The Best GMAT Prep Courses

The Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) is used by graduate business schools to measure whether a student is ready for a Master of Business Administration (MBA) program. Over 2,100 schools worldwide use the exam as part of the admission process, and a high score will increase your chances of acceptance. But with topics ranging from geometry to analytical reasoning and a 3.5-hour testing period, training for the exam is easier said than done.

GMAT prep courses not only provide the materials students need to prepare, like interactive resources and quality practice exams, but also the test taking strategies they’ll need to perform well on the exam. While studying without a prep course is always an option, prep courses are a great idea for students looking for structure, motivation, or instructor assistance, whether you choose self-paced (resources only), live online (resources + online classes), or in-person (resources + in-person classes).

Our pick for both the best self-paced and live online courses is Veritas Prep. Both courses give students access to 12 practice exams and interactive video lessons to keep you engaged as you pinpoint your strengths and weaknesses. Those who opt for the live online course will have access to industry-leading instructors with impressive reviews of their lessons and guidance — the company literally employs the best instructor according to student reviews on GMAT Club, a well-known social forum for GMAT students. Even students who need the flexibility of a self-paced course can still interact with instructors during live online office hours, a feature we loved about Veritas Prep. If you’re looking for more consistent guidance, though, you’ll want to go for their live online option.

The low prices of e-GMAT makes it an excellent budget alternative for students looking for a self-paced or live-online course. The resources aren’t quite as thorough as Veritas Prep, but students still have access to interactive video lessons and top-rated instructors (for the live online course) that will help you improve your score. We’re confident Veritas is the best, but e-GMAT is a strong and cheaper alternative.

For students who prefer the experience of a traditional classroom, Kaplan is our choice. The Kaplan in-person course is the most widely available option on the market with courses in 41 states — competitors are far less prolific and some only offer courses in a single city. In addition to class time with expert instructors with great student reviews, students will have access to quality resources and interactive video lessons for studying at home. Availability and quality resources make Kaplan the best in-person GMAT prep course for most people.

Our Top Picks for GMAT Prep Courses

Best Self-Paced and Live Online Prep Courses
Veritas Prep
Veritas Prep
Its wide range of interactive resources are ideal for self-paced and live online students, with expert instructors adding extra guidance for the latter.

Veritas Prep is our top pick for both self-paced and live-online prep courses. It was a close race with competitors e-GMAT and Manhattan Prep, but with its slightly better range and balance of resources, Veritas took the crown.

The self-paced course offers access to an impressive suite of resources, including 12 practice exams, a study calendar, and quizzes. Its interactive video lessons guide you step-by-step through the subject material and strategies you’ll need for answering exam questions. For example, the lesson on critical reasoning provides thorough explanations about how questions based on inference will differ from other question types found in the exam. We appreciate that Veritas videos spend time explaining the differences between question types and the appropriate strategies for answering them. Other providers, such as e-GMAT, leaned more toward content review. While content is important, we valued the addition of strategy-centered training from Veritas.

Veritas Prep spends time during video lessons explaining test taking strategies for different question types

Veritas Prep also offers a totally unique feature we couldn’t find anywhere else: live online office hours. Unlike most self-paced prep courses that lack instructor interaction, Veritas offers online sessions with instructors seven days a week. During these two-hour sessions, students are welcome to ask any questions and receive personalized feedback or guidance. The closest competitor in this regard was Kaplan, which offers supplementary online lessons and live topic-specific sessions with an instructor. However, you have to pay an extra $200 for this service ($1,000 total), while Veritas includes office hours as part of its $850 standard package (the high end of average for the industry).

If you choose to go with the live online course, you can expect instructors who scored within the 99th percentile (the highest tier possible). That means your instructors know exactly what to expect from the GMAT and the best strategies for answering questions. Veritas Prep’s instructors earned a 4.8 out of 5 star rating on Beat the GMAT with over 1,250 students praising their instructors for ensuring great experiences. Veritas also has GMAT club’s top-rated instructor out of 123 instructors based on student reviews. The reviews from GMAT Club are similar, and Veritas instructors make up 5 of the top 10 instructors on the site — including the top spot.

“[The instructor knew] exactly how to leverage the environment to motivate every single one of the students [and ensured we] never became complacent, never became bored, and always left with some solid key takeaways.”

Past Veritas Prep student

The majority of students on both sites report tough but attentive instructors who help you stay on task and improve your scores. While other courses have similarly positive reviews, there were simply more for Veritas with specific praises for its current instructors.

Course Contents

Self-Paced – $850

    12 GMAT lesson booklets
    12 digital practice tests
    Study plan
    5,000 study questions
    Interactive video lessons
    Live online office hours
    One-year access to online resources

Live Online – $950

    36 hours of live, instructor-led lessons
    Access to recorded lessons
    12 GMAT lesson booklets
    12 digital practice tests
    Study plan
    3,000 study questions
    Interactive video lessons
    Live online office hours
    One-year access to online resources

Veritas is not without its flaws, though. The live online option only comes as a three- or six-week course, shorter than the often recommended three months of prep time. That said, students report great experiences with expert instructors that led to better scores. You also still get access to the full suite of Veritas resources for a year, just like you do in the self-paced course. Choosing between the live online or self-paced course will come down to your personal preference and schedule, but both are excellent options for thorough GMAT prep.

Runner Up Self-Paced and Live Online Prep Courses
A great self-paced and live online alternative for students on a budget, but you’ll sacrifice some resource quality.

The most appealing thing about e-GMAT is its price. The self-paced course is only $300 while the live online course is $500. But that doesn’t mean a lack of resources. The company offers interactive video lessons, customizable quizzes, and expert instructors (for its live online course) that will help you obtain a higher score.

Veritas Prep simply offers a better balance of resources. e-GMAT does not offer live online office hours and its videos don’t cover as much test-taking strategy as Veritas. Although it has four out of the top five instructors on GMAT club and excellent reviews from Beat the GMAT, we noticed a general trend that gave us pause. A good majority of the praise was due to increases in verbal scores — a large number of e-GMAT students are non-native English speakers, which makes sense considering the GMAT is one of the world’s leading entrance exams for graduate business school. While the course also has thorough quantitative lessons, reviews from past students indicate this is more catered toward those looking for help with verbal reasoning in particular.

That said, it’s no slouch with quantitative lessons and the low prices make it an excellent choice for students on a budget.

Best In-Person Prep Course
Kaplan GMAT Prep
Kaplan Test Prep
Stellar resources and availability in 41 states make this course the best in-person option for most people.

Since 1938, Kaplan has been a giant in the exam prep industry. Its many years in the industry have not only allowed it to build one of the largest libraries of GMAT resources but also an expansive network of instructors across the nation. With its expert instructors and helpful study tools, it’s our top pick for in-person GMAT prep.

Honestly, a large reason Kaplan took the top spot is because it’s simply the most available. With courses in 41 states, you’ll be able to find classes in at least three quarters of the nation. The difference is impressive considering the limited offerings of other providers, like TestMasters which is currently available in just two states (CA and NY).

Of course, availability alone isn’t enough. Kaplan earns its spot by offering expert instructors and excellent resources that will help you study effectively. For example, all of the instructors have scored in the 90th percentile or higher. That means your teacher has a thorough understanding of the subject material and strategies for answering questions effectively. Past students confirm this, with many on Beat the GMAT reporting helpful and knowledgeable instructors. The best part? You can contact the instructors outside of class for additional assistance as you study at home.

Students also have access to a large range of resources including nine practice tests, two course books, an online quiz bank, and the GMAT Channel. We are particular fans of the GMAT Channel, which offers live online lessons with instructors who cover specific topics. During the sessions, you can get additional help with subjects that give you trouble as well as ask questions for more personalized feedback and guidance. While you can always ask your in-person instructor for additional help, we appreciate the extra degree of instructor interaction. After all, an in-person instructor must balance the needs of multiple students and may not have time to give you that personalized review session for quadratic inequalities. The extra lessons ensure that you receive the help you need to address any gaps in your knowledge or skill.

An Adaptive QBank is on the way

Kaplan is in the process of rolling out its unique Adaptive QBank — a customizable quiz bank that adjusts to your strengths and weaknesses. Unlike its regular QBank, it adapts to student weaknesses and identifies any question types you’re struggling with. Rather than spending time practicing every question type, having an adaptive quiz bank allows you to focus on the areas where you need the most improvement. The Adaptive QBank isn’t available yet, but we’re keeping a close eye on the feature and will update accordingly when it releases.

Kaplan isn’t perfect. Like many GMAT prep course providers, the company does not provide access to official GMAC practice exams. In addition, the length of the course averages out around six weeks, which is fairly short when compared to other courses, like Manhattan Prep’s nine-week options. While the cost of the Kaplan course is average for the industry at $1,450, we can’t help but feel that official GMAC exams and more class periods should be included at the price.

Course Contents

In-Person – $1,450

    18 hours of live instruction
    30+ hours of elective lessons on the GMAT Channel
    Nine full-length practice exams
    140+ hours of online materials
    5,000+ practice questions
    Two prep books
    MBA admissions guide
    Official Test Day Experience

However, Kaplan does offer a balanced range of resources and a unique Official Test Day Experience that allows you to take a company-made exam in your actual testing center. Doing so will allow you to become familiar with the testing software and exam room, which can help you feel more comfortable on the big day.

Getting Ready for the GMAT

There are free GMAT study resources.

While many graduate level prep courses and study materials are fairly expensive, free resources do exist. These resources are an excellent option for students who are on a tight budget or who simply want additional prep materials. The materials on their own don’t technically constitute a full prep course and creating your own prep course will take some mixing and matching. But a quick visit to one of these three sites will help you get started.

Khan Academy is widely celebrated for its range of exam prep materials. The non-profit organization provides multiple GMAT videos that cover the quantitative portions of the exam. Although they don’t have any videos for analytical or verbal reasoning, Khan Academy is great for brushing up on your math skills.

Beat the GMAT is not only a social forum for prospective MBA students, it also offers a wealth of resources. The collection is continuously growing and includes review material for math and analytical sections of the exam, tips for studying effectively, and a collection of free practice exams from well-known prep course providers, including our top picks.

Like Beat the GMAT, the GMAT Club website also offers a multitude of resources. You’ll need to explore the site a bit to access all of them since they’re often separated into forum posts. However, we recommend you start by reviewing the study plan, study tools, and free test questions.

Ready for the GMAT? Here’s a list of what to bring.

When it’s time to head to your testing facility, be sure to bring:

GMAT-Approved Identification (One of the following: passport, driver’s license, military ID card, or government-issued ID card)
Names of the programs that you want to be notified of your GMAT scores
The email confirmation of your test date from Pearson VUE

Outside calculators, watches, and writing utensils will not be allowed in the testing room. You’ll be provided with all the necessary materials from the testing center. Before you enter the testing room, the proctors will invite you to store your belongings in a locker. It’s important to make sure that you have nothing in your pockets before entering — proctors will usually ask you to flip them inside out to check. To avoid complications, we recommend bringing nothing but the essentials to the testing center.

Our Review of GMAT Prep Courses: Summed Up

GMAT Prep Courses
Veritas Prep
Self-Paced and Live Online
Runner Up Self-Paced and Live Online
Kaplan Test Prep