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The GMAT is the entrance exam most commonly used for graduate business programs, and your scores play a big role in which schools will accept you. In order to give themselves the best chance of success, many students turn to GMAT prep courses. Atlanta residents have plenty of options, but it can be difficult to know which to choose. We put together this guide to the best GMAT prep courses in Atlanta to help simplify your search.
Our research team looked at 14 of the most popular GMAT prep courses in the Atlanta area to find out which provides the greatest value to students. We compared them based on their accessibility, study materials, student support, options for personalized learning and overall comprehensiveness. We also looked at what former students of each program had to say to learn about any unexpected pros or cons.
After reviewing all of our data, we came up with a list of three finalists worth considering. Kaplan earned our top recommendation thanks to its huge network of branch locations, comprehensive courses and unique study materials you won’t find with any other company. You may prefer one of our other finalists, however, so we recommend checking out all of our reviews before making your decision.
A Full List of Every GMAT Prep Course in Atlanta Worth Considering
Our three finalists are listed below, along with the other 11 programs we considered. Click on the links to visit the company websites and to learn more about each of our top picks.
The 3 Best GMAT Prep Courses in Atlanta
|Kaplan Test Prep||$799 - $4,999|
|Manhattan Prep||$799 - $7,749|
|20/20 Prep||$200 - $850|
The Other 11 GMAT Prep Courses in Atlanta We Reviewed
|Access Test Prep & Tutoring||Visit Site|
|Edison Prep||Visit Site|
|Emory University||Visit Site|
|Georgia State University||Visit Site|
|Manhattan Elite Prep||Visit Site|
|Manhattan Review||Visit Site|
|Success Prep||Visit Site|
|The Princeton Review||Visit Site|
|University of Georgia||Visit Site|
|Varsity Tutors||Visit Site|
The Most Important Features: Accessibility, Materials, Support and Customization
When comparing the best GMAT prep courses in Atlanta, we focused on four major areas — accessibility, materials, support and customization.
Each of our finalists offers live in-person GMAT courses and private tutoring We made sure that each company had one or more locations in downtown Atlanta, and that there were a variety of course times available to suit all schedules. Kaplan stood out the most here with three branch locations in the Atlanta area, and self-paced and live online courses for students who prefer to learn from the comfort of their own homes. Manhattan Prep also hosts live online and self-paced courses, as well as workshops and bootcamp sessions to help you prepare if you’re short on time.
In addition to the live instruction, most prep courses include a textbook, a question bank and full-length practice tests. The best companies will include proctored practice exams during their courses to help you familiarize yourself with the exam’s format and time constraints. This also helps give you an accurate estimate of how you’re doing and where you need to improve. All of our finalists did well in this category, but Kaplan blew them all away with its nine full-length computer-adaptive practice tests, including one taken at an actual GMAT testing facility. It also hosts a GMAT Channel, which it regularly updates with informative webinars, and a bank of over 5,000 practice questions for targeting specific problem types that are giving you trouble.
One of the key benefits of a live GMAT prep course is that you can get answers to your questions right away, but the best programs will also provide students with a means of contacting their instructors outside of class. Usually, this is through email, but some companies may offer phone support as well. Kaplan further demonstrates its commitment to your success with a score-improvement guarantee. If you don’t see your scores raise after completing the course, you are entitled to a full refund or a free course retake. There are requirements you must meet to be eligible for the guarantee, though, so read the fine print first.
All of our finalists offer private tutoring to students interested in taking an individualized approach to GMAT prep. Some companies, like Kaplan, force you to purchase a large number of hours upfront, while others like 20/20 Prep let you purchase as little as one hour at a time. Admissions consulting is also available with all of our finalists for students interested in giving themselves that little extra boost to help them stand out on their applications.
Choosing the Right Atlanta GMAT Course Delivery Type for You
There are four main types of GMAT prep courses that you can choose from. We’ve outlined each one below, in order from least expensive to most expensive.
- Self-Paced: You purchase the materials and study them at your own pace.
- Live Online: You learn from a remote instructor in a virtual classroom.
- Live In-Person: You travel to a physical location and learn in a traditional classroom.
- Private Tutoring: A tutor works with you to build a custom study plan that fits with your schedule and goals.
- Cheapest programs
- Greatest flexibility
- Work at your own pace
- Requires self-discipline
- Less personalized
- Little or no instructor support
Who It’s Best For
A self-paced course is best for self-directed learners and those with busy schedules who need the freedom to be able to work at their own pace.
- Attend anywhere
- More individualized instruction
- Structure keeps you on track
- Not as interactive as in-person classes
- Potential for technical problems
Who It’s Best For
A live online course is best for students who prefer an interactive learning environment but don’t want to commit to regular travel to an in-person course.
- Distraction-free environment
- Familiar classroom setting
- Plenty of opportunities for interaction
- Requires travel
- No schedule flexibility
- More expensive than online-only courses
Who It’s Best For
A live in-person course is ideal for students who enjoy a dynamic and engaging learning environment and want a strict program to keep themselves on track.
- Personalized instruction
- Custom study plans
- Choose from online or in-person sessions
- Usually more time-consuming
Who It’s Best For
Private tutoring is a good fit for students who need to bring up their GMAT scores significantly and those looking to retake the exam.
Full Reviews of the Best GMAT Prep Courses in Atlanta
Kaplan Test Prep GMAT Review
Best for comprehensive instruction.
Kaplan’s comprehensive courses and unique resources, like the GMAT Channel, make it the industry leader when it comes to GMAT prep. It teaches in all course formats, and it has three locations in the Atlanta area, so you shouldn’t have to go far to find one. Most students see a noticeable improvement in their scores after completing the course, but if you don’t, you don’t have to worry because the company offers a score-improvement guarantee. Private tutoring is also available to students interested in a personalized study program, but you must commit to at least 15 hours upfront.
What to Expect
Kaplan’s live GMAT prep courses take place over three weeks in six three-hour sessions. Most classes take place in the evening, so they don’t interfere with school or work. There are also some weekend options available, but most classes take place during the week. During each session, your instructor will go through the key concepts you’ll be tested on and teach you strategies to approach different question types. You can also ask questions of your instructor during this time or outside of class via email.
As part of the course, you will take a full-length, computer-adaptive practice test at the nearest Pearson VUE official testing location, so you will know what to expect on test day. You’ll also receive eight additional practice tests you can take on your own time through your online account. In addition, there’s a question bank with over 5,000 practice questions for homing in on tricky subjects. But Kaplan’s most impressive resource is its GMAT Channel. This is a growing library of webinars covering everything from quant methods to critical reasoning. You can search the old videos by instructor, topic or difficulty, and if you join the webinars live, you can ask questions just as you would in a regular online class.
Private tutoring is an option to interested students, but it may be prohibitively expensive for some. The smallest package is 15 hours, and it goes up in 10-hour increments from there. If you’re only interested in a bit of targeted help in a specific area, you may want to go with a PLUS plan instead. These include all the materials of the regular course, along with three hours of private tutoring that you can schedule at a time that works best for you.
Kaplan Test Prep GMAT Details
|GMAT Prep - Self-Paced||$799|
|GMAT Prep - Self-Paced PLUS||$999|
|GMAT Prep - Live Online||$1,249|
|GMAT Prep - Live Online PLUS||$1,649|
|GMAT Prep - In Person||$1,449|
|GMAT Prep - In Person PLUS||$1,849|
|Private Tutoring (15 Hours)||$2,799|
|Private Tutoring (25 Hours)||$3,899|
|Private Tutoring (35 Hours)||$4,999|
Manhattan Prep GMAT Review
Best for flexibility and quality instructors.
Manhattan Prep understand that not everyone learns in the same way, and so it’s created programs to accommodate all types of students. In-person courses are held in downtown Atlanta and nearby Decatur, and there are also live online and self-paced courses for those who prefer not to leave home. If you’re only struggling in a single area, you can opt for a Quant or Verbal Only course. Manhattan Prep also runs workshops, two-week bootcamps and private tutoring sessions. Its courses are the most expensive of any on the list, but with that price, you get 99th-percentile instructors who have a thorough grasp of the exam content.
What to Expect
Live classes meet once per week over nine weeks. Each session is three hours long, and focuses on test-taking strategies and the important concepts that will appear on the exam. New classes start every couple of days, and each of them is at a different date and time, so you shouldn’t have to wait long to find one that fits in with your schedule. All classes are taught by instructors who have scored in the 99th percentile on a real GMAT, and this deep understanding, not only of the material, but of how the exam works, is invaluable.
Self-paced courses are an option as well, and these online materials are included for free as part of every live course. These include 35 interactive video lessons, 10 strategy guides and six full-length, computer-adaptive practice tests. As you proceed through the materials, the GMAT Navigator tool will track your progress and help you to spot areas where you might need a little more practice. All of these materials are available online or through the company’s iOS and Android apps, so you can study on the go. The complete Interact course covers all sections of the exam, but if you only need help with a single subject, you can choose either the Quant or the Verbal section only for a considerable savings.
Unfortunately, students in the Interact course don’t have any means of getting help from instructors unless they pay extra for private tutoring. You can add on three hours of tutoring for just $400 more, or head straight for a private tutoring package. You can purchase as little as two hours at a time, but you’ll save more the more you buy upfront. Discounted rates start at five hours of tutoring, and packages go up from there in five-hour increments. The low barrier to entry is great for students who are considering private tutoring, but aren’t sure if it’s right for them.
Manhattan Prep GMAT Details
|GMAT Interact (Self-Study)||$999|
|Complete Course - Online||$1,299|
|Complete Course - In Person||$1,599|
|Private Tutoring (5 hours)||$1,250|
|Private Tutoring (10 hours)||$2,450|
|Private Tutoring (15 hours)||$3,525|
|Private Tutoring (20 hours)||$4,600|
|Private Tutoring (25 hours)||$5,625|
|Prep + Admissions - Pre-Application||$3,399|
|Prep + Admissions - 1-School Package||$5,299|
|Prep + Admissions - 3-School Package||$7,749|
|GMAT Bootcamp - Online||$2,650|
|GMAT Bootcamp - In Person||$2,950|
20/20 Prep GMAT Review
Best for affordable GMAT prep.
20/20 Prep is the way to go if you’re interested in a small in-person course that provides quality instruction at an affordable price. The cost of its full GMAT course is less than many of its competitors charge for a self-paced program, and it provides up to 36 hours of live instruction, depending on which program you choose. You can purchase the Verbal and Quant sections individually if you only need to work on a certain area. There’s also a Basic Math course if you need extra help in this area. Private tutoring is available as well, and 20/20 Prep’s rates are among the lowest in the industry.
What to Expect
20/20 Prep has a single in-person location in downtown Atlanta. Courses meet either twice per week for 2.5 hours each time, or once on the weekend for 5.5 hours each time. Sessions follow a similar pattern. First, the instructor goes over important topics that are likely to come up on the exam and teaches strategies on how to approach these questions. Then, you’re given a series of practice problems to test your understanding of the new material. The end of the session is reserved for Q&A, so you can get individualized help with anything you still don’t understand.
Each course is limited to eight to 12 students in order to ensure that everyone gets the individual attention they need. Course materials, including textbooks and practice questions, are included for free with every course, except the Basic Math Only program. You can access the classes for up to one year, and if you’re not sure if the program is right for you, you can sign up for a free test class before you make up your mind.
You can get assistance from your instructor during the live sessions, but if you find you need some extra attention, you can sign up for private tutoring as well. Rates are very affordable at just $75 per hour, and you can purchase as little time as you need. Unfortunately, there are no discounts to students who purchase more hours upfront, but at prices like this, there’s a good chance you’ll still come out ahead with 20/20 Prep.
20/20 Prep GMAT Details
|Basic Math Only||$200|
|GMAT Math Only||$400|
|GMAT Verbal Only||$400|
|GMAT Course Plus Basic Math Skills||$850|
Frequently Asked Questions About the GMAT
We talked with students interested in taking the GMAT to learn what some of the most common questions about the exam are. We’ve answered some of them below. If there’s anything else you’d like to know, don’t hesitate to reach out to us and ask.
What are the most important things to know prior to taking the GMAT?
Before you take the GMAT, you should familiarize yourself with your school’s requirements and deadlines, the exam format and the procedures you’ll be expected to follow on test day.
School Requirements and Deadlines
Your first step is to determine whether you should take the GMAT or the GRE. Most business schools prefer the GMAT, but an increasing number are willing to accept the GRE as well. If this is the case, think about which test best suits you and go with this one. Do some research to figure out what score you should be aiming for. Most schools will list an average or a range of scores instead of a minimum requirement. Make a note of whatever numbers you find, and keep practicing until you can reach this goal.
You should also look up your school’s application deadline. Many have rolling deadlines, so you have some freedom in when you take the GMAT and when you submit your application. But if there’s only a single date, it’s paramount that you get your scores in on time. Leave yourself at least two potential test dates in case you need to retake the exam, and keep in mind that it takes about 20 days after the test for your official scores to be released.
The GMAT is broken down into four sections—Analytical Writing, Integrative Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning and Verbal Reasoning. The Quant and Verbal sections are computer-adaptive, which means that the difficulty of the questions you see will be automatically adjusted based on your answers to previous questions. This enables the test makers to more accurately assess your level of knowledge. Unfortunately, with this kind of format, you aren’t able to skip questions and return to them later, so if you’re not sure of something, you should just make your best guess and move on without wasting too much time.
Not all questions on the GMAT are graded. There are a handful of ungraded pretest questions that have been included by the test creators to measure the difficulty of the items. Overly difficult or biased questions will be removed from the running, and those that pass will be added as graded items to future versions of the test. You won’t know which questions are the ungraded ones while you’re taking the exam, so it’s best to act as if they were all going to count.
The GMAT is administered at Pearson VUE testing centers nationwide. Make sure you know how to get to your nearest testing center and arrive at least a half hour early. You must present a valid, government-issued photo ID, and you will have to undergo additional security checks, like a test-day photo and fingerprint scan. Business schools can request your photo to ensure that the person applying to their program is the same one who sat for the exam.
You aren’t permitted to bring anything with you into the testing room. You will be provided a locker where you can store your belongings for the duration of the exam. Scratch paper will be provided to you for the Quantitative portion of the test. For a full list of exam-day procedures, visit Pearson VUE’s website.
How much time should I spend studying for the GMAT?
The answer to this varies from person to person. When building your study schedule, consider the following questions.
How much do I already know?
Take a timed practice test to see how much you already know. Let your results guide your study plan. If you excel at the Verbal portion of the exam, you may not need to study that material as much as the Quantitative section. If you feel comfortable, you may even be able to skip that section altogether and just purchase a Quant-only course. Take regular practice tests as you go to assess your progress, and reorganize your study plan if necessary.
When is my application deadline?
Figure out when your school’s application deadline is and then plan backwards from there. Be sure to leave yourself at least two test dates in case you need to retake the exam. Once you’ve figured out when your first test date is, you can start figuring out how much you need to do each week in order to be ready by then.
What is my schedule like?
If you have to squeeze studying in between work, school, friends and family, you’re going to have to start studying a little earlier than someone with a lot of free time. Make sure you devote some regular time to studying each week, even if it’s only a couple of hours. This is key to keeping yourself on track and moving toward your goals.
How is the GMAT scored?
The GMAT is composed of 91 questions divided into four sections. Total scores range from 200 to 800, with the majority of students scoring somewhere between 400 and 600. Each section has its own grading system, which are totaled to come up with your final score. We go into each of these below.
Section 1: Analytical Writing Assessment
This section consists of a single question that you must write a response to in 30 minutes. The question usually involves reading a passage from a magazine or newspaper and analyze its arguments to determine what it does well and how it could improve. Your essay is graded by two graders — a human grader and a computer program specially designed for the task — on a score from 1 to 6. The two scores are then averaged together to come up with your final score. If the two scores are radically different, a second human grader will be brought in and the two human scores will be averaged instead. You can request a rescore if you feel you weren’t graded accurately, but this costs $45 and there is a chance that you could receive a lower score, so think carefully before doing this.
Section 2: Integrated Reasoning
This section is made up of 12 multi-part questions. You must answer all parts to receive credit. These questions often involve reading a passage or looking at a chart and making inferences about what is listed there. Your answers are scored on a scale from 1 to 8.
Sections 3 and 4: Verbal and Quantitative Reasoning
The Quantitative and Verbal sections are each 75 minutes long, and contain 37 and 41 questions, respectively. These sections are computer-adaptive, so the question difficulty will adjust based on how you’ve answered previous questions. You get more points for answering a difficult question correctly than an easy one. Both of these are scored out of 60 points each, and at the end of your exam, you will receive an unofficial score report showing how you did on these sections.
How important is the GMAT to business school admissions?
The GMAT score is a central part of your business school application because it enables admissions departments to compare potential candidates and to measure your readiness to cope with graduate-level coursework. But it’s not the only things schools look at. They also consider your undergraduate transcripts, personal essay, interview, letters of recommendation and work history. You must put just as much effort into these areas as you do into studying for the GMAT if you want to get into the school of your choice.
Each business school makes up its own mind about what constitutes an acceptable GMAT score, and that can vary based on the strength of the rest of your application too. Do some research to figure out what the requirements are for the school you’re interested in applying to, and make sure you feel confident that you can get the score you need before you sit for the test. If the school lists a range of acceptable scores, aim for the high end, just to be safe.
Don’t worry if you don’t quite reach your goal, though. Universities understand that standardized tests can’t tell them everything they need to know. That’s why they ask for your undergraduate transcripts and work history to get a sense of your long-term academic performance and your work ethic. They also request an interview, essay and letters of recommendation to learn more about your character and whether or not you’d be a good addition to the program. Take these other components as seriously as you take the GMAT because they play just as big a role in your chance of acceptance.
How do I send my GMAT scores to schools?
On the day of your test, you can choose up to five schools that you would like to receive your GMAT scores. This service is included with your exam registration fee, and reports will be sent out as soon as your official scores have been released — usually about 20 days after the exam. Once you’ve done this, you don’t have to do anything else unless you’re planning on applying to more than five schools.
In that case, you can send out additional score reports by contacting the Graduate Management Admission Council, the creator of the GMAT, by phone or by filling out the request form and mailing it in. Each additional score report costs $28. Unlike the five you selected on your test day, these reports won’t go out as soon as your official report is released. It’ll take an extra week before these schools receive your scores, so keep this delay in mind when choosing your exam dates so you don’t end up missing your deadlines.
Canceling your scores is an option if you feel you didn’t do well on the test, but think carefully before you do this. It’s difficult to judge your performance right after the exam, and if you do cancel it, you’ll forfeit the $250 exam fee and you’ll have to take the test again. Plus, future score reports will indicate that you canceled your scores. It’s usually better to wait until your report comes out and decide how you want to proceed from there.
Key Statistics of the GMAT
GMAT total scores range from 200 to 800. To help you determine how you measure up against other test takers, we’ve gathered some statistics and listed them below. We also included percentile rankings for each of the four exam sections. All data is rounded up to the closest percentile listed.
90th Percentile: 710
70th Percentile: 640
50th Percentile: 580
30th Percentile: 500
10th Percentile: 390
90th Percentile: 8
70th Percentile: 6
50th Percentile: 5
30th Percentile: 3
10th Percentile: 2
90th Percentile: 40
70th Percentile: 34
50th Percentile: 28
30th Percentile: 22
10th Percentile: 15
90th Percentile: 51
70th Percentile: 48
50th Percentile: 43
30th Percentile: 36
10th Percentile: 23
90th Percentile: 6
70th Percentile: 5.5
50th Percentile: 5
30th Percentile: 4.5
10th Percentile: 3.5