Are you getting ready to take the GRE (Graduate Record Examination)? If so, then you’re likely feeling a mix of excitement and apprehension. On the one hand, the GRE is an important step in your academic journey, helping you get into the grad school program of your dreams. On the other hand, it’s a notoriously challenging test that requires months of preparation.
Fortunately, there are plenty of resources available to help you prepare for the GRE, including prep courses. But with so many courses to choose from, how do you know which one is right for you? In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore some of the best GRE prep courses available today and give you all the information you need to make an informed decision.
What to Look for in a GRE Prep Course
Before we dive into our list of recommended prep courses, let’s talk about what makes a great course in the first place. Here are some factors to consider when evaluating different options:
Different courses will have different structures, but generally speaking, they should include video lectures or live instruction (or both), practice questions and tests (ideally with explanations), and some way to track your progress. Look for courses that build on one another over time and provide structure around when and how often you should be studying.
Quality of Materials
Some prep courses rely on materials that are freely available elsewhere online (like PDFs of practice tests). While these can be helpful on their own, they don’t always provide enough context or explanation to help students really understand where they went wrong. Look for courses that provide high-quality original materials instead.
Who is teaching the course? Are they experts in both standardized testing and teaching? Do they have experience working with students like you? You want someone who is knowledgeable about the content but also patient and supportive as you work through difficult concepts.
Of course, cost is a factor to consider. Some courses are expensive, while others are more affordable. Keep in mind that you get what you pay for, though; a higher price tag may mean better resources and more in-depth instruction.
Finally, think about how much time you have to prepare for the GRE and how a course will fit into your schedule. Some courses are self-paced, while others require you to attend live classes at specific times.
Best GRE Prep Courses
With those factors in mind, let’s take a look at some of the best GRE prep courses available today. We’ve evaluated each of these options based on the criteria we just discussed so that you can find the perfect one for your needs.
Magoosh is one of the most popular GRE prep courses available today—and with good reason. The course features over 200 video lessons taught by expert instructors who break down each topic into easy-to-understand chunks. There are also over 1,000 practice questions and several full-length practice tests with explanations for every answer. Magoosh is entirely online and self-paced, so you can start and stop as needed without feeling rushed.
One downside to Magoosh is that there isn’t much opportunity for personalized instruction or feedback from instructors. If you’re someone who learns best in a classroom setting or needs more individual support, this might not be the best choice for you.
Kaplan has been helping students prepare for standardized tests since 1938 and is known for its high-quality materials and experienced instructors. The company offers several different GRE prep options depending on your needs: self-paced online courses, live online instruction, or private tutoring.
One thing we love about Kaplan is its “Score Improvement Guarantee.” If your score doesn’t improve after taking one of their courses, they’ll refund your money (subject to some terms and conditions, of course). This gives us confidence that the company is truly invested in helping students succeed.
The downside to Kaplan is that it can be quite expensive, especially if you opt for private tutoring. However, the company does periodically offer discounts and promotions, so keep an eye out for those.
Manhattan Prep is another popular GRE prep course that has been around for over 25 years. The company offers both online and in-person instruction (depending on your location) and provides a wealth of resources to help you prepare for the test.
One nice thing about Manhattan Prep is its focus on strategy. In addition to teaching content, the instructors also provide tips and tricks for how to approach different types of questions. This can be especially helpful if you’re someone who struggles with test anxiety or needs more guidance around how to tackle tricky problems.
The downside to Manhattan Prep is that it can be quite expensive, particularly if you opt for their private tutoring services. Additionally, some students have reported finding the lessons too dense or overwhelming.
Princeton Review is a well-established player in the test prep space and offers several different options for GRE preparation. Depending on your needs, you can choose from self-paced online courses, live online instruction, or private tutoring.
One thing we appreciate about Princeton Review is how comprehensive their materials are. Not only do they include video lectures and practice questions/tests, but they also offer access to a library of topic-specific drills (for example, just focusing on algebra) so that you can really drill down into specific areas of weakness.
On the negative side, Princeton Review’s prices are definitely on the high end. Additionally, some students have found their explanations lacking at times and difficult to understand.
Preparing for the GRE doesn’t have to be a daunting task—especially when there are so many great prep courses available to help guide you along the way. By evaluating options based on course structure, quality of materials, expertise, cost, and flexibility, you can find the perfect course for your needs.
Of course, there is no one “right” course for everyone. Some students may prefer a self-paced online course like Magoosh, while others might benefit more from personalized instruction with Princeton Review or Kaplan. Whatever your learning style or budget constraints might be, we hope this guide has helped you make an informed decision and feel more confident as you prepare for your GRE.
What are the best GRE prep courses available in the market?
The best GRE prep courses available in the market are Magoosh, Princeton Review, Kaplan, Manhattan Prep, and ExamPAL.
How do I choose the right GRE prep course for me?
You can choose the right GRE prep course for you by considering factors such as your budget, study style, learning pace, test-taking goals, and overall preferences.
What makes Magoosh stand out from other GRE prep courses?
Magoosh stands out from other GRE prep courses because of its affordable pricing, engaging video lessons and practice questions with detailed explanations, and personalized study plans that adapt to your progress.
Is Princeton Review suitable for all types of learners?
Yes, Princeton Review is suitable for all types of learners because it offers various study options such as live online classes, on-demand video lessons, self-paced modules, and private tutoring.
What advantages does Kaplan offer compared to other GRE prep courses?
The advantages that Kaplan offers compared to other GRE prep courses include adaptive learning technology that customizes your study plan based on your strengths and weaknesses; a vast library of resources like practice tests; and expert instructors who can provide feedback on your essays.
How does Manhattan Prep help students achieve higher scores on the GRE?
Manhattan Prep helps students achieve higher scores on the GRE by offering comprehensive content review materials, rigorous practice questions with detailed explanations, realistic computerized exams that simulate actual test conditions; and access to qualified instructors who can provide personal coaching.
Can ExamPAL really improve my score in just a few weeks?
Yes, ExamPAL can really improve your score in just a few weeks because of its innovative PALgorithm technology that analyzes your performance patterns and provides personalized recommendations on how to improve your skills in the areas where you need it the most.
How much does a GRE prep course typically cost?
A GRE prep course typically costs around $100 – $1,000 depending on the provider, the amount of content and features included, and any promotions or discounts available.
Is it necessary to take a GRE prep course to do well on the exam?
No, it is not necessary to take a GRE prep course to do well on the exam. However, students who enroll in a reputable GRE prep course tend to perform better than those who study on their own or rely solely on free resources.
What other study materials can I use to complement my GRE prep course?
You can complement your GRE prep course by using additional study materials such as GRE practice books, flashcards, mobile apps, podcasts, and online communities for peer support and advice.