Best GRE Test Prep Course for 2018-2019 + Practice Tests

gre Many students in college contemplate whether they should further their education and apply to grad school or jump right into the current job market. It’s definitely not a decision to make lightly, especially since grad school is expensive and means taking more time out of employment. So, is grad school really the best way to help you achieve your career goals?

Let’s take a look at some of the benefits that grad school can afford:

  • Invest in your future
  • Get noticed in today’s competitive job market
  • Gain Professional Development
  • Take your career interests to the next level
  • Make important networking connections
  • Increase your earning potential
  • Receive Academic Recognition

If any of these areas piqued your interest, you may be a good candidate for grad school. So, where do you even begin if you want to apply to grad school?

The Best GRE Prep Courses

If you are looking for a GRE prep course, just a simple Google search will yield many results. But it’s difficult to compare courses when you have to filter through pages and pages of information. We have made it much simpler for you by filtering out what we think to be the top five GRE prep courses on the market. Our comprehensive guide will tell you everything you need to know and help you narrow down which program is best for you.

The best?

It takes a lot to call something “the best.” After hours upon hours of research, comparing adaptive study tools, watching sample videos, and checking out real life customer reviews, we found five options that seemed to outperform the rest:

  1. Kaplan – Best for In-Person
  2. Princeton Review – Best for Live Online
  3. Economist – Best for Tutoring Options
  4. Magoosh – Best for Low Cost
  5. Manhattan Prep – Best for a Variety of Options

1. Kaplan GRE

kaplan gre test prep course reviewThe Kaplan GRE is one of the top-rated programs for GRE test prep, and it’s received that high acclamation for a very good reason. As a long time, not-for-profit organization specializing in higher education, professional training, test prep and certification, Kaplan knows what it takes to succeed on the GRE.

Kaplan offers live courses, as well as customizable online study courses, free GRE study resources, and a satisfaction, money-back guarantee. Kaplan’s program is one of the most comprehensive GRE prep courses on the market, with 180+ hours of content, 7-full-length computer-based practice tests, and over 5,000 practice items so that you can get the most out of your studies and achieve a high score on the GRE.

Pros of the Kaplan GRE Prep Course

Wide choice of courses, including invaluable in-person instruction

Kaplan offers a wide choice of courses to choose from. Whether you are into in-person, live online, self-paced courses or need the extra benefit of a tutor, Kaplan has a program available that will benefit your needs.

Kaplan is one of the best programs for in-person instruction. If you prefer a traditional classroom setting, then Kaplan’s in-person course is a great choice. Their live courses are currently offered in 46 states across the US, and Kaplan plans on expanding even further.

Whatever course you decide to go with, Kaplan has a “Plus” option, that can be added onto your package for an extra $400 (or an extra $200 with the self-paced course), which includes the help of a private tutor as well as access to additional resources. For example, if you decide to do the self-paced course and add on the “Plus” option to your package, you will benefit from 3 hours with a tutor that not only can help you with any problem areas that you may have, but your tutor can also help you organize a study plan to keep you on track and give you advice on grad school applications.

Amount of Study Materials

Kaplan believes that practice makes perfect, which is why they’ve included an immense amount of practice materials. What does all of that include?

  • question bank with over 5,000 GRE practice questions
  • seven full-length (not partial!) practice tests so that you get the full experience
  • video lesson library with over 180 hours of content
  • four GRE textbooks/workbooks
  • flashcard app that will help heighten your vocabulary

Number of practice exams, complete with performance analysis

Almost all GRE prep courses agree that practice exams are one of the most useful study tools in preparing you for the GRE. While most GRE prep courses offer 3-5 practice tests, Kaplan offers 7, full length practice exams. These practice exams will not only simulate the kinds of questions that you will face on the exam, but they will also help build your stamina so that you can experience firsthand what to expect on examination day.

Kaplan has trademarked “Smart Reports.” These reports give you the ability to see which areas you are excelling at and are able to pinpoint other areas where you have room to improve. You can see how far you’ve come as they illustrate your trends in test scores over time, in addition to providing you with percentiles and scaled scores for each test and section. As if that wasn’t enough, these Smart Reports pick out your 3 areas of strength and 3 areas for improvement, and then offer you customized recommendations for future practice based upon your performance.

Additional resources at no cost

The Kaplan website allows you access to a wealth of information at no cost to you. If you are wondering what kind of information will be tested or how to get the graduate school application process rolling, Kaplan spells it all out in their informative guide. You can also register with Kaplan to get free 20-minute workouts, receive a free sample “Question A Day” for three months, get access to live practice test options, try your hand out an on-demand practice test or pop quiz, and even attend a sample class at no cost.

Money – back guarantee

Kaplan stands by their GRE prep course, by offering a money-back guarantee. If you aren’t able to improve your score after completing the entire Kaplan GRE Prep course, they will refund you the entire amount paid as long as you are able to provide proof of your previous official GRE score. In addition to this guarantee, if you are not satisfied with the course in any way, they will allow you to retake the course at no additional cost. If you do decide to add the tutoring option, however, you will have to pay a discounted rate.

Opportunity to test in the Testing Center

No matter how much time and work you’ve put into studying, test day can be a little unnerving. Kaplan is the only program that gives you the ability to take the practice GRE test in an official testing facility. This opportunity can help you overcome any last-minute jitters by giving you the familiarity and confidence you need to succeed.

Free flashcard app

When you purchase a GRE prep course through Kaplan, you will get automatic access to Kaplan’s flashcard app. Kaplan’s flashcard app is compatible on both iOS and Android devices. The app includes 500 flashcards that will help you boost your vocabulary by teaching you high frequency GRE vocabulary words, synonyms, definitions, and sample sentences. You can customize the app to your liking by creating your own sets of cards, while quizzing yourself and tracking your performance statistics right from your smartphone. The best part about this app is you can study anywhere at any time.

Cons of the Kaplan GRE Prep Course

Expensive Tutoring

Tutors are paid well for their services, especially those specializing in graduate level tutoring. If you add the tutoring option to any one of the Kaplan GRE prep course choices, you can easily exceed over $1,000 in costs. If you need extra tutoring attention, your costs could add up to more than $2,000 with private tutoring packages of 15, 25 or 35 hours. There are other programs that offer private tutoring, but at a lower cost.


Kaplan GRE Prep – Self-Paced

Price: starting at $699

Kaplan’s Self-paced program is recommended for those who learn well on their own and are self-starters. If you are someone who is disciplined enough to stick to your own study schedule, then the self-paced program may be for you.

In its entirety, this course includes:

  • 8 recorded instructional video sessions
  • 5,000+ practice questions
  • Custom quizzes from Quiz Bank
  • 7 full-length, computer-based practice exams
  • 180 hours of online instruction and practice
  • Email-based customer support
  • 3 Textbooks/Workbooks, including: GRE Premier: Course Book Edition, GRE Math Workbook, GRE Verbal Workbook, and GRE Pocket Reference (a Kindle option is also available)
  • Flashcard app available for both iOS and Android devices

Kaplan GRE Prep – Self-Paced PLUS

Price: starting at $899

Kaplan’s Self-Paced PLUS Program has everything that the self-paced program comes with. So you will get:

  • 8 recorded instructional video sessions
  • 5,000+ practice questions
  • Custom quizzes from Quiz Bank
  • 7 full-length, computer-based practice exams
  • 180 hours of online instruction and practice
  • Email-based customer support
  • 3 Textbooks/Workbooks, including: GRE Premier: Course Book Edition, GRE Math Workbook, GRE Verbal Workbook, and GRE Pocket Reference (a Kindle option is also available)
  • Flashcard app available for both iOS and Android devices

In addition to all of these great course offerings, the Self-placed PLUS program also includes:

  • 3 hours of one-on-one access with a GRE expert tutor to answer any questions
  • Access to GRE Math Foundations – Self-Paced, which includes 400+ practice questions
  • Access to GRE Advanced Math – Self-Paced, which includes 400+ practice questions

Although the Kaplan GRE Prep Self-Paced program has everything that one might need to study for the GRE exam, the Self-Paced PLUS program just gives you a little extra lift if you are looking for a slight edge on the competition, and the access to a live tutor is invaluable if you find yourself struggling on any specific section.

Kaplan GRE Prep – Live Online

Price: starting at $1299

PLUS Price: starting at $1699

The Kaplan GRE Prep – Live Online is Kaplan’s highest rated option. This course is recommended for individuals who can stay on track and hold themselves accountable outside of a classroom setting. If you have scheduling difficulties, such as work or other obligations, the Live Online program is a great alternative to traditional studies, which will allow you to work around your lifestyle so you can study when it works best for you.

In its entirety, this course includes:

  • 8 live online class sessions
  • 5,000+ practice questions
  • Custom quizzes from Quiz Bank
  • 7 full-length, computer-based practice exams
  • 180 hours of online instruction and practice
  • Free make-up sessions
  • Email-based customer support
  • 3 Textbooks/Workbooks, including: GRE Premier: Course Book Edition, GRE Math Workbook, GRE Verbal Workbook, and GRE Pocket Reference (a Kindle option is also available)
  • Flashcard app available for both iOS and Android devices

Kaplan GRE Prep – In Person

Price: starting at $999

The Kaplan GRE Prep – in Person is Kaplan’s most popular option. This program is for those who learn best in a classroom type setting. If you have a hard time keeping yourself accountable, have trouble focusing, or just need the benefit of having a structured environment with a teacher to ask questions, then this is the program for you. This is one of our top choices of Kaplan’s courses. Really anyone can benefit from in person classes.

In its entirety, this course includes:

  • In-person class sessions
  • 5,000+ practice questions
  • Custom quizzes from Quiz Bank
  • 7 full-length, computer-based practice exams
  • 180 hours of online instruction and practice
  • 3 Textbooks/Workbooks, including: GRE Premier: Course Book Edition, GRE Math Workbook, GRE Verbal Workbook, and GRE Pocket Reference (a Kindle option is also available)
  • Flashcard app available for both iOS and Android devices

When comparing the Live-Online to the In-Person, the course offerings are virtually the same. If you are trying to decide between the Live-Online and the In-Person courses, it really comes down to which type of environment you will do best in.

Private Tutoring

Price: ranging from $2499-4699

The Kaplan GRE Private Tutoring program is an invaluable tool that can be added on to any one of Kaplan’s course offerings. If you feel that you may need extra attention, then this is the option for you. You can benefit from a 15-, 25-, or 35-hour tutoring package, which is offered online or in person. Not to mention, you will get the full access to Kaplan’s GRE Course materials when you enroll in one of their In-Person or Live Online Courses.

Bottom Line

We really like Kaplan as it proves to be one of the most versatile GRE courses currently available. You can choose from in-person instruction that is available in many popular cities, live online course options that you can access from the comfort of your own home, self-study course where you can move at your own pace, and you can even choose from a range of customizable tutoring packages that will give you the extra attention you need.

You can check out Kaplan’s free resources before you buy, to get an idea of the kind of offerings that Kaplan has to offer. We also really like that they offer a money-back guarantee if you are not able to improve your grade on the GRE, as well as the option to retake the course for free if you are not satisfied with the course for any reason. The Kaplan GRE prep course is a great program, no matter which option you choose, and you will not be disappointed.

2. Princeton Review

princeton review gre test prep reviewFor more than 35 years, Princeton Review has been specializing in helping students get into the school of their dreams. Princeton Review’s proven methodology of test-taking strategies helps students achieve their best score possible.

Their wide range of test prep options stacks up well against the competition. Princeton Review’s course options will fit any schedule and accommodate any learning style. Princeton Review understands that not every student is alike.

This is why Princeton Review is not a one-size-fits-all program. You can personalize your own program to best meet your needs. That means you can work one-on-one with a tutor, or you may choose to do the online course on your own.

With Princeton Review’s on-demand help feature and admissions counseling, students are more than just a test score. Princeton Review provides resources for better grades and advice on submitting a stronger application.

Princeton Review Facts

  • 96% of students improved their grades
  • 1.6+ million students were helped throughout the course of 2017 with Princeton Review
  • #1 at getting students into top schools
  • 4 out of every 5 students get into their stop school of choice
  • Over 6,000 students get help from Princeton Review each night
  • 35+ million books have been printed and sold from Princeton Review

Pros of the Princeton Review GRE Prep Course

Number of full-length practice tests

Princeton Review is ahead of the game when it comes to practice tests. Princeton Review offers 8 full-length practice tests, beating out all of the competition. After each test is taken, Princeton Review provides personalized feedback on your strengths and weaknesses, so you can maximize your efforts to study the areas you need to work on the most.

Semi-Private Small Group Study

Princeton Review is the only GRE program that offers access to your instructor outside of the program. When you enroll in Princeton Review’s Semi-private small group study either online or in person, you will gain access to 24 hours’ worth of small group tutoring sessions. Only four people are allowed in each class, so you can benefit from personalized help, focusing on topic weaknesses as well as answering any questions that you may have. These classes meet once or twice a week, and of course, you will still have access to all of the online materials.

These small group study sessions are led by experts, reviewed by peers, and will obtain fast results. Princeton Review’s semi-private small group study sessions give you the flexibility to get additional support in the areas where you need it the most.

Help with Essays

Out of all the GRE Test prep courses that we are reviewing today, Princeton Review is one of the few programs that offer feedback on your essays. By submitting your draft essay through Princeton’s trademarked LiveGrader tool, one of Princeton’s experts will thoroughly review your essay and offer suggestions on how you can improve your writing skills for a higher score on the essay portion of the GRE exam.

Satisfaction Guaranteed

The best programs stand by their course offerings, and Princeton Review is definitely one of them. Princeton Review offers three different types of guarantees:

  • Readiness Guarantee
  • Satisfaction Guarantee
  • Money-Back Guarantee

If you have completed the entire course and still do not feel ready to take the test, you can repeat the same course or take a refresher course if it is available at no charge. If you are not satisfied with your results for any reason, you can continue working with Princeton Review for the next year at no charge. If you do not improve your score after taking the exam, Princeton Review will give you a full refund of your tuition. For more information on their guarantees, visit Princeton Review’s website for guarantee terms and conditions.

Accessible Instructors and Tutors

Students who are enrolled in the Ultimate course will also have access to their instructor outside of class. If you choose the private tutoring option you will have the ability to choose from online private tutoring, or you can even benefit from face-to-face tutoring in your very own area!

All of Princeton Review’s tutors are carefully selected in order to give you the best instruction and advice. There are three different levels of tutoring experts to select from:

  • Private Tutors – are dynamic and engaging teachers with more than 40 hours of intensive training and experience as classroom instructors.
  • Master Tutors – are experienced educators who have over 500 hours of relevant tutoring experience under their belts.
  • Premier Tutors – are the top tier of Princeton Review’s tutors. They have an exceptional 1,000+ hours of time put into tutoring.

You can customize the prices based on the level of expertise and experience of your tutor. Once you choose the level of tutor that you want, Princeton’s advisors will then match you to the tutor that is best suited for your personal needs. An advisor is just a phone call away!

14 Day Free Trial

A full-length, computer-adaptive-by-section practice test that mimics the actual GRE: You’ll come away with a realistic understanding of the test and how you might score.

A detailed, interactive score report that provides in-depth guidance about how you’re using your time and where you have opportunities for improvement.

Access some of our interactive, video-based lessons.


No Quiz Bank

Many GRE Prep courses include a quiz bank that has thousands of questions and allow you to create quizzes based on the areas that you need to study the most. The Princeton Review does not have a quiz bank, but their numerous full-length exams and 3,500+ practice questions does help make up for the missing quiz bank.

No Mobile App

Mobile apps are now offered by many GRE Prep courses. In today’s fast-paced world it allows students to study on the go. At this point in time, Princeton Review does not have a mobile app to aid students in studying while commuting.


Princeton Review Self-Paced GRE Course

Price: $199

The self-paced GRE course is recommended for students who have self-motivation and a proven method of study. Although you won’t get the benefits of the online classes, you will get the basic content needed in order to succeed on the GRE. This option is also very cost-effective in comparison to the other course options.

In its entirety this course includes:

  • 120 days of online access
  • 24 hours of recorded video lessons from GRE expert instructors
  • 470+ practice drils
  • 8 full-length, computer-based, adaptive practice exams
  • 3,500 practice questions
  • Access to Princeton Review’s higher score guarantee

Princeton Review Ultimate LiveOnline GRE Course

Price: $849

The Princeton Review Ultimate LiveOnline GRE Course is recommended for those who don’t need disciplined in-person classroom instruction, but would still like to have access to expert instructors 24 hours a day. This is the program that is the most popular out of all of Princeton Review’s GRE Prep course offerings.

This course includes in its entirety:

  • 24 hours of online instruction with Princeton Review’s GRE expert instructors
  • 184 hours of online resources which include: 470+ drills, 3,500+ practice questions, 24 hours of recorded video lessons, and 8-full length, computer-based, adaptive practice exams.
  • one-on-one test reviews with your instructor
  • access to instructor outside of class hours, either in person, via phone, or by email.
  • Adaptive teaching method
  • Access to Princeton Review’s money-back guarantee

Princeton Review Ultimate In Person GRE Prep Course

Price: $1299

When comparing Princeton Review’s Ultimate In Person GRE Prep course to the Ultimate LiveOnline GRE Course, they are essentially the same course with just a few differences. With the In Person course, you will be in an actual classroom rather than in an online, virtual classroom. The other difference is that the In Person costs a little bit more than the online option. Both of these courses are “live” per say, but if you learn better being in a physical classroom setting, then the In Person is definitely the choice for you.

The course includes in its entirety:

  • In Person instruction with Princeton Review’s GRE expert instructors
  • 184 hours of online resources which include: 470+ drills, 3,500+ practice questions, 24 hours of recorded video lessons, and 8-full length, computer-based, adaptive practice exams.
  • one-on-one test reviews with your instructor
  • access to instructor outside of class hours, either in person, via phone, or by email.
  • Adaptive teaching method
  • Access to Princeton Review’s money-back guarantee

Princeton Review’s Private Tutoring Program

Price: $1800

Princeton Review’s flexible private tutoring option allows you to select either an online or in person tutor. An advisor will match you with a tutor that best meets your needs. From there, your tutor will help you make a detailed study plan, set goals, and provide you guidance throughout the entire study process. If you think your tutor is not meeting your needs, you can request that they find you a new one. This puts Princeton Review at the top of the tier when it comes to tutoring options.

Bottom Line

If you are looking for a program that offers personalized options, then Princeton Review is definitely a great pick. You can choose from different levels of tutor expertise, enroll in a small group study, or even try out the program at your own speed with the Self-paced study program. With 8 full-length practice exams at your reach, Princeton Review makes sure you are fully prepared for the GRE Exam. We recommend this program if you are looking for a lots of practice materials.

3. Magoosh GRE Prep Course

magoosh gre test prep course reviewMagoosh GRE Prep Course is highly rated by students for three reasons: their study materials are first-rate, it is affordable, and their customer support system is stellar. What makes Magoosh different from all of the other prep courses is that their course offerings are entirely online.

Pros of the Magoosh GRE Prep Course


Because each of Magoosh’s courses are entirely online, you don’t have to worry about class meetings, textbooks, DVDs, or following a specific timeline. This is a great plan for those who work full-time and are trying to balance school and getting into grad school all at the same time.

User Friendly

Magoosh also has a beautifully designed website which makes it very user friendly. The personalized dashboard makes it easy to navigate all of the features in one spot. Magoosh tracks your progress and recommends video lessons based on your performance. As if that wasn’t enough, you can compare your results to other students to see where you stand. If you have any questions, you can easily submit them through the dashboard for a detailed answer from a tutor. Given that they have such a great website for such a low cost program, Magoosh really stands out from the competition.

Broad Range of Study Schedules

Magoosh offers a broad range of study schedules ranging from one month to six months. What’s even more is that these schedules are offered for free on their website, regardless of whether you have purchased a subscription or not. Although these plans do reference instructions from the Premium Magoosh GRE course material, which must be purchased, they also refer to many free resources such as flashcards and encourage students to read newspaper articles and journals to boost their vocabulary.

Available on a variety of different platforms

Although Magoosh is strictly online, it definitely does not limit you. In fact, you can study anywhere there is Internet access. Whether you are on your phone, tablet, or laptop, you can access your subscription anywhere and at any time. It doesn’t matter whether you have an Android or an Iphone, Magoosh has a platform that can accommodate either one.

Authentic materials

The practice questions are designed to mimic those that are on the test. This gives you an opportunity to not only see what kind of format the questions will be in, but it will also allow you to see what types of questions that you can expect on the real deal. The questions are ranked in order of difficulty. This way you can see for yourself where exactly you need the most practice in order to achieve your target score.

In addition, the Score Predictor will calculate your score and give you a predicted range for your performance on the GRE. This is done by comparing your performance with other students in the program.

Double Guarantee

Magoosh is so sure about its products that it offers a double guarantee! If you complete the premium program, but do not see a 5-point increase over your initial score, then you will get a refund of your money.

Magoosh offers a 7-day free trial where you can try out everything they have to offer before buying a subscription. If you decide that you don’t like it, cancel within the 7 days and they will refund you your money with no questions asked.

Tutoring Packages

Everyone learns at a different rate. Magoosh understands this, which is why they offer a variety of different tutoring packages to help with this:

  • Starter – Choose 2-3 areas for the tutor to focus on and it costs $100 for a one-hour tutoring session.
  • Verbal – Verbal focused lessons and 4 hours of tutoring for $350 ($87.50 an hour).
  • Math – Quantitative/Math focused lessons and 4 hours of tutoring for $350 ($87.50 an hour).
  • Premium – Covers both Verbal and Quantitative section PLUS essay grading and review. This option costs $600 for 8 hours of tutoring ($75 an hour).


Fewer Practice Tests

The one drawback of Magoosh is that you do not have the opportunity to take as many practice tests as you do with the other programs. Magoosh has a bank of 1,000+ practice questions that you can use whenever you want. In order to take a practice test, you must use your unanswered questions. Magoosh recommends that you only take 3 practice tests so you can save your questions for practice. This pales in comparison to the other programs which offer anywhere from 6-8 practice tests.

Ideal user

As we said before, the Magoosh Prep course is 100% online. This program works best for those who are disciplined enough to keep on their own study schedule and can learn outside of a classroom setting. The Magoosh course makes this easy with a video explanation for every single one of their practice questions. If you want to take charge of your learning, you will love the freedom and flexibility of Magoosh’s program.

Magoosh GRE Prep Course Plans and Pricing

Magoosh is definitely the cheapest GRE Prep course out of all of the programs that we will be reviewing today. Their subscriptions start at only $129, and they definitely provide a lot of materials for the cost. If you are looking for an affordable way to study for the GRE Prep course, Magoosh is definitely a good choice.

Magoosh GRE Premium Course (1 month)

Price: $129

This course offers 1 month’s access to the following:

  • 200+ video lessons, preparing you for the Math, Verbal and AWA
  • 1,000+ practice questions
  • 3 practice tests
  • Quizzes
  • Study Plans
  • Score predictor
  • Performance analysis
  • Apps for your phone
  • Score increase guarantee by 5 points
  • Money-back Guarantee
  • GRE tips and guidance
  • Tutor help available by email

Magoosh GRE Premium Course (6 month)

Price: $149

This course offers 6 month’s access to the following:

  • 200+ video lessons, preparing you for the Math, Verbal and AWA
  • 1,000+ practice questions
  • 3 practice tests
  • Quizzes
  • Study Plans
  • Score predictor
  • Performance analysis
  • Apps for your phone
  • Score increase guarantee by 5 points
  • Money-back Guarantee
  • GRE tips and guidance
  • Tutor help available by email

When comparing these two programs, the offerings are the same and the difference in price is pretty much insignificant. The 6-month premium course is definitely the better value for the price.

The Bottom Line

The online reviews of students who have successfully taken the GRE speak for themselves. This program can help you improve your score, without breaking the bank. Magoosh’s money-back guarantee gives you the confidence to put your trust in their program, knowing that if it doesn’t work out, you will be refunded every penny.

If you want to get into grad school, but aren’t looking to spend thousands of dollars on a prep program, Magoosh is definitely a great pick. So, go ahead and give their 7-day free trial a shot. You will not be disappointed.

4. Economist GRE Prep

economist gre test prep course reviewAlthough the Economist hasn’t been around for as long as some of the other companies in the business, they definitely aren’t lacking when it comes to their materials. They offer a solid product backed by a higher score guarantee. Because of their course offerings and their relatively affordable cost, the Economist GRE poses some serious competition in the market of test preparation programs.

Pros of the Economist GRE Prep course

Free 7-trial

It’s difficult to gauge how well a prep course is going to adapt to your particular learning style until you get the chance to actually experience it for yourself. There are a lot of prep courses out there and not every single course is going to meet your needs. The Economist GRE Prep understands that their product is an investment, which is why they have given everyone the opportunity to try their 7-day trial.

Money-back Score Guarantee

Both the Economist’s Premier and Ultimate Plan’s offer a money-back guarantee if you are not able to improve your score 5 points. In order to qualify for this guarantee, you must have:

  • Been with the program at least 10 weeks
  • Completed a predetermined number of lessonsFor more information on this guarantee, visit the Economist GRE’s website for full terms and conditions. This guarantee is also helpful when considering which plan is best for you.

Communicate with Real Tutors

When you have a question, it’s nice to be able to talk to a real person. The Economist makes this possible through their messaging system which is built in to each of their plans. Some programs charge expensive rates for these services, but with the Economist you’re covered up to the limits of your plan. If you need to ask a question, simply message a tutor through their in-app messaging system and get a detailed answer back in just a matter of time. This is a high selling point with students as communication is key throughout the learning process.

A large amount of practice questions

Your success on the GRE Exam depends on how well you are prepared for the exam. In order to ensure that you are prepared, the Economist has over 5,000 practice questions for you to utilize. These questions are built into the lessons so that you have help working through them as you are learning. At 5,000+ questions, the Economist GRE prep course has the most questions available out of any test program on the market.

Study on the go

Just like many other test programs, the Economist allows students to study on the go with its mobile app. It doesn’t matter where you are at, as long as you have a phone or a laptop you can access everything the Economist has to offer.

Full-length practice exams

Practice tests are one of the most invaluable tools when it comes to studying for the GRE exam. There is no other study tool that mimics the types of questions and conditions that you will be experiencing during the real test. Depending on which Economist plan you choose, you could get up to 6 full-length practice tests. Being able to experience the test beforehand can give you that extra boost of confidence on test day.

Cons of the Economist

Short –Term Plan Does Not Have a Lot of Features

The Economist offers some great features, including the score guarantee and essay help from a qualified instructor. Unfortunately, these great features are only available to those who subscribe far in advance of their test date.

In order to use the score guarantee, you must have a minimum of 10 weeks of lessons in before you can take advantage of that feature. The essay feature is only available with the 3-month Premium Plan or the 1-year Ultimate Plan.

This course is great for those who have their act together and are planning on preparing well in advance. If you are a procrastinator, this course may not be the best choice for you. If you only have a few weeks to devote to the course, you don’t want to miss out on all of these wonderful features.

Economist GRE Pricing

Weekly Subscription

Price: $199/month

This course offers the following:

  • Full access to lessons and practice questions (5,000+)
  • Ability to take 3 full-length practice tests
  • Access to 3 live one-on-one sessions
  • 25 live tutor questions
  • 3 essay markings
  • Not eligible for score guarantee

Premium Plan

Price: $299/ 3 months

This course offers the following:

  • Full access to lessons and practice questions (5,000+)
  • Ability to take 5 full-length practice tests
  • Access to 5 live one-on-one sessions
  • 100 live tutor questions
  • 6 essay markings
  • Eligible for their 5+ point improvement score guarantee

Ultimate Plan

Price: $549/ 12 months

This course offers the following:

  • Full access to lessons and practice questions (5,000+)
  • Ability to take 6 full-length practice tests
  • Access to 6 live one-on-one sessions
  • UNLIMITED live tutor questions
  • 7 essay markings
  • Eligible for their 5+ point improvement score guarantee

Bottom Line

Although relatively new on the market, the Economist is emerging. Some areas that really stand out are their large bank of practice questions and the fact that you can ask a tutor a question and it is covered under your plan. If you are considering the Economist, try out their 7-day trial to get your feet wet before you buy it. Overall, they seem to be a pretty good value.

5. Manhattan GRE Prep

manhattan prep gre test prep course reviewIf you like options, then the Manhattan GRE Prep has got them. In fact, they are one of the most comprehensive GRE prep courses on the market. With their strategy guide textbooks, thousands of practice questions, and large variety of courses, consider yourself well equipped to take on the GRE.

Manhattan excels with its high definition videos, high-rated study materials, practice exams, expert instructors, and a large selection of free materials that anyone can take advantage of. Choose your course options based on whatever your needs. Manhattan offers live online, in person, and even on demand courses.

Pros of Manhattan GRE Prep

Comprehensive Study Materials

Whatever course option you pick, the Manhattan has an extensive amount of study materials to aid you along the way. The on-demand program is self-paced, but includes over 27 hours of video lessons, strategy guide books that cover each section of the exam, ETS’ The Official Guide to the GRE Test, as well as 6 practice exams.

The complete course includes 27 hours of live in person or live online instruction in addition to all of the strategy guide books that cover each section of the exam, ETS’ The Official Guide to the GRE Test, as well as 6 practice exams. The Manhattan GRE Prep gives you a well-rounded course of study with plenty of practice materials so that you will feel confident when it comes to test day.

Free Resources

The Manhattan GRE Prep has a vast amount of free resources that are available to the public. Taking advantage of these resources before you purchase a course will help you understand what the Manhattan GRE Prep is all about. Their free resources include a full-length computer adaptive practice exam, challenge problems, flashcards, as well as a twice monthly online study session (“Mondays with Neil”), and study tools. You can even sit in on a live in person or a live online class to get the feel of the course. It’s a great opportunity to find out what the Manhattan GRE Prep courses are all about.


If you are looking for a course that has multiple options, the Manhattan GRE Prep allows you to choose from various online and live options with the added benefit of course material that can be accessed both in print and online. With the Manhattan GRE, you can create a balanced study schedule that includes practice with the study guides, video lessons, and practice exams.

Manhattan GRE Prep gives students the ability to study virtually anywhere. You can watch their high definition, on-demand video lectures live or you can download them to your computer so that you can watch them later on when you don’t have internet access. It’s really that simple.

Authentic Practice Tests

We’ve heard through the grapevine that Manhattan prep has some of the best practice tests on the market. Their practice questions are uncannily similar to the real questions that you would see on the GRE. There has even been assumption that Manhattan’s questions are more difficult than the questions on the real GRE. That may be debatable, but either way, the Manhattan GRE Practice Tests provide you the practice that you need so you feel prepared when it when it comes to test day.

Cons of the Manhattan GRE Prep

No Money-Back Guarantee

Many of the other programs that we have talked about offer some sort of money-back guarantee, but, unfortunately the Manhattan GRE Prep is all or nothing. Their website clearly states that all money is nonrefundable. At least you can get an idea of what they are all about with their large amount of free resources on their website.

No Free App

Even though they tout that students are able to study anywhere at any time with their course, they do not offer a free app. They do, however, offer an app, but it comes with a price tag of $9.99. It would be nice if it were included in the cost of their course.


GRE Complete Course

Price: $999 live online/$1,349 live in-person

This course includes:

  • 27 hours of live classroom or live online instruction over 9 sessions
  • daily vocabulary emails
  • unlimited advice from GRE Instructors through online forums and blogs
  • complete set of 8 Manhattan Prep GRE Strategy Guides (Algebra, Fractions, Decimals & Percents, Geometry, Number Properties, Word Problems, Quantitative Comparisons & Data Interpretation, Reading Comprehension & Essays, and Text Completion & Sentence Equivalence)
  • The Official Guide to the GRE revised General Test
  • Official GRE Quantitative Reasoning Practice Questions
  • Official GRE Verbal Reasoning Practice Questions
  • 5 lb. Book of GRE Practice Problems
  • 6 full-length computer adaptive practice tests plus detailed assessment reports
  • on-demand class recordings for review, and challenge problems.

GRE Self-Study Course

Price: $499

This course includes:

  • 27+ hours of on-demand video lessons
  • complete set of 8 Manhattan Prep GRE Strategy Guides (Algebra, Fractions, Decimals & Percents, Geometry, Number Properties, Word Problems, Quantitative Comparisons & Data Interpretation, Reading Comprehension & Essays, and Text Completion & Sentence Equivalence)
  • The Official Guide to the GRE revised General Test
  • Official GRE Quantitative Reasoning Practice Questions
  • Official GRE Verbal Reasoning Practice Questions
  • 5 lb. Book of GRE Practice Problems
  • 6 full-length computer adaptive practice tests plus detailed assessment reports
  • on-demand class recordings for review, and challenge problems.

Crunch Time Workshop

Price: $79

This workshop includes:

  • 2 hours of live online instruction for one section of the exam
  • question and answer session
  • post-workshop email support
  • timed and proctored set of GRE questions designed to mimic the questions on the GRE Exam
  • Guided Review on the best way to practice for the GRE
  • Post Workshop assignments for further practice
  • Test day strategies

Hourly Tutoring

Price: $255/hour

Tutoring includes:

  • At least 2 hours of on-site or live online instruction with an expert tutor

Tutoring Packages: 10-25 hours

Price: $2,450-$5,525

This course includes:

  • Customized Tutoring with an expert instructor: In-Person or Online
  • 8 strategy guides
  • The Official Guide to the GRE revised General Test
  • Official GRE Quantitative Reasoning Practice Questions
  • Official GRE Verbal Reasoning Practice Questions
  • 5 lb. Book of GRE Practice Problems

Bottom Line

From their various course options to their plenteous materials, Manhattan Prep sets the bar high when it comes to course offerings. Even some of the cheaper course options still include comprehensive materials, such as study guides, access to online courses materials, and practice exams. If you are looking to have an array of choices before you, then the Manhattan Prep course is certainly as viable an option as any other.

Comprehensive GRE Guide

Now that you know all about the best programs on the market, we will fill you on everything that you need to know about the GRE Test. Check out our comprehensive guide below for more information.

The Graduate Records Examination (GRE)

For undergraduate hopefuls, the Graduate Records Examination (GRE) is a must for those seeking admission into graduate and business schools across the US and in other countries, such as Canada, Australia, UK, Sweden, and Norway. The GRE is administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS), which also oversees other familiar standardized testing in kindergarten through twelfth grade.

Every year hundreds of thousands of students take the GRE General test. The GRE measures student’s verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, as well as analytical writing skills. These are not skills that are related to any specific field, but these are skills that have been developed over a long period of time and are important to possess as you enter your graduate studies.

With so many people taking the same test, you really have to work hard to stand out from the competition. If 700,000 people decided to take the GRE, then you would have to outscore 630,000 of them in order to place in the 90th percentile. Even if you don’t make it into the elite 90th percentile, it is important to set the bar high when taking the GRE as it could have a big impact on the admissions process. If you are looking to get into any Ivy League school, you should focus on getting the best score possible.

The emphasis on your score differs from school to school. Universities may choose to look at your overall score or may put more of an emphasis on sectional scores. Some schools may only care about the Quant score, while others would rather you have a high score in the Verbal section. You can get a better look at how each school weighs scores by checking out their website or reaching out to an admissions advisor. This will help you know how you need to study for the GRE.

Studying for the GRE

The GRE is a difficult test and can be intimidating, which is why you should give yourself plenty of time to study for it. Your amount of study time should be dependent on your personal needs; however, most people spend anywhere from 1-3 months in preparation for the test.

Setting a goal

Before you set your goal, you need to first figure out what exactly you should be aiming for. Set up a list of all the schools that you plan on applying to, along with their average GRE scores. Find the highest score on the list, and then add 2 points to that score in order to get your goal.

Seeing where you’re at

Before you begin studying, you need to see how you measure up to the GRE. By taking a practice test, you can gauge where you are in your current standings to where you need to be by the time you take the real deal. Now you know how much you need to improve in order to meet your goal.

Here are some examples of how much study time it will take to improve your score:

  • 5 points = 40 hours
  • 10 points = 80 hours
  • 20 points = 160 hours
  • 30 points = 240 hours

These examples aren’t set in stone, but they are a pretty good guide on how much you might need to study to get your score where it needs to be. If you need to improve your score more than 30 points, you should be prepared to put in a lot of study time. Remember, that the GRE tests over concepts that have been learned over a long period of time.

Not sure what you should be studying? Don’t know how you can improve your score? Just need extra help? A GRE preparation program may be right for you.

Why take a GRE Prep Course?

Whether you want to take the GRE test or not, the simple fact is that it’s a requirement to get into most graduate schools. Your score on the GRE can actually make or break whether you get into graduate school. Your score can also have an influence on any funding that may be available to you. This is a test that should be taken very seriously, especially if you are aiming for an advanced-level career.

Many students who take the GRE elect to take a GRE Prep course to get themselves ready for the test. So, why should you take a GRE prep course, exactly?

  • Because it helps point out your strengths and weaknesses, so you know where you need to spend your time.
  • Because it gives you the structure, leadership, and a timetable so you can move through the studying process as efficiently and productively as possible.
  • Because it gives you the inside scoop on proven strategies so that your time is not spent foolishly.
  • Because it gives you the opportunity to learn alongside other students.
  • Because it offers guidance and correction as you learn the content.
  • Because you will have access to personalized, one-on-one instruction.
  • Because it helps you map out a study plan that you will be able to alter as your needs change.

Now, that doesn’t mean that just because you enroll in an online prep course that you are guaranteed to get a good score. Success on the GRE is not simply a matter of enrolling in an online prep course: success is you putting in the work. If you don’t do the assignments or prep outside of class, you probably won’t get much out of the course. Like everything else in life, an online GRE prep course is only as helpful as you make it. To get your score where it needs to be, you will have to work hard. The online prep course can teach you and offer you evaluation on your work, but ultimately the work is your own.

GRE Computer-adaptive testing: things to know

If you are used to taking tests that are issued on paper, then the GRE test will be an entirely new experience. The GRE is only offered via computer, but it’s not anything to be concerned about as long as you have basic computer skills. By offering the test via computer, the Educational Testing Service (ETS) has the option to make the GRE and adaptive test.

What is an adaptive test?

Adaptive testing is a relatively new concept that allows the computer to choose the difficulty level of your next section based on your performance on the prior section. However, the adaptivity is only based on individual subject areas. For example, your performance on the verbal section will not affect the level of difficult on the quant section.

How can you prepare for an adaptive test?

Taking an adaptive test is not really any different than taking a normal test. You should focus on the things you would normally focus on when taking a test, such as:

  • strategy
  • technique
  • studying
  • time management

How does a computer-based test compare to a paper-based test?

There is not much difference between a computer-based test and a paper-based test. The thing that stands out the most is that you will be staring at a screen for four hours rather than using a printed booklet, scantron sheet and pencil. Statistics show that it is more difficult to concentrate with a computer than it is to read a page. How do you overcome this difficulty as presented? It’s simple: practice! With the online practice exams that come with the GRE prep courses, you will be well on our way to getting acclimated to taking a computer-based test in no time.

What features will be used on the GRE computer-based test?

The ETS outlines some basic features that you should learn to become familiar with before taking the actual test, including:

  • The ability to preview and review capabilities within a section
  • The ability to use “Mark” and “Review” features that will tag questions, so you can skip them and return later if you have time remaining in the section
  • The ability to edit your answers if needed within a section
  • The ability to utilize an on-screen calculator to aid you for the Quantitative Reasoning section (physical calculators are not allowed)
  • The ability to use a basic word processing feature for the Analytical Writing section

Having the ability to use these features and understand how they work ahead of time, will help you in your time management process as you are going through the exam on test day.

GRE Scoring

At the end of the day, your score on the GRE is what really matters. The GRE is scored a bit differently than other standardized testing that you may be familiar with, such as the ACT or SAT. With the GRE, you will receive 3 separate scores:

  1. Verbal Reasoning score – calculated on a 130–170 score scale, in 1-point increments
  2. Quantitative Reasoning score – calculated on a 130–170 score scale, in 1-point increments
  3. Analytical Writing score -calculated on a 0–6 score scale, in half-point increments

The Verbal Reasoning score and the Quantitative Reasoning score are both for the multiple-choice sections of the test. These scores are based on the number of correct responses to all the questions and are referred to as the raw score.

In addition to the raw score, there is also a scaled score which is calculated through a process known as equating. The equating process takes into account minor variations in difficulty through the section-level adaption and generates a modified score. Basically, think of it as points awarded or deducted for difficult.

The third score is set aside for the essays that you will be writing on the analytical writing portion of the test. These essays will be graded by a trained rater, using a six-point holistic scale. Holistic scoring allows for the raters to assign scores based on the overall quality of an essay. After the essay is scored by a trained rater, it will then be analyzed by a computer program that is designed to identify essay features related to writing proficiency. If the raters score and the computer’s score are close, then the average of the two scores is used to generate a final score. If the two scores disagree, then the essay will be sent to another trained rater for further analyzation.

Retaking the GRE exam

It’s hard to think about retaking the GRE exam, especially when you’ve put a lot of effort into studying. But it’s not uncommon for students to retake the GRE exam when they don’t get the score they want the first time around. According to a study conducted by the ETS in 2014, 1 in 4 test takers retook the GRE, and that number has grown each year. In addition to this data, the study also shows that the majority of people who took the GRE a second time scored higher than the first. You should look at taking the GRE as a process rather than a one-off opportunity.

What are the rules about retaking the GRE Exam?

The GRE can be taken once every 21 days and up to five times within any continuous rolling 12-month period. What’s even better is that grad schools don’t look down on you if you retake the test. Now, that doesn’t mean that you should just plan on taking the test 5 times, however. Although every individual is different when it comes to test taking capabilities, it’s very unlikely that you will score any better after two or three attempts. When considering whether you should retake the GRE exam, you need to consider two things: a goal and your drive to get to that goal.

GRE Verbal Reasoning: Section Overview and Strategy

The GRE Verbal Reasoning section is the first part of the GRE exam. Here are the types of multiple-choice questions you should be prepared to answer:

  • Text completion: These questions will ask you to choose a word that best completes a sentence. While this doesn’t sound that hard, it can be a bit challenging. There can be multiple blanks in a text completion that run as long as an entire paragraph. Each blank has multiple choices, and you have to answer each blank correctly in order to get the entire question correct.
  • Sentence equivalence: This section is somewhat similar to the text completion questions, but it proposes a unique challenge. Rather than simply asking you to identify synonyms, this section will also test your ability to select the two sentences that are most closely related.
  • Reading comprehension: After reading a passage, you will be asked a handful of questions that correspond to what you read. This section tests your reading and critical reasoning skills. You can expect to read materials related to science, technology, literary critique, and social studies.

Now that you know what to expect on this section, don’t just throw yourself into endless practice question sets. There are better ways to prep for this section that are more engaging and far more productive. So, what approach should you take to preparing for the GRE Verbal Reasoning section?

  • Don’t try to memorize your dictionary: Although the verbal section does test your word knowledge to some degree, there is no question on the GRE that will every ask you to flat out define a word. Instead, make a list of commonly used words on the GRE and make that a part of your verbal study guide.
  • Use your flashcards to your advantage: Many GRE prep programs include flashcards as a part of their course offerings because they simply are a great study tool. You can make your flashcards even more effective if you make them personal. Try supplementing the definition by using your vocabulary words in sentences that include real details, such as family, friends or memorable events. This will help you retain the information even easier.
  • Read as much as possible: One of the best ways to build your vocabulary is to read. Even if the material is far from exciting, you will train our brain to process information quickly. If you’re not sure what to read, try reading things that have more advanced vocabulary, such as newspaper articles and magazines, journals, etc. The following are great examples of what you should read: The Best American Essays, This Wizard of Oz Vocabulary Builder, Brave New World, The Sparrow, Lolita, etc. While your reading, ask yourself what the main idea is, what type of article is it, what is the tone of the article, and how is it structured. Asking yourself these questions will help prepare you for the verbal reasoning section.

Tips for GRE Reading Comprehension

Undoubtedly you will come across some questions that are more difficult than others. Here are three strategies that can help you get through the GRE Reading Comprehension section easier.

  1. Make sure that there is evidence to back up your answer. As we said earlier, the passages that you will read are written several different topic areas. Many of the passages that you read you probably won’t know a whole lot about, nor will it be of much interest to you. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t answer the questions. All answers are contained within the passage, so even if you don’t have much knowledge on the subject, you can still answer the question without specialist knowledge.It is important to not just choose an answer just because you infer that it is correct. Make sure there is evidence in the passage that backs up your answer. Chances are that if your answer doesn’t seem to be answered by the passage, then it is probably incorrect.
  2. Pay attention to the linking words usedLinking words that are commonly found in the GRE reading passages are: yet, but, however, on the other hand, in contrast, in addition, firstly, secondly, in conclusion. These linking words are not just words; they can help you establish a structure to the passage. For example, if you see the word “however,” you will know that the direction of the passage is about to change. Perhaps you will find that the opinion or idea will change. Linking words can really help you get the idea of a passage.
  3. Don’t miss the point by getting lost in the details. The test makers who create the content for these tests try to make it challenging on purpose. Often, these reading passages are intentionally dense, boring, and include lots of detail. When reading a passage, don’t try to understand the passage as a whole. This is unnecessary work and will slow you down. Instead, work from the questions back to the passage. Once you have read a question and know exactly what you are looking for, then refer back to the passage to find the answer.

GRE Quant: Section Overview and Strategy

Prepping for the Quant section can be daunting, especially if Math isn’t your strong point. We’ll start by walking you through this section so you can get a grasp of what you can expect and point out some things that will help you get a head start towards your target GRE Score.

What concepts do I need to know for the Quant Section?

Before you break out some quantum physics book that you checked out of the library, just remember that most of the concepts found on the GRE are things that you learned in high school. Here are some realistic concepts that you should familiarize with:

  • Basic properties of shapes, such as triangles, parallelograms, squares, circles
  • Properties of integers
  • Exponents
  • Rate and Probability

You may try mastering concepts that you’ve had difficulty with in the past, but it is best to start reviewing all of these concepts as a whole instead of spending too much time in one area. There are a few other test taking strategies that we will look at coming up.

What types of questions will be on the test?

The Quantitative Reasoning section has three types of questions: Problem Solving, Quantitative Comparison and Data Interpretation. Here is a breakdown of what exactly each section is:

  • Problem Solving – tests your ability to solve common math concepts. You will need to have a general concept of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, and data analysis. These problems are straightforward, multiple-choice questions.
  • Quantitative Comparison – tests your ability to determine the relationship between two mathematical statements. Not only does this test your basic math skills, but it also will test your understanding of all the concepts. Ultimately, you will have to answer correctly whether the quantity in column A is greater, the quantity in column B is greater, the two quantities are equal, or the relationship cannot be determined from the information given.
  • Data Interpretation – tests your ability to analyze two charts, graphs or tables and answer the corresponding multiple-choice questions. These types of questions will be displayed on a split-screen which can at times be a bit confusing

How should I attack the quantitative reasoning section?

Although the quantitative section only uses basic math concepts, it should not be taken lightly. The GRE is written to challenge test takers, so you must thoroughly look at all aspects of the question. Many test takers simply rely on their basic math skills to get through the section, but if they are not careful, it is easy to fall victim to choosing an answer that seems correct, but failing to consider the question in its entirety.

One thing you want to have memorized before you show up is formulas. On test day, there is no cheat sheets allowed, so you either know the formulas or you don’t. Now, that doesn’t mean that you need to know every single mathematic formula that you’ve ever learned, but it does mean that you should have a few of the more common formulas ready to regurgitate if needed, including formula for Area, Perimeter, slope, distance rate and time, simple interest, and compound interest. No matter what your study plans include make sure that you have these formulas memorized for test day.

GRE Analytical: Section Overview and Strategy

The GRE analytical writing section is comprised of two essays which are timed separately. These essays will actually be written before you even start the quantitative or verbal sections. Your two essays are:

  • Analyze an Issue
  • Analyze an Argument

When beginning to write your essay, the first thing you must do is get your thesis. Once you get your thesis, you will want to structure your argument around a persuasive and natural progression of ideas. If you have excessive descriptions and irrelevant context, then you are going in the wrong direction.

Once you have your structure, every sentence of your GRE essay should fit together like the pieces of a puzzle, establishing effective transitions between ideas and fitting together like a big picture.

You don’t have to impress the graders with your poetic abilities. The graders are only looking for a logical essay with points that support it. You won’t get extra points for creativity or using extraneous words. So, save the flowery exposition for the novel you’re writing and ask whether you’ve successfully communicated your thesis in the first sentence or two.

How long do I have to write my essays?

For each essay, you will be given 30 minutes. This is not a lot of time considering that this includes any time spent brainstorming, outlining or making last minute edits to your essay. Because you have such limited time to produce your best results, it is important to have background knowledge and prior practice before writing these essays for the real deal.

How do I know what to write about?

When you write your issue essay, you will be given a statement and you must explain whether you agree or disagree with the statement. Then, you will be asked to give your reasoning behind that perspective. There are 6 possible sets of instructions that might appear after the issue, which you should pay careful attention to.

When you write your argument essay, you will be presented with an argument for one side of a hypothetical issue. There are eight possible sets of instructions which may appear after the argument, all of which will ask you to evaluate the argument in some way.