9 Best GRE Prep Courses For 2021: Top Online School Picks & Reviews

BEST OVERALL

Magoosh GRE Prep Course Review 2020

Magoosh GRE

  • Over 1,200 practice questions
  • 5-point increase guarantee
  • 7-day money-back guarantee

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BEST BUDGET OPTION

PrepScholar ACT Prep Course Reviews 2020

PrepScholar GRE

  • Over 2,000 practice questions
  • 2 full-length practice exams
  • 60-question diagnostic test

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BEST LIVE ONLINE

Kaplan ACT Prep Course Reviews 2020

Kaplan GRE

  • Over 5,000 practice questions
  • 7 practice exams
  • 3 workbooks and pocket reference

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Are you planning to take your GRE in a couple of months or next year? I highly recommend that you prep for it with the help of a reliable GRE prep course. Because of the many options in the market, it can be difficult to choose what works best for your needs.

This dilemma is the reason I came up with a comprehensive review that covers only the best GRE prep courses in the market and ranks them according to their respective strengths. Overall, I would say that Magoosh GRE takes the lead in this review because of the combined quality and affordability, but it is also exciting to look at other great options. 

1. Magoosh GRE

Best Overall

Magoosh GRE Prep Course Review 2020

Magoosh GRE

Rating
4.8/5

Course Features:

  • Over 1,200 practice questions
  • 3 practice exams
  • 5-point increase guarantee
  • 7-day money-back guarantee
  • HD video lessons
  • Study plan
  • Progress tracker
  • Score predictor
  • Flashcards
  • Vocabulary app
  • Essay grading
  • Mobile app access

Magoosh GRE is ranked as our number one choice because it is one of the least expensive GRE courses with high-quality content. Its affordable pricing options do not compromise your experience because Magoosh’s team carefully crafted its course in a way that makes it the best valued GRE prep course in the market. 

Its course is primarily a self-paced one with top-notch study materials, such as video lessons that are presented by Magoosh’s competitive yet friendly instructors. Its course options are plain and simple, too. You either choose from its 1-month premium plan or its 6-month premium plan.

One of the aspects of Magoosh GRE that I also enjoy is its vocabulary app that’s accessible across all devices. This will prove helpful in GRE’s analytical writing section and the verbal reasoning section.

On the other hand, its practice tests, although not official GRE questions, are written by Magoosh’s experienced content creators. Most student reviews also mention how difficult the questions are than the actual GRE questions, which are sure to prepare for what lies ahead. 

Other unique features of Magoosh GRE is its score predictor that raises your awareness of your current standing. When you know you still have a lot of work to do, then you’ll be motivated to strive harder until you’re 100% ready for the GRE exam.

  • Low prices
  • Difficult practice questions
  • Comprehensive study tools
  • Abundant in guarantees
  • Friendly student support
  • Convenient platform
  • No live online or in-person classes

Final Verdict

I consider Magoosh GRE as the best valued GRE test prep course because it provides high quality and comprehensive study materials at an affordable price. It also offers a score improvement guarantee and money-back guarantee for 7 days, which is really surprising given its price point. Overall, I recommend it if you are willing to prep in a self-paced learning format.

2. PrepScholar GRE

Best Budget Option

PrepScholar ACT Prep Course Reviews 2020

PrepScholar GRE

Rating
4.4/5

Course Features:

  • Over 2,000 practice questions
  • 2 full-length practice exams
  • 60-question diagnostic test
  • Vocabulary course with 300 questions
  • 72 interactive classes
  • 5-day free trial
  • Customized study plan
  • 7-point increase guarantee
  • Personal reminders
  • Progress tracker
  • 99th percentile instructors

Like Magoosh, PrepScholar GRE is top-rated because it is both affordable and high quality. What’s even more incredible about its course is the access length that runs for either one year or a lifetime.

Of course, not everyone finds it beneficial especially if you are cramming to prep for the GRE. However, it is very useful if you are preparing early for the GRE because you get to enjoy unlimited access.

Looking into PrepScholar GRE, you would appreciate its 7-point increase guarantee because it is the highest and boldest score improvement guarantee in the market. Such a guarantee is also made possible through PrepScholar’s unique online GRE prep course content. It has an adaptive diagnostic that allows you to gauge your strengths and weaknesses so you can start from where you are truly struggling the most. 

From that weakness, PrepScholar GRE then gives you a personalized experience through its impressive technology that provides you a customized study plan that adapts to your progress. The lessons that are given to you are also adjusted according to your skill level while your GRE-specific skills are evaluated in detail. 

PrepScholar also allows you to auto-sync your email and phone so you will have email reminders of prep tasks you still need to finish and work on. Your customized lessons are also presented through step-by-step instructions so you would know what to do next in times that you are overwhelmed with your GRE prep. 

Even better, its simulated GRE exam allows you to face the exam day with ease and confidence. Lastly, its progress tracker helps you stay on track on how far you still need to work on.

  • Access length up to one year
  • Best value prices
  • Comprehensive materials
  • Personalized study experience
  • Top-notch instructors
  • No mobile app

Final Verdict

PrepScholar GRE is the ultimate budget option because, even if it is more expensive than Magoosh GRE, its access length is also phenomenal. For one year or a lifetime, you can get a high-quality study experience for the GRE. Indeed, it is the best GRE prep if you have more time to prepare for the standardized test.

3. Kaplan GRE

Best Live Online

Kaplan ACT Prep Course Reviews 2020

Kaplan GRE

Rating
4.3/5

Course Features:

  • Over 5,000 practice questions
  • 7 practice exams
  • 3 workbooks and pocket reference
  • GRE channel (where video lessons are)
  • Study plan
  • Progress tracker
  • Flashcards
  • Essay grading
  • Mobile app

With the longest legacy in test prep under its belt, Kaplan GRE is considered to be among the best provider of GRE prep courses. It has three learning formats that can match your specific needs. You can go for its in-person course if you want a traditional classroom environment or its live online course if you want the same features as the in-person course without the hassle of driving to the tutoring center.

What’s even amazing about its live online course is the ability to choose between regular class size and small class size, which highly depends on your learning preference. On the other hand, you can also prep on-demand through its self-paced course or prep with constant help from a tutor through its tutoring course.

From the best GRE test prep programs in the market, Kaplan has the most number of practice questions. Not only that but the set of practice questions is its best feature because it provides customizable options.

If you are not yet ready with the most difficult type of questions, then you can begin with the easier and intermediate ones. When it comes to your pacing for the GRE, you can also choose to practice in timed mode or untimed mode. You may also choose a tutor mode wherein explanations are given as you go along. 

Aside from these, I also find its official test-day experience as its unique feature because Kaplan gives you the opportunity to take a full-length GRE test in a testing center. It also allows you to have your analytical writing section scored on the same day. Basically, the whole experience is simulating the actual GRE test day, which will help you familiarize what happens during the actual exam day.

  • High-quality practice questions
  • Variety of courses
  • Small class size is available
  • Official test-day experience
  • Accessible on a mobile device
  • Expensive prices
  • Less difficult practice questions compared to the real GRE questions

Final Verdict

I would highly recommend Kaplan GRE if you are in need of a live online prep for the GRE test because it has the best live online course. It has high-quality video instructions and several course options that cater to different study preferences. 

4. Manhattan Prep GRE

Best Intensive Course

Manhattan Prep 2020

Manhattan Prep GRE

Rating
4.3/5

Course Features:

  • Over 1,000 practice questions
  • 6 full-length practice exams
  • GRE vocabulary flashcards
  • Mobile app access
  • Study plan guides
  • Free 15 lessons of Interact GRE
  • Progress tracker

Manhattan Prep GRE also offers a live class for free which is a great opportunity for you to gain more insights and knowledge from Manhattan’s 99th percentile instructors.

It is no surprise that Manhattan Prep GRE is part of our list of great GRE study programs and it’s because of its consistent content quality across all test prep programs for various standardized tests. Its GRE prep course content is highly-acclaimed for its comprehensiveness and quality.

I would also say that Manhattan Prep GRE has the best intensive course because of its Manhattan Prep 5lb. Book (1) dedicated to GRE preparation. The book is considered a solid GRE course material because it adds depth to your study prep for the Math and verbal sections of the GRE test. 

Aside from the book, it also has free online resources that you can utilize to succeed in your study.

Even better, Manhattan Prep GRE offers a variety of courses–self-paced course, the complete course which comes in two learning formats of in-person and live online, GRE for MBA, and Just Math Course.

You may choose the GRE for MBA Course if you need a focused approach for the MBA program. On the other hand, choose the Just Math Course if you are struggling in the quantitative section of the GRE.

  • Solid coursebook
  • High-focus coursespractice questions
  • Free online resources
  • Variety of course options
  • Expensive prices
  • No essay grading

Final Verdict

Overall, I find Manhattan Prep as an ideal GRE course although its prices are way too steep compared to its competitors. I also recommend it if you are looking for an intensive prep for the GRE, especially if you are eyeing to be admitted to an MBA program.

5. The Princeton Review GRE

Best Material Quality

Princeton Review ACT Prep Course Reviews 2020

The Princeton Review GRE

Rating
4.2/5

Course Features:

  • Over 2,500 practice questions
  • 8 full-length practice exams
  • DrillSmart adaptive technology
  • Homework help system
  • Study plan
  • Flashcards
  • Mobile app access
  • Essay grading

Considered to be one of the big names in the ed-tech industry, The Princeton Review takes its GRE course combines variety with quality. 

If you are looking for a condensed course that acts as a refresher a few weeks before the GRE, then the Quick Study course is certainly the best option. You may also choose its self-paced course if you think that you already have an established knowledge about the GRE content since this course does not include access to tutors in case you need help in dealing with difficult concepts. 

On the other hand, if you also need a much intensive course to help you maximize your study time, then opt for the GRE 162+ which includes a score guarantee of 162 and up. 

The GRE Ultimate lets you prep through a live online session and an in-person session. This is a perfect choice if you think that you cannot prep without constant help from a tutor. Basically, the features in this course are similar to that of GRE 162+ but without the score guarantee.

The best part about the course, however, is the Drill Smart adaptive technology that provides you with exams or drills that are appropriate to your skill level. It also has a homework help system wherein you simply provide a screenshot of the problem you are having difficulty with and the app gives you a step-by-step solution for you to understand a concept.

  • Adaptive technology
  • Most number of practice exams
  • Variety of courses
  • No progress tracker
  • Short access length

Final Verdict

When it comes to the quality of the study materials, The Princeton Review GRE is my top recommendation. Many students also agree with this claim. So even when the course prices are steep, those who can afford it will opt for The Princeton Review GRE.

6. The Economist GRE

Best Personalized Study

The Economist Logo

The Economist GRE

Rating
3.9/5

Course Features:

  • 5,000 practice questions
  • Up to 6 practice exams
  • Ask a tutor feature
  • Essay feedback markings
  • Up to 6 live one-on-one coaching sessions
  • Money-back guarantee
  • 7-day free trial
  • Adaptive technology

The Economist GRE is pretty new in the GRE market but is already considered a unique option, especially if you need a more personalized study. It has three self-paced course options that have varying feature inclusions and access length.

If you are confident with your GRE fundamentals, then choose the Basic Course that offers appropriate features for someone with a solid GRE background. It also works as a crash course because its access length runs for only one month. If you are looking for a much better plan with longer access length, then the Premium Course is the best choice because it allows you to access the study materials for up to three months. 

On the other hand, if you need an access length that goes up to six months, then the best choice is the Ultimate Course. Overall, the three courses vary only in the number of materials and the access length.

The adaptive technology feature works similarly to what other top GRE prep courses have. It studies your learning approach and needs and adapts according to your preferred user experience. You’ll be served with subjects and tests that are suitable for your skill.  

Then, there’s the Ask a Tutor feature wherein you can chat with a GRE expert if you need assistance on specific lessons. Also, each course option permits you to work with an instructor through a one-on-one session. Basically, it targets you to work with no pressure but with efficiency through the benefit of the one-on-one coaching sessions.

  • Massive question bank
  • One-on-one coaching sessions
  • Adaptive technology
  • Money-back guarantee
  • No live online or in-person classes
  • No progress tracker

Final Verdict

The Economist GRE is a fairly decent GRE course, but given its infancy in the market, there are still aspects it has to improve. Nonetheless, I would still recommend it if you are looking for a self-paced prep with a guaranteed help from tutors.

7. examPAL GRE

Self-Paced Course

Exampal GMAT Review

examPAL GRE

Rating
4.5/5

Course Features:

  • 1,500 practice questions
  • 4 ETS practice exams
  • Interactive video lessons
  • Up to 6 essay reviews
  • 1-hour admissions consultancy (Premium and Genius courses only)
  • 3-live one-on-one tutor sessions (Genius course only)
  • 2 expert assessments (Genius course only)
  • Lesson visual map
  • Progress tracker
  • Study planner
  • Credit system
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • 6-point increase guarantee

It is ranked as one of the best GRE study programs primarily because of its focus on test-taking strategies. The examPAL GRE has one of the most unique approaches using the PALgorithm where PAL stands for Precise, Alternative, and Logic. 

These are also the three main elements that examPAL uses in handling various questions in the GRE, which helps you answer questions quickly and makes you become efficient at self-studying.

examPAL also incorporates the use of a visual map of your lessons and tasks. This will give you a clear view of your progress, whether you’re on track or still needs to work harder.

Each circle in the map represents a GRE section which also has an outline of the concepts you need to touch on. Basically, it acts as an overview of what to expect so you can look forward to reaching the finish line. Moreover, along with its visual map is a study planner that outlines the hours and weeks you should dedicate before the GRE test day.

Learning with examPAL GRE is also made easier through its series of illustrations, charts, and graphs. These visual presentations are useful in dealing with difficult concepts, especially with quantitative concepts, such as algebra, geometry, and integers.

Its practice test section, on the other hand, has three phases:  

  1. A diagnostic test that will gauge which parts you still need to work on.
  2. The improvement phase where the appropriate solutions and study tools will be laid out to you based on the results of the diagnostic test. 
  3. The optimization phase where your performance is compared to that of other students who share the same qualities as you. 

In the third phase, examPAL will suggest different ways to improve your performance using the same suggestions that worked on the previous students who have similar learning patterns as yours.

Amazing, isn’t it? Aside from this smart method, examPAL GRE also has a credit system that allows you to accumulate bonus points that you can eventually use to access extra materials. All these features are available in its course options, namely Express, Premium, and Genius.

  • Well-crafted strategies
  • Visual presentations of concepts
  • Functional lesson guide
  • Money-back guarantee
  • Score increase guarantee
  • No mobile app

Final Verdict

The examPAL GRE is undeniably one of the best GRE test preparation programs because of its tremendous study materials, not to mention the highly-constructive study tools that no other GRE prep courses offer. It also has affordable prices with matching significant guarantees that make it a great value to compete with.

8. Target Test Prep GRE

Best Live Online

Target Test Prep Logo

Target Test Prep GRE

Rating
3.6/5

Course Features:

  • Over 3,100 quantitative problems
  • More than 600 lessons (based on 21 chapters)
  • More than video lessons
  • Quant score increase guarantee
  • Personalized study plan
  • Progress tracker
  • 5-day trial
  • Live chat support

Target Test Prep GRE is not as comprehensive as the other GRE online classes on our list but its specific approach to the quant section makes it an incredible prep if you are struggling with the quantitative section. It provides you a great collection of tips and shortcuts. 

 

Being mainly a self-paced course, Target Test Prep GRE gives you six study plans that you can choose from that will aid your optimum learning. There are also adaptable lessons that suit you well whether you are a seasoned test-taker or a newbie. Even better, there are also high-quality instructor-led videos with step-by-step solutions that will explain to you how to deal with certain questions.

You can also make use of Target Test Prep’s smart analytics that evaluates your weaknesses so you can turn them into your strengths. What’s even amazing is its precise statistics that bring focus on your current standing.

There are also customizable tests that you can come up with by drawing questions from Target Test Prep’s question bank. This option helps you choose questions or concepts that you need to focus on.

  • Comprehensive study materials
  • Personalized experience
  • Realistic quantitative problems
  • Tutoring option is available
  • Quant score improvement guarantee
  • No full-length practice tests
  • No essay grading
  • No mobile app

Final Verdict

Despite its limited scope, I would still consider Target Test Prep as part of our best GRE prep course programs for its effective methods that will help you ace the quantitative section of the admissions test.

9. Empower Test Prep GRE

Best Overall

empower test prep

Empower Test Prep GRE

Rating
3.7/5

Course Features:

  • 5 official GRE practice tests
  • Over 100 lessons on all GRE sections
  • The Official Guide to the GRE 3rd Edition (2)
  • Easy-to-navigate checklist syllabus
  • Single-section study plans
  • Detailed study guide/plans
  • Live chat support
  • Free trial
  • 24-hour satisfaction guarantee

Empower Test Prep GRE is another affordable self-paced course that would allow you to prep on your terms. It’s lesser-known compared to its competitors yet it has a surprisingly incredible set of materials and a solid score guarantee of a 7-point increase.

I appreciate how Empower Test Prep also gives emphasis on particular study plans that address your specific needs. It has study plans for one month, two months, and three months.

For GRE sections, Empower Test Prep also allows you to choose whether you need to prep for the quant or verbal sections or you need the total score booster that hones you for the entire GRE exam. 

Even better, there are incredible books that you can also use as you dive into a much intensive prep for the GRE. Each one contains official content so you’ll know what to expect come exam day. 

As for the prep plans, you can choose from a basic monthly plan, a monthly plan with all 5 official exams, and a 6-month pack that includes all 5 official exams plus the official guide to the GRE.

  • Affordable prices
  • Official GRE content
  • Single-section prep
  • 7-point increase guarantee
  • Not comprehensive as it seems
  • No mobile app

Final Verdict

Empower Test Prep is a relatively decent low-cost GRE prep course that provides sufficient materials to pass the GRE. However, it is not as extensive as the other top-rated GRE test prep programs because of a lack of question bank.

What Makes the Best GRE Prep Course?

  1. Variety of courses – Whether the GRE test prep offers various learning formats or not, it would be best to look at the variety of courses in terms of access length and inclusions. Of course, some prep companies limit their offers to keep costs low, so it depends on your study preference.
  2. The comprehensiveness of materials – It would be incredible to have a GRE prep that covers numerous study materials and test-taking strategies. The ideal test prep should also have materials that target study efficiency.

Think of the features like practice questions, practice exams, study plans, progress trackers, video lessons, flashcards, essay grading, diagnostic test, personal reminders, forum, adaptive technology, and tutor support. 

  1. Guarantees – Not all GRE test prep programs have score guarantees, but I would appreciate a GRE course that has a specific score target inasmuch as I want it to be a proven and tested score guarantee. Consider those with realistic score guarantees that also have matching powerful features.
  2. Affordability of prices – This criterion may not be an issue for other students, but I would still recommend that you consider it because not all expensive courses have the best value. In fact, there are low-priced courses with the same quality as the expensive ones. Therefore, always see to it that you are truly getting what you are paying for.

Conclusion

Without a doubt, Magoosh GRE gets my vote as the best GRE prep course because of the combined quality, plan variety, and affordability. 

The second best and third best are examPAL GRE and PrepScholar GRE, respectively, for the quality of the prep materials that are unmatched by other prep courses. Of course, it is also worth mentioning that our top three courses are the least expensive courses on our list, which leads us to the conclusion that some of the best choices do not come with a hefty price tag.

References

  1. https://www.amazon.com/lb-Book-GRE-Practice-Problems/dp/1506247598
  2. https://www.amazon.com/Official-Guide-GRE-General-Test/dp/1259862410/ref=pd_lpo_14_img_0/132-2084661-6297968?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=1259862410&pd_rd_r=4549bb4e-8604-4e70-9fa9-ec636e162ac2&pd_rd_w=HZNHm&pd_rd_wg=kZkGH&pf_rd_p=7b36d496-f366-4631-94d3-61b87b52511b&pf_rd_r=SMZ3Y5CCSFTZ0H1XN5D6&psc=1&refRID=SMZ3Y5CCSFTZ0H1XN5D6