PrepScholar GRE Review

Jennifer H.GRELeave a Comment

PrepScholar GRE Review

Rating: 4.3

There comes a moment in every potential grad student’s life when they realize they need a little bit of help. Unfortunately, it usually hits when they receive their official scores the first time they take the GRE. On the bright side, it gives you an accurate picture of where you are now and the areas you need to work on to get the score you need. With all of the test prep options out there, it’s tempting to go with the one with the big name (and a hefty price tag too!). PrepScholar GRE believes you don’t have to spend big money to get bigtime test prep. But does an affordable price point equal success?
Reviewed by Jennifer H.





What we like

PrepScholar GRE is affordable!

Let’s just lead off with this pro and get it out of the way. There are GRE prep products that will set you back close to $2,000. PrepScholar takes a lot of the same features and boils them down into a test prep product that will cost you less than an evening out.

On top of their very affordable price tag, they offer a 7+ point improvement guarantee. This is one of the highest point improvement guarantee on the market! Magoosh and The Economist offers a 5+ point increase guarantee. If you have already taken the test once, PrepScholar guarantees you will improve your score by at least 7 points after taking their course, or you will receive a 100% refund.

Personalized Learning Based On Your Needs

A lot of test prep courses out there will give you a rough idea of what you need to study based on your diagnostic test. Others will simply let you study what you feel you need to study without any real input from them.

PrepScholar takes the results from your 60-question diagnostic test, your study schedule, and creates a complete, personalized study guide. Drawing from 72 interactive classes, more than 2,000 test bank questions, and a 20 part, 300 question vocabulary course, your course is divided into weeks and lessons based on your next test date. All you have to do is complete the course.

Strategy Lessons

Most people who struggle with standardized tests don’t struggle with the content, but rather the strategy for completing the content in a timely manner. That is why PrepScholar has incorporated strategy lessons into its course. These 14 lessons cover things everyone should know about the GRE, useful strategies for people scoring below 155 and helpful tips and tricks for high performers who are aiming for a score over 155.

Located in a separate tab from other prep lessons, strategies can be a regular part of your study sessions, or you can skip them altogether if you are a standardized testing whiz.

Game-Based Learning

Everyone has started playing a highly addictive digital game where you start out easy and move through progressively more difficult levels. Before you know it, 4 hours have passed and you are obsessively searching for more lives because you will not be beaten by something with candy in its name.

PrepScholar capitalizes on our natural tendency to want to proceed through levels of increasing difficulty with their game-based learning model. By identifying your weaknesses first, the software adapts to your current level. You will likely be able to “beat” the first few lessons of your test prep program.

Over time, progressive lesson materials will challenge without overwhelming you, offering you chances to “level up” to the next prep course.

Short Diagnostic Test

There are a lot of prep products out there that want to put you through an entire mock-GRE before they give you access to your dashboard of lessons.

While PrepScholar offers two full-length GRE tests spaced throughout your course, you won’t spend 3 hours on a diagnostic test just to get to the good stuff. Instead, they offer a 60-question adaptive test that uses an algorithm to determine where you are good to go and where you need extra help.

The test is timed, offering you an idea of what your ideal GRE testing pace should be, but it also keeps you moving forward. The time pressure combined with the content is run through an algorithm that creates your study plan for you. 

A Skills Scale You Can Get Behind

Most test prep courses measure your skill based on time, not mastery.

Once you spend X amount of time on a skill, you are considered proficient and moved through the course. PrepScholar actually takes a lot of the time-based mastery out of the equation with its adaptive learning processes. Instead, their skills scale rates you on whether you can move easily through the core questions, whether you are learning advanced topics in that particular skill, or if you have mastered the skill and can answer most questions in that area.

As if that wasn’t cool enough, PrepScholar further departs from the competition in its “Paused” feature. If you are not showing improvement in a particular skill, the program will pause your review of that skill and focus on areas where you can improve more easily. It’s PrepScholar’s way of saying, “Well, you tried. Let’s move on to a place where you can have more success.”


What we didn’t like

Your review resets every week

PrepScholar lets you go back and review all of your lessons and test questions during the week, but once the lesson cycles on Sunday, you won’t be able to go back. This feature keeps you moving consistently forward, especially since some of those questions will be recycled later on. Cycling lessons on Sunday also means you need to focus on the lessons as you learn them, not skim them and hope for the best.

Anyone who enjoys repetition may have a hard time with the constant forward progress.

You are on your own

Independent learners love PrepScholar’s lone wolf approach. After all, who has time to attend a class and have someone looking over their shoulder? As it turns out, a lot of people.

While PrepScholar tries to mimic external accountability with reminder emails to study based on the schedule you provide, having a human waiting on the other end for an online or in-person class is sometimes the kick in the pants you need to study for the GRE.

If you are a self-directed learner with high levels of internal accountability, PrepScholar was made for you.

If you want a little more external accountability than a gentle reminder, you may want to consider Kaplan or Manhattan Prep where they provide a live online class and in-person tutoring.


How much does it cost

1 Year Program

By far, the most affordable GRE test prep program on the market, the one-year program doesn’t skimp on features. With an optional one-on-one tutoring add-on, it can also be adapted for people who need access to a little more accountability.

Price: $38 (How can you beat that price point?)

What is included: Adaptive diagnostic exam; 150 hours of interactive lessons; Guided study plan; Skills-based mini-lessons; More than 2,000 GRE questions across several skill levels; Vocab Course and Math “Cheat Sheet”; 2 Full-Length Practice GRE Exams

Who should get this: If you are looking for an affordable, full-access test prep option that will actually help you get ready for the GRE, this is your plan. Just be sure that you are willing to commit to the test prep process and devote at least 5 hours a week to studying.

Lifetime Program

All of the features of the 1-year program, but with lifetime access to the GRE prep course.

Price: $345

What is included: All of the features of the 1-year program, Personalized scoring of 4 Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) sections; Lifetime access to the GRE Prep program.

Who should get this: Even though the price increase seems steep, this program is ideal for anyone who is worried about the AWA. With 4 personalized scoring opportunities, you can effectively increase your AWA score with this option. Also, this plan is perfect if you are uncertain whether you will take (or retake) the GRE within the next year.


Rating criteria

CriteriaRatingWhat we think
Usability
4.5

I found it very easy to navigate my way through the course, but would have liked to be able to go back to lessons after they cycled.

Placement test
5

Did I mention the placement test is only 60 questions long? It bears mentioning again.

Practice exams
4.5

I didn’t miss having more than 2 full-length tests with this course, but some people might.

Lessons
3

There are just some lessons that need to be done in video form. While many of them are, it would be nice to have more.

Practice questions
5

The number of practice questions doesn’t really matter if you don’t have an effective way to work through them. PrepScholar’s adaptive technology makes sure you get the most out of your prep time by giving you the questions you need when you need them.


FAQ

Do I need to take the GRE before to make full use of the course?

Many of PrepScholar’s students are actually first-timers. Their lessons start depending on your capabilities. With that said, they will teach you everything you need to know about the GRE from start to finish.

Am I the right type of person to use PrepScholar?

The ideal for people who fall into one of the following categories: 

  • You are a busy student or professional: If you have classes, a job, or other life priorities that take up time, and you must fit GRE prep in between.
  • You can’t seem to improve anymore: Maybe you’ve already started studying for the GRE and were improving in the beginning, but you’ve since flatlined, and you’re still a few points shy of your target score. Their diagnostic test is designed to find out your exact weaknesses on the GRE and customize a plan for you to turn them into strengths!
  • You’re overwhelmed and want guidance: This is totally understandable. The GRE is a really complex standardized test (did you know there are 6 question formats for Reading Comprehension alone?!). It can feel overwhelming to have all the information thrown at you all at once. PrepScholar is a great option for those looking to get step-by-step guidance. Every week, they’ll assign you specific lessons to study, and they’ll rank them in a prioritized order so you’ll know which one to start first. They’ll also tell you exactly when you need to take a practice test, so you’ll get the practice you need without wasting too much time mindlessly doing tests instead of learning and improving your skills. 
  • You prefer to study on your own: If you don’t need to attend a class with other students and speak to a teacher face-to-face, or if you actually prefer to study at your convenience.

Conclusion

PrepScholar offers huge value in GRE test prep. Between the affordable price tag and the 7+ point improvement guarantee you literally have nothing to lose.

Go to PrepScholar now

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