The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) forms an essential part of most graduate school applications, and your scores can determine which programs are available to you. Many students enroll in GRE prep courses to give themselves the best chance of scoring high, and fortunately for New York City residents, there are plenty of options available in your area. We put together this guide to the best GRE prep courses in New York City to help you find the right fit for you.
Our research team considered 20 of the most popular New York City GRE prep courses to determine which best prepare students for the exam. We compared each of them based on their course availability and flexibility, study materials, student support and overall comprehensiveness. Then, we talked with former students of each course to learn what they liked and didn’t like about the programs.
After analyzing all the data we’d collected, we came up with three finalists we felt confident recommending. Each one offers in-person courses and private tutoring in the New York City area, as well as live and self-paced online programs. Kaplan was our overall favorite because of its comprehensive and flexible prep courses and excellent student reviews, but you may prefer one of our other top picks. We recommend checking out all of your options before you make a decision to ensure you find the program that’s right for you.
A Full List of Every GRE Prep Course in New York City Worth Considering
Our three finalists are listed below, along with the other 17 companies we looked at. Click on the links to learn more about their programs on the company websites and to read our reviews of our top three.
The 3 Best GRE Prep Courses in New York City
|Kaplan Test Prep||$699 - $4,699|
|The Princeton Review||$150 - $2,340|
|Manhattan Prep||$199 - $5,625|
The Other 17 GRE Prep Courses in New York City We Reviewed
|Axiom Tutoring||Visit Site|
|Better Edge Tutoring||Visit Site|
|Cambridge Coaching||Visit Site|
|GRE Compass||Visit Site|
|Idea Tutors||Visit Site|
|Lifesaver Tutoring||Visit Site|
|Manhattan Elite Prep||Visit Site|
|Manhattan Review||Visit Site|
|Next Step Test Prep||Visit Site|
|Parliament Tutors||Visit Site|
|Tutors of Oxford NYC||Visit Site|
|Varsity Tutors||Visit Site|
|Xceptional Prep||Visit Site|
The Most Important Features: Access, Study Materials, Student Support and Customization
When deciding which were the best GRE prep courses in New York City, we focused on four major areas: access, study materials, student support and customization.
Each of our finalists hosts in-person GRE prep courses and private tutoring at one or more locations in the New York City metropolitan area. They also offer self-paced and live online courses to students who prefer to learn from the comfort of their own homes. We looked at how many branch locations each company has in the area and how frequently new courses are offered. We preferred companies that taught classes at a variety of different times to accommodate different schedules, and mobile-friendly resources were also a plus. Kaplan stood out the most with 14 locations in New York City and classes starting every few days.
As part of your purchase, a GRE prep course gives you access to a number of study materials, including textbooks, a question bank, flashcards and full-length practice tests. Some of these materials will be used as homework throughout the course while others are just there to provide you with additional practice. The most important of these resources are the practice tests because they enable you to get a feel for the test’s time constraints and to figure out which areas you need to review further. The Princeton Review stands out here with eight full-length practice tests, and Kaplan also deserves a mention for its seven practice tests, including one proctored exam taken at an actual GRE testing facility.
You can always ask questions during your live class sessions, but the best GRE prep companies will also give you a means of getting help outside of class. Usually this is through email, but some companies may provide a support hotline as well. A few programs, including Kaplan and The Princeton Review, also demonstrate their support with score-improvement guarantees. These promise a full refund or a free course retake if you don’t see an improvement in your scores after completing the course. There are certain requirements you must meet in order to qualify for these guarantees, however, so make sure you read the fine print carefully before signing up.
All of our finalists offer private tutoring to students who are interested in designing a custom study program. But no matter which company you go with, private tutoring is often more expensive than a traditional GRE prep course. The best companies will use adaptive learning technology in their regular courses to track your progress and help you see where you need the most practice, so you can use your study time most effectively. Some companies, like The Princeton Review and Manhattan Prep, also host shorter section-specific workshops for students who only need help in a single area.
Choosing the Right New York City GRE Course Delivery Type for You
There are four main types of GRE prep courses to choose from. The right one for you depends on your schedule, budget and learning style. We’ve outlined the pros and cons of each of them below.
- Self-Paced: You buy the study materials and review them at your own pace.
- Live Online: You join a virtual classroom and learn from a remote instructor.
- Live In-Person: You travel to a prearranged location and learn alongside other students.
- Private Tutoring: You work with a tutor to build and execute a custom study plan tailored to your needs.
- Cheapest option
- Choose when you want to study
- Move at your own pace
- Must keep yourself on track
- Less personalized
- Little to no instructor help
Who It’s Best For
A self-paced course works best for self-motivated students who want the freedom to work at their own pace.
- Attend from anywhere
- Can get personalized help
- Schedule to keep you on track
- Not as interactive as live classroom
- Potential for technical difficulties
Who It’s Best For
A live online course is ideal for students who prefer a live classroom experience, but don’t want to leave the comfort of their own home. It’s also a good fit if you travel frequently and can’t commit to showing up in person each week.
- Distraction-free environment
- Familiar classroom setting
- Plenty of opportunities for interaction
- Regular travel required
- Limited choice in schedule
- More expensive than online-only courses
Who It’s Best For
A live in-person course suits students who prefer a high degree of engagement in their learning environments. It’s also a great choice for students who have trouble remaining disciplined when studying on their own.
- Customized instruction
- Personalized study plans
- Choose from online or in-person instruction
- More time-consuming
Who It’s Best For
Private tutoring is the way to go if you’re looking to retake the GRE or you need to significantly bring up your scores in order to get into the school of your choosing.
Full Reviews of the Best GRE Prep Courses in New York City
Kaplan Test Prep GRE Review
Best for comprehensive instruction.
With 14 locations in New York City, over 180 hours of content and more than 5,000 practice questions, Kaplan is the obvious choice for the best GRE prep course. It offers classes in all course formats, and live courses include a simulated exam taken at a real GRE testing facility — something that you won’t find with any other test prep provider. Its comprehensive instruction and score-improvement guarantee have earned Kaplan high praise from students, but it does come up a little short in private tutoring. Its smallest package is 15 hours, so it’s not a good fit if you’re only interested in targeted help on a single subject.
What to Expect
Kaplan’s live courses meet for seven three-hour sessions over the course of a few weeks. Classes usually meet once or twice per week, and there are night and weekend options available to those who are unable to meet during normal business hours. New programs start every few days, so you shouldn’t have to wait long to find one that fits your schedule. In each class, your instructor guides you through important concepts that are likely to come up on the exam and demonstrates how these concepts work in practice problems. They will also answer any questions you have about the material.
In addition to the live instruction, you get access to all of the online materials that make up the self-paced course, including pre-recorded video lectures, flashcards, over 5,000 practice questions and seven full-length practice tests. As part of Kaplan’s Official Test-Day Experience, live courses incorporate a proctored practice test taken at a real GRE testing facility, so you know exactly what to expect on test day. But Kaplan’s most innovative resource is its GRE Channel. This is a growing library of webinars covering everything from coordinate geometry to building vocabulary. You can search old videos by instructor, topic or difficulty, and if you attend new sessions when they’re live, you’ll be able to ask questions just as you would in a typical live online course.
All students can get help outside of class via email, but if you find that you need a lot of personalized help, you may be better off signing up for private tutoring. Unfortunately, Kaplan requires you to purchase at least 15 hours upfront. If you only need help with a single area, you may be better off with one of Kaplan’s PLUS plans instead. These include three hours of private tutoring that you can schedule as needed to address any areas of concern.
Kaplan Test Prep GRE Details
|GRE Prep - Self-Paced||$699|
|GRE Prep - Self-Paced PLUS||$899|
|GRE Prep - Live Online||$999|
|GRE Prep - Live Online PLUS||$1,399|
|GRE Prep - In-Person||$1,299|
|GRE Prep - In-Person PLUS||$1,699|
|Private Tutoring (15 hours)||$2,499|
|Private Tutoring (25 hours)||$3,599|
|Private Tutoring (35 hours)||$4,699|
The Princeton Review GRE Details
Best for cheap tutoring and practice tests.
The Princeton Review is the place to turn if you prefer to study by taking practice exams. Eight full-length practice tests are included as part of the course, along with 3,500 additional practice questions. Its DrillSmart technology measures your progress and adjusts the difficulty to match your level of knowledge, so you don’t waste time reviewing what you already know. The Princeton Review is also a great choice if you’re interested in private tutoring. Its rates are among the most affordable in the industry, and you can start with as little as three hours.
What to Expect
The Princeton Review has four locations in New York City, and there are a handful of classes starting each month. Classes meet either once or twice per week for a total of eight three-hour sessions. There are classes on every day of the week, so you can choose the ones that work best for you, but you’ll most likely be limited to evening classes. Even those taught on weekends rarely start before 2 p.m. ET. During each session, your instructor will talk you through important concepts and test-taking strategies and show you how to approach certain question types. There’s also time for you to ask questions if there’s anything you don’t understand.
Live courses also include full access to the self-paced course materials, including 24 hours of pre-recorded video lectures, over 3,500 practice questions and eight full-length, computer-adaptive practice tests. Each test comes with interactive score reports to help you pinpoint the areas where you’re struggling so that you can use your study time most effectively. The Princeton Review’s DrillSmart tool also assists with this by automatically adjusting the question difficulty, just like the real GRE, so that you’re always working on problems that challenge you.
Like Kaplan, The Princeton Review offers prompt email support to all students. But if you need a little extra help, there’s private tutoring. The Princeton Review is your best bet if you’re looking for private tutoring on a budget, because its rates are among the most affordable in the industry. You can start with as little as three hours, though you’ll save more if you purchase more time upfront. The 10-hour package works best if you only need to focus on a specific section of the exam. The 18-hour Comprehensive Package is the way to go if you want to do a complete review of all sections of the test.
The Princeton Review GRE Details
|Math Fundamentals Workshop||$150|
|Ultimate In Person||$1,149|
|Private Tutoring - Flexible Plan (3 hours)||$495|
|Private Tutoring - Targeted Package (10 hours)||$1,500|
|Private Tutoring - Comprehensive Package (18 hours)||$2,340|
Manhattan Prep GRE Details
Best for flexibility.
Manhattan Prep’s variety of courses enables you to customize your GRE prep to suit your individual needs. If you only need help on a single section, you can sign up for a short course or a one-day workshop. There are also complete courses, both live and self-paced, and these are your best bet if you’re looking to do a comprehensive review of the whole exam. Private tutoring is an option as well. Manhattan Prep’s plans are the most flexible of any mentioned here, but they’re also the most expensive. The extra cost may be worth it to some, however, because all of Manhattan Prep’s instructors have scored in the 99th percentile on a real GRE.
What to Expect
Manhattan Prep has a single in-person location in Manhattan, so it may not be easy for you to travel to if you live in one of the other boroughs. In that case, you may want to check out the live online classes which, like the in-person courses, are all taught by 99th-percentile instructors. Classes start every few days and meet for three hours once per week for eight weeks. There are night and weekend options available to accommodate those who have school or work during the week. If you’re only interested in Quantitative prep, you can sign up to only attend the math lessons rather than paying for the entire course. There’s also the GRE Math in a Day six-hour workshop that gives you a crash course in all the key concepts.
There’s a self-study course too, and it covers both the Quantitative and Verbal portions of the exam. These can be purchased separately or together at a discount. Like the live courses, this program includes eight textbooks, thousands of practice questions, flashcards and six full-length practice tests. Video lessons take the place of the live instruction, walking you through all the important information in a clear and concise manner. All of the online study materials are mobile-friendly, so you can switch over to your smartphone or tablet if you need to step away from your computer.
Manhattan Prep’s private tutoring packages start at just two hours, so you can purchase as much or as little as you need. The smaller packages are ideal if you only need help with a single topic, but if you’re planning on a more comprehensive review, you’ll save a lot of money by going with a bigger package over the hourly rate. Unfortunately, the high cost may put this tutoring out of reach for some. If you’re interested in private GRE tutoring on a budget, we suggest taking a closer look at The Princeton Review.
Manhattan Prep GRE Details
|GRE Math in a Day||$199|
|Guided Self-Study - Quant Only||$299|
|Guided Self-Study - Verbal Only||$299|
|Guided Self-Study - Full Course||$549|
|Just Math - Online||$599|
|Just Math - In Person||$699|
|Complete Course - Online||$999|
|Complete Course - In Person||$1,349|
|Private Tutoring (2 hours)||$510|
|Private Tutoring (5 hours)||$1,250|
|Private Tutoring (10 hours)||$2,450|
|Private Tutoring (15 hours)||$3,525|
|Private Tutoring (20 hours)||$4,600|
|Private Tutoring (25 hours)||$5,625|
Frequently Asked Questions About the GRE
We spoke with students planning on taking the GRE to learn what questions they had about the exam. We’ve answered some of the most common ones below. If there’s anything else you’d like to know, don’t hesitate to reach out and ask.
What are the most important things to know prior to taking the GRE?
Make sure you’re familiar with your school’s requirements and deadlines, the test format and the rules and procedures you must follow on exam day.
School Requirements and Deadlines
It’s important that you have a goal in mind before you sign up to take the GRE. Do some research into the program you’re planning on applying to and see if you can figure out what kind of score you should be aiming for. Some programs list an average score while others may list a range of accepted scores. Keep track of any numbers that you find, and keep in mind that requirements will vary from school to school.
You should also keep track of your application deadlines. Rolling deadlines give you some freedom on when you submit your test scores, but when there’s a single date, it’s crucial that you get your score report in on time. Give yourself at least two possible test dates in case you don’t score as high as you’d hoped on your first attempt. Keep in mind that it takes approximately 10 to 15 days after the exam for your scores to be sent out to schools.
The GRE is broken down into three sections. The Quantitative and Verbal sections are computer-adaptive tests (CATs), which means that the question difficulty is continually adjusted based on your previous answers to get a more accurate measure of your knowledge. Unlike most CATs, the GRE does allow you to skip questions and to go back and change your answers. Just don’t leave a question blank, as this will hurt your score. Not all questions in these sections are scored. Some are unscored pretest items that the test makers have added to assess their difficulty. You won’t know which questions these are when you’re taking the test, however, so it’s best to treat them all as if they were going to be scored.
The third section of the exam is the Analytical Writing Assessment. This consists of two separate writing tasks — one that asks you to analyze an issue and another that asks you to analyze an argument. Unlike the Quantitative and Verbal sections, you won’t receive an estimate of your Analytical Writing score at the completion of the exam, as these essays must be graded manually by individuals specially trained for the task.
Make sure you’re familiar with how to get to the testing facility nearest you and arrive at least a half hour early. Eat a good meal beforehand, because you aren’t allowed to bring any food with you into the testing center. You must present a valid, government-issued photo ID to the testing administrator to verify your identity when you check in. Once the exam has begun, you aren’t permitted to leave the testing center for any reason until it is over.
You aren’t allowed to bring anything into the testing room with you. The exam proctor will provide you with scratch paper and pencils if you need it for the Quantitative section. You’ll be given a secure locker before the exam where you can store your personal belongings until the test is finished. You aren’t permitted to access anything in this locker during the test, not even on breaks. For a complete list of test-day procedures, visit the Educational Testing Service website.
How much time should I spend studying for the GRE?
The answer to this varies from person to person. When creating your study schedule, we suggest you ask yourself the following questions.
What do I already know?
Take a timed practice exam to see how close you already are to your goal. Use your results to guide your study plan. If you need to bring up your scores across the board, you should do a comprehensive review of each section. But if you only struggled with the Quantitative section, for example, you may be able to get by with a math-only course or workshop instead. We recommend taking a full GRE prep course, though, because it gives you the best chance of success.
When is the application deadline?
Work backwards from your application deadline to determine when you need to take the exam. Keep in mind the 10- to 15-day delay in schools receiving your scores. It’s best to leave yourself at least two possible test dates in case you need to retake the exam. Once you’ve decided on your first test date, you can plan backwards to figure out how much you need to cover each week in order to be ready in time.
How much time can I spend studying each week?
It’s best to set aside regular studying time each week to keep yourself on track. Even if you can only devote a couple of hours, it’s still better than nothing. Work out how much time you can spare and then begin planning what you will cover in each study session. If you can only study once per week, you’re going to have to begin much earlier than someone who can do a little bit every day, but this shouldn’t make a huge difference in your scores as long as you plan accordingly.
How is the GRE scored?
The GRE consists of 82 questions divided into three sections — the Analytical Writing Assessment, Quantitative Reasoning and Verbal Reasoning. Each section is scored individually. You’ll receive unofficial scores for the Quantitative and Verbal portions of the exam as soon as you finish it, but you won’t find out how you did on the Writing Assessment until 10 to 15 days after the exam when the official score reports are released.
Analytical Writing Assessment
This section consists of two essay prompts that you must answer in 30 minutes each. One essay asks you to analyze an issue and the other asks you to analyze an argument. In both cases, you should discuss any weak points in the author’s argument and how it could be stronger. Unlike most standardized exams, the Educational Testing Service lists a pool of sample essay questions on its website, so you can practice with them before the test. The essays you will face on the exam will come from these pools, although you won’t know which ones specifically until you show up for the test.
Each essay is graded on a scale from 0 to 6 with half-point intervals. They’re scored twice — once by a human specially trained for the task and once by an essay grading software. Your scores are averaged together to determine your final score. If the two scores are radically different, a second human grader is brought in and the two human scores are averaged together instead.
Quantitative and Verbal Reasoning
There are two sections each of Quantitative and Verbal Reasoning on the GRE. There are 20 questions in each section, as well as a handful of unscored pretest questions. Each Quantitative section is 35 minutes long and the Verbal Reasoning sections last 30 minutes each. Your scores from the two Quantitative sections are added together, as are the two Verbal sections, to give you a combined score ranging from 130 to 170 in one-point increments in each discipline.
These sections are computer-adaptive, which means that the exam adjusts the difficulty of the questions based on your previous answers. You start with a question of medium difficulty, and whether you get it right or wrong determines if the next question is easier or harder. Each question is assigned a weight based on how challenging it is, and you get more points for answering a difficult question right than an easy one.
What are the GRE Subject Tests?
Educational Testing Service also offers six optional GRE Subject Tests in biology, chemistry, literature in English, mathematics, physics and psychology. Depending on which graduate program you’re applying to, you may be required to take one of these as well. Many schools don’t require them, but they may recommend them, so it’s a good idea to check with your school’s admissions department to see if you should sign up for one of these tests as well.
How are the Subject Tests different from the general GRE?
The GRE is designed to assess your critical-thinking skills, as well as your understanding of English and math. The Subject Tests focus on your knowledge of a specific field. You won’t find any GRE prep course to help you prepare for these subject tests, so if you’re planning on taking one and you need to brush up on the important topics, you’ll have to either study on your own or consider enrolling in a college course in the subject.
Subject Tests are paper exams, and they’re only administered in September, October and April, so plan accordingly. The tests can contain anywhere from 66 to 230 multiple-choice questions depending on the subject.
How are the Subject Tests scored?
Each Subject Test is scored on a scale from 200 to 990 in 10-point increments. You will get a single score for the chemistry, literature in English, mathematics and physics exams. For the biology and psychology exams, you will also receive a number of subscores ranging from 20 to 99 in one-point increments to show how you did on each section.
How important is the GRE to graduate school admissions?
GRE scores form a central part of your graduate school application because they serve as a useful comparison tool and a measure of how well you will cope with graduate-level coursework. But they’re not the only thing admissions departments look at. They also consider your undergraduate transcripts, work history, personal essay, interview and letters of recommendation. Getting into the school of your choice means doing well in all of these areas.
Each graduate program sets its own rules about what GRE scores you must achieve in order to be admitted. Each program also weighs the various components of your application a little differently, so it’s difficult to say how much of a factor your scores will play in your application. Ideally, you want to score at or above the program’s average GRE score. Do some research to find out what this is and keep studying until you feel confident that you can reach it.
A test score doesn’t tell admissions departments everything they need to know, though. Your undergraduate transcripts provide a measure of your long-term academic success, and your essay, interview, letters of recommendation and work history give insight into your character and how well you’d fit into the program’s culture. If you want to give yourself the best chance of success, put as much effort into these other areas of your application as you do into studying for the GRE.
How do I send my GRE scores to schools?
On the day of the test, you can choose up to four schools that you want to receive your GRE scores. There’s no charge for this as it’s included in the exam fee. This is usually all that most students have to do. If you’re retaking the GRE, you will get a choice as to whether you’d like to submit all your GRE scores or just the most recent ones. When your official scores are released 10 to 15 days after the exam, a copy of the report will be sent out to the schools you requested.
If you have more than four schools that you’re applying to or you’d like to wait to see how you did before you submit your scores, you can add recipients through your online Educational Testing Service account. There is a $27 fee per recipient for submitting scores this way, even if you didn’t use up all four of your free score reports on test day.
The GRE also gives you the option to cancel your scores if you feel you didn’t do very well, but think carefully before doing this.You must make your mind up before you view your unofficial scores, and you must cancel all your scores or none at all. This is generally not recommended because it’s difficult to gauge your progress right after the exam. Plus, then you’ll forfeit the $205 exam fee and you’ll still have to take it again. Canceled scores can be reinstated within 60 days of the test date for a $50 fee.
Key Statistics of the GRE
The Verbal and Quantitative Reasoning portions of the GRE are scored on a scale from 130 to 170 in one-point increments while the Analytical Writing Assessment is scored from 0 to 6 with half-point intervals. To give you some idea of how you measure up to other test-takers, we’ve listed some percentile rank statistics below. All data is rounded to the closest percentile listed.
90th Percentile: 162
70th Percentile: 156
50th Percentile: 151
30th Percentile: 146
10th Percentile: 140
90th Percentile: 166
70th Percentile: 159
50th Percentile: 153
30th Percentile: 148
10th Percentile: 141
90th Percentile: 5
70th Percentile: 4.5
50th Percentile: 4
30th Percentile: 3.5
10th Percentile: 3