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If you’re taking the GRE test, you’ll have a much better chance of getting a good GRE score if you study with one of the best GRE prep courses. So in this post, I’ll compare the top online GRE prep as well as the companies with the best GRE practice questions. I’ll also answer the question, “Where can I find a GRE prep course near me?” With this info, you can find the GRE prep that works with your learning style and budget. Plus, I have GRE test prep discounts, too! We may earn a small commission if you use our links.
GRE Prep: Maximize Your GRE Score
GRE Study Materials & Test Prep
Preparing for the GRE exam is essential in starting the graduate school application process. Your preparation time and effort will significantly impact your final GRE score and, consequently, the graduate programs that admit you.
You can raise your GRE test scores by working hard and using the correct study materials, though. But if you've been searching for GRE study guides and courses, you've probably noticed that you have many options. For instance, you could buy a GRE prep book with practice questions and study independently. However, only some students get the highest score with this method. And since you want to score as high up in the GRE percentiles as possible, I recommend studying with a more comprehensive GRE prep course.
And just what should good GRE study programs include? Simply put, your study materials should come with everything you need to understand the exam content (for both the Math GRE and the GRE verbal sections), as well as plenty of sample questions so you can practice. As a result, a course might include GRE practicequestions, books, and educational videos. In addition, you definitely need to take several GRE practice examsto get your best score.
Plus, some courses are “adaptive.” That is, as you take quizzes, the course technology learns what content you already know and what you don’t. Afterward, it directs you to study the material you still need to master. This type of test prep can greatly reduce your study time.
And finally, a lot of online GRE prep courses are available these days. And many of these courses offer much more than just ebooks, online read materials, and GRE sample questions. Instead, they can include on-demand video lessons, tutoring, and even live-online classes.
Since so many options are available, here’s a comparison of the best GRE prep courses to make your decision a little easier.
Manhattan Prep GRE
Manhattan Prep has been helping students study for the GRE since 2000. The founders had a simple idea: hire only very qualified educators (those with GRE scores in the 99th percentile) with significant teaching experience. As a result, Manhattan Prep delivers a better type of GRE prep experience by combining private GRE tutoring with quality study materials. Course packages include books (one covering math GRE strategies and another with verbal strategies), 66 interactive video lessons, an incredible number of practice questions (over 100,000!), 6 full-length mock exams, flashcards, a mobile app, and a progress tracker. Manhattan Prep also has the only adaptive GRE practice tests that include an unscored experimental section, making Manhattan Prep the only company that recreates the full structure and experience of the official GRE test.
Manhattan Prep doesn’t just want to train students to get a high GRE score, though. They guide students to become expert problem solvers, and a skill that goes beyond GRE scoring. Plus, the company offers “GRE for MBA” plans, too, for students who plan to apply to graduate business school.
Please read our full review of Manhattan Prep for more information about this GRE course.
Magoosh GRE Prep
Magoosh is known for its affordable GRE prep materials and a large library of video lessons with practical test-taking techniques. This self-guided, self-study course requires you to have a good GRE study plan because the course isn’t adaptive and doesn’t tell you what to study next. Regardless, Magoosh GRE comes highly recommended if you're on a tight budget and want excellent practice questions and explanations. In fact, the course uses real GRE questions from retired exams. And when you sit down to study, you can create customized practice tests by filtering questions by type and difficulty.
Plus, all of Magoosh’s practice GRE questions are accompanied by a video that explains how to find the correct answer. Not all companies give you this level of instruction, and it really makes a difference if you’re going for high GRE test scores. Although a Magoosh GRE course doesn’t include as many practice questions as other companies like Manhattan Prep, the questions are all high quality and relevant to today’s GRE exam. And the company is so confident in its test prep materials that it offers a score improvement guarantee.
Princeton Review GRE
Princeton Review is a well-known test prep company that has been in business for over 35 years. As a result, Princeton Review understands what it takes to pass the GRE and has developed proven study materials that help you get a good score. Your Princeton Review GRE package will include practice questions (about 3,500), videos, and adaptive quizzes (called “drills” in the course because they help you drill down your weak areas). Princeton Review also uses some unique adaptive technology that mimics the adaptive format of the official GRE exam. The sections of the actual GRE increase or decrease in difficulty based on how well you did on previous sections; but Princeton Review’s platform will prepare you for that when you take the GRE mock tests included with your course.
Furthermore, the online Princeton Review platform is sleek and easy to use. The content is organized in a straightforward manner, which makes for a good user experience. And the Princeton Review videos are engaging, too – maybe the best available right now.
Princeton Review packages also include 8 full-length GRE sample tests, and that’s more than most other providers give you. (Achievable is the only course in this list of “Best GRE prep courses” that gives you more.) The mock exams closely mimic the look, feel, timing, and functionality of the real GRE exam, so you’ll feel comfortable on exam day.
Princeton Review does offer live GRE classes, too. However, the class size can be a little large, which can make one-on-one interactions with instructors more difficult.
Achievable GRE Test Prep
Achievable offers a thorough digital textbook, numerous verbal practice questions, an endless supply of quantitative practice questions, and tightly focused review sessions to get you ready for the GRE. Achievable is a good value but also offers quality materials for anyone studying for the GRE. First of all, Achievable breaks down lessons into smaller chunks of material. With this method, it’s easier to learn the content because you don’t feel overwhelmed. Second, Achievable’s GRE courses are adaptive, which could save you study time. And third, Achievable comes with more full-length mock exams than the other courses in the list of the best GRE courses.
However, keep in mind that Achievable packages don’t include video lessons, live instruction, or tutoring. Rather, the bulk of the instruction comes from practice questions and its digital book, which is one of the best GRE prep books you can get.
Kaplan GRE Prep
Kaplan makes the list of the best GRE study guides for several reasons. Most importantly, your Kaplan GRE course comes with excellent study guides with a ton of illustrations and examples. So whether you’re trying to improve your GRE analytical writing skills or boost your GRE quantitative score, Kaplan has good practice exercises to get you exam-ready. In addition, Kaplan has developed stimulating, high-quality video lessons that increase retention of the exam content. And the video instructors have crafted clear explanations of the types of questions likely to appear on your exam, which makes Kaplan a great GRE online prep course. And finally, Kaplan’s live GRE courses are highly rated. So if you’ve been searching online for “GRE classes near me,” definitely check out Kaplan GRE prep.
However, keep in mind that Kaplan is one of the more expensive GRE courses on the market. Of course, if you have a GRE promo code, that could save you some money. We love Kaplan so much, that their course for the CFA exam is our top pick.
Manhattan Prep: Our Favorite for GRE Tutoring + Overall Best GRE Test Prep
What’s the best way to study for the GRE? Simply put, you must have access to a range of study materials that teach you how to solve the GRE questions. To that end, Manhattan Prep has everything you need to get a high GRE score, but the IPass Team especially values the tutoring packages and the focus on GRE math practice for students applying to MBA programs.
Manhattan Prep users with a tutoring package usually meet with their tutors for about 2 hours once a week, although students and instructors schedule all meetings directly. It’s normal for tutors to assign “homework” to reinforce what you learn between tutoring sessions. Right now, all tutoring sessions take place online via a personal Zoom Tutoring Room because of COVID-19 restrictions. So if you’ve been Googling “GRE tutoring classes near me,” then Manhattan Prep is your solution.
Magoosh GRE Prep: Our Favorite for GRE Exam Study on a Budget
Studying for the GRE doesn’t have to be expensive. After all, even after you factor in my best GRE discounts, GRE prep can set you back a few dollars. However, Magoosh is a good option to consider if you’re on a budget.
So just why are the GRE Magoosh materials so inexpensive compared to everyone else? Well, keep in mind that it doesn’t include certain learning tools that the more expensive GRE courses have. For example, your Magoosh package will only include 1,600 practice GRE questions, compared to the 10,000 questions in Achievable’s question bank. Likewise, it doesn’t have live classes or books and only has 3 practice exams. Plus, you get 6 months of access to your online course materials, but other providers give you a longer access period.
The Princeton Review: Our Favorite for GRE Videos
Princeton Review has some of the best GRE test prep videos on the market. First of all, the instructors in the videos can actually teach. And believe me…I have watched so many “instructional” videos that feature “teachers” who just read from a script without much attempt to engage viewers. Therefore, I appreciate the time and effort the Princeton Review has put into developing its series of video lessons.
To keep students engaged, the instructors don’t just talk about solving GRE problems; they show you how. For instance, in many of the videos, the instructors work through problems on a whiteboard. Since the text and graphics on the screen are constantly changing as the instructor works, the videos don’t feel boring. Instead, they hold your attention, giving you the potential to learn from the instructors’ experiences.
So if you’re someone who learns best from “doing,” then check out Princeton Review. It’s definitely a good course for active learners.
Achievable: Our Favorite for Adaptive GRE Practice Tests
One of the best ways to know that you’re ready for a high GRE score is to take several practice exams. And Achievable is the best GRE prep online with the largest number of mock exams. Plus, in addition to full-length mock exams, the Achievable course takes you through a series of quizzes to assess your content knowledge as you work through the course. Achievable’s online platform uses an algorithm that continuously evaluates your performance on practice assignments to enhance your GRE study plan. The platform directs you to concentrate your study efforts on your areas of weakness, which is how you can enhance your GRE score the most.
Plus, Achievable draws old material back into your review quizzes at various points to keep the subjects fresh in your mind, as opposed to addressing a topic once and moving on to new material until you reach the end of your course content. This science-backed strategy is supported by the latest research into memory and content retention, giving you an edge on GRE exam day.
Kaplan: Our Favorite for Live GRE Classes
If you’re wondering, “Where are good GRE test prep classes near me,” the answer is simple: some of the best GRE prep courses are online these days. For instance, Kaplan is our top-rated course for live online GRE classes. A group of Kaplan's best instructors leads these live GRE online classes in a virtual classroom. Plus, the online platform gives you animated explanations, group conversations, surveys, and digital notes to communicate with your instructors and fellow students. So no matter where you live, you can always benefit from the experience of Kaplan’s instructors as long as you have an internet connection. Plus, with online courses, you never have to worry about fighting traffic to get to class on time! And if the Kaplan live class schedule doesn’t fit into your busy day, you can tune into the online “Kaplan GRE Channel” to watch on-demand lessons that focus on specific topics. For example, you can take advantage of lessons on rates and formulas or watch short videos aimed at improving your verbal score.
What Is a Good GRE Score?
If you’re studying for the GRE, you are probably interested in your end goal: what is a good GRE score? Well, I don’t have a precise answer for you. Most students score between 150 and 153 per section on the GRE exam. However, your target school will establish what a “good” GRE score is. That is, the GRE is heavily weighted at some colleges while it is not at others, so colleges can establish different GRE score standards. Regardless, the range for a "good" GRE score is usually 150 to 170. Visit the website of your target school to find out where they want you to fall on that spectrum.
So what’s the best way to prep for the GRE? Find out what GRE score your target school expects, buy the best GRE test prep you can, take more than one practice GRE test, and keep working until you achieve the score you deserve!
How Much Is a GRE Practice Test?
When you’re budgeting for your total GRE cost, you definitely need to factor in the cost of study materials. You can find GRE essay examples, GRE math questions, and practice tests in any of the best GRE courses. However, these courses widely range in cost, as you’ll see in the chart below. The cost ranges might surprise you, but remember that each course significantly differs from the next course in terms of the availability of books, practice questions, mock exams, and personal support like tutoring or live classes.
GRE Discounts on Practice Exams, Questions, and Prep
GRE Prep Course
$1,850 - $2,900+
$499 - $2,399
10% discount with code IPASS
$449 - $2,299
My Final Thoughts about GRE Exam Prep
If you study with the right materials, you can definitely increase your GRE total score. After all, the best GRE exam prep for your learning style can help you build a good GRE study plan, develop your test-taking strategies, keep you motivated, and foster your learning in a structured study environment. In fact, some studies show that GRE courses have the potential to raise your GRE score by up to 15 points—and that could make or break your chances of getting into your top school. So it’s definitely worth your time to research your options and get a high score with the right GRE prep.
If you need any additional advice about the GRE test, GRE scores, or GRE practice questions, please leave me a comment!