Is a GRE prep course right for you? If you’re preparing to take the GRE as part of your application to grad school, a GRE prep course is essentially a complete guide to how to study for the GRE and ace it. A prep course offers expert help for students who crave a little more organization and structure to their studying and test prep. While a GRE prep course isn’t the right move for every student, it does have its advantages if you choose the right one. In this blog, we’ll learn what you need to know about GRE prep courses, whether they’re right for you and how to find the right GRE prep course to suit your needs!

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Article Contents
4 min read

What is GRE Prep Course? Do You Need a GRE Prep Course? Benefits of a GRE Prep Course How to Find the Best GRE Prep Course Conclusion & FAQs

What is a GRE Prep Course?

A GRE prep course is a comprehensive study program to get you ready to take the GRE, or Graduate Record Exam, administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS). The GRE is a standardized test and is a common requirement for entry to some graduate school programs and PhD programs. It is also sometimes an alternative to other standardized tests for admission to professional programs like law school and business school.

While there are some graduate programs that don’t require the GRE, chances are you will either be required to take this test or consider taking it to give your application to grad school a little boost.

If you are planning to take the GRE and have already started your GRE test prep, you might be wondering what is the best way to study for the GRE? While there are plenty of self-prep study options, and both free and paid resources out there to help you study for this tough test, you might be thinking you’d like a more personalized or intensive form of GRE prep.

If this is the case, you can’t go wrong with a GRE prep course. However, GRE prep courses are a not insignificant investment of your time and money. Although it’s been shown that GRE prep courses can increase your GRE score by quite a few points, they are not the right choice for everyone. Some students might prefer the one-on-one help of a GRE tutor or you might prefer to self-study.

For those of you who are on the fence, we’ll take a look at the pros and cons of a GRE prep course, what kind of students are likely to benefit from a GRE prep course and whether this is the right option for you.

Do You Need a GRE Prep Course?

The question on your mind might be: do I really need a GRE prep course? Can I get the score I want without one?

The answer is yes, it is very possible to score well on the GRE without professional study help or even with expert, paid resources. But a GRE prep course is specifically tailored to give students a crash course in the GRE sections, what to expect from the test and how to approach every GRE question type. A GRE prep course simulates a classroom learning environment and gives you the benefit of paid, expert instruction. It can take away a lot of the work that self-studying demands, as well as provide you with a sense of structure.

For example, a GRE prep course might be most useful to you if you fall into one of these categories:

The choice of whether to enroll in a GRE prep course will come down to your preferred learning style, study habits and personal choice. We recommend you take a look at what is on the GRE, how long the GRE is and some other background information, then take a GRE practice test. If you struggled a lot during the practice exam, consider looking for extra study help.

A GRE prep course can also be a good introduction to graduate level studies and help instill some necessary skills you’ll need to succeed in graduate school. And, GRE prep courses can definitely help you improve your GRE score, increasing your chances of getting into competitive programs if your score is high enough.

At the end of the day, you’ll need to weigh the cost and time of a GRE prep course with the benefits it can provide you. If you feel you can get the results you want with the help of a tutor or self-studying options, go for it. But if you think a GRE prep course could make a difference for you, it is more than possible to find an option that fits your grad school application timeline, budget and studying needs.

Benefits of a GRE Prep Course

Here are some of the benefits of a GRE prep course for those students who choose to enroll in one.

How to Find the Best GRE Prep Course

Finding the best GRE prep course for you can take some research, and it can be overwhelming to sift through them any options out there. Or to read through dozens of lists of the top 10 best GRE prep courses and try to pick the right one. Our advice is to look a little more in-depth than this and don’t settle for a course that doesn’t check off all your boxes. Here are some things to consider and watch out for when you’re looking for the best GRE prep course.


The decision of whether a GRE prep course is right for you is a personal choice, but there are undeniable benefits for certain students who choose to enroll in one. If after researching the GRE a little you feel that you can succeed with self-studying or another form of study help, that’s great! But if you’re looking for that extra support and guidance offered by a GRE prep course, take the time now to start looking at what your options are. Planning your GRE test date will be much smoother once you know how long your prep course will be and how long you intend to study for the GRE!


1. What is a GRE prep course?

A GRE prep course is essentially a structured guide to the Graduate Record Exam, instructing students on what’s on the GRE, how to study for it and what to expect on test day. It’s a crash course in how to ace the GRE.

2. Is it worth paying for a GRE prep course?

It can definitely be worth the cost for some students, though a GRE prep course is not right for everyone. If you have the budget for it and think the value of a prep course will benefit you, it’s a good idea to enroll in a GRE prep course. If you’re more comfortable with self-studying techniques or you want to try another method, like a GRE tutor, a prep course might not be worth it for you.

3. How hard is the GRE?

How hard is the GRE? While the LSAT and GMAT are widely considered much harder than the GRE, don’t make the mistake of thinking it is an easy test. It is designed to assess your readiness for grad school, so it is not a simple, straightforward exam. It is significantly harder than the SAT or ACT for college admissions, but luckily the GRE is also a test you can prepare for, understand and conquer.

4. How much does a GRE prep course cost?

The cost of a GRE prep course can vary, from a few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars, depending on the depth and breadth of the course. It can also vary depending on how many hours of instruction are included, the resources included, the expertise level of the instructors and sometimes whether the course is online or in-person.

5. Is a GRE prep course better than a GRE tutor?

It depends on the student. A tutor is more personalized to your studying needs, and offers one-on-one, private study help. A prep course might be less expensive overall, but offers a comprehensive and broader instruction on the GRE.

6. How do I find the best GRE prep course?

To find your ideal GRE prep course, look for a course that fits your budget, application timeline, learning style, has expert instructors and offers the options you want. For instance, if you prefer online learning, there are GRE prep courses that are 100% digital. If you want the accountability of going to a classroom every week, there are in-person courses you can attend.

7. How long do you need to prepare for the GRE?

Most students study for the GRE between 2-3 months, though if you’re a confident test-taker you may need 5-6 weeks only. 

8. Can I study for GRE on my own?

Absolutely! It is more than possible to self-study for the GRE and score well. Self-studying just means you’ll be doing all the work yourself and relying on your own self-teaching methods to learn the GRE’s material and test strategies. If you’re a good studier, this is probably the best option for you.

To your success,

Your friends at BeMo

BeMo Academic Consulting

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