Frequently Asked Questions
What are the qualifications of Apex tutors?
All of our instructors have scored 770 or greater (top half of the top 1%) on the GMAT, but more importantly each is a gifted teacher with extensive experience.
A high score is only one aspect of being a strong instructor. While having a high score is necessary to understand the subtleties of the exam, communicating them is every bit as important.
Additionally, all of our instructors work full time with Apex and have career level expertise with the exam, which provides a better quality experience and stronger results than working with tutors who teach as a side-gig from a plug and play curriculum.
What’s the difference between live and online tutoring?
It all comes down to preference. In terms of quality and the success rate of our clients on the exam, there is no difference between our live and online offerings. In both cases, you work with a single, 770+ instructor in a live, conversational setting.
While some clients prefer face to face learning, many are surprised by the conveniences offered by the online experience in our Google-based online learning platform. In particular, the ability to overlay notes in the lessons makes review much easier outside of session. Further, it helps you fit GMAT prep within your busy schedule seamlessly and flexibly, saving you commute time and additional planning.
I don’t see my city. Can I get an Apex tutor live where I live?
Absolutely! We travel the world bringing the best GMAT instruction wherever it’s needed. We can accommodate live tutoring requests anywhere in the world, from arctic mining camps to island villas and everywhere in between.
What is your process for working with new clients?
Our first step is always to learn about each client: their academic goals, score range, and background. Then we delve deeper into what makes them unique: their learning style, cognitive proclivities, preferred solution paths, and their background with psychometric tests like the GMAT. We also inquire about timing issues and test or math anxiety, both of which are very common, and also very surmountable with the right guidance.
Following the initial intake conversation (which is free and typically lasts about 30 minutes), we will then work with them in a GMAT assessment session to get to know them more deeply as learners, and from there deliver a personalized assessment and study schedule. This is then reviewed and agreed upon between the client and instructor, and provides a dynamic framework that keeps the client on target and seeing results at scheduled points in the prep process.
This way every client we work with can be assured of comfort and fit before making a commitment to studying with Apex.
What types of clients do you work with? If I’m not a typical GMAT-er can I still work with Apex?
The majority of our clients are early-mid career professionals seeking an MBA coming from finance, consulting, and business backgrounds, but we have worked with everyone from seasoned professionals with multiple advanced degrees all the way to students still at university seeking to get the GMAT out of the way for a planned MBA sometime in the future.
We specialize in working with non-traditional candidates and have extensive experience understanding the difference in approach that comes with being trained in different vocations. Whether you’re an engineer or a pharmacist, a liberal arts student or an entrepreneur, we can craft a program that will put you in a position to achieve on the GMAT.
I’ve been struggling with the GMAT for a long time. How can Apex help me when others have been unable to?
We frequently help clients who have been struggling with the GMAT for months or years before making their way to Apex. We often work with clients who;
1. Have already taken well known prep courses, often with middling results due to the course’s focus on the fundamentals rather than the executive thinking and problem approach skills the GMAT rewards.
2. Worked with one or more part-time “budget” tutors, who don’t have a depth of understanding of the GMAT and have a very rigid approach.
3. Have been exhaustively self-prepping and struggling to understand why they’re not seeing results on the GMAT, despite having been excellent academic students.
Seeing an improvement in as little as a few weeks after struggling for months is a great relief and we pride ourselves on finding the best ways to teach each client individually and focusing on their specific learning style. Often, much of the challenge is helping clients to unlearn bad habits before they can adopt more successful strategies.
Those clients who seek our help from the outset of their preparation are rewarded equally well by the process, but avoid the struggle and costs (time and money) of entering several programs or going it alone to no avail.
What advice would you give a customer trying to navigate the GMAT space?
- Comfort over everything. Without a strong rapport with your instructor and personal belief in the process, one can’t hope to achieve on the GMAT. The right learning environment is the foundation of success in just about any endeavor. Whether it’s with Apex or someone else, go with your gut and find the best learning environment for you.
2. You get what you pay for. Achieving a stellar score and gaining admission to a top-tier program can mean an additional $1 million+ in earnings over the course of a career. When you need a professional – a doctor, attorney, or consultant, you expect to pay for those that deliver the best value. Test prep, when done properly, is a highly specialized field, and those who excel at it are talented and in-demand. We started Apex because there was a plethora of mediocre test prep material on the market but a gap in the offering of personalized prep focused on elite achievement.
3. When seeking a tutor, understand that simply being good at a test does not make a strong teacher, and many firms simply “hire the score” and throw an inexperienced person into the classroom.
… but I need to take the GMAT next week. Can Apex still help?
We sure can. Especially if you’ve been prepping on your own and need a brush up on particular problem types or an extra edge with performance, a few hours with an Apex tutor can do wonders.
It’s important to remember, though, that this is not substitute for proper preparation, and that results are less predictable with shorter timeframes.
What’s a reasonable timeline to prepare for the GMAT?
The short answer is: it depends.
The typical GMAT preparation window for someone with no experience with the exam and moderate ability with the fundamentals of high school mathematics, mental math, reading and grammar is 90-120 days.
This range is different for each learner, and level of mastery of fundamentals, performance comfort or anxiety, and ability to study on a regular basis can shorten or lengthen this timeline.
For those not starting from scratch, there are several variables to consider. In particular, two people who can be scoring a 600 on practice exams can still require vastly different amounts of work. One person might be excellent with the fundamentals, their higher level solution paths might require work. The other might have excellent technique, but require a refresh in knowledge and the application of that knowledge.
Often, the most challenging part of preparing for GMAT is not learning new techniques, but unlearning bad habits developed over years of schooling and hours of undirected or misdirected self-prep.
Since many mid-range scorers need to develop and master new skills, the timeline for prep may be similar to those just beginning, though the amount of work during that time frame may be less.
This question is the core reason we like to begin any relationship with an intake conversation followed by an exhaustive assessment session, so that we may speak to the specific challenges each client faces on the GMAT.
How much tutoring will I require?
While there is no typical client, here are a few examples of common profiles and the amount of tutoring they require:
- I have some competency with the fundamentals on both the quantitative and the verbal, but probably have room to grow. I’ve taken a course/been self-prepping or have a natural comfort level, but I know there are a lot of higher level strategies that I’m missing and I’m looking for a guide for the entire exam. 20-30 hours
- It’s been a while since I was in school, and I require a refresher in fundamentals and their application. I’m also not very comfortable with standardized tests and how they work. 30 – 40 Hours
- I’m really strong on the verbal (or quant), but I’m not performing nearly as well on the other section. I need help transposing the skills that permit me to succeed on the first section, and guidance in how to apply the less familiar concepts to bring my second section up. 10 – 20 hours
- I’m a strong test taker already, and have full mastery of the fundamentals as well as comfort with the exam. I’m seeking some executive level strategies to squeeze 20-50 points more out of an already impressive GMAT score. 10-15 hours
After an intake conversation and assessment, we can speak more precisely to the skills we’d like to help you acquire, and the amount of time we think it will take.
Finally, keep in mind that each hour of in session tutoring should be supported by about 2.5 hours of self prep.
I’ve already got the basics down and I’m seeking higher level help. Is Apex right for me?
Yes! While we’re always able to help review or polish fundamental GMAT concepts, Apex’s curriculum is designed to most benefit clients who have mastered the fundamentals.
Our focus is on problem approach and the creative application of the fundamentals in order to see “past” the test and enhance GMAT scores. This means that when working with Apex, there’s no time spent reviewing concepts you’ve already mastered.
I’m already a high performer in the upper 600’s or lower 700’s. How can Apex help me get a few more points out of my GMAT performance?
As performance increases, the challenges the GMAT presents shift. Once the fundamentals are mastered in the high 500’s, problem approach and solution paths become more relevant, followed in the mid 600’s by creative problem solving, and finally – in the low 700’s – strategic shifts in test approach that are straightforward but hard to adopt due to psychological and behavioral challenges.
At the highest levels, it is the comfort with which you approach the GMAT that produces the difference between a 700 and a 750.
In all sections, we can work with you to enhance focus, prioritization of concepts, efficient solution paths, conceptual context, depth of understanding beyond the “rules”, and performance and decision issues that differentiate the great from the truly exceptional.
I test strongly on GMAT practice exams, but my actual GMATs are much lower. I don’t know what’s wrong. Can Apex help?
Many GMAT test takers suffer from performance difficulties. Stress, anxiety, and stamina issues can overpower even the strongest preparation. This is usually signaled by a large performance differential between practice tests and actual results.
In working with high performers, Apex has extensive experience overcoming these challenges, which often have less to do with mastery or preparation than with attitudes and training.
We view each client as truly unique. Connect with us so that we may learn about your case and speak specifically to how we can mentor you to a score representative of your abilities.
I have a diagnosed learning disability. Does Apex have experience working with clients like me?
Learning disabilities present unique challenges to GMAT test takers. Since each Apex instructor works full time in the GMAT test prep space, we have had the opportunity to work with clients with a range of disabilities, including ADHD and dyslexia, to obtain stronger results. In these cases, we often liaise with a client’s learning specialists to devise useful methodologies that permit the transposition of learning strategies to a GMAT-oriented curriculum.
We have also assisted clients in navigating the process for obtaining extra time on the GMAT, and can refer you to a network of Ph.D.s, Psy.D.s, and Ed.D.s that specialize in performing assessments that the GMAC uses to make decisions about accommodations on the GMAT.
Please note that we have no professional licensing to work in any capacity other than test preparation.
Does Apex have a scoring guarantee?
The GMAT test preparation space is rife with claims about scoring increases. Many, if not all, of these claims cannot be substantiated, for the following reasons:
- There’s a major difference between going from 500 to 550 versus 700 to 750. Points (and percentiles) have different values depending on performance level. Enhanced performance has diminishing returns, so the claims of large average score increases are indicative of bringing weak scorers up to average scores. Apex specializes in bringing clients to elite, 700+ scores.
- Burnout and performance issues. A percentage of GMAT preppers don’t do their homework, de-prioritize the GMAT, or encounter performance issues that aren’t related to test preparation. Factoring these in, many of the claimed score increases advertised are simply impossible.
- Finally, suboptimal strategies that plateau in the low-mid 600’s can produce short-term goals, but leave clients unable to perform at the highest levels. Especially if you’ve taken a course, Apex can help you unlearn these strategies in order to see the GMAT on a higher level.
At Apex, we focus on your learning process, and not your score, because with the right process the score takes care of itself.
Do you have any more questions about GMAT prep?
No worries. We are here to help.