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 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:

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