Right after you finish college, there’s a whole heap of options for you on what to pursue. Some find work, some take the time to relax, and some are still trying to figure out what to do best after graduation. Others seek advanced learning and find themselves applying for master’s degrees or graduate programs after obtaining their undergraduate diploma.
People consider so many factors into pursuing their graduate study dreams, especially in getting to a graduate program. Earning a graduate degree means more chances of landing a decent job role.
Graduating from such a program also increases your probability of securing a high-paying starting salary as an employee. A report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics emphasizes that in 2022, employers will be adding more than 2.4 million jobs that require a graduate degree!
Graduate programs come in various levels, types, or categories. Have a read below to find out the most common programs available:
- Master’s Degree (M.A., M.S., M.F.A., M.B.A.) – This program can range from 1 – 4 years of study. The field of specialty that you can choose from is business programs, science and technology courses, and arts and humanities. One of the main requirements to finish this type of graduate degree is to submit a thesis to complete the required coursework.
- Doctoral Degree (Ph.D.) – This is a more specialized kind of study covering history, computer science, psychology, and engineering. You will need to take a Master’s degree first before you can apply for a Doctoral degree. If you’re also envisioning yourself having a professional career in the academe, this is the path for you.
- Juris Doctor Degree (J.D.) – If becoming a lawyer is your dream, then taking this degree is the perfect fit for you. The Juris Doctor Degree revolves around applying the law, knowing the different theories around it, and preparing you to have a future profession in the legal court. It is also an interesting note that not all lawyers practice the job after graduating. Others still try to explore corporate and business opportunities too.
- Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) – This is one of the most popular graduate degree programs worldwide. Medical school is a combination of course work, clinical practice, licensure examinations, and residency to be a well-versed physician.
Now that you know the most basic types of graduate programs, the main question is, how can you apply to any of them? As such degree programs have high-quality requirements, so does one of the tests needed for your application – this is the Graduate Record Examination or GRE.
What Do You Need To Know About GRE?
Once you apply to graduate schools, there will always be requirements for you to submit. Some conditions may include your previous transcripts, application letter, endorsement or referrals, and of course, qualifying examinations or tests.
One of the most common application requirements for graduate school students is taking the Graduate Record Examination exam or GRE.
The GRE test is a standard exam required by most graduate programs to assess and measure an applicant’s preparedness for grad school. This can be taken in various schedules, in different testing centers all around the world. The official administrator for this examination is the Educational Testing System or ETS.
There are two types of test formats for the GRE. The first one is the General Test, a computerized exam covering different areas to rate the test taker’s thinking skills. It has a total test time of 3 hours and 45 minutes. It has three main sections:
- Verbal Reasoning – This section highlights a person’s ability to analyze written information and how he/she can establish relationships between the data included. The applicant is expected to evaluate sentences, words, phrases, and concepts from ranging topics. Subjects included are natural sciences, humanities, and social sciences. For its format, it has two sections with 20 questions per set. Each set will have a time frame of 30 minutes.
- Quantitative Reasoning – Everything about math is right here in this area of the exam. Topics that are covered include Algebra, Geometry, Arithmetic, and Data Analysis. It also measures your ability to understand mathematical concepts from a quantitative perspective. This part of the exam also has two sections, and each segment has 20 questions as well. The test taker has 32 minutes to complete each.
- Analytical Writing – This segment is to assess your skills in understanding complicated concepts. Examinees will justify situations and support such with explanations and examples. You will also provide a coherent discussion of ideas while ensuring that everything is grammatically sound and correct. For its test structure, it has two separate tasks for you to answer. You have 30 minutes to finish and answer each task.
There are two more segments included after the three main areas of the test for the actual exam. The labels of the parts are the Unscored section and Research section. The Unscored section is always included right after the Analytical Writing portion.
Adding this in the exam is to find possible future questions in the next sets of the GRE. The same is valid with the Research section. This is the last part of the exam and is always an inclusion for research or survey purposes. The official scorers of the exam don’t count the scores from the two tests.
Unlike other exam formats, the GRE has an advanced adaptive design system that can give you the freedom to go forward or backward between exam items during the test. This convenient system allows having a preview of your answers and even marking or labeling them so that you have time to skip and go back in case you want to recheck them.
You can also have the free will to change or edit your answers as long as you still have time remaining to finish the exam. Furthermore, the Quantitative Reasoning section has a calculator prepared to help you in computations and calculations.
For the General Test scoring, you can have the option to take the test with a maximum of five retakes. This is great if you’re not confident with your score on the first take. Your second or third take might have better scores, and you can choose or use the latest test scores as your main score in submitting your graduate school application.
The second type of test is the Subject Test. This focuses more on a specific field or subject to highlight your competency in such topics. If you want to impress the school, you’re applying to, showing them your scores in a particular field can give you more advantage. Students who have undergraduate specializations or majors are the ones targeted to take such tests. The test has six main categories:
- Biology – The section has 188 multiple-choice type questions with five choices or options per question. Most of the problems have descriptions from a laboratory setting, biological diagrams, and experimental findings. The contents are from three main categories: Ecology, Cellular & Molecular Biology, and Organismal Biology.
- Chemistry – Its format has a total of 130 multiple-choice types of questions. A periodic table is included, together with some conversion units and factors. It covers four major fields: Analytical Chemistry, Inorganic Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, and Physical Chemistry.
- Literature in English – This type of exam has a broad scope of topics included. They are the following: poetry, biography, the essay, drama, the short story, criticism, the novel, literary theory, and the history of the language. It has an approximate total of 230 questions. The texts or excerpts from books are from various reading materials all over the world. The categories of the questions belong into two main groups: factual and analytical.
- Mathematics – It offers 66 multiple-choice questions in this portion of the exam. Half of the questions are more on Calculus concepts. The other half is more on fundamental math problems common in the undergraduate levels.
- Physics – This portion of the GRE measures the ability to solve questions involving Physics principles. It has about 100 multiple choice-type questions with five choices. Predominantly, you have to follow the International System (IS) of units to answer some of the exam questions.
- Psychology – Same with the other tests, the exam has a multiple-choice kind of set up with a total of 205 items. The questions are derived from the main concepts and core knowledge of Psychology subjects way back during the college years.
Same with the General Test, the Subject Test scoring also has the free option for the test taker to choose any scores that they like to highlight. They have three options in terms of using scores.
The first option is to send their latest test scores to their applied schools right after an exam. Their second choice is to send all of their test scores within five years of test-taking. The final option is to send the best score within five years of taking the GRE.
The ETS has crafted a new structure on how to take the General Test of the GRE. They now have the GRE General Test At Home option. This is the best option to take, especially for those who prefer to stay at home. The alternative can also avoid the hassles of taking the exam in a testing center.
Generally, this type of test can be available in any place where the usual testing center is located. There is not much of a difference in terms of the content of the test. What makes it unique is that you will have a human proctor online on the day of the exam that will assist you for the duration of the test.
Best Online Prep Courses for GRE
To be confident and ready for the test, examinees find valuable resources so that they can study ahead of time. Without preparing for the exam, your chances of getting a decent score will be doubtful. But the great thing for test-takers in these times as there are tons of excellent materials accessible so that they can better prepare for the test.
The most common and readily made materials for studying the GRE are now on the internet. Online prep courses have been the go-to essentials for students who want to ready themselves for the exam. A prep course has the training, study guides, video lessons, or practice tests to prepare an individual beforehand.
It depends on a particular prep course if they want a mixture of resources or focus on one type of training, such as 1:1 sessions with private tutors. Whatever format or framework they have, online prep courses have helped millions of test-takers ace their exams.
By now, you must be on your toes wondering what the best online GRE prep courses are. Well, worry no more as you can read all of them here below:
- Kaplan – The training course on their website has a lot of options for you to choose from. This has a lot of benefits because you can maximize which plan suits your needs best. In total, they have eight different pricing options in preparing for the GRE:
- $999 – This is an online course complete with 21 hours of live instruction videos. An expert instructor leads a class with support tutors to answer any private chat questions.
- $1299 – Same with the first payment option, this pricing offers a bonus of private tutors with 1:1 sessions good for 3 hours. It also has additional prep books to be accessed by the students.
- $449 – This is more of a self-paced training where you will have access to more than 180 hours of online practice questions, live and recorded video training, and a test simulation feature to prepare you for the actual day of the exam.
- $699 – Also a self – study guide, the add-ons included are two prep books specifically for Math and Advanced Math topics.
- $2,299 – It is the most expensive payment plan among the pricing options. It covers 1:1 tutoring sessions with expert instructors, personalized subject assignments, a support team to track your progress, and the most updated prep books.
- $199 – As one of the affordable plans, this option includes a bundle package of practice questions, intensive explanations per answer, and can avail the training within six months of access.
- $149 – This has four full-length practice tests and mock exams. You will also get six months of access to the training.
- $69 – The cheapest among all of the pricing offers, this package has 2,500 practice questions, a score report, and personalized feedback from the support team.
- Magoosh – This popular training course for examinations and tests also have a specific prep course offer for the GRE. Their study guide covers all of the exam areas, including the Verbal, Math, and Analytical Writing portions. They have a wide range of practice tests, video tutorials by experts, flexible study schedules, and a score predictor feature. They have two payment plan options:
- $149 – This is good for a one month access to all of their training resources. You can acquire their vast library of 1,400 practice questions, three mock exams, expert-led video lessons, and a 5+ score guarantee.
- $179 – Same with the first payment plan, this option has all of the courses available but for a longer duration of access, suitable for six months.
- Princeton Review – Aside from the practice exams and questions, they have an initial drill to assess your ability in answering the real exam. As one of the leading training programs, their offering on the GRE prep courses has different pricing choices.
- $399 – This is their self-training type of course where you can study anytime and anywhere you like. This is a one-time payment option and is only available online.
- $1099 – It has all of the essential resources for you to start your study for the GRE. It has 24 hours of video instructions led by experts, eight adaptive practice tests, and online drills.
- $1999 – With this payment option, they promise a 162+ score guarantee with a 1:1 personalized study manager to help you with the training.
- $156/hr – Skilled tutors will be monitoring your study progress. They will be creating a tracking dashboard and personalizing your overall study plan.
- PrepScholar GRE – What makes their prep course valuable is the diagnostic test you will cover as part of your initial training. This test will help them assess your weak areas and in which subject tests you need more work on. They have three options for pricing offers:
- Free – If you want to explore their training course first without committing to a payment plan, then you can try their resources for five days without charge. You can watch all of their video lessons, read test strategies, and have your study plan as well.
- $38 – This is one of the most affordable online packages for GRE. It is only for a one-time payment with 12 months of access to all of their resources.
- $345 – With this payment option, you will have lifetime access to all of their study materials. What makes it great is that they will offer personalized scoring essays for the test’s Analytical Writing section.
- examPAL – As they want to guarantee success to all of their students, their prep course has payment options with 7-day trial access. You will also acquire coverage of all of their materials for the exam’s Quantivate and Verbal sections. Their pricing is as follows:
- $399 – You will have access to 4 certified practice tests from the ETS. You will also get two essay reviews from their experts. Remember that you can only access this for six weeks.
- $599 – The plan includes four practice tests, four essay reviews, and a 6+ point guarantee.
- $899 – Their most costly package includes a 1:1 tutoring schedule good for three sessions. This also has an expert assessment feature and a 7+ point guarantee.
- Empower – Their online prep course for GRE promises a 7+ point guarantee with comprehensive study guides and practice questions. They also offer free 1-hour access to all of their materials to make sure you can check the quality of their training before purchasing a plan. They have three packages:
- $49/mo – It has an easy training interface and course syllabus. You will get to access more than 100 lessons for the Verbal, Math, and Analytical Writing sections. You will also get email support from their admin team. They also provide an easy cancellation button so that you can cancel your subscription anytime you want.
- $139 on the 1st month and $49/mo in succeeding months – What makes it different from the previous payment option is that it has five official online practice exams crafted by GRE administrators. It also has an added chat support feature in your training.
- $349 – This option is useful for six months of access. You will acquire all study materials from their courses and the official guide test for the GRE. This will give you an advantage on how the real exam works.
- Target Test Prep – Their technologically advanced courses are all available on mobile devices. So that means that you can access all of their training on your smartphone or iPad. This is best for students who want to take their studies anywhere they like. They also have an Intelligence Analytics feature that can evaluate your study style and focus on specific core subjects you want to improve on. However, it is good to note that their courses are only limited to the exam’s Quantitative section. Here are their pricing offers:
- $99/mo – You will gain monthly access to all of their Math lessons, video lessons, customized practice systems, and live support. You can cancel this anytime in your account settings.
- $299 – This option is a one-time payment that will give you full access to all of their materials for four months.
- $399 – Same with the previous prices, the courses included in this option are all complete. The leading add-on is it has extended access of up to 6 months.
- Manhattan Prep – Their prep course has a combination of private tutoring, interactive video lessons, workshops, and so much more. Their pricing options come in 4 leading offers:
- $299 – If you want self-paced training, then this is the plan for you. It has six practice tests, exam drills, and adaptive video lessons.
- $799 – It has online sessions or in-person classes that will help the test taker in studying. Keep note that this package is only limited to Math resources.
- $1399 – Same with the second payment plan has an online or in-person option for the classes. Plus, you will have access to both the Verbal and Math reviewers.
- $1599 – This offers live video sessions focusing on advanced Math. It is well-fit for those who want to apply for MBA degree programs.
- The Economist GRE Tutor – Like the other online prep courses, their course content can also be personalized depending on your learning strategy. They offer private tutoring, essay reviews, and even a free subscription plan to their digital journal, The Economist. All of their plan options come in a 7-day free trial. Here are their pricing options:
- $349 – You will have one month of access to 3 ETS official practice tests, two essay reviews, and 50 questions to be raised to an expert tutor.
- $489 – The main difference from the previous payment option is that it has a 6+ point improvement on the test day. There’s also a 50% increase in the Ask-A-Tutor questions feature. This is good for three months.
- $699 – What makes this their best pricing plan is that you will get six months of access to their learning materials. The resources include five practice tests, six essay reviews, three 1:1 tutoring sessions, and endless questions to their skilled instructors.
- Testmasters GRE – Their prep course offers different learning styles that can provide flexibility to various students. They also have up-to-date prep materials that contain content gathered from actual GRE tests administered around the world. They have two price points that you can choose from:
- $899 – This can be either an online or classroom course with 12 sessions. It promises a 10-point score guarantee with more than 1,200 pages of reviewers and course materials.
- $2999 – This offers more on a private one-on-one course with their expert instructors. This is a live-only class where students have an exceptional tutor to prepare for the test.
- Veritas Prep – If you want to be guided by a real expert, this is the prep course for you as one of their leading instructors got a perfect GRE score when he took the exam! Their training focuses more on video lessons and is available in high-definition quality. They have three pricing plans:
- $599 – You get 12-month access to the resource library. You can also view the lessons on your phone, tablet, or laptop. If you only have a month to prepare for the course, this option is excellent.
- $999 – This pricing offer includes a self-study guide with live online sessions with the key experts.
- $2650 – You will get a private tutor plus a personalized schedule to fit your studying style. You can opt for the live class or do the review online.
- Udemy – The most on-demand prep course available on their website is the GRE Math Prep Course. Once you purchase this training, you will have lifetime access to its downloadable resource, 13 hours of video instructions, and a certificate of completion. This is great for those who want to study and bring their reviewers anywhere. You can open this on your mobile device or even on your Smart TV. The study guide costs $39.99.
- GRE IntelliPrep – Some test-takers prefer to use headphones while studying. People call them audio learners. Nowadays, audio reviewers are available as the primary medium for sharing content. This is the kind of prep course that you can purchase on Audible.com. One of their in-demand GRE reviewers is the GRE IntelliPrep by Intelligent+ where it has a complete audio library of subjects about Verbal, Math, and Analytical Writing. You can buy the item for a one-time payment of $14.95.
- McGraw-Hill Education Practice Plus – If you’re looking for free GRE resources over the internet, then you can check out the study guides in McGraw-Hill. They have a full-length practice test that you can access right on their website. Make sure to use Google Chrome or Safari in viewing their mock exam. They also have problem-solving videos for Analytical Writing, Math, and Reading Comprehension.
- PowerPrep by ETS – Of course, the official council to administer the exam also prepared some practice tests for aspiring graduate students. They have downloadable resources on their website that can help you ace the exam. All you have to do is create an account and login to access the free materials.
- Grad school is one of the common choices for students to pursue right after they finish college.
- All graduate programs have corresponding requirements for interested applicants to comply with.
- The Graduate Record Examination or GRE is considered one of the main application requirements for graduate schools.
- It has two categories: the General Test and Subject Test.
- Online prep courses are a huge help for students who want to prepare for taking the GRE.
- Your learning style, coping strategy, and budget will determine the best online prep course for you.