It is one thing that graduate school application tax candidates with an endless list of documents to submit, and it’s another thing to impose candidates to sit for skill tests, like the GRE.
GRE, which stands for Graduate Record Examination, is a standardized test designed to assess a cluster of skills, which includes, but is not restricted to, verbal and quantitative reasoning and analytical writing skills.
Although such skills are not related to a specific field of study, it is one of the criteria that qualifies students for enrollment in graduate school programs.
The good news is that with the wide array of GRE prep courses offered today, candidates do not have to worry about not pulling off their target top-tier score. Not only that, but they will also develop their knowledge and skills in the subject matter.
This article features the top six GRE prep courses for the year 2022 and how each accommodates learners’ individualized learning styles and levels.
This means they get to choose to register for large-sized classes or go for one-on-one tutoring, study through interactive video lessons or from traditional textbooks, finish the course in a short duration or hang on a little longer, or follow the recommended unit structure or create a customized study plan.
While some courses may go overboard with specific features, such as optimizing technology and visual statistics to track progress, all GRE prep courses partake in the high-quality curriculum delivered and the vast amount of practice problems secured altogether in a user-friendly-interfaced platform.
Let us now explore our way into each of the six GRE prep courses.
- Princeton Review
Through its engaging, live, instructor-led video lessons, the courses offered by Princeton Review will guide learners all the way from the foundational principles on the subjects making up the GRE test to fastening them with a selection of drills adapted to their skill level.
In addition to its large class size, Princeton Review offers private tutoring with GRE experts, with the option to choose between face-to-face or online.
The courses are also user-friendly in that it is designed in a way that tracks your progress and facilitates navigation across the different tabs of the platform.
Contrary to the visual learning style by which Princeton Review is characterized, Achievable takes a more modern approach in offering a GRE-tailored course.
With its digital textbooks at its core, Achievable provides learners with 89 short, but extensive, learning modules, laid out in plain, conversational language, and accompanied by an infinite number of verbal and quantitative practice questions.
Achievable, too, integrates smart, adaptive technology to easily monitor learning progress, grade essays, and improve retention of learning material through spaced reviews, which involves the allocation of questions on content from previous units in evenly-distributed pop quizzes.
While it may not be full-on extensive study material, Magoosh is the go-to digital platform if learners are looking for a large bank of practice problems and tests.
Additionally, learners may choose to customize practice problems by filtering them based on the number, type, and level of difficulty, and scheduling its explanation after each problem or towards the end of each problem set.
These explanations take the form of short videos and written explanations, detailing how each problem should be tackled and what makes an incorrect answer choice.
Like Princeton Review and Achievable, Magoosh allows learners to keep a track of their performance as well as diagnose their areas of strengths and weaknesses for further improvement and contrast their progress against that of their peers.
Like Princeton Review, Kaplan delivers GRE lessons live and in video format, of which the latter integrates different learning strategies and visuals to enhance problem-solving.
Along with the videos, quizzes are assigned at the end of every lesson, followed by explanatory written notes on how to tackle the practice problems.
Kaplan also stands out with its huge repository of practice questions, tests, and drills that are collated in Kaplan prep books, both in its soft and hard copies and resources in the form of QBanks, PDF files, and GRE premium book, to say the least.
Following its success from the SAT and ACT prep courses, PrepScholar offers fully online GRE courses with personalized study plans, right after passing its 60-diagnostic-question test.
Like Achievable, the curriculum of PrepScholar is mainly text-based, but one that is exhaustive and well-organized with test-taking strategies and helpful tips to complement it.
In terms of progress-tracking, PrepScholar stands out amongst other prep courses in its optimization of color-coding that indicates learners’ level of mastery, and documentation of their current and future assignments and quizzes.
The courses can also be completed in a short stretch of time, which makes it a convenient choice for those wishing to speed up their preparatory period.
6. Manhattan Prep
Manhattan Prep steps outside the box with its video lessons, which integrates skits, jokes, and cartoon animation with its live quality content delivered by top GRE instructors. Along with the video lessons come an abundant supply of practice problems, GRE practice tests, and study tools.
With the exception of the GRE Interact course, registering in any of the courses offered by Manhattan Prep will help learners get their hands on the hard copy book that offers insights into strategy tactics and more practice problems.
Putting the strengths and weaknesses of the reviewed courses aside, considering the optimum GRE prep course should depend on several factors, which include the cost, varying modalities of delivery, the number of practice problems, and student support.
While it is difficult to pinpoint one course that shares all the said factors, some qualities are more prominent in some courses over others.
With respect to the cost, Prepscholar takes precedence. In addition to its five-day all-access free trial that enables learners to explore the PrepScholar course before financially committing to the program. Prepscholar offers a score increase guarantee in which learners get their full fee back if their score doesn’t improve by seven points on their GRE test.
These two features may be found across other courses, but Prepscholar is distinguished by combining both the free trial and score increase guarantee in its package, as well as having a reportedly high score for its score increase guarantee.
PrepScholar further ups its affordability in its provision of interactive lessons, customized study plan, personalized scoring of essays and thousands of GRE questions, and all that for as less as 38$.
If you are looking for a course that exploits different modalities in delivering its lessons, then Manhattan Prep might be your answer. This means that learners can opt-in for instructor-led live video lessons, be it in groups or with a private tutor, or switch to the more traditional book-studying.
Although the courses offered by Princeton Review and Kaplan share the same feature, Manhattan Prep delivers its lessons to small-sized classes, which means learners will get personalized attention.
Manhattan Prep also stands in rivalry with Achievable with respect to the number of practice problems, although Achievable may have the advantage in its limitless supply of quantitative problems. Despite that, Manhattan Prep comes first in its overall supply of practice problems, not only those belonging to the quantitative category.
Finally, Magnoosh tops other courses with its 24/7 student support. While a 24/7 helpline may be an overstatement, the form of support is metaphorized to infer responsiveness to student inquiry and personalized, detailed responses and the breaking down of the problem in question.
After reviewing the selected courses, we found Princeton Review to be the best GRE Prep course. Mainly, this is due to its shared benefits with the other courses.
Firstly, learners can pick from a broad selection of courses, each of which comes with its tailored curriculum and of varying lengths.
Secondly, Princeton Review comes second to Manhattan Prep’s supply of exercise, with over 2,500 practice problems, and first with its 8 full-length practice tests.
Thirdly, Princeton Review accommodates its techies and bookies by delivering its lessons through different mediums, and does so, too, in high quality.
Even for learners wishing to opt for private tutoring, they are promised the same personalized support offered by Magnoosh, but in real-time. Speaking of quality, the courses offered by Princeton Review are broken down neatly into building blocks comprising of the fundamentals of the subject matter, a lesson, and a series of drills.
Despite bearing some similarities to the course structure of Manhattan Prep, Princeton Review course structure is more intensive in nature and lays the groundwork for the four sections of the GRE test before jumping into the set of exercises.
Even in its delivery of lessons, the GRE instructor splits the lesson into portions, starting with a brief warm-up on what is expected to be learned and slowly making its way to the more technical subject matter with examples and exercises assigned to reinforce the concepts taught.
Last but not least, Princeton Review assigns a score increase guarantee that is higher than Prepscholar by 3 points – which learners get when they purchase the 10 Points Plus Princeton Review course. Another extension of this feature is the 162 Plus Princeton Review course, which – as the name says – guarantees a full tuition refund if learners do not achieve a score of at least 162.
With the exception of being costly – which also depends on the format and level of resources sought – Princeton Review has it all. Together with all the mentioned benefits, Princeton Review guarantees a starting score of 156 or above and admission to some of the top colleges. And that does not even count for half of the treasure that lies within.
- What Is the GRE?
- How Do GRE Prep Courses Help You Prepare for the Test?
- Is a GRE Prep Course Worth It?
- How Much Do GRE Prep Courses Cost?