The GRE or Graduate record examinations is probably one of the world’s most famous standardized tests for admissions and most colleges in the USA.
However, with the times, the GRE prep courses have changed significantly from the early days of lengthy notebooks to current online GRE video tutorials.
Consequently, choosing the right graduate record examination prep course is a crucial decision, and one that will help you score higher on the GRE and likely get you into the graduate school of your dreams.
However, you should know that you will spend many hours studying, so it is important to find the study material that suits your learning style and background.
However, regardless of why you are taking the GRE, there are courses out there that will fit your needs. In the following guide, we’ll take a look at some of the best GRE prep courses available and why you should be considering them.
Best GRE Prep Courses – Reviews & Buying guide for 2021
Best Overall: Magoosh GRE Prep Course
The Magoosh GRE prep course is extremely accessible, allowing you to study anywhere, anytime, and on a PC or mobile device.
You also receive email assistance whenever you’re stuck, and it is fully supported on PC, Mac, Android, and iOS. One of the bonuses of using this course is that Magoosh students score an average of six points higher in each section than any other test-takers.
This is due to the study materials that are continually updated based on millions of students’ answers.
You will also receive smart feedback and progress tracking to turn your weaknesses into strengths. The Magoosh prep course is, in fact, a quarter of the price of competitors, making it a cost-effective learning solution.
With Magoosh, you will always study with the most up to date, tried and tested materials, making it easy to figure out where to start studying and stay motivated until test day.
Consisting of 11 carefully crafted study schedules that accommodate varying study times and skills, you’ll always know what’s the best way to study.
In addition to the great study material and resources that you receive, you will also be able to gain real test experience. In fact, your practice exam will be as close to the real deal as possible.
Magoosh maintains the highest standards that developed adaptive technology that simulates the official GRE. You’ll also be able to create customized practice sessions to drill yourself on specific subjects and difficulty levels.
If you are stuck on anything, you can read the detailed text explanation or watch the video tutorial following each and every question. The company also offers an intuitive dashboard that estimates your score, compares your pace with other students, and tracks your learning.
This smart review system allows you to view your performance based on time, subject, difficulty, or according to your own bookmarks, so you know exactly what to focus on next.
- Top-quality materials
- Targeted study schedules
- Gain real test experience
- Fewer GRE practice tests
- Course Coverage: Comprehensive
- Online Resources: Yes
- Cost: $119.20 – $143.20
Best Comprehensive GRP Prep Course: Kaplan GRE Prep Course
Kaplan has been preparing students for years with some of the best results in the industry, which is probably why they are considered kings when it comes to test prep courses and materials.
Perhaps the only downside to Kaplan’s test prep process is the high price of the packages, which begs you to ask the question, is it really worth it?
Kaplan offers various different courses at different price ranges as well. And it is up to you to decide whether it is a good investment. Here are some reasons why you should invest in Kaplan’s GRE prep course materials.
The online interfaces are user-friendly, consisting of lots of features that use different learning modules that are well constructed. There’s also printed material that you can go through in separate lesson books that coordinate with the online modules.
There are many practice tests offered on the US site under the same conditions as the real test, that gives you a personalized score that highlights your strengths and weaknesses.
Irrespective of the GRE prep course you choose, you’ll be provided with access to the seven full-length practice tests. Seven may not sound a lot, but when compared to other test companies, it is a respectable number.
The computer-based practice tests are a dead ringer for the real test. They look and feel like the testing program is very comparable to the official GRE platform, and likewise, each of the questions is indistinguishable.
Additionally, Kaplan’s GRE prep does a great job matching the adaptive features of the real GRE.
So in this practice test, if you perform well on early sections, the test adapts and gives you harder questions or vice versa for poor performance. In addition to the online content, you will also be provided with hard copy books to assist in your studies.
If you purchase any other option other than the Self-paced package, you will receive 21 hours of live instruction either live online or in person. You will also meet either once or twice weekly for three-hour stretches, and you have the same instructor throughout your course.
Perhaps the best feature of Kaplan’s GRE test prep course is that you receive a one-time pass to take the practice test at a Prometric center so that you can genuinely simulate what it will feel like on test day.
- Great user interface and user experience
- 21 hours of live instruction
- One-time pass at Prometric center to simulate test day experience
- It is expensive when compared to competitors
- Course Coverage: Comprehensive
- Online Resources: Yes
- Cost: $450 upwards
Runner Up: Princeton Review Prep Course
While lots of students under the impression that the courses from Princeton Review are expensive, this is not always the case.
When it comes to live online courses, prices are higher. However, self-paced courses are more affordable. Self-paced courses start at $299, and that’s just for a single math or verbal skills section.
If you’re looking for a comprehensive option that contains two modules, it will cost you $499. However, it still not as cheap as some competitors, but if you’re serious about getting into grad school, this is not a huge investment.
For the money, what you get is eight full-length practice tests, 65 video lessons, as well as 2,500 practice questions, including the math fundamentals course and essay review by one of the instructors. That’s a lot of value for the money and certainly more than you would get from other cheaper GRE courses.
However, lots of students still found themselves asking, is the course materials worth it?
In short, yes, but you still need some extra materials to help you out. However, you’ll still get access to math fundamentals through an online student portal, and the course is live and conducted on a daily basis.
So you’ll be able to join in at a specific time to revise math concepts. This is great if your numeric skills are a little rusty, and you could use a refresher.
You can also complete the eight full-length practice tests in your own time. So what you find on the screen will look almost exactly like the test-taking environment of the real GRE.
These tests will give you a good idea of what you can expect on test day. This course is designed for students on a budget that still want to get a comprehensive self-paced GRE prep course.
If you don’t mind studying on your own and looking for flexibility, then it is exactly for you. It is also suitable for students who work at a full-time job or have other commitments.
So while this is a cheaper course, it is still effective and will prepare you for the GRE. It covers both math and verbal skill, as well as the analytical writing section. So for a $499 bundle, it does contain a lot of value for the money.
If you’re looking for something a lot more comprehensive, then the GRE ultimate live online course is probably for you. While it costs a hefty $999, it has all the materials included in the standard self-paced course as well as 24 hours of expert live instruction.
The online course is long and lasts approximately two months. So what you get with this package is eight 3 hour-long sessions once a week, which is 24 hours in total. During each session, you’ll also be able to interact with other teachers and students through the student portal.
There is a great chat and voice communication option that feels like you’re sitting in an actual classroom. You’ll also be able to attend the separate math fundamental course available on a separate schedule.
This course will help you refresh your knowledge of the basic quant concepts tested in the GRE, and it’s also a great supplement to the main course. One of the highlights of the Princeton prep course is live instruction. There are also tons of other study materials that you can use in your own time.
Preparing for the GRE exam takes around three months, and students have to study for two to three hours per day. To give you an edge, Princeton equips you with 24 hours of video-based lessons.
These are perfect if your brain is already on fire, but you still want to study a bit more. There are also thousands of individual practice questions with explanations, eight full-length practice tests as well as interactive score reports.
This will show you exactly where you need to improve to grab at low-hanging fruit and focus on the high yield areas of the test. You also get your GRE essay reviewed by one of the expert instructors.
Ultimately, this course is for students who enjoy working in a group and want individual attention from an instructor. It’s also suitable for those who have around two or three months to spend on the prep and suitable for students who don’t mind paying a bit more for a fully comprehensive option.
- A huge number of practice tests
- The live online option gives you access to an instructor even outside the class
- Practice questions are slightly more difficult
- There is no “higher score guarantee:
- Course Coverage: Additional resources required for self-paced course
- Online Resources: Yes
- Cost: $299 – $999
Best Budget GRE Prep Courses: Target Test Prep
The target test prep GRE quant is a comprehensive and unique online course that combines innovative software with time-tested study methods that are used for the challenges of the GRE.
The class is delivered with unprecedented detail and clarity, and this is the course for students who are serious about getting top scores in GRE quant. It is a reliable and effective choice in helping you reach your target score.
With this course, you will learn every concept, technique, and strategy that you need to conquer GRE quant. You also receive additional shortcuts and tips from the experts.
This is quite effective and helps build the rock-solid foundation with easy to digest, clear, and organized lessons to help you maximize any potential. You are able to hone your new skills with customizable practice that simulates actual test questions.
The courses are also personalized and help you set your own pace. You’ll receive a learning platform that adjusts to your individual needs and allows you to study anytime, anywhere, producing rapid score increases.
So what you basically get with this test prep course is 500+ individual lessons, 3000+ practice questions, and 800+ video solutions.
Since it’s all about the details, you’ll find 21 chapters organized into 600+ lessons that delve deep into high-value GRE topics like WORD problems, geometry, and data interpretation.
Ultimately, it’s all of the content you require for an impressive score in an accessible format that makes sense. There are 3100 realistic quantitative problems providing a challenging and targeted GRE math practice for even the most ambitious students.
This class allows you to spend your time wisely as it contains intelligent and actionable analytics to track your progress, allowing you to strategically focus your study efforts.
Ultimately, your GRE prep is more efficient and effective. You also have the flexibility to mix and match questions from any chapter at any difficulty level with custom quant tests from the company’s database of more than 3000 realistic GRE practice questions.
The bonus is that you receive life support. The support structure is a bonus, and just a click away if you have any questions that pop up during your GRE prep.
- 500+ individual lessons
- 3000+ practice problems
- 800+ video solutions
- No live classes
- Course Coverage: Focused on quant
- Online Resources: Yes
- Cost: $99 – $399
Best New GRE Prep Course: Prep Scholar
PrepScholar is a test press company that was founded in 2013. It’s also one of the first companies to bring customized learning to the test-prep field.
Those who go on to be PrepScholar’s teachers make up the top 1% of GRE scorers, MBAs, and Ph.D.’s from some of the top graduate schools.
This company is one of the first companies to realize that every student is different, and you can’t assign a singular cookie-cutter GRE course for everyone.
Consequently, the company has created machine learning algorithms that customize the learning process according to the student’s strengths and weaknesses.
So how does it all work?
Well, the system first studies the student’s strengths and weaknesses based on 60 diagnostic questions that come in the student’s starting point. It then uses machine algorithms to create a custom course for students.
Another bonus of using this company is the PrepScholar guided study plan. Once you’ve completed the diagnostic section, the system asks you to set the hours in which you will commit to studying throughout the week.
After you’ve answered the question and stated the GRE test date, the system tells you exactly what you need to do, what lessons you need to complete, and what you need to be ready for next week.
So if you have a problem maintaining a steady study routine, this strategy will definitely help you gain better focus and be more prepared.
One of the only drawbacks is that there are more explanations and fewer interactive videos. This may be less comfortable for students who benefit from verbal explanations in order to comprehend what they are learning.
When it comes to pricing, PrepScholar will cost you between $197-$398. You can also sign up for the free five day trial with access to the systems materials.
Ultimately, by signing up with this company, you have the option to access your GRE program online whenever and wherever you like. The system is quite intuitive, and its interface is user-friendly and simple to navigate, which makes for an enjoyable experience.
- Uses machine learning algorithms to customize the learning experience
- Provides a guided study plan
- No live lessons
- Course Coverage: Comprehensive
- Online Resources: Yes
- Cost: $197 – $398
GRE Prep Courses FAQ
Are GRE prep courses worth it?
Contrary to what you may have heard some people say, a good GRE prep course can raise your score by an average of 13 points.
This basically means the difference between getting scholarships to go to a good grad school or squeaking into an average grad school.
When should I start preparing for GRE?
Once you’ve decided that you want to write the GRE, the next question that should come to mind is when to start preparing for it? As a rule of thumb, you should always start early because GRE is a skill-based examination.
So if you think you can study for it in 10 days, take the GRE practice test, and get a good score, or you know someone who’s done that before, it’s probable that that person already possesses the skills set to ace the test. However, if you have doubts about your skills, then it’s better to give yourself a fighting chance.
So, in other words, give yourself more time. So, for example, if you are studying engineering and you want to go to graduate school immediately after undergraduate, and it’s a four-year course, then the best time to start GRE preparation would be at the start of that third year.
Can I study for GRE in a month?
While we always recommend that you give yourself more than enough time to prepare for the GRE, we have heard of students studying for their exam a month in advance.
There are various studying strategies that you can use, such as studying for five days a week in 3, 30-minute segments, or for an hour and a half each day.
This can help you make significant progress. So try to study for 5, 30- minute segments or two and a half hours a day to maximize your score.
How long will it take to prepare for GRE?
Naturally, there is a wide variation in the amount of time individuals choose to prepare for the GRE. However, the majority of people spend about 1 to 3 months studying a few hours a week for the exam.
So the amount of time to spend studying for the GRE range anywhere from eight hours, which equates to studying two hours a week for four weeks or 120 hours, which is studying 10 hours a week for 12 weeks.
How much do GRE prep courses cost?
Depending on the company you’re choosing to purchase your resource and study materials from, a GRE course could cost you anywhere between $99 to upwards in the range of thousands of dollars.
What is a good score in GRE to aim for?
A 75th percentile score is pretty good. And if you’ve got this score, then you’ve scored better than most of the other test-takers.
A 90th percentile score is excellent and will be competitive for most programs.
Can you fail the GRE test?
One of the biggest misconceptions is that you can fail or pass a GRE test.
While it’s possible to get scores at or below the minimum for the University that you want to apply to, you can’t possibly fail the exam in the same way that you could possibly fail or pass any other university exam or professional certification test.
In fact, you won’t even get a whole test score. Students received whole test scores in older versions of the test. However, lately, the redesigned GRE only gives section scores.
The sections are quantitative reasoning, academic writing, and verbal reasoning, respectively, and are all scored separately.
Furthermore, every graduate program has different GRE scoring standards. So basically, a score that’s too low for one program may just be high enough for admission into another one. So there is no universal pass or fail GRE benchmark that applies to all schools.
It is partially true that GRE preparation materials can be expensive. Some GRE study resources tend to cost a lot of money; however, the best GRE study materials, the official ones from the makers of the exam, are surprisingly affordable.
So if you are interested in writing the GRE but you are concerned about the costs involved, search the web for some affordable and even free resources.
A Google search will lead you to other sites that have plenty of study materials for the GRE at reasonable costs so that you can adequately prepare and, of course, ace the exam.