GMAT Coaches and GMAT Players

January 14, 2012
Lucas Weingarten

To become excellent at something takes work.  Coaches have their roles and players have theirs.  Right now, I coach GMAT players.  I want them to become excellent, I want them to win.  I provide what I can—structure, knowledge, parameters, technique, and so on.  What I cannot provide is commitment, discipline, the right attitude, or the just plain hard work it takes to achieve.  Those things are on the shoulders of the players.

A student recently asked me what I thought I could score on the GMAT if I took it tomorrow.  I thought for a moment and said, “I don’t know.  Well, I’d probably do pretty good, but I wouldn’t score near what I could score if I prepped for it.”

He was surprised.  “What do you mean?  You teach the GMAT!”

GMAT Blog“Yeah, that’s true, but imagine I was a tennis champ turned tennis coach.  Teaching someone how to play tennis competitively is not the same thing as actually playing tennis competitively.  If I decided that I wanted to get back onto the court and make another run at a championship, I’d have a lot of training to do, a lot of hard work.  Sure, my ramp up would go a lot quicker than it did when I first started learning to play, but I would still have to train.”

I think this off-the-cuff analogy is a good one.  While physical skill is not directly comparable to cognitive skill, my student took the point I intended to make: everyone has to train.  The GMAT is not easy.  In fact, the GMAT—being a computer adaptive test—will get as hard as you let it.  No one, not even 90%+ scorers think the GMAT is easy.

If you want to get an excellent score, you have to train and train hard.  Prep courses, books, videos, podcasts, and whatever else is out there come in varying quality, but even if you find the best prep business out there the most they can do is provide what you need to succeed.  It’s up to you to use it.

Lucas Weingarten Lucas Weingarten teaches students how to beat the GMAT, GRE, and LSAT for Kaplan Test Prep and is proud to have earned “elite instructor” status. Lucas writes extensively for Kaplan’s GMAT blog, and in addition to the GMAT and business school as primary subject matter, he regularly explores topics within higher education, economic systems, sustainability, and current events. Lucas spent his formative years in North Carolina and currently resides in Milwaukee, WI, though he has not yet found the part of the world wherein to bury his roots. He has an MBA with a dual concentration in entrepreneurship and finance from DePaul University in Chicago and is fortunate to have secured an adjunct teaching position there out of the department of management. Family, friends, and a seemingly endless stream of new hobbies keep Lucas busy and happy outside of the classroom. You can reach out any time by email ( or through the comments thread after his blog posts.

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