Kaplan’s GMAT Course Undergoes Continuous Improvement

June 16, 2012
Lucas Weingarten

GMAT BlogOne thing I like about Google is that they are constantly churning out both new products and improvements to additional products.  Google knows that in order to stay relevant and lead the market, innovation is fundamental.  Kaplan does, too.

For more than 70 years, Kaplan has been training ambitious individuals to reach and exceed their goals on standardized tests so they can reach and exceed their goals professionally.  We have been teaching the GMAT to prospective business students almost since its inception in 1954.  In short, Kaplan Test Prep is a product leader and, like Google, we have multiple teams devoted to continuous product improvement and innovation.

Instead of letting all this hard work and commitment go unnoticed, I want our students to know what is going on behind the scenes.  Not only do the smart people behind these projects deserve some recognition, but it is also important that everyone is up-to-date with everything we have to offer.  After all, the worst resource is the one that goes unused!

Recent Product Updates:

  • All nine of our computer adaptive practice tests contain an Integrated Reasoning section.  We offer the most full-length practice tests in the business and we were the first to develop IR lessons and realistic practice sections.  By the way, practice tests taken at a Pearson VUE Testing Center will include the IR section, as well, and that Test Day Experience is only available to Kaplan GMAT students.
  • We offer eight practice test timing options.  It is important to provide our students with a realistic testing experience during their preparation with us.  Some individuals require special accommodations to sit for the GMAT due to various physical and cognitive challenges.  In order to maintain an ultra-realistic testing experience for all of our students, we have fully fleshed out our special ADA timing options within our program to meet every need of every student.
  • Students can flag quiz questions and create quizzes comprised of flagged items.  Our GMAT Quiz Bank tool houses the highest number of GMAT practice questions in the business.  Students can create hundreds of quizzes across multiple layers of granularity.  A quiz parameter example might be: a timed quiz (timing based on q-type) focusing on arithmetic and specifically set properties offering medium and high difficulty problem solving and data sufficiency questions pulled from both used and unused items.  Now, we have added a new functionality: flagging.  Students can flag questions and create quizzes from those flagged questions for further review.
  • Question statistics and enhanced explanation display.  Our answer explanations are extremely robust and always reflect the most efficient and strategic way to solve a GMAT question.  We know that studying can be an arduous process.  Just like the need for a comfortable chair, the ergonomics (i.e., visual appeal) of the explanation display makes a difference.  No detail is too small!  Furthermore, in order to help you identify wrong answer pathologies and to self-diagnose performance, we now offer question statistics.  We tell you the percent of test takers that chose each answer choice option for each question.
  • The Lessons On Demand and Workshops list now include run times.  Sounds simple, I know, but it makes planning study sessions easier.  Before, a student would not know how long one of our professionally produced videos would last until they clicked on it.  A simple but helpful solution of adding the total run time next to the video title lets you make the most of your study session.
  • We adjust our 1-8 Integrated Reasoning scoring scale in tandem with GMAC.  As more and more test takers sit for the New GMAT with the IR section, more and more data will help GMAC communicate what a given score within the scoring scale means in relation to a percentile distribution.  As GMAC collects this data and updates their percentile distribution chart, so will we.  For more on the Integrated Reasoning scoring scale, click here.
  • Improved answer choice selection functionality.  Again, this may seem like a nominal improvement, but the results justify such attention to detail.  In the past, when a test taker selected an answer choice, the cursor of the mouse needed to hover over the bubble preceding the choice.  Now, test takers can click anywhere on the answer choice to select it.  So what?  Well, that small improvement could mean an aggregated decrease of 1 minute of time spent just placing the cursor in the right spot on the screen.  One minute can easily equal one question!

From now on, I am going to track our course and product improvements for our students, teachers, and everyone else interested in learning with Kaplan.  Check back often for updates.  Also, please reply with any and all suggestions you may have to make our GMAT products even better.  Thanks!

Lucas Weingarten Lucas Weingarten is a full-time instructor for Kaplan Test Prep and he loves preparing GRE students for Test Day. The classroom is Lucas’ arena. When he cannot be found in one of Kaplan’s cage matches of learning, he is very likely dancing around DePaul University’s College of Commerce/Kellstadt Graduate School of Business in Chicago professing various courses offered by the Department of Management, up to and including monikers such as: “Managing for Effective and Ethical Organizational Behavior,” “Entrepreneurship Strategy,” “Strategic Managements and Analysis,” “Human Resource Management,” “Recruitment and Selection,” and “Foundations of Business Thought and Theory.” (Although that last one was cancelled just before the quarter started and he’s still not gotten over it.) Lucas spent most of his formative years in North Carolina, but hit the long road as soon as he was able. A world traveler with a currently expired passport, he has lived on and wandered around three continents with the expressed intention of finishing the job. He holds a BFA with a concentration in sculpture as well as an MBA with dual concentrations in Entrepreneurship and Finance. When not challenging standardized tests to a duel or wondering how to corrupt the business students of America, Lucas can be found brewing delicious beers, riding-then-fixing-then-riding his motorcycle, hanging out with dogs, pretending he’s a good cook, and feeling like the luckiest guy in the world to have such a fantastic wife and endlessly amazing young son. He’s in Milwaukee now, but is in Chicago often. Email him anytime about anything at: lucas.weingarten@kaplan.com

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