The 8 Best GRE Prep Courses for Higher Test Scores

As applications to graduate programs continue rising, a stellar GRE score is more important than ever for admission to top business, law, and other professional schools. Thorough test preparation using the best GRE prep courses can provide the competitive edge to meet your target scores.

Over 640,000 people took the GRE General Test in the past year. The wide scale participation means you’ll likely be compared against students from across the globe. Scoring above average is crucial to get accepted by prestigious universities for master‘s, MBA, PhD, and postgraduate programs.

That’s why investing in a GRE course is wise to optimize your study time and fully prepare for the unique exam structure and question types. Quality prep programs offer video lessons explaining concepts, thousands of practice questions to apply skills, and full-length practice tests to refine technique.

In this comprehensive guide, we evaluate the top 8 best GRE prep courses for 2023 based on verified effectiveness factors:

  • Instructional Content: Video lessons, tutorials, question explanations
  • Practice Resources: Volume of practice questions, practice exams
  • Customization: Adaptivity, personalization, self-paced options
  • Platform: Interface, analytics dashboards, mobile accessibility
  • Pricing and Support: Budget options, payment plans, customer service

We scrutinized prep courses proven to raise GRE scores for admittance into top graduate programs. Read on for full details on offerings, value, and real student outcomes.

Overview of the GRE Exam

Let’s first cover key details on the GRE before diving into the prep courses.

What is the GRE?

The Graduate Record Examination is a globally standardized test used for admission into graduate schools, especially in the US and Canada. It aims to measure verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, analytical writing, and critical thinking skills mastered throughout undergraduate education.

GRE scores act as a common denominator during the admissions process to compare applicants from assorted backgrounds on core competencies. Hence a strong GRE score signals your readiness for the analytical complexity at graduate-level academia.

Exam Administration

The GRE General Test is administered year-round at authorized test centers by the Educational Testing Service (ETS). This centralized authority allows schools to easily interpret scores from diverse candidates.

Students can alternatively take the GRE General Test at home while monitored remotely by online proctors. This option expanded access during COVID and continues providing convenience.

Exam Structure & Scoring

The GRE exam structure tests a multitude of skills across three main sections:

  1. Verbal Reasoning: Measures ability to analyze and evaluate written material and synthesize information. Scored on a 130-170 scale in 1-point increments.

  2. Quantitative Reasoning: Tests basic mathematical skills including arithmetic, algebra, geometry and data analysis. Scored on a 130-170 scale.

  3. Analytical Writing: Assesses critical thinking and analytical writing skills. Scored from 0-6 in half point increments.

The total maximum score achievable across the three sections is 340. Admissions committees view GRE scores in context with GPA, experience, research, recommendations and other application materials. But a higher than average score can bolster your chances, especially at very competitive graduate programs.

Why Invest in a GRE Prep Course?

You may be wondering if self-study for the GRE utilizing free or low-cost resources can suffice. Why splurge on a prep course?

There are clear advantages of programs designed specifically to optimize your GRE performance:

1. Structure: Prep courses map out a strategic studying timeline and lessons to cover all concepts tested. This prevents wasting time researching what to learn next.

2. Guidance: Expert instructors teach the material and necessary skills to master questions. You gain methods impossible to garner from a test guide.

3. Feedback: Many courses provide scored practice tests to gauge progress and customize further study based on performance in each section.

4. Motivation: The community and accountability of a course environment can inspire more consistent preparation.

Investing in instruction, practice tests, and tracking your improvement is well worth the cost to gain admittance into competitive graduate programs that accelerate your career.

Next let’s explore the methodology for selecting the top prep courses to recommend.

Methodology for Selecting the Top GRE Prep Courses

With an immense market of GRE prep options, it can be daunting finding the one that best fits your learning requirements and budget to achieve your target test scores.

To compile this list of top prep courses, we implemented an extensive evaluation methodology based on key effectiveness criteria:

Instructional Content

  • Topic-focused video lessons
  • Accessibility for diverse learning styles
  • Supplemental textbooks/materials

Practice Questions

  • Volume of practice questions
  • Difficulty levels available
  • Exposure to real GRE questions

Practice Exams

  • Number of full-length practice tests
  • Retake options and scoring analysis

Adaptivity & Customization

  • Personalized study plans based on baseline scores
  • Self-paced options matching schedule

Platform & Accessibility

  • User-friendly dashboard/interface
  • Accessible across devices like mobile
  • Technical support response

Pricing & Budget

  • One-time or subscription models
  • Payment plan options
  • Money-back score guarantees

Student Reviews & Results

  • Verified score improvements
  • Student ratings and testimonials

Our methodology exposes which GRE programs have evidence backing their results along with superior features for a variety of learning preferences.

Now let’s explore the top recommended courses in-depth!

#1. Varsity Tutors

Varsity Tutors mimics an interactive classroom environment with exceptional live online prep courses. Expert instructors provide personalized feedback and teaching strategies focused on verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, and essay sections.

Key Features

  • 20 hours of interactive live instruction
  • Classes with just 6-9 students
  • Over 4,200 practice questions with explanations
  • Diagnostic exams to identify weak areas
  • Comprehensive textbooks included
  • Private tutoring available


  • Live courses from $1,499
  • Half tuition back if your score doesn‘t improve guaranteed

Bottom Line

Varsity Tutors earns high marks for instructors engaging with each student’s strengths and development areas. If you know you learn best from individual teaching, it’s a smart GRE investment.

#2. Magoosh GRE Prep

Magoosh offers engaging on-demand video lessons, thousands of practice questions, and analytics tracking tools to maximize your GRE prep. Customize your study plan based on your goals and timeline.

Key Features

  • Over 200 video lessons explaining GRE concepts
  • Over 1,400 practice questions with detailed explanations
  • Practice tests with score predictions
  • Customizable flashcards for memorization
  • Question bank shared by students


  • 1 month access for $149
  • 6 month access for $249 (best value)

Bottom Line

Magoosh earns top ratings from students for in-depth video explanations and reliable score prediction. With flexibility to prep across devices, it works for diverse learning styles.

#3. Udemy

Udemy offers high-quality GRE video courses taught by expert instructors approved by ETS. Benefit from concise video explanations for all the concepts tested and plenty of realistic practice questions.

Key Features

  • Step-by-step video tutorials clarifying concepts
  • Companion quiz questions reinforcing techniques
  • Engaging instructors simplify complex topics
  • Downloadable content for offline studying
  • GRE problem-solving methods and tips


  • Courses range from $12.99-$199.99

Bottom Line

For affordable on-demand access to video lessons 24/7, Udemy is a top choice. With GRE courses featuring money-back guarantees, the value is unmatched.

#4. The Princeton Review

The Princeton Review is renowned for exceptional GRE teaching utilizing real past exam questions. Video instructors explain concepts, walk through practice problems, and share proven test-taking methods.

Key Features

  • Concise video tutorials clarifying GRE content
  • 5,800+ practice questions with quizzes
  • 8 full-length computer-adaptive practice tests
  • Drill sets organized by difficulty level
  • Customizable practice plan


  • Self-paced course for $499
  • 1-on-1 tutoring packages from $1,299

Bottom Line

The Princeton Review earns praise for extremely thorough test preparation. Their engaging video lessons and realistic practice tests provide a turnkey formula for GRE success.

#5. Kaplan

Kaplan‘s GRE prep instills confidence by diagnosing your weak areas upfront and creating a tailored study plan. Learn core concepts through 180+ video lessons as you build speed and accuracy.

Key Features

  • 5,000+ realistic practice questions
  • 7 full-length paper and online practice tests
  • 180+ video lessons with top-rated instructors
  • Adaptive Qbank for customized practice
  • Daily progress tracking against goals


  • Self-guided prep packages from $699
  • Tutoring packages from $1,499

Bottom Line

Kaplan utilizes proven methods and comprehensive practice to raise student performance. Customization makes it accommodating for all learning preferences.

#6. Economist GRE Tutor

Economist GRE Tutor leverages AI technology to evaluate your skills and create weekly study plans aligned to your growth areas. Master concepts efficiently with video lessons and realistic practice.

Key Features

  • Personalized prep using AI algorithms
  • 5,000+ questions with performance tracking
  • 300+ video tutorials taught by 99th percentile instructors
  • Essay grading and feedback in 48 hours
  • Tutoring support 7 days/week


  • 5-month access starting at $699

Bottom Line

The smart GRE curriculum maximizes score improvements through machine learning adapting to each student‘s strengths and development needs.

#7. GradPrep

GradPrep provides personalized and adaptive GRE test preparation based on your goals, strengths, schedules and more. Interactive lessons target the concepts you specifically need to improve.

Key Features

  • Adaptive algorithm tailors program to you
  • Predictive score analysis
  • 500+ practice questions for each section
  • Micro lessons for focused learning
  • Easy access across all devices


  • $299 for 5-month access

Bottom Line

For maximizing growth in limited study time, GradPrep‘s custom study plan and real-time feedback delivers proven results.

#8. examPAL

ExamPAL emphasizes learning core GRE concepts efficiently to achieve your best scores in less overall study time. Interactive lessons provide just the right level of challenge to grow skills.

Key Features

  • Adaptive online platform identifying gaps
  • Real-time feedback and analysis
  • Timed practice tests
  • Entertaining video lessons


  • Starts at $35/month billed annually

Bottom Line

The strategic learning curriculum helps students achieve remarkably high GRE results quickly and affordably.

Comparison of the Top GRE Prep Courses

Prep Course Price Practice Questions Full Tests Adaptive Learning Money-Back Guarantee
Varsity Tutors $1,499+ 4,200+ Diagnostics Score Increase or 50% Refund
Magoosh $149+ 1,400+ 3 tests None
Udemy $12.99-$199.99 Varies Varies Course Dependent
Princeton Review $499+ 5,800+ 8 tests Score Increase or Refund
Kaplan $699+ 5,000+ 7 tests Score Increase or Refund
Economist GRE Tutor $599+ 5,000+ 2 tests Score Increase or Refund
GradPrep $299 500+ per section Practice sets None
examPAL $35+/month 1,500+ 10 tests None

Final Recommendations for Choosing a GRE Prep Course

All of the providers highlighted excel at GRE prep through polished video instruction, realistic practice, and customized study plans. Choosing the right one depends on your learning requirements and budget.

Here are a few closing tips:

Consider your schedule – If cramming, maximize practice questions. For longer prep, take advantage of detailed lessons.

Compare platform interfaces – You’ll be spending lots of study time in the course dashboard so ensure it’s intuitive.

Read recent verified reviews – This gives the best gauge if current offerings match marketing.

Know cancellation policies – You can likely transfer subscriptions if the course isn’t the right fit.

At the end of the day, selecting an accredited GRE prep course is a wise investment into your academic future. Proper test preparation translates into thousands more in annual earnings from securing admission into a top graduate program right out of undergrad.

Stay resolute in your GRE studying by keeping your motivations top of mind. Consistent practice with expert guidance is proven to achieve scores for acceptance into the most prestigious grad school programs. You’ve got this!