What’s the Best GRE Prep?

GRE prep is just one part of your graduate school application process but you’ll spend as many as 10 hours per week over three months getting ready for Test Day. You’ll want to use that time wisely and invest in the best GRE prep available.

Just like you researched the graduate schools and programs you’ll be applying to, you’ll want to spend some time figuring out what’s the best way to prep for the GRE. There are many ways to study for high-stakes exams, but the best GRE prep is the GRE prep that’s best for you.

When you consider your GRE prep options, you’ll want to think about several factors to help you decide what’s the best GRE prep for your unique needs:

Once you’ve answered some of the questions above, you can begin to narrow the options for the best GRE prep for you. Lucky for you, future graduate student, there are lots of ways you can study for the GRE and be ready to conquer it on Test Day. And remember, the GRE isn’t an obstacle, it’s your opportunity to stand out to graduate school admission committees.

So, what’s the best GRE prep for you?

Best GRE Prep Courses

  • BEST GRE PREP #1: Studying with a private tutor

    If you’re able to invest in a private tutor, there is almost no substitute for learning with a GRE expert who is completely focused on your opportunities for improvement. Your GRE tutor can help you craft a study plan and hone in on your weaknesses. Because your tutor is completely focused on you, you’ll maximize every study hour. Some private tutoring courses, like Kaplan’s, also give you bonus access to a GRE prep course, so you can get even more instruction. Look for a private tutoring option that will give you access to plenty of realistic, computer-based practice for the GRE.

  • BEST GRE PREP #2: Studying with a live online prep course

    Are you a busy student or working professional? Is commuting and parking an inconvenience where you live? A live online course is a great way to study for the GRE. You get all the benefits of a live teacher and the support of a classroom course and schedule without leaving your house. Live online courses are hosted on sophisticated online platforms, where you can see your teacher, ask her questions, interact with your classmates, and more. With Kaplan’s live online GRE prep course, you’ll be taught by some of the highest-rated GRE experts.

  • BEST GRE PREP #3: Studying in a traditional classroom

    UPDATE: Due to COVID-19, in-person prep options are on hold indefinitely. For those that prefer this learning environment, we recommend our Live Online Classroom options mentioned above.

    Online learning is our new normal.

  • BEST GRE PREP #4: Studying on your own with an online prep course

    An online-only GRE prep course is a good choice for you if you study well on your own and can hold yourself accountable to a consistent study schedule. Look for online GRE courses that give you a personalized study plan so you can spend your time on your areas for improvement, as well as plenty of realistic practice with computer-based, full-length practice tests for the GRE.

Types of GRE Prep: Pros/Cons


  • Completely tailored to your strengths, weaknesses and learning style.
  • Your study sessions will be extremely effective, since you’ll be working one-on-one with a teacher.


  • More expensive than other prep options.


  • Flexible learning; you can attend class from wherever you have internet access, and if you miss a class you can catch up by watching recorded lessons later.
  • Taught by the best instructors, with more excellent instructors on standby to answer your questions.


  • You don’t have the face-to-face interaction and collaboration that you’d have with tutoring or an in-person course.


  • Complete flexibility. 
  • Study on your time, in your space. 
  • Cater your studying to prepare you for a specific test date, even if that test date changes part way through your studying. 
  • Study in the way you learn best. 


  • No accountability of a teacher or group of fellow students.
  • It’s easy to get off-track; you need to be very self-motivated in order to stick to your study schedule.


Kaplan GRE Prep CoursesManhattan Prep GRE Prep CoursesPrepScholarPrinceton Review
SELF-PACED COURSE ONLINE INSTRUCTION180+ hours of online instruction77 interactive video lessonsMini-lessonsOnline drills and lessons
LIVE ONLINE COURSE INSTRUCTION21 hours of live instruction, plus 3 hours of 1-on-1 tutoringLive Online Sessions and ClassesInteractive ClassesLive Online
GRE PRACTICE QUESTIONS5,000+ (including Qbank)Thousands of Practice Problems & Drills2,1072,574
ONLINE COURSE ACCESS6 months6 monthsUnlimited4 months
COURSE PRICING$449 (as low as $38/month) to $999 (as low as $84/month)Starting at $199$345$499

Who Needs GRE Test Prep?

Anyone planning on taking the GRE should plan on using some kind of test prep materials to help them prepare. Going into the GRE cold may work for some people, but the vast majority of people benefit from the added strategy practice, content review, and endurance training offered through GRE test prep courses and books. Read through the following options to find a good test prep fit for you. 

GRE Private Tutor

Sessions with a private GRE tutor are productive and tailored to your learning style and strengths/weaknesses. This is a good option for anyone, but perhaps especially those who benefit from having a constant sounding-board and immediate tailored feedback, have trouble focusing alone, or require scheduling flexibility. 

GRE Live Online Course

Kaplan’s Live Online courses, though offered completely online, are geared toward both those who enjoy the traditional classroom setting and those who prefer logging in remotely. You have the flexibility of attending class from wherever you have internet access as well as collaboration with other students and teacher interaction. 

GRE Self-Paced Online Course

Self-paced courses are a good fit for students with a busy schedule and a strong independent work ethic. The self-paced course provides you with lots of different study resources, so you can choose what works with your learning style and craft a study plan from there. If you have trouble staying focused or you study best with other people, a Live Online or Private Tutor option may be a better fit for you.

Frequently Asked Questions About GRE Prep Courses

Is a GRE Prep Course Worth It?

Regardless of where you stand, enrolling in a GRE prep course is the most reliable way to both stay sharp on material that may be older to you, and to learn all the new material necessary to reach your goal GRE scoreLive Online, Self-Paced, and Practice prep options have the resources you need to master all subject matter tested on the GRE, like practice tests, study plans, practice questions, and more.

Which is the best online GRE prep course?

The Manhattan Prep and Kaplan GRE Prep Course options provide the greatest range of materials to get you read you ready for GRE test day including hands-on instruction, self-prep, diagnostic exercises, and more.

How much does a GRE prep course cost?

GRE prep courses cost as low as ~$200. Kaplan and Manhattan Prep offer low monthly payment options that can help make some of the more expensive GRE prep course options become affordable for those who may otherwise have a lower budget.

How difficult is the GRE test?

The GRE test is difficult for many, though all GRE test takers’ experiences vary. By purchasing a GRE prep course to get you ready for test day, you’ll be sure to have the tailored prep needed to help you meet your goal GRE score.

Best GRE Prep Books

Studying with a book is a good way to delve into GRE prep. Use it as an introduction to the GRE before you begin a prep course or, if you can keep yourself accountable and you don’t have the time or means for a GRE course, use it to guide the majority of your studies. Look for books that offer a combination of GRE math and GRE verbal lessons, practice questions, and that provide you access to additional online practice resources so you can get valuable computer-based practice for the GRE.


  • #1 Kaplan’s GRE Prep Plus 2020: Practice Tests + Proven Strategies + Online + Video + Mobile

    Kaplan’s GRE Prep Plus 2020 guides you through your GRE prep step by step, with added online practice and video lessons to ensure you’re ready for Test Day. Study Kaplan’s proven strategies, boost your math skills, practice your pacing, and become an expert in the exam’s computerized format with two online practice tests.

    You’ll also get dozens of timed practice sets for every section of the test, a customizable online Qbank, and you can even study on-the-go. Log in from anywhere to do practice sets and even practice tests that are optimized for your mobile device.

  • #2 GRE Prep 2020: Practice Tests + Proven Strategies + Online

    Kaplan’s GRE Prep 2020 takes you through proven strategies to improve your math skills, perfect your pacing, and includes an online practice test in the same computer-based format you’ll see on Test Day. One additional full-length practice test included in the book for easier referencing and review. Of course, you’ll also work through chapters on each GRE question type and math skill, with practice sets for each.

    Continue to practice with more than 650 questions with detailed explanations, including brand new questions for the 2018 edition and more in-book practice questions than ever before.

  • #3 Manhattan Prep’s 5 lb. Book of GRE Practice Problems

    Manhattan Prep’s 5 lb. Book of GRE Practice Problems is an essential resource for students of any level who are preparing for the GRE. You’ll build fundamental skills in math and verbal through targeted practice while easy-to-follow explanations and step-by-step applications help cement your understanding of the concepts tested on the GRE.

    Then, take your practice to the next level with online question banks that provide realistic, computer-based practice to better simulate the GRE test-taking experience. Access to an online video introduction, online banks of GRE practice problems, and the GRE Challenge Problem Archive is included with book purchase.

No matter which option you choose, the best GRE prep is GRE prep that you’ll devote consistent time and focus to. You’ve already made a great decision—you’re going to graduate school—now choose to study for the GRE and help your application shine.