Zeke Lee is the founder of GMAT Pill, an online on demand course. I asked him some questions about the course and how students can use it to improve their scores.
1) How did you come up with the idea to create your own GMAT course?
Before the financial crisis of 2008, I had been tutoring students in-person on the side and had a reputation is the guy who scored 98%ile in just 2 weeks of intense studying. Many students got great results using my same approach and word of mouth spread. Things picked up as as more and more people took the exam during the crisis when people’s jobs were on the online — and many were asking for help.
I simply didn’t have enough time to individually tutor each person to the best of my ability. Sure I could increase my hourly rate – but that didn’t really serve my bigger purpose of helping as many students as possible.
At the same time I recognized there was an internet revolution happening in the 2008-2009 time period. Things were evolving on the internet very quickly — blogging sites were starting to gain traction and mobile apps were all the craze. Things were possible then that were not possible before — particularly in the video space.
A colleague of mine at Stanford was already blogging about financial modeling and had started getting traction with video courses on how to do financial modeling. That’s when it clicked. My students could learn so much more effectively with a video course than they could with books or even in-person classes on a Saturday morning. The ability to learn online through video anytime and anywhere was a huge benefit that no other test prep company was offering at the time. Additionally, there was a big gap in the marketplace. You could either get a $40 book or a $1500 classroom course. There was nothing in between. And of course any video I create that was done really well — could benefit thousands of students. That definitely beats individually teaching each student one by one
So I recognized this gap in the marketplace and the potential that internet video could have in this market and decided to enter the market—first releasing the SC Pill — and then each remaining pill until we had a full course.
2) How has it changed or adapted since it was first created?
We are constantly adding new content and revising any existing content where we believe there could be a better explanation. With critical reasoning, for example, we’ve added over 100 questions – each question with 5 or so visual slides that really dissect the problem into an easy-to-understand mental picture. We then use any of our core frameworks to help students address this particular kind of question by helping students ask the right questions in order to find the right answer.
We’ve also added the Practice Pill Platform – the best online question bank you will find on the internet – complete with video explanations for paid members.
Students on-the-go – including traveling consultants — can download our video course material directly onto their mobile device through any of our 4.5-star rated iOS or Android mobile apps and study on a plane or wherever they are — even without an internet connection.
3) What makes The GMAT Pill different from the other GMAT on demand courses?
1 – Our really easy-to-understand framework approach doesn’t use complex grammar terminology. We explain things in a really simple manner so that even a 5th grader can understand us. We believe simplicity is the key to quickly moving through each test question. Over-thinking the complexity can just eat up your time and get you stuck.
2 – Convenience – We have a complete mobile solution for busy professionals on-the-go.
3 – Lifetime membership – While other courses charge for every month of access, we give you a flat fee that gives you access for as long as you need.
4 – Purchase in pieces – With GMAT PILL, students have the option of buying just the SC PILL, if they want to get help only on that section. Or if they are weak in quant, they can buy the quant package. Of course, the biggest discounts are when students buy the full package, but they also have the option of purchasing individual slices if that is what they want. Most other courses do not allow this option.
5 – Price – Our course is priced at the $437 level for the full package — significantly cheaper than. GMATCLUB conducted a study and based on their data, they found that students got the best score improvement per dollar spent with GMAT PILL. Here is the chart from them:
6 – Real testimonials with email screenshots + official score reports posted on our site from a DIVERSE body of students. Students from non-native English speakers in third world countries to native English speakers at top management consulting firms have used our program and reported great results. Many of these students are posted publicly on our website.
4) What do you think is the best feature of The GMAT Pill?
Our Practice Pill Platform – this open online Q&A platform lets users practice any type of GMAT question for free. Students need a paid account to access video explanations and diagrams for each of the 1,300+ questions and also to post any questions they may have. We have students from around the world practicing on our platform as our live activity feed shows at the top right of the link above.
5) How can students best utilize the course?
We recommend our students sign up for the optional daily email that follows our 1 month study plan. Each day, you will receive an email that tells you what exactly you need to do that day and it also gives you a hint of what to expect the following day.
This plan is meant to serve as a guideline, not an absolute rigid agenda.
6) What advice would you give to students who are trying to decide which prep course to chose?
Take a look at the attached market chart — and check out our free sample videos at the bottom of our homepage. Each student has a different learning style. Our approach tends to be highly visual with audio narration combined with the mobile convenience. If these elements match your learning style, then it may be worth a shot.
7) What do you wish you had known about the GMAT before you started studying?
Honestly, I wish I knew everything that we teach at GMAT PILL. There are some really neat thought processes that we use today that I was not aware of when I took the test. Certain SC and CR frameworks — and certain keywords to pay extra attention to when they appear in an RC passage. I knew most of them, but there were some really simple ones that if I knew at the time of my own test — perhaps I would have completely aced the test.
But again, our approach is about minimizing the time needed to score into your target range. So while it would have been nice to totally ace the test, I think my approach was pretty darn good — especially for just 2 week so of preparation. Today, I recommend students budget 1 month. Overachievers like myself can probably do it in 2 weeks with non-stop focus but 1 month is what we recommend.
Learn more about GMATPill here!