GRE Test Prep

Archived Q&A and Reviews

GRE Tutoring without breaking the bank?

Feb 2008

I'm looking for a good GRE preparation program. I need help with the quantitative sections much more than the verbal. I do better with something structured, as compared to working completely on my own but the price for the basic Kaplan course, $1,199, makes me cringe on many levels.I'd also like to find something that will allow me to spend most of my time preparing for the math sections. Can anyone suggest other options? Has anyone had good luck with one-on-one tutoring? Can you get tutoring without breaking the bank? Thanks! hopeful future grad student

kaplan used to offer tuition assistance. call the office in berkeley or sf to see if they still do. anon

Hi future PhD mama - Im a PhD student, and I also work as an academic advisor to undergrads at Berkeley, including helping them prepare for graduate school. So I do have some basis to offer my thoughts:). Here's my opinion - what you are paying for in any brand of GRE prep class is the discipline to actually study. Nothing else. You are paying them to make sure you study. What they use for ''teaching material'' are the books they publish, and that you can buy at any bookstore. You can be disciplined about studying on your own, or you can pay someone a couple thousand dollars to make sure you study (thats why its effective - who wants to skip class when you've paid that much!).

What I did was buy the $20 Princeton Review book, that came with a CD, and had a reliable study buddy. We made firm plans to study three times a week for 3 hours at a time - just be in the same room to study with each other, we would talk out specific questions if we had any. The test is ultra-formulaic. The best way to improve your verbal score is to study the list of vocab words at the back of the book. Flash cards - no need from an outside party needed there. The essays are a formula - and they give you the formula in the book. Pratice a couple times on each type, and you are fine. The quantitative section - Im not gonna lie - it had been almost 10 years since I had taken math, I've never enjoyed doing math, and Ive never been great at it. I was more that a little rusty. The math on the GRE does not go above high school level math (they can't test you on college-level math because not everybody takes math in college). There are certain kinds of problems (maybe 40?) you need to know how to solve- the book lays it all out. Learn each - really understand it - and then practice, practice, practice. It did help for me to have a couple friends who were good at math so when I was stuck, and the book's explanation didn't cut it, I asked them. But honestly, as rusty and math-phobic as I was, that probably only happened 3-4 times.

Just keep practicing, and do it religiously, and there's no need to shell out a couple thousand dollars. If you know you dont have the discipline to study on your own, and you have a couple thousand dollars, you should take the class. But if you can do it on your own, or with a friend/study buddy, put that money to better use!


GRE Test Prep - Online Courses worth it?

Dec 2004

help. it's been 20 years since i've taken a standardized test. i want to try to take the gre next spring. none of the kaplan or princeton review class times work for me. has anyone done the online courses. are they worth it? ($500-$900) or is it just as helpful to save the money and buy the book - though i'd like some feedback and structure, though. individual tutors are even more expensive, it seems. anon

You also might want to try Testing for the Public for a GRE prep class as an alternative to Kaplan and Princeton Review before giving up on taking a class in person. Their website is Lynne

Everyone learns differently. Some by reading, some by doing, some by watching. Go with what works best for you. In person classes offer structure, if that's what you need. If you have self discipline and know you can sit in front of a computer for hours at a time, maybe the online version would work. When I took the GRE, I just went to the bookstore and bought one of the many study books available. It worked great for me, but I also knew that this method of studying worked for me. anon

Math Test prep

See also: Math tutors

June 2003

When I took the GRE 20 years ago, the math seemed very basic--I just needed a review. Now it's been 30 years since high school math, and I need more than the brief reviews in the GRE prep books. But I don't have time for an intensive GRE class. Does anyone know a tutor who not only knows the math but is also familiar with the GRE? (If not, a patient math tutor would do.) Or a GRE class that would allow me to take only the classes focusing on math? Sandy

Kaplan Test Prep will allow you to take only the math portion of the GRE prep class and that would only be four sessions. If you feel like you need a bit more they do offer private tutoring as well. You can go to their website,, to check their available options, schedules and prices. email me if you have any other questions. elisabeth

Math was always my worst subject and i too freaked out when i had to take the GRE. i got a book called ''math made simple'' from barnes and noble and it was great! a simple notebook with helpful refreshers that go step by step. it really helped me and i did much better in math than i ever anticipated. i just did a few pages everyday at work during lunch and that was all i needed. i'm even much more helpful to my son now with his math homework because of it! good luck! stacy

SuccessLink Tutoring offers 1-1 SAT/GRE tutoring - their web-site is There is also an individual in Palo Alto who specializes in the GRE - I don't know if he tutors in the East Bay, but he is excellent - Shachar Link - snlink AT

May 2003

Urgent need for math tutor recommendations to help someone who is studying for the GRE. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Donna

Re GRE (or any kind of) tutor. Try Eric Myers. He is a past Master Instructor for Princeton review, and has been doing private tutoring for several years. He is more focused on verbal than math testing, but may be able to help or recommend someone who can. He's a terrific guy. His phone number is (925) 253-7738, and his website is: Leslie

Hi- if you're looking for a GRE math tutor, I can recommend Jeff Blum. He took the GRE about 7 years ago scoring in the 99th percentile. He's excellent in math as well as having alot of experience in teaching and training. He's very good with the inside tricks of the trade in test taking having taken a course from Kaplan as well. He can be contacted at 925-253-7667. alice