Generally, people who are looking for a private GMAT tutor fall into one of the below three categories:
- People who are about to begin their preparation and value their time too much to waste it on exploring online or classroom courses. These people are generally senior professionals or highly ambitious young graduates.
- People who have prepared for GMAT for some time (3 months to a couple of years or even more) and find themselves stuck in one section (generally) or both quant and verbal sections. They realize that they need some personal guidance to get out of the limbo they find themselves in.
- People who have been preparing for GMAT for some time and have been improving gradually. They need to increase their pace of improvement so that they can get over with GMAT sooner than later.
However, it doesn’t matter which category people fall into; when they look for a private GMAT tutor, they are looking for the very best out there since they want to utilize their time in the most effective way.
If you are reading this page, you are most likely looking for a best private GMAT tutor in Delhi or Gurgaon. While I can claim that I am the best one out there, it’s not going to help you since every other tutor may also claim the same. Rather, I’m going to share a few characteristics of a good private GMAT tutor and how you can figure out whether a private GMAT tutor possesses those characteristics or not.
The list I’m going to present is not meant to be exhaustive; you may want to consider other factors that are not mentioned in the list. Besides, you may not want to consider some factors mentioned in the list. It’s, obviously, all up to you. The purpose of writing this article is just to give you some guidance in your search.
What are the characteristics of a good private GMAT tutor?
- Excellent command over subject-matter: Clearly, the most fundamental skill a tutor needs to possess is strong in-depth understanding of the tested concepts. If a tutor is not clear about what is tested on GMAT, you should rather stay away from him.
- Focus on building concepts, not on handing out shortcuts or tricks: A tutor’s command over the content matter may not matter much if he is focused on teaching shortcuts and tricks and not on building clarity of concepts in the students. Generally, though, you wouldn’t come across a conceptually sound teacher who focuses on shortcuts and tricks. Any teacher who is conceptually clear recognizes the value of conceptual clarity and understands that aptitude tests such as GMAT cannot be aced through shortcuts. The tutors who focus majorly on shortcuts, tricks, and test-taking ‘strategies’ don’t have the conceptual clarity to teach the concepts to the students.
- Ability to teach/coach: One of my students, who has played tennis internationally, shared quite candidly with me that when he came to me, he was sure I was a good player but wasn’t sure whether I was a good coach. (I hope that by the time he recorded a 300-points improvement – from a lowly 380 to a 680 – all such doubts had been dispelled) Not every great player can be a great coach. Thus, not every person with a 780 on GMAT can be a stellar tutor. The person needs to also have the ability to communicate his clarity of concepts and thinking to his students.
To be a great coach, a tutor needs to understand how learning works: it’s a spiral process that is aced through repetition and not every person learns the same way. Thus, a tutor needs to have a level of clarity that he can explain the same concept in multiple ways and also the patience to allow the student to learn at his or her pace.
- Understanding of and solutions to the psychological issues students face: Quite a many people say that GMAT is a mind game. That’s true. And if you think about it, every challenging task that may take more than a few weeks is a mind game. If your mind is not in the right shape, you wouldn’t be able to ace any lengthy challenging task. A mind that is in the right shape is a mind that understands that
- a test of GMAT repute cannot be aced through shortcuts
- different people are good at different things and thus if another person could succeed on GMAT in 2 months, it need not label itself dumb even when it hasn’t been able to do so in 6 months.
- with sincere effort and right direction, any goal can be achieved. Such a mind would not give up easily, calling the task unachievable.
- hard work without the right direction will not achieve anything, just as running in the wrong direction doesn’t lead to the right destination.
- quality trumps quantity. So, the number of questions you do and the number of hours you study matter much less than the amount of learning you get from those questions and hours.
A great private GMAT tutor needs to understand these and other attitudinal or psychological issues a student may face and should be able to guide the student to the right way of thinking.
- Passion and Genuine interest: Think about it. With whom would you enjoy your GMAT journey more? A passionate teacher who has genuine interest in GMAT or a teacher who pursues GMAT tutoring just as a job.
The passion and energy are contagious. If the teacher looks at GMAT as an interesting test that tests some relevant skills, he is more likely to make you involved in the learning process and thus more likely to help you succeed. If the teacher looks at GMAT as just another test testing some obscure knowledge or tricks, he will not be able to make you involved in the learning process.
- Curiosity – helping you beyond the GMAT: Well, this is something I definitely focus on. Because curiosity has led me to where I am i.e. a pretty good place. I did not pursue learning just to score marks or to achieve other things. I saw learning as a goal in itself. I was naturally curious. And it helped me throughout my academic life. What others had difficulty understanding – I could understand without much difficulty. Why? Because I had good hold over the concepts that we had learnt earlier while others didn’t have. Reason? I was curious. So, I used to have a lot of questions. Since I had those questions, I’d understand concepts more deeply than others. And since I understood those concepts more deeply, those concepts stayed longer with me. This helped me in learning advanced concepts faster. It’s a virtuous circle. And I’d want my students to be in such a virtuous circle. Not just related to GMAT but to all areas of learnings. And how do I build curiosity? By sharing my passion for learning with you and teaching you how to become engaged in the material.
How do you find a Private GMAT Tutor who has the above characteristics?
Clearly, we cannot ‘directly’ gauge a private tutor’s command over the subject-matter, ability to teach, or any other characteristic. We need to gauge these abilities through other ways. Below are some of the ways you can determine how good a private GMAT tutor is:
- High GMAT Score: A high GMAT score shows that a person has conceptually sound. Such a person, as we discussed, is extremely likely to follow a concept-based methodology rather than a shortcut-driven approach. Thus, a tutor’s high GMAT score reflects characteristics #1 and #2.
- Recommendations on LinkedIn: While students make recommendations on a number of sites (Quora, GMAT Club, tutors’ websites), one can be most sure of the authenticity of the recommendations on LinkedIn. Although recommendations on LinkedIn can be fake too, the chances that a recommendation is fake is much higher on other platforms. You can also connect with students who have left recommendations for the private GMAT tutor you’re considering. By connecting with those students, you may get to hear their experiences first-hand.
- LinkedIn Profile: One very basic research you can do on the private tutor is check out his LinkedIn profile. You can see what all the person has done so far – his achievements, not just limited to GMAT.
- Debriefs on GMAT Club: While LinkedIn recommendations are most reliable, debriefs (or posts on GMAT experiences) on GMAT Club are also reliable. In debriefs, students talk about their entire GMAT journey, not just about one tutor or one aspect. Some debriefs talk about how private tutors helped the aspirants on their journey. Such debriefs can give you precious information about how a private tutor helped a candidate on its journey.
- Published content: You can gauge almost all the characteristics listed above from the published content of a private GMAT tutor. The content can give you insights on the conceptual clarity, approach, mindset, and passion of the tutor. Besides, such content may help you prepare for GMAT without paying anybody anything. I’ve written a lot of articles and solutions on this website. You can use the same to your advantage, absolutely free!
- Focus: – Is the private tutor a supermarket? I can understand if a private tutor teaches two or even three tests; however, if a private tutor teaches more than four tests, it is very likely that he doesn’t have in-depth understanding of any test. To me, it also indicates that he doesn’t believe in excelling at one thing; he is fine with being decent in multiple things.
- Talk to the tutor: Of course, you can talk to the tutor before signing up. You can also take one session with the tutor before deciding to do a complete course with him. For example: Even though I do not offer a ‘free’ trial session, I encourage you to pay for just one session initially. After the first session, if you decide to go ahead, you can pay for multiple sessions at once.
Before I conclude, I’d like to share a couple of common ways people go wrong while selecting a private GMAT tutor (in Delhi, Gurgaon, or any location)
Where people go wrong
- Go with the cheapest one: I understand that people have genuine financial constraints, but don’t you agree that it’s better to have a few high-quality sessions than to go through a complete sub-par course? Besides, when you consider the overall importance of MBA to your career, the cost of an MBA, the opportunity cost of your time that may get wasted on substandard resources, and the scholarship potential that a good GMAT score leads to, the cost of GMAT prep can never be too high. If you cannot take the entire course with a top GMAT tutor, you can still work out a plan with him so that you don’t need as many sessions. And if you can’t afford even a few sessions with a top private GMAT tutor, why not look at online courses, some of which are really good, rather than going for a cheaper-but-not-so-good private GMAT tutor.
- Lack of research: Engaging a private GMAT tutor will involve a lot of financial and time commitment from you. Thus, it makes a lot of sense that you do a thorough research on any tutor you intend to sign-up. Use all of the above resources, mentioned in the answer to the second question, to assess the tutor. I’d also encourage you to ask the private tutor to verify his credentials by showing you the requisite proofs. For example: to verify his GMAT score, the private tutor may download the score report in front of you from the official GMAC website.
I hope the article helps you, to at least some extent, find the best private GMAT tutor in Delhi and Gurgaon.