When you’ve graduated college with a 4-year degree, the last thing you might be thinking of is taking another test. However, the Graduate Record Examination, also called the GRE, is the next step you must take before you are accepted to most graduate-level programs, some law schools, and some business schools. The test measures a variety of areas to ensure you are properly prepared for the types of reasoning and writing that graduate programs require.
The GRE plays a vital role in your application process, much like the SAT/ACT did during your undergraduate process. It supplements the many letters of recommendation, previous transcripts, and other qualifications you’ve satisfied.
The GRE General Test and Scoring
The GRE General Test functions as a test for graduate programs in all fields, from education to business to law school. There are three areas of focus the GRE tests students on, and these skills are crucial to most graduate-level courses:
- Verbal reasoning
- Quantitative reasoning
- Analytical writing
Most GRE General tests are administered via computer, but there are still some sites that conduct the test in paper-and-pencil format. In general, those who submit their tests using a computer have the option to view their unofficial scores on the verbal and quantitative reasoning sections. Writing submitted using a computer is scored by a human and by ETS’ computerized e-rater program. These scores are generally available about 10-15 days after the test.
Students who complete their test on paper will receive their finalized scores in 4-5 weeks.
Verbal reasoning assesses your ability to analyze and draw conclusions based on intent, data, word relationships, and multi-level comprehension. You are assessed on a score range between 130-170 points.
Quantitative reasoning assesses your ability to solve problems in math, including geometry, algebra, and other quantitative equations. Quantitative reasoning questions are also assessed on a score range between 130-170 points.
Analytical writing assesses your abilities to think critically and write analytically. There are two writing assessments: an “issue” essay, and an “argument” essay. Both focus on the content rather than the mechanics and grammar, although serious issues in these areas that distract from meaning can lower your score.
Each essay is scored on a 0-6 holistic rubric and is rounded to the nearest half-point when averaged with each other. The essay is scored by a human and by e-rater, and if the scores closely agree, they are combined and averaged. If they disagree, another human scorer assesses your essays, and both human scores are used to obtain your final score.
The Princeton Review GRE Prep
The Princeton Review helps millions of students prepare for various standardized tests each year. They specialize in teaching students the skills and strategies you need to master in order to increase your scores on these tests. They break down many common problems into chunks which are easy for students to understand and complete.
The GRE Prep options from The Princeton Review give options for students to approach studying for the GRE test through a variety of programs:
- Quant 162+ Course – $1,099
- The Ultimate Course – $1,024
- Self-Paced Courses – $299
- Specialized Tutoring – $1,500
- Free Resources and Content
Quant 162+ Course
The average score on the quantitative reasoning section is 152, but according to The Princeton Review, students who are accepted into graduate programs generally have a “Quant Score” of 162.6. This course is designed to help students achieve a higher average Quant Score, while simultaneously also helping students raise their verbal reasoning scores.
The Quant Course is unique because it comes with a 1-on-1 Study Manager and several “Study Manager Missions” for you to complete. You will also receive 25 hours of personalized instruction from a GRE tutor, and you’ll gain access to over 3,000 GRE-style questions to practice with.
Also, the Quant 162+ Course offers over 4 hours of LiveOnline Verbal instruction sessions, practice tests, and over 50 hours of verbal self-paced instruction modules.
The Study Manager Missions include attending all your core classes, completing your homework, taking 5 practice exams, and utilizing supplemental sessions based on your practice test results. The practice tests are administered using DrillSmart Technology, which helps prepare you for the math section of the GRE properly.
If you complete all your Study Manager Missions and do not see your GRE score increase, you qualify for a moneyback guarantee. The Princeton Review is so sure that your Quant Score will increase using their module, and you will reach a score that is competitive with other graduate applicants.
While the Quant Course is expensive, it’s worth it to know that your score is guaranteed to increase, or you will receive your investment back to try in another test prep program. This way, the risk is relatively low.
The Ultimate Course
The Ultimate Course is offered online and in-person, which is an excellent choice for those who learn best in a classroom environment. You get 24 hours of live instruction and access to the DrillSmart technology which helps you focus on the areas you need to improve.
You will also be able to take up to 8 practice tests, over 3,000 questions, and instruction modules for supplemental areas where you may need extra practice. Interactive reports of your scores also help you focus in on your areas of strength and weakness. You can access video lessons at any time of day, which will help reinforce the classroom/online instructional classes.
This course, while a bit expensive, also comes with a moneyback guarantee if your score does not increase. The Princeton Review also gives you the option to re-take the course for free if your score does not increase.
The Self-Paced program offered by The Princeton Review is more affordable, and still gives you plenty of resources to practice for the GRE exam. There are 3 course options:
- Math Only
- Verbal Only
The Comprehensive Module prepares you for both math and verbal reasoning questions, with access to 8 practice tests, video lessons, 2,500 questions, the Math Fundamentals course, and an exclusive Essay Review.
The Math Module and Verbal Module give you four practice tests each and access to an Essay Review. The Math Module has almost 50 video lessons and drills, about 1,900 practice questions, and includes the Math Fundamentals course.
The Verbal Module has about 15 videos, 14 drills, and almost 600 practice questions. You do not have access to the Math Fundamentals course.
The Self-Paced course, while not as comprehensive as the Ultimate or Quant 162+ courses, still allows you to study on your own time and have access to interactive score reports to help you focus on what’s most important.
The Princeton Review also allows students to invest in personalized tutoring from GRE experts, both online and in-person in your area. They have an app to track your progress and facilitate communication, and you can choose your tutor based on your personal goals. Comprehensive tutoring is offered in packages of 18 hours, while targeted tutoring is offered in packages of 10 hours. Comprehensive tutoring comes with a moneyback score increase guarantee.
The Princeton Review also offers online practice tests and online strategy sessions for students who are looking to discover how to prepare for the GRE test. These are available for download and registration on The Princeton Review’s website.