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770 w/ EmpowerGMAT -- Great Course, Unbeatable Value

This topic has 1 expert reply and 0 member replies
MBHouston Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts
10 Jul 2016
1 messages

770 w/ EmpowerGMAT -- Great Course, Unbeatable Value

Post Mon Jul 11, 2016 3:41 am
I have an unusual work schedule, so I needed an online course. I have always naturally performed well on standardized tests, but I needed to absolutely kill the GMAT. I spent substantial time researching various options, initially focused on big-name prep companies. I even briefly considered paying $$$ for a private tutor.

I landed on EmpowerGMAT for three reasons:

1.) They advertised producing the most 700+ scores. I read in some forums that the big-name prep companies were geared to bringing an average test taker (550- 600) up to a respectable score (660 - 680). That wasn't going to cut it for me.

2.) Number one rated review program by GMATClub. I try to take ratings with a grain of salt, but in this case it lent a little credibility to the claim stated above.

3.) I liked the idea of pay-as-you-go for $99 /mo., compared to the lump-sum for ~$1200 that other companies charge. I figured, "What's the risk?" If I didn't like the course, I could cancel and hire Manhattan Prep or some such name-brand. $99 was a very reasonable wager compared to >$1000.

I completed the full program over ~3.5 months, totaling <$400 in costs for the prep course. I think results speak for them-self (1st time taking the actual GMAT):

770 (99%) / Q50 (88%) / V47 (99%) / IR 8 (82%) / AWA 5.5 (81%)

The course strategies work if you dedicate the time. Don't mistake, there were no shortcuts. I dedicated a few hundred hours of my time to preparation. But in the context of GMAT prep courses, I don't think there is any better value out there.

I really liked some of the podcast lessons, which include some quirky little tid-bits that are not covered in other programs (i.e. strategically planning your breaks, studying with gum, etc.). I used all of it. Some of it seemed a tad bit corny, but I went with it anyway, and all I can say is I am very satisfied with the overall outcome.

Nonetheless, I do have a few minor recommendations to consider in addition, for anyone really aiming for a monster score.

Overall --

I'm not sure if Empower is still recommending purchasing the Manhattan Prep Practice CATs (... at the time I signed up, GMAC had not released CAT Pack 2), but don't waste your time with them. Stick to the Official GMAC Practice CATs. If it's not an official question, it's NOT an official question.

Quant --

If you're particularly strong in math, definitely consult the Official Guide solutions in addition to the Empower Video Solution. Particularly for some DS questions, algebraically combining the two facts can be faster than using Test It (i.e. when Test It values are not obvious). Other times Test It dominates -- it depends. At the end of the day, seeing multiple perspectives provides more options, so diversify.

Verbal --

1.) I can't over-emphasize the value I obtained from Empower Strategies on RC & CR -- most notably, approaching reading passages with genuine interest & slowing my reading pace. Slowing down was completely contradictory to other guides, but it works! Another guide I read even recommended taking a speed-reading course!

2.) While I definitely found a lot of value in the Empower SC tactic, I did find the grammar review in the SC error type break-down to be a little high-level for my particular style of learning. It was a reasonable summary, but I found it to be more based on on heuristics than hard & fast grammar rules. I'm more of a concepts person than a memorization person, so I didn't personally take to this section naturally. I found value in reviewing the GMAT Club Grammar Book that was provided as optional review. The Grammar Book was recommended primarily for non-English speakers, but I found value even as a native English speaker. Doing so, I managed a perfect score on SC, which definitely contributed to my high Verbal score.

3.) The AWA section is near the end of the Empower program. I'd recommend jumping ahead & completing this one module in the course. It doesn't build on previous knowledge, so it can be taken at any point. And the sooner you take it, the more opportunity you'll have to practice the Empower AWA strategy on Practice CATS.

That's about it, otherwise, I just used the Empower Tactics & worked all the practice problems in the course, and took all 6 Official GMAC CATs. Put in the work, and the program works!

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Post Tue Jul 12, 2016 12:07 pm
Hi MBHouston,

That's OUTSTANDING news! With a 770/Q50, you have a score that would make any Business School happy - so you can (and should) apply to any Business Schools that interest you.

1) What Business Schools are you planning to apply to?
2) When are you planning to apply?

If you're planning to apply to any Top-10 Schools, then you might want to consider working with an Admissions Expert on your applications. We have a go-to Expert who we recommend, and as an EMPOWERgmat Alum, we can set you up with a special free consultation. Feel free to PM me if you're interested and I'll help you set it up.

Congrats again on your success!

Another GMAT Assassin has been made!

Contact Rich at Rich.C@empowergmat.com

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