Do you need a GMAT tutor? Getting the personalized services of a professional GMAT tutor will no doubt improve your GMAT prep, but the question is whether you have the resources to afford it and whether it’s necessary. You can get around hiring a GMAT tutor by applying to MBA programs that don’t require GMAT, but if you want to apply to a top-rated business school, you might have to consider either hiring a GMAT tutor or enrolling in a GMAT prep course. This article will take you through what’s on the GMAT, how a GMAT tutor can help you and what you should look for in a GMAT tutor.

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Article Contents
11 min read

GMAT Tutor: How Hard is the GMAT? GMAT Tutor: How a GMAT Tutor Can Help You GMAT Tutor: Do I Need a GMAT Tutor? GMAT Tutor: How to Find the Right GMAT Tutor FAQs

GMAT Tutor: How Hard is the GMAT?

The Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT) is a skills-based, computer adaptive standardized test used in MBA admissions. The GMAT used to be a central part of how to get an MBA, but it has declined in significance in recent years. However, even though some of the easiest MBA programs to get into do not require it, the best MBA programs in the US and the best MBA programs in Canada still require it, or, the GMAT’s competitor, the Graduate Record Examination (GRE).

The difficulty of the GMAT can vary depending on several factors. The classic GMAT had four distinct sections:

  • Verbal Reasoning
  • Quantitative Reasoning
  • Analytical Writing
  • Integrated Reasoning

Some of these sections are found on other standardized tests; you’ll find that Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning are also LSAT sections and GRE sections. The classic GMAT took about three hours to complete; you had about one hour to complete VR and QR, and a half-hour each to complete AW and IR. However, a new, shorter version of the GMAT will soon be released, which will make it a little less difficult overall; there are fewer questions on the new GMAT, meaning there is less to study for, but also more time to complete the test.

However, the new version of the GMAT will still contain what some believe are the hardest GMAT sections – Quantitative Reasoning and the Data Insights section; Data Insights is a new GMAT section, but it is made up of the four sub-sections of Integrated Reasoning and the Data Sufficiency sub-section in the Quantitative Reasoning of the classic GMAT exam.

Why are these the hardest GMAT sections? Quantitative Reasoning and Data Insights are the sections of the GMAT that focus on math and calculation skills that you must have to succeed in any MBA program, even the best MBA programs in the world. So, if you do not come from a math or a quantitative background, such as a STEM or finance and economics background, mastering these sections can be difficult, which is why you might want to invest in a GMAT tutor. However, since many people who enter an MBA program already have foundational, quantitative skills either learned at school or through work experience, they find the Reading Comprehension and the now-defunct Analytical Writing section the most difficult.

These are some of the factors that influence people’s decision to get a GMAT tutor; a GMAT tutor can help you determine where you need help, and what exactly you need to do to improve your skills and what you need to do to master the test. You can of course self-study like you would for any important test or exam, but some people also use tutors during their undergraduate or graduate programs, so it’s not unusual to do the same thing when preparing for the GMAT.

GMAT Tutor: How a GMAT Tutor Can Help You

A GMAT tutor can help you in many ways. One of the areas where a GMAT tutor can have the most impact is in giving you strategies for how to take the test, not only studying the content and the question types, which is also important. A worthwhile GMAT tutor has probably taken the test, or other standardized tests, so they have first-hand knowledge of what writing the GMAT is like, from the test-writing procedure and how best to manage your time to how to build-up your stamina and keep calm during the test.

While you can absolutely prepare for the content of the test on your own by reviewing the question types and sub-sections and taking timed practice tests, a GMAT tutor can give you personalized advice that is based on your study and learning style. For example, a GMAT tutor can give you advice on how to relieve pressure during your preparation and the exam itself, ranging from getting eight hours of sleep, going for a walk or bike ride or taking regular breaks during your study time.

But another way a GMAT tutor can help you is by supporting you when you feel tired or unmotivated. It can take months to prepare for the GMAT depending on your GMAT test date; during this time, you may feel defeated or without any motivation, but a good GMAT tutor will recognize when you need some encouragement. They can be the voice of reason and tell you to step back and take some time-off if you’re pushing yourself too hard or encourage you to dig deep and push yourself if you’re close to reaching a goal, such as finishing a practice test faster or completing a difficult question or sub-section.

GMAT Tutor: Do I Need a GMAT Tutor?

If you are considering whether or not to hire a GMAT tutor, there are a few factors to consider. If you’ve never taken a standardized test, then a GMAT tutor can help introduce you to the mechanics of the test, so you don’t feel overwhelmed by how much there is to cover, the time limits, and what skills you need to learn to master the test. A GMAT tutor, depending on who they are and what kind of services they provide, can be like any other coach that helps you identify your strengths and weaknesses, which can then lead to them developing a study plan, especially for you, that can provide valuable insights and strategies to improve your performance on the exam.

GMAT Tutor: Quantitative Reasoning

For example, we talked about how many test-takers struggle with the Quantitative Reasoning section of the GMAT. A GMAT tutor can work with you to identify each of the question types asked in this section, which are either Problem-Solving or Data Insufficiency questions (the new GMAT Focus test has only Problem-Solving questions). The Problem-Solving questions are equation-based, meaning you will have to make calculations based on presented stimuli and values.

A GMAT tutor can help you understand the underlying concepts and principles tested in Problem-Solving questions, which requires breaking down these complex problems into manageable parts and explaining the key mathematical and logical concepts involved, such as basic algebra, percentages, ratios and factors. By developing a strong foundation in these concepts, you will be better equipped to approach and solve a wide range of problem types.

The Data Sufficiency questions are a different breed. Here, you do not have to make any calculations, but you have to determine whether you have enough information in the question to complete a task, or not, hence the name “data sufficiency”. In Data Sufficiency questions, you’ve given a set of five answer options; you must determine which of these answer options most applies to the stimuli or problems given in the question stem.

A GMAT tutor can be especially useful for this section, as they can show you how to identify the relevant information in a problem, how to focus on essential information and eliminate unnecessary details, and develop a systematic approach to solving these difficult GMAT questions. A GMAT tutor can also demonstrate different problem-solving methods for both PS and DS questions, and then you can choose the most efficient strategy based on the given problem and your strengths as a test-taker.

But what about the other sections? A GMAT tutor can help with those too.

GMAT Tutor: Verbal Reasoning

The Verbal Reasoning section is still on the new GMAT Focus test, but the Analytical Writing section has been removed. Even though we mentioned that the QR and Data Insights section of the GMAT are the hardest for some, many test-takers also struggle with the Verbal Reasoning section and its three sub-sections (Reading Comprehension; Sentence Completion; Critical Reasoning; the Sentence Completion section has been removed from the new test).

A GMAT tutor can help you understand these sections, sub-sections and question types. They can help you in real-time by working through problems with you; they can offer valuable feedback and insights while you’re studying so they stay fresh in your mind. The immediate feedback loop corrects misconceptions, reinforces effective strategies, and hones your problem-solving skills. Afterward, they can review your work, identify any errors or misconceptions, and provide constructive feedback to help you improve.

They can point out common pitfalls and mistakes that test-takers often encounter in Reading Comprehension and Critical Reasoning questions, such as spending too much time understanding a problem or not picking up on the words and phrases that will help you understand the paragraph or statement. But a GMAT tutor can also help you practice more efficiently. They can present you with a variety of practice problems, ranging in difficulty levels, to help you build your problem-solving skills incrementally, so you can gradually work up to more difficult questions.

GMAT Tutor: Integrated Reasoning/Data Insights

The Data Insights section has the all the four sub-sections of the Integrated Reasoning section, but with the added Data Sufficiency section, so there are five sub-sections in Data Insights:

  • Multi-Source Reasoning – examines whether you’re able to analyze and interpret data from multiple sources such as text passages, graphics, charts or a combination of all three.
  • Table Analysis – tests your ability to sort and analyze data tables and spreadsheets, what conclusions you can reach from this data.
  • Graphics Interpretation – tests your ability to interpret and analyze information shown in a graph, pie chart, or curve distribution graph) to recognize patters and reach conclusions.
  • Two-Part Analysis – combines quantitative, verbal and integrated reasoning into multi-part questions that can involve any combination of the three elements.
  • Data Sufficiency – tests your ability to analyze information and determine whether the given data is sufficient to answer a specific question

Tacking these sub-sections require you build-up some crucial skills, such as critical analysis, and data interpretation skills which are important not only to get into the highest GMAT percentiles, but also in your MBA career, as it is a standard MBA requirement that you must be able to decipher graphs, charts, and other visual data presentations.

If you’re data interpretation skills are out-of-practice, a GMAT tutor can help you navigate each of the question types in each section by teaching you to interpret data swiftly, identify crucial information, and tackle the most difficult problems with efficiency. They can help you break down the basics of creating charts and graphs and can offer real-world examples and scenarios to help you understand how the concepts tested on the GMAT are applicable in practical situations, which is the main motivation behind the Data Insights section.

GMAT Tutor: Is it Worth Getting a GMAT Tutor?

Hiring a GMAT tutor is an investment, both in terms of time and money. Tutoring sessions can be costly, and you will need to allocate time for regular sessions and follow-up assignments. But it’s also important to assess your budget and whether you really need the personalized support and guidance that a GMAT tutor can provide. If you’re a working professional, you may not have to struggle with paying for a GMAT tutor; your company might even offer to reimburse the cost of hiring a GMAT tutor.

But if you’re wondering about how to apply to MBA while unemployed, and don’t have access to professional development funds or resources, or if you’ve been out of formal schooling for a long time, there are reasons for hiring a GMAT tutor and not hiring one. For one, you should consider how much a GMAT tutor costs, and whether you want to hire a private, self-employed tutor or a tutor who is part of an MBA admissions consulting company.

For a private, self-employed GMAT tutor, you can expect to spend anywhere between $30 -$40/hr., which, depending on your study schedule and how much you need to prepare, can run about as much as a comprehensive GMAT prep course. If, with a private tutor, you decide to study the recommended number of hours every week – 10 hrs. a week – for a minimum three months or nine weeks, it comes out to a little under $3,000.

However, the downside of a private, self-employed GMAT tutor is that you’re not always sure about their qualifications, credentials or experience. You can end up paying $3,000 for someone who has no previous experience and gives you the same general advice that you can find online. This uncertainty means you should try going with a reputable, well-known test prep company who offers guarantees and qualified GMAT tutors.

A basic, GMAT prep course can start as low as $800/month for personalized tutoring and a few test prep books to $2,000 for a comprehensive package that includes personal tutoring, online test resources, live, interactive study sessions with an experience tutor and other students, unlimited practice tests, and other premium GMAT prep resources that are not available to the general public.

Ultimately, whether or not you need a GMAT tutor depends on your individual circumstances, learning preferences, and goals. If, after you’ve taken a few practice tests and tried self-study, you still feel overwhelmed and need an actionable, organized study plan, a GMAT tutor may be worth considering. However, if you are confident in your ability to self-study effectively and have access to other GMAT preparation resources, you may be able to achieve your desired score without a tutor.

GMAT Tutor: How to Find the Right GMAT Tutor

1. Look for Experience and Expertise

If you’ve decided that you need a GMAT tutor, whether a self-employed or professional tutor, you should check that they have a strong background in GMAT preparation and a track record of success. If you’re going with a self-employed tutor, make sure to ask for references and credentials, such as you would with hiring anyone for a service. If they can’t provide references or have too many holes in their resume, you should go with someone else. If you’re going with a test-prep company, you should check online reviews and testimonials from other students, or find someone among your colleagues who has hired a GMAT tutor and ask whether the tutor was able to adapt their teaching style to meet individual needs.

2. Consider Compatibility and Communication

Regardless of whether you go with a self-employed or professional, tutoring service, you should look for a tutor who communicates clearly, listens attentively, and understands your specific goals and challenges. These qualities are important to build a strong rapport with your tutor, which is crucial for effective learning. A GMAT tutor who can tailor their teaching approach to your learning style and adapt their strategies to address your weaknesses can make a significant difference in your GMAT preparation journey. Try meeting your future GMAT tutor for an interview and come with questions about how they view preparing, studying and tutoring. If you schedule an initial consultation or trial session to assess compatibility before committing to regular tutoring sessions, you’ll be sure to get someone who you trust and believe in.

3. Check Your Budget and Look for Value

Hiring a private GMAT tutor can be a significant financial investment, so it’s important to consider the cost and value of the services provided. You should compare the rates of different tutors and tutoring companies, and take into account factors such as the tutor's qualifications, reputation, and the additional resources they offer. You should also adjust your study schedule; we mentioned above that you would be working with a GMAT tutor at least 10 hours/week, but you can reduce those hours to make hiring a tutor more affordable. But you should also not believe that a higher-priced tutor is better than others. The most expensive tutor may not always be the best fit for you, and a more affordable option may still provide excellent guidance and support.


1. Should I get a GMAT tutor?

If you have little to no experience with standardized tests, have been out of school for a while, struggle to keep and maintain a routine, or even if you struggle in a particular area tested by the GMAT (quantitative skills, analytical skills, math and calculations skills), you should consider getting a GMAT tutor.

2. What are the benefits of getting a GMAT tutor?

A GMAT tutor offers personalized instruction, strategic approaches, focused practice, time management skills, resource recommendations, motivation, and adaptability to your learning style, providing comprehensive support for mastering the GMAT.

3. What are the downsides of getting a GMAT tutor?

Getting a GMAT tutor requires a large investment of time and money, and if you hire a GMAT tutor without the right qualifications, experience or someone you don’t get along with, then it can be a waste of your resources.

4. How much does a GMAT tutor cost?

The cost of a GMAT tutor depends on the tutor. An individual tutor can cost less if you do not use them for very long, or only a few sessions, so you can end up paying between $300 or $400/week for 10 hours a week. But if you go with a tutor from a test-prep company, you might find different payment plans and opportunities based on all the other services you want (unlimited practice tests; access to premium online resources).

5. Is the GMAT hard?

The GMAT is hard but it is not an impossible test. You need to prepare for it and focus on all parts of the test to get the highest possible score, but with the right amount of preparation – with or without a GMAT tutor – you can get a good score.

6. Which part of the GMAT is the hardest?

Every section of the GMAT is difficult, but some may be easier than other depending on your skills and experience. Remember that everyone’s experience with the GMAT may differ, and your level of difficulty may depend on your individual strengths, weaknesses, and level of preparation.

7. What are the differences between the classic GMAT and the new GMAT Focus?

The GMAT Focus test is shorter, has fewer sections and fewer questions. You can also go back and review and change your answers for at least three questions per section.

8. How long should I study for the GMAT?

The length of your GMAT prep is something a GMAT tutor can help you determine. You should plan at least three months of study time, but you can adjust this length depending on your initial scores for your first diagnostic tests.

To your success,

Your friends at BeMo

BeMo Academic Consulting

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