The very fact that GMAT aspirants continue to avail themselves of reputed paid courses reflects on the inadequacy of freely available online material.
To begin with, one serious problem with free GMAT online material is that you do not know how relevant it is. When you go for a reputed paid GMAT online or offline course, what you are basically looking for is the relevance and the quality of the study material. Merely the number of hours you devote for the study will not yield the desired result. A properly structured course will help you save on precious time, which you might otherwise waste in looking for material and going through material that is irrelevant for GMAT purposes. Even then you might not know for sure whether you have studied what was required.
The free GMAT online guides and practice tests are insufficient in that you can hardly expect them to be exhaustive. You will have the confidence to do well only when you know the exam pattern and all question types properly. Of course, you will be not-pleasantly-surprised on seeing questions you are not familiar with.
Neither can you expect a guarantee of accuracy. In a number of free GMAT online resources, errors have been found in the questions and answers. On the other hand, you can expect complete accuracy from paid-for GMAT online courses prepared by experts who care about their reputation.
If you want great tips and strategies, you cannot get them so easily. Do not assume that each blogger who writes about the GMAT has effective tips to share. You can rely on tips by reputed GMAT Prep firms but know that they will not divulge all of the important details. To have access to all that the reputed GMAT online course providers can offer, you must enroll with them.
It is, of course, not being suggested that preparation using free online GMAT material is impossible but only that it becomes much more difficult. Since you get a step closer to achieving admission into the B-school of your dreams through a great GMAT score, the ROI on a paid GMAT online course is brilliant.
Without a structured course, it is not possible to increase the difficulty level gradually, so as to build on understanding. Choose GMAT online paid courses that first focus on strengthening your understanding of the various concepts that are tested on the GMAT through explanations and practice questions, and then providing problems that are not segregated concept-wise. Reputed GMAT online paid courses are up-to-date with respect to content.
The personalized stage-wise plans that some GMAT online course providers prepare ensure that you derive the maximum benefit from each hour spent on GMAT Prep.
But remember that the best of the material will fail to give you your desired scores if you do not put in the required amount of effort for each section or sub-section on the GMAT.