Everyone preparing to apply to business school should know about the two best GMAT forums—which also happen to be two of the best GMAT communities in general:
1. GMAT Club
Why is it so important for potential test takers to be familiar with these GMAT forums?
These GMAT forums are free
As a general rule, it would seem that the best GMAT resources tend to cost a pretty penny, while resources that are cheap or free are typically not as helpful. Although that may be the general pattern, I would argue that Magoosh is a notable exception, offering some of the highest quality prep at bargain basement prices. I will admit, though, that the above two GMAT forums are even more of a bargain, because they offer something valuable for free! It’s hard to beat that price! (But we can match it: Magoosh offers a number of free resources as well.)
You can sign up for a free account on GMAT Club or Beat the GMAT simply by providing your email—and at no time will your membership in either forum cost you a dime. How can they do that? After all, we all know there’s no such thing as a free lunch! So how can these GMAT forums offer something for nothing?
How these GMAT communities work: a GMAT expert’s perspective
Of course, there’s a modicum of GMAT-relevant advertising on the site — compared to other advertising-driven websites, the advertising on these forums is relatively low-key, and it’s all highly relevant to folks preparing for the GMAT. This unobtrusive advertising keeps those sites running.
In many ways, the most valuable content is given to you for free. Here’s how this works: Suppose that you, as a potential test taker, have an exam-related question, and you post your question on one of these GMAT forums — a question about math, verbal, the essay, the application process, business school, your career, etc. Then a slew of GMAT experts, from every GMAT prep company imaginable, will jump in to answer you.
Why do we experts want to help? Well, as teacher-types, we are disposed toward helping folks learn in general, but of course, all of us experts have the same ulterior motive. We all think that we will offer the most fantastic help, and then you will conclude, “Gee, Mike offered me such a mind-blowingly wonderful answer to my question that I simply must sign up for Magoosh!” By magnanimously offering impressive help and free resources, GMAT prep companies hope to garner new customers.
Imagine being in a position in which experts from a dozen different GMAT prep companies are all competing to see who can be the most helpful to you, each answering your question and providing you with the information, support, & strategies you need! As a potential GMAT taker asking questions in the forum, you are in the catbird seat. Even if you ultimately decide to sign up with a particular GMAT prep source, the forums can still be an excellent resource to get open-ended support on everything GMAT-related.
Which GMAT forum should I use?
In the end, GMAT Club & Beat the GMAT are both excellent resources. GMAT Club is more forum-oriented, while Beat the GMAT has an increased focus on blogposts and other study articles. Do take the time to explore them both, as you’ll likely find valuable information on each.
Takeaway: Join a GMAT forum ASAP!
If you start poking around on GMAT Club, feel free to look me up (username: mikemcgarry) and ask for my help. In any case, I encourage you to make regular use of these GMAT communities in your studies — if you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comment section below.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in March 2013 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.