From a masters, PhD, and now even a JD, the list of reasons why you are considering taking the GRE are seemingly endless. Regardless of why you are taking the GRE, there are GRE prep courses out there that will fit your needs. The GRE is becoming an increasingly attractive test option for the admissions of your selected program.
We are going to share 5 of the best, proven GRE prep courses that each have their own advantages and disadvantages for users. When going through this list, please consider what your learning style is and which GRE prep course caters best to that. After all, the best GRE prep course is the one that gets you to achieving a good GRE score.
Best GRE Prep Courses for 2021
- Best Live Online: Princeton Review
- Best On Demand: Magoosh
- Best In Class: Kaplan
- Best for Quantitative Reasoning: Manhattan Prep
- Best Value: Target Test Prep
Prepping for the GRE? Consider the best GRE prep books that made our list!
Magoosh GRE 6 Month Premium
A super affordable self-prep option for students who want to study from home.
Princeton Review GRE 162+
A perfect blend of online content, practice drills, and live instruction (plus a 162+ score guarantee!)
Manhattan Prep GRE Just Math
We love Manhattan Prep for their Quant-focused courses made possible with talented teachers.
The 5 Best GRE Prep Courses for High Scorers
1: Princeton Review Ultimate GRE LiveOnline
The Best Live Online GRE Prep Course
Topping our list as the best Live Online GRE Prep Course is Princeton Review’s Ultimate LiveOnline GRE prep course option. What this Live Online option means is that you will meet at a designated time for 3 hours of live instructor-led classes that are accessed online. These classes meet either once or twice a week for a total of 8 classes (24 hours of total live online classroom instruction). If you meet twice a week, you will finish your course in under 4 weeks. If meeting once a week, you will finish your course in about 8 weeks.
What you get with Princeton Review’s Ultimate GRE LiveOnline course are 24 hours of live instructor-led classes online and an additional 24 hours of pre-recorded videos that can be accessed at any time. Regarding practice materials, Princeton Review utilizes a Computer Adaptive Testing (CAT) platform by section so that you can experience the GRE like you will on test day. You will have access to 8 of these computer-adaptive-by-section GRE practice tests. When taking these tests, you have the option to choose timed, double the time, or unlimited as you begin working through these questions. The practice tests allow you to mark questions that you found difficult so that you can go back to them after taking the test.
You definitely will stay busy with this course by Princeton Review, as it includes over 180 hours of online resources, including 470 practice drills and over 3,500 practice questions. Their course is strategic in helping you break through score plateaus, allowing for Drill Smart, which helps you to focus on areas that will give you the biggest score gains, which makes for much more efficient and personalized prepping. Assisting in keeping you on track towards your personal best, you will have access to an interactive score reporting tool. This score report will show you your strengths and weaknesses down to a question-type basis so that you know which types of questions require more of your focus and time.
For those who prefer taking their courses from the convenience of his or her own home or do not live close to an in-person classroom course, then this is hands-down the most comprehensive test prep option for you. You will benefit from personalized instruction from live instructor-led courses, enjoy breaking score plateaus with Drill Smart, as well as have the ability to look at score reports to see where you need to continue focusing most of your effort. This GRE test prep option from Princeton Review is effective, efficient, and even comes with the insurance of a better score guarantee or your money back.
You can try this course for free, which grants you access to one GRE Practice test as well as the accompanying score report for 14 days.
Princeton Review also offers a Self-Paced GRE prep course if you find this to be more suitable to your schedule or needs.
- 470 practice drills and 3,500 practice questions
- Drill Smart helps you push past score plateaus
- Interact score reporting tool shows strengths and weaknesses as well as breakdown on the average time spent on correct questions and incorrect questions
- 24 hours of live online classroom instruction
The questions on the practice test seem a bit easier than the actual GRE problems you will face on test day. We’d recommend supplementing official ETS exams to determine your scoring accuracy.
Final Verdict: Princeton Review’s Ultimate GRE LiveOnline course is the most personalized live online course option on the market today for GRE prep. We recommend this course to those who do not want to invest in an in-person classroom course but still want a live classroom feeling.
#2: Magoosh GRE 6-Month Premium
Best On Demand GRE Prep Course
Magoosh is pretty new to the test prep scene, but they have already claimed their spot among the best GRE prep courses with their on-demand 1-month and 6-month courses. With an on-demand course, you have the chance to move through the content at your own speed (although Magoosh offers study schedules to accompany their course offerings).
Suggested lessons guide you through an intro to the GRE and provide you with a general overview of the GRE as well as some test-taking strategies, then through Math, Verbal, and Writing and are based on curriculum developed by their tutors.
Suggested lessons are personalized, as they are based on your lesson progress. These lessons essentially serve as a dynamic study guide for you to be working through as you practice questions. Once you master the basics, you can see a list of more than 200 lessons that cover all of the important concepts covered in the exam.
You will access questions to work on through their Quick Practice section. The questions, written by Magoosh, can be customized by section, subject, difficulty, and time. Similar to Princeton Review, you can flag questions when working through them to go back to later. After submitting your answer, you will see the correct answer, difficulty level, your pace compared to others, as well as explanations to the question in text and as a video explanation. If any questions give you difficulty, you can email your question by clicking the “feedback” tab and letting one of the Magoosh GRE team members know you need help. Responses will usually come back within a day.
When you are ready, you can work through three of Magoosh’s full-length practice tests. The drawback with these practice tests is that they draw upon any of your unanswered questions. It is wise to create 3 full-length practice tests with your questions first so that you don’t miss out on the opportunity of experiencing a few mock GRE tests.
You probably already know that Magoosh has a ton of content on study plans, all of which can be accessed via their Resources tab. These study plans range from 1 week to 6 months and basically everything in-between. They utilize Magoosh courses, so you can rest assured that you will not need to go out and purchase any further materials. Also in their Resources tab, you will have access to flashcard apps for Vocabulary and Math as well as their app for on-the-go practice.
If you are still on the fence about Magoosh or want to learn more about their GRE prep, you can take their free trial. You will be able to access their practice questions but will not be able to take any of their full-length GRE practice tests.
- 20 video lessons cover Math, Verbal, and AWA comprehensively
- Over 1,200+ practice questions
- 3 full-length practice tests
- 5 point score increase guarantee (from your last GRE test) or your money back
- Access to the GRE prep & practice app for studying on-the-go
There is no real difference between their 1-month and 6-month GRE programs besides the length of time allotted in the timeline. If you are looking for a 6-month GRE study program that is more rigorous, then you may need to purchase more practice tests for additional study.
Final Verdict: Magoosh’s GRE On-Demand course is among the best GRE prep courses offering for those who want to study and practice on their own but still want comprehensive review of GRE content. If you are not good at self-studying or prefer structured classroom-settings, this will probably not be a good GRE prep course for you.
Related: Get Ready for These Upcoming GRE Test Dates
3: Kaplan GRE Prep In Person & In Person Plus
Best In-Class GRE Prep Course
Kaplan has the most variety of GRE prep offerings to choose from in their test prep arsenal. Their most popular option, and what we are going to dive into deeper here, is their In Person course. Their In Person courses come in two options: In Person and In Person Plus.
What you get with both the In Person and In Person Plus GRE packages are 21 hours of live classroom instruction, which meet either once a week for 7 weeks or twice a week for about 3 weeks. 4 of the 7 classes are devoted to Quantitative Reasoning and the remaining 3 classes are spent working on Verbal Reasoning.
In addition to the live class time, you will have access to 180 hours of online content and instruction and practice. You can work on more than 5,000 practice problems and a Qbank. Kaplan’s questions are not official GRE questions but are some of the most realistic among the companies. You will be able to practice taking 7 full-length computer based tests as well as have a chance to take a simulated GRE test at an actual GRE testing facility!
What you will get if you opt for the In Person Plus option is an additional 3 hours of one-on-one coaching with a GRE expert. This coaching is not in-person but rather utilizing live online technology. These tutoring sessions can be really useful for asking questions and working on chosen practice questions.
The instructors that are chosen to lead these GRE classes are among the best and have proven ability to make class fun and interesting over the course of the 3-hour sessions! They all are high scorers and ranked in the top 10th percentile of their GRE test date. The locations of these courses span across 43 states are generally held in middle-sized and large cities.
If you’re deciding between Magoosh or Kaplan, get help here with our Magoosh vs Kaplan GRE Course Review.
- Higher score guarantee or your money back
- 5,000 practice problems and Qbank allows for personalized quizzes
- 180 hours of online content and instruction/practice
- 21 hours of live instruction
- 7 full-length practice computer GRE tests
- 1 simulated GRE test taken at an official testing location
- 4 prep books
These are premium-priced courses, coming in close to $1,300, but Kaplan does offer a tuition assistance program of up to 60% off for those who qualify for financial aid.
Final Verdict: This course is for anyone who intends on being a high scorer and prefers a structured, classroom setting.
Related: What to Bring to the GRE
4: Manhattan Prep GRE Just Math
Best GRE Prep Course for Quantitative Reasoning
Read our Detailed Manhattan Prep GRE Review
Thus far, we have reviewed our favorite overall GRE prep courses for categories such as On Demand, In Class, Live Online, and One-on-One. We wanted to take a moment to discuss Manhattan Prep’s GRE Just Math course because we think this can be extremely helpful for those who may not have taken any math classes in years. Given that you will need to draw up Algebra, Geometry, Fractions & Decimals, and other Math skills, some people would really benefit from taking this specific course.
Oftentimes, depending on what you studied in college, you may need more help in one section of the GRE and less in another. For those who may have graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree, it’s likely you did not take as many mathematics and analytical courses as those who received a Bachelor of Science. That said, you may not need to spend much time on Verbal Reasoning and or Analytical Writing but would benefit greatly from taking just a math portion course for the GRE.
This is where Manhattan Prep’s GRE Just Math course comes to play! With this class option, you will have 12 hours of either live online or live in person classroom instruction of up to 4 classes (3 hours each). The course instructors for the Just Math are all 99th percentile scorers and many have impressive backgrounds including PhDs and MBAs, and more. Before enrolling in a class, you are able to view the teacher’s profile and see what other students are saying about their teaching ability.
The class size is deliberately small, with classes maxing out at 10 students.
What you will get in this course are 6 GRE Math strategy guides for Algebra, Fractions, Decimals, & Percents, Geometry, Number Properties, Word Problems, and Quantitative Comparisons & Data Interpretation.
You will work through over 2,300 practice questions between two resources: The Official Guide to the GRE and The 5 lb. Book of GRE Practice Problems. Both of these books make it in our 7 Best GRE Prep books list.
In this course, you will receive a suite of online resources. You can access 6 full-length adaptive practice tests as well as detailed assessments for progress tracking. All classes are recorded so that you can watch them on-demand later. You will also be able to work on challenge problems.
- 2,300 Quantitative Reasoning practice problems
- 6 full-length adaptive practice tests and detailed assessment
- Intimate class size – maximum 10 students per class
- 12 hours of classroom instruction in just math
- All instructors are 99th percentile scorers
This is not a cheap course, especially considering it is just focusing on one section of the GRE.
Final Verdict: This is the best course for those who need to score high on the Quantitative Reasoning section for your dream program or for those who are struggling on the Math section.
5. Target Test Prep
Best Value GRE Quant Prep Course
Read our Detailed Target Test Prep GRE Review
Target Test Prep offers on-demand GRE prep for those specifically focusing on improving their GRE Quant scores. Rather than attempting to offer all learning modalities across various sections of the GRE, they have niched down to offering one on-demand course that focuses on GRE Quant and nothing else.
This offering is definitely different than Manhattan Prep’s GRE Just Math Course, which, contrary to its name, actually offers the GRE Interact (their version of an on-demand course that comprehensively covers the entire GRE). The beauty of this course, however, is that it’s an extremely great value with a lot of flexibility for someone who just needs to worry about improving his/her Quant score. You aren’t paying for the extra bells and whistles or extra practice outside of the GRE Quant.
This course offers 500 HD video lessons, 3,000 practice problems, and 800 video solutions. These videos are organized into 21 chapters in quant topics such as: word problems, data interpretation, and geometry. Like pretty much any course on the market today, there are analytics that will help you to track your strengths/weaknesses and custom practice tests that can include specific skills that you are struggling on.
- Option for monthly billing/ cancel anytime
- Score increase guarantee (with some fine print)
- Live chat that responds quickly to questions
- Lack of modality options for different learning styles
- Not a very robust tutoring platform utilizing Zoom / WebEx
- If you still need to review general GRE content, you’d still need to buy a comprehensive book or additional study program
Final Verdict: This is the best course for a student who already has general GRE prep in order and needs to focus on specifically raising his or her Quant score.
GRE Prep Q&A
Do I need to take a GRE prep course?
While you don’t necessarily need to invest in a GRE prep course in this list, you should definitely have a study plan for the test and stick to it so that you’re studying efficiently. This can come in the format of either a GRE book set, a study guide, or from any of the GRE prep courses listed in this review.
What we do not recommend is “winging it,” so to speak, as the GRE is similar to the SAT in that questions are written specifically to lead you to the wrong answer. Understanding how these questions work is crucial to doing well on the GRE.
What are the best GRE prep books?
We have a whole list of our GRE prep book favorites, but our highest-recommended GRE prep book is the Manhattan Prep 5 lb GRE book. The beauty of buying this book is that you’ll gain access to Manhattan Prep’s online GRE course. For many, prepping for the GRE with a textbook can be monotonous, which is why being able to utilize their online platform for interactive content and micro drills helps to break up the studying.
Which course is better – Magoosh or Kaplan?
Although we don’t like to prescribe courses to students, we do think that overall, Kaplan offers a more comprehensive GRE course. That said, the cost is significantly more than what you’d get if you purchased the Magoosh GRE prep. Both courses are good, which is why we recommend them in our course list, but have a look at our more detailed review and face-to-face comparisons on our latest Magoosh vs Kaplan GRE guide.
Which course is better – Kaplan or Princeton Review?
Taken at face value, it can be hard to discern the differences between Kaplan and Princeton Review’s GRE courses. That said, there are pros and cons to each of these courses. The biggest strength for Kaplan is the sheer amount of practice you’ll receive with your course. However, if you were looking for a specific high score guarantee, investing in The Princeton Review would actually be a better choice. Read more on the specifics to these courses in our recently published guide Kaplan vs Princeton Review GRE.
How long do I need to prep for the GRE?
Most students need between 2-4 months prepping for the GRE to be successful. If you find yourself studying for longer than 6 months, you’ll likely begin losing the information you studied at the beginning. This is why experts recommend considering your GRE test date and planning your GRE study plan to accommodate this timeframe.
Picking the best GRE prep course isn’t rocket science, but it isn’t always so cut-and-dry either. We’ve spent a great deal of time auditing each of these GRE courses as well as speaking to current and past students to narrow it down to these 5 best GRE prep courses. We hope you found the perfect course that is going to match exactly what you need to rock the GRE. Good luck and let us know which course you decided to go with by commenting below!