The GMAT and Learning to Ride a Bike

Robert Brault: “The average teacher explains complexity; the gifted teacher reveals simplicity.”

One can stroll through any Borders bookstore and see the many thick tomes of GMAT preparation material available. With so many resources in stores and online, some of my potential students ask me whether it is best for them to self-study as much of the material as possible. In my years of teaching GMAT, I have seen only a few exceptional students use the self-study method successfully.

Learning to do GMAT questions quickly and efficiently can be like learning to ride a bike for the first time. If you merely try to get on and ride yourself, you might eventually succeed, but it’s likely to take you a few scrapes and scratches and an extended period of time. Worse, you might lose your confidence and give up. But if you have someone there to push you along as you gather momentum and to offer guidance when the task seems too challenging, the learning process quickens considerably.

Succeeding on the GMAT still requires patience and perseverance, with or without an instructor. But the benefits: practice tailored to your strengths and weaknesses, a source of detailed explanations when the textbook answer is still confusing, and the confidence that you aren’t skipping over any important topics; these can often be enough to keeping you rolling along towards your goals.