“A native of North Carolina with a surprisingly un-Southern accent, Whitney Garner has been entertaining debate over her origins since High School. Always a bit of a nerd, to this day she still makes sport of challenging people’s opinion of “good ole’ southerners.” (And if you don’t believe that she’s southern, just try her homemade sausage biscuits and gravy!) That nerdiness paid off while she was working on her graduate degree in Economics at UNC-Greensboro’s Bryan School. There she found that she not only had a skill for learning the material, but also for helping others find the simplicity in even the most complex macroeconomic theories.
This skill allowed Whitney to supplement her Teaching & Research assistantship income by helping students of all ages unravel the mysteries of any and every subject she could get her hands on: from arithmetic to calculus, history and english to chemistry. (She even taught real estate exams!) But it was GMAT test preparation that really swept Whitney off her feet. What could be better than a test that covers multiple subjects and works to try to complicate things just for the sake of complicating them? She often thinks about the test writers as sadistic geniuses who need to be defeated at their own game, and she therefore works to turn students into GMAT Super Heroes by test day. It worked for her – she earned herself a score of 770.”
Photo and Bio credit: Manhattan GMAT
What makes MGMAT Interact different from the other GMAT on demand courses?
It seems that most GMAT On-Demand or self-study products on the market now rely on a combination of books and static, pre-recorded lessons. While video lessons are certainly a step beyond simply reading these topics in books, it is still just you, watching a video and trying not to get distracted.
This is what really sets GMAT Interact apart from the rest. Our truly interactive lessons aren’t something you “watch”—they are something you DO. I actually like to call Interact the “Choose Your Own Adventure” for GMAT (for those of us that remember those books from our childhood). The GMAT Interact software is tracking your moves throughout the course, and adapting the lesson to your needs. Struggled with that problem and got it wrong? Based on the answer you chose we probably know why and our program will redirect you to appropriate follow-up questions and activities to help you resolve your mistakes. Did you just get 2 of those tough questions right in a row? Well the program will reward you by unlocking a challenging follow-up (although that might not feel like a reward). We knew that students sitting back watching videos weren’t truly getting engaged, and without engagement, you aren’t maximizing your potential.. That is why we set out to design GMAT Interact–a fully interactive, video learning platform that learns from and adapts to your needs.
What do you think is the best feature of MGMAT Interact?
The best feature is what gave us the right to call it GMAT Interact: the interactivity that we have been able to create by deciding to move beyond a simple video recording and embrace the world of e-learning software. You don’t just watch a pre-recorded class. You are being asked to engage with the software constantly. Lessons are filled with activities and official questions, but we’re not just asking you to follow along on your paper. We’re asking you to click and drag things around on the screen, select answers, and ultimately help create on your own path through the software.
How can students best utilize the program?
I love that we have designed the full GMAT Interact to be a true “course in a box.” Along with the 35+ Interact lessons, students also receive our complete prep-set of books (12 strategy guides + 3 GMAC Official Guides), as well as our full suite of online resources. But we understood that with all of these resources comes the potential for confusion, so we created a Student Dashboard that clearly outlines the work that a student should do both before and after each lesson. This means you have a complete and detailed syllabus, just like you would for a live course. All you need to do is determine the timing of your assignments based on your personal study timeline.
How was the MGMAT Interact course developed and how long has it been on the market?
I ideas for GMAT Interact began in January 2011 and development of the actual program began in May 2013. GMAT Interact took over 6,000 hours to develop. An expert team of Manhattan Prep designers, coders, developers, and instructors worked for over three years on the design and development of the platform to create a student experience that is unlike anything else in test prep. The program launched to the public June 16, 2014.
How has it changed or adapted since it was first created?
Since GMAT Interact is new to the market, it hasn’t seen any large overhauls, but we have a team that is constantly working on small changes and improvements to the product based on updates to the Official Guides, feedback from students, and the generation of new and improved lesson ideas by our amazing instructor pool.
What advice would you give to students who are trying to decide which prep course to chose?
I think the key is to balance your needs with what you can afford (in terms of both time and money). Tutoring options are a premium price, but will offer the most customization and individual attention. If you are a student with accommodations or a short timeline, then this might be exactly what you need. If you are worried that you won’t study on your own, but don’t want to go the tutoring route, then live classes are probably the exact motivation you need—particularly if they fit your application timeline and weekly schedule.
Maybe you have extra time or you feel confident that you can stay motivated on your own — then self-study is an affordable way to get the score you need. This is why the interactive part of GMAT Interact is so special to me. It can be VERY hard to stay motivated when you are told to “read this, then watch that.” Students tell us all the time that the added personalization of the interactive platform makes them feel more connected to the material, and this is key to staying motivated when life gets busy (and the material threatens to get boring).
What do you wish you had known about the GMAT before you started studying?
I wish that I had known more about the meta-level strategies behind taking the test. I mean, I knew that I had to study the content to be prepared, but it wasn’t until I started working with Manhattan GMAT’s materials that I realized how important timing and good decision-making skills were to the test. This is a main reason why we included so much of this in GMAT Interact; we want our students exposed to these GMAT-specific strategies and techniques as early in their prep as possible, and then we want to reinforce it throughout!