With so many options available today, how can you find the best GRE prep course for you? Because GRE scores weigh heavily in graduate admissions decisions, the stakes are too high to leave scores to chance. Although there are many factors to consider, our reviews of the best GRE preparation courses for 2017 are a good starting place to find out more and to make your choice. There’s something for every budget and every individual need!
Since 2009, Berkeley based Magoosh brings that sunny California cool to the world of GRE test prep courses. Magoosh – which gets its company name from a play on an old Persian word referring to a ‘wise person’ – offers an online only approach.
Thanks to its highly effective online platform, friendly team, and cost-effectiveness, our Magoosh GRE review finds that this company has quickly and deservedly become one of the most popular and best online GRE prep courses.
The heart of Magoosh’s GRE online learning website is its customizable and intuitive dashboard, which students use as a self-guided classroom. The dashboard interface connects users with a large library of videos that cover GRE content and strategies, more than 1,000 practice questions with individual accompanying video and text explanations, and online support. It also suggests what lessons should be covered at what point and compares its users’ performance with that of other users.
The online support feature also means that Magoosh offers more than just an online GRE prep course: As its users have access to qualified online tutors, there is an additional ‘human’ element built-into the course.
Magoosh’s best GRE prep course option is the 6-month Premium package, which includes over 200 video lessons, more than 1,000 practice questions, up to three practice tests, score predictor, friendly and responsive email assistance, and a +5 points score guarantee.
The Premium option covers the GMAT’s Math, Verbal, and Analytical Writing (or essay) portions. Magoosh previously offered packages that focus on discrete portions of the test (such as a separate Math package) but it discontinued this practice. Test-takers are now offered one encompassing package at very good value.
Magoosh Premium students can access their online GRE test prep course materials for 6 months following initial enrollment. There is also a money back guarantee for all options and the possibility to sign up for short term trial run.
As countless Magoosh GRE reviews by satisfied students confirm, these guys deliver results at affordable prices!
- Classroom On Site: From $1,299
- Classroom Anywhere: From $899
- On Demand: $499
- One-on-One: From $2,399
Kaplan Test Prep, the longest-running educational company among the best GRE prep course providers, also offers several course packages. First, test-takers may choose an eight-session series of on-site classes at locations throughout the country. Kaplan offers the same eight-course series live (Classroom Anywhere) and on-demand online.
Each course type includes 90 days of access to more than 5,000 GRE practice questions, a powerful Quiz Bank with the capability of creating custom quizzes, and seven full-length model GRE exams. Moreover, test-takers receive comprehensive study materials and benefit from Kaplan’s guarantee that students will get higher scores or receive their money back.
For people who prefer to study in a one-on-one setting, Kaplan’s instructors provide private tutoring. This option offers fully customized GRE prep, which can take place either in person, where available, or online via webcam. Private tutors offer their services in packages of 15, 25, or 35 hours. As an added benefit, test-takers who book sessions with a private tutor get free access to a live Kaplan GRE prep course, either on location or online.
Finally, in order to facilitate the assessment of its offerings, Kaplan provides free 90-minute videos to sample the different test prep courses.
- Complete Course: $1,349 (classroom) / $999 (live online)
- Guided Self-Study: $499
- Private Tutoring: $255 per hour (discounts for packages apply)
Manhattan Prep’s most prominent strengths are likely its strong focus on curriculum design and its dedication to excellence when it comes to teacher hiring practices. Manhattan Prep recruits only the most experienced classroom instructors who themselves have achieved top GRE results, often with 99th percentile scores (at least one current instructor even achieved a perfect score). Following a rigorous selection process, instructors then undergo an extensive training program.
In terms of substance and resources, Manhattan’s curriculum emphasizes in-depth content mastery instead of GRE test prep strategies. Students are guided towards understanding the GRE’s quantitative and verbal principles as key skills to master the exam. In this respect, Manhattan Prep and its students can rely on Manhattan’s own set of GRE Strategy Guides and 5 lb. Book of GRE Practice Problems, which are among the most comprehensive and best GRE books on the market. In addition, students may watch on-demand class recordings and get 12 months access to six section adaptive GRE practice exams. These exams replicate the GRE’s actual format and come with complete answers and assessment reports.
Manhattan Prep’s Complete Course is offered as an eight-session series consisting of more than 27 hour of GRE prep classes, available both in a classroom setting or online. A popular alternative is the self-guided program that equips self-learners who cannot attend or watch live classes with all of Manhattan Prep’s GRE study tools.
As a final option, one-on-one course GRE preparation with Manhattan’s private tutors is available for those who live in or near Atlanta; Austin; Boston; Chicago; Dallas; Denver; Los Angeles; Montreal, Canada; New York; San Francisco; and Washington, D.C. In its online form, however, tutoring is of course available worldwide.
In sum, with its outstanding teachers, thoughtful course design, and strong teaching materials, Manhattan Prep offers prospective test-takers clearly one of the best GRE prep course options.
- Ultimate 27-Hour Course: $1,499 (small group) / $1,199 / $799 (live online)
- Self-Prep Kit: $499
- Private Tutoring: From $2,340 (18-hour package)
Another traditional and long-standing test prep company, The Princeton Review offers a full range of GRE test preparation courses. In line with its teaching and learning philosophy, Princeton puts a strong emphasis on personal interactions, which it sees as the preferred approach for those looking to boost their scores.
The Princeton Review’s flagship program is the Ultimate Success GRE prep course series. This comprehensive course’s key features include 24 hours of live instruction; online resources with additional instruction videos, practice tests; and eight section adaptive full-length GRE practice tests. In keeping with Princeton’s philosophy, the Ultimate Success course also offers individual reviews of students’ practice tests and access to instructors for consultation outside of class hours. Finally, there is also a generous money back guarantee.
GRE Ultimate Courses are available as in-class (regular or small group with not more than four students) and live online versions. Online courses are powered by the leading virtual classroom tool, which blurs the lines between being on location and attending a class online. You can use virtual whiteboards, share files, chat, participate in polls, and even engage in two-way communication with your instructor and classmates. Access to on-demand recordings is also provided, making this one of the options of choice for many test-takers with busy or otherwise inflexible schedules.
Nevertheless, for students who prefer to study completely on their own, the Princeton Review offers a self-paced online GRE test prep course. This option includes 24 hours of on-demand online instruction and 160 hours of GRE practice questions, drills, and full-length practice exam.
Finally, the most custom-tailored offering consists of working with Princeton Review private tutors. Private tutoring is available in most major cities in its traditional in-person format. If this is not possible, tutoring can also be booked as online one-on-one instruction sessions. Students working with private tutors have the benefit of receiving custom study plans, regular individualized progress assessments, and complete flexibility when and where to meet. Included in these packages is access to eight online GRE mock tests.
Princeton may well be the best GRE prep course if you strive in personalized learning environments or smaller group settings but don’t necessarily want to work with a private tutor (although this option is available as well).
- Standard: $25/month
- Ultimate: $99 for one year
BenchPrep’s GRE Prep Course with its sophisticated content area has one goal: To provide all the high-quality resources test takers will need to prepare for the GRE in one place that can be accessed 24/7 on computers, iPads, iPhones, Android devices, and other internet-connected devices.
This impressive package currently features 551 lessons, 1890 practice questions, 6 full-length exams, and 4834 flashcards. In terms of course, test takers get access to GRE Prep my McGraw Hill, GRE Prep and GRE Math Prep by Nova, and GRE Math Practice Questions by Allen Prep.
BenchPrep for GRE is divided into nine sections. The first section is the test taker’s personalized home page. This page lists the test taker’s percentile position relative to all other test takers enrolled in the same course with 99th percentile being the best, an overview of the test taker’s performance on practice questions and tests as well as performance by area on quantitative reasoning and verbal reasoning questions.
The second section provides a structured study plan, outlining for test takers what they should do in the weeks leading up to their test. The automatically generated study plan is adaptable, meaning that if the date for writing the GRE test is pushed forward or backward, the study plan can be recalculated. Included in the study plan are lessons (such as “Introduction to GRE Logic” and “GRE Analytical Writing”), diagnostic tests, practice tests, multiple choice practice questions, and flashcards.
The third section is the Game Center, where test takers can choose one of five games: Card Picker, Card Hunter I and II, Card Coupler and Card Hunter. In Card Picker, test takers pick the most appropriate match from a range of cards to the identified flashcard while in Card Hunter, test takers match definitions and words from a range of cards. Card Coupler is a GRE memory card game in which test takers must turn over cards to match words to their definitions. Finally, in Card Hunter, test takers much search out the correcting matching definition to a word from range of cards, with the goal of matching all the cards until none are left.
The fourth section is entitled “Discussions”. Test takers can post questions they have been struggling with and ask their colleagues to answer them. While the fifth section allows test takers to ask professional tutors questions and receive an answer within 24 hours. Questions to tutors must be paid for and test takers must indicate the amount of money they are willing to pay for the answer, with answers requiring payment of a minimum of USD 10. Finally, in the fifth section, test takers can create their own study groups.
The remaining four sections focus exclusively on mastering the GRE material. In the first of these four sections, Lessons, detailed procedural and substantive materials are presented in bite-sized formats. Lessons cover strategies (such as focus on the easy stuff) as well as substantive materials on verbal, quantitative, and analytical writing. It is followed up by a section on Flashcards, which allows test takers to review concepts and words learned in the Lessons sections. This section is notable in offering 470 flashcards which cover both math and vocabulary concepts.
The final two sections are entitled Practice and Tests. In Practice, 72 quantitative reasoning questions and 19 verbal reasoning questions are offered while in the Tests section, one diagnostic test, 3 practice tests, and 6 full length tests are offered. Moreover, statistics are kept allowing the test taker to know how long their average answer time as well as how long it takes them to answer questions correctly and incorrectly.
Given that the material offered by Benchprep can be accessed electronically at the touch of a finger, the sheer portability of this epicenter of GRE materials cannot be beat. There remains no excuse not to be prepping for the GRE (almost) anywhere with internet access. This feature alone makes the Benchprep materials a highly valuable resource.
- Full-length GRE Course: $995
- Live Online GRE Course: $795
- Live Online Math: $495
- Live Online Verbal: $495
- Weekend GRE Course: $395
- Live Online Weekend GRE Course: 395
- Personal Tutoring: From $595 (5-hour package)
PowerScore’s GRE preparation services offer one of the most impressive lines among the best GRE prep courses. Proving its commitment to quality, PowerScore is among those providers of the best GRE prep courses that only selects instructors who have score in the 99th percentile on the GRE.
Their full-length GRE review courses are available live online or in an on-site classroom setting. The full-length courses assist test-takers prepare for the revised GRE with 30 class hours of instruction – consisting of 10 lessons split equally between Math and Verbal – over a five-week period. Students also benefit from a wide array of online study tools, have access to four complete GRE practice tests, and can rely on extensive, personalized support by their tutors.
The essence of PowerScore’s approach is interactive learning – which is also true for the live online course, thanks to messaging tools – and focus on recognition, analysis, and mastery of recurring GRE problem patterns. In addition, another major plus of this GRE prep course are PowerScore’s extensive study materials, which among others include practice questions and drills to enhance student learning.
PowerScore also offers live online GRE Math and GRE Verbal prep courses. Each course provides 15 hours of live online instruction. Or, for those in a rush but wanting to get full GRE coverage, there is an option to enroll in a 16-hour weekend course offered on location or via internet.
Further, for those who prefer to work with private tutors as their best GRE prep course option, PowerScore also provides in-person, online live, or telephonic instruction.
PowerScore succeeds at combining quality instruction with excellent value. Thus, for ambitious test-takers on a budget – or simply anybody looking for a top GRE prep course – this may well fit the bill.
- Basic Account: Free
- Premium Account: $99 (Sale)
Barron’s is another highly experienced provider and trusted name in standardized testing preparation. When it comes to the best GRE test prep courses, however, Barron’s does not fall into the traditional camp. Instead of classroom based or instructor-led learning, it has opted to offer GRE prep review only online via internet-based tools. Fully embracing adaptive technology, the company has created web and iPad apps to allow students to access a host of resources, anywhere and anytime.
Students get started by taking a diagnostic test, based on which the application reviews individual strengths and weaknesses and suggests a personalized GRE study plan. Using the dashboard, students will then proceed to engage with the course’s core features, including hundreds of text-based and video lessons, 1,000+ practice questions with video solutions, and four complete GRE tests. Thanks to personalized reporting and learning history, users stay informed and can track their progress.
Because it is adaptive, Barron’s online platform provides users with a customized test prep course based on their current test-taking skills, content mastery levels, and – as a particularly handy option – even time available for engaging in studying. Coupled with the initial diagnostic test results, Barron’s strives to target those areas that each individual user needs to improve the most and where the most potential for score improvements can be found.
Those trying to decide which is the best GRE prep course for them will be pleased to hear that Barron’s also offers a free trial. In fact, a basic account with reduced features – but with access to all four main sections, i.e. general GRE strategies, Verbal, AW, and Quant – can be signed up for and used for free.
Unless otherwise indicated, all GRE prep course prices are before applicable discounts and are current as of September 2015. Please contact us should you have any suggestions or corrections.