Updated June 17, 2020
Choosing the right Graduate Record Examination (GRE) prep course is a very important decision, one that will help you score higher on the GRE and could get you into the graduate school of your dreams.
You’ll be spending many hours studying, so it’s crucial to find the study materials that best fit your learning style and background.
So here’s the good news—we’ve personally researched and reviewed every major GRE prep course on the market to make things easier for you! The comparison chart below will help you figure out which one suits your budget, learning style, and scheduling needs.
Please note that several of the links included below are affiliate links. At no extra cost to you, we may earn a referral commission if you use one of the courses below. Only use the links if you have been helped by our review!
GRE Prep Course Reviews & Exclusive Discounts
|COMPANY||Magoosh GRE||examPAL||Princeton Review||Kaplan||Target Test Prep||PrepScholar||Manhattan Prep|
|$149 $99/month||$398 $345||$499 $249
|GUARANTEE||+5 total score guarantee, 7 Day Money-Back Guarantee||+7 total score guarantee||Higher Score Guarantee||Higher Score Guarantee||Quant Score Improvement Guarantee||+7 total score guarantee||None|
|FORMAT||Self-Paced Online||Self-Paced Online||Self-Paced Online, In-person, & Live Online||Self-Paced Online, In-person, & Live Online||Self-Paced Online||Self-Paced Online||Self-Paced Online, In-person, & Live Online|
|COURSE BOOKS||Online Only||Online Only||Online Only||3 Workbooks + Pocket Reference||Online Only||Online Only||Online Only|
|ESSAY GRADING||* with Premium Tutoring|
|STUDENT SUPPORT||Chat Support, Email Support & Forum||Email & Live Chat Support||Email & Phone Support||Instructor Email Support||Email & Live Chat Support||Email Support||Email Support & Forum|
|ONLINE ACCESS||6 Months||6 Months||4 Months||6 months||6 Months||1 Year||6 Months|
|MORE DETAILS||Read Full Review||Read Full Review||Read Full Review||Read Full Review||Read Full Review||Read Overview||Read Full Review|
|GET STARTED||Start Now||Start Now||Start Now||Start Now||Start Now||Start Now||Start Now|
Quick Links to GRE Prep Courses and Study Materials
Magoosh GRE (Rank: #1)
Bottom Line: Magoosh has quality material, great web and mobile optimization, a 5-point score improvement guarantee, and quality customer service. These features come at an incredibly low price, easily making Magoosh the best GRE course in terms of overall value.
examPAL GRE (Rank: #2)
Bottom Line: examPAL offers a great price for top-notch services, a score improvement guarantee, and options to access even more personal resources. If flashcards and a mobile app aren’t necessities for your study plan, examPAL is a great option for your GRE prep.
Bottom Line: The Princeton Review provides top-notch course guarantees and feedback for your practice AWA essays. Although they are the most expensive of our top 3 prep courses, their course is one of the most comprehensive on our list, and is a well-rounded option for any student.
Kaplan GRE (Rank: #4)
Bottom Line: Kaplan provides the most comprehensive course offering on the market thanks to features like their large question bank, but this comes at a higher price point than comparable courses from other high-quality providers.
Target Test Prep GRE (Rank: #5)
Bottom Line: Target Test Prep’s GRE review is best for those who need help specifically with the quantitative section of the exam, thanks to their guarantees and personalized study plans.
PrepScholar (Rank: #6)
Bottom Line: PrepScholar offers students flexible access to GRE preparation materials at an affordable price point. They lack a mobile app and have only 2 practice tests, but their quality instruction and overall value make them a really well-rounded option for any GRE test-taker.
Manhattan Prep GRE (Rank: #7)
Bottom Line: Manhattan Prep provides a comprehensive course that covers all the bases for you to score high. We don’t find it as efficient of a process as the Princeton Review or Kaplan, but if you want a large amount of practice problems, Manhattan Prep is a great option. Their materials are difficult, ensuring you’ll be prepared adequately for the GRE.
The Economist GRE (Rank: #8)
*Update 6-17-20: The Economist’s GRE Tutor program is currently unavailable for purchase. They will launch an all-new program in Fall 2020.
Bottom Line: The Economist is the new kid on the block in the GRE test prep space. They’ve managed to create a solid all-around course with a variety of features, but it’s not as seamless an experience as some of the higher-rated courses above. We recommend the Premium plan for most students and the Ultimate plan for someone that will need more tutoring help.
Kaplan vs. Princeton Review GRE
Many people narrow their choices down to either Kaplan’s or The Princeton Review’s GRE prep courses, as both companies have been around for more than 35 years. Their GRE courses are refined, but the choice between these two depends on your specific needs and your learning style.
Course Options and Price
Kaplan and The Princeton Review are the only 2 companies on our list that offer GRE instruction in all the major formats: live online, self-paced online, in person, and private tutoring. Even so, The Princeton Review offers three different online GRE prep classes with unique schedules, material, and guarantees, while Kaplan only offers two. Kaplan’s GRE self-paced prep course includes 7 practice tests and over 5,000 practice questions, one of the largest question banks of our list, but The Princeton Review includes one more practice test than Kaplan and fewer practice questions. In terms of price, The Princeton Review’s self-paced course comes at a starting price of $399, $150 less than Kaplan’s starting price, and their live online/in person Ultimate course costs $100 less than the comparable course from Kaplan’s. Lastly, courses from The Princeton Review come with a few different versions of The Princeton Review Guarantee, promising as many as 162 points on the GRE quant section. Kaplan, on the other hand, only includes a higher score guarantee.
Kaplan and The Princeton Review’s GRE programs are similar, but The Princeton Review edges out Kaplan in every respect. Their courses are cheaper, come with a bit more variety in their schedule and curricula, and include better, more specific score guarantees. So unless you need the extra practice problems from Kaplan, we’d recommend going with Princeton Review. If you’re interested in learning more about these GRE classes in detail, see our full comparison of Kaplan and The Princeton Review GRE.
PrepScholar vs Magoosh GRE
PrepScholar and Magoosh don’t aim to be as intensive or comprehensive as courses like Kaplan’s and The Princeton Review’s, but if you’re looking for affordable and effective GRE test prep online, these two courses are seriously worth looking into.
Course Options and Price
Magoosh has a reputation as one of the most easy-to-use and cost-effective GRE online prep courses out there, and this reputation is well-earned. They offer 6 months of access to practice tests and GRE prep questions, along with a 5-point score improvement guarantee, for only $179—a bargain when compared to the other top prep classes on our list. Usually, Magoosh would be the cheapest option for quality GRE instruction, but at the time of writing, PrepScholar is offering a year of access to a comparable course for only $38, accompanied by a 7-point score improvement guarantee. This is an incredible (and greatly-discounted) price, but it may not last for long, and it still doesn’t necessarily mean PrepScholar has the type of material that you need. Part of what makes Magoosh one of the best test prep options today is their emphasis on accessibility; they provide flashcards, a seamless mobile app, and excellent customer service that puts them at the forefront of today’s test prep industry. PrepScholar, in comparison, doesn’t include a mobile app at all, so using their GRE prep class requires sitting at a computer, which not every student has time for.
PrepScholar currently comes in at a lower price, but Magoosh provides students with a one-of-a-kind studying experience that can make studying for the GRE a breeze. This ease-of-use makes Magoosh our pick out of these two courses, but if that usability isn’t your top priority, PrepScholar could still certainly be the best course for you.
Manhattan Prep vs Kaplan GRE
Manhattan Prep and Kaplan’s courses are some of the most comprehensive GRE classes out there. They’re both offered in all different formats, come in at high prices, and even include printed studying material, so those looking for a great all-inclusive course may have a hard time figuring out which of these two will give them the GRE prep experience they need.
Course Options and Price
Manhattan Prep’s cheapest GRE class is their self-paced Interact for GRE course, which costs only $249. Kaplan’s cheapest is well over that number at $449, but Manhattan Prep’s other GRE courses aren’t so competitively priced, ranging anywhere from $669 to $1,399 and including less material than Kaplan’s for hundreds of dollars more. Both companies offer classes in every format, allowing you to prepare for the GRE online at your own pace, view live-streamed GRE classes, or meet for class in person. One major difference between the two’s GRE prep services is that Kaplan offers a higher score guarantee—you can retake courses or ask for a refund if you qualify—while all purchases with Manhattan Prep are completely nonrefundable.
When comparing Kaplan GRE or Manhattan Prep GRE, there’s a lot that makes them similar: they come in at high price points and offer lots of course schedules in different formats. However, with their less expensive courses and higher score guarantee, Kaplan GRE is our recommendation for most students. Still, there are plenty of features for each course that we haven’t talked about here—you can compare the two in further detail through our Manhattan Prep vs Kaplan GRE comparison page.
The Princeton Review vs Manhattan Prep GRE
The Princeton Review is one of the most well-established test prep companies out there, and their GRE courses reflect their experience. Manhattan Prep is a similarly large company offering in-depth GRE courses at a high-end price point, all of which include comprehensive course material created by an experienced staff.
Course Options and Price
Both The Princeton Review and Manhattan Prep sell courses in a variety of formats. Students can take self-paced online courses, view live online class sessions, meet with private tutors, or take classes in person. The Princeton Review’s GRE prep classes are not the cheapest on our list, with their classes starting at $399 and costing up to $1,099, but most of Manhattan Prep’s GRE courses are still more expensive. They start at $249 for their self-paced online course, but their live online GRE prep course costs $1,399, well over the comparable $1,099 course from The Princeton Review. In terms of features and guarantees, Manhattan Prep boasts an incredible 100,000+ practice GRE questions (more than you’ll ever need), but The Princeton Review offers more computer-adaptive practice tests as well as a higher score guarantee for each of their courses.
Although Manhattan Prep’s GRE courses are high-quality options for those seeking in-depth instruction, The Princeton Review offers invaluable practice tests and a higher score guarantee at a lower price. We’d recommend The Princeton Review for most students, though Manhattan Prep’s online GRE course may have exactly the features you need to succeed.
Kaplan vs. Magoosh GRE
Kaplan and Magoosh GRE sit at opposite sides of the test prep spectrum—where Magoosh positions itself as an easy-to-use and affordable online GRE prep solution, Kaplan goes for a more traditional route, offering intensive class sessions both in person and online. Both are solid options for most GRE test-takers, even though we believe one prep course edges out the other in overall value.
Course Options and Price
In terms of having various course options, Kaplan definitely beats out Magoosh. They have several different GRE prep schedules and course styles (in person, live online, etc.) while Magoosh only offers self-paced prep services. Magoosh’s services, however, come at a cheaper price. For $149, Magoosh GRE includes video lessons, practice tests, thousands of practice questions and a +5 total score improvement guarantee. For only $30 more, users can extend their access to Magoosh’s GRE prep online from 1 month to 6 months. Kaplan’s cheapest GRE course costs close to 3x the price, but includes more tests and questions.
Magoosh GRE includes better score guarantees than Kaplan, all for just a fraction of Kaplan’s cost. And though Kaplan offers more practice material than Magoosh, Magoosh offers enough for most students to succeed. These features make Magoosh the best online GRE prep course out there, though Kaplan’s GRE courses may still be a good option for students looking for specialized course formats and lots of practice resources. To learn more about Magoosh and Kaplan in detail and see which one is right for you, read our full comparison of Kaplan and Magoosh GRE.
Full GRE Prep Course Reviews
Magoosh GRE (Full Review)
examPAL GRE (Full Review)
The Princeton Review GRE (Full Review)
Kaplan GRE (Full Review)
Target Test Prep GRE (Full Review)
PrepScholar (Quick Overview)
Manhattan Prep GRE (Full Review)
The Economist GRE (Full Review)
Best GRE Apps
#1 Magoosh GRE Android App (also available on iOS)
The Magoosh GRE prep app is easily the best on our list, thanks in large part to the fact that Magoosh is geared entirely towards making a slick and accessible mobile GRE prep experience. It offers students the option to try it out for free, giving you a taste of its capabilities with 70 free video lessons and 40 free questions complete with video explanations and helpful articles. Upgrade to the Premium Magoosh GRE app, however, and you suddenly have access to over 1,000 practice questions, 200 video lessons, expert advice, tutorials, and progress tracking. When all of this combines with the natural fit of Magoosh’s intuitive mobile platform, the Magoosh GRE app is a sure bet for studying on the go.
#2 Kaplan Test Prep App
Kaplan is one of the highest overall options on our list and its GRE study app is a big reason why. Coupled with the unique Kaplan Qbank app, which allows students to build customizable practice sets based on subject matter or difficulty, the Kaplan app for Android and iOS gives students a great resource for easy GRE studying. Also included: complete access to all course features, so you don’t miss a thing.
#3 Princeton Review GRE App
Much like the Kaplan GRE app, this GRE app provides students with full access to their course materials on their mobile device or tablet. Whether in the form of GRE vocabulary flashcards, video lessons, practice questions, or support services, the Princeton Review app aims to give students the ability to take their full complement of resources with them everywhere they go, making it one of the top GRE apps on the market. However, some of the reviews for this app have been less than stellar, with many users reporting technical difficulties, so keep in mind that other prep apps may provide a more seamless user experience.
Best GRE Flashcards
#1 Kaplan GRE Flashcards
For just $15, Kaplan flashcards combine two of the most powerful resources students can have: easy to handle physical cards that you can organize and carry with you anywhere, and a mobile interface that lets you study your vocabulary anytime, anywhere. With their Flashcards + App package, students can get access to over 500 frequently-tested vocab words including definitions, synonyms, pronunciation guides and sentence examples. Although 500 isn’t an amount that stands out from the crowd, the combination of mobile flashcards and physical GRE flashcards—which go with their built-in QuizBank feature—makes Kaplan our number 1 choice here.
#2 Magoosh GRE Flashcards
Magoosh are the kings of mobile accessibility, so it’s no surprise that their flashcards come in mobile form. They bring the most content to the table with over 1,000 GRE flashcards with vocabulary (ranked from common, to basic, to advanced) and math available. They don’t quite take the top spot because they only offer an online version of their flashcards, but they come in a very close second because their GRE flashcards are FREE. Overall, Kaplan’s flashcards provide a little more substance, but Magoosh GRE flashcards make a great choice for anyone looking to do some quick mobile test prep as a supplement to Magoosh’s other resources, which are some of the best study materials around.
#3 Princeton Review GRE Flashcards
The Princeton Review comes in at third place because, unlike Kaplan and Magoosh, there is no dedicated mobile option for accessing their flashcards. Princeton Review flashcard packs offer students access to 500 commonly tested vocabulary words for $13. Much like the Kaplan cards, Princeton Review flashcards offer synonyms, sentence examples, and pronunciation guides. Nonetheless, the lack of mobile access and truly average amount of cards keeps The Princeton Review at number 3.
Should I take a GRE prep course?
When it comes to preparing for the GRE—as with all tests—you actually only have a few options as a student. You can A: take it without preparing (our least favorite option, hopefully it’s your least favorite, too), B: study all on your own (guessing what’ll be on the test and creating your own practice questions is admirable, but not super effective) or C: find expertly-crafted resources to guide you through the test-preparation process.
GRE prep courses come in all different forms. Some of them include live-streamed online class sessions, some are held in person, and others come in the form of customizable study plans alongside helpful videos, flashcards, and reading material that you can use whenever works best for you. There’s a wide variety of course types with a wide variety of prices; sure, some GRE prep courses are expensive, but others are incredibly budget-friendly. Take Magoosh GRE, for instance, which includes a 5-point score improvement guarantee and 6 months of self-paced studying for only $149, one of the best (and cheapest) courses out there today. If you’re nervous about draining your wallet or getting into a schedule-consuming class, there are plenty of options that are both budget and calendar-friendly. Look at our in-depth reviews—such as our Magoosh GRE review—and we’re sure you’ll find an effective course that checks all the boxes for you.
As we see it, studying all on your own for the GRE is doable, but you’ll have to incorporate external resources at some point, and without a course to provide them, there’s no guarantee that you’ll actually get the score you need. Instead, consider companies that have made it their mission to provide you with accessible, easy-to-understand and time-tested prep material, personalized study plans, and guaranteed score improvements. With the right GRE prep course, you’ll be investing in a dependable company that will effectively guide you in your studying process—you won’t regret it!
What’s the best GRE prep course?
Each of the top GRE prep courses on our list includes something for everyone. You could choose examPAL for their score guarantee, Target Test Prep for their focus on the quant section, or any of the other courses for the specific features they have to offer. Still, we think that one course beats out all the others when it comes to providing overall bang-for-your-buck to most students: Magoosh GRE. Their affordability, accessibility, and great score guarantee make them a really appealing option when compared to more expensive courses that offer similar GRE instruction resources. Other courses could still easily have more value for you, though, so feel free to check out our full reviews (such as our Magoosh GRE review) of each major GRE prep course to find out which will best suit your test preparation needs.
What’s the most affordable GRE prep course?
At the time of writing, the cheapest full prep course available is PrepScholar’s GRE course, which includes thousands of GRE practice questions, personal study plans, adaptive practice tests, and a fantastic +7 score improvement guarantee for only $38! Generally, though, another course on our list does the best job of offering its course content at a really competitive price point: Magoosh GRE. Aside from PrepScholar’s particularly low current offering, Magoosh is the cheapest full GRE prep course on our list, and in our eyes, it’s also the most accessible and effective prep course on the market today. If you’re not looking for a full GRE prep experience, you can also find quiz banks and section-specific courses for even cheaper than these prices, but those options don’t compare to Magoosh GRE when it comes to overall course value.
How long does it take to prepare for the GRE?
The GRE is daunting, and preparing for the exam will be a different experience for each and every student. If you’re planning on taking the GRE and looking at different resources that could help you prepare, it’s important to nail down a time frame for your studying, which will in turn limit the GRE prep services you can use.
On average, students should allocate about 3 months of preparation time for the GRE. This number is flexible, though: some students do well after only a month of preparation, while others may need 6 months or even a year to study bit-by-bit over time. With that being said, think about your calendar and how the test prep process might fit into it. If you need extra flexibility for your test prep schedule, consider going with an online GRE prep course like Target Test Prep’s flexible plan, which features a monthly subscription model. If you don’t know when you’ll be able to study for the GRE, but want the option to start whenever you feel like, maybe PrepScholar GRE will be the best choice for you, as you can get course access for life with their affordable Lifetime plan. Test preparation resources like these come in many different formats, and we’re sure that of the best GRE prep courses on our list, you’ll find one that fits your schedule perfectly.
Who has the best GRE prep books and guides?
Many prep courses nowadays come in online-only formats, featuring interactive videos, flashcards, and even games that can teach you everything you need to know about the GRE. If you’re looking for pure reading material, though, there aren’t many companies on our list that include dedicated preparation materials in a book format. Kaplan GRE includes 2 full GRE prep books with their self-paced online prep courses, and you can rest assured that thanks to their years of experience as a top-tier company in the test prep industry, they know their way around the GRE. Kaplan isn’t your only option, though, as Manhattan prep’s GRE books also come included with their test prep courses. As we see it, Kaplan’s books will probably give you a bit more overall value for a lower price.
It’s important to note that you can find standalone GRE prep books from other companies out there on the market, but these prep books really aren’t the best way to maximize your study time if you’re using them all on their own. Prep books like Kaplan’s are meant to act as supplements to quality instruction that you can only get from qualified preparation professionals, and we believe that this more intensive instruction—with or without a good GRE test prep book—is the most sure-fire way to increase your GRE test score (and at an affordable price).
How much do GRE prep courses cost?
Test prep courses come in many forms and can include a variety of schedules, practice question bank sizes, and bonus features, which impacts their price. GRE prep courses cost generally between the mid $100s all the way up to over $1,000, but these prices are highly variable and are often cut down thanks to frequent discounts. In general, more expensive GRE prep classes often feature more 1-on-1 instruction from teachers or private tutors. Take examPAL’s Genius plan, for instance, which includes 3 hours of 1-on-1 tutoring sessions and costs $599, hundreds more than their other packages. Some companies offer courses that are cheaper than their standard offerings because they’re section-specific, such as Manhattan Prep’s quant/verbal-only packages. Courses can come in at fixed pay-up-front prices, but others work on a subscription model, such as Target Test Prep’s Flexible plan which costs $99/month. No two GRE test prep classes come with the same features and prices, but if you take a look at our in-depth reviews and comparison charts, we’re sure you’ll find out which courses will be worth the cost for you!
Top 12 Best Online GRE Prep Courses of 2020
|Rank||GRE Course||Feature||Course Price|
|1||Magoosh GRE||Best Overall Value||$149|
|2||examPAL GRE||Best Essay Reviews||$279|
|3||The Princeton Review GRE||Best Practice Tests||$499|
|4||Kaplan GRE||Best Practice Questions||$629|
|5||Target Test Prep||Best Comprehensive Materials||$279|
|6||PrepScholar GRE||Year-Long Access||$38|
|7||Manhattan Prep GRE||Best Qualified Instructors||$549|
|8||The Economist GRE||Best Tutoring Options||$206|
|9||TestMasters||Best One-On-One Tutoring||$950|
|10||PowerScore||Best Admissions Prep Services||$995|
|11||Barron’s GRE||Best Low Cost/Budget Option||$99|
|12||MLIC||Best Test Score Guarantee||$1495|