Prep-Course Review: GRE

GREWelcome to the last installment of my prep course review series. If you’ve been following my blog in recent months, you know that I’ve already compared prep courses for the MCAT, GMAT and LSAT. Last but not least, we have the Graduate Record Exam, or the GRE. In all honesty, I had never heard of the GRE until a few months ago, which is surprising considering it’s required by most graduate programs in the US and in Canada. With a little more investigation, Magoosh- a prep course company I had yet to come across in this entire series, and Kaplan- a series regular, seemed to be the most highly recommended.

Magoosh’s most popular course is their 6-month premium package, which costs approximately $299. It’s taught entirely online, as are all Magoosh courses, so if you’re looking for in-person instruction, Magoosh may not be the company for you. With the 6-month package, you get comprehensive coverage of the test’s math, verbal and analytical writing sections. The course also features more than 200 video lessons, 1,000 practice questions, three full-length practice questions and a score predictor, all for a period of six months. Even though the course is online, Magoosh offers a very responsive online support system through which students can contact tutors and ask questions. What I find particularly valuable are the individual explanations that are provided for each practice questions. Furthermore, students rave about Magoosh’s customizable and intuitive dashboard, which is essentially arranges the online content into a self-guided classroom. It provides study schedules and also compares your results with other users’ so you can get a relative sense of how well you’re doing. Finally, Magoosh offers a money back guarantee and a +5 point score guarantee, essentially pledging to raise your GRE score by at least five points.

Unlike Magoosh, Kaplan offers both an in-person and an online course, the in-person course being their most popular. At $1,299 for the in-person and $999 for the online version, Kaplan’s courses are significantly more expensive than Magoosh’s, which is likely because Kaplan provides more hours of instruction and more practice material. The in-person course is taught in eight sessions and comes with over 5,000 practice questions, seven full-length practice tests and over 180 hours of additional online instruction and practice. Like other Kaplan courses, if you miss a class, you can always catch up with a free virtual make-up session. As an exclusive new feature, Kaplan has also added an “official test day experience”, where students take a practice test at an actual GRE testing facility, which is an experience no other company provides. Similarly to Magoosh, Kaplan offers a higher score guarantee. In the event that the course doesn’t improve your score, Kaplan will either refund your money or allow you to retake the course. The most notable disadvantage of Kaplan in comparison to Magoosh is their much shorter period of access. With Magoosh, students can access online materials for six months whereas Kaplan’s only allows access for three months.

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