Which is your favorite lesson to teach?
Data Sufficiency, no doubt. I love the hungry looks my students get in their eyes when it suddenly clicks and they realize they can use the GMAT's traps against it. The Princess Bride routine I do as part of it? That helps, I'm sure, but it might just be to keep us all entertained.
What is your favorite problem from the Official Guide and why?
13th Ed, SC #133
I really like teaching Sentence Correction because it's the one place in Verbal where significant strides can be made by learning a few key grammatical concepts. This problem does its best to hide its classic 3/2 verb agreement split by switching up the continuous/non-continuous aspect (not a concept tested on the GMAT) in the verb decision point at the end of the underlining. Once you notice that split, it also does its best to hide the subject behind a raft of modifiers, but again a simple rule (the subject you're looking for won't be found in a modifier unless the verb is part of that same modifier) helps us get rid of tempting plural candidates nets, devices, and laws to find the correct singular subject compliance. From there it's relatively obvious.
So what I like is that this problem is very easy for someone who has mastered two of the key skills we teach: identifying the good decision points and identifying the proper subject for a verb. And yet for someone lacking those two skills it's fairly difficult. I find that while many students want to improve on Verbal, deep down they need to be sold on why they should relearn (or in many cases learn for the first time) basic grammar instead of just relying on their ears. And this problem does a good job of showing them.
Real reviewsEthan turns the cold, pragmatic GMAT into a humorous foe
Ethan took me from a 610 to a 690. I have learned from Ethan both in a group and one-on-one setting, and in both he is phenomenal. If you want an instructor who adjusts based off of your learning style, reinforces both the technical and strategic sides of the GMAT while keeping the material engaging, he's your man. Ethan turns the cold, pragmatic GMAT into a humorous foe by using examples from life and film. After working with Ethan, you won't be able to watch The Princess Bride without thinking of Data Sufficiency... and that's not a bad thing. I went from being nervous and self-questioning on my first test to relaxed, optimistic, and (I didn't expect to say this) EXCITED on my final test day.
Ethan was a phenomenal teacher.
Ethan was a phenomenal teacher. He genuinely cares that you learn, and more importantly, retain the material. Everything was very well structured and easy to follow. I highly recommend this class to anyone looking for GMAT prep.
Ethan was amazing
Ethan was amazing, and made the material very digestible. His strategies are working and I can tell that he has spent a lot of time thinking about incorporating his style with the material (very polished).
MBA, Stanford University
What is your favorite Veritas Prep success story?
Before taking the full Veritas Prep course online with me, Alexandra had already taken the GMAT and scored just 470. Her score was low in large part because she was in just the 8th percentile on quant. She signed up for three or four hours of tutoring with me and we worked on her areas of difficulty. Using materials which evolved into the current Veritas Prep Skillbuilders, we improved her performance – and her confidence level. After just four weeks, she took the GMAT again and scored a 640 – and had improved to the 55th percentile on quant. She called me right after finishing the test and was absolutely elated. She was on cloud nine – and hearing her delight got me there, too.
What is your favorite lesson to teach?
Foundations of GMAT Logic (the first lesson). The GMAT is about problem solving and reasoning, so knowing how to apply logic is essential. That first lesson explains the structure of arguments, which is helpful. The lesson also helps students understand the tricky wording of questions. But the most important part of the lesson shows how to apply logic to get to the right answer quickly and accurately. Logic rules!
Also, I should mention that I've done live online GMAT tutoring with students in at least 30 countries. I love helping Veritas Prep grow its footprint around the world!
Which movie/TV character would do best on the GMAT?
It’s elementary: Sherlock Holmes. The GMAT might be described as a collection of logical puzzles: a series of questions that require one to apply reason (and a well-defined but limited range of knowledge and skills) to solve problems. Who could do better than Sherlock Holmes in applying logic to sort out puzzling situations? Also, Sherlock is intensely aware of the bounds of his knowledge: He recognizes both what he knows and what he doesn’t know. That clarity about the limits of evidence would help him do well on Data Sufficiency and Critical Reasoning questions. However, Sherlock would likely be frustrated that the GMAT would give him no opportunity to apply his vaunted sense of smell. Perhaps he would request an accommodation: an odorized version of the GMAT. Now that would truly be Integrated Reasoning.
Real reviewsWorking with Cliff was such a pleasure
Working with Cliff was such a pleasure - he really helped fill in the gaps for me and work to be very 'zen' as he called it, on the exam. His mix of encouragement and enthusiasm really made the process much less painful than it could've been - I really enjoyed working through the problems with him. It worked! I went in prepared, and on the first try ...- 780/6.0 (up from sub 700 on practice exams taken independently). Just got the acceptance letter from Stanford GSB, and I know it wouldn't have been possible without Veritas Prep.
I would recommend him to anyone
Cliff Smith is an outstanding teacher. He was punctual and prepared in every meeting and always found a way to speak to all levels of understanding in the class. He also found a way to make mundane topics interesting and always had multiple extra tips and strategies for each topic. I would recommend him to anyone preparing for the GMAT.
Cliff was quietly passionate about the material
He made the course engaging through twelve 3-hour sessions. He taught with slides that were well designed and executed. He covered all of the course material and provided useful summary handouts. He knew the material well, sometimes providing alternative solutions to problems.
What is your favorite lesson to teach?
Arithmetic, and it isn't even close. Learning how numbers are built and where their quirky properties come from is about as wonderful as thinking gets. In the hands of most high school instructors, math feels lukewarm and premade: Here's a theorem some dead guy thought of. We won't tell you why or how this is relevant to anything, just repeat it 700 times. And make it quick. We have another dead guy's theorem to get to. But number theory is all about felicity and improvisation: how do we know that every number that ends in 7 has a multiple that consists entirely of 1's? Why can I square any prime greater than 3, subtract one, and get a multiple of 24? Why on earth does that divisibility test for 11 work? The methods of proof are usually different and nothing is dull and predetermined, so you really get a chance to see what those philosophers meant when they called math the music of reason.
What is your favorite problem from the Official Guide?
My favorite math problem ever is 'Andrey's Broken Calculator', a great bit of whimsy from the old Soviet Union (and who knew they even had mathematical whimsy in the old Soviet Union! I thought all the math problems involved optimizing the output of a tractor). In it, your luckless friend Andrey has nothing but a sheet of paper with three integers on it - 0, m, and n, where m and n are unknown, coprime positive integers - and a calculator that can only perform one operation: taking the average of two even numbers, or the average of two odd numbers.
Andrey has been asked by the party officials to prove that no matter what m and n are, he can eventually produce ANY integer from 0 to n simply by performing computations on his calculator over and over again, and your task is to save him from plonking away miserably on the thing for eternity by coming up with a general proof. Poor Andrey had to wait a while for me to rescue him: considering I didn't even try the problem until 2008, he must've been holed up in some dour grey building for decades fretting over his calculations.
Real reviewsMatt Douglas is the King of Prep courses!
Matt Douglas is the King of Prep courses! If you want to take a GMAT prep course, take it with Matt! He knows his stuff and he keeps it interesting. He genuinely cares and wants you to do well. Its rare to find people that do it for more than a paycheck. Matt does it because he wants you to do well, he wants to help you succeed.
He demonstrated his ability to solve any question
Matt was simply fantastic. He demonstrated his ability to solve any question and answer every question. His knowledge went beyond just learning about the GMAT. He also made the class enjoyable and fun. He proved his willingness to assist each and everyone one of the students based on their ability and understanding of the topic.
I would highly recommend Matt
Matt is a wonderful instructor. He's very engaging and is eager to help you improve your GMAT score. I really enjoyed his style of teaching, working through pieces of the lesson then reinforcing it with homework problems. I really enjoyed his class and never felt intimidated if I didn't understand a concept and had more questions. I get the sense in his eyes there's no such thing as a dumb question. He's happy to help any student that is eager to learn and improve their score. I would highly recommend Matt to anyone in need of a good instructor.