The Princeton Review GRE Prep: Comprehensive Review

Can the Princeton Review help you with the GRE? Yes! Find out if the Princeton Review GRE test prep courses are the right fit for you to help you score higher on the GRE.

The Princeton Review test prep brand has been around since 1981. It quickly established an enviable reputation for effective test preparation.

Its first success was with the SAT, and then Princeton Review expanded its services to include other standardized exams that help college admissions programs to pick students for its graduate courses. One of these standardized tests is the GRE.

Princeton Review GRE test prep courses are renowned for their high quality and widely effective methods and features. The brand offers a range of options, giving you lots of options for GRE preparation.

Does Princeton Review offer a GRE test prep course that matches your needs? Here’s a closer look at its various courses to help you answer that question for yourself.

The GRE General Test and Scoring

The GRE functions as a test for graduate programs in all fields, from education to business to law school. There are three areas the GRE tests, and these skills are crucial to most graduate-level courses:

  • Verbal reasoning
  • Quantitative reasoning
  • Analytical writing

Most GRE 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 immediately view their unofficial scores on the verbal and quantitative reasoning sections. Writing submitted using a computer is scored by a human and by the ETS computerized e-rater program. These scores are generally available about 10-15 days after the test.

Students who complete their tests 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 of 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.

Princeton Review GRE Test Prep Courses and Features

GRE Course Features
GRE Self-Paced ($499) · 8 practice tests

· At least 61 online drills and lessons

· At least 2,570 practice questions

· Live online classes for Math Fundamentals

· If you’re not happy with your GRE test score, you can retake the course for free

GRE Ultimate ($1,199) · 24 hours of live online instruction

· At least 180 hours of total instruction and practice

· At least 470 online drills

· At least 3,500 practice questions

· 8 computer adaptive-by-section practice exams

· Interactive score reports

Quant 162+ Course ($1,499) · A guaranteed score of at least 162 on the Quant section

· 25 instruction hours

· 1-on-1 personal study manager

· At least 3,600 GRE exam-style questions

· 4.5 hours of Verbal Live Online sessions

· At least 50 hours of self-guided verbal instruction

· Verbal section-specific practice tests

· At least 470 online drills

· At least 180 hours of online tools

· Interactive score reports

· 8 computer-adaptive practice exams

GRE Tutoring · 10 hours of instruction, $1,800

· 18 hours of instruction, $3,000

 

PROs

Here are some of the advantages that you’ll enjoy with the Princeton Review GRE test prep courses.

Lots of Guarantees

Using any of the Princeton Review GRE test prep courses requires a rather large investment of your budget. At least Princeton Review offers several types of guarantees that help reassure you that you’re not wasting your money.

Money-Back Guarantee

If you’ve taken the GRE before, Princeton Review guarantees that you’ll get a better score after you complete any of their GRE test prep courses (and you actually apply yourself). This is a common type of guarantee among the various GRE test prep brands, but it’s gratifying that Princeton Review also offers this guarantee.

Satisfaction Guarantee

With this guarantee, what matters is your current satisfaction regarding your test practice results. This lets you extend your use of the Princeton Review GRE test prep course up to a year.

Readiness Guarantee

If you’re feeling unsure about your level of GRE preparation, you can retake the entire GRE prep course you finished.

162+ for Quant

This is the guarantee that specifically comes with the Quant 162+ Course. There are several conditions for this to work, starting with having previously attained a GRE Quant score of at least 156.

Trial Option

There is a free 14-day test drive including a single full-length computer-adaptive practice test, along with a detailed report to go with your score.

Some (but not all) of the interactive video lessons are accessible, and you can use DrillSmart as well.

With this option, you can pull out within 2 weeks if you’re not satisfied with the methods and materials without spending any money. Even if you are pretty confident that Princeton Review is the right course for you, the trial can still help you because when you do sign up for the full course, you won’t be surprised by what you get.

Comprehensive Features

With the Princeton Review, you get a lot of different types of resources you can use to get yourself ready for the GRE. You have practice questions, flashcards, practice tests, video lessons, live online instruction, and tutoring.

There is a lot to choose from, so try to choose the package that can best serve your needs, preferences, and budget limitations.

3 Levels of Tutoring Experience

Plenty of other GRE test prep brands offer tutoring, with experienced tutors to help you out. But with Princeton Review, you can actually pick a certain level of experience and expertise.

Private Level Tutors

These are the tutors who have at least 40 hours of intense training with instruction time under their belt as well. These are the “newbies”, but they’re all carefully chosen to begin with.

Master Level Tutors

This time, the tutors have at least 500 hours of experience with actual tutoring. All of these Master Level tutors have helped students score high marks.

Premier Level Tutors

These are the cream of the crop, as they’ve proven themselves by helping their students achieve exceptional GRE results. All of these tutors have at least 1,000 hours of tutoring experience.

Accessible Instructors

With the Ultimate course, you get 24 hours of live online instruction. The live instruction is a great experience for most people, but you’re not limited to interacting and communicating with your instructor only during class hours. You can contact them by email, or even via phone. It may even be possible to meet them in person, though that option isn’t available during viral pandemics.

Small Classes

It’s long been known that you can get better guidance and more personalized attention from an instructor if you’re part of a small class. The Princeton Review offers a Semi-Private course that limits the number of students to just 4 to each class. That way, you get a lot of personal instruction during live online classes.

Plenty of Practice Tests

Practice tests serve several key functions.

  • You can use the practice questions to boost your knowledge.
  • The practice tests familiarize you with the nature of the GRE test.
  • Each test offers an accurate approximation of your current readiness for the GRE.
  • You can identify the sections which need more focus and improvement.

Princeton Review offers 8 practice tests, and these are available even with their most affordable option. Lots of other GRE test prep courses from other brands offer pricier packages with fewer practice tests.

You can take practice tests every 6 weeks or so, which lets you monitor your progress more accurately. The sooner you identify weaknesses in your skill sets, the faster you’re able to remedy the problems.

DrillSmart

This is the algorithm that mimics the computer-adaptive nature of the GRE. You get a calibration drill first. How you do with that drill will then determine the relative difficulty of the follow-up drill.

With this technology, you’re then able to match your drills with your current GRE skill levels.

Essay Feedback

Plenty of other GRE test prep courses don’t offer any feedback for essays, since it often needs to be done manually.

But Princeton Review has the LiveGrader feature that involves an expert scoring your essay section of the test.

In addition, you get helpful tips on how to improve your ability to write essays so that you’re able to write one that gets a higher grade in the actual GRE. You may be able to develop improved writing habits that will help you score higher on the test. Being able to communicate your ideas more effectively and logically can also help with your future career.

CONs

For all the benefits that the Princeton Review offers for their GRE test prep courses, there are some drawbacks you need to consider.

Somewhat Expensive

On the face of it, the basic package comes with a reasonable price. The problem is that this package feels inadequate, especially when compared to the next upgrade level.

Go for the Ultimate Package, and you enjoy considerably more practice questions, many more drills, and of course the 24 hours of live online instruction that you don’t get with the basic package.

However, going for the Ultimate course will cost you $1,199. That’s more than double the price of the basic Self-Paced course.

Short Access Time

Most brands offer their GRE test prep courses in the standard 6-month period. This is so common it’s basically the industry standard.

It’s a bit bewildering to see that Princeton Review, for all the quality that comes with their test prep packages, only offers 4 months of access. (It’s actually a few days shorter than that since the access is only for 120 days.)

That means more frantic studying while trying to cram more review hours to cover the thousands of practice questions available.

Some people who are also working while reviewing for the GRE, may not have enough practice time to cover everything they need to.

No Mobile App

Just about everyone these days carries their smartphone or tablet with them wherever they go. So, it would be nice if you’re able to use a mobile app to access your review resources whenever you have free time during the day, even if you’re out and about. Unfortunately, the Princeton Review does not offer this yet.

No Custom Quizzes

Some of the other GRE test prep courses offered by other brands allow you to set up your own quizzes. This lets you focus on particular areas of the GRE. However, you don’t get this feature with Princeton Review.

Who Should Buy It?

There are several factors to consider before choosing the right prep course for you. Make sure to take into account your budget, learning style, how much time you have before you need to take the exam and start applications, how confident you feel about the text already, etc.

Let’s take a stab at describing the ideal Princeton Review student:

  • Can afford it: The basic package isn’t really too expensive at $499, but it’s not a bargain either. What’s more, the other GRE review courses offered by other brands can be more affordable, and they seem to offer more features. The Ultimate package should give you the training and confidence you need to tackle the GRE. However, you do have to cover the Ultimate price tag of $1,199.
  • Determined: Keep in mind that you have less than 4 months to cram everything into your head. You’ll have to fit in 24 hours of live online instruction, 180 hours of total instruction and practice, 470 online drills, 3,500 practice questions, and 8 computer adaptive-by-section practice exams if you go with the Ultimate package. You’ll need a lot of self-discipline to go through all of these in a very short period of time. You’ll have to find a way to deal with all the stress, while still ending up relaxed and confident for the real GRE.
  • Likes multiple approaches: The Princeton Review packages come with a lot of different resources. You will want to fully take advantage of the different modes of learning to do your best.
  • Wants the option of personal assistance: The customized tutoring options and 1-on-1 coach are great features from the Princeton Review.

If you want to compare it with Kaplan, you may check our detailed comparison here. You may also check our top 8 suggestions here.

Conclusion

Is it expensive? Yes, it’s a bit pricey.

But is it worth the expense? Also yes. You do get your money’s worth.

Princeton Review is a famous brand not just because of the Ivy League connection inherent in the name of the brand itself. It’s famous because it actually does work. You really do improve your readiness for the GRE once you go through the Ultimate GRE test prep course.

Lots of people can attest to this fact. It is why people keep shelling out the money for these prep courses. It’s why Princeton Review is confident enough to offer all these money-back guarantees. They know that you’ll be satisfied in the end.

Using the Princeton Review to prepare for the GRE is a serious investment. But it’s a worthwhile investment. You’re more assured of getting the score you want, and then getting into the graduate program you prefer.

With the first paycheck, you get due to your advanced degree, you should be able to recoup your investment easily. Then you can enjoy the ROI for the rest of your career!

The Princeton Review GRE’s Official Website