BA, University of Kansas
What do you love about teaching?
Having taught the GMAT and LSAT each for over 10 years and each in several cities, what keeps me coming back for more is that opportunity to make a real difference in someone’s life. There’s nothing greater than getting a random email from a student years later who has accomplished several goals since grad school and who just wants to say thanks again. These high-stakes entrance tests can be such a daunting challenge, but there’s so much awaiting students on the other side that I love to be involved in helping them vault over that hurdle and reap the rewards.
If you weren’t teaching the GMAT, What would you be teaching instead?
I once turned down the chance to be a small college basketball player to seek a more academic path, and as my love for both sports and strategy have persisted I have a fantasy in which I am a great basketball coach. Like Gene Hackman in Hoosiers great.
Real reviewsBrian is genuinely interested in the success of his students.
Brian is wonderful. Some people do this for the money, Brian is genuinely interested in the success of his students. He's patient and really good at his job. I have already recommended Brian and the Veritas course to everyone I know even thinking about the GMAT. My score went up 40 points, and that was without even being able to do the homework due to a busy schedule, it was just from attending the classes Brian taught.
Brian was very thorough in his explanations
Brian was very thorough in his explanations without being very confusing. He tried to not only show us how to do the work but stressed the importance of finding shortcuts and being able to skip time-robbing steps whenever possible. Very happy with him overall.
My instructor, Brian, was excellent.
My instructor, Brian, was excellent. He slowed everything down and took it apart. The class was very beneficial for I had trouble alloting time for study. Brian gave advice on how to effectively manage my time and get the best results from my studying. Overall, great class.
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.
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 summar handouts. He knew hte material well, often providign alternative solutions to problems.