Best GRE Online Courses
GRE Prep Course Reviews, Fees, Discounts
Online GRE Prep Courses
Come application season, you see scores of young, and even older, applicants setting up their time table to make room for the standardized tests. These standardized tests play a vital objective role that universities abroad use to evaluate incoming applicants from all over the world. One of the famous tests, among them, is the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) that is used as an admission requirement by a majority of graduate schools in the United States of America. Owned and administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS), it aims to measure the analytical, verbal, and quantitative abilities of the applicant through a worldwide distribution of predominantly Computer Based Tests (CBT). Though Paper Based Tests (PBT) are also available. The CBT test is offered at Prometric test centres across the globe.
There are many resources available, both online and offline, to prepare for the GRE exam. Offline classes mainly refer to tutoring or classroom coaching. Whereas, online preparation is usually in the form of online GRE courses. The basic intention of any course is to familiarize the applicant with the type of questions, the strategies to be applied, and arm them with the ability to perform optimally in a time constraint. Thus, practice is the key to a successful preparation for GRE. Here, we have concentrated on various online GRE course materials available, and have discussed their advantage over traditional classroom coaching approaches. Read How to start studying for the GRE
Benefits of online GRE courses over classroom coaching
One thing is clear, you cannot walk into a GRE exam without some form of preparation. But the second order question is then which one should you opt for, classroom coaching or the online courses? In this section, we have gathered some of the apparent, and hidden, benefits of online GRE courses, albeit from reputed preparatory sources, over classroom coaching.
- The first and foremost advantage of an online prep is its availability when you want it and where you want it. Like many other tests like SAT, CAT, GMAT, etc, the GRE is an applicant’s initiative and doesn’t have the luxury to cut into other regimented routines such as university classes, work schedules, and what have you. Online preparatory classes make it convenient to set up your own schedules and tackle the beast on your own time. Coaching classes, on the other hand are strictly scheduled with little flexibility.
- GRE, being a predominantly computer based testing, provides a natural connection with computer based preparation as well. The mock tests and their evaluations replicate the testing environment as on the day of the exams.
- The preparation material, online, is more likely to get constant reviews and updates as compared to offline course materials.
- Subject to the wider reach of these online courses, across different cities, countries, and even continents, there are certainly more number of students who have used them, as well as reviewed their benefits. These online chatters, along with message boards and forums, make them far more widespread as compared to coaching classes.
- Not to mention the ability to gauge your performance among a pool that is much larger than the few in a coaching class, from your evaluations.
Among the many online GRE prep courses, we have listed the top ones below, along with their reviews.
Reviews of the Top GRE Online Prep Courses
Manhattan GRE Online Course Review
Manhattan Prep is one of the popular educational preparation companies, founded in 2000 in New York, USA. Their instructors have extensive teaching experiences and are tested themselves for their merit in assisting GRE (and GMAT, LSAT) candidates. While they offer both in-class and online instructions, they do have several packages to help students design their preparation according to their skill level. For GRE, Manhattan Prep offers the following options:
- Manhattan Complete Course offers both in-person and online scheduled events of three hours every week. The students have the ability to access the on-demand video lessons that cover the same material. Besides, online classes are recorded and available to the students for later.The price starts at about $1,000 to up to $1,350,and includes books and supplements, practice tests and assessments, as well as full access to online resources.
- GRE Just Math is available both in-person and live online to help develop the quantitative skills needed to combat GRE. The online classes charge about $600 and include GRE Math strategy guides, GRE practice 5 lb problem book, as well as six online practice tests.
- GRE Guided Self-Study charges about $550 for a full Verbal plus Quantitative prep or $300 per. It is an On-Demand Online GRE Prep Course. It is self-paced and taught by expert Manhattan Prep instructors who guide the candidates towards fruitful self-study for GRE. It includes GRE practice 5 lb problem book, online question banks, six adaptive practice tests, challenge problems, and more.
Of course, the urgency to subscribe for their services depends, as mentioned before, on your skill, discipline, and dedication to the GRE preparation. Here are a few reviews from various third-party websites, posted by Manhattan prep users. Overall, it tends to be reviewed very well for its rather comprehensive set of preparatory material and level of practice questions.
“…I always found them (Manhattan Prep) tough. But I will admit that preparing at that level helped a lot. I am not saying that the second section of the GRE will be all chill…”, says a Quora user while talking about the difficulty comparison of Manhattan Prep questions wrt to real-time GRE questions.
“…The actual GRE quant section is more or less of the same difficulty level as Manhattan’s. Especially the second quant section in the actual GRE is tough, when you do the 1st quant section well…I would also advice you to practice from the Manhattan 5 lb book too. It has standard questions that will prepare you well for GRE Quant.”, says another reviewer on Quora. The 5lb Manhattan GRE prep book generally gets a lot of positive reviews for its extensive material and questions. But for the same reason, Manhattan Prep tends to be a bit more book learning oriented than others.
It is also an expensive way to go about your GRE preparation, according to another Quora user. “…Manhattan Prep doesn’t offer a money-back guarantee of any kind. For a course that claims to help students so much, you’d think they’d offer a score increase guarantee similar to Kaplan, Princeton Review, or Target Test Prep.They claim their students can study from anywhere but the GRE ToolKit app is an add-on cost to their other course offerings…”
Kaplan GRE Online Course Review
One of the veterans in the field of educational training material, Kaplan Test Prep, was established in 1938. Besides GRE, it has been preparing students for GMAT, SAT, ACT, LSAT, DAT, MCAT, and more. It has cast a much wider net than most prep materials, with its material having reach 35 countries in 2015. In 2017, there were nearly 175k enrolled in its online programs. Kaplan does offer a Higher Score Guarantee (HSG). If you enrol in HSG, take the test and express your interest in retaking it, Kaplan allows candidates a money back if they don’t score higher than a predetermined baseline. More on that here.
Besides its in-person preparation, it offers the following online options.
- Live Online offers scheduled online sessions of a total of 21 hours, 35 hours of elective live instruction, seven practice tests, 180+ hours of online instruction and practice, 5,000+ practice questions and question bank, 4 GRE prep books and an opportunity to sit for a mock test in an actual testing facility. It costs about $1,300.
- Live Online Plus has the same features as Live Online, with the added advantage of 3 hours of one on one coaching and GRE quant (including advanced topics) self-paced foundations. The cost for Kaplan Live Online Plus is in the neighbourhood of $1,700.
- Kaplan Self-Paced offers 18 hours of recorded instructions, seven practice tests, 180+ hours of online instruction and practice, 5,000+ practice questions and question bank, 4 GRE prep books, an opportunity to sit for a mock test in an actual testing facility, and online access for 6 months. The price tag for this self-motivated, flexible style of prep is about $700.
- Kaplan Self-Paced Plus offers the same facilities as Kaplan Self-Paced, but with the extra features of 35 hours of elective live instruction and GRE quant (including advanced topics) self-paced foundation. The cost for this is about $900.
Here are some user reviews for Kaplan GRE prep.
The general consensus is that Kaplan instructions are useful and engaging. The course material is flexible, with excellent prep resources. The course material covers the AWA section well, and the book does a great job in preparing the foundations for the Quant and Verbal sections.
Here’s what a Facebook reviewer had to say about her experiences with tutoring and course material, with Kaplan, “I’m currently taking the GRE course with Jen Fletcher for quantitative and verbal sections and improved my score over 10 points and i’m only halfway done with the class. This is a great course! Excellent tools to help guide your studying”.
Another Quora user lists out what he perceives to be the pros and cons of using Kaplan GRE Prep. “Huge online question bank (the number of questions are much more than Magoosh) and has a separate set of questions for practice sets and tests. Verbal is fairly similar to the real GRE. Test interface is almost the same as the actual GRE.” He continues to say, however, that the level of difficulty, of Kaplan quant problems is often much harder than actual test problems. Thus, somewhat different from the usual tricky, or strategic, questions in the actual GRE. Also, that the tests are not really as adaptive as the actual GRE problems. A feature that Magoosh has excelled in, he says.
However, contradicting the point on the level of difficulty, for quant problems, this Quora user says, “Difficulty level of questions, specifically in the Quantitative section, could have been better. The practice test set questions are not at par with the Questions by ETS”.He continues to say, “The questions on the Tests by Kaplan seem to lack the quality that we have come to Expect from ETS and Manhattan.”
Princeton Review GRE Online Course Review
The Princeton Review offers college admission courses for standardized tests such as TOEFL, GRE, LSAT, GMAT, and many more. Founded in 1981, it is one of the top preparatory courses for especially GRE. It currently has franchises in 14 countries other than the United States and Canada. It specializes in training candidates with the best testing strategies, providing adaptive tests suiting candidate skill levels, score reports, video lessons, and other resources that make it one of the forerunners in GRE prep. It also provides the Princeton Review Guarantee, whereby candidates are guaranteed money back if they don’t score higher than their expected baseline. More on that here.
Here are the various online prep courses to subscribe with the Princeton Review.
- The Princeton Review Self-Paced Online Instruction offers 24 hours of expert recorded video lessons pertaining to every section of the exam. The online tools, at a candidate’s disposal, are Drill Smart – a practice tool to maximize your score, interactive score reports for a better understanding of strengths and weaknesses, 180+ hours of online resources (470+ drills and 3,500 practice questions), and 8 computer adaptive practice tests. The Self-Paced course costs about $200.
- Ultimate Live-Online offers expert led classroom instruction online. It is s Gold Standard prep where the candidate gets to interact online with the instructor. It also offers 24 hours of expert recorded video lesson apart from 24 hours of live instruction from their experienced instructors. Drill Smart, 8 computer adaptive tests, interactive score reports, 180+ hours of online resources, including 470+ drills and 3500+ practice questions, and detailed online videos on every topic, are also a part of this package. It costs about $1,000 and you may be able to get $200 off on discount offers.
Here are a few customer reviews for Princeton Review Test prep.
This is what this Quora user had to say. “Books and tests by Princeton Review are really good for the preparation of GRE, GMAT, GMAT etc. I felt they quite successfully simulated the actual exam environment and came close as far as the difficulty level of the questions were concerned.”
The strong point about Princeton Review is its attention to the AWA section, according to this reviewer on Quora. “Best part about Princeton is undoubtedly that AWAs are graded by Princeton graders. That score is fairly accurate. Many of my friends and me have got the exact same score in AWA as we were consistently getting in Princeton mocks. The suggestions and comments are also helpful.” However, she continues to say that the Quant section’s difficulty level is lower than the actual GRE.
CrushtheGRE.com gives it a 5-star rating.“The Princeton Review course stacks up well against the competition with various in-person, live online and self-paced options. Students can customize the level of help they need by choosing from three different levels of tutors (private, master, and premier level) and prepare for the actual GRE by trying their hand at 8 full-length, computer adaptive practice exams. They offer A LOT, and honestly, I love their resources more than most.” They further add to say that it is most suited for candidates who want a quick review for the exam for a relatively low price.
Magoosh GRE Online Course Review
The youngest among the top GRE preps, and yet deservedly well-known is Magoosh’s GRE prep course. Established in 2009, it offers prep material for GRE, GMAT, TOEFL, SAT, and more. Its GRE prep program, known as the ‘New GRE’, later named ‘Magoosh GRE’ began in 2011. It has gained popularity over the few years as one of the key players in standardized test preparation. It is cheaper, effective and provides customized packages for a quick preparation for GRE, often a desirable need for many busy students and working professionals. Besides, they also provide mobile accessibility, email support, and is designed for all kinds of computer interfaces. In their features, they claim that their candidates score 6 points higher than other GRE test takers, that they have constant material updates, and candidates can track their progress highlighting their strengths and weaknesses. Its low-price tag and money back (+5 score or money back) guarantee help make it quite a top contender in this preparation game.
- Magoosh’s 1 Month Premium provides a comprehensive coverage of Math, Verbal, and AWA. There are over 200 video lessons, over 1000 practice questions, and 3 practice tests. They are available for a period of one month, along with a +5 score guarantee or money back, email assistance, and a score predictor. It is available at a low low price of $129 and offers a quick study opportunity for those in need of time.
- Magoosh’s 6 Month Premium offers the same features but at an even lower price tag of $149 with an access for six months, instead of $774 ($129×6).
Here’s what customers have to say about Magoosh.
“Its better to take coaching from magoosh in $.. than wasting 15-20k in local coaching. I premium user of Magoosh and I had great experience. My score was increased by 7 points :)” , says a Quora user. Another adds, “Magoosh is very effective if you are preparing for GRE on your own. Magoosh’s videos have a unique style which helps build the foundational concepts and then take it forward from there.”
ConsumerAffairs.com gives it a 5 star rating. Their reviewer reflects, “You got a lot of practice tests, schedules, assistance, and score predictions, along with a guarantee to raise score at least five points for under a $…. A pretty good value. There was no live tutoring, only videos to watch. It would have been nice to actually have a teacher or instructor to answer specific questions. The ease of use was good. It was pretty easy to use with little to no difficulty. Navigating it was easy and using all the products within it was not hard. It gave me a lot of study time, and test, and things to go over. I felt much more prepared after using Magoosh than I would have if I had not taken the time to use it.”
According to this Facebook reviewer, however, the level of difficulty of the Magoosh’s practice questions falls short of the actual ETS questions. “…on the official day, none of the strategies worked. The ETS GRE test was much more difficult than the magoosh practice questions. Their videos were more confusing and on the test day, it was a real mess. Even Magoosh’s practice questions were not adaptive as in the real test. Their full length tests also did not simulate the real GRE pattern.” However, in terms of Facebook reviews, the 5 star ratings outnumber the lower ratings 500 to 10.
Hope these reviews help you to get started on your online prep towards your desired GRE score. For more information, we recommend you to these links below.
- GRE Exam Syllabus: General Test Pattern 2019 – 2020
- Free GRE practice tests: 2019 – 2020
- Free Online GRE AWA Essay Grader
- GRE Preparation Guide: 2019 – 2020
- Best GRE books: 2019 – 2020
- Guide to Masters Degrees for International Students
- Top Business Schools accepting GRE Scores
Disclaimer: MBA Crystal Ball doesn’t offer any in-house test prep courses. We have affiliate partnerships with a select few companies, including CrackVerbal. These are third-party products owned by the respective companies. MBA Crystal Ball is not involved in content, delivery or customer support for any test prep course.