning and studying sounds like something you aren’t the biggest fan of, studying solo might be more up your alley.

When should you choose a GMAT prep course?

If you’re on the fence about whether or not you should enroll in GMAT classes, it’s a good idea to take a step back and assess yourself in a few different areas before making a decision either way. 

First, think about your preferred learning and studying styles. Do they seem like they would be a strong match for the way the course material is presented in the prep course that you’re looking at? If so, then go! 

Second, be realistic about your schedule, how much time you have to devote to studying, and whether or not you will be able to keep up with the pace that most GMAT prep courses move at (usually, they move on the faster side). 

If you’re the type of person who prefers to take things at a much slower pace, or if you find that you might not have the consistency in your schedule that many prep courses require, studying solo might be your best bet. 

Finally, it’s important to also think about this question from a financial lens. If you have the financial means to invest in a reputable and top-rated GMAT prep course, and you think it will help you, by all means, full steam ahead! 

If you’re interested in having some more structure to your studies, but you can’t quite swing some of the price tags that often come with those courses, it may be to your benefit to explore less costly study options. 

So are GMAT prep courses worth it?

The vast majority of the best GMAT prep courses will cost you hundreds, possibly even thousands, of dollars. So, are GMAT courses worth it?  

Ultimately, the answer to this question is one that is unique to each and every test-taker. A GMAT prep course is only worth it if you are willing to adopt their approaches and put in all of the time and effort that it requires. 

If, for example, you are not willing to learn new study tactics or test-taking strategies, or you refuse to take timed practice tests, then no matter how much of a good fit you may be in terms of schedule or money you have to spend, taking a GMAT prep course might not be the best fit for you.

This article was written by John Karageorge of MBA Insight in October 2021 and edited to reflect updates to the GMAT in February 2024