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The Princeton Review Review

Monday, February 26th

2024 GRE Test Prep Company Reviews

The Princeton Review Review 3 Star Rating

The Princeton Review

3 Star Rating
  • "GRE 10+ points" for $699
  • "GRE Fundamentals" for $1,099
  • "GRE 162+" for $2,099
  • "GRE 165+ Tutoring" for $159 per hour

The Princeton Review is toe-to-toe with the biggest as far as sheer size of the company: if you've ever googled GRE, or gone to the test prep section of a bookstore, then you've seen The Princeton Review. So without further ado, let's see how this major test prep supplier compares.

Wide range of high-priced plans

The Princeton Review offers a wide variety of GRE study plans to choose from.

  • The Princeton Review's self-study GRE 10+ points plan costs $699, and will earn you access to their self-led GRE prep materials. Interestingly, the "GRE 10+ points" plan comes in increments of 30/60/90 days depending on your study schedule, and costs $699 no matter your chosen timeframe. At that price, you'll receive 30 hours of required video lessons, 470 drills, 8 practice tests, live-online math sessions, "adaptive drills" to assist in comprehension, and an interactive score report.
  • The GRE Fundamentals plan is a live-online course that includes 24 hours of class time, 180 total hours of instruction (recorded videos), 470 online drills and 3,500 practice questions, 8 "adaptive" practice exams and interactive score reports, and a "higher score guarantee" . Essentially, it amounts to the "GRE 10+ points" class with live instruction and more practice questions.
  • The Princeton Review's most premium plan, GRE 162+, costs $2,099 and includes a "162+ or money back" guarantee, 45 hours of live-online instruction, 8 practice tests, and 4,500 practice questions, in addition to The Princeton Review's Quantitative and Verbal test prep manuals.
  • Finally, The Princeton Review's GRE 165+ Tutoring costs $159 per hour, and includes a custom tutoring plan, personalized tutor matching, and a 165+ score guarantee.

A very poor website

The Princeton Review's website is terribly designed. It is filled with deceptive nudges (such as framing their highest price plan as their mid-price plan), an overwhelming interface (that makes it hard to see what you are actually buying beneath all the pop-ups and buzzwords), an aggravating countdown timer with a fake, continually-renewed deal that follows you throughout the whole website, and an eye-watering color palette (pink on yellow... ugh). In short, The Princeton Review's website seems designed to be overwhelming, to rush you into a purchase with a series of ever-changing "deals" that aren't really deals, and to generally prevent easy comprehension or comparison of their product. Visiting The Princeton Review's website feels like a street vendor blocking your way and forcing you to buy from them; as such, we generally recommend that you don't.

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Mixed customer reviews

The Princeton Review is infamous on GRE-dedicated study boards due to the difficulty of completing every module in order to qualify for the score guarantee (not to mention the fact that you need to establish an official baseline GRE score as well). That being said, The Princeton Review does have good reviews on aggregate review sites, but often large companies have the capital to manage their reputation on such sites. In any case, even as The Princeton Review's Score guarantee seems competitive, it will come back to bite you if you do not complete the (somewhat arbitrary) verifications they set.

Average materials, high price, an aggravating experience

There's no question that The Princeton Review has a large quantity of materials in each of their plans. But with their generally high prices, their horrendous user interface, and their poor reputation, we think that you'll generally be better off with their competitors on our list - who offer similar live-online and self-led classes with more robust materials at cheaper prices. That being said, in spite of their many annoyances, The Princeton Review's GRE prep materials are still worth your consideration if you are comparing strictly among companies providing live-online classes.

What's the Best GRE Prep Service Online?

It's a critical question, because if you're headed to graduate school, then the GRE (Graduate Record Examination) is an infamous hurdle that you'll have to deal with one way or another. The GRE test plays a significant role in the admissions process for many graduate programs. It serves as a standardized measure that allows universities to assess applicants' academic readiness and potential to succeed in advanced studies.

For institutions, the GRE provides an objective tool to differentiate among applicants, especially when faced with a large pool of candidates. It helps in predicting how well students might perform in their initial year of graduate school, offering insight into their cognitive abilities and analytical thinking. Moreover, the GRE can assist in awarding merit-based scholarships, helping to allocate financial aid to deserving students.

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GRE Test Prep Company FAQ

GRE stands for Graduate Record Examinations. This is a standardized test required by many graduate schools in the US and Canada. The scores that a student receives on their GRE test play a role in whether or not they are accepted into a potential graduate program. Sometimes the GRE is taken multiple times until a satisfactory score is received.
The GRE tests students on critical thinking, analytical writing, quantitative reasoning, and verbal reasoning. An individual score is given for verbal reasoning (130-170), quantitative reasoning (130-170), and analytical writing (0-6). The test questions consist of multiple choice, numeric entry, and essay writing.
There are six total sections on the GRE exam. It usually takes about 3 hours and 45 minutes to complete the test from beginning to end. For verbal reasoning there are two 30-minute sections, each containing 20 questions. For quantitative reasoning there are two 35-minute sections, each containing 20 questions. The third section is analytical writing with two separately-timed tasks. One asks you to analyze an issue and one asks you to analyze an argument. After the third section, there is an optional 10-minute break for test-takers to get refocused for the remainder of the exam. You may be asked to complete an unscored, research section at the end of the test.
Most people would agree that you can't cram for the GRE. If you do, you'll likely get an unsatisfactory score that reflects how little effort you put in. It is recommended that you heavily study for at least 4-12 weeks before attempting the GRE. Many test prep courses are designed to help you study over the course of a year, to make sure you are familiar with the material and are able to obtain a high score on your first try.
The cost for the GRE test can vary slightly year to year. Most recently, the fee was $213 for test-takers within the United States. If you are signed up to take the GRE and need to reschedule, you'll pay a fee of approximately $50 to have the exam administered at another time.
Many GRE test prep services offer some free resources to get you started with your studies. For tutoring services or monthly subscriptions to books, practice tests, flash cards and more, you can expect to pay anywhere from $150 to $2,000. Some of the most expensive courses include access to materials for a year or more and usually guarantee a certain test score. They include everything you need to succeed and feel confident when you take the GRE.
Not all test prep services offer the same study materials for the GRE. You'll find a mix of resources like practice tests, one-on-one tutoring, practice essay questions, vocabulary flashcards, diagnostic tests, strategy sessions, and more. The tools that you need to get a good score on the GRE are readily available through many different GRE test prep services.
If you are unhappy with your GRE score, you can retake it every 21 days. However, you are only allowed to take it 5 times within a period of 12 months. Taking the test multiple times will not hurt your chances of getting into graduate school, since you can choose to only submit your highest score.
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Continued from above...

The GRE consists of three key components: verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, and analytical writing. These components collectively evaluate an applicant's cognitive abilities, communication skills, and analytical prowess. Such a comprehensive assessment is crucial in identifying candidates who possess the skills necessary for advanced academic work. By incorporating both quantitative and qualitative aspects, the GRE offers a well-rounded perspective on an applicant's intellectual capabilities, and offers a common benchmark for comparing candidates from various academic backgrounds and cultures.

Many institutions allocate scholarships to outstanding students as a way to incentivize excellence and attract top talent. GRE scores can play a pivotal role in awarding these scholarships, as they offer a quantifiable measure of an applicant's potential contribution to the academic community. High GRE scores can bolster an applicant's eligibility for financial assistance, making higher education more accessible to deserving individuals.

As it stands, the GRE continues to play a pivotal role in many graduate school admissions. With that in mind, the following factors can help you evaluate GRE preparation plans to achieve the highest score possible:

  • Cost: Paying for GRE test prep services can range from affordable to very expensive. Personalized instruction and tutoring can focus on specific problem areas that you've identified, but this tailored approach may cost more than you want to spend. Self-paced learning systems are more affordable, but are more generalized and rely on your dedication to study on your own.
  • Score guarantees: Many GRE test prep companies offer score guarantees but place significant caveats around actually getting a refund through that guarantee. Usually it will include restrictions around setting a baseline score (you have to have already taken an official GRE or a proctored facsimile), and completion of all course materials (which is sometimes made artificially difficult). In short, be sure to read the fine print.
  • Time: Be honest with yourself about how much time you have to study. Many students start out by purchasing pricey test-prep packages, and then find themselves overwhelmed with the amount of work. Take stock of your schedule, and choose a mixture of free resources, self-lead test-prep, or time-intensive live-online/tutored classes accordingly.

Top Consumer Reviews has done the preliminary research for you, so if you're going to be taking the GRE, and are overwhelmed by the high price and bold claims of most test-prep options, don't worry. We've found the best, most highly rated, and most economical GRE test prep options for your consideration. Before you begin studying, take a moment to browse our curated list, and find the GRE prep that best suits your budget and your needs.

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