"To self study or not ? How I found out the hard way."


David went into his GMAT prep extremely confident: as a native English speaker and recent college graduate he assumed his verbal skills would be on par, and he felt his math score would fare similarly (he got decent grades in his math requirements during university).


He decided to go for his MBA, and take the GMAT, about 4 years after graduation. Six months before he planned on applying to b-school he started studying for the GMAT using the official guide book and little else. For a couple hours each week he would do practice questions and read tips.


Feeling confident with his self study over the last 5 months, David took his first practice exam 1 month out from his test date, expecting to score around 700 (his target for the programs he was interested in). He scored a 590 (V32 | Q39) and realized he had severely underestimated the GMAT’s tricks and timing nuances, and overestimated his ability to self study for this. Immediately David understood he needed assistance if he was ever going to score close to a 700 on test day.


On a budget, David needed affordable test prep that would be able to help him increase his score fast: he found Ready4 and immediately liked the sound of their Complete Live Online Course because of the attention from the instructors and the ability to ask questions.


He took the 4 week course and completed all assignments, rigorously studying for the last month before his test date. David took his first GMAT upon completion of the course and scored a 690 (V42 | Q43)! This was a huge improvement, but David wanted to give it one more shot to see if he could break 700.


He signed up for 2 hours of private tutoring to hone his math skills, and diligently practiced 700 level questions for both math and verbal for a couple weeks before his second GMAT attempt. On his second test date, David scored a 720 (V44 | Q44).


David’s advice to students who choose self study:

  1. Take a practice exam early! I wasted months on ineffective self study, and if I just took a practice exam early I would have known immediately self study wasn’t right for me.

  2. Accept assistance when you need it! I needed serious help with all aspects of my prep even though I felt confident initially.