Q: I'm not in NYC, how can I hire you?
A: I do about half of my work virtually. It's a great way to learn. Some students start off unsure about virtual lessons but after our first few meetings things have always gone really well. Here's an article about the pros and cons of virtual tutoring.
Q: If I am in NYC where are the tutoring sessions?
A: In NYC the sessions take place at my office in midtown (39th street and 5th ave). However, there are sizable chunks of the year when I am not in NYC and conduct all sessions online.
Q: What can I expect from your GMAT preparation?
A: I get asked this all the time. This is tough to answer because every person is different and every tutoring program is customized to the student. I do not do big prep/one-size fits all. That's not why you are hiring me.
That said, our first sessions will most likely be spent surveying and strengthening your basic GMAT skills, laying out broad strategies, and getting a study schedule constructed. With every subsequent session we will get more specific analyzing question types and addressing your specific strengths and weaknesses. All the while we will be tracking your performance and re-visiting difficult questions and content areas. Depending on when you are taking your test we will start focusing on timed sections and timed tests culminating with a 2 week marathon of timed sections and full tests. The last week before the test we just review and maintain your skills. Keep in mind: this is a very broad explanation of what I do and the tutoring can be very different depending on your needs. What stays the same is the organized methodical approach to GMAT problem solving and the focus on your needs as a student.
Q: Can you provide references from past GMAT students?
Q: What GMAT materials will we use?
A: I have traveled to distant corners of the physical and virtual world to get every single relevant piece of GMAT material in existence. The GMAT is a tricky test because unlike LSAC (creators of the LSAT) GMAC (creators of the GMAT) do not release every test administration. In fact, they have released relatively few questions. So you have to be very creative to have a comprehensive preparation. Over the years I have horded obscure test prep materials and developed a system of getting the most bang for the buck from everything that is official so that my students have the most comprehensive preparation possible. Although we may use questions from a variety of different sources most of our focus will be on real, official GMAT questions which have been on previous administrations of the test. Without exception, these should be the center of any GMAT program.
Q: When should I schedule my GMAT?
A: I get asked this so often that I went ahead and wrote an article with everything that you might want to know about GMAT Registration and scheduling your GMAT.
Q: What are your rates?
A: All information about current rates and policies is here.
Q: I have taken "insert other prep company name" course and I'm still not happy with my GMAT score. Can you help me?
A: That depends. In this type of situation I would need to have a consultation with you to get an idea of where you are in your preparation and what has been going wrong. The good news is that so far (knock on wood) for everyone who has come to me in this situation I've gotten their score going in the right direction. I've had several very positive tutoring experiences with students who had exhausted themselves with other companies and came to me for one last shot. I really enjoy figuring out creative solutions to figure out what is going wrong. At this point you need someone to take a close look at your problem solving approach and your test habits to figure out what you need to work on. It is not about doing a trillion practice questions and spinning your wheels. It is about figuring out how to practice in the proper way and how to develop good habits to give you the confidence on test day. If there is a way for you to improve your GMAT score I'd like to think that I will be able to find it. This is why I do this job. Even if you have struggled in the past and feel like you have hit a wall there still could be options for you. If I don't think that I can help I will tell you. But, if there is a way for you to better your GMAT score I'm going to think about every angle in order to find the way for you. Call or email if you want to discuss your specific situation in detail.
Q: Can I ask you questions about the GMAT study schedules?
A: I'm glad you are using the GMAT study schedules! It's unlikely that I'll have time to directly answer any questions about these. I do answer questions at my GMAT QA on Poets and Quants, so you could post there and then a whole bunch of other people will also benefit.
Q: What about GMAT strategy questions?
A: Same deal as above. Let's try to keep questions in the public forum so that other people can benefit as well.
Q: What about a discount?
A: I don't offer any type of package/volume discount. This isn't Kaplan, Princeton review, Veritas, or you name it other Big Prep that operates a GMAT assembly line. I'm much more like a private detective.
Q: Can we meet for an hour at a time?
A: We could but I have found that either 2 hour or 1.5 hr sessions work best. An hour tends to be too short to get working efficiently. Yes, short sessions can be successful under very specific conditions. I had a student who could not pay attention for more than an hour so 1 hour virtual sessions were perfect for him (I also had to program HW sessions that were only 45 minutes long).
Q: What is your cancellation policy?
A: This is a tough one. I am as flexible as possible to accommodate reasonable schedule changes. But the reality is that if a student cancels a few hours before a session then it is impossible for me to schedule another student during that time. The time that working people have to study GMAT is generally very limited (evenings and weekends) so there are very very few time slots available. With late cancellations I am able to accommodate far fewer students per week and that fact is bad for everybody. The best thing is for everyone to show up on time for our scheduled appointments. If your life is interrupted by some unforeseeable/unavoidable catastrophe (hurricane, earthquake, tornado...) not just an unforeseeable change of schedule (staying late for work, girlfriend's flight delayed, surprise concert tickets...) then we can discuss it. Otherwise, I need 24 hours notice for any cancellations. If you can't cancel with 24 hours (or more is even better) then you have to pay for the time.
Q: Do you teach any other tests?
A: Yes I do! I teach just about every standardized entrance exam (LSAT, SAT, ACT, SSAT, SHSAT, ISEE, GRE) except the MCAT.
Q: Can we meet 7 days a week for the next month?
A: This type of program can work but isn't for everyone. It is very tempting to do an intensive but realize that along with the tutoring you will have to do a whole bunch of HW and practice tests. Beyond that, for some people it just takes longer than a month for all of the information and strategies to sink in. Yes, we can probably make it happen but let's make sure this is right for you.
Q: Do you offer GMAT tutoring on the weekends?
A: Yes, but realize that most other people want to be tutored on weekends and evenings so you will probably have to schedule far in advance.
Q: How much GMAT tutoring do I need?
A: This is another really common (understandably so) question. Most of our students do around 12 hours of tutoring. That's it?!!! Yep. We try to be as efficient as possible and get a lot of mileage out of just keeping your studying extremely organized. But to answer this for you I need to know where you are in your GMAT prep and where you want to go. If you want fine-tuning after having studied on your own for 4 months you will probably need less time than someone who is starting from scratch. If you are scoring 200 points below where you want to be then you should expect to spend a bunch of time with a GMAT tutor. Everybody learns at their own pace. Everybody has different goals. The best thing to do is to email over your situation and I would be happy to talk about where you are and where you want to be. Before we have this conversation it would be helpful for you to complete your GMAT Registration so that you can download the GMAT prep software and take an official GMAT prep practice test.
Q: How much can I expect to improve my GMAT score?
A: Here comes the broken record: it depends. I'm a teacher, I'm not a salesman and I don't make guarantees. Statistically it's unlikely that you are going to improve by more than 200 points. I have seen it but it is rare. That said for people starting on the lower end of the scale an increase of 150 points is a realistic goal. As your score gets higher it does get tougher to improve. Going up 100 points from somewhere in the 600s is a lot of work. Going from a 670 to a 710 can be a huge amount of work for some people but worth it when you are applying to a highly competitive top ten school.
Q: Can I see your official GMAT score report?
A: Sure, it's on my fridge. But I would like to be really clear: a great score does not mean a great GMAT tutor. There are whole bunch of factors that go into being a pro and the test score while probably necessary is certainly not sufficient.